Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

WriYe and Social Media

Catching up, catching up, lalalalala, where is the month going?

Do you use social media for your writing life?

No.

I mean, I do vaguely. When I blog, it copies the link to my Twitter and my Tumblr. But that’s literally about it. I don’t Facebook, I don’t Instagram, I don’t actually interact with anyone. Social media is one of those things that the marketing books say you should be doing, but I find it really unnatural.

I did try to do it more, back in the day–schedule posts, keep up with mentions, etc. Used HootSuite, which is a nice program. But there’s only so many hours in the day, and I don’t have enough or enough brain power to care most of the time.

Are you happy with the way you’re using social media in regards to your writing?

Hm. Part of me wants to say no–that I know I’m not utilizing social media like I’m supposed to, that perhaps all that’s standing in the way of me and breakout success is the number of times I post on Twitter.

But I really don’t care. Did using social media more (and correctly, as per the marketing gurus) help? I mean, yeah, a bit, in terms of followers and networking. But did it ever really connect to book sales? I wouldn’t say so.

A lot of the networking opportunities I have gotten have come through the blog, actually–people seeing my writing here and reaching out for one thing or another. Maybe they saw my post initially on social media, but maybe not. I don’t know.

So, while I guess I’m not “happy” about the way I’m using social media, I’m also not upset about it.

Why or why not?

Oh. Reading the whole post is important, people.

Here’s the deal. For two or three years, I did social media as I was supposed to. I reposted things I thought would be of interest to my ideal reader. I posted several times a day, and I responded quickly when someone mentioned me or responded to something I had posted. I discussed news items in the SFF world, talked about movies and books I liked, reached out to similar authors and collaborated where I could.

Did I get some success from it? Sure. Some. Not a lot. Not enough to justify the amount of time I was spending on it.

Cuz, at the end of the day, while your social media presence can help (or hurt, if you’re a jerk), if you don’t have the books to back up what you’re doing, you’re not going to get anywhere. I don’t put out multiple books a year, and thus far I have no series. It’s hard for me to attract and keep readers. And the way to fix that is to focus more on writing, and worry more about marketing when I have things to market.

Anyway, squiders, hopefully that doesn’t come off as too bitter! Bottom line is that the social media stuff didn’t work for me because I didn’t have anything to link it to–but it might work better in the future when I have other things out.

Any thoughts on social media, squiders?

MileHiCon Recap and Sundry

Oof, sorry, squiders. This week has been crazy pants. Did I tell you we’re replacing our ancient, poorly constructed deck (they put the boards too close together so water just pooled and rotted the boards over time)? Well, we are, and it’s taking more bandwidth than I would have thought.

Also, I started this entry LAST Thursday. Oof. Oof oof oof.

MileHiCon (now two weekends ago) was…mostly good. I saw some people I haven’t seen in forever and got to reconnect, made new friends, and networked in general. That’s always the best part of the con for me, so I’m satisfied in that regard.

In other regards, attendance was way down and so the whole thing felt kind of empty, but I’m not sure that was a bad thing. The con has also moved to a new venue, so it took a bit of getting used to, but I got it figured out.

(Also the elevators are much faster. The elevators at the old con took FOREVER and so if you needed to go anywhere off the main two floors, or if you had heavy books or needed mobility aids, it could take 15 minutes just to catch the dang elevator. A greatly needed improvement.)

I didn’t get as much done as I typically did around panels, partially because of the re-connecting/networking (probably more important in the long run), but I did read about 100 pages of a writing book and do some starting work on my outlining for my novella/SkillShare class (I now have most of the outline done, and about an hour of the class filmed), so it’s not all bad.

Also, I bought an awesome hat.

My panels were okay. The realistic fantasy travel/horse one on Friday I interpreted as being, you know, focused on the “realistic travel” part of the idea, but everyone else focused on the “horse” part of the idea, so it ended up being about horses in fiction in general. I mean, okay, I actually have decent horse knowledge due to being a trick rider in my youth, but I don’t actually like them very much and now I have a bunch of info about horses and other types of travel that didn’t get used. Hmm. Maybe I’ll do a post over here.

