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!
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.
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:
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.
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!
In the latest podcast episode of the Artsy Raven, I interviewed fifteen year old Rutendo Alyssa-Joy Mushonga. She wrote a book about the bullying she experienced throughout her life, in Zimbabwe and in Alberta, where she currently resides. It was a difficult conversation to have and we did speak longer than planned, because I was so astonished by the trauma and situations she had to go through. Technology is great, but it also leads to cyber bullying which she experienced first hand. With the help of her awesome mother, she published A Farewell to the War Within: A battle with reality this year to share with others what she had experienced and what she has learned.
We are giving away a copy of her ebook and a $10USD Amazon giftcard via a King Sumo raffle Aug 1-14, 2021. Click here to enter.
Recently I finished an op-ed piece and sent it around to major media outlets. It wasn’t picked up by anyone. Naively I thought that since the piece was about a small press publishing a book by Asian writers and finding it difficult to gather in-depth book reviews, this would be an interesting read since a lot of diversity articles only talk about the good things about why it’s needed or negative experiences. The experience I had was a good one, but in the op-ed I wanted to highlight the fact that people are scared about being cancelled, so they can’t comment on anything, which makes it difficult to move forward. Everyone says they want diverse books, but is this really true? Or are they saying this because it sounds like the right thing to say?
As a writer, I wonder about why this piece was rejected. If you are a successful op-ed writer, perhaps you can send me some tips!
Generally, the message in this piece was: sometimes it’s best just to sit down to have a cup of tea and eat together to build relationships going forward. Basically instead of preaching diversity, let’s talk about what we have in common and be friends!
June is Pride Month and on the Artsy Raven podcast we are releasing episodes featuring a LGBTQ author every Sunday. More details available in our June newsletter (click here), including which episode to listen to which has a submission call for short stories. It was great to talk to these authors who all generously shared their challenges and struggles, but despite all this, they all remain optimistic and achieved their goals!
At the end of May we had a book launch for Belief, an anthology featuring Asian authors. I was happy that my 3-tiered cake didn’t fall down and it was a lot of fun baking, even though I’ve lost my sense of smell and taste after the COVID vaccine. Since I take care of my 105-year-old grandma, I get tested for COVID every week and it’s been negative. Anyhow, we recorded the Belief event which can be watched on Youtube here. More details about the book here.
Comedian Josh Williams and I talked a little bit about Belief and other things in life on his One Man Podcast, click here. His podcast is a casual conversation and somehow I impressed him with my talk about the radioactive sandwiches I fed people when I worked in Nuclear Medicine!
I’ve been trying to do more writing by doing writing sprints with an indie author group every Sunday night, but it’s been slow. My brain is still split on weekdays because of virtual school and I can’t write one sentence without the kraken (my child) demanding something. I’m not sure at what age human children become more useful!
For more detailed Artsy Raven podcast episode summaries, they are posted on Patreon and Ko-fi every Sunday.
This morning we woke up early to listen to “The Raw Mike Richards Show” on Sauga 960am which caters mainly to the Toronto area. Once a month, The Idea Shop goes onto the show to promote the latest book releases in the Canadian market.
To be honest I was a bit nervous about what people would think about the book because although I think it’s fantastic, I’m also the gardener who helped plant the flowers, so my perspective is biased!
It was wonderful to listen to the opinion that the stories were like a “box of chocolates” which cheered up the readers during COVID and also brought up memories of the host (Mike Richards) being close to an Asian family in the town they grew up in. Canada’s strength lies in diversity and the ability for people to work together to transform society for the better.
Ed Seaward’s interview and reading with the Artsy Raven is now live. He is the happiest person I know and yet his latest book Fair, is about the violent life on the LA streets. He was a screenwriter, worked in the energy field and now retired from “real work” but is writing novels. He has a lot of good advice to give writers and I consider him a great mentor. Check out our episode below to gain some of his wisdom.
In addition, he is giving copies of Fair along with a $10 USD Amazon gift card. Two winners will each receive one e-book and one Amazon gift card. Enter between April 4-9, 2021, winners will be contacted via e-mail!
Jing Jing Wang is the Co-Networking Director of It’s Real Magazine, an online magazine which focuses on Asian American mental health issues. It’s more than a magazine, the organization is also involved with making documentaries and other community activities.
We had a frank conversation about why it’s so hard for Asian Americans to obtain mental health care and the differences in mental health outlook within our own Asian families although we were both born in North America. Mental health still has a big stigma attached to it within Asian communities although attitudes are slowly changing. There’s even a wiki page on Hong Kong student suicides which explains some factors which include the Hong Kong education system and pressure from families. April first is also coming up in which the famous singer Leslie Cheung jumped from the roof of the the 24th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel, which led to more awareness in the community of the harmful effects of depression.
I assure you the podcast is quite positive as Jing Jing is one person out of many in the Asian community making a difference by making it more acceptable to discuss mental health within society!
an intersectional feminist and artist. On this episode of the Artsy Raven, JF Garrard discusses with them the purpose of It’s Real Magazine, why it’s so hard for Asian Americans to obtain mental health care and the differences in mental health outlook within our own Asian families although we were both born in North America. It’s Real Magazine website: https://www.itsrealmagazine.org/ Jing Jing’s instagram is @jingshiwang01. For more about The Artsy Raven Podcast or to join our exclusive Artsy Raven club to receive free books and other cool stuff, visit: https://jfgarrard.com/arpodcast Remember, Patreon subscribers have bonus content for every episode on the secrets of success! https://www.patreon.com/jfgarrard
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.