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Saturday, October 31, 2015

DAYS OF THE DEAD BLOG TOUR STOP: The Social Writer by Gail Z. Martin

Fantasy Book Critic is extremely excited to be a part of Gail Z. Martin's blog tour Days of the Dead, especially since today is Halloween!

Gail Z. Martin is the author of the upcoming novel Vendetta: A Deadly Curiosities Novel in her urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC (Dec. 2015, Solaris Books) as well as the epic fantasy novel Shadow and Flame (March, 2016 Orbit Books) which is the fourth and final book in the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga. Shadowed Path, an anthology of Jonmarc Vahanian short stories set in the world of The Summoner, debuts from Solaris books in June, 2016.

Other books include The Jake Desmet Adventures a new Steampunk series (Solaris Books) co-authored with Larry N. Martin as well as Ice Forged, Reign of Ash and War of Shadows in The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven, Dark Lady’s Chosen) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn, The Dread) from Orbit Books and the urban fantasy novel Deadly Curiosities from Solaris Books.  

Gail writes four series of ebook short stories: The Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures, The Deadly Curiosities Adventures, The King’s Convicts series, and together with Larry N. Martin, The Storm and Fury Adventures. Her work has appeared in over 20 US/UK anthologies. Newest anthologies include: The Big Bad 2, Athena’s Daughters, Realms of Imagination, Heroes, With Great Power, and (co-authored with Larry N. Martin) Space, Contact Light, The Weird Wild West, The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, Alien Artifacts, Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens.

Without further ado, welcome Gail Z. Martin and don't forget to read at the bottom of the post to learn about how you can take part in the opportunity to get some nice treats – literary style!


 The Social Writer 

Gone are the days when an author can retire to his or her garret and write in solitude, as the mysterious, reclusive artist.

Welcome to the real world. Thanks to social media and a 24/7 news cycle, readers want more than just your books. They want to get to know you, to interact with you on an ongoing basis. They don’t just want to hear you—they want you to hear and respond to them. Visibility is so important that publishing contracts now routinely include marketing clauses requiring author participation in publicity efforts. Sometimes, the push to promote almost seems to overtake the opportunity to write new books.  

Marketing is a fact of life for authors at every level of success. While the small group of authors at the pinnacle of their careers might spend their time on nationwide book tours and being a guest on top TV and radio interview shows, authors at every level are taking similar steps to ensure that their books get the visibility they need to send readers scurrying to the bookstore.

Of course, when you’re meeting the public, you’re not writing. So there’s a trade-off, but if the public isn’t buying your books, you won’t be writing for long.

What are the must-do elements for a writer to fulfill the ‘social contract’?   

Conventions—Genre conventions, ComicCons, these are the places readers go expecting to meet authors, artists and creators. There are probably a half a dozen conventions—or more—every weekend of the year. I love going to conventions, because I was a fan before I was a pro. I geek out just as much over meeting the legends of fandom, whether those are artists or celebrities or authors I admire. I also value the relationships I’ve created at ‘cons’ with other authors, con runners and attendees. While the very largest conventions can be a bit of a blur, smaller cons create a lot of opportunities to have good conversations, share a drink and get to know people better, and listen to what fans and readers think.

Social Media—Facebook, Twitter, podcasts, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit are where readers want to connect on a regular, sometimes daily, basis. And it’s not just about the books. Sure, readers want to know when you’ve something new out, or what convention or store signing you’ll be at next. But they also want to see pictures of your dog (or cat), vacation photos, funny memes, pictures of the cool new dish you tried to cook, pictures of you and your convention friends, great costumes…you get it. And don’t forget the ‘social’ part—which means you encourage people to talk to you, instead of you just talking to them.

Real people stuff. YOU stuff—the things that give a sense of who you are so there is a human connection. You don’t have to share your inner feelings and bare your soul, but the more of a glimpse you give of the real you, the more other people can relate to you. (Note: If you’re a real ***hat, then don’t be the real you. Be someone nicer.)

Blogs—Your own and someone else’s. Blogging is a way for you to share tidbits about the work in progress, musings about the universe, reactions to what you saw on TV last night, upcoming events, pretty much anything that interests you. Blog tours are a series of guest blog posts in a given period of time, usually to promote a new book or a key event. Bonus points if you ask questions that encourages people to comment so that the blog becomes more of a two-way conversation.

Book clubs and store signings—Yes, these still exist in the Internet era. They’re actually more precious because there aren’t as many of them as there used to be. Small groups like this can be a lot of fun because they’re on more of a personal level, and people feel a little less intimidated about asking questions or giving feedback in a comfortable setting.

Why is the social part so important? I think people today are hungry for interpersonal connections. So much of what we do is online that we want to meet real people. At the same time, TV and the Internet have created the illusion that celebrities come into our living rooms every day, and the immediacy of social media makes us expect two-way conversations with people feel like we know but don’t really know.

As a writer, is it hard to juggle the social elements and still get the books done? Yes. No matter how much we write about time-travel, there are still only twenty-four hours in a day to do everything that needs to be done. On the other hand, the social part can be a lot of fun, and very gratifying. I really enjoy the chance to get out a meet people, hear back from readers, talk shop with other pros, and have a fangirl moment around my heroes. It’s all good. Very, very good.

My Days of the Dead blog tour runs through October 31 with never-before-seen cover art, brand new excerpts from upcoming books and recent short stories, interviews, guest blog posts, giveaways and more! Plus, I’ll be including extra excerpt links for my stories and for books by author friends of mine. You’ve got to visit the participating sites to get the goodies, just like Trick or Treat! Details here:
Book swag is the new Trick-or-Treat! Grab your envelope of book swag awesomeness from me & 10 authors before 11/1!
Trick or Treat! Excerpt from my new urban fantasy novel Vendetta set in my Deadly Curiosities world here Launches Dec. 29
Treats not Tricks! Read an excerpt from Collector, one of my Deadly Curiosities stories
More Trick Or Treat fun with an excerpt from In An Iron Cage

Trick or Treat! Double-Dragon Publishing sampler #7


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