Promoting

Does Social Media Play A Role In Publishing?

Recently, I wrote an article in my ASK AJ column in the All Authors Magazine. You can find out more about the magazine here: All Authors Magazine

Kevin from South Carolina asks:

‘Not too long ago, I decided to submit my manuscript to a publisher.  The potential publisher sent me an email asking how comfortable I was with social media.  I’m familiar with Facebook but I don’t have a Twitter account nor do I particularly want one.  After I answered, I got a response from the potential publisher, citing they are heavily dependent on Twitter for their marketing arsenal.  Should I be willing to compromise in the hopes that I get in or should I withdraw my manuscript for further consideration and try another avenue?’

A great question, especially for anyone new to social media.



Congratulations

First of all, as I often say, congratulations on finishing your work! That is something that cannot be stated enough. It is, and always will be, an accomplishment. Everything after that is where we learn and muddle through the pitfalls and mine fields of promoting and publishing. And let’s face it, there is plenty to be learned, and unfortunately, trial and error are part of that process. 

Submitting your work to a publisher, no matter how big or small, is a big step. You are putting your work out for others to read, critique, and say, yes or no. Being prepared for their words and response is hard to do. And when it’s your first work, it’s new territory and everything, good or bad, seems to fly at us from all directions. But the bottom line is you are ready to get it published, and you have received a positive response from the publisher. 

Benefits of Social Media

In the question for this issue, Kevin was asked by the publisher if he was comfortable with social media. Social media is mainstream on the personal side of life. Each person is different, and what may work for one or many, may not work for others. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest are just a few of the many ways to get the word out, so-to-speak. 

In the business world, social media is important as a marketing tool, and just about every publishing house has a Twitter account. They’ve done the research and made marketing plans based on the product they are selling…books. As the author, I feel it is a good idea to get familiar with twitter, the social media in question. Having an account and using as a business platform for your writing can help generate not only interest in your books, but more importantly, you!

The dilemma here is, should the author compromise and give into something he is unfamiliar and a bit uncomfortable with? – or something he might not want at all. Of course that decision, ultimately, will come down to what the author is willing to do. Jumping into something you aren’t familiar with – when all you hoped for was for a publisher to accept your work and publish it so you can get back to writing your next manuscript – can be a shock, or at the least, a strange turn of events. 

Choices

At the point the author is now, he is faced with making a decision – compromise and work with the publisher on their marketing schemes or withdraw and present the manuscript to other publishers in hopes that there are not any expectations of doing social media marketing in the agreement/contract. There is a third option, to indie-publish your book, but that’s a topic for another day and one I have blogged about in the past. 

From what I gather in the original question, the publisher is asking about the author using social media to market the potential work – potential, being the key word. I get the feeling that the publisher is indeed interested in the manuscript, and they are trying to gauge what the author is willing to do to promote the work. I almost get the sense that they are looking to see if the trio (the publisher, author, and manuscript) will make for a good working relationship. 

Patience

Being that this may be the very early stages of building a partnership between the author and publisher, and well before any negotiations take place, I would say to go along with any suggestions for now, as there is always time to pull away before you sign any agreement. 

I will also assume that you have an interest in the publisher or you may not have sent your manuscript there in the first place. At this stage, I would be patient and see where it leads, rather than withdrawing your work and possibly missing out on a potential opportunity. And in the meantime, you can always pitch your ‘script to other publishers or small presses. 

In this business of writing, it seems that just when you think you are done and ready to move forward, there is always a new, unexpected twist that keeps us from getting to  our next big novel. These twists are part of traditional and indie-publishing, with one of the differences being the freedom of choice you get going the indie route. Both roads have their own pros and cons, but on the traditional side, you have to play by their rules for the most part.

Moving Forward

In closing, instead of making the ‘social media’ subject a deal breaker, it could be worth trying to work out a compromise, or find some middle ground, to make both sides happy. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and keep the lines of communication open. Remember, if they are interested in publishing your manuscript, then you may have a position to negotiate key points in the agreement. But we also have to remember, that a publisher has a business model set for running their business. As we enter their world, as authors, we may have to find our comfort zone within and make it an great experience for our premier novel.

So I say, give it a go, while keeping all of your options open. Once you get comfortable with Twitter, I think you will find it an asset to your writing and marketing plan. Good Luck!

~ALJ~

(image courtesy of museumsandheritage.com)

State of Horror – Illinois/New Jersey

Two separate anthologies – 26 tales of horror! Both will be released on Tuesday, August 26th in ebook and print formats. My story Ritter House, will be part of the State of Horror – Illinois anthology put together by Charon Coin Press and edited by Jerry Benns.

