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My thoughts about books, writing, the publishing industry and other outside topics usually horror related. This blog is connected to Goodreads and Amazon. If you would like to express your own opinion on one of these articles I have written please feel free to comment as I encourage feedback.

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Celebrities Don't Write Their Own Work

Posted on January 30, 2017 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

This shouldn’t come as any surprise to you. If you’re like me then you genuinely thought the same thing, most celebrities don’t write their own books. This bothers me and it’s for a few certain reasons to which I will explain. Before I explain why let’s get to the big question, why don’t celebrities write their own works? Well the sad part is many will claim they do to which when journalists dig deeper and find out the celeb didn’t write their own book the individual gets all defensive or will insist they did. So why don’t most of them write their own books? They’re celebrities, that would mean they actually have to work, to sit down ad do something. They live busy lives so when they aren’t busy and want to stay in the public eye they will come up with the idea of writing a book, only they don’t write it, they have ghost writer’s, publicists or an actual writer to do it for them. Here are reasons why I find it personally insulting that celebrities come out with books and then claim they wrote them and why you should to.

 

 1. Best-Seller? They Didn’t Write It!- One thing any author will tell you whether they’re traditional or self-published is to become a best-selling author. It’s hard enough for any author to compete against famous authors who are sure in best-sellers like Stephen King, J.K Rowling, Stephanie Meyer or E.L James so imagine how an author must feel when they find out a celebrity has a book out and it’s a best-seller and that celebrity most likely didn’t write it? Celebrities such as Snooki, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Justin Bieber and Nicole Richie just to name a few have all come out with books which have within a week have become best sellers. What’s the problem? I’m positive they didn’t write their own books. It’s upsetting to know that us authors struggle to promote and market a book and all a celebrity needs to do is say they wrote one and they get all the publicity and sales in the world for it despite not really doing anything then talk to the person that wrote it. As an author it’s a painful thing all to real these days.

 

 2. Book Signings Turnout Through the Roof- Naturally any time a celebrity makes an appearance somewhere the turn out is huge, in the thousands or even the millions. This means that they have tons of people coming out to have their book signed just so they can meet the celebrity which means it really isn’t about the book at all. Sure, some dedicated fans will read the book but I feel it’s mainly all a ploy for the celebrity to make an appearance just so they can benefit and stay in the spotlight. As authors, many of us struggle to market out books offline unless of course we one, know people and have good connections or two, we are famous.

 

3. B,C,D-List Celebs Making Profits- I don’t typically go around marking which celebrities are top list stars but let’s be honest we kind of have an idea of where certain people fall. So what can be worse than being buried on getting to the best sellers list then famous authors and celebrity A-listers? Knowing celebrities that are barely even known are getting to the top-sellers list. Yes obviously they have more connections than you do but they are also barely as known as you are or just simply in the spotlight for being in the spotlight. They don’t really do anything. So yes they could write their own books but they most likely don’t and it’s all the more reason you should be offended as an author.

 

4. They Don’t Need The Royalties- If they truly wrote the book and they really cared, they would donate all proceeds of their royalties to charities but let’s be serious and realistic about this. How many of the celebrities that I listed above and the ones you like do you think donate their royalties? Probably not many. Call me crude for making such an assumption but I’m going to say I think it’s accurate. Yes as authors we are in it for the enjoyment because we love to write, because we want readers to enjoy our work but for some of us we rely on those royalties so imagine a celebrity making a ton off a crappy book their connection wrote for them that ends up a best seller and they make a ton off it they don’t even need. The older celebrities that write memoirs and auto-biographies will very likely donate their royalties away because they’ve accumulated enough over the years not to carebut for the rest? Greed, greed, greed.

 

5. 15 Minutes of Fame- A celebrity makes one film or stars in one show or does one momentous thing. They then decide to capitalize on this by writing a book. This book of course becomes a best-seller because that person is hot right now coming off appearances. This is what we know as 15 minutes of fame. We all sometimes want it but for the book industry? No. We as authors bust our butts and make a living doing what we love. We love to write and we make this our careers so how would you feel if a celebrity decided to go off on a whim and write a book just because they are “trending” right now? Exactly, they are hardly doing anything to market or promote themselves and yet you’ve been doing this a while and you’re lucky you can get any recognition. Maybe try to do something that gives you 15 minutes of fame?

 


You can read more on this topic from this article here

 

What is the Weird West Genre?

Posted on January 23, 2017 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Weird West, what is it? According to a definition it’s a literary subgenre of Westerns combined with another, usually horror, science fiction or fantasy. The weird west genre is distinct because it is known for blending not only a typical western with outside elements but also combines fictitious settings and characters with real ones. Meaning you could see a made up character interacting with a notorious western outlaw like Jesse James or riding the western front with Teddy Roosevelt. Despite it’s “weird” term it is to be taken with a grain of salt and a person who wishes to write it should remember to not stir away from the “western” aspects of it because after all westerns in themselves are certainly unique. The western genre really doesn’t need any added tropes or coating so to speak and in many ways seems stern to itself like a firm law book in the crime genre. However the intrigue and fact that someone came along and did change the western genre and did add a fun and strange yet captivating and unique twist makes it all the more powerful and interesting. The genre was first introduced in the 1970's and while it’s hard to imagine it being smaller and virtually lesser known than it already is today it does in fact trace all the way back to the 70's. It became popular during the 1990's by author Joe. R Lansdale who usually combines the original western with a violent and graphic type of horror.

