Author Etiquette - Crowdfunding

by Jennifer 28. June 2018 12:33

Imagine if you will, you have an enjoyable hobby. One that allows you to express yourself creatively. You are good at it. People like the things that you produce. However, the money that you earn from this hobby does not support you, no matter how hard you work at it.

 

Welcome to the life of a creative.

 

Very few authors are able to make a living primarily from their writing. Most have day jobs, or other side jobs such as editing, transcription, or content work, that help keep bills paid, groceries in the pantry, and cash for fun things. This is a fact that most authors have come to accept, even if it makes life pretty complicated. To be able to put words on the page and support themselves or their families financially with a job, authors have to give up time with friends and family, activities such as watching movies or TV, and other things.

 

But over the last few years, things have changed a little. With the rise of social media, more fans have wanted to show their support of their favorite creatives. Up came platforms that allow people to support things that they love.  These online finance support systems have given some authors the freedom to be creative and still support themselves, get assistance in paying for an emergency, and have a bit more time to do more than just work all of the time. These programs are called crowdfunding.

 

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a way for normal people to show support of a person, place, or thing by pledging money. Pledges can be monthly, yearly or even a one time show of support. The funding projects can take a variety of different forms such as support of a new series, monthly support in exchange for a newsletter or stories, or even an emergency fund. In essence, crowdfunding is a patronage from a group that anyone can set up or support.

 

For a lot of authors, this has been a life saver, not only because they get a little wiggle room in the finance department, but also because when an emergency arises people pledge their support. This can alleviate a lot of stress from an author’s shoulders. At no point in time should any author or creative feel guilty about opening a crowdfunding campaign if they have researched the platform, have a plan to promote it, and are willing to follow through on promises. If you have a social media presence, feel that you need a bit of help, and are willing to do the work involved, crowdfunding can be a very rewarding venture.

 

Types of Crowdfunding

There are several types of crowdfunding. Some are open for a limited time and allow others to show support of a project or help raise funds for emergencies. Other types are open all year round. A few are for a one time donation, while others allow supporters a subscription service. Crowdfunding is also available for groups, not-for-profits, loans, and other applications but today we are dealing with the ones creatives have contact with most often.

 

Emergency funds

When there’s an emergency, and you don’t have the cash, many authors turn to their friends, family and fans for assistance. Crowdfunding sources such as GoFundMe and Fundly and allow users to set up a campaign for a certain amount of time.

 

Project Support

If a creative has a project (whether it’s a book, game, or perhaps something bigger) they often turn to project support crowdfunding platforms.  The most well known is Kickstarter, but other platforms such as IndieGoGo and WeMakeIt are also used. These platforms allow users to introduce a project, raise funds, and stay connected with contributors throughout the process.

 

Tips

Some social media and crowdfunding platforms allow people to leave tips for creatives. Ko-fi allows supporters the opportunity to buy their favorite authors a cup of coffee. Other tipping

programs exist such as Tipee and Curious Fictions.

 

Subscription Based

The last group of crowdfunding platforms used by creatives involves a subscription service. Subscribers pledge a monthly (or sometimes a yearly) fee in exchange for newsletters, short stories, sneak peeks, and more. Patreon is one of the best known, but other services such as Drip from Kickstarter could be available soon to users.

 

What Crowdfunder Works for You?

Before you start fundraising you need to take a look at what kind of money you would like to raise, length you are willing to promote, what kind of backers are you looking for, and if you will offer some sort of reward system. Not all crowdfunding platforms are right for every application.

 

Slow trickle or fill the tank

Depending on what crowdfunding platform you choose, your options will be to run a fundraiser for a certain length of time and hope that you meet your goal or take the longer approach and have a steady stream of income over a longer period of time. Crowdfunders for emergency funds usually rely on the fill the tank method, while tip and subscription based funding is a slow trickle.

 

Backers

As a creative, you will be using your social media presence as a funding base. If your base is large, then chances are you will have a successful campaign. If you have a small base, then your success if limited.  Not only do you need a large social media presence, you also need an active one. If you are active and have a large participation record, your campaign will do just fine.

 

Promotion

Like with story and book releases, a crowdfunding campaign will need you to promote it. People will not magically find these things unless they have asked for a recommendation or get lucky. For short campaigns, you will need to spend time and effort in getting the platform in front of your base and giving convincing arguments on why they should back it. Long campaigns such as Patrons and Ko-fi require reminders that these options exist.

 

Risks and Returns

Every crowdfunding venture comes with rewards and risks. The rewards for you are obvious but sometimes the risks are hidden.

 

Costs

Many crowdfunding platforms take a cut of your funding. So if you were looking to make x you might want to pad that number some. Check the fine print to see what the platform charges and then be sure to fluff up your estimate just to be sure. In some crowdfunding venues you don’t get the money unless you reach the funding goal. If you’ve never run a campaign or are unsure of how to be successful, talk to those who have run campaigns or hire someone to run it for you.  

 

Products

If you are running a Kickstarter or a subscription based service, be sure you are delivering on your promises. People will understand if there are slight delays or small complications, but being overly tardy or not receiving a product at all will sour even the most die-hard fan.

 

Updates

This is a very important step in many crowdfunders. When people back a project or artist, they want to know that their money is going into the project. Updates through the fundraising platform or through emails is a great way to keep in touch of what’s going on. Even if things aren’t going as planned you can still update your fans. Plus you can also use the backers list to announce new projects or signal boost other projects similar to yours.

 

Crowdfunding can help authors and creatives achieve goals that they’d normally be unable to reach on their own. It’s a win-win situation for creatives and fans. You get the funding you need, and because the funding is spread out between fans, it’s a great option for those people who only have a few bucks to spend.

Tags:

Author Etiquette - Active Versus Passive Marketing

by Jennifer 26. May 2018 11:39

Many authors are going to take one look at the title of this post and think ick, I don’t want to deal with marketing. It’s an understandable reaction. Authors have stories to write, lives to live, and various jobs to do. Marketing of any sort isn’t on most author’s list of favorite things to do. But it should be.

 

As we’ve discussed before, it is the author’s responsibility to keep their works in the eyes of the public. Publishers are only going to do so much for so long. Even if a book series is doing well, without reminders, many readers may not see your books. Considering there are thousands of books released yearly on many different platforms, it’s sometimes a wonder that readers find you at all.

