Coming Soon: The Unconventional Dwarf

Whether you’re a participant of RPGs or an artist with a need for world development material, The Unconventional Dwarf will give you an expanded idea of what dwarfs have to offer any fantastical world. The Unconventional Dwarf is the first in a series created by university professor Tof Eckland and written by a diverse group with varying interests in roleplaying games, fantasy stories, and game writing. The idea behind The Unconventional is to take the foundations of conventional ideas—the clichés, that surround fantasy roles—and turn them inside out to glean new characters, new mythologies, and by extension, new worlds. SPMG welcomes you to peruse Dwarven races such as The Nanogyn, composed of matriarchal tribes feared for their prowess, Thalassic Dwarves who are cave divers and hold the secret of breathing underwater, and The Anma Namdi’me, a spacefaring and shape-changing dwarf, among many others. Find out more about The Unconventional project on their website: http://www.unconventionalgames.com/, Or on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Unconventional/316667341769540 Look for the book to be released from SPMG soon! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Sell Yourself! (No, I Don’t Mean That!)

Sell Yourself! (No, I Don’t Mean That!)

by Merethe Walther Often, a writer feels that their first devotion should be to their craft, and this is true—partially. One of the hardest things about writing a book comes in knowing that you’re still a general unknown in the industry. After all of that work, you still have to prove your worth to those who aren’t friends or family, and will judge you with a critical eye. Writing a book is a great accomplishment. You took several hundred pages of nothing and turned it into something, and that is a prolific task that many are not capable of. However, writing a book is only one small step on the ladder to authorship. How can you get people to read your book and see that skill? Self-marketing will be both your best friend and, probably, your worst nightmare; but it is a necessary evil. Targets Aren’t Just for Guns Target audience is crucial to developing your presence as an author. If you’ve written 1000 Ways to Cook Beef, your target audience isn’t going to be vegetarians, vegans, or pescetarians. It’s also not going to be for children or people who eat out, or those who aren’t interested in cooking.  While this might seem simple to understand, many writers aren’t really aware of their market, even when the book is done—and if you don’t know, how will your audience? By the time you’re ready to seek publishing, you need to have gathered an idea of your book’s target gender, age range, and social leanings. This means that if you’ve written the above cookbook, most likely, you will try to reach non-vegetarian females, aged 25-40, with a moderate income and a religion that doesn’t include the worship of sacred cows. Realistically, you’re looking for a housewife or working mom who needs quick, easy recipes to feed her family. You must understand who you’re targeting, because you’re sowing seeds for future returns. Being Attractive (Online) is Everything You’ve got your target audience down, and you’re ready to hit the marketing! Where do you start? How about with that webpage you haven’t updated since 2009?  If your background has sparkles, GIFs, or looks like a teen girl’s webpage from 1998, then you’ve got your work cut out for you. Everything online that represents you should showcase a professional, sleek, and stylistic profile that makes people think you’re capable. Fair? No. Necessary? Absolutely! This is judging a book by its cover—your audience won’t ever get to the book if your page is filled with buttons, dazzling pictures, and chaotic links. As a writer in this day and age, if you aren’t online, you’re going to suffer in reaching your audience. You should have at...

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With Love: An Interview with Genilee and Sharon

With Love: An Interview with Genilee and Sharon

by Judy Spring Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up to the authors of Twist of Fate, F. Sharon Swope and Genilee Swope Parente. This mother-daughter writing duo has offered insight into their lives, collaborative process, and a bit about the upcoming sequel in their Sam Osborne Detective Series, Wretched Fate. Sharon and her husband Robert live in Woodbridge, Virginia, while Genilee lives a little ways down the road in Dumfries with her husband Ray and daughter Christina. Although Sharon has had dogs most of her life, she currently doesn’t have any pets. Genilee’s household is shared with a mom cat and two kittens, and a dog that would like to make friends with the feline crew, but hasn’t yet succeeded. Music is a must in this family, and Genilee thanks her ma and pa for the introduction to swing music from the wonderful 40s, as well as a shared love of classical music. In addition to listening to acoustical folk music, country, and Irish music, Genilee offers an extended thanks to her daughter for sharing the popular genre, and also to her talented brother for a love of instrumental. In down time, Sharon relaxes by playing games of any kind: card games, mahjong, and computer games are a mentionable few. Genilee, however, relaxes by “doing ANYthing but play games. Mom did not pass down the competitive gene. I read, write, and watch movies.” Each of these ladies had a favorite quote to share. Sharon believes in fairness and hard work, citing two quotes that demonstrate these qualities to her: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and, “God helps those who help themselves.” Genilee shared the quote: “Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” She says that this quote has been overused in recent years, but she has a copy of it on her refrigerator. She applies this quote to her craft with these words, “Writing is about focusing on those moments.” When asked what advice they would give to their younger selves, they offered a ponderable thought. Sharon shared this piece of heart, “Don’t wait so long to pursue your dreams.” This is a powerful observation by one who is respectably pursuing and achieving her dream. It’s no wonder her daughter Genilee offered the same words of wisdom following it with, “But never give up on them, as they can happen at any age.” Below are a few detailed questions, followed with replies from both of the authors, and we hope you enjoy. Who is your favorite author? Sharon:  Jude Deveraux, Johanna Lindsay, and Mary Higgins Clark. Genilee:  Mary Higgins Clark,...

