Tagged: anime

Getting On the “Write” Side of People—Writer’s Etiquette

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Yes, I know that pun in the title was cheesy.  Getting on the “write” side of people?  Seriously…

But anyway, what does all that mean?

Today, I want to briefly share my thoughts about writing etiquette…meaning the way you approach other writers, particularly through the blogosphere.

A lot of the time, we are excited about our own ideas and writing endeavors.  And that is great.  We should be.  If we aren’t excited about what we’re writing, how can we expect others to be?  We think we have totally awesome, unique stories, with attractive, relatable characters, twisted villains, crazy relationships that work out in the end…and we want to share our joy with others.

It’s totally common.  Don’t ever beat yourself up for wanting to share and express your excitement for your own creativity.

Buuuuuut…..

That doesn’t mean you should be shoving yourself in other people’s faces.

tired squidward

When you constantly try to promote yourself…

Look, I get it, we all want to promote ourselves.  Heck, we would all like to be PAID for our ideas, our stories, our hard, written work.  Money is tight when it comes to writing, because you’re either a self-published author (like me), or your an aspiring author waiting for an agent or publisher to get back to you.

It seems like all of our problems will be solved if we simply earn ourselves a nice fat following.  The goal is to have an audience that is so in love with your book, they love it as much as you do.  But how do you go about OBTAINING this audience?

The Wrong Way

“Hi, I’m so-and-so.  I just wrote a book that I think you’ll love.  Would you mind following me so you can get all the updates on my story?  Thanks!”

Bliiiiaaaaaaaaaahhhhh….

The first time you see a comment or email like this, you might be like “Oh, sure!”  But by the tenth time or so, you’re like, “Seriously?” :/

To a degree, I think it’s always fair to give people a chance.  If they want you to check out their book, you might as well do it…give them points for reaching out.

But the problem is, it’s annoying, or even rude, when someone makes a comment on one of your posts that is COMPLETELY unrelated.  In fact, it’s sort of like someone being like:

“I found a new blog.  I’m going to pitch my book to them!”

The problem with this attitude is that it creates a sense of CONSUMERISM.  Everyone is out to get something, but no one wants to give.  No one cares about community.  It’s all about, “Hey, look at me!”

Everyone might be checking each other’s books out, but nobody will be SEEING.

The Right Way

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If you have to pitch your book to someone, if you feel so inclined, be polite about it.  Seriously.  Validate the fact that you might be annoying them, that you aren’t trying to bother them.  Essentially, be human, not some promotional robot.

However, the best way to gain the audience you want and surround yourself with people that are interested in your ideas is to be a PART of that community you desire.

Nothing can be gained without something being given first.  You don’t have to watch Fullmetal Alchemist to believe that 😉

If you want an audience that’s crazy about you, find some people you are crazy about.  Find other bloggers who like the same things, read the same things, and are fighting for the same things.  I have discovered this by entering a community of aspiring writers…which, believe me, is a very big part of the blogosphere!

Become a part of a community.  Comment without wanting something in return.  Like a post without doing it to be noticed.  And follow people out of genuine interest.  What’s more, write about more than just yourself.  Promoting your ideas is great, but it can be annoying to see an endless stream of somebody else’s dream showing up in your inbox.


I hope this post wasn’t offensive to anybody, and I hope it helped enlighten some of you!  Thanks for being a great community!


Another subtle way to promote yourself is to do what I’m doing 🙂

I’d like to show you the cover of my book, and provide a link to where you can find it on Amazon (99 cents as an eBook, $12 as a gorgeous paperback):

Check it out, if you get the chance 🙂

A Writer Is Not…

i-am-a-writer

A writer is not scared.  He or she can’t be.  We have to be willing to accept the challenges, the looks, the inner and outer demons, in order to truly say that we are writers.

We all get doubts.  Is this career even possible?  Will I ever go anywhere with my writing?  Will anyone want to read my stuff?

pay attention

A writer is not scared.

A writer is also not alone.

Every single day can feel like agony if you convince yourself that you’re alone…but you’re not.  WordPress is a great place to make acquaintances with other writers and build a community.  It’s hard to be a writer and feel like you are your only fan, you’re the only person looking out for you, you’re the only person going through all the struggles.  Well, you’re not.