 

That’s where marketing comes in. A smart marketing plan allows you to be visible before, during, and after a book release. Some parts are very time intensive—such as creating and posting ads and social media posts. But others, once set up, are stable touchstones that people can find at anytime. These actions are called active and passive marketing.

 

What’s the difference?

Active and Passive Marketing differs in the amount of energy you have to put in to pursuing your objective. (I’m using objective here as marketing isn’t always about sales.) Active marketing is all about engagement. Engagement takes energy, usually a constant amount, and sometimes more than you think you have to give. Passive, on the other hand, could take a fair amount of energy to set up, but once it’s going, there’s little energy expended. It’s often more focused on information.

 

Active Marketing

Active marketing can take many shapes and forms, but it isn’t always “buy my book.” That word we used above—engagement?—that’s the key to active marketing. It means you interact with people. Engagement can be in many different forms. Conversations are one of the best ones, but even shares, likes, and signal boosting counts as engagement. It can be online, in person, or via chat. And it’s not one sided either. If you are having conversations, responses, and people are responding favorably, you are participating in active marketing—even if it isn’t about your book.

 

One of the best examples of author active marketing is conventions. Whether you run a booth, participate in panels, or are just hanging out, you should be engaging with people there. Sure, there’s a lot of “buy my book” going on, but there are many other conversations going on. Introduce yourself, tell people what you do, hand out business cards, sit in the lounge and talk. These are all active marketing techniques. You may feel exhausted, but in the end, you will gain more friends and fans. Other active marketing activities also include posting regularly on social media, in person readings, attending writing groups, mentoring, etc.

 

Passive Marketing

Passive marketing, on the other hand, doesn’t expect you to expend a lot of energy for a long period. It’s main focus is information. The initial setup for various things might take time and a lot of energy or money but once it’s finished, you don’t have to maintain that level of energy. Passive marketing techniques often look for long term results, rather than short term like many active marketing actions.

 

Your website is the perfect example of passive marketing (and a very important point of contact for every author). Yes, a lot of energy is spent in creating, maintaining, and updating, but a vast majority of authors do not have active engagement on their website. (Yes there are exceptions we know.) Mostly, once the site is set up it’s a place for people to find out more about you, your work, and what’s coming up next. Other forms or passive marketing includes newsletters, guest posts, interviews, new releases, and other forms of communication.

 

Why not use just one?

By using only one form of marketing an author is basically hopping around on one foot. You can’t get very far or fast without using both legs. Marketing, and an author’s career in general, should always be thought of as a strange, very long race. At times the course will be hilly, active and energy intensive, but often only for short times. Other times it will be long and flat with occasional highs and lows. You have to run it all. You can’t just go for the parts you like best.

 

Many authors succumb to the idea that having a website is all they need. A few posts on updating their works, a nice author photo, bibliography, all should be good right? When the fans don’t show and their works do not get noticed they wonder what they did wrong.

 

On the other hand, there are some authors who go full-out engagement. They spend hours on their social media streams connecting with fans. Their sales are hot and fast, but not sustainable. Often these authors tend to burn out quickly.

 

The most successful authors might lean one way or another, but they have a strong presence in both worlds.

 

Balance

Each author must find their balance in how to market their work. An author might be more comfortable with one or the other, but in order to create and sustain a long term career, an author MUST use both. Build a nice website (it doesn’t have to be expensive), learn to use social media, attend conventions, readings and signings, and be sure to respond to guest post invites. All of these things help you as an author build your audience and fan base.

 

But most of all, be yourself. That’s the most important thing. Stretch your limits but don’t lose sight on what you are.

Tags:

Author Etiquette - Author Success: There’s no Silver Bullet

by Jennifer 30. April 2018 10:38

Success. It’s a subject that comes up often in the writing world. There are daily announcements from authors on where their next short story will be seen, and when the next book will be available to the public. Some author’s careers take off, while others seem to stagnate. The envious look on at what could be and wonder why they can’t be like Successful Author X.

 

The simple fact is, success is different for every author. Getting there is a maze of hard work, trying out what works for you, and persistence. Nothing in the world of publishing is easy. The earlier you learn this, the better. There is no easy way to the top. No one single thing that will make your book popular except the repeated application of a few simple things and figuring out what works for you.

 

Being successful isn’t quick or easy. Figuring what works takes time and persistence. If you are unwilling to try a particular type of promotion for less than six weeks or feel that you should concentrate wholly on writing instead of expanding your fan base, learning the craft and figuring out the field, perhaps being an author isn’t for you.

 

Even if you are lost on what to do, there is hope and no need to give up immediately. Every author has to start somewhere or has low points in their career. The rules on what to do change all the time. The thing to remember is to figure out where you are going wrong and find a way to change it. Below are some steps that every author needs to reflect on.

 

Read

Every author should read, read often, and read widely. You will have your favorite genres. However, by reading outside of those walls, you will come into contact with different writing styles, different ways to tell a story, and hopefully learn many things about the world around you.

 

If you aren’t reading, you aren’t keeping up with trends, new takes on tropes, and various other things that authors need to be aware of. Marketing trends, what’s popular, and what is in decline should be a huge incentive for all authors to read whatever they can.

 

Reading widely doesn’t just mean reading outside your preferred genre. It also means reading outside your preferred manuscript length. Novelists should also be reading short stories, and vice versa. The techniques that a short story author uses in a story are often shortcuts to some novel techniques, especially in short works such a flash fiction. Short story authors should pay attention to how novels flow and characterization. While not everything is transferable, an author can work some of these tricks into their own works.

 

Learn the Craft

Surprisingly, this step can be difficult for some authors. You would think that a person who wants to create stories would want start with knowing the basics such as grammar, punctuation, and story structure. Well, if you’ve spent time in the slush piles of any publication or pick up a random story from the self-published shelves, your eyes could be opened quickly. (Please note that not all self-published works are problematic. There’s some really great stuff out there.) While even professional authors make errors, some authors do not believe that they have to follow the rules of writing.

 

If your stories are continuously rejected, your beta readers point out several errors, or an editor runs screaming away from your manuscript, you might need to brush up on your basic writing skills. Learn sentence structure first along with how to use punctuation. From there, things should be easier.