Saturday I moderated a panel on self-editing where it felt like I, again, had interpreted the panel content different than everyone else. Self-editing being where you edit your own work, either before you send it out to agents or before you indie publish. All the questions I’d prepared were about the physical nitty-gritty of the process–what steps where, process, checklists, tools, etc.–but my panelists wanted to talk about other aspects. Hopefully it went okay.

I did take the larger, mobile one on Sunday for the Critter Crunch. The 2-lb category was as fun as ever (and larger, mobile one is planning out his critter for next year) but there were only two bots in the 20-lb category, and one was malfunctioning (it kept driving off the side and not stopping, so people had to dodge for their life). At one point they brought out a 20-lb box of rocks that they used for testing their bot against so that they could draw the event out a bit. I mean, they made the best of a bad situation, and we still had fun, but it was a bit disappointing.

I tried to upload a video here for you guys, but apparently video is now a premium feature? Anyway, I found the whole 2-lb battle on YouTube for you (also you can see my feet).

All in all, it was a good weekend, and I’m glad I went. And I’m looking forward to next year! If all goes well I’ll have a new book out, and maybe I’ll get some stuff done for the Art Show.

How have you been, squiders?

Promo: The Message on the 13th Floor by Winter Lawrence

Good morning, squiders! Today I’ve got an excerpt for you from an intriguing sounding novel! (Scroll down to the bottom for the excerpt part.)


YA Paranormal Mystery

Date Published: May 25, 2021

Publisher: Fire & Ice Young Adult & New Adult Books


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When Meghan’s mother suddenly disappears without a trace, she and her two little sisters are the first to notice, and the only ones who seem to care…

The problem, of course, is that her mother likes to party, so when she goes missing, Meghan not only has to take care of everything at home, but she also has to search for her, because her mom has a bad habit of disappearing, so no one else is officially looking. That is until Meghan begins to receive mysterious messages, almost as if someone or something is guiding her to a haunted hotel in Manhattan, where people say an elevator game will take riders to the mysterious 13th floor. Some say it’s an entrance to hell, others a portal to another dimension. Either way, Meghan must brave the game in hopes of discovering the truth behind her mother’s disappearance.



About the Author

Winter is an award-winning author who lives in the moment and loves nothing more than being surrounded by her family, her fur-babies, and a ton of great reads! When she doesn’t have her nose stuck in a book, she’s usually thinking up far away, fantastical worlds or she’s cooking up a storm in the kitchen!

Because of her love for all things literary, Winter pursued a Master of Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Professionally, she is a manuscript editor and, in her spare time, she enjoys posting book and movie reviews.

In her private time, she is an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romances, and one day she hopes to inspire young readers in the same way her favorite authors continue to inspire her today.

 

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Excerpt:

Before we head out to leave, I make a pitstop at the bathroom. As I go about my business, my mind is so acutely focused on where we need to stop I don’t notice the water turning on until it’s on maximum pressure, the hot water coming out in spurts. I quickly finish taking care of business before I hurry over to the sink, my heart pounding painfully against my chest.

“Mom?” I whisper as I search the reflection in the mirror for any sign of her.

Steam begins to form, so I lean forward, waiting for the inevitable message.

A fingertip impression appears, the sight of it causing my heart to race into overdrive. I grab onto the sides of the sink for support, since the sudden rush of blood makes me dizzy. I blink several times to clear my focus, and then I watch on, always in awe, as my mother’s cursive handwriting appears out of thin air.

It says, “Go with him.”

I read those three words several times before I turn to search the bathroom, hoping to catch a glimpse of her once again. “Go with who? Matt?” I’m so tired of the riddles. “Mom…can you…where are you?” I ask, pleading. “Just give me a straight answer and I’ll go to you! Please.” That last part comes out as a sob.

Icy tendrils begin to wrap themselves around my arm, almost as if someone is grabbing onto my forearm and tugging on it. I turn to face the mirror and gasp when I look upon my mother’s beautiful, radiant face. She smiles lovingly and then disappears, the word “Bowery” replacing her image. I reach out to touch it, for some reason hoping I can feel her, but it’s just a mirror, and with the hot water losing steam, the message begins to fade.

~*~*~*~*~

Anyway, squiders, if this sounds interesting to you, check it out!

Making Paperback Copies?