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Learning to be a Writer

Learning to be a Writer

By Yen Ooi The journey in becoming a writer neither starts nor stops at writing itself. Of course, producing copious amounts of stories, prose, poetry, and text is vital for a writer, but there is also the much ignored fact that in becoming a writer, one must be like a writer. Don’t worry—last I checked, writers are not a different species or a specific sub-species, but there are two important characteristics of a writer that I believe are key. These characteristics are probably true across all creative types, all artists. Neil Gaiman famously said that, “If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.” So, I twist his words and say, pretend to be a writer and just behave like writers would, and slowly, you will be one. But what is it that makes a writer, a writer? In the last few years, I have met many people in various creative careers—writers, artists, designers, musicians—and I realised that everyone is creating something, and that we are all passionate about our own creations. I also realised that there are those, like Gaiman, who are a cut above the rest. I believe that this is because of two characteristics. Good artists are: 1) humble 2) proud.   Yes, I know. It sounds like the above makes all artists hypocrites, but hear me out. All artists, people who create, know that their skills and quality of their creations can always be improved upon, and that there are always people out there who are better than them. This keeps them humble. This also is how they are able to accept criticism at a level that no other jobs require, whilst giving them an open heart and mind to be able to work with others collaboratively. However, to be a good artist in today’s world of social media, self-publishing, and accessible technology, artists need also to be proud. Proud enough to believe in their own work and sell it. The solitary writer is a dying breed, preserved only by the archaic functions of traditional publishing houses. A writer needs to be able to approach future readers and say, “I know you’ll love this!” and believe it. Writers and other artists have a difficult job to do today. Humble and proud are antonyms of the other, but they go hand-in-hand in creating a good artist. It is the balance of the two that we all seek, in order to survive in a very harsh environment that destroys all who fail, and makes celebrities of those few who shine. So, if you are thinking of becoming a writer or if you are in a transition to do so,...

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An Interview with SPMG’s CEO, Eric Staggs

An Interview with SPMG’s CEO, Eric Staggs

By Judy Spring Behind the scenes here at SPMG there are many gifted people dedicated to offering their best to our authors to achieve their publishing goals. As a segmented part of our newsletter, we would like to bring you an inside look at this enthusiastic and committed group of people. To start things off, we presented a few questions to Eric Staggs, CEO and co-founder of Spectacle, to better understand from his perspective what SPMG has to offer, as well as his vision for its future.   Can you share the progression in your life that led up to Spectacle Publishing Media Group? Like many writers, I’ve had a slew of jobs in a vast array of industries. I found them all interesting, but my true passion has always been story. Following that to its logical conclusion, a well told story is one of the things that defines a civilization: The Grand Myth. I’ve always wanted to be part of helping our civilization experience the great stories and myths that are being made.   As CEO and co-founder of SPMG, what was the inspiration behind its creation? The concept was simple: the industry doesn’t make it easy for struggling authors. Agents, Publishers—it’s all a big self-serving mess. Can’t get an agent until you get a publisher and can’t get a publisher until you get an agent. Pay your meager wages to contests in the vain hopes you might gain some recognition. Throw your ideas out into the void for less ethical or inventive vultures to scavenge. It’s a tough proposition for anyone. My high school guidance counselor told me “you’ll never make money as an artist.” In the old paradigm she grew up in, yes, it was hard for artists. But these days, we are not bound by those old ideas. We don’t have to give 70% to the publisher, 15% to an agent. SPMG is designed to bring the new and talented voices of literature to the fore without exploiting them. We work extensively with our authors to help them create the best, most marketable story they can while maintaining trueness of vision and integrity of story. Has the vision changed since the beginning, and how so? Yes, very much, and no. We intended to create online media only, eBooks and the like. We quickly found that to maintain and increase our reputation and integrity as a publisher we needed to print books as well. This meant adding new skill sets, and preparing for another battery of associated and unexpected costs. Our business model had to change, but we learned from the Six Sisters and their dinosaur ancillaries. That said, our primary advantage over competitors—technological awareness and...

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