 

Taking some grammar classes at your local college, night classes, or hiring a private tutor can set you on the right track. If nothing else, look for the free online classes that some higher institutions have released to the public. Find out if your high school English teacher will assist.

 

Don’t worry about learning ALL the rules. Remember that even editors have to look things up on occasion. Learn the basics, learn them well, then apply it to your work.

 

Write, Edit, Submit, Repeat

The best way to start yourself on the path to success is to have several works out. Very few authors make it to the top on just one manuscript. For the most part, an author will need at least three works in the same world to being to see an upswing in their popularity. Which means, if you have just completed that first novel, depending on how quickly you write, you have a long road ahead of you. To get there you will need to write a lot of words, learn how to edit, and work on the next piece while waiting on submissions.

 

Make writing a habit. You might not be able to do it daily, but it should be something you do often. Find a critique partner or group and some honest beta readers. Learn to critique other people's works based on story structure, grammar, and overall readability. Grow a thick skin because critiques sometimes hurt. (It will prepare you for rejections.) Edit your work based on the critiques and comments from your beta group. Maybe send it to another beta group or a different critique partner. Make your work better. Then send it off. Open up a new page and start all over again.

 

Promote Your Work

Some authors will tell you that promotion is not a skill set that an author needs to learn. Concentrate on writing, is the moto for most; however, that leaves a very important aspect of being an author in the hands of someone else at best or no one at worst.

 

Larger publications know the value of promotion and put time, money and effort into this. But they don’t have time to promote every book for long periods of time. A short four to six week promotion push is really all that a large publisher can do for any book. Smaller publications might have a shorter push or none at all. Therefore it falls on the hands of an author to do the promotion or expand on what is already there.

 

First, if you don’t already have one, set up a website. Set up a free one if you have to, but have some place that is under your control to post news, contact information, and other important information regarding your books. Remember you can always set up something else later.

 

Next, share what you love. Social media channels are a great way to promote  your work. However, you don’t want to spam. Instead, share your writing journey, photos you take, your other hobbies, and spend a little time signal boosting other works you love. No more than 20% of your posts (1 in 5) should be a promotional post.

 

Set up some sort of newsletter. It can be brief, quarterly, filled with cat photos, whatever you like. If someone likes your work, have them sign up. And USE it don’t let it stagnate.

 

Introspection

Since being an author isn’t exactly a dot-to-dot, follow the road and you’ll be successful career, every author is going to have to take some time to really look at what they are doing and seeing if it works. We dive into the heads of our characters without fear, but it’s a lot more difficult to do it to yourself.

 

Although you might love writing in a certain sub-genre, it might not be popular or profitable. If you define success by money in your pocket, you might want to rethink or combine what you love with writing to market. You might have to continuously refine and retune your promotions. You might need to find out how to apply for grants or take classes in the newest promotional craze. You might even have to consider writing a secondary character as a primary in their own books because readers love them.

 

Examine your career periodically. This doesn’t mean on a weekly basis. Sometimes it means once or twice a year. Figure out what is working and what isn’t. Try new directions. Don’t be so stubborn that you won’t take chances and try something different.

 

Persistence

Lastly, but certainly one of the most important things you can do is be persistent.

 

Don’t drop a promotional push after a week of not seeing results. Don’t give up on a series after the first book. Just because that short story didn’t get picked up on the first, fifth or twentieth submission doesn’t mean it won’t find a home somewhere. Don’t give into imposter syndrome and compare your short story sale to another author’s series sale.

 

The authors who keep trying are the ones who build a career. They may have rocky starts, but they keep at it. It’s something to be admired and at least imitated if not outright copied. That’s right, most authors are open on how they do things and encourage other authors to do things like they do. Whether it works for you or not is up in the air, but it’s good incentive to keep trying.

Tags:

Anniversary Book Sale

by Jennifer 11. April 2018 08:33

It’s our 6th year anniversary! We're having a book sale!

Apocalypse Ink Productions is celebrating our 6 year anniversary and YOU get all of the gifts.

We know that you’ve been wanting to sample all of the series that Apocalypse Ink Productions carries, and here’s your chance.

Starting Wednesday, April 11th, you can get the following books for 99¢ for a limited time.



Follow a Warden named Trinidad O’Laughlin in Indianapolis, as she fights an encroaching invasion from another world in The Thin, by Wendy Hammer.



In The Shadow Chaser, by Dylan Birtolo, a normal man named, Darien Yost, becomes the centerpoint in a war between two warring shifter factions.



Keith Murphy hunts and kills the bad things that go bump in the night, but when things go wrong, he’s got to work outside his normal routine, in Exile, by Peter M Ball.



When Karen Wilson, the main character in Caller Unknown, by Jennifer Brozek, receives a mysterious phone call, she has a choice that will change how she sees her hometown forever.



Gordon Velender never wanted to eat human flesh, gain immense strength and speed, or host a creature from another dimension under his skin, but in order to defeat the Gentleman Ghouls, he must do just that. To find out more read: Famished: The Farm, by Ivan Ewert.

 

These books will go on sale on April 11th at 99¢.

On April 14th, The Shadow Chaser will go up to $2.99. After April 18th, all books will go back to their regular prices.

($2.99 for Famished: The Farm, Caller Unknown, Exile, and The Thin. The Shadow Chaser will go up to $4.99)

Apocalypse Ink Productions is a publisher of dark speculative fiction that includes fantasy, science fiction and horror.

Please see our store for other books in the series you enjoy!  

 

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Author Etiquette - Writing to Market vs Writing What You Want To Write

by Jennifer 1. April 2018 18:45

Authors are faced with many decisions. Some are easy, such as whether to wear your PJs all day when you don’t have to go outside or what kind of music to listen to while writing a fight scene. Other decisions are a bit more difficult such as whether to reveal a piece of information early or later in a story. Certain facts should always be trueformatting, proper grammar, punctuationwhile other things such as what font you use while drafting a story is up to the author. But one thing authors have to face some time or another is whether to write what they want or to write to market.

 

This can be a very difficult decision for many. By writing to market, an author has to make changes. Sometimes it means putting away stories they love to keep the lights on or turning away from a particular style that they are known for. On the other hand, some authors expand their toolbox by writing in different venues for different types of markets.

