Category Archives: information

Solopreneur Shuffle: Making it All Happen When You’re All Alone

solopreneur-shuffle

In 2012 13% of adults in the U.S. were part of startups according to Forbes. In 2015 Inc.Com determined there were 27 million entrepreneurs in the U.S.; a record high. Among these hopeful business folks are a special breed of optimistic and driven souls, the solopreneurs. Solopreneurs are entrepreneurs who, in lieu of working with a partner or team, choose to go it alone. That often means they leave their stable day jobs to pursue a dream, side hustle, or new idea all by themselves. If you are a solopreneur or want to become one, keep these tips and strategies in mind to keep your head and business afloat.

  1. Have a Plan
    Business plans aren’t just for the traditional brick and mortar shops you see. Take time, wherever you are in your solopreneur journey, and map out a business plan for your venture. What you think will work and what actually needs to happen may turn out to be different things, but at least having a business plan will help you to stay aware of what your goals are and you’ll be able to see how much you’ve deviated and can determine if the reasons why are just.
  2. Become a Time Management Wizard
    Planning extends past the need to have an idea of what your business goals are. You’ll also need to micromanage yourself some to ensure you stay productive. Many entrepreneurs (many of them solo) rely on planners to keep them grounded, and on track. My favorite digital calendar/app is Google Calendar (reminders and color coding makes my world go round), but generally speaking I am pretty old school and use a paper planner. I’d highly recommend checking out the reviews on planners catered towards businesses/entrepreneurs, and see what jives with your goals and needs.
  3. 3Ps: Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize!
    Just because the bulk of your time could be spent answering email doesn’t mean it When you have time and resources to dedicate to client work – do! When you need to devote time to working on your business rather than working for your business, do! If you don’t, no one else will.
  4. Recognize When You Need Help
    There will inevitably come a time when you can no longer handle everything by yourself. When that time comes, be prepared to outsource some of the tasks you are not best suited for, do not like doing, or procrastinate on. Virtual assistants, copy writers like myself, and social media managers can save your sanity as well as your time. It may be difficult to relax the reigns, but keep in mind that you only have so many hours in your day and that you’ll only limit your growth by insisting on doing every mundane task yourself.
  5. Be Better Than You Were Yesterday
    A mistake we all are prone to making in fitness, business, and life is comparing ourselves with other people. We lose touch with the fact that X has been in business for Y years to get to where they are now; we only see the vacation on the beach. We fail to remember that Z has been a fitness competitor for B years and instead only notice the six pack abs. We forget our sister in law was eating Ramen noodles on her parents’ couch for the year or so after she graduated law school – we just see her announcements about the law firm she recently made partner at. When you focus on your plan and how much progress you’re making, you’ll find yourself in higher spirits and more productive than if you spend your time surveying the success of other people.
  6. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, but Don’t Forget to Celebrate It, Either
    A single setback or lost client won’t sink your business, but failing to acknowledge your wins might! It is easy to get hung up on the negatives, which is why celebrating your victories is essential. We’ve all seen those Pinterest board ideas for writing positive things that happen on slips of paper, dumping them out and reviewing them on New Years’ Eve to remember all the good things that have happened during the year. If yearly is too infrequent, quarterly and monthly “good thing” or “success” jars are just as effective. (I personally prefer to make lists, but the jar idea has proven enjoyable for other folks.)

Need more tips on how to rock out at solo entrepreneur life? Let me know! Not all of the advice I’ve gained over the years made it into this article, and I’d love to share more tips if there’s interest.

Diversity in Publishing

Diversity in Publishing

2015 diversity in publishing study
Diversity in Publishing Study by Lee & Long Books.

Historically, the publishing industry has not been the most inclusive. Even now, publishing suffers from a real diversity problem. Lee & Low Books went so far as to do a baseline study of the current diversity standing and suffice it to say, things don’t look good.  The majority of people in the industry are White/Caucasian, Women/Cis-women, who are Straight/Heterosexual, and Nondisabled.

 

…That doesn’t make for a very unbiased committee, at any level of publication, and can skew the perception of what “the market” wants. Of course, many publishers claim that their need for “cultural fit”, which is to say employees which gel well with existing employees, is the reason for these numbers – but regardless of the motivation, it poses a threat for writers of color and those who neither heterosexual or cis who may struggle to break into an already competitive industry.

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center has stated that across the years they’ve been tracking diversity in publishing, that they have seen evidence that small, independently owned publishers are contributors to the body of multicultural literature in the US and Canada. When individual editors at large and small publishing houses make an effort to attract a more diverse group of writers, illustrators, and stories – there’s an impact.

