Free Ebook – Social Media Secrets For Authors

Social_media_secrets_for_authors_coverWhile wandering the AWP Conference, I met Amy Quale from Wise Ink, a Minneapolis-based business offering creative and publishing services to independent authors.

One of the tools Wise Ink is using to promote their business is a beginners-level book titled “Social Media Secrets for Authors ” written by Wise Ink founders/editors Dara Beevas and Amy Quale. The book covers “The Big Four” of author social media: Blogging, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. If you’re an author who is just starting out, and don’t have these four social mediums locked down, then I highly recommend this book. It has action plan checklists, ideas for blog posts, and is essential ‘Social Media 101’ for new authors.

You could buy the book on amazon, or you could sweet-talk Amy like I did, and get one for free. But if you’re not devilishly charming like me, well… I’ll let you in on a secret:

  • Did I mention they are giving the book “Social Media Secrets For Authors” away for FREE on their website?
  • Did I mention they have other great free author resources?
  • Did I mention these free author resources can be found at

I guess I just did. What can I say? I’m really generous with other peoples’ things.

While you’re enjoying all the great free wisdom Wise Ink has to offer, don’t forget to friend them up on Twitter and Facebook. . If you need help with Planning, Editing, Publishing or Marketing your work, check out their website:

You can also check out their blog at

What is a Drabble?

What Is A DrabbleDrabbles are growing more and more popular. I’m seeing more and more drabble compilations, and I’m seeing more and more publisher calls for drabble-format fiction.

So what is a Drabble anyway?

A Drabble is a 100-word fiction story. Exactly one hundred words. No more. No less.

I’ve had several drabbles published over the last year:

[Read more…]

Reflections on AWP 2015

The ‘Largest Literary Conference in North America’ comes to Minneapolis

AWP Conference 2015The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (or AWP) holds a conference each year in a different city. Minneapolis, MN was lucky enough to be chosen this year to host the ‘largest literary conference in North America.’ Approximately 13,000 people attended.

What’s the AWP you ask? Good question. From their website: [Read more…]

Spooky Halloween Drabble – My Boss Is Evil

Spooky Halloween Drabbles 2014 book coverWhen I learned about the opportunity to write a “drabble” for a Halloween-themed drabble anthololgy, I didn’t even know what a drabble was. I had to look it up.

According to wikipedia, a drabble is a 100-word fiction story. Exactly one hundred words. No more. No less.

As you can imagine, I was able to write one very quickly. It was more of a challenge than I thought to get exactly one hundred words. But in an evening, I’d written a spooky little drabble about someone having a bad day at the evil office performing evil tasks for their evil boss.

My drabble titled My Boss Is Evil was accepted for publication in the Spooky Halloween Drabbles 2014 anthology, and it is now available for just 99 cents on

Spooky Halloween Drabbles 2014

Warning! Drabbles are higly addictive! Each one just takes a few seconds to read, and once you start in on these spooky little fiction snacks, it’s like opening a tube of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies. It’s tough to stop!

Conrad Zero On KFAI Radio This Sunday!

radio_wavesNo seriously. My voice will be riding the radio waves this Sunday!

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013 at 10 a.m. –  KFAI’s Wave Project will host the Writers Reject Sack with guests: Abra Staffin Wiebe, Joel Arnold, Dana Baird, and myself.

Not sure which I like less: the word “reject” or the word “sack”. Nevertheless, I’ll be there.  We’ll be talking about writer stuff, traditional publishing, self-publishing, podcasting and the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers’ Group.

Tune in to:

  • 90.3 FM Minneapolis, MN
  • 106.7 FM West St. Paul, MN

The show should be recorded and listed on the KFAI website, I’ll be sure to link back to it when the recording is posted!

Buying Your Way to Bestsellerdom

The Feb 22, 2013 Marketplace Section of the Wall Street Journal reports that authors are buying their way onto bestseller lists.  The title of the article is “The Mystery of the Book Sales Spike – How Are Some Authors Landing On Best-Seller Lists? They’re Buying Their Way

But,  I already gave you this info  back in 2009:

Not to mention I tell you how to do it yourself for free, instead of hiring a marketing agency for eighty grand, like the person mentioned in the WSJ article. Glad to know that gaming the system hasn’t changed in the past three years.

Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers Group Podcast – Episode 14 – Barbara DaCosta

In 2012, Barbara DaCosta broke into mainstream publishing with her first picture book, Nighttime Ninja, including artwork by Ed Young.

Barbara talks with the MNSpec writer’s group about her experience with the publication process of picture books — from original concept, to working with editors and illustrators, to marketing and getting the word out.

PODCAST –  Breaking into Picture Books with Barbara DaCosta.

Sky-Tinted Waters Release Party! 26 Aug 2012

Cover Art For Sky Tinted WatersThere will be a release party for Sky-Tinted Waters, the MinnSpec compilation containing my story, Pinky the Invisible Flying Pony vs the Giant Carnivorous, Poisonous Exploding Spider-Leeches.

There will be some food available, although I suspect “food” might mean something different to speculative fiction authors. So, consider there will be snacks available.

