Friday, February 27, 2015

The Week in Links 2/27/2015


Fantasy/Sci-Fi/ Horror


International Business Times: Oscar Genre Bias: Why Sci-Fi, Foreign Films And Horror Movies Never Get Best Picture Nominations
Tor.com: Gritty Power/Rangers Fan Film is a Wonderfully Dark Reboot
Tor.com: Oh No, She Didn’t: The Strong Female Character, Deconstructed
There’s been a lot of talk lately in the science fiction and fantasy community about “strong” female characters, with various authors weighing in about how to write them, what they are, and why the term is flawed in the first place.
SF Signal: Special Needs in Strange Worlds: The Best Books of 2014
The reason Joe Abercrombie’s first YA novel fits in on this list is because of its main character Jarvi. He is the titular half a king, dubbed thus because he has a malformed hand, which means he can’t be the warrior he is supposed to be as a son of the king.
Hell Horror: FX's American Horror Story: Hotel Announced by Lady Gaga
Hell Horror: What If John Carpenter Directed Frozen Video
Bustle: Can You Actually Be Scared To Death? AsapSCIENCE's Video Sheds Some Light On The Subject
Fangoria: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s zombie film “MAGGIE” gets dated
io9: The Greatest Advice For Science Fiction Writers: "Ask The Next Question"
jbg News: Pacific Rim 2 Director’s New Film Finally Has A Trailer


Writing and Publishing

(An old post that I just came across this week) Claire Light: Arg. Arg. Arg
"What I want to add to the debate is a small piece of truth that gets glossed over. In response to the complaint of white writers about writing about people of color: "Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t," I want to say: absolutely." … You’re a white writer trying to do the right thing, but no matter what you do, it’s wrong. And that’s so unfair to you, isn’t it? Welcome to a tiny taste of what it’s like to be a person of color."
The Book Designer: Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #53
The Future of Ink: How To Write Fascinating Amazon Book Listings To Sell More Books
The Guardian: Why are so many adults reading YA and teen fiction?
Out:think: 3 Myths About Social Media for Authors
"Social media is not a way to grow your “fame”, it’s a reflection of your fame."
Social Media Examiner: Four Ways to Increase Social Shares for your Website Content
"Images and rich media are driving more results for brands than ever before, so it’s important that your images are appealing and shareable on social networks."
 Karen Woodward: Writing And Gaming: Tabletop RPGs, Character Creation And Conflict
The Creative Penn: Habits Of A Book Junkie In A Digital World
The Creative Penn: Getting Your Self-Published Book Into Bookstores And Libraries With Debbie Young
The Write Life: 19 Quick Ways to Grow Your Author Following on Social Media
Jami Gold: What Scares You about Writing or Publishing?
Publisher's Weekly: Rosarium Bets on Multicultural Novels and Comics
An African-American creator writing novels about African-American characters, Campbell said he was often told that there wasn’t a market for his work. He didn’t buy it. “If you take all the people of color in the U.S. alone, that’s a market of 100 million people, yet a lot of artists and writers are told there’s no market for what you do,” he said.
Nerdy 

