Spinal Remains

Uncategorized

The eBook is now available for preorder here! To be released August 9th.

In his third short story collection, Lutzke offers yet another blender-tossed concoction of fiction colored dark. Fourteen tales covering a multitude of subgenres, including: psychological, crime, extreme, human horrors, bizarre, coming-of-age, and humor.

SPINAL REMAINS is the perfect illustration of why collections are so important. If you think you know Chad Lutzke, travel down these paths that take you far from expectations. At turns nostalgic, horrifying and downright disgusting, but always intensely human and gorgeously written. My favorite Lutzke so far.”

Laurel Hightower, author of CROSSROADS and BELOW

Twilight At The Gates

Uncategorized

Preorder the eBook here! To be released July 19th.

Twilight at the Gates is a short story collection written in homage to programs that once featured speculative tales such as The Twilight Zone. Mark Allan Gunnells is a master craftsman of the short story form and in these stories and poems he hopes to proffer the weird, the strange, and the uncanny from the darkest recesses of his psyche.

A couple watches night after night as the stars quietly disappear, breathlessly waiting for their own star to fade…

A group trapped in an abominable situation, a storm of the century with no end in sight…


Stories dealing with time travel, grief, and even a Halloween tale await readers of Twilight at the Gates.

Beautiful Atrocities

Uncategorized

Preorder the Beautiful Atrocities eBook here! Scheduled for release on July 11th.

Beautiful Atrocities collects eighteen stories of literary dark fiction from the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author Ross Jeffery, who terrified us with the sensational Juniper Series. These chilling stories run the gamut of modern horror and will leave the reader entertained, breathless and horrified in equal measure but still wanting to turn the page.

This is a masterful debut collection from one of horror’s bright shining lights.

“Even though most of the stories contained in this collection deal with cruelty in some form, one must not forget the importance of the word “beauty” when coupled with the word “cruelty.” Ross executes these moments of barbarity, of viciousness, of unbridled depravity with the tenderness and care of an accomplished surgeon. Of course, this unique coupling of “beauty” and “cruelty” conjures the likes of writers who have dabbled in the area before with uncompromising skill and verve. I think of authors such as Clive Barker or Michael McDowell—veterans of the grotesquely beautiful horror, writers who conjured the most horrific and unsettling images and rendered them as things of beauty.”

Eric LaRocca, author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke

CGM Summer Update 2022

Uncategorized

Michael Harris Cohen has appeared in three of our anthologies and his first collection The Eyes: A Novella & Stories came out quite some time ago. We’re fans of his, so when he sent us a manuscript for a new collection it was easy to slot him into our schedule for the fall. Here’s the cover reveal for his book Effects Vary:

Art by Matthew Revert

This summer we’ll have a bit of a rapid fire release of collections and novellas. Starting July 5th LP Hernandez’ novella Stargazers will have its official release via Mother Horror’s My Dark Library line. Then collections from Ross Jeffery, Mark Allan Gunnells, Chad Lutzke, and Paul Michael Anderson will be available. My Dark Library novellas #2 from Chandler Morrison and #3 Kelsea Yu should appear in September. The art for these books is either finished or in the works and should be spoiled in the next month or so.

But before those books come out we’ll have our open call for Campfire Macabre: Volume 2

The details for this call are up on our submissions page. We’re looking for flash stories for our five themes. The first Campfire Macabre was a really fun book to put together, and though it was a pricey book to fund, it broke even earlier this year.

Places We Fear to Tread is one of our bestselling books and the sequel will have an open call in either the late-autumn or early winter. John and I started out this publishing business with the idea that if we could sell some books we might be able to fund future books. We sold enough books between 2015-2019 to fund every idea we wanted to write together, so having accomplished the small goals we set for ourselves it was either end Cemetery Gates or begin publishing the work of others. Once we publish the sequel to Places We Fear to Tread in 2023 we’ll have put out the variety of anthologies we had in mind when we began publishing group anthologies in 2019.