State of Horror: Illinois

State of Horror Illinois coverIn the depth of winter the field lay barren and cold. The remnants of the recent harvest push through the layers of wind-driven snow. Fields are divided by highways and county roads leading to small towns and solitary farms. Hard to imagine this cold, barren place is alive during the summer. Summertime finds the farms full of life as the vast expanses of cultivated fields come alive with towering stalks of corn. At that time of year the heat, oppressive and heavy, rules this domain and is in stark contrast to the harsh desolation of winter.

Driving North on one of the many interstate highways, one would leave the rolling hills near the Kentucky border behind and travel into the river plains of the Midwest. Traversing through the area, small towns dot the landscape with their little houses, fenced yards and front porches, along with streets laid out in perfect grids. The small towns and fields seem to transform as the car moves farther north along the highway skirting the expanse of larger cities that pop up throughout the state. Then arriving at the final destination of the third most populated US city, Chicago, the essence of Illinois is felt with every mile.

Leave the safety of your world behind and travel the highways to the darker side of Illinois. Let your imagination run wild as you weave a tale of unspeakable horror.

TABLE OF CONTENTS  “ “ “ “ “ “

Acknowledgement

IntroductionJerry E. Benns

Out Come the WolvesClaire C. Riley

Ritter HouseA. Lopez, Jr.

Chicago MikeDella West

The Ghosts of MorseJulianne Snow

Drowning in the HazelEli Constant

In Chicago, The Dish Is So Deep, No One Can Hear You ScreamFrank J. Edler

Chicago BluesStuart Conover

My Porcelain MonsterEric I. Dean  115

Piasa RemainsHerika R. Raymer

Vishnu SpringsDJ Tyrer

Dying Days: Great MistakesArmand Rosamilia

What‘s Eating the MobP. David Puffinburger

Seek No Longer the BelovedJay Seate

Author Biographies

 

State of Horror: New Jersey

State of Horror: New JerseyThe wind blows off the Atlantic and the sun beats down on the lotion lathered beach goers while the waves rumble and crash on the shore. Who would have guessed that these beaches once inspired a story that would resonate with moviegoers for decades afterwards. In 1916, a string of vicious shark attacks horrified New Jersey for twelve days, leaving communities shocked and running for the safety of dry land. Later, author Peter Benchley took inspiration from the headlines and penned Jaws, moving the location to New York’s Long Island, but the core of the fear was derived from the Jersey Shores.

The state of New Jersey, bordered by New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, is rich with history as it was one of the original 13 colonies settled, and played a huge part as the country began to take shape. The topology of the state lends a unique opportunity for setting a story, with the northern hills at the base of the Appalachian Mountains and the southern coastal plains. New Jersey is one of the most densely populated areas in the country, however, in a matter of hours, you can leave the cities behind and discover winding roads bordered by green foliage, or get lost in small towns that borders the Atlantic Ocean. The possibilities are endless to weave a modern or historical horror story using the vast settings of New Jersey.

The Pine Barrens of New Jersey holds the legend of the New Jersey Devil, the thirteenth child of Mrs. Leeds, said to be cursed upon birth by his mother and terrifying the countryside for centuries to come. In the original release of State of Horror: New Jersey, authors Scott M. Goriscak, Diane Arrelle, Christian Jensen, and T. Fox Dunham wrote their own twist on the New Jersey legend. Each story by these authors building upon the core legend of the devil, which has been inspiring the imaginations of generations. The upcoming re-release of the State of Horror Anthology will contain the updated versions of these stories and many more chilling tales inspired by the settings of the New Jersey landscape.

Look for these titles and more in 2014 from Charon Coin Press.

All Authors Blog Blitz

Today I am taking part in the All Authors Blog Blitz put on by Y. Correa and the All Authors Magazine. (a very well put-togther magazineyou should have a look)

I am featuring Debbie Boswell on my blog today. She is the author of House of Mirrors

Meet Debbie…

Debbie Boswell has a B.S. in accounting and an Enrolled Agent license (E.A.).  She is also the owner/manager of Crafts by Grace, a cottage industry in which she makes candles, soap and designs T-shirts.  Debbie co-wrote and co-produced her first screenplay, OPEN/CLOSE, through the Brooklyn Young Filmmakers Center.  House of Mirrors is her second novel.  Debbie resides in Brooklyn, NY where she was born and raised.

Here is a little bit about her journey in coming up with her novel, followed by the book trailer…

The first step is always the hardest. 

I was at Grand Central, watching the lunchtime crowd and worrying about a schedule I had to prepare that afternoon.  I’d never done that particular one before and in the anal attentive world of public accounting, perfection wasn’t an option.  I got my head chewed off by a tax manager once for not having the staples aligned evenly on a tax return.  To this day, I can’t staple my income tax return without developing a nervous tic.

