dos-and-donts

The New Facebook Timeline Do’s and Don’ts

Yesterday I talked about how Facebook killed itself.  I don’t generally do things without a plan, nor do I ever bring up a problem without offering solutions.

The solution in this case is fairly simple.  Facebook MUST return control of what appears in a user’s newsfeed to the user.  As I stated yesterday, I am find with the social network inserting extra things in my newsfeed, but limiting content from pages that I subscribe to are my job.  Give me tools to set a percentage of posts.  Give me tools to rank post-styles from various pages.  And give me a “wide open” option.  I don’t care if my newsfeed scrolls, that’s my problem to deal with.  Twitter doesn’t seem to have any problem with that, and my twitter feed scrolls pretty quickly sometimes.

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Facebook has jumped the shark

Facebook is dead. And it was suicide.

The What Zombies Fear page on Facebook

The What Zombies Fear page on Facebook

Like so many of us, I spent years building up a faithful facebook following for my page http://www.facebook.com/WhatZombiesFear

Due to recent changes in the algorithm, essentially forcing pages to pay for their content to be seen, that work is now worthless.  I have a small page, I dont’ do any of the typical things to grow my page.  I don’t promote it, I don’t ask for share-for-share trades.  The only way people find out about my facebook page is by reading my books.  And that’s just the way I like it.  My facebook page was the group of most dedicated readers.  Those who liked my writing well enough to search me out and follow my page.

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The importance of developing a brand

Victor Tookes:

A few words from my friend and partner over at Permuted Press, Michael Bray.

Originally posted on MICHAEL BRAY:

The hardest part about being an author in the current marketplace is finding a way to get noticed. With so many books released on a daily basis in both print and eBook format, a potential reader has almost unlimited options about when and where they spend their hard earned money. This is why branding is important, in that it can really help any product or business to stand out from the crowd. I know it seems quite impersonal for an author to refer to themselves as a brand, however that is exactly what we are, or at least should be building towards being in order to maximise sales of our books.

 By that, I mean we should be conducting ourselves in such a way as to let our potential readership know who we are. Of course, the first part of this is producing quality work. Branding is no shortcut to…

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Blog Direction

There is a huge difference between a blog FOR writers, a blog ABOUT writers, and a blog FOR readers.

I typically try to just make it a blog about “Kirk Allmond: The Writer”.  The things I’m doing professionally, the decisions I make, and the reasons for it.  I generally try to live by the code of “Praise in public, criticize in private.”  Which means I’ll probably not be talking about anyone else, unless it’s to talk about the great things they’re doing, like Armand Rosamilia and his Authors Supporting Troops book drive.

The problem about a blog about “Kirk Allmond: The Writer” is that I’m not really that interesting.  Here’s my schedule for 90% of my days.

  • 7:00 Get up
  • 8:00 Take the boy to daycare
  • 8:30 – 12:00 Write
  • 12:00 – 12:30 Lunch
  • 12:30 – 4:30 Write some more
  • 4:30 – 5:00 Pick up the boy
  • 5:00 – 7:00 Make dinner, hang out with Laura and The Boy
  • 7:00 – 8:00 Bedtime routine, and read to the progeny
  • 8:00 – 02:00 Write some while watching TV or play a video game with Laura (Currently Borderlands 2)
  • 2:00 go to bed

Sunday – Saturday, that’s my day most days.

Kind of boring.  I guess I could write a daily log of word-counts and plot ideas. But professionally, things don’t happen very often.  Think about your job, where you do your daily grind every day.  Every now and then, something noteworthy happens, but most days are just grinding out the work.

The way to be successful in this industry is to write.  In this day and age of a super-crowded, super-saturated market, the trick is to KEEP readers reading my work.  Which means I have to have enough work to keep them (you) reading.  And that means, putting down the words.

So.  I’m a guy who has been amazingly lucky in this industry.  I’m well aware that my success is based on luck.  I was in the right place at the right time and met the right people who pushed me to write and publish.  Again, not much to talk about there.