There’s a theme here. We’re doing this as a hobby and once we see through the books we’re passionate about we move on to something new. Our series of anthologies will likely conclude next year, our series of collections should conclude next year(there’s another author or two we hope to announce in the coming weeks!), while I don’t see any end to our interest in putting out novellas — we have horror nonfiction, middle-grade, and additional children’s books in the works.

The idea we began with was always incremental growth. We knew that we had to learn every aspect of the book business as writers and publishers. We have heard grumblings along the way, the subtweets about how we operate our publishing house, our reliance on Amazon for sales, printing, and distribution. It’s good for a laugh. We’re here to put out the books we want to see in the world and pay artists and authors their fair share, and we’ll continue to do so as long as readers keep buying our books.

-Joe

Picnic in the Graveyard

Uncategorized

Paperback and Ebook now available here.

Picnic in the Graveyard is an anthology of cemetery horrors. This book contains 1 poem and 21 stories of the supernatural, all-too-human, wacky, scary, and somber.

A family reunion in the cemetery goes according to plan, until it doesn’t…

Mafiosos dig up a very special lady for their boss, but soon regret disturbing her resting place…

A young man is dared by his friends to venture into Cemetery Joe’s ramshackle cabin. Turns out, there’s much more to Joe’s story than your typical garden variety necrophiliac…

Table of Contents:

“Storybook Hill” Shane Douglas Keene

“Angels With Broken Wings” Nicole Willson

“The Potion” Mark Allan Gunnells

“The Words Beneath” Michael Harris Cohen

“A Warm Fall Day” L. Marie Wood

“Date Night” Bev Vincent

“Moving Mackenzie” Tim Meyer

“La Cesse’s Secret” Catherine McCarthy

“Make Me Shine” Mark Towse

“St. Mark’s Eve” Stephanie Ellis

“Why the Wind Blows” Nuzo Onoh

“We All Fall” Alex Ebenstein

“The Young Thaumaturge” Samantha Kolesnik

“Remembrance” Tom Deady

“The Crazy with Daisy” R.J. Joseph

“Why Bob Lee Came Back” Nick Kolakowski

“Death and Life in a Small Town” JG Faherty

“In the Jaws of a Beautiful Beast” J.A.W. McCarthy

“The Merry” Alex Woodroe

“Goombahs in the Graveyard” Kenneth W. Cain

“The Night Will Let It In” Michael Kelly

“Cemetery Joe” LP Hernandez

Sticks and Stones

Uncategorized

Paperback and eBook available here.

Childhood. A time of endless discoveries and extraordinary dreams. Not all discoveries are pleasant, however, and some dreams prowl as wild-eyed nightmares. We who survived our youth did so by journeying through carrion wilderness, with life preying upon our innocence and wonder. Monsters ever hunted us, for monsters prefer the taste of children.

Sticks and Stones is a collection of dark, fantastical stories about those most vulnerable years. First heartaches. First goodbyes. First encounters with death and depravity.

Revisit childhood and learn why we’re never supposed to tell lies.

Why we don’t talk to strangers.

And why we never, ever wander into the woods alone.

“I closed the final page on this collection and stared into my fireplace in complete contemplation. C.W. Briar’s collection drug me screaming back to my childhood. Every selection seems purposeful and geared towards full-tilt emotional impact. Poignant and chill-inducing. Read if you dare.”

Justin Holley, Author of BRUISED, TETHERED TO DARKNESS and BLOOD FROM THE STARS

“If stories are the currency people share, C.W. Briar has created a cursed treasure chest out of his collection Sticks and Stones. There is something intimate and dark here that will leave you feeling smaller than before.”

Jessica Ann York, Author

“Sticks and Stones may break your bones, but this collection of childhood-themed horror stories will haunt you. This book contains a variety of tales that will satisfy a range of horror fans, from chilling, classic ghost stories to out-of-this-world cosmic horror delights. This is an excellent sampling of the talent and range of CW Briar’s horror, and will leave you hungry for more—just one story is simply not enough.”

Erin Kelly, Author of the TAINTED MOONLIGHT SERIES

A Woman Built By Man Anthology

Uncategorized

Now available here!

A Woman Built By Man is a collage of 21 horror tales that seek to crawl under the skin and deconstruct the many ways women are built up and broken down by a patriarchal society. And the many ways they’re finally saying, “Enough.”

