Monday, December 5, 2016

Food in a Post-Apocalyptic World

What can you eat after the world ends? No grocery stores. Trade will be cut off. Even if people have electricity, it won't be available everywhere refrigerators. In The Sciell's Legacy (working title), Book 4 of The Merging Worlds series, the world has ended and now people are trying to survive. How do they keep themselves and their families fed? I've been trying to figure that out.

It's useful to know about real world food even when you're creating a fantasy world. For my stories, I don't recreate everything. Things like apples and rosemary exist.

10 Foods That Will Last Forever In The Post-Apocalyptic World
"Rice has long been a main food source for more than half of the world population. The hearty grain will continue to keep humanity strong and well-fed in the event of a disaster."
 16 Indestructible Foods That Would Outlast The Apocalypse
"Unopened bottles of wine or other distilled spirits can be stored for up to 30 years or more. Some alcohols tend to age and acquire a taste improvement over time, but still require proper storage."
Money in a Post-Apocalyptic World
"Not too far back in our history, spices were worth their weight and more in gold. Egyptians were buried with their spices. Roman soldiers used to be paid in salt."

Water Purification
"Boil polluted water for four minutes. (Make sure it’s a rolling boil) It’s slow, but it works, and can be done anywhere there is fuel for a fire."
Forever Autumn: A Post-apocalyptic Survivor’s Favourite Time Of Year
"Hawthorn trees and hedgerows are also awash with their bright red fruits by late September. Haws are most often turned into jams and jellies, which can then be stored to provide sustenance throughout the long winter months, but you can also eat them raw from the tree."
Another Useful Video

Preserving Your Own Food
"You’ll only going to be able to grow food for part of the year and are going to have to preserve most of that food for use in the colder winter months."
More Resources:
Grains: A Growing Guide

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Week in Links 12/2/16 Netflix, Writerly Gift Ideas, Barnes & Noble

Welcome to the weekly roundup of links for fellow writers and nerds.

Book Marketing and Branding
The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Instagram Profile Everyone Will Want to Follow
7 Tips for Improving Online Sales Using Social Media

Resident Evil 7: Hands-On With Four Hours of Horror and Survival
Bookseller’s Picks: The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of December 2016
The Fate of the Tearling: An explosive ending to our feisty heroine’s story

Writing, Publishing and Bookishness
4 Books to Survive the Apocalypse (and Other Disasters) Christmas Gift Ideas For The Writer In Your Life
Barnes & Noble Opens New Concept Store With Restaurant

Netflix finally lets you download shows and movies to watch offline

Photography and Design
Bookstore Design Hotel in Tokyo

Want to see your post in the next The Week in Links? Email me at The post needs to be published between today, 12/2 and next Friday, 12/9.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Guest Post: Why I Started a Podcast for Authors by Katara Johnson

Hi, Dark Treasury Readers! Katara Johnson here! I had the honor of briefly interviewing Auden on my promotional show for the recent Colors in Darkness Facebook Party. If you missed it, the link will be posted at the bottom of the page. I also will be interviewing her again sometime in 2017 on a promotional show just for her so be on the lookout for that!

Reading has always been a hobby of mine since grade school. Each fiction book takes a reader into the author's world and lets them know what their style is. My favorite genre is the paranormal/sci-fi/horror/fantasy world partly because the creativity and the originality of these genres are endless. Each author can bring his or her own style and can take a reader deep into their world where they do not want to ever leave. 

Social media has made it easier for readers to reach out to their favorite authors and vice versa. I could speak with many authors and express how much I loved their works. I was also able to meet new authors and network with them.

Having an author show is one of the many ways I show my appreciation for all the authors who I won books , prizes, beta read, and just all the great stories I've read.

It was a big step for me to get started. I remember the first time the head of Tru Radio Network BLKGOP announced on his show that I was going to be hosting a show. I thought he was joking around like we tend to with each other on an occasion. However, after talking with him afterwards he said he was serious and my nervous level went sky high. He wasn't the first person that suggested I have my own show so I decided to give it a try. My love for discussing and finding solutions to civil rights and community issues is what made me want to have a show. BLKGOP noticed my author friends were calling in and supporting my shows and he suggested I have an author show and I thought about it and I was like yes!!

Having an author show is another way writers can reach out to their fans as well as fans can call in and talk to the authors. So far, I have 8 individual shows and 1 show where about 10 authors called in. Next year I'm looking to at least double if not triple that amount.