 

But writing what you love has pros and cons, too. Writing what you love gives you the security of knowing every aspect of the world you write in. When your audience finds you they know what to expect and readers will often seek out all of your work if they like it. However, it is easy to become lost in the shuffle if you are known for only one type of writing.

 

What is “Writing to Market?”

Before we look at what kind of decision needs to be made, first we need to define “writing to market” for those who do not know what this means.

 

Writing for market means that an author is writing for a particular market, has been contracted to write a particular story in a world, or they are following a trend that is selling well. This could be authors who are writing for a themed anthology, writing tie-in stories, or are wanting to bank in on a particular sub-genre or trend.

 

To work a writing to market story, an author must be aware of the history of the world or sub-genre, often must deal with rules on how things work in that world, and must also realize that fans can be very critical of the work once it is released. A writing to market piece must fit in the world you are writing for without making huge waves (unless that is what you’ve been contracted to do),  but it also must be unique enough to move the goalposts forward.

 

While there are no guarantees that these stories will sell, many times the author will see increased chances of sales by accepting writing to market proposals.

 

How is this different from “Writing what you Want?”

In writing what you want, the author is often the builder of their own worlds, creator and master of the universe they are writing. They can take inspiration from anywhere and mold it to fit into their stories. An author can combine genres or slice away what they think distracts from their story. Often there are no rules or history to worry about until the author decides to put them in place.

 

Writing what you want allows an author the freedom to explore what they can do, how they can do it, and how long or short they can confine a story in. There is no expectations except a finished story. It can stand out boldly, or it can fit neatly into the genre you want it to.

 

In writing what you want, an author takes a chance that their work may not be hugely popular (although it does happen). Writing what you want does not come with a built in fanbase. Sure, if you write an unique epic fantasy you might be able to draw in LORD OF THE RINGS readers, but then again, you may not. At times, authors who write what they want, struggle to find fans, markets, or see sales.

 

How to Decide

Every author is unique and each one will decide whether writing what they want or writing to market is right for them. Many authors will suggest going where the better chance of sales will be; however, writing what you love can also be very fulfilling.

 

For many authors, especially those who are writing full time, the question is: Will it pay and how much? This question allows authors to keep bills paid, groceries in the pantry, money for emergencies, and money for fun things. It’s more difficult to take a chance with writing what you want when bills are involved.

 

Writing to market often has a built in fanbase which means stories will sell somewhere even if it’s been rejected for a primary market. So that vampire story you wrote for an anthology could have a market in a horror magazine if you get an R. However, by writing what you want, you might just discover an untapped niche market and you’d have the fans all to yourself for a little while.

 

If you want to work with a group of professionals, writing for market is a good choice. When you write to market, you will be working with publishers, editors, other authors, and various people who work within that type of publishing. It can be quite complicated sometimes, so be forewarned. Writing what you want can allow you space  to develop your own world without the constrictions of rules.

 

Writing what you want can allow you to be more experimental. Want to write non-linear, experimental prose? Writing what you want is the way to go. But if you want more structured stories, writing to market could be a good fit.

 

Can you do both?

ABSOLUTELY!

 

In many cases, authors write to market in worlds that they are familiar with and love. This gives them that special touch when it comes to writing in particular worlds. Game tie-in authors often play the games they write about, giving them that extra dimension of knowledge. Love writing about spaceships, magical elves, or big stompy ‘Mechs? Tie-in writing could be a great venue for you.

 

Authors can write work to market pieces to pay the bills while writing what they want. This takes a lot of balance as the work to market stories often takes priority. Authors also have to be able to set aside different story lines especially if they are working on several projects at once.

 

Some authors even find that there’s a reversal. One of their writing what they want turns into a writing to market proposal. That first novel you send to an agent could turn into a multi-book series. Or perhaps that novel attracts the attention of someone in the write for market world and you are offered an opportunity to write for (insert world.)

 

Either way, authors have to decide what is best for them. Sometimes it requires one to make hard, painful decisions about one’s work. Other times it opens up great opportunities. Check out all of the opportunities being an author has to offer.

Tags:

Author Etiquette - Promotion and Author Responsibility

by Jennifer 26. February 2018 15:54

Many authors believe that their only input into the sales of stories or books is the words and editing that they provide. If you are in this category, I have news for you. If you want to be a successful author, there are many more responsibilities that you will need to take on before, during, and after a release. A successful writing career relies on more than one skill it relies of a varietysome of which authors find uncomfortable. One of which is PROMOTION.

 

For many authors, a few posts that point to the new book or story and maybe a comment or two are all the effort some think they need, but for a successful career, every author needs to get into the habit of promoting every story and book, long after the initial release date. No matter what kind of publication path you take.

 

The success of your writing career depends on visibility or at least the visibility of your work. A publisher might do a small publishing push—most of which last only 4-6 weeksbut it might not. If a release push doesn’t include things such as guest posts, interviews, push to book related groups, author spotlights and advertising your book isn’t getting the push it needs to be seen.

 

Your future will always lay in your own hands. Yes, a publisher or a publicist, can assist you in raising your visibility, but in the long run, a habit of self promotion and seeking out promotional venues is going to benefit you personally and professionally as an author.

 

The Facts

Unless you are a big name author who is going to be googled often, your success relies on repetition. Because there are so many authors and works coming out daily and weekly, unless you keep putting your name out there, you will be lost in the crowd and forgotten.

 

Case in point:

  • How many times have you seen a short story online (free to read) but didn’t have the time to devote to reading it.
  • Did you come back to it?
  • Do you remember the name of the story, or the author, or even the venue?
  • Have you seen that author promote that story anytime since?
  • How do you expect other readers to remember your work, when you can’t remember someone else’s?

 

A very basic rule of advertising is a consumer needs to see an advertisement 5-7 times before they will act upon it. If you post only a few times or have only a partially active social media presence, chances are you are going to miss most of your audience. The top reasons are:

  1. because of the infrequency of your post (algorithms are not your friend)
  2. because not everyone will be online to see your post
  3. many will not act on the first viewing

 

If you are not posting about your work, finding venues to promote your work, or actively discussing your work, you are missing out on viewers, who are potential fans who could help build your career.

