Author Etiquette - Your Stories Matter

by Jennifer 31. January 2017 08:53

I had to think long and hard about writing this, but with the current events unfolding, it’s more important than ever to say it.


Write your story; the story only you can tell.

Edit it to the best of your ability and get it out there.

Then start another, something better.

 

We’ve arrived in a new round of turbulence. It’s a growing pain of sorts, where we can either set back the clock 50 years or once more progress. It takes energy, protests and force to push through the darkness that has descended. Every day might seem darker, the oppression more solid, but there are others out there fighting with you.


Not everyone can be on the front lines. Major protests happen in larger cities, it’s often a long drive for many. Phone calls (most effective) and emails only take a few minutes. Donations take even less. I do cheer at those taking steps in becoming elected officials, but that’s not for everyone.


Then what do you do with your time? Fret over the latest kerflunkle? Watch newsfeeds explode with more bad news?


Or do you focus that anger, insecurity and tension into something else. Something constructive. Something that could either give comfort or entertainment or plant seeds that changes someone’s mind.


As artists, we have a very unique power. We are the things that people fall back on. When they need a rest, they may pick up a HEA (happily ever after) book such as a romance. When they need to see the possibility of what’s to come, they may pick up an apocalyptic horror. And when they need to find the strength to carry on the fight, they might look for a fantasy or science fiction book that features heroines and heroes fighting back against injustice.


These stories don’t just come from thin air. They come from from what’s inside. That fear you have about clean water in the future? That’s a SF novel set on another world where industry is poisoning everything. Problematic legislature? There’s a fantasy short story that involves a council judging someone unfairly. Alternative history? Well there’s too many current things to point out.


Write the story then edit it

I know it’s hard. The fear and frustration that twists your gut and makes you want to run screaming out of the country is difficult to get control over. It kills your desire to write. But you can fight through it. You can focus. Take it a few words at a time. It gets easier.


Sure it might be a hot mess of a first draft. But once it’s on the page, you can fix what’s wrong. You can make it better. You can select words to clarify what you mean. Eventually you’ll have a story you can be proud of. It’s ready for the rest of the world, if you want to share it.


Submit that story

If you do decide to send it out into the world, you will probably find writing may not be the hardest part. Sending it out is possibly even scarier. But that’s where you have to stand true. Find markets that are open to your particular genre and style. Research, follow guidelines and then submit. If you get rejected, find another market. Keep sending it out.


Beware of fallout

Authors introduce things through a non-confrontational media to anyone who reads or looks at our work. With a book or poem, there’s no one to immediately argue with. This is why at some points in history artists of all types were regarded as dangerous. Art challenges and changes ideas. Not everyone likes having their ideas challenged.


I won’t lie, it’s very possible that people will post negative reviews, try to discredit you, make you afraid. However, you won’t be alone. There are other authors right now, writing these types of stories. Right now there are people getting threats because they wrote something that challenges someone’s worldview. You might feel alone, but you aren't.


Is it political?

Currently there’s a lot of discussion about whether certain subjects are political in writing. Women’s rights, QUITLBAG characters, environmental changes and more mirror concerns in our current society. Your story may not be about politics but if they contain certain views, there could be push back.


Accept that writing about these things IS political, even if you feel as though it shouldn’t be. It’s going to be clear from your work that you support progressive or conservatives causes. And that’s fine. Your stories are your world. Not everyone is going to agree.


Stand together

Other authors are already putting their emotions to good use. Their work is out there but it can’t just be one story out there that begins the process of changing people’s minds, it has to be many. I’ve been seeing the movement for a while now, more inclusiveness of QUILTBAG characters and main characters with mental illness and disabilities. I’ve found more stories that aren’t set in European settings. More foreign stories.


Each one opens up our world to new and unique ideas. And those ideas eventually changes the worldview of our readers. Changing the worldview changes the world. Hopefully, making it better for everyone.


Don’t worry about the genre. We all need a HEA at times. Sometimes a grand long adventure. Other times, a dose of horror to put things into perspective. Just write it. Help change the world, one reader at a time.


So take a few hours.

Write the story.  No excuses.

Edit it to the best of your ability.

Send it out.

Write another.

~The Shadow Minion

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Author Etiquette - It’s Okay to be a Weird Kind of You

by Jennifer 29. December 2016 09:43

“Today you are You,

that is truer than true.

There is no one alive

who is Youer than You.”