After I posted about Half-Formed Places on Friday, a friend asked if there would be a paperback version of it, which was honestly not something I had considered.

It’s not a terribly long book, but I do know that some people do prefer to have a paper copy of anything, and maybe it would be worth it to make it available to those who want it.

But then I got to thinking–there’s quite a few books I only have out as ebooks. Both short story collections, and all the Writers’ Motivation Books (the workbooks, on the other hand, are only available in paperback). Should I make them all both digital and physical?

Certainly something to think about.

I can tell you why I haven’t. I make most of my own covers, and it is a million times easier to make an ebook cover than a paperback cover. A paperback cover you need to know the exact number of pages, because it’s all one big wraparound file, and there’s bleeding and margins to worry about, and it needs to be a high enough resolution to print clearly–just a lot more things to have to think about and plan for.

(But, Kit, you say, then why didn’t you make ebook versions of the workbooks? That’s a separate but different issue. The workbooks are in a pdf format, since there’s a lot of lines and margins and other things to worry about internally. You can upload a pdf for a paperback book, but you canNOT upload a pdf for an ebook, and I haven’t figured out how to convert the files without everything falling apart.)

Anyway, that’s a lot of moaning, and the long story short is that I’m willing to fight with the covers if paperback versions are something that appeal to people.

So, here’s a poll:

Thanks for your feedback, squiders! I always appreciate your thoughts on these types of things. Otherwise I feel like I’m just shouting into the void, and the void often agrees with whatever I want to do.

Got a new blog series starting next week, so I will see you then!

Promo: An Unwitting Trickster by Kai Strand

Good afternoon, squiders! Got a book promo for you today. Looks interesting!

 


Young Adult Fantasy / Mythology

Date Published: 06-08-2021



Immortal Trickster, Luke, is starting a fresh life in a new-to-him seventeen-year-old body. With yet another lifespan stretched out in front of him, he’s questioning what purpose his endless compulsion to play tricks serves.

Agnar, a Thor look-alike claiming to be his adoptive brother from the planet Asperian, appears to declare Luke has been away from home too long. One problem. Luke doesn’t remember Agnar or living on another planet.

With more questions than answers, Luke cautiously agrees to accompany his “brother” back to Asperian, but the travel portal rejects him, leaving him behind to continue his mundane life of trickery. When interplanetary soldiers show up intent on killing him, he’s forced into hiding and his list of unanswered questions grows.

Will Luke remain trapped on Earth forever, pulling meaningless pranks? Or will he finally figure out his true purpose?


About the Author

Award winning Kai Strand, author of the action packed Super Villain Academy series, is often found exploring hiking trails and snapping pictures of waterfalls in her Oregon hometown. Mother of four, Kai uses her life experiences to connect with young readers. With middle grade works such as Save the Lemmings, The Weaver Tale series, and The Concord Chronicles series, and emotional YA adventures like Finding Thor, I Am Me, and Worth the Effort, Kai has written compelling stories that tweens, teens, and their parents love.

Kai has given numerous presentations in classrooms, to writer groups, and at workshops about her work and the writing process. She loves interacting with teens and gaining their insight on their latest reads as well as what they would like to see in future stories.

To find out more about Kai, please visit Kaistrand.com.


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Half-Formed Places is Live!

Happy Friday, squiders! This week has been more of a mess than I hoped, but I did manage to finished the formatting on Half-Formed Places and get it live on Amazon!

HFP cover

The collection contains four short stories of varying lengths, three of which were published on Turtleduck Press between 2014 and 2016, and one which is brand spanking new.

Now, you may have noticed that this is not one of the covers that I posted last week or whenever it was, though it a combo of the font from the water cover and one of the other images. After discussion with the other TDP people, we vetoed the water cover since there’s no water-related stories in the collection (now, the next one, however…). So it’s a compromise, hooray.

Anyway, the collection is available for a dollar (or the equivalent in your currency) or through Kindle Unlimited. I hope you’ll check it out!

New SkillShare Class Up!

Oof, squiders. I always forget how long the video portion of a class takes.

In my head, every class–and this is my fifth class–the hard part is putting together the PowerPoint part of the class, and the recording part is the easy part.

Well, I guess the recording isn’t too bad.

