The Artsy Raven Podcast is on Feedspot’s list of “Top 60 Literature Podcasts”!

The Artsy Raven Podcast was selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 60 Literature Podcasts & Top 10 Canadian Literature Podcasts on the web!

Click on the link I discovered I wasn’t #60 but #36. The list updates automatically based on number of hits. Hopefully over time the podcast will gain more listeners and gain more recognition for the guests on the podcast! Listening to so many authors gives me energy to keep writing as it is a difficult task to write since there is seldom much monetary gains for writers. There are only so many lottery winners like JK Rowling, so please keep your day job unless you have a sponsor!

In episode 26 of The Artsy Raven we spoke with Adam Jonathan Kaat who wrote about his experiences on the grocery retail floor during COVID. In our interview with him, he said he had to publish the book quickly because COVID is a timed event and the traditional publishing cycle takes so long! Episode links here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/ep-26-writing-57308566

Kevin Wong answers “What inspired you to write stories about Hong Kong?” on Artsy Raven Eps 9

Kevin Wong was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia: the same hometown as Sidney Crosby and Sarah McLachlan. He has always loved writing and creating art, and even as a child he was constantly drawing, painting, writing stories, and telling tales to his friends and family.

He answers the question “What inspired you to write stories about Hong Kong?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 9. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.

The Artsy Raven podcast about writing & publishing episodes are on Spotify & Youtube: https://jfgarrard.com/arpodcast/

Kirsten McNeill answers “How do you deal with a negative review?” on Artsy Raven Eps 6

Kirsten McNeill is a writer, editor and business owner of KM Writing Services. She answers the question “How do you deal with a negative review?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 6. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.

Kirsten’s website is https://kirstenmcneill.com

The Artsy Raven podcast about writing & publishing episodes are on Spotify & Youtube: https://jfgarrard.com/arpodcast/

The Idea Shop answers “Why should an author hire a marketer?” on Artsy Raven Eps 5 podcast

Chris Houston, the Marketing Guru of The Idea Shop has over 20 years of experience in book marketing. The Idea Shop is a one-stop shop for fresh new ideas on how to promote creative endeavors of all kinds, from books to podcasts. The Idea Shop can be heard each month on Sauga 960 AM radio.

He answers the question “Why should an author hire a marketer?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 5. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.

To contact the Idea Shop on how your book can be marketed to the world, find Chris at https://theideashop.ca/

The Artsy Raven podcast about writing & publishing episodes are on Spotify & Youtube: https://jfgarrard.com/arpodcast/

I will be a guest at #FIYAHCON 2021 (#BIPOC #Specfic #con) and speaking on panels about #publishing and #marketing! #diversity #diversityinpublishing

During September 16-19, 2021, FIYAHCON 2021 is happening! It’s a BIPOC speculative fiction virtual convention where writers, artists, publishers, editors, marketers and vendors meet up. There are a limited number of free tickets available, do check it out if you have time!

As a guest I will be speaking at two panels:

Different Ways of Publishing – Saturday, September 18th, 2021, Day 2 – 11:40 am EST, Track B

  • Traditional publishing is often seen as the most common way of publishing, but over time, there are other methods: self-publishing, serial publishing, hybrid publishing, etc. This panel will explore different methods of publishing because sometimes getting an agent or traditional publisher may not be possible if the book is considered “too niche” or “unmarketable”.

Strategies on Publicizing Your Book – Saturday, September 18th, 2021, Day 2 – 12:50pm EST, Track A

  • A book is a baby you need to present to the world that is already filled will millions of babies. How do you find your readers? Let’s talk about Kickstarters, PR firms, paid and free strategies you can use to publicize your books.

For these panels I am also a moderator so over the next few days I will be contacting my fellow panelists to brainstorm and to write up speaking notes for engaging panels.

Hope to see you there!


Tools to make an awesome #lowbudget #video for #socialmedia!

Recently I signed up my indie publishing company, Dark Helix Press, to be a vendor at FIYAHCON, a virtual convention centering the perspectives and celebrating the contributions of BIPOC in speculative fiction. (I’ll be speaking about publishing there too, will release details when I have them.)

At FIYAHCON the vendors are setting up a virtual table on a platform called AirMeet which I have never used before. One of the items I needed to upload was a video and I don’t have any book trailers for Dark Helix Press. In the past I made a book trailer for The Undead Sorceress which was ok, but with new tools available, making a trailer now is much faster than ever before! The concept of making a trailer is the same to make any video for social media, once you learn how to make on video, it’s a skill which can be used for lots of creative fun!

The trailer I made below took about three hours, because I was fiddling with fonts/colors/layout and made some custom graphics for the Dark Helix Press Threadless Shop merchandise because I wanted “clean cut” items that would “pop out.” I had to use a graphic editor to do that (did it quick and dirty with the free Paint.net graphic program) because video programs have limited graphics editing capabilities. Note I had $0 budget, but the video looks pretty good for zero dollars!

Steps used to make a book trailer:

  1. List out what you want to put in each “slide” which is really a short video. Pretend it’s a PowerPoint and on each slide think about what message or text you want to convey.
  2. Find videos for each slide. There are a couple of sites you can download free videos, such as Pexels, Pixabay, Mixkit, etc. We used Pixabay.
    • For one video we wanted 14 seconds, but the shot we downloaded was 10 seconds, so we extended the video time by slowing down the speed of the footage.
  3. If you are adding extra graphics to the video, you will need to clean up with a graphics editor such as Paint.net, Krita, Adobe Photoshop, etc. We used Paint.net.
  4. Pick a program to compile the videos – Canva, Filmgora, iMovie, etc. We used Canva.
  5. Upload the videos into the program, add text, music (we used the music provided in the program) and graphics.
  6. In some of the programs you can modify the layout and animate the graphics/fonts.
  7. Upload onto Youtube and publish.
    • Read carefully on the sites where you gathered graphics, videos and music. Some of the licenses ask for attribution in lieu of payment and there may be restrictions on use.

