Blogs, Author Platforms, and Connecting (pt 7)

Blogs, Author Platforms, and Connecting (pt 7)

By CorporateM (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Last week I wound up wandering off into Twitter scheduling.  This week, I’ll probably wind up wandering a little, but I plan on trying to cover Facebook.  I’m having to make a nod to Tumblr because it is somewhere in between Facebook and Twitter for activity, I just haven’t had a chance to figure out how to play nice with that platform yet.  Same goes for Google +, so if anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears.

Facebook is actually two platforms in one.  There is the profile, which everyone is familiar with.  You get that when you sign up.  And, there is the Author/fan/business page (page for short), which is a connected, yet separate entity.

What I mentioned all the way back in posts One and Two of the platforming series is doubly important for Facebook.  If you don’t remember, please go back and refresh.

Blogs may not be discovered for a long, long time.  But posts on Facebook can, and often do, get shared quickly and it seems the worse they are, the faster they get shared, liked, or commented upon.  Which means any rants, negative or disparaging remarks, or backhanded complements you put out there will find the person they are meant for quickly.  Not only that, but the posts, once liked or shared, cannot be rescinded.  At least with the blog posts, if you delete the post, it creates a dead link.  But, from my experience, on Facebook, even if the post is deleted, some of it remains in the link created when it is shared.

Before you start touting how hard it is to keep things clean and polite, please be aware I DO feel your pain.  I just had to clean up a small mess before it became a disaster because I made a mistake.  I had a case of a panic-induced rant that the person it was about could have identified themselves in.  It wasn’t shared, thank heavens, but it was liked.  And, to make matters worse, it was on my profile, not the author page.  It was not about anything in my author life, which is why it wound up on the more publicly accessible feed.  I’m human too, this proved it, and I hope I managed to get it wiped clean enough not to come back and bite me later.

That is one of the things to be aware of – your profile feed will be seen by anyone who follows or friends you.  Your page has a much more limited visibility.  And so what you post to your profile is out in public where everyone can potentially see it tonight.  What you post to your page might take a day or two longer if you have a large following that is very active.

Let’s break this down into a little more manageable parts.

Personal Profile news feed

One of the biggest pieces I see, time and again, is that Facebook is a SOCIAL site – that means it’s a place to talk to others, laugh, develop relationships, and possible friendships.  So, if all you’re posting is content about your writing, you’re going to start sounding like a broken record.  A BAD broken record.   If you’re posting that type of content on your profile, it can get very annoying, very quickly.

If you can’t brag about, or talk about your writing, and you’re trying to build a platform, what can you talk about?  Well, here’s where you get sneaky.  Everyone you follow posts something.  Some of their posts are interesting, others not so much.  Some are posts you probably should stay away from, unless you want to become known as a snarky, snappish person, and some you should probably stay away from just because it shouldn’t be out in public anyway.  (Honestly, who needs to know you’re taking a dump right this second?)

That still leaves a huge variety of posts you can, and should respond to.  Try not to fill your friends list with only authors, or editors, or cover artists.  Yes, all of these people read, but you are also looking for people who aren’t in the writing business.  A few of the former can benefit anyone, but if you don’t have readers, then sooner or later, you’ll be talking to a saturated market.  The non-writers are the ones who have the highest chance of telling their friends about you, and your wonderful work(s).  Once you’ve started building your friends list, another good idea is to start organizing it.  That way you can keep in touch with friends and family a little easier.  Don’t try to sort out everyone into this list or that.  Just pull out the special interest ones – like your friends and family.  (And, then remember to check it regularly, since their posts are probably buried in your feed somewhere.)

When you are building your friends list, be aware you do not have to accept every friend request that comes in.  There is an option for the person to just “follow” you.  The upside is that if the person has a habit of posting things you do not wish to see, or find offensive, you won’t see their posts.  The down side is that you won’t be able to interact with them, because the information flow is only one way; from you to them.  I tend to limit who I accept friend requests from to those who are either active in the groups I participate in, or who have at least several friends in common with someone I know and interact with.  I made the mistake early on of accepting everyone who asked, and now my feed is full of romance and erotica authors.  And, I don’t willingly read either genre.  Just a word to the wise for those getting started on Facebook, or expanding their platform to Facebook.