TOC:

“Every Woman Knows This” by Laurel Hightower

“She Sings of Pain and Sorrow” by Holley Cornetto

“The Thing With Feathers” by Tonya Walter

“She Asked For It” by Lilyn George

“Genesis 2:22” by Denarose Fukushima

“Better“ by Alexis DuBon

“The Truth Tiger” by Gemma Amor

“The Shock of Death” by Michelle Tang

“Youngblood” by Lindz McLeod

“What Doesn’t Kill You” by Elle Turpitt

“Underground” by Regi Caldart

“The Only Thing Different Will Be The Body” by J.A.W. McCarthy

“Blame, Pain, and Selfishness” by Hailey Piper

“New Lines from Which to Shape Her Body” by Nikki R. Leigh

“Last Night I Was Having a Drink at the Slippery Nipple” by Amanda Michele

“Maddy Long Legs” by Olivia White

“M.E. and Her” by Lea Storry

“The Eyes of Vaz’lul” by Jill Palmer

“The Canary” by Joanne Askew

“Bambolina, Bambolina” by G.G. Silverman

“The Cooper Girl” by S.H. Cooper

CGM 2022 “News”

Uncategorized

We usually do a thread on Twitter once or twice a year announcing upcoming projects, future open calls and publications but there’s too much Cemetery Gates news right now for those little text boxes. If you want to keep up-to-date with what we’re up to, including how you can participate as a horror writer looking to place stories, definitely follow us on Twitter @cemeterygatesm.

February Update: Paul Michael Anderson has signed on to our 2022 short story collections lineup with his latest EVERYTHING WILL BE ALL RIGHT IN THE END: APOCALYPSE STORIES. The collection will feature 17 pieces, including a novella, 3 of the stories are original to the book. Scheduled to be released in Aug/Sept.

Paul Michael Anderson is the writer of the collection BONES ARE MADE TO BE BROKEN, which FANGORIA magazine called “endlessly stunning, supremely disquieting” and author Jack Ketchum called “a dark carnival of rigorous intelligence and compassion”, as well as the novella HOW WE BROKE with Bracken MacLeod.

January brought award possibilities for three of our writers. Ross Jeffery and J.A.W. McCarthy made the preliminary ballot for the 2021 Bram Stoker Awards, while R.J. Joseph placed two stories in the short fiction category, including “I Just Want to Be Free” from our quiet horror anthology Paranormal Contact.

On Jan 25th we released Christi Nogle’s debut novel Beulah. It’s really a fantastic ghost/possession story, for fans of haunted houses and coming-of-age clairvoyants. We’re reopening debut novel submissions on May 1st. Just check out our submissions page for details.

On Feb 1st we’ll begin accepting novellas (25k-40k words) for our My Dark Library Novella Series in partnership with Sadie Hartmann.

Late in Feb we’ll be releasing Tyler Jones’ debut collection Burn the Plans. Last fall he released this incredible old west novel Almost Ruth and he’s working on a novella for us right now that’s a little bit secret. All of his novellas and short stories are top notch.

Right now we’re reading stories for an anthology entitled Picnic in the Graveyard. 2000-4000 word horror stories that take place in a cemetery/burial place. No reprints unless your first name is Clive. $0.07/word. Send stories to Cemeterygatesmedia@gmail.com w/ attached doc file. Deadline April 1st.

In Feb or March we’ll release a big anthology A Woman Built by Man ed. S.H. Cooper & Elle Turpitt. Ton of great writers in this one. Hailey Piper, Olivia White, Gemma Amor, Laurel Hightower, J.A.W. McCarthy, etc. We’ll post the cover w/ full TOC eventually.

March/April we’ll put out C.W. Briar’s collection Sticks & Stones.

This summer we are scheduling Mark Allan Gunnells’ collection Twilight at the Gates and Ross Jeffery’s collection Beautiful Atrocities.

We anticipate releasing some of the My Dark Library novellas this year. Later in the year we have Wesley Southard’s collection They Mostly Come at Night scheduled, along with an anthology/collection hybrid featuring Sara Tantlinger, Corey Farrenkopf, Red Lagoe, and Jessica Ann York.