Mashable: Leonard Nimoy dies at 83
"Leonard Nimoy, the man who made Spock famous, passed away at age 83 on Friday. Nimoy, an actor, singer, photographer, poet and voice artist who was so much more than just Mr. Spock from Star Trek, was hospitalized in mid-February for severe chest pains."
Hypable: Eight Marvel spinoff shows that need to happen
io9: New Agents Of SHIELD Poster Reveals The Bad Guys Are Gonna Get FREAKY
io9: Watch James Cameron Walk Through His Real Life Avatar Theme Park
The Washington Post: The FCC approves strong net neutrality rules
"The Federal Communications Commission for the first time classified Internet providers as public utilities Thursday, a landmark vote that officials said will prevent cable and telecommunications companies from controlling what people see on the Web."
 Anime New Network: Alas, the Power/Rangers Short Film Is Quickly Disappearing
Anine News Network: Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope Live-Action Fan Pilot Recreates The History of Trunks
Japanator: OP Up! Naruto Edition
"I've forgotten just how many awesome songs were in Naruto openings and I still have them on my music players for some great listening. So let's go take a ninja dash down memory lane for a quick look at some Naruto openings."
 The Mary Sue: Officially Official: Harrison Ford Will Star In The Blade Runner Sequel, So I Guess He’s Not a Replicant
Geeks are Secy Too: Dorkly Comic: How Nerdy Experiences Change Over Time
The Verge: Swatch announces new touchscreen watch with fitness features
The Verge: Amazon wants to fit trucks with 3D printers to speed up deliveries
CNET: Augmented-reality game Ingress arrives on Android Wear watches
Nerdist: What Color is That Dress? 
"the Internet is having a collective freakout over something pretty special — this dress and the picture that depicts it has found a very fine boundary boundary in our visual processing system, which evolved under very specific conditions..."
Nerdist: Daredevil Looking Bloody Good in This New Poster for Marvel's Netflix Series
The Mary Sue: Canary, Firestorm, The Atom, and Captain Cold Series in the Works at The CW as Arrow/The Flash Spinoff

Monday, February 23, 2015

Behind the Scenes: Laying Out a Book

The things you learn when you have to put a book together. Chains of the Sciell is coming out May 26. To start all the heavy pre-publishing buzz and make it available for preorder, I'd like the book to be done by March.

This'll be the second time I'm putting together a print book in InDesign. I've laid out a number of ebooks.

When creating The Sciell (Book 1), I was teaching myself InDesign while teaching myself how to put a book together. For those who use any Adobe product, you know how frustrating it can be to just go in there and try to figure things out. I got so annoyed. In the end, I went to AbodeTV and watched basic tutorials on InDesign.

To learn about print book layout, I picked a few titles off my shelf that are the size I want and examined them--closely. The Sciell is trade paperback 8.5 x 5.5. Chains of the Sciell will be the same.

Some fun things I learned:
  1. Most books have cream colored pages. The only books I own that have white pages are textbooks.
  2. Print books always start page 1 on the right side. 
  3. New chapters start on the right side. They're rarely on the back of the previous page.
  4. In most books, the chapter pages aren't numbered.
  5. Paragraphs are justified. 
  6. Getting the margins right will make you want to cry or throw something.
You don't pay attention to details like this when you're reading, but nearly every book is laid out the same way. I want my books to look professional. 

I did some Googleing and discovered the font of choice for print books is Garamond.

                                  Book Design Quick Tips for Self-Publishers

If you're an indie/hybrid author, you need to follow The Book Designer. It's so helpful. 

I set up Paragraph Styles for headers, chapter paragraphs, chapter titles... Fortunately, InDesign saved them all. If you're laying out a book, create Paragraph Styles. It saves so much time.

Fortunately, I kept the InDesign document for The Sciell. I simply renamed it. Most of the front matter is the same. The title, copyright and dedication pages needed some tweaking.  

This map was a pain. It's too big to put on one page, so I wanted to put it on two. Splitting it down the middle turned out to be harder than I thought. I like how it turned out, though.

I love how InDesign lets you create a Master Page for headers and page numbers. It's fairly easy to edit them inside the document. You don't want page 1 to start on the Copyright page.


Now, I need to add the story, edit the chapter titles and add a sneak peak into Book 3. To make things easier, I'll be creating the ebook at the same time. For the ebook, each chapter needs to be a separate document or else there won't be any page breaks when the document is converted.

In InDesign, an ebook is a bunch of documents collected into one Book. I'm sure there's a way to have everything in one document and have it look right when you covert it. I haven't figured that out.

This way works for me. It makes creating new ebooks easier. The Copyright, Other Titles, and About the Author pages stay the same, mostly. It would be a pain to redo them for every book.