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center actually compiles statistics each year regarding the number of books about and for people of color and of First/Native Nations. They define these books as “multicultural.”

There is no single definition of the term “multicultural literature” as it is applied to books for children and young adults. At the CCBC, we use the term to mean books by and about people of color and First/Nation Nations.

It’s important for children and young adults to read content and see books which are about them, or people like them. It is important for people of all ages to be represented, both in the real world and in the media they consume. (Especially when that media is in print because books are incredibly important.)
How Can You Help?

There is great news, though! You absolutely can help spread and promote diversity in publication, regardless of your race, gender, disability status, orientation, or anything else. You can help even if you aren’t in the publishing industry or don’t want to be in the publishing industry! All you have to do is read books. That’s it! Buy, and read books by people of color. Buy and read books by women, trans folks, intersex people, and gender nonconforming authors. Buy and read books by lesbian authors, gay authors, bi or pansexual authors, and by asexual authors. Buy and read books by disabled authors.

You know what makes a difference in the publishing industry? You know what can help convince publishers, editors, and executives that it’s worthwhile to take on books that are by and about marginalized people? SALES. In the publishing industry, like any other, the end game is making more of the all mighty dollar. By making a conscious effort to purchase more books by marginalized people, you’re letting publishers know that choosing that author to tell their story was a good choice, which makes it more likely they will choose similar authors and stories in the future.

Review books by these authors and about these folks, so that others who are considering making a similar purchase (whether they are aware of the diversity disparity or not) will know whether or not you enjoyed the book. Book reviews on sites like Amazon and Good Reads will help draw readers to those titles, and again help bring on sales which will benefit authors and the publishing community in the same way your purchase did.

Spooky Words Press News: Bad Neighborhood Trailer!

bad-neighborhood-coverWe’ve finished and released the Bad Neighborhood trailer! I couldn’t be happier with the way it came out. It’s eerie, creepy, and of course – spooky! I hope you like it as much as I do. Bad Neighborhood is now on sale for Kindle for only $3.99! Be on the lookout for further book news, and if you’re a reviewer who would like a copy of the book, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Book Description:

A themed anthology for extreme horror fans.

In this chilling horror collection, 29 writers and poets have come together to share tales of the grotesque, the supernatural, and more. Their words will pluck you from your comfort zone and leave you for dead, or worse. Have you ever considered where evil bides its time when it’s not outside your door? What disturbing locale could make it feel safe? We’ve all heard that home is where the heart is, but alas, that heart is sometimes racing…

We hope you live in a good neighborhood.

Want to learn more about Spooky Words Press? Subscribe to our Mailing List!

What is horror literature missing?



I want to hear about:


Want to Read More in 2016? Huge Kindle Discount!

Read-more-in-2016Want to read more in 2016? Start the year off right with something spooky! For a limited time, Bad Neighborhood will be on sale for Kindle. If you’re like me, your goal for ‘number of books read’ for the year is always much longer than you end up having time for. I’ve found that the trick is to start strong so that when your schedule begins to fill up throughout the year you can still make your goal. (It’s an approach that seems to work for Nanowrimo, so why not for reading?)

The sale on Amazon will go into effect for Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk customers, I’m not able to change rates for Amazon.ca or any other areas yet, but if I do I will be sure to announce it!


Amazon.com – or USA Readers:

The US-based sale will run from January 1, 2016 at 8am EST-January 8, 2016 at 3am EST. Keep reading, though! The sale will have different prices throughout, with each step heading back towards the original $4.99 price tag. Please pounce on these deals while you can, because we don’t intend to drop the price this dramatically in the near future.

January 1 8a-January 2 8a: This will be the greatest discount by far. For this short 24 hour span, you can get Bad Neighborhood for your Kindle or other mobile device (using the FREE Kindle Reading App) for the ridiculously low price of $0.99! That’s 81% off retail, and you WILL NOT find a better price anywhere.

January 2 8am EST-January 4, 8am EST: Bad Neighborhood will be $1.99. With $3.00 off a book containing 29 stories, poems, and multiple pieces of original artwork, this isn’t an ebook deal to be missed!

January 4, 8am EST-January 6, 8am EST: If you missed the first several days of sales, don’t fret. The book will only be $2.99 from Jan 4-Jan 6.

January 6, 8am EST-January 8, 3am EST: Our multi-author horror anthology from Spooky Words Press will be on sale for $3.99 until January 8th at 3am EST when it returns to its regular $4.99 price.


Amazon.co.uk – or UK Readers:

The UK sale will be shorter and have fewer price tiers, so please take note of what the rate is prior to making a purchase. This sale will run from January 5th and 9am GMT (4am EST) to January 10 at 12am GMT. If you’ve been thinking about getting Bad Neighborhood you won’t find a better time. As I stated in the above section, we won’t be dropping the price this dramatically in the near future.