 


One question one might ask is what goes into making it “weird”? Well aside from the settings and characters there’s a few things that make this so. For one it usually involves a typical Western plot created into a unique one whether it’s a sci-fi element or fantasy one. Also technology is a big factor as weapons are usually modified to a fictional aspect but defined and told in a manner which seems plausible. When you take a strange place a western would not normally take place, add cohesive characters with real life historical figures and give them or have them use modern or created technology you make a weird western. Let this not be all you take from it, there is so much more that a weird west is besides oddities there’s still the gritty feel and aspects that make it a western and this cannot be ignored. A weird western is still a western and I feel many forget that and some just assume it’s crap because they are ruining what makes a western great, not true. You can still have a true to itself western and have the added features that add the weirdness it’s just the author has to be able to create the balance of both. It’s just like any two genres that come together or weird tag that gets added onto a genre, you can still stay true to the core and have a little fun in the process.

 


One thing that has perhaps given the genre it’s niche of people is the tv shows and movies of it that have been released over the last decade. This like many genres has helped it resonate and find it’s fan base. It could be argued all day long whether or not people read as much as they used to or even read westerns as much as they used to but one thing can be certain is that the weird west has helped bring a lot of younger readers to the western genre. Some tend to ride the line and border of what classifies as a “weird western” meaning despite not having to do with a straight up western the plot and idea is still that of one. This doesn’t seem like a weird western but rather a show or book of another genre. One genre that has evolved from this and people tend to confuse or blend with the weird west is “Steampunk”. In some ways steampunk can be weird west at times but over the last few years it’s taken on it’s own things that make it so. Hollywood has definitely helped in making these genres more profound and acclaimed and while the genre is still relatively unknown there is a group and fan base for it as well as writers and the more exposure it gets then the more the genre will grow. What makes any genre popular is the readers, they cannot be forgotten or be given less credit. A genre can have a ton of writers of it but without readers it’s merely a catchy hobby writers wish to take on together. The readers are what get the writers to write more and give the genre exposure and it seems very evident that this of all genres would be the very definition of this statement.

 


As a writer of the genre I admit it’s a challenge. Not to write but to write knowing the fan base isn’t out in the open like most but deep within the confines of what classifies as sub-genres. When I read my first weird western I was intrigued and it wasn’t until I wrote my own, A Bloody Bloody Mess in the Wild Wild West that I gained a new found appreciation and understanding of what the genre is and how it could potentially work if enough people tuned into it. What I did however was stick to the basics of what people love about westerns and what Joe R. Lansdale did, write a western and then coat it with weird features. I stuck to what makes a Western a western and only when I did that did I feel it was okay to add the weird elements to it. When you write in such a genre it’s necessary to tackle the main genre first so this way you stay on point and on course. Also like Lansdale I felt the Western horror was the best way to go, for me more so because I feel as though horror is at an all time high right now. So I took a lesser appreciated genre and combined it with one of the most popular and that makes for what? A Weird Western, a genre not really known but appreciated and growing more and more everyday.

Is Horror Poetry A Thing?

Posted on January 16, 2017 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Horror poetry? Horror and Poetry? That's quite a combo! This is what I hear when I tell people I write horror poetry. While never turned off by the idea most ponder the two words tgether for a moment before saying one of the three things above which is usually followed by that's interesting. I don't blame them for their surprised reactions I mean who writes horor poetry anymore? Aside from myself I've only come across a few others who are writers of the unique genre. Is horror poetry a thing? I say yes and not because I write it but because like any small niche genre, there's writers of it and an audience for it. I personally became a writer of horror poetry after reading and becoming inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, the legend of horror poetry himself. In many ways I think we are all inspired by Poe when it comes to horror. His way with words so dark and morbid can really resonate with people. I will explain my enjoyment of writing in this genre and what I think of it by responding to quotes from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence.”

Agreed Edgar, it is not yet settled. One must think of us as mad or at least a bit off in the brain to have such enjoyment by combining a genre that is meant to terrify with one that is usually written with real emotion and calm simple feelings. But is horror not what brings out peoples feelings? Feelings of raw emotion such as fear, worry and sadness? I think it is a lofty intelligence and one that only someone who enjoys horror can really explain or understand.


“When I was young and filled with folly, I fell in love with melancholy”

If by melancholy you mean the simple measure and average writing technique that is poetry then I too fell in love with it. I too from a young age fell for things of average meaning and while poetry is not average I believe people think it is so hence the reason it's a melancholy thought. 

 


“A mystery, and a dream, should my early life seem.”

I hear ya there Mr. Poe. I feel at times that my life has been a mystery and at times a dream, but aren't all of our lives like this in a way? We know not what the future holds nor the upcoming present and yet with all that there's still the mystery of life, a dream of an unbelivable notion that some of the things life throws at us we think of it as not reality. By all these things we cherish life, we cherish mystery and we make the most of our slumbering or unslumbering dreams.

 


"I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty."

Oh preach it Edgar, preach the good word! Poetry is beautiful, rhythmic, stylish and tells a story through feeling. Poetry is a way of life, a beautiful sunrise, a luminating moonlight, a snowflake falling to the ground, a person, a place, anything you can take around you. This in part is why we are able to take horror and mix it with poetry to create beautiful poems(although some may disagree otherwise). 

 


"Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality."

I see this in two ways. One just as it's written and to be taken and the other as there is no barrier or rule that says horror cannot be poetry or poetry can not be horror. In the deep regions of horror poetry is read and in the deep inner meaning of words written as poetry there is horror. For poetry is like anything else, when it is broken down, horror can be taken from it. It is this taking away that some such as you and I Edgar embrace. For we take the horror and coat our poetry with it, we make the horror the focus, the word, the reality. I think that Edgar is what horror poetry is all about. 


If you wish to experience horror poetry then go grab yourself a Edgar Allan Poe book or grab one of my Macabre Masterpiece books.

5 Things You Should Be Doing on Twitter

Posted on January 16, 2017 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

As an author one thing I rely on is social media. Like many I have my good share of social media accounts but the one I honor and like the most is Twitter. Why? Well for one I've just gotten so accustomed to using it and two it really has a great layout and helps me get what I wish to say and share out to people. So if you're like me then chances are your on Twitter. However, not everyone is doing what they should be on there and they aren't taking advantage of the simplest things that can make their experience so much better, Here are five things you should be doing on twitter to better yourself.