- Dr. Seuss

 

I love that I can look on my Facebook wall and see a variety of posts from all of my friends. I see artwork, thoughtful discussions, silly posts and questions on various topics. Photos range from beadwork, to book covers, what’s for lunch and cat photos. Everyone has a unique personality, style and tone. Some can be a bit harsh but the topics they touch on are the ones that really open my eyes.

 

And even though I see all of these people owning what and who they are, there’s still hesitation on my part to open up that weird sideyou know the one who geeks out about science, and brightly colored beads, and (insert favorite author)’s new book. It’s not because I’m secretive but because I want to feel normal, like I belong. It’s sometimes hard to do that when you feel more like a square peg.

 

I know, it’s a silly thing. Our genre is full of people who have learned to speak Klingon, dress up as their favorite video game character, or spends a weekend on a single D&D campaign. Geekiness is our calling. We love the weird and call it wonderful.

 

But there’s always this voice that says loving (insert character) is a bit over the top, because most people like this other character so much. Or maybe you might seem suspicious if you talk about the blood splatter patterns you researched for eight hours to get a writing scene just right. (not that I’d ever do that…) There’s always this fear that our (or at least my) geeky tendencies are a little too weird even for the speculative fiction community.

 

But there’s one thing that I am learning. We all have that hesitation. Whether it’s hiding the fact that you spend a few minutes a day looking at the model data for the future weather forecast, or found some vintage toy you played with as a kid at a thrift shop, it’s always a toss up on whether you are going to have a good or negative experience when you reveal your geekery. There’s always some arsehole who is going to try to toss a wrench into what makes you happy.

 

Why? Hell if I know and, truthfully, I don’t want to.

 

I won’t make excuses for people who don’t accept that there are all sorts of people with all sorts of views. So long as it’s harmless to everyone else, who cares. I’ll like the photos you took of alien encounter sites on your vacation. If you post a photo of a bug or a bird I might just know what it is. And as to crime scene investigation, I’ll probably read every post with rapt fascination. I’ll be happy that you are happy, so long as you can accept my own weird little quirks.

 

I’ve become more accepting of my own geeky delights because of my kids. One is an artist with a strong sense of justice. I’m proud that his artwork features odd characters with their own little geeky quirks. My youngest is the musician and muscle car fanatic. He’s got his own style and lots of dreams. Both of them have helped me see how important those little geeky loves are for everyone.

 

I’m going to try to let more of my geek out this year. I’ve got my eye on some hoodies and t-shirts that endorse some of my current interests. Maybe talk a little more about some other interests on my blog. Make more art and, gasp, maybe even try my hand at some fan fiction. I’ll find out more about some other things that have tickled my interest of late.

 

And I encourage you to do it too. After all, the world would be a very boring place if everything was the same right? Let’s celebrate the things we love, and try to make the world better.

Be the youest you.
~Shadow Minion

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Amazon Kindle Select Titles

by Jennifer 22. December 2016 09:10

Apocalypse Ink Productions is making a few changes.  

 

In order to reach more readers, we are moving some of our individual titles to Kindle Select.

 

To celebrate, the following titles will be FREE from December 22nd to 26th.

 

Caller Unknown - Book one of The Karen Wilson Chronicles

 

Exile - Book one of the Flotsam Trilogy

 

The Shadow Chaser- Book one of The Sheynan Trilogy

 

Just call this our little holiday season present to everyone.

 

If you enjoy these stories, please look for our other titles and remember to leave a review.


Happy Holidays from the Apocalypse Ink Productions Crew

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Author Etiquette - Promotion in Times of Turmoil

by Jennifer 29. November 2016 09:20

Welcome again to another Author Etiquette. We are glad you have joined us. Author Etiquette is a column where we discuss various things that come up in publishing. We started this little series because we love authorswe wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t. But authors are human. Sometimes they make mistakes. Whether you are a new author or a seasoned pro, we hope this column will give you some perspective on issues and help keep you out of trouble.


As we’ve said many times before, very little in publishing moves quickly. Publishers plan things months and sometimes years ahead of time. Book launches, membership drives, and big publishing events take lots of preparation, work, and coordination. For the most part, things run on schedule and things are successful. But you can’t always count on long terms plans when turmoil arises.