A writer is not alone.

A writer is also not a cry baby.

Look, nobody likes criticism.  But, in the words of my father, criticism is the only way that we can truly grow.  As writers, we need to be critics of ourselves; we have to be willing to let go and change what we’ve done, even though it hurts to do so.  We have to be willing to listen to others, take advice, and be humble when an editor says “This is crap”.

A writer is not a cry baby.

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A writer is also not a quitter.

So many writers…MOST writers, I daresay, could’ve quit.  They could’ve said “You know what, I’m too busy.  I can’t make time to write.”  It’s so easy to make excuses, it’s so easy to just forget about it for one day, or resign ourselves to the belief that it’s not possible.  We’ll never finish the book, we’ll never get a contract, no one will like us.

Lies.  All of them.  If you are a writer, than you cannot be a quitter.

A writer is not a quitter.

Or a cry baby.

Or alone.

Or scared.

Now get out there and do it.  Write!


So I wrote a fantasy novel!  It’s called Elithius.  It’s only $0.99 on Amazon Kindle, and only $12 as a paperback.  You can check it out here.  You’re welcome.

elithius-cover-official

Cover art by Elizabeth M

Modern Fantasy vs. Traditional Fantasy

Although it is certainly not the most popular genre in literature, fantasy is still a prevalent concept to this day.  New authors are emerging with intriguing worlds and systems of magic, and it seems like the influx of new ideas and creativity is boundless.

But which is better, modern fantasy or traditional fantasy?  What’s the difference?

Traditional Fantasy

What comes to mind when you hear “traditional fantasy”?  Probably The Lord of the Rings.  Why?  Because J.R.R. Tolkien has been called the “father of modern fantasy” (which means his type of fantasy is technically old, but it just paved the way for modern fantasy).

Image result for lord of the rings art

The Lord of the Rings was one of the first stories that had a truly unique world, a world with its own history, diverse cultures, races, secrets, etc.  Even if you aren’t a fan of Tolkien, you have to appreciate the sheer greatness and vastness of Middle Earth.  To this day, all the works of Tolkien haven’t been deciphered and published…a job which has been passed down to Tolkien’s son, Christopher Tolkien.  It’s incredible that an elderly man could have such a crazy but fantastic imagination!

Image result for lord of the rings art

As is evident by the pictures I’m using, people go crazy for the world that Tolkien created.  Something that I think a lot of people are impressed by is how well Tolkien contrasts light and darkness, the forces of Good and Evil, without sounding preachy or sugar-coating anything.  Although, in my opinion, the books themselves are not fantastically written, the STORIES of Middle Earth are fantastic and beautiful.

Okay, yeah yeah, Tolkien is great.  But what’s unique about his literature, giving it the title “traditional fantasy”?

Well, like a lot of old stories (aka, classics), the Lord of the Rings is written with a sense of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.  According to the Ancient Greeks, particularly the philosophers, art was meant to reflect the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

The work of art should reveal to the viewers the Truth…so that they people might understand the Good…and, in doing the Good, they might obtain what is Beautiful.

Isn’t that awesome?

And the Lord of the Rings does this by pitting Good versus Evil against each other, by showing how wonderful Light is against Darkness, by creating heroes and stories that are truly empowering to those that witness and read them.

This is what makes traditional fantasy unique and treasured.  Pick up The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Once and Future King, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.  It is from these stories that we obtain the idea of fantasy, and, in light of the True, Good, and Beautiful, what fantasy is meant to be.

Modern Fantasy

Modern fantasy both has and lacks some things that traditional fantasy lacks and has.  For instance, modern fantasy is very entertaining.  Pick up Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (sometimes called the Modern Tolkien), or the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, and you’ll find these books are very entertaining.  Usually, the pacing is a lot faster.

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Some good things about these books is that the characters are more relatable.  They have flaws.  It’s not that the characters in LOTR do not have flaws, it’s just that the characters are not as “down to earth”.  They don’t struggle as much, or their flaws just aren’t as apparent or human.

Contrast that with the heroes of Mistborn or The Mortal Instruments.  These characters are more down to earth.  They have relationship issues, identity issues.  Things that people struggle with on a day-to-day basis.  This is good; it helps people connect better with the characters they are reading about, it might even help them overcome similar problems.