 

1.Comment Back, RT, and Like Posts-

 

One thing you should absolutely be doing is commenting back when someone tweets out to you, it's just the nice thing to do. It helps build rapport with people and it shows that you care about your followers and can take a little time to anwser them back. You should also be ReTweeting content of (RT) for short. Whether it's someones pinned post or something someone said that really spoke to you, if it did then retweet it! It's that simple. Studies show the best time to retweet something is at night so while it's not best to tweet during certain times after 5 one thing you can still do is go over your feed and Retweet what you like. Again this shows that you care about what your followers are saying. Then of course there's liking posts. Just like facebook only when you like it, it saves it to your likes list so you can go back and look it over. I myself like things that I plan on going over and can use later on. Liking posts just like the other two shows that you care and value people's content just like you'd want them to value yours.

 

 

 

2. Participate in Chats-

 

One thing I've recently started doing is taking part in Twitter chats. Chats are a way to become a part of a group that discusses topics that you may care about. For instance since I write I want writing, marketing and promoting tips so I take part in #BookMarketingChat, #TwitterSmarter, which is a way to use twitter to better your marketing and #BufferChat. Taking part in chats can help you and help others so you can all learn off each other and build. What you can do is go to TwitterChat.com and find a chat you may like to be part of or in the likely case your following someone who takes part in some. Chats are a great way to pick up some tips and advice as well as share what you may know on the particular topic. Join in, get a feel of what it's about and take part. It's a great way to meet new people, it's fun anf you learn stuff as well, now how about that?

 

 

 

3. Make Lists-

 

Another thing I've recently gotten into the habit of doing is making the most of lists. Lists are a way for you to seperate certain followers whose content you value or want in a certain place so you can easily access it. It's good to make your own lists for example I have lists for my Best Followers(people with the blue check marks), Best Twitter Tools as well as people a part of Buffer which I use frequently. Keep the lists small between 5-12 people so you can easily manage it and not lose peoples posts. It's a great way to organize certain followers pretty much. People will add you to lists, I'd recommend ignoring these. A lot of times people will like something you posted and add you to a list like "Awesome user" ignore these, it's for their benefit and there's usually hundreds of people on the list and you'll just follow people whose content isn't relevant to you.

 

 

 

4. Go Through Your Followers

 

It's always good to clean. When it comes to Twitter this is no different. You may notice your followers number goes down, if your smart you won't care, it's not worth getting upset over it happens. What you can do is go through your own list and see who you no longer wish to or need to follow. What I do is unfollow anyone who isn't following me or if they aren't I try to remember why I'm following them. If they aren't doing either I unfollow them. It's always good to follow someone who follows you but obviously if they don't interest you you don't have to follow back. So go over your followers and filter out what you can, you'll follow new people don't worry. Finally, if they don't have a picture and they have that dumb Twitter egg, unfollow them immediately, just don't follow them, there's no need. You can use a Twitter site/app if you really want help unfollowing people but personally I do it myself as it helps me better manage and I know more about who I follow then the computer may suggest.

 

 

 

5. Manage Your Tweeting Wisely-

 

The last one is the easiest. Manage what you tweet out and what you want to say. If you want to say something about marketing and know a good time where people will see it then schedule to post it at that particular time. Make the most of your 140 characters. We all have times where we have lots to say but there's not enough room to say it all, that's happens. Condense what you have to say and make it work. If you want to reach people then throw in two fitting hashtags so more people will see, but don't use more than two, the more you hashtag the less it'll be seen. If your like me you tend to tweet about your main topic mine being writing, promoting, marketing, books, etc. However you can also be personal and be yourself every once in a while too. The idea is you want to manage your time on Twitter wisely and accordingly. The better you manage, the better results and the better results te better you'll feel.

 

 

 

If you liked my 5 simple tips and want to get a better idea of these practices then feel free to follow me @JustinBienvenue

Do Vampires & The Monster Exist?(Revised)

Posted on November 22, 2016 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Do Vampires Exist?

 Now I could look up the documents and evidence to support if vampires exist but I thought it’d be a lot simpler if I give you my personal opinion on whether they do or don’t but both with an analysis from interesting standpoints.

 

Reason vampires don’t exist: The idea that there’s beings in this world that suck the blood from others to stay alive seems a bit farfetched and out there. When I say beings I of course mean man and not any creatures we already have exsisting today that do this such as bats, mosquitoes and leaches. The principle of immortality seems unobtainable and nonexistent. Finally, if such beings existed wouldn’t they try to take over by wiping out the human race?

 

Reasons they could exist: A human being who takes on the characteristics of a vampire to an extreme level can technically by some standard be considered a vampire. Of course there is likely a lapse in reality and mental capacity replaced by a psychotic trait which makes them want to go through such extremes to be a vampire but again there are people like this out there and that’s one way it can be said that vampires exist.

 

The second reason is one we are all familiar with, it’s called evolution and extinction. Now hear me out. We evolved over the centuries into human beings. Dinosaurs and animals have become extinct. Would it be so hard to believe that vampires may have existed at one point in time? Perhaps they were an early level of man that evolution charts don’t show or they existed centuries ago along with humans and just slowly became extinct for whatever reason. Do I believe this? No but I came up with it as a way to explain that it could certainly have been possible.

 


Does Frankenstein’s Monster Exist?

 

Reasons it doesn’t exist: Fiction is a funny thing isn’t it? It’s also creative which means it allows us to create wonders that otherwise can never happen, case and point the monster. There is no rational idea or possibility that any man whether he’s the most brilliant scientist or doctor in the world can create a person out of body parts from dead people. It’s gross and I’m sure some maniacs have tried it but obviously it’s just not physically or genetically possible. Someone said there is countless medical and scientific discoveries being made that could make this possible which again I get but I'm talking about a monster being created as Dr. Frankenstein created it. Yes Dr. Frankenstien is a doctor and what he does is scientific but the horror aspect and the fact he uses dead body parts is what I'm referring to. This premise is why I believe a monster of such sorts cannot be created. 