I’ll be there from noon till 4PM. I have no idea if there is any structure to the event, so come and go as you see fit. There will be copies of the book available for purchase, and most of the contributing authors will be there to sign and give readings.

Hope to see you there!

Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers Group Podcast – Episode 13 – Traditional Publishing Vs Self-Publishing DEATHMATCH!

Self-publishing vs. traditional publishing–FIGHT! Two publishing methods enter, two publishing methods leave!

Episode 13: Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing  Death Match!

Those interested in the music can download “The Last Song” from Jagged Spiral’s debut album, Days From Evil free on bandcamp:

Reflections on 4th Street Fantasy Convention 2012

2012 marks my second time at the 4th Street Fantasy Convention in Minnesota. Last year’s spec-fic writers’ get-together was called a Conversation, not a Convention, although I did not see the word Conversation used in this year’s description.

This year’s 4th Street Fantasy Whatever-it-was was better in some ways, and worse in others than last year’s.

Whoever did the programming this year did a great job of putting together some High Quality Discussion Panels. Of course, this is the primary reason to attend 4th street. The discussions will fill your head with so many ways to improve your writing that even if it doesn’t explode, you won’t be able to implement them all. Bring a notepad, or a device running evernote, or something to jot down ideas.

The audience is another reason. Authors of all skill levels attend this conference, and all the discussions open up (at least part of the time) to audience questions and observations. The panels were slightly more diverse than last year, I didn’t notice anyone dominating the panels, like last year. Of course the Scribblies were omni-present, but I heard rumors that they originally started the 4th Street Fantasy event, so that makes sense. Regulars include: Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch, Patricia Wrede, Emma Bull, Steven Brust,  Pamela Dean, and Will Shetterly.

Another thing that remains the same is the Author Social Networking. No, I don’t mean twitterfacebookgoogleplus. I mean actual face-to-face talking with other authors. The downtime between panels. Ganging up with others to take a leisurely stroll to lunch. On Fri/Sat night there is an open music jam, which is primarily traditional folk music, so bring your ukelele.

Registration was the same as last year – to get the discounted price you had to register MONTHS in advance…but the programming wasn’t listed until mere WEEKS before the event. So you pay before you know the programming. Sadly, I’m finding that this is becoming the norm with conventions, but because the topics of 4th Street are focused on speculative fiction authors, there’s little danger in registering early. If you’re a spec-fic author, the content is meant for YOU.

The venue moved to the St. Louis Park Marriott this year, just a block away from the DoubleTree where it was held last year. The good news is that the same great selection of local bars and restaurants is all within walking distance at the West End. The bad news – no inside bar, and the space is much reduced from last year. I particularly missed the merch area where Uncle Hugo’s and other vendors had tables of books and other things for sale, but there was NO room for this at the Mariott. I know selling stuff isn’t the point of the con, but NOT having a venue for book sales at an author convention like this is a shame. But that didn’t mean there weren’t things to purchase….

…because this year, the con instituted an auction that invaded the breaks between panels. The goal of the auction is to raise funds to make 4th street even better next year. But after drinking Diet Coke for an hour and a half, it was frustrating to wait as someone barges in with all the subtlety of a TPT Channel 2 pledge drive, wagging a tentacle-finger, and warning that WE NEED YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE, so we can auction off another item…

Sigh. I appreciate their efforts to raise some cash to make the con better. It’s going to a good cause. However, I have two meager requests:

  1. Could the items being auctioned be geared more towards authors? Having your manuscript critiqued by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly was a great auction item. Playing poker against Steven Brust? Maybe. But a handful of tentacles signed by the Scribblies? Not so much. I would have bid on having my name or likeness appear in an upcoming Scott Lynch story, but I’ve no interest in his old fire helmet. (Sorry Scott!)
  2. Could the auction items be listed someplace for silent bidding? Or additionally listed online?

I think the auction would net more money with less interruptions if these two requests were implemented. Also, they could accept donations from participants to auction off, not to mention have a higher quantity of things to offer.

On second thought, a raffle with a handful of possible prizes might net them more money, and again, with fewer interruptions.

One more highlight of the 4th Street Fantasy Convention is Janet Grouchy, aka The Poster Girl For Southern Hospitality.   Janet. You. Rock!

I was pleased to see that the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers’ Group had a healthy turnout.   Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Dana Baird, Michael Merriam, Sherry Merriam, Tyler Tork, Rebecca Chesin, and Sarah E. Olson all made the event entertaining as well as educational.

Fun Things Overheard at 2012 Fourth Street Fantasy Writers’ Convention

I have no idea if these are existing quotes from a source I’m not aware of, or words people pulled out of the aether, but I overheard all these things from the audience at 2012 Fourth Street:

“Theology exists to control the folk process.”

“I blame the Romantics for a lot.”

“…the magic thingawhowhatsit.”

“Collaboration is a violent agreement.”

“The brighter the light, the darker the shadow.”

“Set up a pattern and break it.”

“A single conflict makes a really dull book.”

and most importantly…