Yep, you read that title correctly. The blog will be on hiatus for a few weeks. Deadlines, am I right?
That and I’ll be taking the very first vacation my family has ever taken together. I shit you not. Sure, we’ve gone on “vacation”, but it has always been with extended family, to see extended family, to see friends, or for some specific reason or other.
This will be the first vacation where I’m with the wife and kids only. No one else. First time.
And we get to go see Vermont and Maine, which will be nice! Never been north of Pittsburgh, personally. On the East coast, at least. I grew up in Oregon, so I’ve been from BC to San Diego on the West coast. This should be fun!
But, taking this vacation means I’ll be behind with writing, so no time to bloggy blog until I get caught up. Looking like August or September. I’ll keep y’all posted!
Before I go let me thank each and every one of you for reading this blog, reading my books, and for just being awesome!
Rock on, rocking rockers! See ya in a few weeks!
The Party has returned!
I’m sure everyone noticed there was no Drabble Party last week. 4th of July and all. Shit went boom. Plus there was cornhole. (Note to self: create new erotica genre that Amazon will ban called “Cornhole Boom”.)
But the drabbletasticness of Friday Night Drabble Party is back and better than ever! EVER!
So, sit back with your favorite summer beverage or winter beverage for you folks that live down under. Hell. I’m talking about you people that live in Hell. What? You thought I was talking about New Zealand? Y’all are drinking tea in New Zealand right now. I know that. Because stereotypes make the world go round, yo!
And a billion hamsters at the center of the Earth. They make the world go round too. I wonder what they drink? And since they are in the center, do they have summer or winter? Maybe they live in Hell…
What was I talking about?
It’s the little things that make up this insane world.
Not the big things like food, air and water. No, we shit on those. They obviously don’t matter.
No, sir, life is made up of little things.
A wise man once said, “Don’t sweat the little things because it’s all little things.”
I think it was Snoopy that said that.
So, as I stand here on this ledge, looking down at the ants below -the little things- and I can’t but wonder how not to sweat them. Wise words are good and all, but some instructions would be nice too.
Disclaimer: Don’t sweat it, it’s all good.
Yes, yes, I know I shouldn’t be writing a blog post when I have so many novels to get done. Stop nagging me! Sheesh!
But, I had to talk about this year’s entry into the Asheville 48 Hour Film Project. Every year our team, Team Long Shot, races through a weekend to get a 4-7 minute film made from writing to finished film in only 48 hours. It’s a freakin’ blast!
It all started with us picking our genre from a hat at the kick-off (we got SciFi) then getting our line of dialogue (“It’s your choice. What are you going to do?”), our prop (a bell), and our character (Cedric Peters, gym instructor). These three elements (line, prop, character) have to be used by all teams. It’s the control test to make sure no one shoots footage ahead of time.
Once we had those elements we bopped on over to my place and proceeded to brainstorm ideas. After acquiring a metric hilariton of good ideas to form a solid story foundation, I began writing the screenplay. From brainstorming to finished script was bout three hours. It’s not an easy process, but Team Long Shot doesn’t have an ego in the bunch, so we work fast and efficiently since we leave the drama at the door.
Saturday morning we met at said local park and got to work. There was a slight rain delay, but it didn’t hold us back. We dove right in to get our shots and work on making sure we had enough footage in the can so when it came time to edit, we weren’t short on cut away shots or montage sequences (MONTAGE!).
This year I had a small part. Mainly because I had a summer cold that thrashed my throat, but also because I knew Craig would rock the part of the gym instructor better than I could. And I wasn’t wrong! His delivery was perfect! (Craig’s in the hot pink shorts. Oh, yeah!)
The shoot took about five hours, then there was some food and beer and it was time to edit.
I can’t say enough about Noble Robinette’s directing, cinematography, and editing skills! The guy stayed up all night synching sound to images. He got it all working right then jumped into putting a rough cut together. Then the magic happened!
After working all day on the editing, we finally had a finished project. The deadline was 7:30 and we got it turned in with 11 minutes to spare. It’s crazy how much time just flies by when you are focused on making the best film you can. Zoom! Freakin’ gone!
Then we waited for the premiere screening at the local brew and view! We think it went well since there were laughs in the right places and we actually overheard some in the audience whisper that they wanted to see it again because they missed lines from laughing so much. That’s high praise right there!