 

Reasons it could exist: I’ve pretty much just said there’s no way it could humanly be possible however there is only one way to which Frankenstein’s monster could exist...if it were a robot. It is possible for a person to make a human like robot/android that looks like and functions just as the monster does but then you’d have to ask yourself is it the same thing? Irrelevant in my opinion and yes considering it’s the only logical possibility. Again the medical presmie comes into mind but I would lean more toward a person already being alive and having several parts of their body replaced by parts of another but does that make them a monster or fixed up person? 


One reason I decided to take a closer look in comparison on vampires and the monster is because in my first book The Macabre Masterpiece I have a chapter called Creatures which has poems that talk about these two beings. While my take on Frankenstein's monster is pretty much what we already know from the books and movies just shorter and in poem form my take on vampires is a bit different. The reason for this article on whether or not vampires are real is based on my poems and how we as a society percieve vampires lately. My poems deal with how vampires are somber, sad and question their existance. The poems also deal with how we as a society have forgotten who they are and what they are capable. We think they are romantic, mysterious and all sparkly and cute when they are the furthest thing from it. 

Do Werewolves and Zombies Exist?

Posted on November 9, 2016 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Do Werewolves Exist?

 

Reasons Werewolves don’t exist: Contrary to the belif that Native Americans have that a man can change into an animal, people cannot turn into animals, it’s just not humanly possible. Therefore there’s no way possible for a man to turn into a rabid wolf and start going around killing people. Also the moon has no effect on how people act despite what some may say.

 

Reasons they could exist: Like a suggested in the vampires part again we go back to the evolution chart. In a way early pre-humans were more animal like so in a way a werewolf was more possible. Also there could be a genetic effect in man to which he grow a tremendous amount of hair, so much that he looks like a werewolf. Yes this seems ridiculous but again these are just two theories as to how werewolves could exist.

 


Do Zombies Exist?

 

Reasons Zombies exist: Well first off Zombies do exist just not in the way we think they do. Zombies are real and it’s a practice in Africa and of voodoo in which a person is controlled and sometimes even buried to believe they are dead. For a more thorough and better analysis check out a piece called Voodoo Zombies vs Flesh eating Zombies on https://monstersofmidian.wordpress.com/2016/10/15/31-days-of-halloween-day-13-voodoo-zombies-vs-flesh-eating-zombies/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Monsters of Midian’s website. She gives a great breakdown of the difference and how real one is from the other. 

 

Reasons Zombies don’t exist: If you read the link I sent you then you’ll know why and what kind of zombies exist. So the bigger question is do the zombies we perceive in movies and television exist? Yes and no. The truth is they exist except they aren’t called zombies, they’re simply called “cannibals”. People who eat flesh are not zombies they are just cannibals and either psychopaths or people from an ancient tribe in other countries who believe in eating other humans. “Zombie” has no relevance to flesh eaters in the real world but somewhere down the road perhaps George Romero himself decided to create a new type of zombie who is dead and eat’s flesh and brains. The only way such a zombie could exist is if the voodoo sorcerer who made the zombie told him to eat human flesh and brains so by that standard...they could exist although I don’t think they believe in doing that.

How Creatures of Horror Relate to Aliens

Posted on November 9, 2016 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

-Documented Accounts on sightings

Horror Relation: creatures of horror are just like UFO’s and aliens we don’t know if they exist but there’s plenty of accounts that they do.

 

For centuries our idea and thoughts of whether or not aliens exist has always sparked questions and debates. Like aliens many throughout the years have also claimed to have seen creatures of horror such as vampires, zombies, werewolves and other monsters. Do they exist? Well that’s where evidence comes in. There is tons of evidence and countless documents on people who have sightings on aliens and monsters for years. Some have been just kids playing pranks and others people telling wild stories but then there are those accounts that are to be taken seriously. Many people throughout different areas and countries claim to have seen strange beasts and when these people are all from the same area, chances are authorities and us as a society start to put some thought that there may be something there. With aliens we all know about the endless accounts and sightings but with horror creatures there’s also claims of sightings..only people tend to be looked at as though their off their rockers or not all there in the head. However with every nut job claiming to see a creature there is a legitimate person making a serious claim and sighting. There have been countless vampire, werewolf, zombies, man-made monsters and other beastly sightings of creatures but these most well known four that people don’t think are fiction after all.


 

Would you know if you saw a vampire? It seems silly but there’s more into the possibility then you may think. Have you ever seen a beast you couldn’t place? A person who seemed a little out of it and lazier than normal? A person that looked so disfigured that you’d swear they were man made? Yes this all seems foolish and ridiculous but people have claimed to have seen them and not all of them are nutty or looking for 15 minutes of fame. After all, when you say to the public that you’ve seen an alien your life as you know it changes and you’ll never get the government off your back. So if that’s the case with aliens then why is it so hard to believe that people claim to see these creatures? What it really all comes down to is that aliens and creatures are the same..they aren’t human and yet millions of people claim to see them. Whether or not they exist is up for debate but then again ask yourself this, if so many people are making claims don’t they account for something? This can be said about bigfoot and personally I think bigfoot is a species of gorilla/human hybrid so the claims that there is only one are fetched. Remember though, horror creatures could be just as real as aliens, bigfoot or the loch ness monster and with so many people claiming such sightings there should be a bit of looking into to see if they truly exist because documents and sightings are still coming out today and they’re only going to become bigger.

 

-They cause discussions and opinions

Horror Relation: The creatures like aliens are always a topic of discussion. They get people to talk about their opinions on the matter of whether or not they exist and reasons supporting both sides.