Friday, February 20, 2015

A Round of Links 2/20/15


Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror
Mythic Scribes: Writing Warfare in Fantasy: A Guide to the Battle Scene
BookRiot: Defining The End of the World As We Know It: Apocalyptic vs. Dystopia vs. Spec Fic
Marty Young: The Wonderfully Horrific World of Female Horror Writers
SF Signal: MIND MELD: Our Favorite Horror Novels by Women
Stashed Neill Blomkamp Confirms New "Alien" Sequel; Sigourney Weaver to Return?



Writing and Publishing  
Social Media Examiner: Book Marketing: Wisdom From Seth Godin
Self-Publishing Review: How to Choose Kindle Keywords
Kristen Lamb's Blog: Three NEVERS of Social Media for Writers
Jane Friedman: Start Here: How to Self-Publish Your Book
I Make Up Words: Writing Is Never A Waste of Time
"First of all, if writing gives you pleasure it is NEVER wasted time. NEVER.
I can pretty much recite the utilitarian argument because we see it so much: if you don’t get paid for it, if no one else thinks it is worth money, if you don’t sell X amount or receive Y number of positive reviews, then “you” don’t count."
Minorities in Publishing: Interview with Monica Odom
Publisher's Weekly: CCBC Stats Show Children’s Books Shifting Toward Diversity
Terribleminds: How "Strong female characters" still end up weak and powerless (or, "Do they pass the action figure test?")
The Book Designer: How to Keep Your Fiction Marketing Lean and Focused
When it comes to a fiction readership, blogging is actually much better for keeping attention rather than getting it.
The Portland Mercury: Whatever, J-Franz: Here are the Organizations Actually Addressing Diversity in Publishing


Nerdy
Topless Robot: First Official Image of Jason Momoa as Aquaman!
Nerd Bastards: Kentucky Town Issues Arrest Warrant for ‘Frozen’s Elsa for Record Cold Temps
Anime News Network: Naruto Art Exhibit Promoted in TV Spots
Japanator: Sword Art Online II heads to Toonami
The wildly popular, Sword Art Online will be showing its second season on Toonami next month, starting on March 28th.
Nerdist: Directors Cut: Top 5 Hayao Miyazaki Movies 
CNET: Scientists propose 'cortical modem' implant to give you Terminator vision
"scientists have proposed a "cortical modem" that plugs into your DNA and your visual cortex to cure sight loss and show a heads-up display in front of your very eyes"

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dragons!


Never knew world building dragons could be so much fun.

Stuck in your fantasy story? Try doing some image searches. I want dragons in my latest WIP Devortus Reigns. Never used them before. The creatures need to be different...somehow. On to Pinterest and Google Images.

I already have a Fantasy/Mystical Creatures board.

Follow Auden's board Fantasy/Mythical Creatures on Pinterest.

Wouldn't it be fun to combine a dragon with some other creature!  I saw this one pic that combined a dragon with a butterfly.

I could even pair the beasty with a weapon!

Follow Auden's board Fantasy Weapons on Pinterest.


While searching for dragons on Pinterst, I came across this.
Image Source: World of Designers
This got me thinking. What if this earring was an actual dragon? I could make a tiny dragon that lives on the person's ear. Or, a big dragon that can make itself small enough to live on someone's ear-- or inside some jewelry like a ring.

Follow Auden's board Dragon on Pinterest.

I was stuck with this story. The research gave me a plot idea. I'm thinking one of the characters in Devortus Reigns will have some connection with dragons. Don't know how yet. There's something wrong with the dragons and the character can feel it. Maybe. That's heading into cliche territory.

Don't know what dragons have to do with the world. I like the idea of them being attached to land or a part of structures.
This is so exciting.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tweriod Case Study: When to Tweet

Twitter and Facebook are supposed to drive traffic to my blog. They haven't in years. I actually stopped expecting them to. I share the blog post out of habit. Not the best way to run a marketing campaign. It's all about engagement.