Turmoil, whether it’s a natural disaster, sudden illness or death, or other upheaval, isn’t something most publishers plan on. No one looks at a calendar for the upcoming year and says, “I think I’ll wait to launch (NEW BOOK) for another month because there’ll be (insert your favorite flavor of chaos).” Instead, a publisher selects a launch date by making sure a new acquisition has plenty of time for edits, formatting and cover art adjustments. Authors try to start a crowdfunding project at a time when they can dedicate time and effort into the project. Conventions and subscription drives are usually the same time every year.


And yet, no matter how hard you plan and how ready you are for a project, there’s always a chance that chaos can arise. And when it does, authors and publishers are caught in the middle of a sticky situation.


The question then becomes what do you do? Can you suspend a book launch or crowdfunding project? What do you do if you can’t?  What do you do?


No one wants a project to fail. Launching a book, crowdfunding project, or a subscription drive during turmoil will often negatively affect your success. There are some steps you can take to help minimize the damage and even turn it around into a bigger success.


First of all, be realistic.

Being realistic means that you are aware that the turmoil going on will have an effect on sales and participation. It might be lower than expected or not succeed at all. Disappointing as it may be, people’s attention will be focused on the situation, not on your book.


Suspend your promotions.

The first 24 hours of a disaster is critical for several reasons. Many people use social media to contact friends and family or spread information about what’s happening. Attention is going to be focused on whatever turmoil is going on. Whatever promotions you have, delay or suspend them for those critical hours. People appreciate a feed free of promotion when they are hurting, scared or just trying to figure out what’s going on.


Be an ally.

Being an ally means that you are signal boosting verified information, support and understanding. If you’ve got a large public following, the messages you send will go farther and reach more people. Do check what you are sending out though. Misinformation can be as harmful as whatever is going on.


Delay or suspend a launch.

We know you’ve worked hard to make sure your book is ready for the masses, but when turmoil strikes, not everyone is going to be in the mood for your new book. Talk to your publisher about what options you can use. While you might not be able to delay the launch, you might be able to take advantage of a soft launch.


You can use the soft launch approachwhich means pushing back your main promotions for short time. This allows some time for things to get back to normal before you push your book. A week or two should long enough for things to settle down.


If you have a launch party scheduled, speak with your guests on how to proceed. They might agree to push the date back, use the party as a signal boost platform, or have connections on pairing up with an organization involved that needs a platform.


If you have a crowdfunding project launching or about to launch, see if you can delay it for a few days. Trying to compete with turmoil will not help your project and a successful launch needs a lot of attention in the first few days. If your project has already launched, try to be low-key for a couple of days. If it’s ending soon, try not to jam up the feeds if possible.


Don’t be “THAT” guy/gal.

Two things that will get you muted or unfriended on lots of social media feeds. First, if you hop on and begin blasting promotional material when most people are focused on a disaster. Second, go on other people’s feeds and try to argue with them. Neither of these are going to gain you any friends or support of a project. In fact, it could very well have a negative effect with future projects.


And PLEASE don’t use the turmoil to boost your promotions. Having a “Fire Sale” during wide scale wildfires is crude at best.

Even though disasters strike, it doesn’t mean that everything has to stop. You can promote your book/event/whatever, but do be subtle. Here are some tips to help you promote your work in times of turmoil


Pair up with support organizations.

Pairing up with an organization that assists those affected by the turmoil helps both parties. Having profits go to one of these organizations on any sales helps you and them. It also allows people to do something to help, and get something in return. Just make sure that the organization you pair up with is legit and you hold up your end of the bargain.


Subtle and quiet is best.

After that first 24 hours, you should get back into the promotional groove. But you don’t want to go full blast. A few posts, a blog update and background work should be the most you should send out for a few days. This gives people a gentle reminder that you have something going on, but you aren’t pushing them.


Delayed launches.

Even if your book launched, you can delay a celebration to a more appropriate time. A few weeks or even a month after is plenty of time for people to recover and appreciate your newest project. Plan some fun events and giveaways to help attract people to your event.


The biggest thing to remember when you are promoting a book, event or anything is to be aware of what is going on around you. If people are concerned with current events, they aren’t going to want to celebrate your newest work. Their brain power is going to be concentrated on friends, family, and information.

By freeing up the social media feeds you are allowing a distraction-free feed. And while most people won’t realize that you have cleared up this space in the virtual world, those of us who do know greatly appreciate it.