Now, it hasn’t been all roses and caviar, ya know. There has been serious drama this year and we as local filmmakers had to step up and protect our turf. It was a community pride thing and I am glad other teams were willing to fight the good fight. In the end, it all worked out and the Asheville filmmaking scene was returned to the peace and weirdness we have always known.
We have no idea what awards we’ll get, and won’t find out until July 17th at the Best Of screening, but we are hoping for Audience Award in our group. If we get it (fingers crossed) then that makes three years in a row. While judges determine who gets Best Picture and all that jazz, it’s the audience we play to. In the end the people watching the film have to be the ones to enjoy it, not a three person team looking to nitpick every detail. We aim to make the public happy and hopefully we did so this year.
Which brings me to the film itself! Want to watch? Then click the link below. It is 100% safe for work, so feel free to share with your cubicle neighbor. Team Long Shot worked their butts off to make this film and we encourage others to get out there and do the same. If you have a local competition then look into it. It is so worth the lack of sleep. Get out there and make some movies, yo!
Well, hello there! Back for some more Drabble Party action? Oh, hells to the yes you are!
Not gonna pimp any books or audiobooks tonight. But I will point you to a guest blog post that Starla Huchton wrote for Views From The Captain’s Chair! If you are a writer and want to know a little about some serious internet marketing campaign fu, then have a read. It’s good stuff.
Now, on to the drabble!
All About The Rules
“It doesn’t specifically say that I’m disqualified if I kill the other contestants,” Jaime smiled. “Read the rules. Sure, I can be arrested, but you can’t disqualify me.”
“It clearly states that if you break any local, state, or federal laws then you are out,” Morgan said, tapping the clipboard that was always clutched in his hands. “Just because you are the last one left alive, does not mean you automatically win.”
“But I haven’t broken any laws until I’m convicted,” Jaime insisted. “Innocent until proven guilty.”
“He’s right,” Stanford sighed. “Give him the damn trophy. Then call the cops.”
Disclaimer: Sometimes it’s more about the spirit of the thing.
Once again, I have a guest! I would like you all to welcome Starla Huchton to the Captain’s Chair!
Want to know a little about Starla? YES, YOU DO!
A geek of all trades, Starla Huchton has been crafting stories in various genres since 2007. Her first novel, The Dreamer’s Thread was released as a full cast audiobook podcast, becoming a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards. After releasing short fiction of steampunk, noir fantasy, and other varieties, she released the first three books of the Sci-Fi Romance Endure series in 2013. All three books of the Evolution series will be released in 2014, as well as a Steampunk Fantasy novel, Master of Myth (the Antigone’s Wrath series, book 1), which was the first place winner of the Crested Butte Writers’ contest, The Sandy, in 2012.
When not writing, Starla trains three Minions, a black lab, and a military husband whilst designing book covers for independent authors and publishers at Designed By Starla.
Now, how’s about we get into the post itself? It’s a good one and one every author should read and pay attention to. Enjoy!
The Digital Marketing Mystery
At Balticon on Memorial Day weekend, I spent the entirety of Saturday on panels talking about marketing stuff. I knew from the previous year that so much of that audience had never heard of some of the marketing techniques that were old news when I started writing in the romance genre. After last year’s obvious knowledge gap, it became my goal to share some of these digital marketing tools so that other authors might be able to take advantage of some of them. As others have helped me on my authorial journey, I’m compelled to pass this on to others, sharing knowledge as it was shared with me. Because I’m blessed with knowing so many fantastic authors, they’re generous enough to let me tiptoe onto their platforms sometimes to do this. Thanks, Jake!
That said, here are a few things I’ve done in the last year that could easily be transferred or modified to fit any genre of book:
1) Teaser Tuesday. Every week, authors share little snippets of works-in-progress, upcoming releases, or existing releases, usually under the #TeaserTuesday hashtag. Sometimes it’s an entire first chapter, sometimes it’s a single scene, sometimes only a paragraph. This can be done on a blog post or Facebook or Google+ for longer excerpts, but for something shorter for Twitter, there’s the handy dandy…
2) Teaser picture. This is a fun visual that romance writers use to whip their readers into a slight frenzy. This is exceptionally true for follow-on books in a series. For romance, you see a lot of hot guy/girl photos, but not always. Essentially all you need is an interesting image that’s applicable to your story and a short snippet of text from it, along with pertinent book information (title, author, release date if it’s not out, or a sale price if it’s on special somewhere). Even if you’re not a Photoshop expert, there are free and easy tools to accomplish this. Canva.com has free backgrounds and tons of other tools to do this on the cheap, but if you’re uploading your own image to the background, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHTS TO THE PHOTO. Just because you can find an image for free on Google, doesn’t give you the right to use it in an advertisement.