Which brings me to the point of this whole post.  I rarely update this blog, not because there aren’t things to talk about, but because there aren’t things to talk about relating to me as a writerer of wordy things.

Bucking the Trend: Why this Best Selling Independent Author signed a Publishing Deal

The Start

What Zombies Fear 1: A Father's QuestWhen I wrote my first novel, What Zombies Fear (Amazon, Barnes and Noble), I never expected anyone to read it.  I was the administrator of a massive zombie preparedness website, and many of the regulars there asked me about my plan for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.  I wrote out a long, detailed post about my priorities, my “alpha site” (my first choice for a place to survive the apocalypse) and how I would get from my house in York, Pennsylvania to my mother’s bed and breakfast (my alpha site) in central Virginia.

A couple of months later, a guy posted on my message board about how he’d written a zombie book that was going to be published by Random House, and included a sample of the book.  I can’t remember the guy’s name, but the story was awful.  At the time, I’d read every single zombie book I could find on Amazon, and this was by far, the worst zombie story I’d ever read.  But, it was on my website, and I couldn’t be a complete jerk.  So I wrote a detailed, well thought-out critique, including some things I thought he did well, some things I thought he could improve, and a few things he should stay away from.

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Huge News!

I’ve signed a deal with Permuted Press covering the entire What Zombies Fear franchise.

This will open up a number of doors to me that were unavailable as an independent author.  For instance, I believe that starting in the first quarter of next year, What Zombies Fear will be available in print in traditional book stores.  I’ll have access to the marketing resources of Permuted Press, and their dedicated readership.

The drawback to the deal is that I am no longer in absolute control over release dates.  Permuted has years of experience marketing and promoting books, much more than I do, and the release dates of my future novels are up to them.  I can tell you that my deadline with them for The Incarnation is 1/31/2014.  That doesn’t mean they have to publish it on 1/31/2014, that’s when I have to have the manuscript to them.  If I had to guess, I would say we’re looking at an October ’14 release for it, but that is just a guess on my part.

Which leads me to the next piece.  I just released a new book, The Evolution of Vaughn.  If you enjoyed the WZF books, I’m certain you’ll enjoy this one, although it is not a zombie book at all.  The Evolution of Vaughn is a sci-fi space epic set in the far, far, far future AFTER the events of WZF.  Still in the same “universe”, Vaughn battles the E’Clei, and The Maxists even show up.  (You won’t believe what they’ve been doing over the eons!).

A new science fiction novel by best-selling author kirk allmond

Kirk Allmond’s new Sci-Fi novel

Vaughn, a human born on a distant planet long after earth has been destroyed, is the first of his race to be invited to the prestigious Fogerian War Institute. After glory in the Fogerian War with the parasitic E’Clei, Vaughn is raised to the rank of Captain, and given command of The Reetus for the duration of the conflict. 
Long after the war, Vaughn is married and lives a simple life, mining his remote moon for a precious mineral and raising his son. He arrives home from a routine business trip to find dead members of an ancient human cult called The Maxists littering his moon. Vaughn goes on a quest to find out what happened. 
The action heats up when he discovers his son is still alive, and has being held heart of E’Clei territory. 
Going to get his son could disrupt the shaky cease-fire between the Fogerians and the E’Clei, igniting an all new war. Leaving his son in the hands of the parasites he spent so much of his life fighting is not an option. 
How far will he go to retrieve his son and exact justice from those responsible?

You can read a sample of Vaughn on Amazon.  I hope you’ll give it a read!

If you’d like to read Vaughn for FREE, there’s a contest running on my author page, www.facebook.com/KirkAllmondAuthor to win a free e-book copy!

Character Archetypes and Writing

There are  52 character archetypes in the world.  These are “Base” character personalities.  That doesn’t mean there can’t be hybrids, for example, Hermione Granger is a Bureaucrat, but she’s also a Catalyst and a Perfectionist.

When building a character, it sometimes helps to pick the archetype you need to fill a specific role in the group.    Here are the archetypes with example characters.