Author Pages

I know there are many who swear you need a page, but with the changes Facebook has been instigating, the effectiveness of a page is being heavily restricted unless you are willing to pay, and pay dearly, to have those restrictions lifted.  If you are just starting to expand your platform onto Facebook, I would strongly advise just using a profile with your author/blogger/writer’s name, rather than setting up a separate page.  If you have a page, then you probably know what I’m talking about, and are already struggling to work around many of the restrictions.

The biggest reason to have a page, at least for me, is the fact that I can schedule posts to go out on the page.  For maximum visibility, I do have to share it to my personal profile, but it means I can write the posts in advance and have them set up to go.  Since it is my page, I see when they go out, which is a convenient reminder to duck over and share them.  I usually don’t do that with the blog posts that feed out, however.  And there is a reason for this that I’ll get to in a later post.

As with anything other part of your platform, you have to answer the same basic questions:  What are you posting?  How often do you want to post?  And how much content do you want to create?  Even if you are just sharing content from your blog, you may wish to supplement that with other information, since you’ll have an almost entirely different audience on the other social media platforms.  Again, that’s something for another post.

There are a few other perks that come with the page, but if you aren’t getting much engagement, then they don’t mean much.

 

Once again, it seems I’ve wound up rambling.  I’ll let you go today, so you can experiment with the ideas I’ve provided.  Let me know what worked, or didn’t work for you in the comments.  I’m still learning, and I’m sure there are many tricks that I haven’t even thought of yet.

Until next time, happy writing!

 

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Justine Alley Dowsett Stops By To Visit With The Pukah

Welcome, welcome.  Come on in, and find a comfortable seat.  Today, we’ve Justine Alley Dowsett from Windsor, Ontario Canada down to visit with us.  Justine, do you mind starting us off with a little bit about yourself and where you are from?

  • I’m an author and publisher and one of the owners of Mirror World Publishing.

Do you remember what sparked your interest in writing, and what led you to start your journey?

  • I began writing seriously when I was fifteen.  I wrote two novels while in high school. They were terrible, but great learning experiences. I started writing because all I’ve ever wanted to be was an author.
  • I’ve always read a lot, in both French and English. I can only presume that’s what caused me to want to be an author.
  • My first published book is Neo Central. It’s a YA dystopian science-fiction adventure with a bit of romance thrown in. I wrote it with the help of my sister and a mutual friend of ours. It started as a game actually. We wrote the first draft on a role-playing forum and later through extensive edits, I re-wrote it as a novel.

A fellow gamer-turned-author!  Never expected to meet another one.  Must sit down one of these years and compare notes.  As you progressed through your writer’s journey, do you have an instance that you look back at and say, “There!  That’s when I became a writer.”?

  • A writer, always, but an author… it wasn’t until I had published my first book and was holding the paperback in my hands.

::Chuckles::  Publishing anything is an accomplishment, and to get it into hard copy is even better.  Are you working on any projects that you can share with us?

  • My seventh novel, Unintended launches August 17th! It’s a Shakespearian-style romantic comedy about the unintentional consequences of good intentions.
  • Well, releasing Unintended on August 17th , then working on a top secret writing project while I focus on the rest of Mirror World’s Summer of New Releases. We have a handful more books slated to come out this year.
  • Of course! Here’s the short blurb:
    Four people. Four very different lives. Four tales interwoven.Meet Kenzie en Shareed, the High Clan Chief’s daughter who is sent south to fulfill a treaty by marriage only to marry the wrong man; Kadrean Authier, the Crown Prince who must come to terms with his new bride, even if he doesn’t much like the idea; Garron D’Arbonne, a noble Lord who has been commanded to marry a cool and aloof princess he doesn’t love; and Vivianne Chappelle, a young and ambitious woman who is in love with her abusive father’s manservant and must find a way to avoid having her entire future decided for her.Fate and wills collide in this Shakespearian-style romantic comedy about good intentions and their unintentional consequences.

