Writer Wednesday – John Allen

Who are you?

My name is John F. Allen and I’m an American Speculative Fiction writer who resides in Indianapolis, IN.

What type of stuff do you write?

I write across the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery and Comic Books.

What do you want to pimp right now?

My latest release is a novella titled, “Codename: Knight Ranger”. The book follows the origin of Captain Alexandre “Neal” Du Bois aka Knight Ranger, a former soldier whose unit is ambushed by supernatural forces while in Afghanistan. Du Bois, whose body is destroyed, is the sole survivor and receives a new, superhuman, bio-engineered body thanks to a shadowy government agency. He is then forced to act as an agent of this organization in exchange, while coping with the loss of his unit, being estranged from his family and finding his place in the world as a new man in a world where the supernatural is a reality.

What is your favorite book? (or three)

The Widening Gyre by Robert B. Parker, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley.

Besides the author hat, what hats do you wear?

Editor and Publisher (of my own independently produced works), Artist, Marketing Agent and Mentor.

Where can we find you?

Please visit my website: http://www.johnfallenwriter.com. There are links to my twitter account, facebook and other social media sites I’m affiliated with.

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HOW TO CREATE A WRITER’S PLATFORM AND WHY?

As writers, we’re inclined to devote much of our time in the pursuit of our main objective and that’s to write. Most writers make lousy business people, unless their background is in a business related field.

We are imaginative people who have a passion to create, so we tend to be oblivious to the business of writing. However, one of the first things that writers need to understand is that they can write eight million stories, but if no one knows about them they won’t get published and no one will read them.

There are many reasons that it is necessary for writers to create a platform. The most basic reason is to inform the public—your potential audience—about your writing. However, the concept of a platform is a bit deeper than merely letting people know you’re a writer, it’s also your ability to personally sell books through:

Your own individual merit

Networking—personal and professional connections

Media outlets which can be utilized to sell your books

How well people know you and know of you, is extremely important as it relates to establishing a platform.

Well before I signed the contract for my first novel and short stories, I began using as many resources as I could think of to let people know that I was a writer and I had work to sell!

I instinctively got out in front of creating a platform for myself and my writing. Mostly I was simply geeked about the idea of people reading my work. Now, I am developing, maintaining and utilizing my platform for more focused reasons.

For the purposes of this blog post, I will assume that most of my readers are new writers or those who are just now accepting their calling. Although anyone, at any stage in their writing career needs to create a solid platform—if they haven’t already—and could benefit from the information contained here.

The following is a list of the most basic and common building blocks necessary for creating a platform.

A website and/or blog—the goal is to build and maintain a large and loyal readership

Social media—this is one of the most important aspects of building a platform as it allows for the most immediate and wide-reaching exposure you’re likely to get

Blog posts—this is how you are able to relate your writer’s journey to your readers and help them to learn from your experience(s)

An e-newsletter and/or mailing list—this helps you to maintain your readership and keep them informed of important info pertaining to your writing

Guest post on the blogs of other writers—this is a way for you to broaden your readership and outreach

Memberships in writing organizations—this helps to establish your standing and credibility within the writing community

Media exposure—writing articles for media outlets, public speaking and media appearances (here the BIGGER the better)

While not all of these components are going to be relevant to you and/or necessary, they are the most important to consider. In today’s market and society, a website/blog, mailing list and social media are the three most important building blocks to consider in my opinion. These three components are the ones which will account for the maximum amount of exposure you get and the farthest reaching attention you receive.

It’s important to understand that building a platform takes time and effort.

This doesn’t happen overnight!

Developing a following/readership takes perseverance and dedication. It is a continuing effort which happens daily.

The amount of effort and foresight you put into it, is directly indicative of the gains you get out of it. Simply creating a website/blog and being on Facebook or twitter doesn’t constitute having a platform.

Simply writing your novel or short story isn’t enough. Even getting it to the publisher or self-publishing isn’t enough. You have to establish an identity/brand, own your marketability and work diligently to cultivate your readership with every opportunity available.