 

Another thing to remember. Many publishers look at an author’s social media presence. They want authors who have already put in some work into establishing an online persona. Even if a book takes a year to go from contract acceptance to release, someone who has very little or no online presence is going to be fighting an uphill battle the entire way.

 

The good news is, even if you don’t have a lot of online presence, it’s fairly easy to start. And the sooner you do, the better.

 

Simple Rules for Good Promotion

Rule 1: be yourself.

For many authors this is a bit confusing, but what it means is really simple. Be who you are, enjoy what you like to enjoy, and share those things on your feeds. If something is important to you, it’s important to other people, and that includes your work. But don’t fall into the pit of sharing nothing but your work. Remember, people want well-rounded authors just like they want well-rounded characters.

 

Rule 2: follow the 20% rule.

Take a look at your social media feeds. If you are posting a “Buy Me NOW” post more than 20% (one post out of 5) of the time, you are doing promotion wrong. While individual stories might catch people’s eye, a feed full of ads is only an annoyance. Most viewers will simply block and never give you another thought. Post one piece of promotion then follow with four or more posts that do not have a buy link in it. Posts can be photos, memes, questions for your audience, discussion points, sharing other articles that you think might be of interest, or any other topic.

 

Rule 3: Don’t Stop

The reason many authors seem to fall off the radar is after a new release or a sale, they tend to disappear. A short spike in posts does not equate long term sales or exposure. Regular posting that includes a variety of topics will raise the frequency that you are seen, keep your name fresh in people’s minds, and will result in more views and sales. Try to make it a habit of posting something new once a day, and don’t worry if you sometimes forget. Just start up where you left off.

 

How to Build Good Promotion Habits

Now some authors are going to complain that all they want to do is write. Promotion is difficult, too time consuming, and a waste of valuable writing time, are all arguments that are tossed around. This is a very short-sighted approach and will ultimately hurt you in the long run. In order to fulfil your responsibilities to yourself, promotional habits need to be developed. Let’s look at some easy and quick ways to promote your work.

 

Make your work (and your website) easy to find.

You would be surprised how many author websites do not include a bibliography or have one that is sorely out of date. Unless you are unable to access your own site, there is no reason an author cannot update their works page. Simple copy/paste and links, help readers find your work. Do this every time you have a new release.

 

And another thing, do be sure to link your social media accounts TO your website. This way if someone stumbles across you on FB or Twitter and wants to read more of your work, they can easily find it.

 

Promotion in disguise.

Not all promotion is a request to buy your book. Some can be disguised as reviews, guest posts, and interviews. While these can be time consuming to gather at first, if you take one day a week or even a month, you can find a variety of places that will help you promote your work.

The best way to do this is to watch other author’s feeds for reviews. When you see one, click through, save the address in a folder, and then when you have time, go back and see if your work is eligible for a review. When a review, guest post, or interview comes up, be sure to repost and thank the host!

 

Another way to promote in disguise is to use memes. I’m sure you’ve seen images that say “How to Love an Author” or images with coffee cups and ink pens. Unless these are copyrighted to a specific author or company, save the image and re-use it later. If you post a meme of authors loving any kind of review, who knows, the reminder might just be for you!

 

Social Media Managers.

If you don’t think you have time to post regularly, invest in a social media manager. These programs connect your social media feeds into a simple, easy to access platform. Many of these programs are free, but these versions have limitations. A full version can be very cost effective for a few months especially if you are in the middle of a book launch.

 

One of the biggest advantage of social media managers is the ability to schedule posts. It is possible to schedule an entire month of promotion in just an hour once you learn the program. To expedite the process, have links to reviews, guest posts, and interviews handy (and pre-shortened), along with text, purchasing links and images. Vary the wording so that you aren’t repeating yourself too often. Once the promotion is scheduled, you do need to be sure that you are making other posts but the hardest part is over. (oh and save those posts on a sheet somewhere and use them again next month!)

 

In order to ensure you are successful as an author, you need to take responsibility for promotion. Even if a publisher does their own promotion, there is nothing wrong with you going the extra mile to ensure that your work is seen by as many viewers as possible. Even after the book or story is released, there is no need to stop promoting that work. Promotional habits are easy to start and even easier to keep going, you just have to get started.

 

Tags:

Announcing The Prince of Artemis V comic book

by Jennifer 6. February 2018 08:37

Apocalypse Ink Productions would like to announce a new first. Author Jennifer Brozek and artist Elizabeth Guizzetti have teamed up to produce a comic book based on one of Jennifer’s short stories.

 

“The Prince of Artemis V” first appeared in Crossed Genres, Issue 15 in 2010. It is a story of hard choices, family duty, and the bonds between siblings no one can break.

 

Artemis V is the only place in the Universe where the purpuran flower, the main component of the imperial royal dye, grows. Beholden to the Empire, the harvesters of the delicate plant can only follow their corporate master’s wishes or starve. Woe to the workers trapped on the unforgiving planet if they fail in their assigned task.

Artemis V is also a planet under a slow-moving, relentless siege which has lasted hundreds of years. Every fourteen months, the Takers steal certain children, ages eight to fourteen, from Artemis V. Every family has been touched. Locked in their rooms, or under the watchful guard of their parents, children still vanish in the night. No one knows how it happens or who takes them.

Except for maybe one. Hart lost his twin brother, Toor, to the Takers. His sister, Lanteri, is now of the Taking age. But Hart has a secret: he knows who the Takers are and has defeated them in the past. When his mom begs Hart to keep Lanteri safe, he agrees. The question is… does he really want to?

 

“Some stories stay with you, even if it’s been a few years since you’ve written them. “The Prince of Artemis V” as a short story is one of those,” says Jennifer Brozek. “I am  beyond pleased to have worked with Elizabeth to turn it into a comic. She is amazing.”

 

Author and Illustrator, Elizabeth Guizzetti has this to say about the project. “Working with Jennifer Brozek on The Prince of Artemis V was a fantastic experience. She worked hard with me to ensure this was a fair collaboration. She is great at listening to my concerns about pacing and took a few of suggestions about the script.”

 

The Prince of Artemis V is available for order through Kobo, and Amazon. You can also pre-order a copy through Amazon or by visiting Jennifer at your local dealer table.