 

Sort of similar to what I stated in the first reason but whether or not you believe in aliens or horror monsters the fact is that they get people to talk and discuss. With aliens of course there is vast opinions where the subject matter is usually back and forth debating on whether or not they’re real. With horror creatures it’s usually whose the best one and not whether or not they exist or which one most likely exists but nevertheless such a vast range of epic monster talk gets people talking just like alien talk does. While people debate the existence of aliens they tend to be more open to the idea of if horror creatures existed and what they would do. Why is this? Well perhaps because horror is a more enjoyed genre whereas not everyone is into aliens and Ufology. Also people grow up watching horror films and see the creatures and while they are supposed to be feared there’s like ability there, with UFO’s and aliens there’s a big unknown factor as well as the possibility they may take over the world. So if I had to guess I’d say people would be more open to the idea of there being horror monsters over ufo’s and aliens but it’s worth knowing that both bring thorough and valid discussions.

 

-There’s Plenty of Info on Them

Horror Relation: Like Ufology, there’s plenty of information on the topic to go over and look at throughout the years. Whether it’s old info or current and modern information the fact is that there’s enough to work with.

 

Obviously there is tons of info on everything but from a theoretical, hypothetical and debating standpoint they both have a substantial amounts of information for ideas to which we can only speculate as to whether or not existence is true. Also the info on them is similar in the sense that they are entities and there’s no solid conclusive and definitive evidence that states they they are on this earth and they exist.

 

The Horror of Politics

Posted on October 18, 2016 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Politics, a topic that you either like and enjoy making an opinion about or have no interest in whatsoever and couldn’t care less. If your like me you fall under the second category but given that we have a presidential election this year lots of people such as myself who have no business talking politics are talking about it and rightfully so. This year more than any other year there is clear evidence that there’s horror in politics. Now I could sit here and slam both parties running for president but that’s not the point of this article. The point is to show that the overall basis of their simple being, their tactics and the whole running for president in itself has become downright horrific. Politics have always been like this, it doesn’t take a follower of it to see that but when you have two people running for president whose wild views and opinions are out there, it makes you wonder how it’s come to this and really makes you say “oh the horror!”. Go down the line and you’ll see countless dirty politicians doing whatever they can to win a seat or become president but it just feels that this year is the worst and it makes me as the biggest question of all...what is our country in for with either party becoming president?


 

While you think about that question let me ask you another, is a certain presidential candidate becoming president just as scary as a horror villain killing people or a gross gory scene? Before you think they have nothing to do with each other just remember this..the presidential candidate is real which means that yes there is most definitely a connection here. I’m sure many would rather be in a world of horror slashers than have to listen to the ignorant rambling of both parties especially the most outspoken one. What I’m really getting at though is the reality of horror. True and real horror exists and I’m not talking about ghosts and paranormal I’m talking about bad decision making along with economical and social decline that our country faces with the next president. It’s real horror, it’s real horror there’s no other way for me to put it. It’s like asking if you want Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees for president and yes you have to vote for one. Sure there’s the green party and libertarian party but let’s say that would be the equivalent of voting for a lesser evil that we know nothing about and we actually put our faith in Myers or Voorhees because at least we have an idea of what they are whereas voting for the lesser evils is a greater risk because not much is known about them.

 


Now I bet your asking two things, lesser of the two evils? And whose who between Myers and Voorhees? First off, what I mean by the lesser of two evils is that regardless of what we know the known villains are capable of we’d be more prone to vote for one of them because the other two are virtually unknown and therefore can’t be trusted because it could be worse..worse than the two main ones? Okay, okay, I’m sure you get the idea. As for whose who? It’s not important it was merely an example. Bottom line, I think people would rather vote for one of the movie slashers than one of the actual presidential candidates. Politics are evil, they bring out the worst in people and if you’re already deemed a bad person it just shows the world just how bad you truly are in the public eye. To me there are not winners in politics or in the becoming the next president because so much slander and nonsense gets brought up that the two candidates have become so eager to obtain the seat of power that they forget what they are running for...the people. When one of the candidates is clearly not a people person and degrades others what does it really say? It shows that there is true evil in this world and that there is real horror and most of it happens in the misconstrued lines that we call politics.

My Experience on Pinterest

Posted on August 29, 2016 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

So I've tried to use Pinterest more as a social media outlet and connect with readers and gain potential customers. I feel as though Pinterest is clearly different from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the sense that you can't just post what you want on there because on Pinterest there's boards and unless you have a board for what your posting you can't pin it. Here's what I've been doing on there lately:

 

I've created a board for all my articles and blog posts from my website and used https://pablo.buffer.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Pablo For Buffer to create images for the posts to which I then pinned to the board. This will hopefully let more people see my blog posts on my website as I have always had a lack of views on that section of my site. Also using Pablo For Buffer is fun and made it easy to create simple related images of the posts themselves. This was also how I managed to get Pinterest on my Buffer which I would otherwise have to pay for by getting a premium account.

 

I created boards for stuff I'm interested in. I saw someone ask once on Twitter if you should create a separate business account on Twitter separate from your personal account and I say no. Given that you can create as many boards as you want you can easily make business/author related boards and boards of things that interest you and have them all on the same account. Any person who follows you or wants to check out your stuff and takes an interest in you can simply follow the boards they want and un-follow the ones they don't. For example I like Frank Sinatra but yet he has nothing to do with my writing, horror or poetry boards but yet I still have a board for him because he interests me. Anyone else who likes him can follow the board and anyone who doesn't can look elsewhere on my account for a board they do like,

 

I've found that you should make a board secret until you have at least 25 pins within it. This way you can build on it and it's easier to manage when your looking for things to put into it. I've done this with several of my boards as I like to build them up before I make them publicly available to view.