Analyst: Can explain anything rationally. Ex: Mr. Spock
Anti-hero: The hero who didn’t ask to get involved but does. Ex: Sarah Connor, Wolverine
Benefactor: Has a whole lot of something he wants to share. Ex: Miss Havisham
Bully: Has no tolerance for weakness, especially in himself. Ex: Scut Farkus (Christmas Story)
Bureaucrat: Follows the rules no matter what. Hermione Granger
Caretaker: Cares for others. Ex: Digory Kirke
Catalyst: Makes things happen.  The Catalyst’s actions cause reactions in others.
Child: Could be a literal child or just living like one. Ex: Wally McDoogle, Peter Pan
Coward: Afraid of everything, controlled by fear. Ex: Adrian Monk, Cowardly Lion, Alexandra Rover
Curmudgeon: Irritable and cynical and proud of it. Ex: Ebenezer Scrooge
Dreamer: Longs to be something he isn’t. Ex: Annie, William Thatcher (A Knight’s Tale)
Elder/Mentor/Teacher/Parent: Been around long enough to know some vital information. Ex: Ben Kenobi, Mufassa
Explorer/Wanderer: Wants to see the world—could be running from something.
Extraordinary man: The guy who can do anything. Ex: Indiana Jones, James Bond
Gossip: Must be the first to know everything and the one to pass it on. Ex: Rachel Lynde
Guardian: Protects the weak.
Hedonist/Thrill-seeker: Lives for today in case tomorrow never comes.
Herald/Messenger: The bringer of news, good, bad, or necessary.
Hermit/Loner: Just wants to be left alone. Ex: Phil Hercules, Martin Riggs (Lethal Weapon)
Hunter/Predator: Can catch or kill anything. Ex: Terminator
Innocent: An inexperienced individual exposed to the evils in the world. Ex: Dorothy Gale
Introvert: Lives inside his shell to prevent anyone from seeing the real him. Ex: Gabriella Montez (High School Musical)
Investigator: Thrives on puzzles and riddles. Ex: Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes
Judge/Mediator: The arbitrator or peacemaker in a conflict.
Leader: Always knows the best thing to do—and people follow. Ex: William Wallace
Magician/Wizard/Superpowers: Has special powers or abilities. Ex: Superman, Harry Potter
Manipulator: Plays with people and situations to get what he wants. Ex: Scarlett O’Hara
Martyr: Willing to suffer or die for others or a cause.
Masochist: Finds pleasure in torturing himself, denying himself—may take on too much.
Masquerader: Pretends to be something he is not.
Monster: A depraved beast. Ex: Gollum, Grendel (Beowulf)
Ordinary Man: Your average Joe, just like you or me or the guy across the street. Ex: Dr. Richard Kimball, Frodo Baggins.
Penitent: Lives to atone for his sin.
Perfectionist: Every action and word must be flawless.
Pleaser/Show-off: Craves approval from anyone and may do anything to get it.
Poet: Life is art, be that through story or song or art or sculpture.
Rebel/Revolutionary: Stands opposed to the status quo and fights for his cause.
Rogue: Looks out for himself and no one else. Ex: Han Solo
Saboteur/Betrayer: For whatever reason, he will make sure something fails. Ex: Edmund Pevensie
Samaritan: Does good deeds wherever he goes.
Scholar: Wants to learn.
Sensualist: Addicted to feeling good about himself.
Slave: Does not belong to himself. Ex: Dobby the house elf
Survivor: Pulls through no matter what happens, doesn’t give up.
Sycophant: Self-seeking, flatterer, who works to please those in power. Ex: Smee (Peter Pan)
Temptress: Uses power (intellect, magic, beauty) to make others weak. Ex: Megara (Hercules)
Thief: Takes what he wants or needs. Ex: Philippe Gaston (LadyHawke), Jean Valjean
Trickster/Jester: Always looking for the humor in a situation. Ex: Fred and George Weasley
Tyrant: Must be in control at all times. Ex: Captain Hook
Victim: Was hurt by someone or lives in fear that someone will hurt him. Ex: Claireece “Precious” Jones
Villain: Seeks to destroy/trap the hero. Ex: Evil Queen in Snow White, Lex Luthor
Waif: Appears innocent and weak and often relies on the pity of others. Ex: The Kid (Dick Tracy)

