December 6, 2021

Announcing Our First Ever Pushcart Prize Nominees!

Announcing Our First Ever Pushcart Prize Nominees!

Hello Coffee Clubbers! We are excited to announce that, for the first time, The Fictional Café has nominated a handful of our members for a Pushcart Prize. For those who are unfamiliar with Pushcart, they publish an anthology of short stories, essays and poetry from small presses and literary magazines each year—they’ve been doing it since 1976! Small presses and literary magazines can nominate works they’ve published over the course of that given year. The idea to nominate FC members came to us in early 2020. With the pandemic bearing down on the writing world, we wanted to offer something else to our talented, creative members. Ruth Simon, Michael Piekny and I were throwing around ideas and this one stood out as a perfect way to show just how much we value the work we…

Continue reading →

October 25, 2021

Wanna NaNoWriMo With Me?

Wanna NaNoWriMo With Me?

An invitation to join me in a great month of novel-writing Several years ago I was working on a novel about this same time of year. I’d begun it quite a few months earlier at my home in Boston, but at the time I was happily—if not somewhat chilled—writing from a 150-year-old farmhouse in rural France. My fingers, clad in fingerless knitted gloves, flew over the keyboard, pausing occasionally to sip from my café au lait or tea for warmth. I was having a best-of-times. An email came through cyberspace from a best friend and writing colleague who lives in Oregon. I stopped writing to see what he had to say; several years earlier, again while lodging at this same Finistere stone maison, he had done me a great service by buying and shipping me a…

Continue reading →

October 6, 2021

Independent Publishers of New England’s Virtual Conference

Independent Publishers of New England’s Virtual Conference

Dear Coffee Clubbers, The Fictional Café is excited to announce that the nonprofit publishing group Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE) will be holding their annual conference virtually this year, so anyone, anywhere can join! Several of your baristas are members of the group and our founder, Jack, will even be presenting himself! Please join us for 2 days of education and networking at the 10th Annual (virtual) Independent Publishers and Authors conference November 5-6. WHO SHOULD ATTEND? · Independent Publishers · Author Publishers (Self-Publishers) · Partners of Publishers; Industry Suppliers · Writers and Others Who Dream of Being Happily Published! The conference will feature some big names in the publishing industry, including keynote speakers Paige Allen, director of IngramSpark, Cevin Breyerman, CEO of Publisher’s Weekly, and Jane Friedman, indie publishing guru. We’ll have speakers…

Continue reading →

September 26, 2021

September Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

September Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

Jason’s Notes From the Lab… I’ve been gone for a few months, diving deep into the next stages of my publishing career. Most specifically I’ve been looking at companies to manage some advertising and publicity, so I can focus more on what I’m best at. There are dozens, probably hundreds of options and candidates. I won’t speak to any specific brands this time, but here are the most important things I’ve learned about this over the past months.  Fiverr is good for graphic design, but bad for managing advertising. Fiverr pro is better, but expensive enough you can hire a local for the same money most of the time.  Many publishing and advertising companies offer free webinars to gather leads. These webinars alone have enough information to up the game of most writers breaking into publicizing their own books.  If you’re not spending…

Continue reading →

September 14, 2021

“Camp Detroit,” Yong Takahashi’s Upcoming Book

“Camp Detroit,” Yong Takahashi’s Upcoming Book

Yong Takahashi’s dystopian young adult novel about family, friendship, and finding one’s inner strength will be published by Inkwell Publishing in 2022. https://inkwellpublishers.com Justin Grant is fourteen, living in the aftermath of a bankrupt Detroit, Michigan. Labeled as slow and a trouble-maker, he is given a government-sponsored intelligence test to determine if they can legally expel him from school. The results are not what anyone, including Justin and his mother, expect. Yong Takahashi is the author of Rising and The Escape to Candyland. She was a finalist in The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest, Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest, and Georgia Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest. She was awarded Best Pitch at the Atlanta Writers Club Conference.  To read Yong’s other works, please visit: https://linktr.ee/yctwriter *** Yong Takahashi is the…