But the editing of those recordings? Oy.

I think I’ve spent about eight hours on the editing part. My video editor was starting to get REALLY grumpy.

(It is my longest class, at 40 minutes, but 8 hours for 40 minutes? Oof.)

Though, I will admit, it’s generally easier for me to focus on the recording/editing parts. Maybe they’re just more interesting because it’s not something I do very often.

Seriously, though, why do the PowerPoint portions always take me so long? I wanted this class up in March, maybe April. And here we are, in late May. Excellent job, self.

That being said, I’m considering doing a workshop for my next class, one where students follow along with me as I work on something. It’d be less formal, and it would involve no PowerPoint.

Maybe an outlining workshop, to follow up this class (oh, yeah, this class is about types of outlines). I do need to get a novella or two going, so it would be killing two birds with one stone.

(I had an idea for a novella yesterday while I was walking the dog, but I’ve already forgotten it. This is why we write everything down. WAIT NO I REMEMBER)

But it’s done! It’s up!

Work has been accomplished!

Anyway, if you’re interested, the new class is here! And I shall see you guys next week, no matter what.

Help Me Pick a Cover!

Hello again, squiders! Every so often, over at Turtleduck Press, we pull off the older free short stories, and then I gather mine up and release them in a short story collection. The first one, The Short of It, came out in 2017 and included stories from the start of TDP until 2014 (as well as a new story), and the one I’m working on right now will include stories from 2015 and 2016 (and a new story).

Anyway, it’s cover picking time. I’ve made a couple and I’d love to get your feedback on which one you like best!

Thank you for taking a look!

Excerpt: A Season in Whispers by Jackson Kuhl

Good morning, squiders! Today I’ve got an excerpt from Jackson Kuhl’s A Season of Whispers, a new Gothic novel that was recently released.


Gothic Mystery/Horror

Publisher: Aurelia Leo

Date Published: 08-10-2020 / 

Audibook Launch April/May 2021


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In the summer of 1844, Tom Lyman flees to Bonaventure, a transcendentalist farming cooperative tucked away in eastern Connecticut, to hide from his past. There Lyman must adjust to a new life among idealists, under the fatherly eye of the group’s founder, David Grosvenor. When he isn’t ducking work or the questions of the eccentric residents, Lyman occupies himself by courting Grosvenor’s daughter Minerva.

But Bonaventure isn’t as utopian as it seems. One by one, Lyman’s secrets begin to catch up with him, and Bonaventure has a few secrets of its own. Why did the farm have an ominous reputation long before Grosvenor bought it? What caused the previous tenants to vanish? And who is playing the violin in the basement? Time is running out, and Lyman must discover the truth before he’s driven mad by the whispering through the walls.

A Season of Whispers is Jackson Kuhl’s debut novel of Gothic mystery, transcendentalist utopianism, and antediluvian hunger.

 


 

About the Author

 Jackson Kuhl is the author of the Gothic novel A Season of Whispers and the Revolutionary War biography Samuel Smedley, Connecticut Privateer. Kuhl has written for Atlas Obscura, Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, National Geographic News, and other publications. He lives in coastal Connecticut.

 

Contact Links

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Excerpt:

He awoke engulfed in darkness. Stumbling through his mnemonic geography he managed to raise the fire and find and light a lamp. Outside lay impenetrable black and chirping frogs and crickets; Lyman had no conception of the hour but judged he had missed supper at the main house. Resolution would have to abide his stomach until daybreak. He poured himself some water from the jug and washed his face and hands and unpacked his clothes into the dresser. The other bag he stuffed under the bed. With log and poker Lyman built up the fire as high as it would safely go and sat staring at it, and gradually a snowfall of calm gathered in his hair and upon his shoulders, an accumulation of peace he hadn’t known for weeks. Finally he was secure: ensphered in a globe of night on the edges of civilization, as isolated as a Sandwich Island maroon, but not so alone as to be lonely. The purest bred hound, raised on a diet of nothing except dirty stockings and pinpricks of blood on grass, could not track his footsteps from New York to the little stone ruin perched on the periphery of Connecticut wilderness. He wrapped the blanket around his shoulders and dozed again.