January 5 at 9am GMT-January 7 at 9am GMT: You will be able to buy Bad Neighborhood for the low, low price of £0.99.

January 7 at 9am GMT-January 10, 12am GMT: The ebook will be £1.99. After midnight on January 10, the book will return to its original price!

Not in the UK or US, but want to be notified of sales when they happen? Please sign up for our mailing list. For a limited time, when you subscribe to receive emails from us, you will receive a pdf copy of one of the chapters in Bad Neighborhood free – so check your inbox for our email after you hit “subscribe”.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required



I want to hear about:

Email Format


Holiday Greetings, a Recap, and What’s to Come

wishing-you-a-festive-holiday-season

Hi all,

It has been a little while since I was able to write a post on this site thanks to the Kickstarter, the horror blogging, and then getting the book promoted. I would like to think that this post will be worth the wait, but I’m not making any promises.

Recap:

First, to quote the sign outside a local Burger King franchise: “Merry Christmas etc.” I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas. Beyond that, I hope you had an absolutely fantastic December and a great year. (It never fails that the closer I get to January 1st, the more I start thinking about the passage of time in terms of years. Anyone else?)

Aside from seasonal greetings, I want to thank everyone who supported Bad NeighborhoodIf you follow me on social media, then you’ve likely had a load of ‘THANK YOU NO REALLY’ spewed at you recently, but hopefully you understand that it’s out of love and appreciation rather than an urge to be obnoxious. (I promise, when I’m being deliberately obnoxious I’ll tell you. ; ) )

I’m operating from an incredibly grateful place this year. I’ve been blogging for myself since January 1, 2015 and I’m thrilled to be on track to continue this site well into the new year. I couldn’t keep doing this without the support of my copy writing and editing clients!

Plans for the New Year:

Now that the book is out, I’m going to be adding more useful content for freelancers, creatives, and other communicators that I hope will benefit all who pop over here from time to time. In addition, in 2016 Bad Neighborhood will begin to make a profit that I’ll be able to share with the contributors, which is beyond exciting. (…Assuming sales continue. I’m confident they will, especially once reviews are posted.) — We’re going to be having a pretty awesome sale VERY soon, so if you’d like to stay in the loop be sure that you’re following Spooky Words Press on Twitter @SpookyPressFacebook: SpookyWordsPress, or are subscribed to our Newsletter. (The form is at the bottom of this page. Just make sure the ‘Sales’ box is checked!)

[[Speaking of the book, if you post a review of Bad Neighborhood on Amazon &/or Goodreads I’ll send you a short 5 story collection about witches, hauntings, and other spooky stuff FOR FREE as a thank you. You’ll get to check these stories out before they’re available for purchase or are shared anywhere else, which is pretty exciting to me, anyway. Just be sure to contact me via social media or email foxemmwrites[at]gmail.com to let me know where to send the eBook to, and what format you’d like. PDF, Mobi, or Epub are available.]]

I tentatively have plans with two authors to release horror poetry and/or short story collections in 2016. Once their manuscripts are completed and contracts are signed I will release those details. As I wait for manuscripts to arrive in my inbox, I do have a plot cooking with Jonathan from Mark of the Beast.

These days it seems like everyone and their mother is raving about the appeal of adult coloring books. Being the creative sort that we are, we’ve decided to combine our talents and create an adult-focused bestiary coloring book of horrifying and mythical creatures. Of course, we aren’t the first to try to make a horror coloring book for adults, however since the book will include not only Jomo’s wicked art, but my attempts at short stories about terrible creatures and the humans they destroy, I’m hoping it’ll be unique enough that someone will be interested in it. (Hopefully someone like you, in fact.)

If you’d like to stay on the loop about that project and be sent exclusive story snippets and artwork before the book is published (and, you know, hear about when it’s going to be published) please remember to fill out the little form at the bottom of this page.

As always, I greatly appreciate your support and look forward to creating more awesomely terrifying stuff for you in the future.

Much spooky love,
Fox


 

Subscribe to Our Mailing List for Coloring Book Updates!

I want to hear about:

Black Friday Deals for Book Lovers!

black-friday-dealsHi all! I’m writing because today is Black Friday which means that there are some AMAZING deals out there for book lovers, freelancers, and those who want to learn. (Plus all the cool tech gadgets and everything else that you can find out there, duh.)