If you’ve made it this far you’ll be among the first to know of our sequel to Corpse Cold: New American Folklore. Corpse Cold is our best selling book to date. In 2017 we raised $29,000 on Kickstarter with over 700 backers. After release the book spent weeks at #1 on Amazon’s horror anthology bestseller list. This new book Corpse Cold: Creepypasta will be illustrated by Chad Wehrle in the same style as the original. We grabbed a dozen stories from our Cemetery Gates Society open call and plan to get a few more tales from invitees, though we will likely hold another open call to get a few final stories this spring/summer.

In other top secret news, we’re working with Gemma Amor to produce a beautiful hardcover of Six Rooms with bonus material, illustrations, signed bookplate, etc.

Odds and Ends:

Some of you have been following along and you’re probably wondering what’s going on with the sequels to Places We Fear To Tread and Campfire Macabre. Places We Fear To Tread: New York will have a New York nature/outdoors theme and the open call for that will likely be in late-2022. Campfire Macabre Vol. 2 will be a flash fiction anthology and the call for that will go out in early 2023. Both books have sold well enough to warrant sequels but sequels aren’t as exciting as some of our newer projects.

We get questions all the time about doing this or that book project. We tend to work with writers who enter our sphere through our open calls. In general, the best way to make a name for yourself is to either write a ton of short fic and get paid for it all over the place, or write a killer novella/novel and place it with a publisher who puts out books that you already read and enjoy.

My Dark Library Novella Series

Uncategorized

Stargazers by LP Hernandez

Preorder the eBook here! To be released July 5th.

Stargazers is a story of a father’s love for his daughter, of their fight to survive as the world they understand unravels. It began with a curious forum post: “My Neighbor Has Been Staring at the Moon for Hours.” Each night there are more of them. They stand on sidewalks, in darkened backyards and watch the sky with open mouths. When the sun rises, the Stargazers have a new purpose. Some to destroy, some to kill, some simply to die. Revealed through alternating perspectives of subsequent forum posts, and the experiences of war veteran Henry, his wife Judith, and their daughter Penny, Stargazers is a speculative exploration not of the stars, but what may lurk in the darkness between them.

… add Stargazers to your Goodreads here!

Stargazers is a transfixing read from start to finish. The mystery is both emotional and frightening as the tension deepens. I can’t wait to read more L.P. Hernandez based on this short tale I could have read more of.” –V. Castro, Author of Queen of the Cicadas and Goddess of Filth

Stargazers is as tense and eerie as it is entertaining and emotionally gritty. Hernandez masterfully weaves together elements of post-apocalyptic fiction, mystery, and horror into a fast-paced novella that delivers a hell of a punch. This is a literary Creepypasta with lots of heart, and Hernandez is a writer to watch.” –Gabino Iglesias, Author of The Devil Takes You Home and Coyote Songs

#thighgap by Chandler Morrison

Preorder the eBook here! To be released August 30th.

Los Angeles fashion model Helen Troy wasn’t always skinny. Drastic weight loss has given her everything–money, confidence, attention, respect. Being thin has legitimized her, and starvation has become an addiction.

Following an encounter with a seemingly “perfect” rival model who destabilizes Helen’s shaky self-confidence and shatters her fragile illusion of control, she’s sent into a tragic tailspin that will take her to the lowest depths of hell. Nightmarish versions of herself begin materializing in mirrors, and her tried-and-true coping mechanisms stop working. Reality comes apart at the seams as Helen’s disease manifests in increasingly self-destructive fashions, forcing her to ask herself…

What does perfection look like, and how much would you sacrifice to obtain it?

… add #thighgap to your Goodreads here!

“No blurb will be able to fully convey how great this book is. Chandler Morrison’s voice is unique, stylish and powerful. Required reading for fans of Brett Easton Ellis, Tom Piccirilli or Chuck Palahniuk.”

Brian Keene, Author of Ghoul

#thighgap is a story of abyssal redemption. A frozen palace of beautiful and broken people. It’s brutal and tragically sexy and doesn’t shy away from any of its dark interiors.”