I hope this information was useful to you! After you do it once, the subsequent videos will be easier next time!

Being Inspired by ND Jones’ #African #Fantasy #Romance #Writing! @ndjonesauthor #writinglife #publishing #AfricanAmerican

For episode 22 of The Artsy Raven podcast, I interviewed ND Jones, a USA Best-selling author who has written multiple African fantasy romance series. It was really inspiring to listen to someone has achieved so much on their own and even got her whole family involved! She’s written over twelve books and even started a company which involves her daughter doing graphic design work and her son creating a RPG game based on her work.

One of the reasons why she started writing was because there was a void in the market with positive, sexy, and three-dimensional African American characters as soul mates, friends, and lovers, so she took on that challenge herself. Her book covers look super awesome with strong females on them and I had a good time talking to her about her projects. Although I don’t write fantasy romance, I would like to write more and complete more projects. I have problems finishing things and would like to be like ND Jones when I grow up!

ND is also giving away two e-books (she reads from one of them in the podcast) and a $10USD Amazon gift card to two winners. King Sumo link here: https://kingsumo.com/g/tw9ne1/nd-jones-e-book-and-amazon-gift-card-giveaway-august-16-28-2021-2-winners

Spotify episode link: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4AcPxpL3lpVQQDnGKBXyGS

Youtube episode link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nlcJUicKFE&feature=youtu.be

The Artsy Raven August newsletter is out and we have links to over 40 free fantasy books! Check it out here.

Have a great day!

Learning from a Master #Storyteller and sign up for free #literary events in May! #CoreyRosen #The Moth #BATSImprov #LiterASIAN #writinglife

Today I released one of my favorite podcast episodes (I love all my guests of course) featuring Corey Rosen, an improv artist and “master storyteller.”  He is the San Francisco host of “The Moth” a story telling competition and he wrote a book on how to tell stories recently. In the Moth events you have 5 minutes to tell a story and then get judged: https://themoth.org/storytellers/corey-rosen. One day I’ll work up the courage to participate! Meanwhile listen to Corey on the podcast episode and scribble down his tips because he was very generous in sharing different techniques about storytelling!

Artsy Raven ep 7 Corey Rosen Anchor FM/Spotify link: https://anchor.fm/jf-garrard
Artsy Raven ep 7 Corey Rosen Youtube video: https://youtu.be/3vN_u3KaZwY

For the entire month of May, LiterASIAN 2021 festival is happening! Lots of free events for writers and readers alike, everyone welcomed! Event schedule and signup links here: https://literasian.com/2021-event-schedule/

On May 8, 3pm EST, I’m participating in a panel to talk about self-publishing with Jackie Lau, Diana Morita Cole, Diana Ng, and Cynda Yeasting. We will be doing a short reading and then discussing our techniques on how we self-published our works and how it’s different from traditional publishing. Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_WVpNDY3kRgWR_ZICIFx3vg

Making #3d #bookcovers for #free! How to with link…#indie #publishing #writinglife #selfpublishing #marketing

On some sites I’ve seen 3d covers of books and wondered how people did it. Well, I know I can hire someone or buy software. But being a frugal person I wasn’t sure if it was worth the money so I never tried to do this. Fast forward a few years later and I’m talking to a book marketing person who is asking me about 3d covers.

Doing a Google search I found a website which lets you render a 3d cover for free! Of course it’s not the best quality (the graphic is small in size) and for a small fee you can pay to download the better version.

You will need 3 images in hand before you start: 1) Front cover, 2) spine only and 3) back cover. You can use any graphic program to crop your print book image file into pieces and just save as separate files.

For those who want to test out 3d covers, visit Boxshot which offers a free online program for use as well as better paid options: https://boxshot.com/3d-pack/3d-book/

On this website after uploading the 3 images of your book (front, spine, back), you can move the book around until you find an angle you like and then save the 3d image.

I did a test run for the Belief cover with the free option and it looks spiffy!

Scheming and planning for The Artsy Raven Podcast where writers are the superstars!

Everyday I turn down the chance to promote authors 99% of the time because the magazines I work with have limited capacity for interview pieces. As an author I know that writing is hard work and marketing is even harder. For a long time I pondered how to help these people and finally I decided I should launch a podcast with the writers as superstars!

Whenever I finish listening to an author interview on a podcast, I often want to hear them read. So I thought why not? Let’s make a show to interview authors and then ask them to do a reading!

In parallel my husband is bugging me about how come I didn’t earn enough as a writer and publisher to pay the accountant in 2020. I had thought about Patreon in the past but a combination of self-doubt and imposter syndrome led me to not do it. Under some buckling pressure, I decided to launch my own Patreon page and made an account on Ko-Fi (digital coffee) to hit the goal of paying the accountant next year. I can do a lot of things, but accounting ain’t one of them!

I don’t know if this podcast will succeed or fail. But I am ordering a small cake for the podcast launch from Ginny who is competing on “The Great Chocolate Showdown” on The Food Network Canada right now so at the very least I will have dessert. What’s another five pounds on top of my already gained COVID weight?!

As Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

As my mom says (whenever I start a crowd funding endeavor), “I will give you money, stop groveling and stop writing!” If this was about money, I would have taken her up on her offer a long time ago.

Meanwhile we did make an awesome trailer for The Artsy Raven, please have a look! And so we begin another adventure…