 

I've even made a board for something I thought I wouldn't but actually decided to based off another board. So upon finding pins of guns for my https://www.pinterest.com/justinbienvenue/weird-westernwestern-horror/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Western Horror board I found that I kept posting and seeing unique guns so rather than keep seeing them and overloading them into a board they don't fit in I created a https://www.pinterest.com/justinbienvenue/unique-guns/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Unique Guns board. Did I plan to? No, but seeing that I kept seeing them eventually I gained an interest in them and found that other do too so it makes for a good way to create boards by seeing if you have a certain amount in one and can make it into another.

 

Finally, I'd still like to establish my Pinterest more so that I can not only gain readers but connect to my potential audience there. I feel because Pinterest is used for so many things that how I can use it is being outweighed by my lack of really understanding how the site can truly work. I will take it slow and hope the process will eventually make sense and maybe then I will see a positive increase on there.

 

Do You Let An Idea Boil or Simmer?

Posted on August 2, 2016 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Whenever I come up with a great idea for a story or poem what I do is either run to my computer to write the basis of it or make a quick note of it on my phone using a notepad app. What I then do is what I made this thread for. After I write an idea, unless I have a ton of thoughts for it or it's dying for me to write it I usually let it simmer so to speak. I put it on the back burner and let it just sit there and I don't get started on it until I think it's the right time and I have enough for it. Two things usually pop into my head, a clever or gripping title or a really good idea for a story. I almost always decide to let it simmer not because I don't want to rush but because I want to see if it's worthy of becoming anything. I want to see if I still feel it's a good idea a day. a week or a month from when I think about it. Also I will try to let it simmer so I can build more on it or if a better title comes into play after I think of more on an idea. Finally a big reason I will let an idea simmer is because I don't know whether I want to make it into a poem, short story or even my next book. It usually becomes a poem or story and only when I have a mind blowing title do I set it aside for a  possible book idea. This last part ties into a similar blog post I wrote a while back on how do you decide what becomes a short story or your next book. 


I do on occasion boil ideas. This is usually the case with poems. A lot of times I will think of a title or a few lines and rather than let it sit I will just get started on writing it. I will also on occasion boil a story by starting it but then it let simmer by stop writing about it. This usually happens because of writer's block which is why I tend not to boil my ideas. To me there's nothing worse than having a great idea for a story and getting started on it only to stop half way through because I ran out of ideas and where to go next. I'd like to think I'm not the only person who does this in that I lean toward simmering ideas but on occasion will get started right away. I feel a story needs to be just right and the only way to do that is to do what works best for you, in the case of myself it's letting it sit for a while to either build up or realizing it's not that great and I can scrap it to move on to something more creative. How about you? What do you do when you have a thought for a story? Do you let it simmer for a while or do you just get started and cook away into your writing?

Nothing's Ever Free, There's Always A Fee

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Nothing in life is free. You've heard the saying constantly and more and more as we rely on things the more they are no longer free. There are two things in life to know about any product, website or selling point, they are either not free or they are free until they aren't and eventually there will be a price. Obviously I'm being very broad here in the sense of referring to "free" with everything we spend money on but let's narrow it down to the publishing and book industry. Whether it's publishing a book or promoting a book you as a writer have the choice on whether or not you wish to spend money. If you want to publish you're book for free your inclined to do so, if you want to spend a little money or spend a lot because you don't feel like doing any work than you're also inclined to do that. Promoting can in a sense be the same way but leans more toward not being free. You can promote your book for free however you will soon realize that it only goes so far and that if you wih to make big on some of the stuff your doing now for free that....you'll have to spend money. This article will take a deeper look at the promoting and marketing aspect of books and how as the infamous saying goes nothing's ever free.


The first thing to realize is you can be successful using free ways to promote and market it just takes an investment, lots of dedicated time and sticking to what works best for you. However in most cases and if you're like me you wish to promote and market for free but not entirely for free which I've come to realize just isn't going to work. My philosophy is this: Promote for free and spend small and only when you have to. The problem? All the small things I find that will be useful to me aren't free at all. Call me crazy but I'm mostly optimistic about things when it comes to selling books I couldn't be further from it. If you manage where you wish to spend your money then chances are you'll be okay but I feel like the business is getting more and more about money and less about the value and enjoyment of the books themselves. It seems like no matter what promotion you want to use, what website you want to join or what ad you want to use it's either not free or it's way too expensive. I'm a realist, I see things for what they are, I also like guarantees and making my money back. Does that make me a bad person? No it just means I like to know that what I invest in has promise, is going to work, and I not only get my money's worth but then some. Of course not everything can be guaranteed but again it just seems like in this business you really have to know where your ducks are nevermind have them all in a row.


What is the truth? You're going to spend some money to promote and market, it's inevitable. The key is to spend accordingly and when you can except there are certain things that must be constant and are monthly. For instance if you want a top notch website with unlimited access to things you have to pay a fee plus if you want your own domain you have to pay a fee. If you want to join a mass e-mail site like MailChimp and send out outmated e-mails theres a fee. Get past 2,000 subscribers? There's a fee. If you want to join two just two promotional author sites there's a monthly fee. You want to join a class on how to help your sales? There's a big fee. This is what gets me, if you add all that up it's a big sum and if you don't have income your not exactly keen on forking all of it over nevermind if you have it. What all these fees say to me is your spending all this so you can have ways to sell your book but however much your spending on all this you now have a goal that you must reach or else it's a fail. You don't have to agree with this premise but it's not wrong. By spending money monthly on your website, domain, two promotion sites and your automated e-mail subscriber list your giving yourself a goal of sales you have to make and it isn't realistic, what it is is a vicious cycle. Priorities are key here and I more than anyone am all about organization and making money but as the saying goes, in order to make money you need to spend money. Yes but you also don't want to invest everything and end up broke either.