I mentioned in the previous post, A Round of Links 2/13/15, that I attended a blogging webinar. Jane Friedman mentioned traffic source and I asked why Twitter and Facebook weren't driving traffic to my blog . She said it may be the headline, the time of day I share or that I haven't reached my right audience yet.

Working on the headline. I know my audience. I'm having trouble reaching them. How am I supposed to know when's the best time to share?

Social Media Examiner led me to Tweriod.
"Tweriod gives you the best times to tweet. We analyse both your tweets and your followers' tweets. So you can start tweeting when it makes most sense to reach others."
And it's free. I signed in through Twitter and about a hour later, they gave charts detailing when most of my followers were online and the best times to tweet.


They broke it down by day.
And by the hour


They even graphed my mentions by day. 

 Don't know yet if this data will help engagement on Twitter. But, I know more about my Twitter followers. I'm using TweetDeck to help. It's easier to schedule tweets for the right time then remember I need to tweet between 2pm and 3pm, for example. I'll let you know how it goes. Now I have to figure out Facebook.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Round of Links 2/13/15


I attended the webinar How to Blog Meaningfully and Grow Your Audience by Jane Friedman and Writer's Digest University. She said a list of links can drive more traffic to your blog. I've seen other sites do this. I visit SF Signal everyday for their SF/F/H Link Post. My resource pages have the most pageviews.

I enjoy researching and sharing resources. I have a ton of Google Alerts. The amount of content in my Feedly is bananas. Every Friday, I'll post links to interesting/useful posts. If a trailer or fun video comes out, I'll share that too. Enjoy.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Horror

SF Signal: [GUEST POST] Jeff Somers on Magic and Morals
"...treating magic as a force that has no moral quality enriches your characters, because it means that every time they use magic in your story, you learn something about them."
1428 Elm: Ten Must-See Haunted House Movies
Hell Horror: Dave Bautista Cast in Highlander Remake!?
Breathe Cast:  'Poltergeist' Release Date, News: Full Length Trailer Launched for New Movie Reboot [VIDEO]
Bustle:10 Fantasy And Science Fiction Books With Protagonists Of Color
"When the possibilities are actually endless, why do most fantasy and novels revolve around white characters while excluding people of color?
Suvudu: Werewolves, and How You'll Kill Every Single One of Them
Suvudu: Want to Snuggle With George R.R. Martin? 
A Dribble of Ink: A Tribute to South African Science Fiction and Fantasy
A Fantasy Reader: Grimdark Conversations
"The name given to novels where life is represented in a grittier and more 'realistic' fashion? Is it really important?"
Writing and Publishing 

Digital Book World: Scribd Adds 10,000 Digital Comics as Subscription Catalog Hits 1 Million
"With the addition of 10,000 digital comics to its subscription-based content catalog today, Scribd now offers more than 1 million titles across a range of media."
The Book Designer: Turn Yourself Into an Authorpreneur
"If you want to make a living as an author, you need to think beyond writing and books."
The Book Designer: Fiction Writers: How to Find Your Ideal Reader
Social Media Examiner: 6 Ways to Use Short Video for Social Marketing
"From the moment the first movie trailer was released on Instagram, it was only a matter of time until marketers and businesses began to embrace the power of short video—and the ease of sharing it in places other than YouTube."
The Passive Voice: Amazon Giveaway – The First Self-Service Giveaway Tool
University Observer: Literary vs. Genre Fiction: A Class-Based Read?
Techradar.pro: The future of media, and monetising digital publishing
Liv Rancourt: What Makes A Good Romance?

