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…

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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…

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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…

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March 30, 2021

March Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

March Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

Happy end of March! This month has been really, really busy. I’ve been up to a lot of things, some of which will show up lately in pretty cool ways. For now, with y’all, I wanted to share the five most important things I learned (or was reminded of) this month. Do some little marketing task every day. If you’re self-published, there’s lots of options. If you’re going traditional, build inroads with editors and agents.  Perfectionism might be our greatest enemy.  Sprizzy and Social Growth Engine are two services that help promote videos. SGE seems to work much better, even if they feel much sketchier to the user.  It’s amazing how far people are willing to go to help you if you just ask them for help.  Our second greatest enemy is probably working on…

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February 25, 2021

February Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

February Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

JASON BRICK’S NOTES FROM THE LAB As a freelance writer deep in the trenches, I’m here to present your five facts and five favorites from the month of February, 2021. Just the facts…. Fiverr.com is a good place to get low-cost cover design services, and a bad place to find competent copy editing. The pandemic has shifted a lot of genre sales figures, but by now you shouldn’t change any decisions based on that.  On social media, there is an inverse relationship between how successful a writer is and how mean they act. If you “don’t have time to write” you actually just prioritize other activities Martha Wells’s The Murderbot Diaries is really, really fun to read. Five Favorites… Social Change in the Publishing Industry I don’t know if it’s going to be awesome or a train wreck, but…

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December 23, 2020

December Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

December Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

Greetings all! As many of you know, I run a weekly newsletter of useful, fun, or amusing pieces of writing industry news called The Break From HOKAIC (Hands on Keyboard, Ass in Chair). As writers and lovers of writing yourselves, Fictional Cafe thought you’d enjoy some highlights for your information and entertainment: Finding a writing routine that works A video of writing advice from successful authors Writing Advice From Cats The shifting shape of writing and publishing Ultimate Guide to Book Distribution Nature slaps scientists in the face If you’d like more, delivered each week, consider subscribing to the newsletter itself. It comes every Monday. Thanks for reading. See you next month!

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November 24, 2020

November Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

November Edition of “The Break from HOKAIC”

We’d like to welcome back our new monthly feature by-writer and writing coach, and longtime FC friend Jason Brick. He brings us news from around the writing world. Here’s his November Edition of The Break from HOKAIC (Hands on Keyboard, Ass in Chair). Greetings all! As many of you know, I run a weekly newsletter of useful, fun, or amusing pieces of writing industry news called The Break From HOKAIC. As writers and lovers of writing yourselves, The Fictional Café thought you’d enjoy some highlights for your information and entertainment: Does Twitter pitching work? Four common pieces of writing advice that don’t go far enough A guide to influencer marketing for authors Alan Dean Foster and Disney are fussing over something important Some fabulous writing quotes you should know 8 Must-read self publishing blogs If you’d like more, delivered…

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October 28, 2020

October Edition of “The Break From HOKAIC”

October Edition of “The Break From HOKAIC”

Editor’s Note: We’d like to welcome back our new monthly feature bywriter, writing coach, and longtime FC barista, Jason Brick. Here’s his October edition of writing news from around the web. Greetings all! As many of you know, I run a weekly newsletter of useful, fun, or amusing pieces of writing industry news called The Break From HOKAIC. As writers and lovers of writing yourselves, The Fictional Café thought you’d enjoy some highlights for your information and entertainment: ASU posted a list of the common traits among the best writers 7 Hacks to help you start writing A cute article about writing for kids while you’re raising some How to organize an effective writing group How to write better dialogue The latest salvo in an ongoing discussion about trans rights and author responsibility A great video on…

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September 27, 2020

September Edition: “The Break from HOKAIC”

September Edition: “The Break from HOKAIC”

Editorial Note: This is the September edition of our new monthly feature from writing coach and longtime FC Barista Jason Brick. In this column, he’ll bring you news and advice from the writing world. Greetings again! September has been an interesting month in the publishing world. Here’s a selection of the most interesting, informative, or amusing things I found around the internet while researching my weekly newsletter for writers: A piece on the fact-checking crisis in publishing Whether you should offer comp titles in a query letter Case study on why women write under men’s names A solid article on how to market your book Writing advice from GRR Martin Why Gillian Flynn gets her best writing done after midnight If you have any questions or comments about these articles, leave a comment and let’s…

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August 30, 2020

“The Break From HOKAIC” with Jason Brick

“The Break From HOKAIC” with Jason Brick

Editorial Note: We’re excited to announce a new monthly feature from writing coach and longtime FC Barista Jason Brick. In this column, he’ll bring you news and advice from the writing world. Greetings all! As many of you know, I run a weekly newsletter of useful, fun, or amusing pieces of writing industry news called The Break From HOKAIC (my own term for the writer’s daily grind, which stands for Hands On Keyboard, Ass In Chair). As writers and lovers of writing yourselves, The Fictional Cafe thought you’d enjoy some highlights for your information and entertainment: VICE magazine took a real look at how much can be reasonably made publishing online.  Check out this list and review of free online publishing platforms for new writers. A report on virtual writers retreats during the pandemic Writing advice delivered…

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