I’m intrigued by your titles.  Do you have a method to select them, or do they develop organically as you write?

  • I have seven novels… most of the titles are a result of brainstorming, but a lot of the finished novels ended up keeping their working titles. Neo Central is the name of the city the story is based around and Unintended came about as a result of the unintended nature of the story. My sister, who is my co-author, and I didn’t know it was going to be such an unintended success.

With all the reading I’m sure you do as a publisher, has this affected your writing style, or do you manage to keep yours unique?

  • My writing is very focused on the characters and the dialogue. I like both to be believable and engaging. My novels are also pretty much always set in a fantasy setting. I like books that can take you away to other worlds. That’s why I opened Mirror World Publishing, so I could offer just that.

Sounds like you manage to keep your reading from affecting your writing.  Do you have any books or authors who’ve helped shape you into the writer you are today?

  • Anything by Anne Bishop. Her dark fantasy worlds are inspiring. Brandon Sanderson for his action sequences and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon for her romance and sense of realism.

Are any of these someone you’d consider to be a mentor figure for you, or is there someone else to fill that role?

  • David Eddings. His Belgariad series really got me thinking about world building.

I loved that series too.  It sounds like you’ve got a hectic schedule.  Do you find time to read for fun in there?

  • The Family by Choice series by Caroline Frechette. She’s an author and publisher like me, based out of Ottawa, Ontario.

Sounds interesting.  Is she the only indie author who’s caught your attention, or are there others?

  • Many! Mirror World Publishing just took on a whole slew of awesome authors. Sharon Ledwith for one, Rita Monette, Elizabeth J. M. Walker, Matthew Freake… the list goes on. They are all awesome and you can find them on our website. http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com

From everyone that you’ve read to date, who’s your favorite author?

  • Brandon Sanderson, currently. His action sequences and world-building skills are unparalleled. If you like fantasy, I suggest his Mistborn trilogy.

I’ve had someone else recommend that series.  Definitely need to look into it.  Going back to your work, do you ever weave in messages for your readers to find?

  • As with all of the novels we publish, we just want to offer readers a chance to escape the mundane by offering them an alternative world to visit. Hopefully they learn something while there, but that’s not always necessary. My novels specifically tend to share a theme of overcoming adversity.

A message well worth delivering through any media.  Do you ever draw from your own experiences or reality to help give your work an edge of realism?

  • Um… very little of my books are realistic. The characters act like real people would, but the settings and the circumstances are often fantastic.
  • [As for using my experiences:] Only loosely. Sometimes I base characters or character traits on those I have observed in others, but most often everything I write is completely made up.

Do you have a non-family support group to cheer you on when things get rough?

  • It’s still family, but my co-author is my sister. We’ve been through it all together from the first book until now. We are both just hoping that Unintended will be a big success for us.

From where you are now on your writing adventure, do you feel that writing has become your career?

  • Yes and publishing.

If you were to start the journey over again with all the knowledge you’ve gained along the way, would you do anything different?

  • Absolutely not! I love the way Unintended turned out and so did the BETA readers. We’ve gotten some great feedback and I’m really excited about this new release!

What about the challenges you’ve faced along the way?  I’m sure there were more than a few lessons mixed in as well.  Any you can share with us?

  • Not really no. After seven books, I feel I’ve gotten it down to a science. Of course, I’m always learning and improving, but the basic skills are there now. Writing isn’t the hard part, marketing and getting the book to its audience is.
  • Staying focused. It’s all too easy to let a busy lifestyle get in the way, but it’s important to write every day or as near to it as possible to keep your head in the story.
  • [I learned] that I write better when I’m having fun with it. Writing Unintended was a blast and the fun my sister and I had is now filtering through to our readers.

All lessons I think every writer has to learn in their own time.  And, I’m sure many writers have to face sooner or later.  Did you have any challenges with the covers, or did you work with someone to have them designed?

