Author Etiquette: Be Careful What You Say

by Jennifer 21. July 2015 08:44

Welcome again to another edition of Author Etiquette. Apocalypse Ink Productions started this segment a few months ago and so far it’s been a great success. AIP loves authors. We wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t; but we have seen situations blow up that could have been prevented with just a little bit of patience, communication and common sense.  Whether you are a new author or a pro, it’s sometimes handy to have a small reminder on how to handle a situation before it it gets ugly.

The past year has been difficult for a lot of authors. We’ve witnessed several situations where writers have found themselves cornered by either what they’ve said, what they’ve participated in (willingly or not), and what they’ve done. Not all of it has been intentional and some of it has been carefully orchestrated to put the author in a bad light. But friends have been put in the spotlight and it hasn’t always been comfortable.

Some authors are very open with their opinions and post them regularly on social media and their blogs. They feel comfortable with their views and want to share them. Other authors purposely pose discussion topics on their feeds to encourage discussion especially with current hot topics. These authors understand that these discussions can cause backlash and are prepared to deal with it. Not all authors are.

Even though authors use words, what we put on a page on the first round isn’t always what we want to say. Most authors write several drafts of a story before sending it out for publication. By then we’ve carefully picked words and phrases selected to clarify our meaning. However, posting on the internet, especially social media can leave the author open to uncomfortable, embarrassing and sometimes damaging discussions and arguments simply because they posted a comment that wasn’t clear or touched on a hot topic and may not have thought out what they want to say.

When an author shoots from the hip and makes a quick comment, they may not always be as clear as they would like to be. This can lead to misunderstandings as to the intent of the post. Compound that with social media—where a discussion could be broken up by several posts and conversations—things can get taken out of context or completely misinterpreted.

This is why every author should think carefully about what they say and how they say it especially when dealing with touchy subjects, prickly people and delicate situations.

Usually you are safe posting about neutral things such as pets and kids and normal daily activities. But other subjects that have the potential to cause trouble such a personal opinions must be handled more carefully. Even choosing to participate in a discussion that someone else has started can be a point of potential trouble. A seemingly innocent question could be a baited trap, to either test out the social or political position of the writer or to lead into an argument. It’s a common ploy especially in the age of internet trolls. And you never know who’s watching.

Some authors choose to lay low and not participate in many of the volatile discussions. It can be safer that way, especially if the author does not feel comfortable engaging in arguments. But sometimes you do have to respond. If you feel you have a position where you need to make a comment do it carefully. Write out your response before hand. Craft it to say exactly what you mean. Use clear and concise words. Keep it short. Then set it aside.

Most authors will admit that they’ve wanted to join into an argument or discussion, wrote out a post then waited for a few hours or days before deciding whether to post or to delete it.  Sometimes the discussion dies down on its own and no other action is needed. Othertimes the post—with a few revisions—is necessary to either keep the position fresh in people’s minds or make your position on the subject clear.

But even if you are careful, sometimes either you slip up and say the wrong thing or someone misinterprets what you wrote. What do you do?

First of all, own up to a mistake. If you owe someone an apology, do so as quickly as possible and preferably in private where you can discuss the situation. If you’ve posted the wrong information, make the effort of correcting it. Post an edit comment to the post where you apologize and try to make corrections. Don’t just edit the post so that the incorrect information disappears. This can lead to a lot of confusion as people try to find out what triggered the argument in the first place.

Second, don’t engage with trolls. There are people out there who simply want to start an argument and keep it going. There are several tactics that they use to do this. Learn to identify them and either ignore the argument or learn to evade the discussion.

When fronted by a trollish question or behavior, the best advice is avoidance. By not engaging in arguments and not answering baited questions you aren’t putting yourself into a position where your words can be twisted against you. If necessary you can block the posts so that you no longer have to see them.

Third, learn when to disengage. At times you will need to step back from the discussion. With certain topics, things can get heated very quickly. If you feel overwhelmed, back away. Let things resolve itself. If you need to engage again later, make sure to read through all posts so you can follow the entire discussion. If the discussion has concluded, don’t revive it unless you are prepared to handle a new influx of arguments.

Lastly, try to promote discussion. Hot topics can get heated very quickly and sometimes you will get caught in the middle between two sides. If you can, direct the argument into a discussion so that both sides can lay out the issues.  Don’t expect a resolution but hope for understanding.