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Author Etiquette - Social Media Safety

by Jennifer 26. October 2016 09:06

For many of us, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr are a part of our everyday routine. We use it to keep track of family and friends, publishers and co-workers along with submission calls and freelance opportunities. It’s made our lives easier, as we can visit one or two places and have much of what we need at our fingertips.


But even though it’s a relatively nice place, social media has its darker side.


How many of you have heard of this situation or had it happen to you?


You’ve had your Facebook page for quite a while and although you have a professional page you don’t have as many followers on there. So when you promote your work you simply post it first on your main page and then on your professional page when you get around to it.

One afternoon you open up your Facebook to check how your friends are doing and find that your account is locked. All because you unfriended someone and they took exception to your decision and decided to retaliate.


OR


You joined in a conversation on Twitter. At first, things seemed okay but as the conversation wound on, it became heated and you found yourself facing a wall of opposition. Soon after you start receiving one star reviews on your books and death threats in your inbox.


OR


You receive a message from one of the many friends you have on a certain media site. The message has a link. You click it thinking it’s a funny video of something. Instead it’s some news site. Later, you start receiving messages from close friends telling you your computer has been hacked.


In the past few weeks I’ve heard of actions similar to these used against authors and publishers and I’ve heard of and seen many more over the past few years. While these things were infrequent in the past, the weaponizing of social media has become much more common.


For some of us, our first experiences with social media were pleasant. MySpace and the very first versions of Facebook were new and exciting places. It was fun to chat with people miles away, exchanging experiences and building online communities. On occasion there were some creepy people, but they were far and few between and easily avoidable. Internet safety wasn’t a big thing as there was this assumption that most people were nice and harmless.


Over the years that has changed.  Hacking, spoofing, doxxing, and bullying are tools used by others to either gain access to accounts and data or disrupt businesses and personal lives. Over the past few years, threats online have become more common--especially against women, POC, and minorities. However, anyone can be a target.


While there’s lots of discussions as to why, we won’t go into that here. Instead we will touch on types of attacks,how to keep you and your accounts safer and what to do if it happens to you. Note, I did not say safe. Very little is safe when using the internet.


First, let’s look at some different types of social media weapons before we discuss how to protect yourself against them.


Spoofing

I’m sure you’ve seen other authors or artists warn people that a second account has shown up that doesn’t belong to them. This is called spoofing and it’s more of an annoyance than an actual attack. 


What happens is someone copies photos and information from your actual homepage and then creates a new account. Friend requests are sent from this new account. Unsuspecting people accept the request and are then usually bombarded with ads for sunglasses or are propositioned for personal information. Most of the time this is a sneaky ploy to gain access to the people you know; however, it could be a concealed plan for more active attacks.


Hacking

How many of you have seen a strange post on a friend’s wall or received a random link in a message. Hopefully you’ve not responded or clicked on those posts because more than likely that account has been hacked.


Hacking is a process where someone else gains control of another’s account. This can be done through various methods but the most common is a keylogger script that records what keys you touch when you log into an account or freely given because of an email scam. Your computer can be infected by visiting webpages that are infected with various viruses or those sneaky emails that look like something official from a website you frequently visit.


Hacking can cause you serious trouble. If you tend to use only a few passwords for all of your accounts, you could be open to more serious damage even if you don’t see it right away. It can even load various botware and viruses into your computer. Some of which may be activated much later.


Phishing

I know it’s fun to find out what your Halloween Monster name might be, but you might want to think twice about posting that information online. While some of those memes are harmless many are venues for information gathering. While using the letters of your first and last name might not amount to much, pair that with the street you grew up on, your first pet and what kind of car you drive (all security questions for other websites) you might open the door for hacking or worse. Tie up that information with a keylogger, your personal information could be compromised.


Cyberbullying

This is perhaps one of the most devastating attacks that can be launched on social media. Cyberbullying is the use of pressure, fear and manipulation against another individual online. It can start out small with one person but can then expand to include groups. It can also lead to other kinds of attacks such as doxxing (broadcasting personal information) and DOS (Denial of Service) attacks against websites and companies as well as threats of physical harm.


Mostly, cyberbullying occurs when someone displays an opinion or worldview that does not agree with another group. Attacks begin with just a few people, but because information spreads quickly, a cyberbullying attack could include thousands in just a few hours.


Many people who have come under attack have had to shut websites and social media accounts down. A few have even lost jobs, had to move or requested police protection. Cyberbullying can even push people to commit suicide.