As I observed workers hurrying back and forth with their Styrofoam cups or grabbing that quick bite before dashing back to the office, it hit me:  I hate my job.  Co-workers sighing loudly and scratching themselves before the day begins, permanent scowls branded on their faces, the schmoozing, the backstabbing.  This lifestyle wasn’t for me.  I needed to make a change.

I always wanted to work for myself.  I assumed it would’ve been accounting-related, but deep down, my soul was crying out for me to write.  I was writing stories ever since I was a little girl.  I used to get this spark every time our class went to the library or whenever I had to write a story, had art class or rehearsed for the school play.  While commuting to work or during lunch, I was reading books and magazines on how to write a manuscript.  I fantasized about seeing my novels in bookstores, even better, having them made into film!  Oddly, that spark returned during these activities.  I knew then what I wanted and if I wanted to feel that zest for my job again or for life, I was going to have to be true to myself.  I wasn’t an executive.  I was a writer.

However, the pressure to conform overrode my desires.  Fear of going against social mores kept me trapped.  So, I remained where I was, losing pieces of myself overtime, enduring nervousness and emotional abuse in the cutthroat environment of corporate America where I also faced the possibility of fading into oblivion.

Yet something inside of me kept saying, You don’t have to accept this lifestyle.

But fear is powerful.  It prevented me from taking the necessary step to make a changeuntil I got a little push, more like a shove—from a totally unexpected and unrelated incident.  I was figuratively, pushed into a pool without any water.  Devastated, hurt and angry, I took stock of my life and finally found the courage I needed to start living for me.

Gradually, I walked away from the corporate life.  Was it scary?  A little.  Adjustment always is.  Even starting this website is intimidating.  Plus, there’s risk of criticism and rejection.  Then again, I was experiencing that in academia, then in the work world.  Why not go through it while doing what I love:  writing?

Traces of my misadventures in accounting are in my debut novel, Miriam’s Journey.  The turning point I reached after that shove provided some material for my current novel, House of Mirrors, which ironically, which would’ve been my first novel, but after writing the first hundred or so pages, I decided that I wasn’t ready to write this particular story yet, so I put it aside.

The pain that led me to take that first step into writing produced two novels, my own business, Crafts by Grace and a screenplay but that’s another story….

You can also find out more about Debbie here: CraftsByGrace

Night Dreams – The Series Trailer

It’s nowhere near Halloween, but when you write horror, the time  never seems to move or shift out of that month or realm. The calender becomes a place only for projects and deadlines – and, well, a few birthdays along the way. Thus is the life of us all in the writing biz.

That out of the way … I wanted to share the trailer for the series I am currently writing: Night Dreams. The series (serialized fiction) follows a Dream Psychologist, Dr. Joseph Rickettes, who has no choice but to live out the nightmares of his patients in hopes of curing them of their demons. He is bound by the demons in their dreams, while he struggles to make sense of the nightmares that plague his own life.

Each episode is in the 20,000 word range and carries the story from his childhood, when he discovered his gift, to Joseph meeting his wife, Andrea, and beyond.

Enjoy!

Episode One – The Beginning focuses on how it all started for Joseph and how he came to possess his power, or curse, to delve into and live out, the nightmares of others.

Episode Two – Andrea’s Demon answers questions about Andrea’s nightmares and the demon that haunts her. Joseph’s gift is severely tested by the demon out to crossover into the real world and take his wife’s soul. Joseph battles his own demons as his wife, marriage, and life are all put in jeopardy.

Episode Three – Rising Darkness takes Andrea’s story further and into a darker, more evil place, and into a battle with something Joseph never could have imagined.

The complete series will have at least six episodes. Thanks for reading and watching!

~ALJ~

All Authors Blog Blitz: Penelope Silvers

130203-165744I am pleased to have author Penelope Silvers on my blog and as part of the All Authors Blog Blitz. I’ll let Penelope tell you more…

My journey to being an author began many moons ago when my kids were little. When our daughter was about 2 1/2 years of age, we discovered that she was partially deaf. When she was school age and after much discussion, we decided to home-school her. I would work with her at home on speech therapy so that she would not be labeled as a “dummy” and filed away into a program inside the public school system–or worse–send her away to attend a special school for the deaf and the blind.

 I worked with her daily, teaching her to read, write and speak. When her brother was born, he just naturally absorbed the lessons I was teaching to his sister. Once they were both old enough, we began a multifaceted language arts program called “Total Language Plus”, which combined all the language arts into one curriculum through the reading of classical literature (reading, writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.) . I was actually getting an education I realized, for the first time in my life, by teaching my children.