Nerdy

io9: Spider-Man Still Doesn't Need To Be Another White Guy
i09: Watch The Midseason Trailer For Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
 Nerd Reactor: Samuel L. Jackson’s contract is almost up for Marvel
Anime News Network: Which Anime Character Would You Want to Give Chocolates to For Valentine's Day?
Anime News Network: Attack on Titan Gets Arcade Game by Capcom
Nerdist: 6 Movies For People Who Hate Valentine's Day
Geeks are Sexy Too: 50 Shades of Grey: The Über Geek Edition
The Mary Sue: 10 Kick-Ass Sci-Fi/Fantasy Movies on Netflix to Celebrate Valentine’s Day With
CNET: Mattel's View-Master gets a Google VR makeover
"The Internet search giant and the toymaker plan to use Google's Cardboard virtual-reality platform to offer virtual reality, augmented reality and "photospheric" images, using a smartphone as the display inside a plastic View-Master casing."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Writing Book Descriptions


Book's don't sell themselves. A nice cover isn't enough. The description needs to be on point. Please never, ever say, "This story is about." Do not go on any social media and say, "I wrote a book and it's about..." That's boring. It screams amateur. Some people can get away with it. My advice is to not try it. You're writers. Come up with a creative way to describe your story.

I mentioned in the post Bublish Beginning that people are visiting The Sciell's online retailers' but they aren't buying. I'm changing the book's description to see what that does.

Here's the original version.
Darkness isn't evil, just angry.
There's a cage. One made of pure Darkness. It exists inside us all. We control what goes into this Dark Prison, but not what comes out. For years, we've stuffed into this steel void parts of ourselves we don’t like, horrible things others have done to us, unacceptable things we have done. For years, these things have been despised. People fail to realize the raw power within these neglected parts. They're alive and they're angry. We, as the Sciell, can now see them. We feel the power. In exchange for magnificent strength, we give them what all prisoners wish for-escape…and revenge. (Mascenore Tahylur’s journal).
 This knowledge is lost to the residents of Raesul- a village for non-human beings. It was built on secrets- created under a barrier well away from the human world. Raesul is a prison. Those that rule only want to control the residents. The villagers don't know what they really are. Maybe Raesul's destruction will let the Del’Praeli see their true selves. The prison walls are coming down. Darkness is changing. The world will suffer.

Not bad. A bit long. My story's character centered. The description makes The Sciell seem plot centered. 

I like to start my descriptions with a good headline. Most customers skim rather than read entire paragraphs. Don't know when was the last time I read an entire book's description.

It's a sad truth, but majority of the people who look at your description will not read the whole thing.

The tagline snatches reader's attention. It makes the blurb skimmable. And, I can share it easily across social media. I talked about taglines in the post Creating A Message to Entice Readers.

For The Sciell, I have three taglines I want the new blurb to either include or embody.
  • Darkness isn't evil, just angry
  • Their home is a lie
  • Family runs deeper than blood
I started with this rough draft.  
Their home is a lie
Darkness is alive. Humans only see It as evil. They use It to do their vile deeds while feeding It parts of themselves they don't like.
Darkness has power. There are those who use Its power to protect and destroy. They know- Darkness isn't evil, just angry. All It wants is revenge against those that hurt It...every human.

This knowledge is lost to the residents of Raesul- a village for non-human beings. It was built on secrets- created under a barrier well away from the human world. Raesul is a prison. Those that rule only want to control the residents.
The villagers don't know what they really are. Maybe Raesul's destruction will let the Del’Praeli see their true selves. The prison walls are coming down. Darkness is changing. The world will suffer.

Better.  However, it doesn't flow. I like the tagline and the last three paragraphs. How do I fit in "Family runs deeper than blood"? Family is a big part of the story. 
Family runs deeper than blood.
Darkness has power. There are those who use Its power to protect and destroy. They know- Darkness isn't evil, just angry. All It wants is revenge against those that hurt It...every human.
This knowledge is lost to the residents of Raesul- a village for non-human beings. It was built on secrets- created under a barrier well away from the human world. Raesul is a prison. Those that rule only want to control the residents.
The villagers don't know what they really are.
Shade, a half-breed, and her adopted brother and protector, Vayle, are discovering  the lies behind Raesul. Their home is in each other. Shade tries to find herself beyond the bullied half-human. Vayle's only job was to be his baby sister's shield. He trained her too well. She doesn't need his protection. They're lost. Maybe Raesul's destruction will let the Del’Praeli see their true selves, their true purpose. The prison walls are coming down. Darkness is changing. The world will suffer.