The second time he woke to the sound of a violin. He couldn’t have been long asleep. the fire burned brightly; but the night beyond the house had gone silent, with only the scraping of the bow across strings. Lyman lay there a long time, icy needles stabbing him, wondering where the music originated. There was no wind to carry it from the house or some other building. Maybe someone fiddled while walking along the road? An approaching visitor. Then the playing, mournful at first, kicked up to a merry jig, and Lyman jumped to raise the lamp wick and push on his shoes.

He followed the sound from the bedroom to the stairs and descended. It was louder on the first floor, seeming to rise from the boards rather than out-of-doors. When he reached the basement door, it abruptly cut off.

It so happened that the basement door at the top of the worn stone steps, along with the front and kitchen doors, had not been stripped of its iron and thus functioned as intended. Additionally—and Lyman hadn’t thought this odd in the daylight, but now wasn’t so sure—the door was fitted with a crossbar, which, as there was no direct entrance from outside to the basement, seemed unnecessary.

He undid the bar, opened the door, held the lamp high. Nothing but shadow—the light failed to reach the floor below. Neither glimmer of light nor sounding of fiddle note wafted from the darkness.

The flame of the lamp leaned and flickered. Air brushed the hairs of his short beard: a breeze on his face. Something moved toward him at fast speed he realized, something large, its mass pushing the air ahead of it. Even now it noiselessly rushed up the stairs at him.

Lyman slammed the door, shot the bar through its cleat, threw his weight against the wood—steeled himself for the impact against the other side.

None came. After a long moment he looked at his lamp. The flame stood straight as a soldier.

He took a deep breath. Upon returning to his room it didn’t take him long to convince himself he had imagined everything, that the only music had been the cotton of a dream clinging to his sleepy skull. He tossed another log on the fire and lay back on the mattress, listening as the usual players outside again took up their instruments and played him off to sleep.

Virtual MileHiCon Aftermath

Oh my God, it’s Thursday. When did that happen? I swear I didn’t mean to skip Tuesday. I blame the snow day on Monday.

So! MileHiCon happened last weekend. How did it go?

Well, first of all, I felt like my panel went pretty well. Hopefully that’s also objectively true! (It’s up on YouTube, actually.) And the bigger, mobile one was mostly quiet during it, huzzah.

Normally I do 2 or 3 panels per con, and I haven’t moderated before, but I talked to a couple of other people, and it seems like, with the exception of the guests of honor, everyone was down to fewer panels, or only one, in many cases. I think that comes down to fewer “rooms” and the need to space the panels out, so tech issues could be dealt with in between in case panelists were having problems.

Overall, I felt like the con was well run. The addition of a Discord channel for panelists and attendees to continue discussions was a good idea, and it also allowed the staff to provide real time updates, which was essential, especially on Friday, when the website crashed and was inaccessible for about twelve hours. (So it turns out that having multiple ways to access the panels was also a good plan.)

They said, during the closing ceremonies, that they’d sent people to every virtual con they could for the past several months, so they could see what was working and what wasn’t, and the result was a well-run convention with very few hiccups (aside from Friday).

I wish I’d gotten to spend more time on it. As expected, being unable to distance myself from my responsibilities by being physically present at the con made it hard to focus on it. Friday would have been the day I could have focused the most, but the site being down limited what I could do. I was supposed to be manning the chat room on the Turtleduck Press page in the Authors’ Row, but alas, it was not to be.

Saturday was full of real-life activities, and I didn’t even get to sit down until dinner time, let alone do con things. (I made a nice Little Red Riding Hood cloak in twenty minutes flat, which I’m pretty proud of, not going to lie.)

Sunday morning was also busy, so I didn’t get back to the con until about 2 (and closing ceremonies are at 3). I did make the most of it, though–I went through the Authors’ Row and chatted with some of the other authors (nobody’s chat rooms got much use so maybe it wasn’t worth it to have sprung for one), looked at vendors and the costume pictures people had sent in, went to a panel, chatted in the Discord.

So! For a virtual con, it was good! But I much prefer the real thing, and I hope next year we can be back in person.

Other than that, oh man, November starts on Sunday! Planning for my mystery is coming along, but do I feel ready by any stretch of the imagination?

Nope!

I hope you’re having a good week, squiders! I’ll see you next week and next month.