Colors of Darkness Promotional Show

Katara Johnson is a medical professional by day and a radio host and an aspiring writer by nights and weekends. When she is not working or taking care of her family you can catch her with her cell phone in one hand and her Kindle Fire in the other.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Behind the Scenes: Fantasy Book Cover Design

It's always refreshing when you finish a project. I've been meaning to design more premade book covers but never had the time. I finally finished them. Here's a look behind the scenes.

I designed this image for my newsletter subscribers.

 Since I'm turning it into a book cover, I didn't want to use it as is. I changed it.

Finding a companion image was a challenge. I tried different images but the silver dragon kept disappearing into the background. Then, I experimented. I blended two images

and got a surprising effect.

It looks like flames!

The silver background wouldn't work so I changed it to blue.

Alright! Here's the final cover:

Here's a paranormal fantasy cover:

Certain book covers will come in a package.

I designed the horizontal image first then turned it into a book cover. When you buy the cover, you'll get the wide image too.

Visit Aubey LLC to see the latest fantasy and horror premade book covers.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Brand Marketing on Instagram: A Guide for Authors

I've been on Instagram for about 2 and half years, time flies. It's been an interesting experience. I have to say, next to Pinterest, Instagram is one of my favorite social medias. I discovered a cool anime on that site. You can also learn which books are popular. A couple of weeks ago, my feed was nothing but book photos of Six of Crows.

I love taking pictures and sharing them. I went on vacation and took a break from all my accounts except Instagram. My posts get decent engagement, more than Twitter and Facebook. But I'm having trouble retaining followers.

My follower rate on Twitter is pretty good even though engagement is low, one post got 10 retweets but only 1 website click. Facebook is frustrating but it does drive traffic to my blog. But, I have more fun on Instagram and Pinterest. In general, I get more engagement on Instagram. I spend more time there, geeking out with people.

How do I increase my Instagram followers (and retain them)? 

"You can ask for photo submissions that revolve around the theme of your book or you can just use photos to connect to your fans and readers."
Tags like #fiftyshades_of_nature do this. You post photos using that hashtag and the account features the images they like best.

Jane Friedman: 5 Ways to Use Instagram as an Author
"Selections from your upcoming release are always great teases to get readers excited. In the same way graphic designers use pull quotes from a magazine article to grab a reader’s attention, authors can use juicy character quotes, and small bits of narrative to tantalize readers with what’s to come in their next work."
Teasers can be a hit or miss. I shared this teaser:

And it got some good engagement. But I shared this: 

and it wasn't as popular.

Writers in the Storm: Why Instagram Works for Writers
"The ideal posting frequency is 1.5 times a day. Instagram recently changed their algorithm to resemble Facebook’s in that the more you post, the more you’ll be seen."
I post once a day excluding Sundays but I've been thinking of increasing it to twice a day. When I didn't post on weekends I lost followers, which is why I started posting on Saturdays, sometimes Sundays but not often.

The Author Blog: How To Gain Followers On Instagram: The Author’s Guide
"I ask my engaged members of my audience to “tag” their friends who would be interested in what I have to say. For example, I often post content saying “Tag your friends who are writing [Insert genre name here].” It’s practically free advertising."
I've seen this type of post, seems to work. A lot of digital marketing advice says it's okay to ask people to share your content. Tagging is one of Instagram's way of sharing.

Shopify Blogs: How To Build A Massive Following On Instagram
"If you want to tag your photos properly, you'll need to find and use the most relevant hashtags. This means doing the appropriate keyword research to make sure you're using the most relevant hashtags that not only describes your brand, but is also being searched for on Instagram.

To find relevant hashtags, you’ll want to use a free online program like IconoSquare (formerly Statigram) or Webstagram."
I tried Webstagram. It told me which hashtags I used that caused the most engagement. It also told me my top posts. I need to be smarter about hashtags.

Bustle: 21 Tips For Building Your Personal Brand On Instagram & Twitter
"it is good to have an authentic personal style that runs through your posts. Would people be able to pick out your post in a feed and say, "oh, that looks like a [insert your name here] post"? If not, you might want to see if there's a theme — visually or conceptually — that you can really own."
I've noticed this too. Brand with the most engagement have a theme to their content.

What I Noticed
For a lot of content on Instagram, the write-up doesn't match the photo. For instance, someone will post a screenshot from an anime and the write-up will be about how tired they are. I post nature, landscape and cityscape photos while talking about my writing or a show I'm watching. I'm still experimenting.

Other Resources
Instagram Marketing: Your Complete Guide to Instagram Success
A Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing: Get the Playbook That Drives Results for Instagram’s Top Profiles