We hope that none of you are put in the hot seat in an argument on the internet, but realize that it’s not always avoidable. We hope these tips help you when you are posting on the internet. Always remember that what is posted on the internet can be seen by thousands in just a few minutes. Be aware of what discussions you are participating in. Choose your words carefully.

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CRUSADE Has Been Released!

by Jennifer 15. July 2015 09:33

Crusade
Flotsam Trilogy #3
This is the final book in the series
Apocalypse Ink Productions | Amazon
DriveThruFiction | Barnes & Noble

My name's Keith Murphy. For nearly two decades, my partner, Danny Roark, and I hunted down the dark things that prey on normal humans. But, on what we thought was a routine job, something went wrong. Now the end of the world is coming at us like a freight train on steroids.

When Danny goes down, it's me who has to figure out what those fools left over from the Raven cult have planned.  It's a puzzle I've got to figure out before those doors open wider and real monsters—ones that my rag-tag, mostly demon, army can't handle—come through.

Roark was the one who knew about all this magic and end or the world stuff, not me. I guess I'll figured it out as I go.

 

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Endeavour Awards - Jay Lake

by Jennifer 13. July 2015 10:19

Last year, the writing community lost a very wonderful man. Jay Lake was a thoughtful, open and wonderful writer. He was greatly admired by many people and his loss is still felt today.

 

Apocalypse Ink Productions is happy to see that his writing legacy is still standing strong. Jay has been nominated for 3 Endeavour Awards this year. The Endeavour Award is given to a Fantasy or Science Fiction author residing in the Pacific Northwest. Nominations are collected through February and judged by a panel. Finalists are announced in July. In November at OryCon, the winners are announced.

Jay was author or co-author of the following books which have been nominated:

  • Last Plane to Heaven by Jay Lake (Tor Books)
  • Metatropolis by Ken Scholes and Jay Lake (WordFire Press)
  • Our Lady of the Islands by Shannon Page and Jay Lake (Per Aspera Press)

That Jay’s books has been nominated affirms that his writing has touched readers and authors everywhere. While he’s not here in body; he’s here in spirit.

If you would like to read more about  Jay Lake, please check out Jay Lake’s Process of Writing. It contains a collection of thoughts and blog posts from Jay as he begins his journey on becoming a writer. It’s a great reference for authors in every stage of their career.

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CRUSADE Cover Reveal

by Jennifer 7. July 2015 13:36

Crusade, Book 3 of the Flotsam trilogy by Peter M. Ball.
To be released on July 15, 2015
.

My name's Keith Murphy. For nearly two decades, my partner, Danny Roark, and I hunted down the dark things that prey on normal humans. But, on what we thought was a routine job, something went wrong. Now the end of the world is coming at us like a freight train on steroids.

When Danny goes down, it's me who has to figure out what those fools left over from the Raven cult have planned.  It's a puzzle I've got to figure out before those doors open wider and real monsters—ones that my rag-tag, mostly demon, army can't handle—come through.

Roark was the one who knew about all this magic and end or the world stuff, not me. I guess I'll figured it out as I go.

 

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Meeting the Shadow Minion

by Jennifer 1. July 2015 09:46

Shadow Minion, Sarah, and I got to meet face-to-face at LepreCon41 after 18 months of working together online. This is what I said in my personal blog about it:

"Also, I got to meet my Shadow Minion, Sarah Hendrix, who is as awesome in person as she is online. She took to being my in-person assistant like, well, my shadow. She got me to where I needed to be (Seriously, I have the direction sense of a stoned newt. I couldn’t find my room even once without her.), made me eat, even when I was cranky, found out all the answers, and even played in my Big Demons in Little China game. There’s already an offer on the table to bring the both of us to an LA convention."

It looks like the two of us will be doing more conventions together. We shall see.

Jennifer and Sarah after the convention, tired and happy.

 

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Author Etiquette: How to Deal with Jealousy

by Jennifer 17. June 2015 08:35

Welcome again to another edition of Author Etiquette. Apocalypse Ink Production started our segment on a few months ago and so far it’s been a great success. AIP loves authors. We wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t; but we have seen situations blow up that could have been prevented with just a little bit of patience, communication and common sense.  Whether you are a new author or a pro, it’s sometimes handy to have a small reminder on how to handle a situation before it it gets ugly.

