Reven Archer Black: Author of Fantasy & Speculative Fiction

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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Me Trying to Be All Modern (aka. Making My Graphics Programs Work for Their Hard-drive Space)

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who loved to write stories and let her imagination run wild. She grew up in a household with a mommy and daddy who were both pretty crafty and creative in their own rights. They also used parts of the fancy technology that would one day grow into a rather large beast with several different faces. This little girl couldn’t help but become a bit of a geek with computer skills. She tried her hand at BASIC programming, but sadly it wasn’t her type of porridge (nothing beats Maple & Brown Sugar, she decided). She hung out with HTML code for awhile and learned that speaking “American” is rather important, but then their relationship became “its complicated” once HTML hooked up with CSS.

Yet despite the funny thing called evolution, one friend remained, changing names and make up: graphics design. This made the young girl happy.

And then she grew up and worlds collided.

 

Maybe This a Love Letter

When I was fourteen or so, I tried to get my fist “novel” published and sent it to several publishers who rejected me quite kindly. At the time, I didn’t have a clear understanding of what demands were made on authors. Though maybe the demands from then are relatively irrelevant given how massive the internet and social media have become. At that age, the internet was still hitting up homes. We were still using early versions of Word and Wordperfect, not to mention the few browsers. Pre-Google. Social media meant hanging out on really “simple” message boards and pressing refresh every few minutes to check on new messages. It was great fun and that’s how I learned website code so I can’t complain.

Flash forward about 17 years and we’re into now, where I’ve been learning just what it takes to be the author in the 21st century. And I’ve been smacked by the reality: it’s not enough just to write anymore. No, authors have to really get their stuff together and promote, promote, PROMOTE!

*shudder*

On the list of my “needs improvement” skills, marketing is in the top 3. But I’m a realist and annoyingly determined to get this writing to go somewhere. So what’s this realist to do?Jump on in and attack the promo, of course. And keep folders on my computer that are brimming over with promotion tips and ideas. One such idea was joining in with all the cool kids who have been making promotional material using stock photos and quotes.

Hello graphics design. Come hither GIMP, my love.

Now I’m not a professional or anything, but this is a form of promo I can do. I started tinkering with graphics design when I was a teenager and it hasn’t gone away. Just the programs have changed. I originally started because I ran a couple websites but since then, it’s turned out to be quite the shiny transferable skill. Now slap in my hand the power stock photos bestow and a few quotes and we’re talking. Funny how everything kind of converges sometimes when and where you least expect it.

With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season all on the way, I wanted to do some shameless promotion for What Must Be Done, my short story in the fabulous Dark Light 4 horror anthology released earlier this year by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. So I crept around and found a few horror-friendly, story-encompassing photos I enjoyed and paired them up with a few of my favourite quotes. Gave them a *few* tiny changes (hellloooo to my good friend soft glow) and TA DA. This is what finally popped up.

 

WMBD-body-Goodreads

Mysterious woman in black dress

WMBD-bride-Twitter2

 

This is the more “official” reveal but I’ve already started sharing them on Twitter.

 

They may not be terribly glamourous, but it’s been an amusing exercise. I’m torn between loving the bride and the dead girl on the steps the most. Though maybe the bride takes the cake. Why?

You’ll have to read the story to find out. /evil grin

 

One for the Authors

I’m curious about the experiences of other authors. Do you use this type of promotion? Programs you use? Effectiveness? Or are they a thorn in your writer’s side?

NaNo, oh NaNo, welcome and a hey ho

Happy November 1st!

I hope everyone had a fantastic October, ending with an amazing Hallowe’en / Samhain / Friday / whatever it was for you. It’s been a long while since I’ve posted — mostly since I’ve been busy with writing stuff when life wasn’t hogging the time.

On the other hand, I’ve got some news to share in the near future. Mostly about a certain novel and series… More to come. And maybe I’ll touch on a couple of short stories I finished a couple days ago.

But for right now, I thought I’d touch on the big November event: NaNoWriMo (or more officially “National Novel Writing Month“)! Who’s taking part this year? Give me a shout and add me to your cheerleader list!

Here’s one for you:

 

nanowrimo Twitter

 

I wish all of you the best. Personally it’s not my thing; I prefer to take my time, over a longer time period. But I applaud all those who step up and go for it. If anyone wants to share, I’d love to hear about the NaNo projects being pursued this year.

In the meantime, happy writing, reading, working, and — my favourite — living. And don’t forget to take a breather every so often.

 

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