Top 5 gaming Podcasts of 2013

Most of you know I’m an avid gamer.  I listen to podcasts “on the regular” and since I haven’t updated my blog in entirely too long, I thought I’d do a quick top 5 of my favorite gaming related podcasts.  I listen to them while I drive, but they make great listening while you’re walking the dog or trying to get your exercise on.  High energy and/or engaging podcasts help pass the time better than music for me, because every 3 minutes a new song comes on and I realize i’ve only been in hell for three minutes.

 

Scroll down to get to number 1, because that’s the one that matters, right?

5.  Drunken Gamers Radio

As the title implies, Drunken Gamers Radio is an all-out, rant-filled, drink-fueled gaming love and hate-fest. The language is harsh, the opinions are hard and often not fully thought out.  But that’s what makes it fun for me.

But in spite of the antics, Drunken Gamers Radio is exceptionally well produced. Mic quality is usually high – none of the static and hiss all too common among podcasting – and the commenters sound great, even when they’re ranting aimlessly.

The gaming podcast doesn’t seem to have any set schedule, or any specific topics. This is not the gaming podcast you should listen to if you want to get any level-headed information about new games.  In fact, it almost didn’t make the list, except that it’s just freaking entertaining.

4.  Giant Bombcast

Content on Giant Bomb is split between its small staff providing written articles and videos in a video game journalism editorial capacity and its community expanding upon it by creating and interacting with the website’s socially progressive tools and functions, namely a

video game wiki-database, open to editing by all registered users in which they create content, and a Quest system in which they then earn points in a social gaming element. The Giant Bomb staff reports on video game news and reviews new releases. Their weekly podcast, the Giant Bombcast, is posted on Tuesdays and covers recent news and releases in the video game industry, as well as happenings around the office. Giant Bomb produces a number of regular video series, most notably Quick Looks, 20-60 minute unedited previews,

A good part of the reason I’ve included this podcast is the other content you get on their website, but the podcast is a quality product, and when coupled with other content, this is just a great site.

 

3.  Weekend Confirmed

This podcast has meaty discussion of games (both AAA and indie) on a variety of platforms. It doesn’t shy away from talking about broader topics like sexism

and the sorry state of Internet hate. I like when it’s not just all dudes–Nicole and Arial appear regularly enough. Nicole’s story time segments are priceless. Garnett, Jeff and Andrew are all thoughtful contributors. Garnett sometimes comes off as slightly prick-ish, but I think that serves a valuable purpose in forcing the other two to defend their positions. Still, Garnett never ever gives, which is why this podcast didn’t make #1.

 

 

2. Geekbox

The Geekbox is home to a growing family of podcasts covering all manner of modern geek pop culture — from video games to comic books to movies to television to all-out unclassifiable insanity. We’re giving you a fantastic opportunity to infect your ears with the following top-notch nerd-casts on a weekly basis, orchestrated by an eclectic cast of professional geeks!   I like the personalities here, and the ability to cross from topic to topic.  It keeps my ADD brain happy.

 

1.  The GaGCast

Grown As Gamers have the perfect balance of smart ass, sarcasm, genuine information delivered in a hilarious fashion.  The interplay between the four guys is fantastic, it is obvious that they are genuinely friends, not just four guys put together because they have an open position.  They cover all facets of gaming from card games to Video games, with a healthy sprinkling of board games and Role Playing Games thrown in.  If you’re a gamer and you’re not listening to the Grown as Gamers, you’re missing out!

 

So that’s my list of my top 5 favorite gaming podcasts.  If you’re not listening to them, you’re missing out!  Check out Grown as Gamers at http://www.grownasgamers.com!