Image result for the mortal instruments

However, from what I’ve read, what do modern fantasy stories lack (sometimes)?

The True, the Good, and the Beautiful.

Sometimes, I get the sense that authors are trying to justify their own problems through their characters by allowing the characters to be heroic even though they aren’t truly True or Good.  This can obscure a story from becoming Beautiful.

It’s not just fantasy; take a look around you.  Standards aren’t too high anymore for a “hero”.  They can drop somebody dead without thinking, steal, and act out of vengeance and still be paraded about.  Who cares if they sleep around, kiss three different boys, etc?

There can just be a lack of depth to the writing too, as if Modern Fantasy does nothing to challenge the reader to think about life’s big questions.  There is less of “what does it mean to be human?”  “what is truly evil and truly good?” etc.  It’s simply all about “what happens to this characters, the choices he or she makes, etc”.  And then we are left with the uncertain feeling of what’s right or wrong, or even believing (in error) that there is no right or wrong.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter!  Are there any modern fantasy stories that impress you?  Fail to live up to expectations?  Let me know in the comments!

As luck would have it, I have written my own fantasy novel!  I would love to hear how it makes you feel and think.

Is it a good modern fantasy novel?  On Kindle, it’s only $0.99!  I know you have 99 cents to spare, so the only reason you wouldn’t buy it is because you’re lazy!  And you don’t want to be lazy 😉

Click here!

elithius-cover-official

Cover art by Elizabeth M

Get. Up.

The following 225-word scene is a sneak-peek at my upcoming book in Elithius.  Let me know what you think!

Emiya fall

(note: Ultra Malam=the Evil=the monster, etc)


PROTAGONIST: AETHYER GRIM

What is this thing!?

I grip the ground.  Have to get up.

The monster steps closer.

I push against the ground, causing pain to spike through me again.  My arms quiver; I can’t even lift my own weight.  You have to!  I scream at myself.  My eyes fall to my sister.

Addy…Addy…Addy!

The Evil is five feet from us.

Get up!!

An arrow slams into the left shoulder of the Ultra Malam.  The Evil jerks backwards in response, uttering a harsh, furious growl, and grabs the shaft of the arrow, ripping it out.  Where did that come from?

“Get away from them!  Over here!” someone shouts.  It’s a male’s voice.

Bernard.

“Over here!” calls someone else.

Frances.

The Ultra Malam raises its eyes from me and Addy, its gaze alighting on a new target.  I immediately know what the Evil is about to do.  “Watch out!” I scream, forcing the words out.  Or at least I tried to scream.  I am surprised at how weak and hoarse my voice is.

The Evil vanishes into the air…as I expected.  I wish I could turn around, to see what’s going on.  Or I wish I could rise and help, or at least get Addy somewhere away from here.  She’s already passed out…I hope she isn’t dead.

Because if she is…I’m not too far behind.

I black out.

The Advice I Got From a Hollywood Producer

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A while back, I had the honor of asking for and receiving advice from Joel Eisenberg, a Hollywood producer whose books are now becoming a television series (The Chronicles of Ara).

This information just doesn’t get old!

So here are the questions I asked him, after reading a post about his journey as a writer.

My Questions

Hi Joel,

Would you call your story of becoming a writer…relatable? How much of your path relied on luck, being in the right spot at the time, etc.? I hear stories like yours a decent amount, and I always find myself sighing: How could that ever happen to me?

From what you said, I understand that you literally gave up everything to become a writer. Maybe it didn’t seem like you were giving anything up, but from my perspective, it certainly seems like it. You ditched reason and what others would call having a “normal life” (by ditching your job!). I understand that this worked for you in the long run…but would you encourage others to do the same thing, even though this could potentially distort someone’s life…and then, in the end, it may not even pan out the way it did for you?

Just coming to you honestly, thanks for any advice!

-Dominic

His Reply

Love the questions, Dominic. Thank you and I appreciate your honest feedback more than you know. Let me try to take these in order.

“Would you call your story of becoming a writer … relatable?”

