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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The Torn Soul cover reveal

by Jennifer 28. April 2015 15:11

The Torn Soul, Book 3 of the Sheynan trilogy by Dylan Birtolo.
To be released on May 15, 2015.

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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Author Etiquette: Death Threats are NOT OKAY

by Jennifer 22. April 2015 09:36

Apocalypse Ink Production started our segment on Author Etiquette 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.

 

And ugly it has gotten in the past month. We won’t go into details and just assume you were all online and at least heard some about it. A lot of people were angry for one reason or another. Some places had some very good discussions about the subject in question. Other places, not so much.

 

As I’ve said before, writers are often very passionate people. We make our living by tapping into emotions and scenes and stories and try to allow other people into the worlds we create. We have high expectations of our work and sometimes feel very vulnerable when it goes out into the wild. And so when the unexpected happens, it’s easy to let our passion for not only our work but the work of our friends and family, get out of hand.

 

Most of the comments I read about the situation were from shocked authors and fans. They expressed hurt and confusion that later led to anger. All of these are very understandable emotions. I suspect that our characters would feel the same way in the same situation.

 

But some people went too far. There were threats made to some of the people involved. This folks is NEVER, EVER okay.

 

The real world isn’t like our books. In fiction, people can threaten others with harm and the only people who pay consequences are the very fictional characters. But the real world isn’t fiction. Threats can’t simply be blown off by those who receive them.  There can be serious consequences to both sides.

 

Fear isn’t an easy emotion to deal with and a constant fear can lead to some serious health and mental issues. Post traumatic stress can cause later complications for those who have been threatened in person and even online. In some cases people have left their homes, moved to different cities and tried to start another life. Some people can leave it all behind, but in some cases, it takes years to get over the damage.

While some people  think that online threats are some sort of game, nothing could be further from the truth. All threats should be taken seriously no matter what the context. A report to the police should be filed, even if it is anonymous. This way, if things escalate there’s a record. And as laws against these sorts of things develop and improve, arrests could be possible even across state lines.

Neither side wins in situations like these.  Anger is a very real and powerful emotion. It can be difficult to control, but threatening others doesn’t accomplish what you want it to. In some cases, it just makes things worse.

Remember, everyone has opinions and is entitled to those thoughts. You don’t have to agree. Think of better ways of handling the situation. Work towards a solution, not more problems.

~The Shadow Minion

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Apocalypse Ink Productions 3rd Year Anniversary

by Jennifer 6. April 2015 10:49

This month, Apocalypse Ink Productions celebrates our 3rd anniversary. We started this independent publishing company with a plan to produce excellent dark fiction and non-fiction books that assist writers in their venture towards publication.


Of course, not everything went exactly as planned; there’ve been some hiccups and heartaches. Through it all, we’ve always found a way to not only move forward but learn from the experience.

 

We’ve met some really great authors in the past few years and made friends from all over the world. You have our sincere thanks. Without you we’d not be here.


AIP would also like to give our authors a big shout out. Some of you have been with us for most of the ride. Others are newly acquired. Our biggest desire is to see you succeed so we will work hard to make that happen.

To our fans, thank you so much for supporting us.


To those who have just happened across our site, let me introduce you to the crew.

 

Ivan Ewert is the author of the Gentleman Ghouls series. The first two books, Famished: The Farm and Famished: The Commons are currently out with Ivan working on the third book of the series, Famished: The Ranch currently in production.

 

The Sheynan trilogy, by Dylan Birtolo, takes you into the world of shapeshifters with the first two books, The Shadow Chaser and The Bringer of War. The third book, The Torn Soul will be out next month.

 

If you’d like dark fantasy Peter M Ball’s trilogy, The Flotsam, is right up your alley. The first two books, Exile and Frost take you to The Gold Coast in Australia. Crusade, released later this year, concludes this series.

 

Jennifer Brozek concluded her Karen Wilson Chronicles last month. Follow Karen Wilson as she discovers a hidden world in the very city she lives in. We’d also like to congratulate her on her Hugo award nomination for Best Editor, Short Form. We couldn’t be more happy for her.

 

Look for a new series by Wendy Hammer. The Thin, the first book in The Cross Cutting trilogy comes out in August.

 

But AIP also has non-fiction as well.

 

If you are considering writing for RPGs or editing an anthology, Industry Talk, would be great to check out.

 

Last but not least is Jay Lake’s Process of Writing. This book takes the reader through posts written by Jay Lake throughout his years of writing. It’s an excellent glimpse at the growth and process of writing.

 

Again, we thank you for reading and we look forward to bringing you more books in the upcoming years.

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Publishing Hiccups--Physical Copies of Chimera Incarnate Are Available

by Jennifer 29. March 2015 11:41

Sometimes, no matter what you do, some things get mixed up. You can double check that all the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted but some things just slip up. Publishing is no different. Chimera Incarnate was released earlier this month in digital and physical copies. Usually the physical copies are available on the same day as the digital release but we’ve hit a little snafu.

 

The copies that are available on Amazon and B&N through Lightning Source are delayed because of a few hiccups. We are sure they will be ironed out soon.

In the mean time, if you would like a copy to complete your Karen Wilson Chronicles collection, please order it from the Apocalypse Ink Productions website or catch Jennifer at  Norwescon later this week.

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