  • Various artists. My favorite to work with is Sara Biddle. www.salizabeth.net. She’s done Mirror’s Hope, Mirror’s Heart and now, Unintended.

Last big question:  What advice would you pass on to your fellow authors?

  • Write every day. Seriously. It’s the best way to stay focused and motivated.

::Looks away a little too innocently::  Hmm?  I do agree, however about keeping your focus when you’re writing.

Justine, thank you for coming over.  Before I close out the interview, any final words for our readers?

  • Give Unintended a chance. I promise you will love it. It’s comedic, romantic and a true escape from reality. Go read it… go on, go. I’ll wait. J

I’ll help spread word as best I can.  Thank you again for stopping by.

If you’ve enjoyed the interview, and wish to connect with Justine, you can find her on the following sites:

Website, Blog (Mirrorworld Publishing), Facebook, and Twitter.

 

 

Blogs, Author Platforms, and Connecting (pt 5)

Blogs, Author Platforms, and Connecting (pt 5)

By JeffreyVromant (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

We’ve been talking about keeping your posts organized.  When you were setting up your blog, you made the decision about what types of posts you’d be making, how often you’d be posting, and where you’d be feeding the posts through to.  If you have an active blog, like I do, there will come a time when you need to start organizing the posts for others to find them.  And, tables are my preferred way.

There are several negatives to using tables, the biggest of which is that it puts another layer of choices between your potential reader and the information you hope they find.  If you are using your blog as a sale point, this can seriously impact your sales.  Recently I came across a statistic that every time you add a choice, you lose somewhere in the neighborhood of 90% of your readers.  That is a rather substantial loss for anyone.  Before you decide to add in a list, table, or other selection point, you do need to take that loss of viewers into account.  Maintaining the tables can also be a big time hog, and so may not be a good option  – even if your posts, post series, or post material are a good candidate for the table format.

The positives for me, however, outweigh that negative.  Because I have so many posts, and I want them to be accessible all the time without anyone having to scroll, and scroll, and scroll, or search and search (hoping they hit the right search string).  The way I set up my tables lets me do that.  Depending on your blog’s theme, adding in tables may be an easy process, or it could take a LOT of work to make them look just right.

I won’t go into how to code the tables, though I’d be glad to discuss it should there be enough interest.  There are several wonderful HTML coding references on the web you can find with a quick Google search.  I’m going to stay on track for how to connect with your readers, future readers, and anyone else who comes across your blog.  (I hope.)

The only reason I bring up organization, is because there are some blogs that unless you know exactly what you are looking for, you will never find it.  And others are so easy to navigate that finding that tidbit of information you need right now falls right into your hand.  Organization is how that comes about.  That doesn’t mean the information you’re posting shouldn’t be engaging (which is a whole other subject I’m still figuring out), but it does mean the content you’re posting can be found easily.

When you are organizing your posts into some type of selection category – either through menus, tables, charts, word clouds, or what ever, you need to make sure the selection options are understandable and relevant.  In a way, this ties back with tagging your posts.  It would make no sense to post a book review under “interviews”, if the interview is the main focus of your post.  Even if there is an interview that is part of the post, not everyone will know that the first time they look for it.  It is acceptable to organize the dual-purpose post under both selection criteria, however.  It allows people to find it either way.  And that is part of making your content accessible.

And that brings me to the last point of this piece of the platforming story.

When you are posting, you CAN choose to have a post serve many purposes.  An example is when I host tour posts for T.J.’s Virtual Tours.  Most often, those posts have a bit about the author, some type of mini-interview, and either a group of reviews, or examples from the book that’s being toured.  A lot depends on what type of tour I’m participating in.  And, it is also a cross connection to other blogs, which helps with overall discoverability for me.

That is a lot of what platforming is – it’s getting yourself discovered.  And, having your content organized so others can access it easily makes that process a little easier.