I’ll share a few cool deals that I found for those of us who aren’t fans of duking it out against fellow shoppers in the cold to get the best deal, but who would rather spend our time sipping cocoa and clicking away savings from the comfort of our homes. Who is the titan of holiday book savings this Black Friday? None other than Amazon!!

I’m a huge Amazon fan, I do admit, but that’s because they offer convenience and free shipping once they’ve convinced me to spend a fairly reasonable amount of money, so who doesn’t love that?

The first deal of theirs is really awesome of those of us who love physical copies of books. Using code Holiday30 you can get 30% off any physical book that is sold and shipped by Amazon, up to $10. The link I included takes you to the terms and conditions, but how awesome is that?!

If you or someone on your shopping list is a fan of magazines, they are running a promotion where many of their Magazines are for sale from $5! That’s an amazing rate, especially for magazines like WIRED and Cosmopolitan.

For those who prefer electronic magazines and books to physical copies, Amazon still has you covered. Their best-selling Kindle Fire, 7″ Display is on sale for only $34.99, which is an unthinkable price for a new tablet/e-reader.

Find a better deal on books (Hard copy or e-reader)? I want to know about it! Sound off in the comments so I can share more deals with other avid readers.

Introducing Spooky Words Press

introducing-Spooky-words-pressAs some of you know, I’ve been working on publishing an extreme horror, originally intended to be Splatterpunk, horror anthology. Well now we’re about a month out!

Since the content was a little too intense for most indie publishers I’m familiar with, I’ve opted to publish the book under my own imprint. I’ve discussed publishing a few other volumes by other authors, some of which are part of this anthology and others which aren’t. I’m looking forward to this new venture!

Currently I’m operating a Kickstarter to help fund the book. To this point I have invested all of the capital required myself, and although I can certainly put the book out within the month (as anticipated), I would much rather get some of that investment back. The quicker I can return my already invested capital, the sooner I can put out another book!

So please, share the link far and wide and help me welcome Spooky Words Press into being. Be on the lookout for future posts about the progress of the book and plans for the future! In the meantime check out this excerpt from author Benjamin Sperduto’s piece in the anthology, “The Harvester”. It features a disturbing and entirely unique take on the vampire mythos.

 

Nolan rolled over in his makeshift bed, disturbing the large rat next to him. When he had climbed into the dumpster the previous morning, he noticed the rodent sitting in a corner nibbling on a pile of rotten vegetables. On most days, he would have taken pity on the defenseless creature and tossed it back into the alley, but the previous night’s hunt had yielded him little and he knew he would be hungry when he awoke.

The rat looked at Nolan with its large black eyes, its small animal brain perhaps realizing it had spent the entire day next to its killer. Before it could react, Nolan’s clawed hand shot out and snatched the rodent in a powerful grip. It would taste foul, he knew, but he was far too hungry to care.

The blood of the rat far from satisfied him, but it did ease the hunger pangs slightly. Once his head cleared, he pushed the lid of the dumpster open to peek outside. The cold air stung his eyes, but the sun had long since set. There was no one around to see him as he pulled himself out of the dumpster. It had snowed while he slept and his bare, clawed feet sank into the newly fallen snow. Nolan pulled his tattered coat tighter around him and shivered. Although he didn’t have to worry about frostbite, the cold winter weather was still uncomfortable. The long nights were the only positive part of the season.

A grim silence draped the alleyway. He had hoped that some vagrant would have wandered down and fallen asleep during the day, but it appeared he would not be so lucky. Grumbling, Nolan brushed the small bits of trash off his coat, stuffed his clawed hands into its pockets and made his way to the end of the alley. As he expected, the street beyond was quiet as well. A few dilapidated cars sat parked next to the sidewalk, but they were all empty. Carefully avoiding the light from the streetlamps, Nolan pulled his coat’s hood over his head and started down the deserted street.

As he approached the entrance to another back alley, a scent caught his attention and he stopped in his tracks. Though he could faintly sense the people inside the run down apartment buildings, this scent was very distinct and clear. It was someone outside. Slowly, he crept up to the street corner and peered between the buildings. Two shoddily dressed men stood warming their hands over a small fire they had made on the sidewalk, no doubt fueled by combustible bits of trash they had gathered up.

Nolan cursed to himself.

Things were always more difficult when there was more than one.

Cautiously, he stepped into the alleyway and moved towards the two men. They didn’t see him immediately, partially due to the brightness of the fire and also because they were engrossed in their own conversation.

He overheard them saying something about baseball. When he was young, Nolan developed a healthy dislike for the sport by playing little league ball. Since his condition overtook him, that dislike had turned into hatred as it reminded him what he had lost.

Hearing the men talk about baseball so enthusiastically made it easier to hate them. That was the way Nolan dealt with killing. He found it was much easier to kill someone if he hated them for some reason; any reason. It helped him to forget the horrible things he did to people.