Here are examples of my teaser pictures, including one I did for a scavenger hunt for a Facebook event using canva.com for something quick (last one).
3) Facebook events. Authors and bloggers will create events on Facebook for new releases, cover reveals, book release anniversaries, or even reaching however many likes on their Pages. This is an excellent opportunity to get your name out in front of someone else’s audience who might be interested in your work. Now, I don’t mean you show up to these things and start spamming the event with buy links. The way it works best is if you’re offered a “guest host” slot. These typically range from 10-20 minutes and they fly by fast! When I participate in these events, I work up a few posts to share in advance. One, an intro post about me and my connection to the event’s creator. Two, a “contest” where I post a game of some sort (since I’m pushing superheroes right now, I make it a fun question like asking about favorite superhero pickup lines or what superpower they would want), from which a random winner is chosen from the comments to win a prize from me (typically an ebook or something like bookmarks or magnets or all of the above). Third is a post with a link to the book I’m currently promoting, with something engaging to say to the audience. There are two things that will engage an audience with almost certainty: humor and things on the steamy side. Unless you’re writing romance, I’d probably go with humor. Fourth (if there’s time for it), I post a teaser picture (see above), tailored to the audience. The last thing I post is a thanks to the host and a link to somewhere the attendees can find me, usually my Facebook Author Page. Keep in mind that you should plan to be there both before and after your time slot to get the audience interested before you promote, and hang around to respond to comments when you’re done. I do these things because I enjoy them, but readers love getting to know the creators of the books they’re reading. It can be time-consuming, but if they’re emotionally invested in you, they’re more likely to give your book a chance.
4) Connect with other authors. These people can help you grow your audience by sharing your releases, covers, and other interesting things related to you. I’m not telling you to find these people for the singular purpose of leeching off of their audience (this is way gross, so don’t), but if you’re genuinely interested in who they are, what they do, and how they do it, spend time getting to know them. Make friends. If they like you, and they think your work would appeal to their audience, they’re far more likely to lend you a hand. The key here is building a relationship. It’s important. And always, always be on the lookout for any ways you can help them, too (both in advance and in return). Lift as you climb. Share knowledge. I can’t tell you how huge a difference one new connection can make, and you never know who will see your name. Make sure your first impression is a good one. Basically, just be nice. People are stronger together than on their own.
5) Find something of wide interest and tie it to your books. I post a lot of superhero stuff (it helps I’m interested in it anyway), to the point where a lot of my author/reader/blogger friends have started tagging me for anything and everything superhero related on Facebook and Twitter. I’m not complaining about being branded as “the superhero girl”, especially as that pertains to the series I’m releasing the last of in July, but it makes me chuckle every time. It doesn’t really feel “gimmicky” to me as I honestly like the shared things, so if you go that route, don’t force it. If you’re writing an entire book on the premise of futuristic tech, or horse breeding, or a certain historical period, chances are you’re interested in that anyway. Share the odd things you research. Whatever that interest is, make it yours, and let everyone know about it.
Those are the biggest things I’ve done in the last year that have had real, measurable results. It’s basically all about engaging and interacting with people. Approaching them humbly and presenting something interesting or funny will get you far.
And don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’d be amazed at what the people around you know. I’m always up for sharing what I know with others. You can find me any time, in any of these places:
My blog: http://www.starlahuchton.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Starla-Huchton-Author-Page/255657227797465
And there we have it, folks! That’s some solid advice and examples of what can work. Every author is different, and every author’s circle of fans and readers is different, but in this day and age it’s best to be knowing a little more about the digital domain of author/book marketing. Try some of this out and see how it works for you.
Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.
Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.
Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.
He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Bethany and the Zombie Jesus, Stark- An Illustrated Novella, and the forthcoming YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, and Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).