 It was also during this time that I began journaling. I have struggled with depression my entire life, and sometimes things in my life felt so dark and bleak that I didn’t know how to cope. Sometimes, I felt as if I just didn’t want to go on. Journaling, along with prayer, helped me to at least get these feelings out of my head and sorted out in such a way that I could make it through each day.

 Since I was a young girl, I have always been a voracious reader. I used to hide away in my room with the latest “Nancy Drew” book, and found myself swept away by the fun and mysterious stories of Nancy and her pals Bess, George, and Ned. When I began teaching my kids, we had weekly library runs and brought home stacks and stacks of various genres of books to read. We loved finding new mysteries, biographies, historical fiction, non-fiction–whatever grabbed our attention at the time. I always had my nose inside of a book right alongside my kids. I knew that if dinner was on the table, and my daughter was nowhere to be found, she would be hiding out in her room, immersed in the pages of a book.

 I did not consider seriously writing for publication until about seven years ago, when a traumatic life situation sent me back to serious journaling. I wrote and wrote and wrote to again sort out my feelings and combat the depression. I would go back over the journals later, and think, “Hmm…this is pretty good stuff.” I could definitely write a book from this.

 I received an Amazon Kindle for Christmas about three years ago, and became intrigued with digital ebooks. I was also dismayed by the sheer number of garbage books that I was downloading–non-fiction and fiction. The material was weak and there were so many glaring errors in the formatting. I knew I could do better.

 I began the process of investigating courses that taught writers how to write and publish digital books, and the last two years has been spent learning the process of writing for Kindle; the formatting, uploading, and promotion. It has been quite a journey. Not easy, but well worth the time. I decided I would write non-fiction to begin, since that seems to be the fastest type of book to get written. I have several written sitting on my hard drive, but five books are finished and currently up for sale on the Amazon marketplace.

 The book, “Put the Pause in Your Menopause” was written purely as a lead-in to a series of books entitled “Body Revolution Solution.” I had no idea how popular the book would be, and this book has turned out to be my biggest seller.  I set out to write about my journey using the “Body Revolution” weight loss system of Jillian Michaels, and that’s how those books were born. As my husband and I were living this weight loss journey, it dawned on me that the changes I was making to my diet and exercise were benefiting my menopause symptoms. I am a part of several women’s groups, and it breaks my heart reading about the stories of women who are crying out for help and relief. They think that they have to take hormone replace supplements in order to feel good. They are going to their doctors and begging for HRT’s and the fact is, that they are unproven, and can actually provoke more symptoms and cause more problems than they help.  I wrote the menopause book to talk with women about this natural phase of life and how their bodies will respond to natural methods, using diet and exercise for feeling good and looking great.

I am currently working on a recipe book to go along with “Put the Pause in Your Menopause”, a romance novel, and some flash fiction. I hope to have all of these published by the end of July. The journey has been very rewarding, and the work of an author never ends!

Penelope also has a radio show named  Blog Talk Radio. Click here to listen to an interview with her:  Blog Talk Radio

Also connect with her at:

Facebook

Twitter

PhilosBooks

Thanks to Penelope for sharing her journey and story!

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All Authors Blog Blitz Featuring Author Katharina Gerlach

Today I am pleased to feature author Katharina Gerlach through the All Authors Blog Blitz put on at Goodreads by author Y. Correa. Enjoy!

Katharina Gerlach is a writer of Young Adult books and an independent publisher. Living in Germany despite her preference for all things Scottish, she writes fantasy and historical novels in English and German. All of her stories have a slight European flavor.

In my opinion, writing Horror, like writing humor, is much harder than writing any other genre. Things that paralyze me might not be scary for someone else, so naturally I shy from the genre. Unfortunately, once in a while, a story or nightmare pops up that fits the genre. Sometimes I can set it aside, but sometimes the story insists on getting written.
This happened with the story “Wedding Nights” in my two-story anthology

I woke from a nightmare that scared me so much, I had to get it out by writing a story loosely based on the dream. When I finished revising it, I set it aside to never look at it again (I still cannot read the story to this day).

One day, a small German publisher asked me to submit a story to a horror anthology. On a whim, I send this one and it was accepted. That’s the reason why I have a short horror anthology among all my Young Adult and Middle Grade fantasy stories and historical novels.
Whenever another nightmare will force me to write more horror stories, I will add them to the existing anthology. For me, it’s the best way to “get rid” of them, and for some readers it might just be the scare they had been looking for.

I want to thank Katharina for sharing her experience and story with us. As a fan and writer of horror, I can easily relate to this!

Please visit Katharina:

Her Website

Follow on Twitter

Like on Facebook

Author Profile on Goodreads