 

“Readers will be enthralled with Prince of Artemis V's undeniable intrigue, but their hearts will be stolen by this achingly wonderful story of familial bonds. Brozek presents a much-needed fresh take that makes it impossible to put this sci-fi / fantasy tale down.”

~ Heather Nuhfer, comic book writer for Fraggle Rock, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and Monster High

 

Elizabeth Guizzetti is the author and illustrator of several independent comics: Faminelands, Lure, and Out for Souls & Cookies! She also writes Science Fiction and Fantasy. Her debut novel, Other Systems, was a 2015 Finalist for the Canopus Award for excellence in Interstellar Fiction. Her short work has appeared in anthologies such as Wee Folk and The Wise, and Beyond the Hedge. Elizabeth currently lives in Seattle with her husband and two dogs. When not writing or illustrating, she loves hiking and birdwatching. Find out more about Elizabeth’s work at elizabethguizzetti.com or follow her on Twitter @E_Guizzetti.

Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award finalist and a multiple Bram Stoker Award finalist. She has worked in the publishing industry since 2004. With the number of edited anthologies, novels, RPG books, and nonfiction books under her belt, Jennifer is often considered a Renaissance woman, but she prefers to be known as a wordslinger and optimist. When she is not writing her heart out, she is gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest in its wonderfully mercurial weather. Read more about her at jenniferbrozek.com or follow her on Twitter: @JenniferBrozek.

Tags: , ,

Author Etiquette - Awards and Award Etiquette

by Jennifer 31. January 2018 09:56

Now that 2017 has officially ended, it’s time to start thinking about AWARDS. There are all types of awards. Some are for artwork, some specifically for poetry, still others are for a particular genre or subgenre. Each type of award has its own set of rules on who can apply and at what time. There are also rules on who may or may not vote for particular awards. Today we are going to discuss different types of awards, who qualifies, the etiquette of being nominated, and of course, why awards matter.

 

Why Awards Matter

Some people might wonder why awards matter? For some, they don’t. Many great authors never win any awards at all. But for some, it’s a goal post that they would like to achieve. Different authors have different interpretations on what makes awards matter. They range from:

  • Becoming a professional
  • Networking opportunities
  • Agent or publishing deals
  • Awards being a “gold star” on a bibliography
  • Attention from fans and other professionals
  • Possibly more sales

All of these interpretations, and more, are good reasons for every author to locate and post what works they have available for many different types of awards. Some may take work to find, but they can be a fun way to connect with more readers.  

 

READ THE RULES

First, before anything else, find out what the awards are about, who puts them on, and what are the nomination requirements. No matter what kind of award is out there, there are rules. Be sure to read and understand them. Follow the rules and etiquette associated with them.

 

Types of Awards

If you’ve seen an influx of posts from your favorite authors on the works they published in the previous year, you know it’s nomination time again. For convenience, many authors compile their work into a single post so that readers can easily find yearly works, not only because someone might have missed a release, but to help refresh a reader’s minds on what they read the previous year. Many authors would love to have their works nominated for Industry awards, but Fan and personal awards are also greatly appreciated.

 

Industry Awards

Industry awards are given out by professional organizations and some large professional conventions in the industry. Most major writing organizations such as SFWA (Nebulas), HWA (Stokers), RWA (RITA Award) and IAMTA (Scribe) have their own awards and their own set of rules about who can nominate and who can vote. A few large conventions such as World Con (Hugos) have their own industry awards. These awards are usually the pinnacle of the genre and highly sought after.

 

Smaller lesser known awards like Ursa Major Awards (for Anthropomorphics) are given out by groups who specialize in particular sub genres. Other industry awards include awards given out to authors who live in a particular area or state.

 

Most of these professional awards limit voting to either members of the organization. attendees of the convention, or to a select group of judges familiar with the genre or subgenre.

 

Fan Awards

Fan awards are awards that are voted upon by fans. A fan award can be very large such as the Dragons (DragonCon) or small such as an award held on a book promotion site. These are often open voting awards where authors solicit votes from their fans.

 

While often not as well known or even prestigious, these awards can get your books in front of more readers, so although it takes time and effort, they are worth pursuing.

 

Personal Awards

Personal awards are often given by individuals such as bloggers or sometimes even other authors. While they are mainly a “Best of” list, they still hold weight in the minds of readers. It can be a great honor to receive a personal award, especially if you receive one of these from your own favorite author!

 

Who Qualifies for Awards?

Everyone qualifies for some award or another. (Note: qualify does not equate to winning.) The deciding factor is reading the rules of the awards you want to be submitted for and following them. Most newly published works from the previous year are eligible for awards; however, some awards have cut off dates before the end of the year, so read closely. Other awards require that you be a member of a group or live in a particular state or region. If you don’t qualify, don’t apply.

 

Award Etiquette

Being awarded or even nominated for an award is a great honor, but there are right and wrong ways of going about getting on the ballot. The etiquette of being nominated for industry awards can be complicated while fan awards can wear you down because you are soliciting votes. Always be sure of the rules for each kind of award you are being nominated for and the etiquette attached to such awards.

 

Publication Lists

Many authors put together a list of works that are eligible for nomination. These lists contain novels, novellas, short stories, and even blog posts that they’ve written in the previous year. While an author might have other stories out, some could be reprints which are not eligible or other works that don’t fit into specific division. Often authors will list categories such as novel, short story, editor, or nonfiction work to help people classify the work. Posting a list of eligible works is not soliciting for votes in most cases.

 

Recommended Reading Lists

Organizations, groups, forums, and even individuals may create lists of works that they enjoyed. Often works on the list are grouped by year, although they can be grouped by genre or subgenre, relativity to the group, or other category. Works on the list may or may not be eligible for awards depending on the publication date. Recommended reading lists are often a head’s up for works that people enjoy; however, if a group posts the recommended lists and pushes that list, it could be considered a slate.

 

Vote Solicitation

Solicitation of votes occurs when an author specifically asks people to vote for them. For industry awards this is considered bad form; however in some fan and personal awards this is considered okay. If you are unsure of the etiquette of an award read the rules first. If things are unclear, then ask either other professionals who have been nominated before, the committee, governing body of the award, or do some research. For the most part, do not solicit votes on industry awards.

 

Slates and Log Rolling

For many awards slates and log rolling are two ways to “beat the system” and win an award. These are frowned upon tactics. Many industry awards have created rules to either diminish the usefulness of such tactics or eliminate them altogether.