Kind of scary isn’t it?


If you didn’t already know, sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit aren’t all unicorns and butterflies. Social media attacks happen every day, but there are ways to protect yourself from the worst of it.


Don’t get involved

For many people this is the go to option. It’s safe--for the most part--and easy to do. Posting and responding to vanilla discussions means you aren’t putting yourself at risk and making a target out of yourself.


A very limited social media presence can keep you safe from a lot of the attacks seen above. But it also limits your contact to family and friends.


Alerts

Setting up a Google Alert for your name, user names and company can help you track down conversations that mention you or your product. When a spoofed account on social media pops up, you could be immediately notified of a problem. Also, when your name comes up in conversations you might get a head’s up before a firestorm hits.


Password Protection

Many people do not use passwords that are secure enough to deter a hacker. Plus most people tend to use the same password for several sites or variations of the same password. It’s a potentially troubling scenario. If a hacker gets a hold of your info, you could spend a lot of time and money putting things right.


There are programs that manage your accounts and passwords. While this might seem like a bad idea (having all of your passwords in one place) these management systems are pretty secure. They can automatically change your passwords on any device they are connected to plus with a random generator, you aren’t relying on similar phrases which could get hacked.


Know What You are Clicking on

Social media is full of interesting things, articles and links to other sites. However, it’s also a hacker’s playground. Before you click on that link with the baity headline, look to see where it originated from. Could it be sent from a questionable site? Is this something that person would normally post?


Also, be wary of friend requests. The temptation to friend everyone and build your numbers is very strong, but you really don’t need to be friends with everyone. When you get a new friend request, check out the profile. See what they have up on their wall. If the account was activated yesterday or two years ago and it has only a few posts, there’s a good chance that account is a spoof or someone who’s going to be asking you for money or personal questions later.


Use Your Firewall and Virus Scan

Two things that can help protect you against hackers are your firewall and virus scan. Your firewall should always be on. It helps stop unwanted signals from reaching your computer. Your virus scan should be setup to automatically update and scan your computer at least once a week. Blocking, finding and destroying programs such as keyloggers and viruses help keep your information safe. Also backing up your data is really important.


Be Aware of Changes in Terms of Service

Social Media is an ever changing beast. As time goes on, many sites change focus, and changes in the Terms of Service shift. It’s why everyone needs to read through any changes in policy--especially if you are running a business (which being an author is.) For the uninformed, this could be used against you. A good example is Facebook’s name policy. Your primary account should be your name as written (or verified) on public documents. The account should not be shared. It should not be used as a primary promotion platform. (Authors, artists and publishers should have a business or fan page. Do promotions from there, then you can like and share posts on promotion to your main account.)


More than one person has had their account shut down because of these rules. It’s impossible to verify who flagged the account but usually there had been a disagreement with someone in the near past.


Unfortunately, even if you make yourself as safe as possible, you could still be a victim. A spoof account in your name pops up, someone hacks into your account, you are the target for cyberbullying. What do you do then?


Spoof Accounts

Spoof accounts can pop up at any time. All anyone has to do is copy photos and information from your account or website.If you are notified that a spoof account has been spotted, report it immediately. Different social media sites have different steps so be sure to do a bit of research on that first. Usually the account will be closed quickly.


Hacking

Even if you are careful, your account could still be hacked. Many times someone doesn’t realize they’ve been hacked until a friend or family member notifies them. Changing your password blocks the hacker from doing more harm but be sure it’s full of random letters, numbers and special characters. Write it down or use a password manager. Don’t use the same password for different sites. Run an update and scan your entire computer.


Cyberbullying

If you experience cyberbullying, first screenshot all conversations.  Many times those words on the screen will disappear or change. Secure the information on a flash drive or external hard drive. This way you can take it to the police if you have to make a report. If possible have someone else also screenshot the bullying.


Reports can be made to the social media platform, although it’s questionable as to what can be done. If the accounts that are harassing you dummy accounts they can be shut down.

Share what’s going on. The more people who know what’s going on the better. First of all you gain support from friends and family. Second of all, those people can become a buffer if they are so inclined.


If the bullying gets to the point where personal information is shared online and threats are made, the police should be notified. While these types of threats aren’t always deemed serious, new laws and procedures are on the way.


Sometimes you will need to back away from what is going on and let someone else handle it or even close your accounts for a short time. And other times, you might need to seek out legal help.