I think I’ve dropped enough big pieces of information for you to think about for one post.  So, I’ll let you think, and see about following my own recommendations.  There’s a lot of content hidden around my blog, and while some of it I’m keeping “off the radar”, I need to do some maintenance so the rest of it can be found.  Happy platforming, and we’ll see you next time when I’ll dive into the concept of how your blog content can be used to expand your platform.

If you’ve missed the previous installment of the series, you can find it Here and the entire series Here

Jena Baxter Books Blog Hop Featuring Reviewer Brandy Mulder

 

Authors   Prizes   Books   Games

Grand prizes are US only
Welcome to the grand opening of the new JB Bookworms Blog. Haven’t seen it yet? Check it out here. It’s a little late, but Brandy acquired lots of swag for giveaways, and we decided this is the way we want to pass it out.

This blog focuses on showcasing Authors, Events, Reviews, Cover Reveals and Giveaways for Readers, and I’m happy to have Brandy Mulder beside me on this project. She has the floor when it comes to reviews. I post them here and there, but mostly on my other blog, where Brandy will showcase on occasion as well. While both blogs focus on all genre’s, my other blog focuses more on my own posts, and character or YA/fantasy based stories. It also has interviews cover reveals on occasion too.

We also post first chapters and excerpts, so readers can get a sense of the Author’s writing style.

While the blog itself is free, we are signed up with some of the blog tour companies as well. This has kept us busy from the day we started, and it only took a couple weeks for the new blog to catch up with the more personal – character blog.

Note: Individual Authors are responsible for their own giveaways.

International Authors are welcome, but the three grand prizes prizes will be shipped US Only

 

1st Place Winner

Signed WOTR 2017 event tote with all attending authors’ signatures
Castle and Kilts Coloring Book
Model Eric Jacob 8×10 signed photo
WOTR 2017 author scavenger hunt with pics signed
WOTR 2017 bingo card signed
Jane Charles coffee mug
C.A. Szarek ear buds
C.C. Dragon light up bottle opener
Jordyn Meryl “Keep Calm and Dream on” air freshener
Elison Grace pack of tissues
Cheryl Dragon jar opener
Vexed box set character profile card set
Elissa Daye fairy dust necklace
Catherine Winters pen
Shawn Reilly magnet
Craving Soldiers set magnet
Shannon Nemechek magnet
Thunder book cover tic-tac-toe
Laura Hawks key chain
Ava Cuvay wine glass charm, 1 large card, 1 mini preview book
Amy Hale small tin
Jenna Jacobs pin and magnet
I got nailed at the Rusty Nail magnet
Abigail Barnette magnet
Clara Stone magnet
Lynda J. Cox notebook
Claudia Shelton: 2 small cards, 1 cozie
Dawn Brower: 1 small card, 1 small signed card
Drew Elyse: 1 small card
Ryan Michele: 1 small card, 1 signed 1 unsigned bookmark, 1 cozie
Savannah Verte: 1 small signed card
Kaylee Ryan: 1 small card
Catherine Scott: 1 small signed card
Elissa Daye: 1 small signed card
Kathy Lyons: 1 small signed card
A.D. Ellis: 1 small card, 1 large card
Claudia Shelton, 1 small card
Suzan Tisdale: 1 small signed card
Alison Bliss: 1 small card
Jolanthe Aleksander: 2 large signed cards
Jillian Jacobs: 1 signed large card
Lanora Mangano: 1 large signed card
K.L. Kreig: 2 large signed cards
Ashley Hampton: 2 signed bookmarks
Jessie Lane: 1 signed bookmark
Valerie Twombly: 1 bookmark
J.A. Hensley: 1 signed bookmark
Cheryl Brooks: 1 bookmark
Catching Epics series bookmark
Grumpy Cat bookmark
T.M. Cromer: 1 bookmark