Autumn Christian, Author of Girl Like a Bomb

“Morrison beautifully illustrates the brutality and horrific agony that accompanies diagnoses such as anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphia, and other self-injurious, trauma-driven behaviors. The protagonist’s journey of pain is presented with transparent and vicious honesty. #thighgap is a book of importance and a story that has long needed telling.”

Marian Echevarria, Co-host of Mothers of Mayhem

“Swift. Vonnegut. Palahniuk. All authors who affected societal change through their satiric voices and social commentary. Now, in 2022, it is Morrison’s voice that is added. #thighgap will leave the reader gutted while shining light on an overlooked and too often misunderstood illness.”

Christina Pfeiffer, Co-host of Mothers of Mayhem

Bound Feet by Kelsea Yu

On the night of the Hungry Ghost Moon, when spirits can briefly return to the living world, Jodi Wu and her best friend sneak into Portland’s Chinese Garden and Ghost Museum. Kneeling before the pond where Jodi’s toddler drowned one year before, they leave food offerings and burn joss paper—and Jodi prays that Ella’s ghost will return for the night.

To distract Jodi from her grief, the two friends tell each other ghost stories as they explore the museum. They stop at the main display, a centuries-old pair of lotus slippers belonging to a woman whose toes were broken and bound during childhood. While reading the woman’s story, Jodi hears her daughter’s voice.

As Jodi desperately searches the garden, it becomes apparent that Ella isn’t the only ghost they’ve awakened. Something ancient with a slow, shuffling step lurks in the shadows…

Taboo in Four Colors by Tim McGregor

New York City, 1972 – Comic book artist, Wally Carson, has been illustrating the stories of a reclusive writer named Salazar without ever having met the man in person. When Salazar suddenly misses his deadlines, Carson is sent to find out what’s happened to the company’s best-selling writer.

Carson meets resistance from the writer’s wife, but when he insists, he is shocked to find Salazar in a catatonic state. When other artists at the company want to collaborate with the elusive Salazar, Carson realizes he will have to make Salazar disappear—piece by piece, if necessary.

The Bonny Swans by P.L. Watts

When Anne O’Donnell arrives on a dock in France in 1789 with no memory of her past, she allows herself to be renamed Marguerite and taken in as governess for Mellian, the petulant daughter of the rich merchant, Donatien Marais. But the chateau holds many secrets, some of them deadly.

Corporate Body by R.A. Busby

When impoverished college dropout Nick signs up to be a DrugCorp test subject, he’s glad for the easy money. A few inpatient stays, and after too many blood draws to count, Nick can actually pay the rent on the backyard shed he lives in. Best of all, he doesn’t have to be a burden to his father. He’s disappointed the man enough already.

That’s when his friend Charlie lets him in on some classified information: a highly experimental forty-week study at the isolated DrugCorp compound. Nick knows this study involves improving the human genome to extend life, and he knows it involves some minor abdominal surgery, but he isn’t prepared at all for the strange…aftereffects. The nausea. The itching. The unusual abdominal swelling. The internal squirming. 

Social Media for Writers by Sadie Hartmann

Uncategorized

by Sadie “Mother Horror” Hartmann

If it’s true what they say, word of mouth advertising is gold, then social media is your best friend.

Your annoying, obnoxious, embarrassing best friend. I get it. So many people weigh the pros and cons of maintaining a relationship with social media and find the consequences outweigh the benefits. I understand. I’m not writing this piece from a posture of downplaying the negativity in order to convince anyone that they can have a stress-free social media experience. I honestly don’t believe that’s possible. What I will do is unpack some of the ways writers can utilize various platforms by taking advantage of the strengths by locking down the weaknesses. As someone who has decent-sized platforms on Instagram and Twitter with access to analytics, I can provide valuable information supported by those numbers; what works and what doesn’t work broken down into ideas that are easy to assimilate and replicate.

Website/Blog:

A while ago, I tweeted that I was writing this article and I assigned homework. I told writers to check out Stephen Graham Jones’ blog DemonTheory.net

SGJ collects most of his social media mentions, articles, live events, speeches, awards, reviews, almost everything online pertaining to him and his work in separate, categorized blog posts. This is an extremely comprehensive resource for fans, journalists, and himself! This website can be used to source anything regarding SGJ’s writing career over the years.