Everyone has probably experienced some sort of cyber attack on social media at some point or another. Mild ones can be frustrating but do little actual harm. However, always be aware that things can escalate. Caution is always your best option even when posting to friends and family.


Be safe out there folks.

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Praise for AIP's Non-fiction

by Jennifer 4. October 2016 11:02

Industry Talk by Jennifer Brozek
"This is a clear, informative, and insightful guide. I enjoyed the conversational tone and was reassured by its professionalism. Jennifer Brozek has a broad range of experience in a number of facets in the industry and she's packed a lot of wisdom into this collection of essays. It isn't going to tell you every little thing, but it does provide excellent points of focus."

Jay Lake's Process of Writing by Jay Lake
"There are so many fascinating details & process gems in Jay's writing book. I've seen a lot of this stuff in his blog over the years (it’s mostly composed of blog posts), but reading it all in one place is mind-blowing. It's an unconventional writing book, but definitely worthwhile to study the evolution of Jay's writing process and his various other ruminations on the subject. Write more!"

 

 

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Author Etiquette - Reminders on Professionalism

by Jennifer 27. September 2016 09:14

For those of you who have been writing for a while, you are probably going to find yourself nodding quite a bit and maybe mentally adding a few more bullet points to our discussion. Go right ahead. In fact, if you’d like to leave comments, we’d love to hear them.

 

Today’s Author Etiquette is all about professionalism. Professionalism is a certain set of manners and polite actions that indicate you are an adult and a professional in your field. While it varies from place to place, there are some underlying factors such as common courtesy, minding personal and professional boundaries and not being a d*ck.

 

There’ve been quite a few incidents over the past few months that leave many authors with their mouths hanging open wondering what the heck happened to things such as manners and being polite. About every author has stories about unprofessional actions that they’ve witnessed. So unfortunately, it’s time for another reminder on how to act in person, in email and in social media situations.

 

Rule #1 of Professionalism

Mind Your Manners

When we were kids we learned several rules about interacting with other people. It’s mostly things like don’t talk with your mouth full or interrupt someone when they are speaking. But it’s also more complex than that. Manners is a guide on how to interact with people you know and don’t know. It’s a good thing to follow whether you are at a convention or at home on your own computer.

 

Some simple manners to follow are:

  • Respect other people’s space: This has several aspects. While some people enjoy crowds and physical contact, not everyone does. When you meet someone for the first time, wait to see if they’d like a hug or if they offer you a handshake. Watch how close you stand to someone. Most people like a little distance between them and the person next to them but some like more space. Try to watch for little clues such a someone backing away which might indicate they are feeling uncomfortable with someone in their personal space.

  • Don’t interrupt:  In a personal setting such as a conference, there are many varieties of conversations you might want to participate in and interesting people you might want to meet. It’s really easy to get carried away and barge in. However, it’s not a good idea unless you have a good reason. A polite “excuse me” in the pause of a conversation is often enough to let you slide into a conversation especially if you have more information on the subject or if you need to speak with someone.

  • Don’t say things to deliberately hurt someone:  That old adage that states “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all,” should always be kept in mind. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like someone or if you don’t agree with what they are wearing or their looks, if what you say could be construed as hurtful or misinterpreted don’t say it aloud or type it publicly on social media. And always use caution when in a discussion. Expressing your opinion is great, but always remember someone out there is going to disagree with you. When discussing a subject keep the conversation on point, don’t attack the person with the opposing view and don’t feed the trolls.

  • Apologize: Everyone at some point or another has put their foot in their mouth and said the wrong thing at the wrong time. It happens. So long as it is not intentional, it can be forgiven, but you have to apologize. Do it in person or privately and as soon as possible and do be sincere.

  • Say please and thank you: This should be a no-brainer, but some people still have trouble with this one. Most children realize that please and thank you can get you a lot further than a demand, but some adults just don’t get it. Nor do they get the satisfaction of saying thank you to someone who has helped them. This is rude behaviours that are relatively easy to correct. There’s no excuse folks.

  • Share the attention: We all know someone who’s loves being in the spotlight all the time. These people like to dominate conversations and either won’t let anyone else say anything or constantly interrupt the discussion for their own gain. A simple “how are you today?” is a great opening for another person to join a conversation if they’d like to.

