Author Etiquette - Promoting Without Annoying

by Jennifer 25. August 2015 09:48

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.

It’s exciting when you receive an acceptance and even more exciting when that short story or novel goes live. In order for those sales numbers to rise, it’s important that as many people as possible are aware that your book is out. It’s very tempting to make several posts about your new work on every social media site and spam your followers, but that’s not a good idea. Many people get annoyed if you are continuously promoting your new work without a break.

How do you balance the excitement but not annoy people?

There are several things you can do to help you promote your novels, short stories or other projects. Most are simple but they do take a bit of effort and planning. Some of the most popular are blog hops, book review sites and giveaways. These events are fun and often draw in more readers than you could on your own.

Blog hops and tours
Many writers have blogs of their own and are always searching for content. Most are amiable to allowing other writers to post about themes, writing styles and new works. By asking a group of authors to allow you to post on their blogs you can schedule several in a row and create your own book tour without leaving home. This is often referred to as a blot tour or blog hop. In many cases, several authors agree to post on each other’s sites. New readers are drawn in and many times you can pick up more followers and new fans. This works best when you pick authors who write within the same genre or subgenre as you do but sometimes crossing genre boundaries does work well too.

Book Reviews
Getting your book on a review site takes more work. Review sites often have large, dedicated audiences. Some readers follow reviewers religiously and consider reviews when picking up new books. It’s a great way to connect with new readers but it has drawbacks. While many reviewers are happy to have your book, they are often overwhelmed with the amount of requests for reviews. If you are lucky one out of twenty will get to your book at some point. In some cases, it could be months before you get a review.  On the other hand, even if they can’t write a review, review sites often post author reviews and guest posts so it is worth it to contact them.

Giveaways
Everyone likes winning, that’s why giveaways are very popular events. Planning a giveaway event can be as simple as having people comment on a post or as complicated as following a blog hop to gather clues for an entry. Apps such as Rafflecopter can make your life easier by collecting names and email addresses. Or you could go with simple and pull a name out of a hat. No matter what type of event you plan, make it fun and exciting. For best results, combine a blog hop or a post on a review site for a giveaway. And if possible, have several smaller prizes and one big prize.

There are other ways of promoting your work such as cross promotions with other projects, establishing a team to assist you or even hiring someone to handle promotion. All of these take time and coordination but they are successful ways of reaching more readers. No matter what direction you take, your goal is to reach people not annoy them.

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THE THIN has been released!

by Jennifer 15. August 2015 08:19

THE THIN
Cross Cutting series #1
MORE INFORMATION
Apocalypse Ink Productions | Amazon
DriveThruFiction | Barnes & Noble


Trinidad O’Laughlin is descended from Wardens—guardians bonded to a territory by magic. She shares the gift, but has no place of her own. A distress call from Indiana may give her a chance at one—if she can survive long enough to take it.

Indianapolis is afraid. Twisted creatures known as The Thin have cut into our world and are preying on its people. The city can’t fight the monsters alone and Trinidad doesn’t have much time to forge a connection strong enough to make a difference.

The race, and the fight, is on.

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THE THIN Cover Reveal

by Jennifer 6. August 2015 09:50

THE THIN, Book 1 of the Cross Cutting trilogy by Wendy Hammer to be released on August 15, 2015

Trinidad O’Laughlin is descended from Wardens—guardians bonded to a territory by magic. She shares the gift, but has no place of her own. A distress call from Indiana may give her a chance at one—if she can survive long enough to take it.

Indianapolis is afraid. Twisted creatures known as
The Thin have cut into our world and are preying on its people. The city can’t fight the monsters alone and Trinidad doesn’t have much time to forge a connection strong enough to make a difference.

The race, and the fight, is on. 


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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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