Much better. I don't like the flow from the headline to the first sentence. The last paragraph is too fat. It's not skimmable. 
Darkness has power.
There are those who use Its power to protect and destroy. They know- Darkness isn't evil, just angry. All It wants is revenge against those that hurt It...every human.
This knowledge is lost to the residents of Raesul- a village for non-human beings. It was built on secrets- created under a barrier well away from the human world. Raesul is a prison. Those that rule only want to control the residents.
The villagers don't know what they really are.
Shade, a half-breed, and her adopted brother and protector, Vayle, are discovering  the lies behind Raesul. Their home is in each other. Family runs deeper than blood.
Shade tries to find herself beyond the bullied half-human. Vayle's only job was to be his baby sister's shield. He trained her too well. She doesn't need his protection. They're lost. Maybe Raesul's destruction will let the Del’Praeli see their true selves, their true purpose. The prison walls are coming down. Darkness is changing. The world will suffer.

I like it! It's a bit wordy, but you see where I'm going. Writing a description can be fun. I can also be a pain. It's important.
 "If your cover is good enough to grab readers, your back cover copy needs to convince them to buy." 7 Secrets to Writing Persuasive Back Cover Sales Copy (The Book Designer)
Many reviewers said they downloaded my book because of the cover and description. 

The blurb needs to be search engine optimized. Still trying to figure that out.

Here's more on writing book descriptions.
Getting Maximum “Bang” for Your Book Description Buck: an SEO/ Author’s Perspective

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bublish Beginning

Bublish is what  you make it. I talked about a book marketing site in the post Bublish Case Study. My free trial ended a couple of days ago. To recap, Bublish lets you publish excerpts of your work with Author Insights (bubbles) attached. You can share these bubbles on Twitter and Facebook. The book/bubbles are linked to major online retailers so readers can seamlessly go to Amazon, iBookstore, B&N...


Here are my final metrics after 30 days of using the site.

151 Bubble Views
95 Profile Views
45 Conversions (people visited my book's online retailer after viewing my bubbles)

The numbers aren't that high. But, I like that there isn't a glaring gap between them. It's given me good insight into my book. 45 people viewed The Sciell on Amazon, Kobo, B&N and iBooks yet no one bought it. I need to change something.
The cover works. We've tested it enough times. Maybe it's the description. I'm working on a new one. The reviews aren't that bad. I'm still working on that. Maybe it's the price. We'll be running a price promotion since the second book, Chains of the Sciell, is coming out in May. 

Also, I found this interesting. 

Conversion is pretty consistent across online retailers. 

I know I said I probably won't pay for it. I spoke with my publisher, gave her the stats. She said we should try it out.  

We're trying it for a year. It cost 9.99/ month or $99/ year. I like Bublish, but that $99 was a bit off-putting. I don't know if it's worth that much. For $99, I'd like more than the ability to upload more than one book. 

The site says Authorpreneur comes with "Exclusive Programs and Premier Resources." I don't know how to access them. They've emailed to tips and resources. That's not worth $99. It has an epub creator, which is cool. I don't need that since I have InDesign. 

I guess Bublish can be worth it. If those 45 people bought my book, that would've been about $200 in sales.  

Bublish would work amazing with a free promotion. Once Chains of the Sciell is available for preorder, I'll share excerpts through Bublish to, hopefully, drive traffic to online retailers. 

I'm uploading my other books. See what that does. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Editing Out of Order

Multiple POV characters is like having ten voices in your head. I'm worried I got the voices mixed up. Or worse, they all sound the same. Writing ten POV characters is tiring. Sometimes I just throw stuff in because I don't want to deal with them. In the editing stages, how do you make sure the different voices are consistent throughout the novel?