 

In a slate, a group or individual produces a list of works to nominate and vote upon. If a group then votes for those works on the list, it increases the chances that those works will appear on the final ballot and then win the award.

 

Log rolling is a practice of requesting votes on particular work for favors. These favors can range from promoting someone else's work, recommending preferential treatment, or other favors.

 

Nomination

Each award has its own rules on how an author or works get on the nomination list. Publishers, publicists, fans, editors, and other authors can nominate a work for consideration for many awards. For the most part, an author does not nominate themselves, but there are some exceptions. If an indie or self published author wants to submit a work for consideration as a publisher, that can be acceptable for some awards (but read the rules).

 

Do note that to be included in some awards, you might be required to release copies of your work to the voting body. Other awards just require publication information such as release date, publisher, and other publication information.

 

You can direct readers, fans, and family members to where works can be nominated, however, suggesting your work is generally frowned upon.

 

Preliminary Ballots

Some awards have a preliminary ballot that compiles the top few works in each category. For large awards where many works are nominated this narrows the field down to a few for the final vote.

 

If your work makes it to a preliminary ballot it is a good idea to make some sort of post about it. However, do not solicit votes. DO be sure your work is available for reading to the voting body. Discuss this with your publisher on what you need to do if necessary.

 

Final Ballot

If you do happen to make it onto the final ballot, first congratulations!  Do make other people aware that your name is on the list and where to find your work. Again, don’t ask for votes. There’s a few other things you’ll need to do.

 

For smaller awards such as personal awards or smaller awards held on blog sites, composing a thank you to those who voted for you is always a great idea. It’s great content for your platform even if you don’t win. Talk about your experiences and what you’ll do next time.

 

Industry and the larger fan awards awards are a bit more complex. Many times there is some sort of banquet or celebration for these awards. You, of course are invited to go if you so choose. Do be sure to find out more about the awards and what is expected. Many of these award ceremonies are hours long and are followed by various other activities. Even if you do not think you have a chance of winning, do write out an acceptance speech--you never know.

 

During the award, do be a good participant. Because only a few works will win, do be realistic. If you win be graceful. It is okay to be upset if you lose. Try to have fun the rest of the evening.

 

Pay attention to what awards people are talking about in the next few months. Even if you have nothing for nominations this year, you still have 11 months until the cycle starts again. Keep writing, learning, and honing your craft and your name will appear in some awards in the future.

 

Good luck.

Tags:

Author Etiquette Series List

by Jennifer 28. December 2017 08:50

Here ends the third year of Author Etiquette posts by Jennifer Brozek and Sarah Craft. They will continue in 2018. We thought it would be useful to round them up for authors to find more easily.

Note: The 2017 blog posts are eligible for the Hugo Award for Best Related Work for 2018.

2017

Jan - Your Stories Matter

Feb - Rolling the Dice: Taking Chances and Improving Your Odds

Mar - Keeping the Professional and Personal Separate

Apr - Professional Writer Organizations

May - Social Media: What’s, Why’s and How’s

Jun - How to Take an Extended Break

Jul - There Are No Shortcuts in Publishing

Aug - Social Media Management: Before Your Release

Sep - Social Media Management: During Your Release

Oct - Social Media Management: After Your Release

Nov - Reviews

Dec - Dealing with Negativity


2016

Jan - Author Care: The BAD Side of Creativity

Feb - Refilling the Creative Well

Mar - Follow the Instructions

Apr - The Editor is Your Story’s Best Friend

May - Contracts: Why You Need Them and What to Watch Out For

Jun -  Conventions, Networking, and Professionalism

Jul - Submission Services and the Importance of YOUR Data

Aug - How to be a Good Panelist… or Audience Member

Sep - Reminders on Professionalism

Oct - Social Media Safety

Nov - Promotion in Times of Turmoil

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


2015

Jan - It’s All Connected

Feb - Patience

Mar - Grace

Apr - Death Threats are NOT Okay

May - How to Promote Yourself

Jun - How to Deal with Jealousy

Jul - Be Careful What You Say

Aug - Promoting without Annoying

Sep - Dealing with Disappointment

Oct - Do you Need an Author Platform?

Dec - Hold That Novel

Tags:

Author Etiquette - Dealing with Negativity

by Jennifer 26. December 2017 09:45

Good day dear readers. Welcome again to another Author Etiquette. As the year draws to a close, we’d like to offer you our heartfelt holiday wishes. We know that this time of year is stressful for many, so please take care.

On that note, there’s been quite a lot of tension in the air. Whether it’s because of the holiday stress or other issues, negativity has run rampant in our SFF community. At times, it’s a simple misunderstanding. In other cases, it seems as though there’s a full out war between different people and factions. Sometimes, the two parties can come together and forge stronger relations. In many cases, the negativity is a wedge that drives people further apart.

Negativity is one of those things that can be either good or bad, depending on the context and the recipient. It can be used as a tool to help someone improve their writing, or it can be used to destroy someone’s sense of self worth. Negativity can be both received and given, intentionally and unintentionally.

We will look at several aspects of negativity and how to deal with it.

What is Negativity?
Negativity (adj) is defined as:

  1. The expression of criticism of something.
  2. Expressing refusal to do something.
  3. Lacking positive attributes.
  4. Encouraging or noting an unhealthy or unbalanced outlook on something.

We will concentrate our discussion on definitions 1 and 4.

I’m sure that everyone has dealt with someone who is critical of a specific thing or just about everything. Whether it be your clothing, your writing, or how you speak, that criticism could be taken as constructive for a while, but eventually, it begins to grate on you. Once those people are identified, most people distance themselves or try to have limited contact. The reverse is true if you are the person being critical of others. You might think you are being helpful, but in the long run, you are setting up a situation where you alienate those around you. Or, people do not take your criticism seriously after a time.

In our SFF community, there are people who regularly jump on others, whether for attention, to de-legitimize a position, or other purpose. They often have an unbalanced outlook on certain things. Often they have a small group of supporters who will eagerly jump onto the dog pile once their leader has given them a target. Much of the community tries to avoid those trolls as much as possible.

Where Can Negativity Be Found?
Negativity can be found anywhere: at home, at work, during your commute, in personal correspondence, and especially in online social settings.