 

Rule #2 of Professionalism

Be Aware of Boundaries

The next rule of professionalism is boundaries. We aren’t talking about physical lines such as country borders or city lines, but those invisible lines that separate one person from another. Sometimes they are difficult to see but they are there.

 

I’ve already mentioned personal boundaries above, but let me expand a bit here. Personal space is a very real thing and standing too close can make someone feel very uncomfortable. It’s an imaginary circle around each person. Some have a very small personal space and enjoy having people close. Others prefer a very circle with lots of room. If you are unsure, stand about an arm’s length away. If someone is comfortable they’ll move in closer.

 

Another boundary to be aware of is professional boundaries. Unlike personal space, professional boundaries are more of a set of rules of politeness. Mostly they are things you should, may or do not do while interacting with other authors, illustrators, editors and publishers.

 

Some things you should do:

  • Introduce yourself and what you do

  • Exchange business cards

  • Ask if they have time to speak about business (if that is your reason for contact)

  • Listen and participate in panels and discussions

  • Go back and learn about what’s being talked about/Listen to those with experience

  • Ask where someone got something

  • When emailing, state your name, why you are emailing and if you’ve met in person

 

Things you MAY do (depending on the situation and people involved):

  • Hug or give other signs of affection

  • Exchange personal information

  • Politely insert yourself into a conversation

  • Respond to social media conversations in a polite manner

 

Things you SHOULD NOT Do:

  • Follow editor/publisher to bathroom/elevator/room to ask about rejection/critique/pitch your work

  • Touch someone without permission

  • Demand someone listen to you/tell you something

  • Get angry when author/publisher/editor/artist doesn’t have time to meet with you personally

  • Respond hatefully to a rejection (or respond at all to a rejection)

 

I’m sure that there’s many other things that could fill the page, but these are some that are on the top of my head today.

 

Now to the really fun part.

 

Rule #3 in Professionalism

Don’t Be a D*ck

This really should be self explanatory, but apparently it’s not. These are actions that go way beyond being rude or being socially awkward. This is behaviour that will get you blacklisted on review sites, conventions and in the publishing world. Continuation of these types of behaviors will ruin your career.

 

Seriously, if there’s anything on this list you are considering doing or if there’s any way people will think you are a d*ck because you did something like this. Just DON’T.*


  • Don’t ask a reviewer to make sure they are on their meds/be in a good mood/or not read your book during that time of the month.

  • Don’t threaten or pressure anyone for a good blurb or review.

  • Don’t join in conversations and derail so that it focuses on you, your personal opinion, or hurt feelings.

  • Don’t publically trash a review site or publication because you received a bad review or a rejection.

  • Don’t belittle other authors, artists or publishers because they don’t share your views or have rejected your work.

  • Don’t harassass anyone (sexually or otherwise) in person or online EVER.

  • Don’t touch, ogle, or make rude comments to cosplayers.

  • Don’t behave in a manner that is against convention or group policy.

  • Don’t complain when you act badly and then are called out for your behavior/ejected from a group/banned from event.

  • Don’t act badly and then pull the socially awkward card especially when other people know you act accordingly most of the time.

  • Don’t take advantage of other people. Especially those who may be young, impressionable or unable to determine your motives.

  • Don’t blame someone or something else for your actions.

 

These are all actions that are inexcusable, and we see them happen again and again. Most of these have been from the past few weeks but there are so many more. If you are doing or thinking of doing something on this list, don’t. Authors, editors and publishers speak with each other. If they hear of people acting badly and even worse see someone behaving badly, it will be taken into consideration when they receive a submission.

 

People should be polite to each other and work together to make the publishing world a great place for everyone. Unfortunately, some people missed the memo about being polite and/or respectful to others. With social media, it’s easier for people to misbehave. On the other hand, it’s much easier to spread the news about people being d*cks.

 

Remember, professional behavior is always welcome. If you aren’t sure what that means, watch and learn from many of the upstanding people in publishing. Go to a panel or class that focuses on professional behavior or on authors behaving badly. Read books on manners. Have someone go with you to social engagements to help you with social clues or look over your letters before you send them so that you can have a different viewpoint. Change any behaviours you can that are questionable. It’s difficult sometimes but being seen as a professional is important.

 

*If things like this have happened to you, please accept our sincere apology on behalf of all of the good people out there.