This is the blueprint.

Writers starting out should one hundred percent replicate a version of these archives now while there isn’t too much to manage. Seasoned authors could do this work a little at a time to get caught up. Why? Because it’s worth it. Because you will have these links at your fingertips in a moment’s notice. Because when someone is doing an interview for you or writing a review or an article about you, this website/blog is information about you and your work controlled by the most important person, you! Google searches (HOMEWORK: Do a Google Search on yourself and see what happens) will yield results outside of your control, so take some of that ownership back and gather the links you think represents the body of your work. It helps if the website is functional and up-to-date. Bonus points if it is sleek and professional looking too.

Side Note: I cannot stress how important it is for all your links to work everywhere. Check your Goodreads profile, your social media bios, Your links to buy your books, all links you share should be checked and double checked. There is nothing more unprofessional than clicking on a link that is broken or redirects to something else entirely.

Professional Headshots/Author photos/Pictures:

I can’t stress how important it is to have some quality photos of yourself out there on the web. As someone who conducts a lot of interviews, makes graphics for YouTube events, blog posts, etc. I Google search authors all the time in order to grab something copyright free to use for various projects, write-ups and graphics so that I don’t have to reach out to the author and wait for a response. When I was making YouTube thumbnails for Celebrate Horror 2020 and 2021, I had to look up photos for fifty plus people and some of the results were extremely limiting. If you don’t have good photos of yourself out there, people will stalk your profiles and be forced to screengrab bathroom selfies, wedding photos, or your Twitter account picture. They are likely not going to ask you for a photo when the internet is at their fingertips so take back the control and make a file of headshots/photos and populate a blog post or your website with them. If you do an interview, attach a photo you like in the email correspondence so that they don’t hunt for one and the more unique SEOs out there publishing your photo, the better your Google Image results will be.

(HOMEWORK: Google Search “images” for ‘Author Mike Thorn’ or ‘Gwendolyn Kiste’)

Instagram:

If you Google the question, “What is Instagram” the answer will drastically change depending on the year. Instagram used to be a photo sharing app. A photo with a caption. It was a refreshing change of pace from Facebook users who were weary of a feed full of ‘hot takes’ and updates.

I’ve had a dedicated bookish account on Insta for five years; the golden years were between 2017-2019. My account grew by the thousands. I could post a photo and watch the notifications roll in as a result of an organic algorithm centered on order and not ‘importance’.

Influencers caught the attention of companies. Community hashtags like #bookstagram changed the way publishers launched promotional campaigns. Then Facebook bought the app and it all went to shit really quickly. In the last couple of years, in order to compete with TikTok, videos or “stories” began trending and now Instagram is a clusterfuck of photos and videos with half your audience split between the two. Is it worth a writer’s time to promote there? Three years ago? Yes. Now? I don’t know. It would be tough to build an audience on Instagram without doing videos, which is time consuming. My suggestion is if you are already there, stay. Do a mix of photo and video content and make use of a free promotional tool. If you’re not there, skip it. You don’t need it. The biggest benefit is just being there so that influencers can tag you in their photos (this is a good reason to have your author name as your username) and users can follow you or check out your link in your bio which should direct them to your website–having good photos of your books on your feed with a caption that details the plot or showcases blurbs/reviews is good. Don’t share actual links in comments or captions–nobody can or will take the time to copy & paste that into a browser and they are not hotlinked. You can only share links to your stories if you have 10K+ followers. You CAN host a giveaway through a willing influencer and those do pretty well–or an influencer that likes your work can host a cover reveal and share links in their stories. So if you have a relationship with someone who has a larger platform and they’re willing to boost your work, these are all good reasons to be there–some traditional publishers might require it.

Twitter:

Oh Twitter. So Twitter can feel like the trenches of Facebook but since a tweet has limited characters in which to work with, the heat is restrained to simmers and boils instead of full-on grease fires that will burn your house down. People try to do long tweet rants metered out into threads but honestly, I have yet to see those do big numbers unless you’re a verified pundit or celebrity.