2nd Place Winner

WOTR 2017 event tote unsigned
Castles and Kilts coloring book
Chelsea Camaron swag pack
Model Eric Jacob signed 8×10 photo
Linda Gilman hand fan shaped like cowboy hat
Pack of tissues
Miranda Shanklin: 1 cozie, 1 magnet
Lacey Black: 1 cozie
Nancy S Reece: 1 stress star (like a stress ball)
Lisa Hughey: 1 mini hand sanitizer with case
Dakota Trace: 1 small tin
Cheryl Dragon: 1 jar opener
C.C. Dragon: 1 cell phone stand
Elissa Daye: 1 necklace, 1 keychain, 1 magnet, 1 signed medium card
Amy Hale: 1 wine glass charm, 1 small card, 2 medium cards
Teresa Gabelman: 1 rubber bracelet
Turquoise Morning Press: 1 rubber bracelet
J.A. Hensley: 1 rubber bracelet, 2 signed bookmarks
Suzie T. Roos: 1 keychain
Kim Turner: 1 magnet
Shannon Nemechek: 1 magnet
Tessa Maxwell: 1 magnet
Tarina Deaton: 1 magnet
Donna Dull: 2 pins, 1 bookmark
Lynda J. Cox: 1 small notebook
A.D. Ellis: 1 coaster
Jane Charles: 1 shot glass
Rita Sawyer: 1 mini preview book
K. Aybara: 1 signed bookmark, 1 pen
Jessie Lane: 1 signed bookmark, 1 large signed card
Ellis Leigh: 1 bookmark
Deann Drahall: 1 bookmark
Here Waiting bookmark
Maggie Adams: 1 bookmark
Ryan Michele: 1 bookmark
T.M. Cromer: 1 bookmark
Jade C. Jamison: 1 bookmark

3rd Place

WOTR 2017 event tote unsigned
C.C. Dragon: 1 jar opener
Evelyn Lederman band aid holder
Milly Taiden: 1 pen
Tonya Ramagos shot glass
Chelsea Camaron swag pack
C.C. Dragon Coloring book
Model Eric Jacob small signed photo
Isabelle Peterson hand fan shaped like a heart
Elle Boon stiff cozie
Flirty sicker
Heart sticker
Ryan Michele: 1 do not disturb door hanger, 1 mini note pad
Drew Elyse: 1 cozie, 2 magnets, 1 medium card
Teresa Gableman: 1 cozie, 1 magnet, 1 rubber bracelet
Laura Hawks: 1 nail file
Elaine Calloway: 1 highlighter
Lyssa Layne: 1 set playing dice
Eclectic Bard Books chapstick
Elissa Daye: 1 necklace, 1 medium card
Craving soldiers series keychain
Catherine Scott: 1 keychain
Aly Grady: 1 magnet, 1 large card
Lips clip magnet
Alicia Kobishop: 1 magnet, 1 medium card
LaNora Mangano: 1 magnet, 1 signed large card
Bethany Adams: 1 rubber bracelet
Team Ethan rubber bracelet
Ava Cuvay: 1 mini preview book
Tonya Ramagos: temporary tattoo
Bright Brigade series small card
Clara Stone: 2 small cards
Emery Lee: 1 small card
Emily Pearson: 1 small card
Alison Bliss: 1 small card
C.A. Harms: 1 medium card
Devil’s Knight series medium card
Michele Sharp: 1 medium card
Jenna Jacob: 1 medium card
Dawn Brower: 1 signed medium card, 2 unsigned medium cards
Shawn Reilly: 2 signed medium cards, 1 signed bookmark
Mary Martel: 1 medium card
A Familiar Taste of Seduction series medium card
Deanndra Hall: 1 medium card
Jane Charles: 1 signed medium card
Suzan Tisdale: 1 signed medium card
Michele Shriver: 1 medium card, 1 coaster
Dakaot Trace: 1 medium card, 1 signed bookmark
Lucy Kelly: 1 signed large card, 1 bookmark
Melanie Jayne: 1 signed large card
Miranda Lynn: 1 bookmark
Dollhouse series bookmark
Kaylee Ryan: 1 bookmark
Christina L. Rozelle: 1 signed bookmark
J.A. Hensley: 2 signed bookmarks
Valerie Twombly: 1 signed bookmark
Donna Dull: 2 bookmarks, 2 pins
Linda Gilman: 2 bookmarks
Christina McKnight: 1 bookmark
Jennifer Locklear: 1 bookmark
Lacey Thorn: 1 bookmark
Cheryle Brooks: 1 bookmark
Claudia Shelton: 1 bookmark
Alison Bliss: 2 small signed cards
Emily Pearson: 4 small cards
Alicia Kobishop: 1 small card
N.J. Cole: 1 small card
Juls Berghammer: 1 small card
Clara Stone: 1 small card
Ava Cuvay: 1 medium card
Bug series: 2 medium cards
Suzan Tisdale: 1 signed medium card
Jillian Jacobs: 1 medium card
Dreww Elyse: 2 medium cards
LaNora Mangano: 1 signed medium card, 2 large signed cards
Kathy Lyons: 2 signed medium cards
Amanda Mariel: 1 medium card
Fiona Riplee: 2 medium cards
J.M. Walker: 2 medium cards
Jenna Jacob: 1 medium card
Lacey Thorn: 1 signed medium card
1 multi author series medium card
Anna Hague: 1 medium card
Dawn Brower: 1 medium card
Claudia Shelton: 1 medium card
Susan Griscom: 1 bookmark
Miranda Lynn: 1 bookmark
Juls Berghammer: 1 business card
Sarah Noffke: 1 business card
London Hale: 1 business card
Dakota Trace: 1 business card
Clara Stone: 1 business card
Keep Calm pin
Ashley Hampton: 1 cozie
Bound Family series key chain
Sandy Sullivan pin
H. D’Agostino: 1 rubber bracelet
Fiona Riplee: 2 rubber bracelets
Winter Travers: 1 rubber bracelet
Chelsea Camaron swag collection