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Praise for the Cross Cutting series by Wendy Hammer

by Jennifer 21. September 2016 10:22

The Thin
Starting a new series from a new author can be a scary situation, thankfully The Thin, is a well-written, fast moving, tension-filled read that leaves the reader craving more. Urban fantasy readers will enjoy this new take on Wardens and Guardians in a new setting. Plus you get a kick ass woman lead! Wendy Hammer doesn't leave you much time to guess what happens next. So if you are looking for your next quick read, I advise you to pick this one up.

The Hollow
How do you follow up a great story? Well if you are Wendy Hammer, author of the Cross Cutting series, you start with focusing on a secondary character in book 1. My only complaint was this book is over way too quickly. The quick action, development of a thing between Ache and Trinidad and the world building pulls you in quickly and doesn't let go until the end. Can't wait until book 3 comes out.

 

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Praise for the Karen Wilson Chronicles by Jennifer Brozek

by Jennifer 8. September 2016 10:31

Karen Wilson Chronicles
"This urban fantasy (with a little bit of a dark edge) collection is a series of connected and related short stories, but each one is complete in itself. There are gaps of time between them. Characters allude to events that have taken place in those gaps, without actively spelling any of them out. This is actually a strength of the work—we get to skip to the "good bits" without having to sacrifice the sense that there's a larger world out there where things actually take time to happen. While there's a lot of worldbuilding and some really interesting twists on classic genre themes, it feels like there's even more going on. It feels like there's a world beyond the page." —Steven Saus

Caller Unknown
"I was surprised at how well this was written. It was complete in and of itself while fitting into a series (or so it is advertised—I plan to find out by reading the series). You can read more than enough about the plot or the setting. I just wanted to confirm it is carried off well without gratuitous sex or other miscellaneous material. Two thumbs up." —S. Marsh

Children of Anu
"Seldom does an author execute storytelling with an effective immersive flair. This book was responsible for many nights lost of sleep, but well worth it. Also you will want to buy the protagonist, Karen Wilson a drink, many times. Heck I've wanted to be like, 'Here's a fifth of rum, you've gonna need it.'" —A. Mayor

Keystones
"With each chapter, Keystones builds more and more tension as the characters realize everything they've worked for in the past is crumbling. And while the magical community is crumbling, Karen Wilson has to figure out a way to bring them together as one to defeat the darkness that threatens them all. Karen is a very strong character and dives the story line. Jennifer combines many characters with many different traits and flaws into her series. She's convincing enough that even non-humans such as gargoyles seem very human." —S. Hendrix

Chimera Incarnate

"Most importantly, the saga of Karen Wilson herself has come full circle. The beginning of the book sees her at her lowest point, but she manages to pull herself back from the brink. Initially, I was bummed that the Master of the City had less of a role to play in this book, but then I realized how important that was. Karen has to be her own person, not the Master’s puppet, and this book shows how far she’s come into her own in this regard.

"The author deftly ties up so many loose ends in so little time, while also introducing more interesting characters and ideas in order to heighten the tension of this last battle! The “serial novel” concept continued to work well over the course of all four books, even when so many characters and events needed to be balanced and maintained." —JL Gribble

 

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Praise for the Gentlemen Ghouls series by Ivan Ewert

by Jennifer 16. August 2016 08:28

Gentleman Ghouls
"Ivan Ewert inks in the people and the isolation in this rural horror so darkly and so well that you'll never complain about traffic or strip malls ever again." - Kenneth Hite, TOUR DE LOVECRAFT

Famished: The Farm
"It's a horror book that is well written, has a story line, and characters that are much more than "Next Victim" or "Guy with Spooky Mask." A shocker with all of the "Saw"-like movies, stories, and books out there. The cheap shock, the cheap scare ... that's what's big. But if you like horror that is actually well written and a good read? Here's your book." - Daniel Glovier

"Ivan Ewert's FAMISHED: THE FARM is some fun, old-school horror.  Ancient gods, cannibalism, and more than a little madness.  Ivan Ewert is a seriously twisted writer." - Stephen Blackmoore, DEAD THINGS

Famished: The Commons
"This story is phenomenal. I could not put it down. This book is horror mixed with adventure, with a great cast of characters along for the ride. Linh is my favorite - smart and tough with a functioning brain in her head. She reminds me of Rose Daniels from Rose Madder, one of my favorite novels. You won't stop cheering for her and Gordon. If you love creepy, smart horror that just begs you to sleep with the lights on and trust no one, read Famished: The Commons. You won't be disappointed!" - Blanche Devereaux

 

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