Twitter provides some great tools in order to curate your feed and manage the chaos as best as you can but nothing can take the place of good ol’ self control. So if Twitter steals your joy, you can really just dip in and dip out for announcements or a quick tweet and then just retreat back to real life. I will caution that engagement, socializing, is an important aspect of social media so if you announce your book was optioned for a movie deal and nobody seems to care, it could be because you haven’t cared about anyone’s achievements either; works both ways. You get what you give in this case. Which brings me back to that curation. You can mute words that bring up triggering conversations/discussions. You can set notifications to show you relevant tweets from people you are interested in and you can mute mutuals that you are following that you are not interested in and nobody will be the wiser.

The best tweets are usually accompanied with a visual. For example, if you tweet an instagram or youtube link and the preview is a tiny box without an image, I promise you nobody will engage with it.

But if you link to a YouTube panel of authors you were a part of and you include the thumbnail graphic or a screenshot, people love that!

This Tweet earned more that 40K impressions because it had a hashtag, the tagged creator retweeted, it had a graphic and a lot of people could relate to it. It had 62 QTs where people shared their own, personal religious background and engagement with Midnight Mass. I also tweeted this close to the show’s debut when it was trending and a hot topic of conversation. This exact tweet wouldn’t do these numbers now.

The same sort of thing happened when I tweeted about going to see A Quiet Place 2 on opening night and tagged John Krasinski. He retweeted and commented on my photo of a big tub of popcorn in my lap at the theater. Ride the waves! It’s worth the engagement. I’m a firm believer in having a professional looking Twitter banner and changing it up often to reflect different things you’re promoting. If you’re promoting your 4th book release but your banner is about your debut novel from ten years ago, this is wasted retail space. Use it like a billboard! Advertise yourself.

I think authors need to know that people really do follow you on social media so they can keep track of everything you’re doing. I know that folks get uncomfortable about the ratio of self promotion versus everything else, but trust me, your audience doesn’t get bored of the promo–it is what we are there for, mostly.

Cynthia Pelayo has a great article about sharing yourself on social media so I won’t reinvent the wheel, I’ll just direct your attention to it so you can wrestle with your own, personal sense of boundaries and such, Managing a Professional Author Online Presence.

TikTok:

I have no clue what I’m doing on TikTok. I’m pretty much of no use to anyone when it comes to TikTok advice. All I know is that the algorithm is organic and anything has the potential to go viral. I’ve talked about this before but Stephanie of “Books In the Freezer” shared a video of some books that were difficult for her to get through and it went so incredibly viral, people were buying the books she mentioned left and right to the tune of thousands and thousands. Barnes & Noble has a display table at most locations that is dedicated to what books  are trending according to influencer recommendations. This works in the negative direction too. I’ve seen authors suddenly get all this unwanted engagement over an issue pertaining to the book and it’s very upsetting to watch. There is this sense of entitlement that users demonstrate when commenting on a creator’s video; a demand for the creator to respond or perform. It’s extremely unsettling and I would hope that anyone signing up for a TikTok account knows that it can be a very vulnerable situation and to use the platform with eyes wide open to the potential hazards and privacy concerns. It does seem more volatile than Twitter or Instagram and more like Facebook but with a younger, more hostile crowd. That’s just my take away and subject to opinion.

The bottom line here is that an internet presence is there to support the craft. If it ever feels imbalanced or not worth the extra work/effort, it’s easy to walk away from it and switch to a different way to reach out to your fanbase, like newsletters, interviews or live guest appearances such as AMAs (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, IGTV, YouTube, or Facebook. There really is a plethora of ways authors can interact with readers and build that fanbase–it is my strong opinion that anything free and easy to use should be utilized in some capacity. Self promotion is a huge part in making that leap from hobbyist to full-time career. A really good way to sort through the priorities is to filter everything through the lens of two different goals in every situation:

Am I trying to network/build relationships?

Am I trying to market/sell something?

The answer to these questions will serve the goal more effectively.

Let me know if this was at all helpful and feel free to engage with me on social media. I tweet about this subject all the time.