This is a Blog Hop!


 

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Aaron-Michael Hall Stops By To Visit With The Pukah

 

Welcome everyone.  Today, we have the mysterious Aaron-Michael Hall visiting.  Aaron-Michael, why don’t you get us started with a little bit about yourself, and where you’re from?

  • I was raised in a very small town in the Midwest. Being the youngest of eight left me out of the decision making when it came to selecting television shows or a radio station. It was not a democracy. Instead of fighting with my siblings, I would join my mother and read. She would usually have an Andre Norton book out on the sunporch where the chaos inside was barely noticeable. It is there my love for fantasy grew.

What part of the Midwest?

  • Illinois

With that type of chaos, how did you get into writing?

  • I first began writing as an escape of sorts. I cannot count the number of poems and short stories written over the years. The first I remember is when I was six.
  • It has always been a part of me.

Do you have an instance that you can point to and say, “there!  That’s when I became a writer.”?

  • That is an interesting question. To this day, I refer to myself as a storyteller. I do not follow the rules of “writing.” Instead, I allow myself to get lost in my words. Oft times, I will sit at my computer with my eyes closed, writing the scenes playing out in my mind. Whatever I see and hear gets typed just as it is received. I have always written, but never called myself a writer.

That sounds eerily familiar.  Do you remember the spark that started you on your writing journey?

  • Actually, it was the mundane. I love sci-fi and fantasy. However, it appeared all the fantasy characters were the same. The protagonists looked and sounded alike. I grew weary of not seeing any diversity in the peoples inhabiting these elaborate and wonderful lands. Surely, there was more. When I could not find it, I created it.

Since the characters narrate for you, and you have sought to bring some diversity to the written word, do you have a specific style that you write in?

  • No

What about realism?  Do you deliberately incorporate any, or does it just happen?

  • It just happens. I think a good deal of realism can be found in my novels. In every tale, there is reality. The Rise of Nazil trilogy is no different. There is a lot of dialogue and life altering events.

Do you draw from your own experiences?

  • Not intentionally, no. Albeit, each story is a part of me. As such, my experiences and observations no doubt bleed into every word written.

Can you point to any books that have influenced your life, or writing choices?