I'm getting comments on Chains of the Sciell from my beta readers. The novel's going through its last round of edits. This time, I'm reading the entire story from one character's perspective, then going to the start and reading it from another's perspective. This way, I can catch any inconsistencies with the voices.

Funny enough, my notes and the Word document make sure reading this way is easy. I didn't plan that.  As I read Chains of the Sciell the first time, I created this chart to keep track of time passing. It has the chapter, the day and the POV character.

Then, in the Word document, I turned each chapter into a Heading to make sure the numbering was in order for the beta readers.
It's interesting reading the story from one character's perspective. I'm starting with Divine. It's like I'm getting to know him all over again!

Since I changed the story's font color to red, the size to 16 and the style to Calibri Light, it's like reading a new story. I'm catching errors I missed during the first re-read. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

My First Panel!!!

Me and snow had a little problem over the weekend. More on that later. Before that nasty blizzard hit Chicago, I had an amazing time at ALA's Midwinter Meeting.


I had one monster of a...let's call it an adventure getting from my home in Brooklyn to the hotel in Chicago. I got lost 3 times.

  1. Once I got off the subway in Queens, I transferred to a bus to LaGuardia. I got on the right bus going in the wrong direction. Ended up back in Manhattan. Such a rookie mistake. 
  2. On the bus going to LaGuardia, I got off at the wrong terminal. Had to take a shuttle to the right one.
  3. In Chicago, I got on the wrong shuttle and went to the wrong hotel. Had to take a cab to the right hotel.
It was ridiculous. It's not like I haven't traveled before.

The flight was...terrifying. Since planes keep vanishing, I was imaging all the bad things that could happen. What was worse. The cabin smelled like fuel. I was freaking out.

At least the hotel was nice. And I had a great view. The weather in Chicago, at the beginning, wasn't that bad. 

Social Media- Instagram
For those on Instagram, travelling pics work. If you're going to an author event or even out of town for fun, take pictures of things outside your window or the airport. If you're on the train, take a nice pic of the track. For ALA, I wanted to do something different. Instead of just posting pics, I created these with Photo Grid- iTunes Google Play. They're travel pics + my reaction to them. They were the most liked of all the pics I posted over the weekend.

 Back to ALA. I was excited for my hair. I always wanted purple and blue streaks.

Hello new profile pic.

I came down with a case of the nerves Saturday morning. As soon I finished dressing, I felt more confident. Funny what nice hair and your favorite outfit can do.

The Midwinter Meeting looks a small BEA with no lines. It's more for networking. People still walked around with handfuls of books.
Aubey released a new book We Are Not The Enemy. I'm happy to say the cover I designed caused people to stop at our booth. Creatives don't often get to see reactions to our work. It was nice to see that the cover worked.

People still like The Sciell's cover! The Chains of the Sciell bookmarks were nice. I took one for myself.

I was there to help manage Aubey's booth. We sold some books, talked to people. It was a good day. 

Mostly, I was looking forward to my first panel. I talked Dark Fantasy and Sci-Fi with Fonda LeeKen Liu and Sabaa Tahir


It was nice seeing my face on the big screen. Even nicer when my face took up half the screen. Good thing I chose a nice pic.

The panelist were awesome. The place was packed. The audience asked some great questions.


Book signing afterwards was even better. I had a line of people wanting my book. From the response, I think I did well on my first panel. 
It was a lot of fun. And I made a business connection. An author self-published a book but doesn't know what to do next. I talked with her a good while about social media marketing and getting reviews.

The adventure didn't end there. A blizzard hit Chicago yesterday--the day we headed home. My flight left on time. My parents...their flights got canceled. The roads were a mess. The airport looked like something out of an apocalyptic movie.

I was already scared and then this happened. I got home safe-- late but safe. My parents are still stuck in Chicago. On top of that, once again, NYC is in the middle of another winter storm. 

For authors struggling to get attention- wondering if your hard work is worth it- keep at it. The Sciell was released last year. The second book is about to come out. My publisher kept suggesting me for panels and they kept getting turned down.