Sometimes it’s deserved such as, messing up a work presentation, learning a new crafting technique, or when you said something rude. A quick short rebuke is nothing to be worried about even if it might make you uncomfortable.

Many times the target has done nothing wrong except be female, LGBT, POC, or expressed an opinion that someone else didn’t like. It can escalate quickly from a mild disagreement to cursing, death threats, or worse. This is especially true in social media where people can hide behind false identities to harass the victim. Some people have had to leave jobs, move to another town, and involve the authorities when negativity grows too large.

What to do When Faced With Negativity
Everyone faces brief periods of negativity from time to time. Sometimes it is deserved, but other times you might be the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time. When faced with negativity there are several steps that can help resolve the situation or help protect you and those you care about.

Evaluate the situation.
Have you done or said something that deserves the negativity?

Find out where the negativity is coming from.
Is the negativity coming from an individual or a group?

Evaluate what the other party wants.
Does someone want an apology?  Is there something you can do to make it right? Or are you at the mercy of the storm?

Decide to fight or walk away.
This can be a personal decision or you can ask for legal help or even help from friends and family.

These suggestions can be taken in any order and can be re-explored as new information arises.

Gut Instincts
Many times our first instinct is to fight or argue when faced with negativity. Sometimes it is the right response, but not always. In some cases, arguing with the other party can give them more fuel to use against you.

If you need to write out a response immediately, do so on physical paper, or in a word processing program. This protects you in multiple ways. First, you don’t accidentally hit send at any point while you are writing. Second, you can fully explore your own range of emotions where no one else can see it. Third, you can always copy it over to your social media or email later. Fourth, or you can burn, delete, or shred it if you so desire.

Many times, once you read back over what you have written, you realize your rebuttal will just make things worse.

Apologize
Over the past few months, there have been several letters of apology from companies, celebrities, and others. Some letters have been done well, addressed the issue, and outlined what the person would do to prevent the action from happening again. Others have been less than what they should have been. Every one of us, whether you are working as the mouthpiece of a company or as an individual, has had to apologize for something. For some people, it’s a very difficult thing to do and very few people do it well. If you are the recipient of well deserved negativity, APOLOGIZE. It’s the first step to making things right.

To create a believable apology first you have to acknowledge your action or words that caused hurt to others. If you did it or said it OWN IT. Don’t make excuses. Don’t give people reasons unless you are asked later. Do not at any point try to remove the blame from your own actions. Do not try to justify what you said. Do not place blame on someone else. State what you did or said and say “I’m sorry.”

Next, outline ways you will use to try to prevent the same action from happening again if possible, even if it is being aware of your own actions. If you need assistance with some actions, do call professionals in to help.

There’s nothing wrong with admitting you are wrong and saying you are sorry. It’s better if you also acknowledge what you need to do/avoid in the future.

When to Fight Back
Here’s where things get tricky. As I said before, most of the time, our first instinct is to fight back against negativity. It might not always be a good idea, but sometimes it is. When you receive negativity that is not deserved such as innocence, mistaken identity, or social injustice, you can choose to fight back and there are several ways to do this. However, be aware before you fight back, that it can be exhausting and time consuming and you might be fighting on more than one front.

First, before you start, know what negativity is being tossed your way, who is doing it, and try to get an idea why. Who, what, when,where and why are your best friends in this situation. While you might not be able to plan too far ahead, you can at least choose how you approach the situation. Always remember, when confronting an individual or a group, discuss the ISSUE, never attack the person.

Proof
In some cases, you can defuse a negative situation by offering undeniable proof that negates their claims. Allow the person to review the evidence and hope that they see reason.

Listening
If you’ve ever worked in retail or customer service, you know that sometimes people just need to vent. Usually, you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, but sometimes just acknowledging that you hear them breaks the tension.

Tanking
So I’m taking a page out of some of the best RPG games here. Sometimes you just have to wade in and take the damage in order to get through the other side. It’s hard, it hurts, and you’ll probably need some recovery time later. Pair up with support from family and friends to help you get through.

Fighting negativity can be exhausting and not everyone can do it. For big issues, it’s best to have multiple people taking up the fight that way no one person becomes exhausted. It’s also okay to fight at your own pace. Sometimes, it’s a bunch of tiny little skirmishes that finally brings down a bigger adversary than one large battle.

When to Walk Away
Not every fight against negativity can be won. And not every fight should even happen. There is nothing wrong about walking away from negativity. It doesn't matter if you do not have the time, energy, or desire to fight against it. Walking away does not make you a coward. It means, you just aren’t going to deal with it. It is always your choice.

Even if you have started fighting, you can always walk away at any point. For any reason. At any time. You do not owe anyone an argument, your time, or even your attention. If at anytime you begin to get tired, walk away before you start making mistakes. You can always come back later.

If you are the victim of a negativity campaign, always remember that blocking, unfriending, and muting are your best friends. This way, your harassers are unable to contact you or view your posts.

Your Safety
Simple negativity can escalate quickly. If you are threatened, screenshot and save those files. Posts can be edited on many social media platforms so screenshots could be the only way to verify that harassment and threats have been issued.

While it might seem redundant, do notify your local police department if you have been threatened. Notify the social media platform and provide screenshots of the threats. Do what you need to do to protect yourself.

Unfortunately dealing with negativity is something that many people deal with on a regular basis. We hope that this guide can help you navigate the storms that you face in the future.











Tags:

Apocalypse Ink Productions

A small press publication house specializing in dark speculative fiction.
Join the Google group.

Latest Releases

The Prince of Artemis V
comic book
Buy Now. More Information.

http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/pix/5MinFrontCover200.jpg

Five Minute Stories Podcast
Buy Now. More Information.


The Cross
Cutting Omnibus
Trilogy

Buy Now. More Information.


Famished: The
Gentlemen Ghouls
Omnibus

Buy now. More Information.


Karen Wilson Chronicles
Omnibus

Buy now.
More Information.


AIP Firsts
eBook Bundle

More Information. Buy now.

The Flotsam Trilogy
Omnibus

More Information. Buy now.


The Sheynan Trilogy
Omnibus
More InformationBuy Now.

http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/pix/IndustryTalks200.jpg
Industry Talk

More InformationBuy Now.