Continue reading →

June 27, 2021

June Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

June Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

Jason’s Notes From the Lab… My YouTube channel has been growing, but I wanted to supercharge it with a promotions company. I tried two of them: Sprizzy and Social Growth Engine. They both work the same way. I give them money and a video. They promote the video. My channel gets views, which bumps things up in the algorithms and makes it perform better overall. Here’s my experience and opinion with them.  Sprizzy incorporates your video into ads they run on YouTube (and I think some other platforms), getting it in front of many eyes that are at least marginally interested in your content. You get to set your budget for each video, with a minimum effective spend of $40. Social Growth Engine has an army of minions. You give them a link, they tell their minions to go…

Continue reading →

May 30, 2021

May Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

May Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

Jason’s Notes From the Lab …So, I started Instagram.  Long-time readers of my work know that I recommend choosing two social media platforms and owning them (as opposed to spreading yourself thin across all the platforms available). For the longest time, for me that was Facebook and Google+. But then Google+ stopped operating. Which left me looking for a second home. I kept trying Twitter and LinkedIn, but honestly kept sucking at both of them. I have not yet figured them out. But I seem to be getting some solid traction with Instagram. For better or worse, here’s five things I’ve learned so far.  Use Video. My videos are performing 2 to 3 times as well as my images alone. Whether that’s a posted video, something on my story, a Reel, or IGTV. In June I’m…

Continue reading →

May 4, 2021

“Pilgrims of Zame,” by Mbizo Chirasha Now Available!

“Pilgrims of Zame,” by Mbizo Chirasha Now Available!

Pilgrims of Zame, a collection of hybrid narratives by poet Mbizo Chirasha, is a visceral assault a of images, sounds, and evocative experiences that transport readers from the hills and mountains of Zimbabwean villages, to sordid cities filled with violence and poverty, and into the minds, hearts, and lives of an entire people. Chirasha captures the raw emotions of culture and conflict and presents them through his uniquely vibrant poetic style. Through alliterative prose and free verse poetry, Chirasha explores both the roots of his culture and its path into the future. Mbizo Chirasha is the current Poet-in-Residence at The Fictional Café and author of A Letter to the President (Zimbabwe). He has co-authored several titles including The Little Voice, Metaphors of the Rainbow, and Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi. Pilgrims of Zame may…

Continue reading →

April 28, 2021

Friday on FC: Our First Live Webinar with Dan Blank!

Friday on FC: Our First Live Webinar with Dan Blank!

It’s almost here! This Friday, April 30th, at 2pm Eastern we will be hosting a webinar for writers who want to learn how to create an author platform and market their books. Dan Blank will be presenting on various topics. Check out the description below! Here’s the link to join in the webinar (Meeting ID: 863 9109 4393). An Introduction to Author Platform and Finding Your Ideal Readers Dan Blank has helped thousands of writers develop their author platforms, launch their books, and create marketing strategies that work. In this one-hour webinar, he will share his methodology for how to develop your author platform, market your writing, and find a sense of joy and fulfillment in the process. He will discuss social media, finding your ideal readers, how to present yourself online, and the key elements…

Continue reading →

April 25, 2021

April Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

April Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

Jason’s Notes From the Lab… This month I tried something new. I’d heard about other writers doing it, and tried one as a sort of rough draft to some success. I’m sharing the details and results here with you, so if you want to give it a shot you know how.  Who is this for: authors with self-published books and a mailing list. What is this: a giveaway sweepstakes to gather new emails for your list The Details: Here’s what I did. I found a bunch of other authors with mailing lists who write in genres related to mine. We all kicked in $25 for prize money and advertising. Our genre was safety, specifically family safety, and we gathered a library of 13 safety books, plus some supplies and even a AAA membership for the prize bundle.  For…

Continue reading →