Being an author isn’t easy. While ideas might be plentiful, not every idea makes a story that is worth writing and and that’s just the beginning of our troubles. Even with hard work, taking workshops, and listening to the advice of editors and beta readers sometimes it seems as though you just aren’t making progress. Your stories are returned with that dreaded “R” in the response letter.

While other writers are our friends, they are also our competition. Most of the time there’s a sense of camaraderie as other writers cheer on successes but sometimes things turn sour.  That story that you helped author Bob edit six months ago was accepted to a market you’ve been trying to get into for years. Jane got the slush reading position at a prestigious magazine you never heard back from. Marty is now editing an anthology for Publisher Xa publication you’ve not heard of before.

It’s understandable to start feeling queasy in the pit of your stomach every time your author friend announces another success. That uneasy feeling is often jealousy and it’s an emotion that can not only steal the fun out of your writing but ruin your friendships as well.

That little queasy feeling can lead to various situations that leave friends and family wondering what is going on. Jealous people often snap out at others who are experiencing success. Other people experience withdrawal from social norms until they can get their emotions back under control. Both of these actions are normal but it doesn’t make things comfortable for anyone.

No one should ever feel guilty about feeling jealous. Jealousy is a completely normal emotion that everyone has faced especially while growing up. Who hasn’t been jealous of a classmate’s new shoes or a new car?  Everyone can identify with that feeling even if they haven’t had a full on jealousy surge in a while. The problem is, since most of us don’t experience it day-to-day, it’s a difficult emotion to get a hold of once it’s loose.

For many writers, jealousy is a byproduct of worry. There’s a pushboth by the author and by our peers and the industryto be successful. But when you look at the writing world, there’s no real definition of success. For some, it’s a mega book deal with a six figure advance. For others, it’s the latest short story finding a home. When we compare our successes (or lack of) to another author we often find we fall short of an imaginary line that’s supposed to mean we are a bonafide author. It can lead to a feeling of being an imposter or that other authors aren’t deserving of their successes.

And here’s where people often begin to act out.

I don’t know an author who hasn’t worked (finishing a novel or short story is WORK) for the success they have received. We might not agree with what they write about but, that author sat down, put words on a page and submitted it to someone and often kept submitting until they got an acceptance. They deserve kudos for it. You don’t have the right to take that away from them even if that little green goblin in your belly is telling you otherwise.

What you do have is the right to examine why and how they got that break or book deal or what ever successful venture that you have been trying to get for years. Take a look at why they were accepted. Did they write 50 drafts before that story was accepted?  Did they approach a new market and get their foot in the door? Have they put in time, effort and sometimes money into establishing themselves as a professional? Did they know the editor well enough to skip the slush pile?

Now the next question is: Did YOU?

If you’ve answered no to these questions then that’s possibly part of your jealousy problem. Don’t worry, keep writing, editing and submitting and you’ll get there.

If you answered yes, your answer is still the same.

Your time is coming.

Don’t give up.

And when you do feel that little jealous urge to snap at someone, step back. Observe what’s really going on, why you feel that way and come back later.

 

~The Shadow Minion

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AIP goes to Origins Game Fair

by Jennifer 1. June 2015 18:36

Two of Apocalypse Ink Productions authors will be at the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio from Wednesday June 3 to Sunday June 7th. Jennifer Brozek and Dylan Birtolo both urge you to stop by their booths and introduce yourself.

If you are considering freelancing in the future, working on your first novel or would like to write for RPGs, then check out some of the great panels and workshops that Jennifer will be at.

If you are interested in story research, Medieval Combat, or creating villains, then go check out what Dylan will be speaking on.

When not speaking at a panel, Jennifer and Dylan will be at their tables in the Library section of the Dealer’s Room. Catch them and ask about their newest releases!

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Crypticon Seattle 2015

by Jennifer 26. May 2015 14:08

Jennifer was at Crypticon Seattle, manning the Apocalypse Ink Productions booth, shared with the ever awesome Evil Girlfriend Media publishing house. It was a new audience for AIP books and they sold well.


This handsome gargoyle watched over the AIP table the entire weekend.

AIP plans to return to Crypticon Seattle in 2016.