This isn't a rant so what is it that I'm saying? I'm saying nothing is free, I'm saying that not everyone has the money to invest and spend everywhere they please. I'm saying that I know it's a process but they don't make it easy but then again why have it easy when you need to work? Ah another cycle or irony. You're already working yourself to the bone to write your books so why should you have to work at spending money on so many things? I suppose a very simple answer is well if this helps your books making a ton of money and your getting tons of reviews out of it then you shouldn't have to worry...it's just not realistic or guaranteed enough to attempt though. Take time and research what you want to spend money on. Manage your money wisely and think of how much it will cost you yearly rather than monthly and if you can pay something in one shot you probably should. Too many sites have these pay later or pay monthly, yes it's convenient but I'm talking about the ones where it's one shot and done. I'm talking about pay once, don't worry so you can focus on your monthly fees. Your books aren't going to sell themselves and eventually your going to have to spend money, all I'm saying at this point and the message to take here is to figure out what you want to do and how you want to do it. Spend accordingly and make sure your investments are the right ones.

Should You Appeal to Other Countries?

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

So your looking at your website stats and your sales on Amazon and you notice you have a decent amount of traffic from other countries. What does this mean? Should you do something about it and if so, what? Before we answer these questions let's first understand the basics. When you create a website and you put up a page for your books and you put out great content in blogs(you are putting out quality content right?) naturally people are going to visit your site. Not only will people visit your site and check it out but chances are they may be from another country. Let's first explain how it is your getting all this traffic from other countries. It comes down to tags, hashtags and most importantly; keywords. When you put tags and keywords into your titles and posts there are people out there looking for the very type of information your providing on your blogs. If your using the proper tags and keywords then chances are your page comes up first when they type in certain keywords and since people in other countries all like books and learning about certain types of information this is why you get visits from them. Since creating my site back in 2011 I have seen people from dozens upon dozens of countries including small islands I didn't even know existed. But is it a big deal and should you embrace appealing to other countries? The answer is yes.


When you get any type of publicity, acknowledgement or sales in any place you're going to try to figure out where, why and then try to capitalize on it to get even more. When these sales and acknowledgements are coming from other countries then just like any sale your going to analyze it, ask yourself why and try to appeal and tackle that aspect. One thing that would be good to do is to see why they are targeting a book of yours or content you provide and make the most of it. You should try to get sales any way you can and make the most of any opportunity this especially includes going after potential customers in other countries. It doesn't matter if they are in another country but the simple fact that your being noticed means you should try to embrace it and get sales wherever you can. Remember, any sale is a good sale so if you live in Chicago and you find out someone in Austria has bought your book then look into what made them buy and try to see if you can get more sales in Austria. 


I came across a thread on Goodreads where a woman noticed her book on a website that she wasn't familiar with. Naturally she assumed at first glance that it was a piracy site but it was in fact a book site from the Phillippines called National Book Store. This is where people from the Phillippines can get books and they can due to the fact that Kobo owns them so they are an affiliate of Kobo. I checked it out and typed my recent book Opium Warfare which is available on Kobo into the search and sure enough it came up. I then looked at the price, figured out how much it translates to in U.S dollars and then I asked myself if I should try to appeal and target to people in the phillippines. If I did all I'd have to do is refer them to that site and it would likely count as a sale for me because it's owned by Kobo. If you're struggling to sell in your country is it a bad idea to try and appeal to another? I suppose it depends but I think in the long run no. As I stated earlier a sale is a sale no matter where it's from so if anything just broaden your target audience and try to appeal to them in a different way than you would your normal audience, at least when it comes to trying to reach them.  Should you appeal to other countries? Absolutely. Make the most of any opportunity that comes your way. 

What to Use Facebook Ad's For

Posted on July 6, 2016 at 11:30 PM Comments comments (0)

As authors we have all been told to try or have at least thought of trying Facebook Ads. First and for most if your an author and you don't have a Facebook author page then you need to go make one right now(Go, Go, Go!). One thing we always here is why Facebook stinks when it comes to promoting because they don't let your followers see your posts. Well newsflash: Facebook wants to make money just like everyone else. Facebook Ads are not the worst thing in the world, believe me it took me some convincing but 2 webinars and a ton of research later and I can sit here and tell you that running a Facebook Ad is something you need to try at least once. I also recommend researching how they work or for an even better idea of how to run one smoothly that you check out some webinars from Mark Dawson as he has made millions from running Facebook Ad's and is a master craftsman at them. A Facebook Ad is the thing to do but what do you run an ad for? Well I will give you a rundown of what you should and should not make a Facebook ad for. 


What to run a Facebook Ad for:

Lead Generation Ad- This is where you run an ad to gain followers by obtaining their e-mail address and you do so by using the ad to bring the person to a landing page. A landing page is where you tell the person if they join your mailing list they will receieve something free from you such as a book in a series, a character graph, an exclusive freebie, etc. A lead generation is the recommended ad to run if your considering what to run an ad for. It's a great place to start because naturally you want to build a following to gain fans and frequent buyers of your book and you do so by this. It's recommended over sales directly because your giving people free stuff and if they like what you have to say and your work that your offering all for free then chances are you gain not only their trust but you've made them a fan and constant buyer of your works whenever they come out.


To Get Sales Directly- First off you'd click on "Send People to Your Website" to run an ad to sell your books directly. You can choose to send them to your website or you can send them to Amazon, it's up to you. I've been told this isn't the ideal thing to run an ad for but it's certainly not the worse as it's second to Lead Generation ads. This is for when you want to run an ad to gain sales without wishing to build an e-mail list, Also it's good if your like me and your still in the process of getting the landing page made and trying to get more e-mails. Running an ad for sales is a good way to test the waters and see just how good your ad is. If it's good enough and you target the right people then not only will you get more sales but you may even get return customers without having to get them to your landing page. So getting sales directly is another good reason to run an ad. 