As he neared the two men, he caught a familiar scent in the air. He almost paused to investigate it, but he was too committed to the men before him to break off now. There was no time for distraction.

“Hey, there, fella,” one of the men said.

Nolan stopped a few feet short of the firelight’s reach. If the men saw his face, they would cause more trouble than he wanted to deal with.

“Evening,” he said. His mouth and teeth made it difficult to speak intelligibly.

“Hey, uh, you ain’t a cop or something, are you?” the other man asked.

“No.”

“Well, then, why don’t you come over here and warm yourself? It’s too damn cold to be without any heat.”

“Thank you.”  

Nolan lowered his head, hoping the hood would hide most of his face. His sized the men up, trying to decide which man would put up more of a struggle. Both were at least in their fifties and neither appeared particularly formidable. Still, the second man looked a bit skittish, as if ready for some kind of trouble. Nolan guessed he carried a gun or a knife. Best to dispose of him first and then go for the other one if he had a chance.

He stepped into the firelight, but neither man reacted to the sight of him. Their carelessness bought him the precious time he needed to close the distance between them.

“So, fella, what’s—”

Nolan knew then that the man had seen his face, seen the wide, fanged mouth, narrow nose, and bulging hourglass eyes that comprised his horrifying visage.

Without hesitation, he leapt at the man he regarded as a greater threat. The hood that partially masked his face fell away, fully exposing him for the feral thing he was. His claws and fangs tore into soft flesh. The man’s eyes widened when he tried to scream and found that his throat was already slashed open. Nolan fell on top of the man and sucked down the blood surging from the wounds, driven forth by a still beating heart. It was rare that he fed on someone untainted by drugs or disease, and the taste of pure, clean blood was euphoric. His senses were drowned out by the pure ravishment of the experience.

When the man was drained, Nolan relinquished his grip and turned to the other vagrant. To Nolan’s surprise, the man was no longer standing. His body lay dead in a broken heap of splintered bones upon the snow-covered pavement. The cooling blood that seeped from his wounds smelled foul, polluted by an abundance of drugs and alcohol. A few feet from his body, a handgun had fallen into the snow.

“You’re lucky I was nearby,” a familiar voice said from behind him with slightly garbled words. The scent he had noticed was much stronger now. Nolan looked down at the gun next to the vagrant.

“Nothing I couldn’t have handled,” he said, allowing his large fangs and misshapen mouth to distort his speech.

“Oh, I don’t doubt that, Nolan. I’m sure a bullet in your back wouldn’t have been a problem at all for a big, strong man like you.” A clawed hand touched his shoulder and Nolan felt hot breath upon the back of his neck.

To see the rest of this piece and learn more about this new take on the vampire mythos, you’ll have to read Bad Neighborhood. You can find more of Benjamin Sperduto’s work on his website, BenjaminSperduto.com. You can also find his first novel The Walls of Dalgorod from Curiosity Quills Press.


Want to keep up with Spooky Words Press?

What is horror literature missing?



I want to hear about:


Welcome to Blogging Onward

thanks-for-stopping-by;-i'm-starting-overHello! Welcome to Blogging Onward.

If you’ve visited the site before, especially if you’ve visited recently, you may have noticed that the site has undergone a fairly extensive overhaul. The reason for that is less positive than I had planned. A while back, I purchased a pack of WordPress themes that I eventually wanted to try out. I wasn’t in a rush, and I had already implemented a new layout over the summer, so I wasn’t in a rush.

Unfortunately, fate had other plans. A blogging group I’m a part of was a flutter with bloggers who suggested that I should try a different plugin to add watermarks to my images. The plugin I used before was a little gaudy, so I thought I would try it out. Long story short, something in the plugin I used initially modified the original WordPress source code, and made it impossible for me to use ANY images after I removed their plugin. (Lame, right?) What does that mean? Well, despite back ups, most of the photos and articles I had cultivated to create Blogging Onward these last ten months have been lost.

Rather than focusing on the negative, that obvious loss of content, I instead will embrace the positive. This gives me an opportunity to begin fresh with a new layout, with a new approach to graphics, and a new lease on blogging altogether. I know much more now than I did when I started in January of 2015, and I’m thrilled to be able to put that knowledge to better use by rebuilding my site from the ground up.

Expect to see more posts about the horror anthology, other publishing projects that I’m working on, and expect to see a broader portfolio of my work (editing, writing, the works!) I’ll still be working on writing resources, and I do have back ups of my most popular posts, so I’ll be bringing those back to life very soon.

Thank you,

Fox