In closing, I’d like to encourage any writer—new or established—to consider taking the time and making the effort to build and maintain a solid platform. It is a highly essential component of selling your books/stories and connecting with loyal and well entertained readers.

 

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Writer Wednesday – Stephen Zimmer

Who are you?

I am just a guy who keeps moving forward.  But a major part of me is being a writer.  I love the creative possibilities and the call to living that writing offers to me.  

My works span several genres, from epic fantasy (Fires in Eden Series) , to cross-genre (The Rising Dawn Saga), to steampunk (the Harvey and Solomon tales), to horror (the Hellscapes short story collection), to sword and sorcery (the Rayden Valkyrie stories).  I have a wide range of interests, from practicing martial arts, to a love of history, travel, motorcyles, music and guitar playing, movies and filmmaking, and other activities.  All of it is a part of who I am, but like I said, at the end of the day, I’m just a guy who keeps moving forward.

What type of stuff do you write?

Epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, horror, steampunk and sword and sorcery are the genres I have been published in.  But I do have writing projects developing in YA dystopian and paranormal romance areas, though I do not have a projection just yet as to when I will be able to get those focused on (as I’m working on the followup to Heart of a Lion and the 4th Fires in Eden books right now).

What do you want to pimp right now?

At the moment, I’m touring in support of Heart of a Lion, which is the first book of the Dark Sun Dawn trilogy.  It is hard-hitting, dark fantasy/sword and sorcery that stars my heroine Rayden Valkyrie.  It is very action intensive and I feel that Robert E. Howard fans definitely would love it.  

I also had a brand new release last week, Hellscapes, Volume II, the second in my horror collection featuring tales that are set in various visions/depictions of Hell (hence the title!)

What is your favorite book? (or three)

My favorite book or three is the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  That lit the fire in me at the age of seven.  But we will count that as one and mention a few more.  The Chronicles of Narnia we will also count as one.  The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia were at my foundation, in my childhood, and will always be the root.  Since then, there have been many works that have influenced me, from Clive Barker’s Books of Blood short story collection, to George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, to, more recently, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, which was an amazing read.  

Besides the author hat, what hats do you wear?

I am one of the principle individuals with Seventh Star Press, a small press based in Lexington Kentucky focusing on speculative fiction that has about 20 authors and eighty titles at the moment, including several anthologies.  I am also the founder and director of the Imaginarium Convention, a convention all about creative writing that is held annually in Louisville, Kentucky.  The third year is coming October 7-9 of 2016.  I also serve as a volunteer literary programming director for Fandom Fest Louisville and Tulsa, as well as the Fright Night Horror Weekend.  I am also a filmmaker, and am in the process of developing a TV pilot project based upon the Rayden Valkyrie character.

Where can we find you?

The principle areas I maintain online are:

website:  www.stephenzimmer.com

Facebook:www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7

Twitter: @sgzimmer

Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

Blog: stephenzimmer.blogspot.com

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A Call to Live – The Real School of Writing

One of the core things about writing that I have come to realize and appreciate is the call to live that is inherent within it.  Experience is one of the best teachers out there, and life experience provides an abundance of invaluable lessons for writers.

Getting out and meeting people from all walks of life, traveling to numerous different places, trying out different activities, and taking risks all contribute to the growth of a writer.  From experiencing different kinds of people to different kinds of cultures, life experience offers an education unparalleled for developing your writing.  

A great many writers are introverts, so this is not the easiest path for some, but the rewards for one’s writing are tremendous.  Having extensive life experiences helps you to create realistic characters and cultures.  It helps you bring realism to the action and atmosphere of a story.   It inspires you in an abundance of ways, and even gives birth to new ideas.

Over the years, and now at the stage where I have eleven books in print, I have come to realize that being a writer involves a call to living.  I encourage all writers to try new things, go new places, and meet new people.  I am absolutely certain your writing will be the better for it.

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