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Author Etiquette: How to Promote Yourself May 2015

by Jennifer 19. May 2015 10:21

Welcome again to another edition of Author Etiquette. Apocalypse Ink Production started our segment on a few months ago and so far it’s been a great success. AIP loves authors. We wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t; but we have seen situations blow up that could have been prevented with just a little bit of patience, communication and common sense.  Whether you are a new author or a pro, it’s sometimes handy to have a small reminder on how to handle a situation before it it gets ugly.

 

“Hello, thanks for following/friending/liking me. Please purchase my newest novel available at (website).”

 

“Great post. Like by (author/artist) at website (website). See my new stories!”

 

“Dear Author,

If you liked (Insert popular novel) you’ll enjoy my newest book (title).

Thanks

(author)”

 

I get messages like this at least once a week, mainly from authors and artists who don’t understand the basics of promotion. It’s annoying for more than one reason and I generally delete the message or post and block the offender. But, sometimes, I take pity on a newer author and try to at least explain why this is spam and annoys everyone who receives such messages.

 

Promotion is the act of bringing interest to a product, service or individual. It is often used in a marketing plan to increase demand. Whether you promote yourself or have others promote you, it’s important to understand a few basic rules.

Be yourself

When you look at (insert famous author) facebook page or twitter stream it won’t be filled with pleas to buy the next book--unless it’s a release week. Instead, most pages are filled with posts that make that author a person. Common posts could include photos of friends and family, recipies, posts on pets and other conversations about the things that matter to the author.

 

What attracts people to your books may not be the story you tell but the person that others see. Being yourself will attract those who read what you like to write. It’s okay to talk about your work, just make sure that you talk about other things too.  Writers talk about needing more rounded characters; make sure you have a well rounded author as well.

It’s not supposed to be easy

Promotions, especially online through social media, blog posts and email can seem like a quick and easy way to contact a lot of people. It can be if you have permission to contact them via a newsletter, long standing friendship, or in a group that allows promotional posts. But, if you don’t have permission, don’t know the person or are in a group that doesn’t allow promotions, then there’s a good chance your posts could be deleted or you could be blocked.

 

Building your promotional platform will take time. By being yourself, you build friendships and those friendships are key to promotion. As anyone knows, those friendships take time to build. Time and effort is needed. And yes it is work.

It’s not always about you

One of the biggest mistake some authors make is to focus solely on their own work. But there are many other stories out that that probably appeal to you. So why not help promote them too?

 

Much of the promotions for small press and newer writers is accomplished by volunteers or people who have enjoyed their work. It’s a very much a “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” situation. Most of the time, if you help promote a story, the favor will be returned later.

Quality not quantity

All authors understand the excitement of a new story or book being out. It’s easy to get caught up wanting to tell everyone about your new publication, but not everyone wants to hear it 24/7.

You are more likely to get click throughs from a few, very well thought out and worded post than the same post every half hour. Sure you might be reaching more people, but the constant promotion is annoying, not intriguing.  Craft your promotional posts carefully. Tease out a few details, encourage them to read or even purchase, but don’t spam your fan base.

When you are starting out in any sort of creative venture it’s very important to get your name and your work out there and it’s easy to justify shortcuts. But when it comes to promoting, the best option isn’t to post the same thing over and over and message everyone on your friend, follower or email list. You won’t make any headway and in many instances will find yourself blocked from other interactions. Be yourself and help other authors out--most of the time they will happily exchange the favor. Most of all be polite and friendly--it will take you further than you think.

 

Thank you for reading and we hope this post helps you understand a little more about promotions.
~The Shadow Minion

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THE TORN SOUL Has Been Released!

by Jennifer 15. May 2015 11:45

The Torn Soul
Sheynan Trilogy #3
This is the final book in the series.
Apocalypse Ink Productions | Amazon
DriveThruFiction | Barnes & Noble

Time is running out for Darien.

It has been nearly a year since the battle in Texas, where Darien learned of the curse that accompanies his powers as Sheynan. He is afraid to leave the safe haven of Susan’s family cabin in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, despite Richard’s growing impatience.

When the Arm of Gaia and the Shadows catch up to them, Darien is unprepared for the consequences, and only the intervention of a secretive government agency saves their lives. Who and what is this agency? How do they know so much about Shifters? Is their offer of help really what it appears to be? Or, is it something more nefarious?

As new players and new dangers enter the scene, Darien must confront his past, and convince the Arm and the Shadows to work together against a new enemy—before his mind is lost to the Sheynan’s curse.

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