Promote Your Page(Get More Followers)- This is a good thing to run an ad for if your just starting out a Author/Business page and want to gain some followers. Of course you want to target the right audience just like you would with any other ad. I actually ran my only ad for this back when I was a couple months in to having created my page. I generated around 150-250 followers and I targeted people who were fans of my two books at the time and the type of writing I do. I would also say this its good to run this for when your getting ready to do a giveaway on another page. Of course you can run an ad for that too but in the event you want to focus on the giveaway directly and not have to worry about promoting it from all spots. Basically it's better to run an ad for your page as a whole than it is to run an ad to boost your individual posts. 


Raise attendance for an Event- As I stated above perhaps you want to build up your followers as a secondary thing while your running a giveaway on another page. Well if you want to run a giveaway and tell people on Facebook about it you can and should run an ad for that as well. Again you want to identify your audience, target them as you would with any other ad and tell them about the giveaway or whatever type of event it might be and explain where and why they should check it out. 


Get video views- If you have a book trailer or made an informative video explaining something or  your giving people some promoting and marketing tips then running an ad to get views for the video is a good way to go. I don't know too much about it and I don't know how well it works but it does seem like it could work as good as most ways I've said to run an ad for. It's something to consider.

Increase Brand Awareness- This is new for Facebook ads. It reaches people more likely to pay attnetion to your ads and increases awareness for your brand. 


What to NOT run a Facebook Ad For:

Boost Posts- You know when you make a status about your book on your page and you check back in a few hours expecting to see hundreds of views and you only have 17? Or when you have a post doing so well that Facebook suggests you run an ad to boost the post? Yeah..you don't want to do this. The reason you don't want to run an ad for it is because it's redundant and pointless. Imagine running an ad every time you posted something informative? You'd be doing it a lot. It's not realistic and benefits Facebook more than it benefits you. Plus as I opened this section, they want you to run an ad for both your statuses doing poorly and strongly. Facebook's algorithms prevent your posts from reaching all your followers. They base who will see your content based on what they think your followers want to see...dumb right? There is a simple way around this so that you don't have to waste time and money on an ad to boost posts. One thing to do is post images related to what you wish to talk about. Images tend to generate more views then regular text statuses. Also sharing other people's posts tend to get more views because they are feeding off multiple pages. You can also add something if you wish. I will note however that this may no longer be possible due to Facebook changing how you can log in as your business page. Do not run an ad for boosting posts.  


Why You Shouldn't Pay For Reviews

Posted on July 5, 2016 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Should you pay for reviews? It's one of those questions you see people ask constantly and there is a good share of mixed opinions on both sides. Well let me in very simple terms put it to you like this..do not under any circumstances ever pay for reviews for your books! Now I bet your wondering why I am so strong about my opinion well I will explain it to you but first remember this. Reviews are not fully for an authors benefit they are for readers to check out to get an idea on books. I do disagree with the whole "Reviews are not for the author" again not true, they are but they aren't solely for the author. An author can use reviews to build credentials for their book so it stands out and because any book looks good with lots of them. To the question at hand though, why shouldn;t you pay for reviews?


The first reason is because it's not a good practice. You don't want to rely on spending money to get reviews when you can spend money on much more reasonable things toward your book. I don't have many reviews for my books but at the same time I don't want to spend a ton of money to get them either. Also I feel paying for them makes them feel less worthy, I like earning my reviews, I like the idea of getting a sale or enticing someone to by my book or getting a review out of no where. It's just not a good practice to get reviews that way. Another reason you shouldn't pay for reviews? The cost. Everyone always mentions Kirkus. Kirkus this Kirkus that. Do you know what Kirkus is? Unrealistic, Not for everyone and most of all way too expensive. I've heard it costs well into the $400-500 range which is just ridiculous. Also there's no guarantee you'll get your book in. Look, just because I'm against it doesn't mean you should be, I mean if you want to give them a try by all means I'm just telling you that your better off working your butt off getting reviews or simpler easier ways just not paying for them by using Kirkus.


Another reason you shouldn't pay for reviews is because you may end up with results you may not be happy with. We all want 5 star ratings and reviews, let's not sugar coat it, we do. As authors we all want our books to be best-sellers and 5 stars all across the board with nothing but good things..well again not realistic. This is most certainly true with book tours. Book Tours are great if you want people to feature your book, have you do a guest post, cover reveal but reviews not so much. Why are book tours bad for reviews? Two reasons: One, not everyone is going to enjoy the book and your not getting all good reviews and two, people tend to cancel and it's not guaranteed so when your told you'll get 8 reviews and you end up with 4, chances are your not going to be very happy that you spent such money. I know this happens because it's happened to me. it didn't discourage me from trying it again but it did make me re-think and now if I were to do a book tour it wouldn't solely be to get reviews it would be for everything and if someone wanted to review then I'd consider that an added bonus. 


Finally there is another reason you shouldn't pay for reviews and it doesn't involve money..your thinking huh? What does he mean? I mean review swaps. They mind as well be considered paying for reviews because your not paying in money your paying by agreeing to give someone good praise for their book if they give praise to yours. NO, NO, NO! This is not only not good to do but it's downright frowned upon for authors. It means your only reading a book and pardon my french(kissing ass) so that you get a good review. That's not realistic and nobody wants to look at reviews for a book only to notice they have a ton of 5 star books and lots of them sound as though the person read the back cover and just through something together. You should never do a review swap because they aren't honest and in my opinion it's the same as spending a ton of money on getting them...don't do it, it's not worth it. So in the long run remember the keys to what you have read and why you shouldn't pay to get reviews. There are many ways to get reviews without paying such as joining Author's Marketing Club and trying their Review Grabber Tool, going onto Goodreads and ask for reviews in appropriate groups and folders, running a giveaway on Goodreads, Amazon or Rafflecopter, etc. These are just a few ideas but any idea is better than paying for reviews.


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