Kudos, Amazon. Kudos.

I’m not the type of person who pays a lot of attention to the news. For good or ill, most of my knowledge of what’s going on in the world around me comes from secondary sources (i.e. wherever I happen to be hanging out on the internet that day). So it was whilst browsing through some other blogs on WordPress that I happened to stumble across the news that Amazon is going to be paying authors to publish fan fiction.

People…I am beyond stoked about this, not because I think it might benefit me personally, but because it opens up a whole new world for writers who managed to put together excellent stories about characters who just happen to be copyright protected. Publishing fan fiction has been around for ages of course (what, did you think that the hundreds of Star Wars novels out there were all written by George Lucas?), but it has tended to be a very difficult world to get into. Amazon is going to widen that world, make it more accessible. They have garnered the rights to gather and publish fan fiction novels based on three popular television series (Gossip Girls, The Vampire Diaries, and Pretty Little Liars), and it is my hope and belief that this list will grow exponentially in the future. This could present a huge opportunity for the thousands upon thousands of fans out there who have put great time and effort into their previously-doomed-to-never-be-published works. Of course, there are quite a lot of fans out there who have neither the skills nor the natural talent to write something that Amazon will consider publishing, but just the idea that this is now a real opportunity is amazing to me. Just think…someday soon you could write an amazing novel based on some of your all-time favorite characters and actually make money from it!

As a fangirl of many things myself, I really have to say, I’m pretty damn excited.

What do you think about this new development? Do you think it’s going to fly? Will it be a good thing or a bad thing for fan fiction writers? Please share!

Author Platforms 101

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

92. Building a platform

For this topic, along with a few other topics I’ve spoken on in the past, I would like to direct you over to Kristen Lamb’s blog. Kristen is the goddess of all things social media and author platform. Anything I know already (which isn’t much), I’ve learned from her. If it weren’t for the good fortune of stumbling across her blog once and deciding to follow it, I wouldn’t know a damn thing about having an author platform. In fact, I’m not sure I would even know what the words “author platform” mean.

Put simply, Writer’s Digest defines an author platform as “your visibility as an author”. It is through this “visibility” that you connect with current and potential readers and (hopefully) sell books. You do so by making yourself available through such things as a professional website, blogs, mailing lists, social media, and any professional connections you have.

Currently my “author platform” is somewhat compact. I have this blog, which is my epicenter, as well as a Twitter account, and accounts at FictionPress.com and Fanfiction.net. I have no connections, to speak of, because I haven’t been in the game very long, and I’m held back by my career in the trades. I don’t currently share my Facebook page with readers because I haven’t yet figured out how to do so without readers being able to see every part of me, so to speak. I want to have some semblance of privacy, after all, some stuff that only family and friends can see.

Someday I hope for my author platform to grow because there is no doubt (now that I know what one is) that it is an important aspect of becoming a successful writer. So for now I keep my eye on Kristen and anyone else who enjoys sharing their knowledge and insights. Thanks all!

Call This Help?

It appears that the only problem with pre-scheduling my posts for during the work rotation is that when I get home for my off-days I forget that I have to, you know…manually post some entries. I’d like to try and fix myself of this issue if at all possible. One of the big reasons (I suspect) that I’ve been unsuccessful with blogs and the like in the past is because I have no concept of “regular updates”, which as it turns out is a bit important.

In my defense, I had a friend visit from away for four nights, and during three of those nights we devoured a large, large amount of alcohol. A large amount. I may be recovering for another three or four nights.

But I digress. This is an overdue post that I should have made about a week ago when it was originally relevant.

About a week and a half ago there was an article in the local newspapers, detailing a rather frustrating issue with our province’s apprenticeship board. Without going into a great amount of detail, some lawyer (of course) apparently discovered that the apprenticeship board does not actually have the authority to accept work hours that were obtained in other provinces. As an overwhelming number of Nova Scotia apprentices work outside Nova Scotia (i.e. where the jobs are), this is a bit of an issue. It was a topic of much contention out on the work site. But it’s not the main point of the article that bothered me so much…what really bothered me was a quote by an apprenticeship board spokesman that stated how they were trying to help apprentices through this issue and that they were “all about” helping apprentices through to completion of their apprenticeship.

In response to this quote I wrote an emphatic FaceBook status about just how “helpful” I’ve found the apprenticeship board to be over the years. My husband then pointed out that the spokesman I was addressing was unlikely to read my FaceBook page and suggested I submit my status to the newspaper. I did so, expecting nothing to come of it, and was contacted by a family friend a few days later to let me know that he’d just read my letter.

Not the most enormous deal in the world, but pretty exciting to me since it’s technically my first real publication. 🙂 Confidence!

If anyone is interested in reading the letter that I wrote, I submit to you the link to the online version. My letter is third one down, entitled “Call this help?” and signed (obviously) Tracey Tobin.