  • I knew I would have to answer this question at some point. The truth is I have none to list. I have read interviews where authors list five or six great influences. That is not the same for me. I have read many genres over the years and I would have to say all of them had some influence over the “writer” I have become.

Surely there’s one or two that stand out as favorites, or ones that you look up to as mentors.

  • Michael Moorcock, Octavia Butler, R. A. Salvatore, and R. Scott Bakker perhaps.

Any new authors who have come onto your radar?

  • I have seen a few that I am following. I ordered several eBooks and will delve into them as soon as time allows.

Sounds like you’re busy.  Are you at a point you can share any of your current news or projects?

  • My first epic adult fantasy novel, The Rise of Nazil released in August 2015. The second in the trilogy, Seed of Scorn released in February 2016.
  • The final book in The Rise of Nazil trilogy, Piercing the Darkness is on preorder now (May, 2016) on Amazon.
  • The second trilogy, The Shifter is complete. The first novel in the trilogy, The Shifter: Blood of Oisin is currently with the editor. It is set for release February 2017.
  • I am constantly working with illustrators. It is my plan to have all of the major character’s profiles complete before the year’s end.That works, thank you.  I’m intrigued by your title.  Do you have a method to select them?
  • It just came to me as all of them have.

What about your covers?  Did you do those yourself, or work with someone?

  • I have two great illustrators, Predrag Ivanovic and Losmanto Lo. I design all of my covers, and they create them. Predrag is a saint for putting up with me. I will continue to work with him for years to come.

Please give them my complements.  The artwork is stunning!

If you had to start the journey over today knowing everything you know now, would you change anything in your work?

  • No. My completed work was over 1,200 pages. I have edited it down to just under 700 (after formatting 550). I have made all the changes I am willing to make. It must now stand on its own.

That’s a phenomenal accomplishment by itself.  Does that leave you time to read?

  • I read often and beta read for many indie authors.

When you’re writing, do you weave messages into your work for the readers to find?

  • There are many. However, I will let the reader decide which is of importance to them.

With your series progressing, how do you feel about writing as a career choice?

  • Had you asked me a year ago, that would have been an easy, no. However, much has changed. That is a possibility now where it was not a thought before.

Do you have a support group beyond your family to help with any rough spots?

  • My friends and my sister, Nina most of all. She is an amazing cheerleader and does not hesitate to offer her opinion of my characters. She keeps a list of those she would like to find death and the method she would desire.

What challenges did you encounter while writing your book, and what did you learn as you over came those challenges?

  • The scope is large. There are many multidimensional characters with their own sub-plots. Most are intertwined with the main characters as well. I tend to be very verbose and it is a challenge to lessen the dialogue between them.
  • There are several scenes depicting some heinous events in book I. Violence is never used arbitrarily. If the scene is in the novel, it was integral to the plot and characterization. Those are very difficult scenes to write. Other than that, creating the language was arduous yet enjoyable as well.
  • [I learned] too many [lessons] to list! Writing is a wonderful escape and creating worlds is fascinating. Preparing your work for publishing is an extensive process. I had to learn to “give in” and listen to the professionals you trust and hire to assist you.

From where you are now on your journey, do you have any advice you’d pass down to other up-and-coming writers?

  • Write. It does not matter what anyone may say or think about what is in your heart and mind. Do not allow them to deter you from being true to yourself. Continue to express yourself in the manner that makes sense to you. Not everyone will like what you have written and they do not need to. Be true to yourself.

Aaron-Michael, thank you so much for coming over today.  As we wrap up, any final words for your readers?

  • Yes. Thank you. There are thousands of authors. I appreciate each and every one who has taken the time and interest to read my work. I am honored tremendously when someone tells me they have enjoyed one of my books.

Agreed, Aaron-Michael.  Agreed.  Thank you again, it was fun having you over and clearing up some of the mystery about you.

 

If you enjoyed the interview, and would like to connect with Aaron-Michael Hall, you can find him through his WebsiteTwitter, and Facebook.  And if he’s managed to perk your interest in his books, I’ve linked his Amazon page Here for your convenience.

 

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