– My path was my path; some may relate, others may not. Remember, Dominic, as I mentioned in a prior reply above – everyone’s path is individual. Some may have commitments with their children, for example, while others may have no children. Some may work 15 hour days to pay bills and work jobs they loathe, while others may have certain freedoms based on the amount of money in a savings account. Your path will never exactly follow another.

However, like John Grisham, who worked countless hours as an attorney and wrote “The Firm” in whatever spare moments he had, like Stephen King and so many others … A person can ALWAYS find the time to write, or send an email query, or replay to a blog post. It becomes then a question of time management and discipline to most prudently work with the tools you have to attain your goals.

“How much of your path relied on luck, being in the right spot at the time, etc.?”

– That was actually my problem for so long. I waited and waited and waited some more … and nothing happened. There were projects here and there, stacks of returned scripts … but my career went nowhere. It’s only when I got desperate that I realized only I could turn all this around. I did something I never did – I wrote that book (and did have a few non-performing films prior) – and it made all the difference for me. I PROACTIVELY kept in touch with all the people who contributed that trod similar paths, and I PROACTIVELY kept up my networking group for years. I got out of my comfort zone. I don’t believe “luck” was part of the equation.

“I hear stories like yours a decent amount, and I always find myself sighing: How could that ever happen to me?”

– I made that same observation and asked myself that exact question for so many years. I’ve so been there. But see above. I never stopped writing. I never stopped dreaming. The sacrifices were outrageous and I would not recommend those sacrifices to everyone. But, again, I’ve always had a sort of primal “need” to write; it’s always been more than a simple “want” for me. I made it work. The others who share similar stories made it work as well.

Look, sacrifice is a monster. I ended relationships, risked sleeping on the street, and a relatively new marriage, didn’t eat well, paid bills late … I would not recommend this. But my point is — I found the way. I tell people who attend my courses, speaking engagements and such that they don’t have to go to the extent I have. I did all the work. I learned what works and what does not, and why. There is no road map; if there was everyone would follow it and everyone would share the same degree of success.

There’s not a roadmap, though, but what there is are very specific strategies to save you an insane amount of work to help you get where you need to be.

Not luck, science.

Hope the response helps …


I was so happy that he took me seriously and actually got back to me!  I also respected that he didn’t sugar-coat anything; he was being totally honest.  Overall, I think what he said was encouraging, but you still get the sense that being a writer is HARD.

What do you think of his response?  Thoughts?


So I published a book!!!  Here’s the description:

elithius-cover-official

His parents abandon him when he’s thirteen. He’s left to care for his little brother and sister. Life is tough. Things can’t seem to get any worse.

But then Evil Itself breaks down the door. It kidnaps his siblings. And It leaves him bleeding out on the floor of his own home.

The Golden Lands, one of the Three Worlds of Elithius, is supposed to be a place of light, peace and happiness. But the Golden Lands hasn’t been such a place for John Hedekira, a jaded, hot-headed sixteen-year-old. Joined by his friends Faith Pinck and Bernard Tanner, John must rescue his brother and sister from their captors…before his siblings can be sacrificed to the ominous God of Death.

Do check it out here if you’re interested!!!

 

To All New Bloggers Out There…

So I’ve been noticing that, now more than ever, there is an influx of new bloggers.  What’s more, many of my most recent followers seem to be bloggers that are just starting their journey here on WordPress.

To all of you, welcome!!!

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WELCOME!!!

A lot of you seem to be very attracted to my more educational posts, like “The Reason Why People ‘Like’ But They Don’t Comment”.  So I thought I’d write another “educational post”, particularly geared towards you new bloggers.

The First Thing You Want to Do…

i-am-a-writer

Identity yourself to yourself.  What does that mean?  It means that, as you start writing, as you start reaching out, networking, meeting other bloggers, targeting specific audiences, you need to know first and foremost WHO YOU ARE as a blogger.  You can only reach the audience you want once you decide what kind of blog you are going to run.

So identify yourself to yourself.  What do you think you’ll write about?  Do you review books or movies?  Write about sports?  Cooking?  Are you trying to promote a book or a business?

You need to figure this out.

The truth is, it’s obnoxious as a reader to visit a blog about book reviews, only to find they decided to go off on a cooking tangent.  Centralizing what you write about is important to maintaining and developing a community around yourself.

However, if you’re the kind of person who likes to blog about anything and everything, disregard this completely! 😀 😀 😀

Next: Identify Your Audience

Sig and Armstrong

I cannot stress this enough: once you discover and surround yourself with like-minded bloggers, blogging becomes so much more FUN!

The number one word that captures the essence of blogging is COMMUNITY.  And to build and enter the community that you want, you have to find the right people.

So identify your target audience.

A while back, I wanted to target an audience of anime-watchers.  Why?  I’m writing a book that is very anime-esque (among other things).  So I tried to write about anime, to reach out to other people that liked anime…but it just wasn’t working.  Why?  Because I don’t watch enough anime to connect with other people.

Although I thought anime fans were my target audience, it took me a while to understand that I was wrong.

So I took a different approach: I started targeting fellow writers.  And let me tell you, that made a big difference!!  I discovered my community in them, aspiring and self-published authors like me.  And suddenly, my blogging world truly became alive.

Identifying your audience is important, especially if you’re trying to promote something.  But, in the end, it’s even more important for the sake of creating a community…which, once again, is what blogging is all about!

Stick With It

tired squidward

We all struggle with this from time to time.  We lack motivation because life gets busy, our blogging efforts seem fruitless, or other bloggers seem to be doing so much better.  Believe me, I get it.  I’ve been blogging for three years and I only have 420 followers.  To some of you, that might seem like a lot, but it’s not.

The goal is to keep at it.  Fight through the dull moments.  Keep on writing.

Believe me, if you stop writing, you’ll accomplish nothing.  I know that seems like an obvious statement, but it couldn’t be more true.  If you stop writing, you’ll accomplish nothing.

So you must continue to write.


I hope these tips were helpful!  As always, Let me know what you think!


Like the way I write?  Check out my new book Elithius on Amazon here!  The Kindle version is only $0.99 for a limited time only!!  Get it now!

elithius-cover-official

Cover art by Elizabeth M

 

An Honest Plea for Suggestions

Emiya fall

That’s right, the guy who acts super smart and who seems to have all the answers is now going to ask you for help.  (I’m talking about myself, in case you didn’t know!)

So I’ve been trying to market my book, Elithius…and it hasn’t been going so great.  Getting the word out is hard, especially because I’m young and haven’t made many connections yet.  I basically know what I need to do (network more, get onto social media more, sell ads, etc.), but I don’t know HOW to go about all of this in a smart way.

So, that’s why I’m coming to you.

I’m blessed to be in a community of fellow writers and authors, both aspiring, self-published, and traditionally published.  Since I’m in this community, I feel brave enough to ask you: what should I do?

Be honest with me.  How did/do you promote YOUR book?  Is there a path you recommend me take more than another?

I know my story isn’t trash.  I’ve heard it from multiple sources, and honest sources, whether among my family, friends, or fellow writers, that my book is good.  It has potential.  But I just don’t know how to GET IT OUT THERE.

So I’m wondering if any of you have suggestions?

I’m going to give you a short blurb about my book, the one I use to promote it.  I’m doing this only so that you can know what my book is like, so that maybe you can help direct me towards a certain path.  (So, basically, I’m not showing this to you for promotional reasons)

john banner

John Hedekira, the main character of Elithius…

His parents abandon him when he’s thirteen. He’s left to care for his little brother and sister. Life is tough. Things can’t seem to get any worse.

But then Evil Itself breaks down the door. It kidnaps his siblings. And It leaves him bleeding out on the floor of his own home.

The Golden Lands, one of the Three Worlds of Elithius, is supposed to be a place of light, peace and happiness. But the Golden Lands hasn’t been such a place for John Hedekira, a jaded, hot-headed sixteen-year-old. Joined by his friends Faith Pinck and Bernard Tanner, John must rescue his brother and sister from their captors…before his siblings can be sacrificed to the ominous God of Death.

With a story that combines the feelings of Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, and Percy Jackson, Dominic Sceski brings to life a riveting tale of light versus darkness, magic, friendship, trust, betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption that will leave you on the edge of your seat and desperately yearning for more.

Okay, so this is the basis, the feel, of my story.  How would you market it?

I’m just asking you with complete honesty for help…any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much for all you do!!!

-Dominic