Categories
Life

Science Needs to Rediscover Itself

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It has been a very long time since I’ve found the inspiration to write. It happens, especially when the mind is running many threads of thought, trying to resolve problems. Contemplation is a necessary mechanism for humans, as we do not process information in a linear fashion. Our minds explore countless connections between synapses until a suitable conclusion is revealed. We are not computers, because computers are imperfect — they are created with incomplete information about the nature of existence. Even the most advanced AI algorithms, at the most fundamental level, look for patterns that we, the programmers, have defined with an incomplete understanding of the universe. This is to say that we cannot program an AI to perceive things we cannot inherently conceive. Sure, it can certainly discern new permutations based on relationships we’ve already defined. It can compute these new permutations with seemingly amazing speed, yet when the conclusion is presented by the AI, invariably we can say “Oh, I should have seen that relationship.”

The universe is all about relationships. Every particle and every wave, are inexorably linked to a single event we are unable to grasp — the beginning of space-time. Whatever your belief system, they are all predicated on some point in the distance “past” where everything began — following the prevalent belief that there must have been some sort of beginning. Physics predicts the life and death of particles, stars and the universe itself, but without understanding the effect of beginning, we can’t begin to understand the initial cause.

Einstein’s greatest strength was that he conceived his initial theories unbounded by the constraints of the scientific community. He was a patent clerk in Switzerland with a great deal of time to contemplate a multitude of new ideas, without being discouraged by the “theory-du-jour”. He pondered seemingly unrelated problems to form a deeper understanding of the relationships inherent within the universe itself. Einstein gave humanity invaluable insights into the universe, but his greatest gift, which we tend to ignore, was a new way of thinking about the universe — everything is related in some form or fashion.

The human mind is the greatest computational machine we currently have at our disposal. We try to improve on it by creating faster, more powerful machines, but these can never replace the structure of the human mind. AI is a tool, just like a hammer, and it can never replace the human mind. Humans can leap to unrelated conclusions as we are, for the most part, unbounded in thought. A child is able to dream beyond the confines of “commonsense”. It is only until we’ve constrained their thoughts that they continue down a path of belief molded by the collective. I am referring to imagination, and not conforming to morality — morality is just a system of rules for coexistence and should not be a contemplative constraint. Assuming that we can coexist, the human mind should be free to explore unorthodox connections.

In my opinion, this is the biggest conundrum the scientific community as a whole is facing. We’ve done a very good job of specializing in one particular school of thought and exploration. Physics, Chemistry, Cosmology, Engineering, Psychology, Biology and on and on. There is nothing at all wrong with this, but how often do we cross-pollinate these disciplines? At the root, many of the disciplines share a common language in mathematics, logic and philosophy, but how often does a cosmologist look to biology for potential connections? I do not believe that the universe can be understood by only investigating one discipline. Every aspect of existence must be related if existence issued forth from a single point in time and space — the beginning.

If we go back to the early days of science, to the time of Aristotle, it was more common to study a multitude of disciplines to explore the whole. They understood that you cannot understand the purpose of a part without understanding the total object. You can’t understand the purpose of the elephant’s trunk, without understanding it’s context to the whole elephant. When most people are doing a jigsaw puzzle, they group the pieces, then begin to build the picture. Each piece has its place in the whole, but to know if you assembled the pieces correctly you look at the complete picture. This is where science has often failed. It may seem as if the speed of light is irrelevant to psychology, but do you truly know that it is so? Does the speed of light somehow affect our ability to perceive reality via consciousness? Does quantum entanglement hold the answer to why or how we have memories? Does memory have anything to do with Gravity? Why does an atomic structure resemble a solar system?

It seems to me that rather than encouraging specialization, we need to redesign our education system for the sciences to focus on the whole, while exploring the pieces. Each new discovery should be weighed against the whole of human understanding to see if there are potential connections, or solutions, not previously understood. A true “theory of everything” should truly describe everything. It should explain how the universe exists as well as why it exists.

We need a new kind of science.

Categories
Short Story Collection Stories Writing

The Nietzsche Files I: Beyond Good and Evil

BeyondGoodAndEvilGreetings Dreamers!

I do apologize for the long silence in my writings, and for the lack of finishing up my latest work, “Beyond Good and Evil”.  However, as promised, I have finished the final two chapters, and the entire story, unabridged and uncensored, is available on Amazon Kindle for $0.99.

Amazon Link

I’ve opted to put this on Kindle to recoup some of the costs associated with running this website, and to expand my readership with all the new programs Amazon is offering.

For those just joining us, here is a brief synopsis of the story:

“From the darkness of the Richmond city streets a figure emerges to fight the battle beyond good and evil.  Irritated by the iniquity of the Richmond Police Department, a vigilante by the name of Nietzsche takes matters in his own hands to solve crimes that remained unsolved for years.

A murdered family draw him from the shadows, their true killer never detected or found, leaving two hapless puppets to answer for a crime most heinous.  Beyond human comprehension, a dark being  wanders the streets of  Richmond perpetrating crimes upon those who present a threat to its unknown goals.

Embark on an adventure of mystery, paranormal and murder to catch the eater of sins.  Leave your emotion behind, look through the eyes of a sociopath, and solve the crime before darkness is unleashed.”

Categories
Stories Writing

Lost Haven

losthavenfeaturedGreetings, Dreamers!

Summer has come and as a result I’ve been busy.  But fear not, I have been working on new material, including Book II, The Unkindness.

Today’s post is to remind everyone that there is an interim novella available on Kindle called Lost Haven.  This story happens a few weeks after the Halloween events in Waking Dream: Devlin.  The purpose of this novella was to give my readers a better understanding of my concept of Weirdness.  There are several different forms displayed in this novella, hopefully enough to spur your own creative juices so you can help me build the world.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I created the Waking Dream universe so that others could add to it, long after I am gone — such as Lovecraft fans continue to create new stories around the Cthulhu mythos.

Lost Haven is a fast paced story about a mysterious group of individuals called The Order of Seers.  It features several new characters as well as a couple of characters from the first book.

I had to throw my hat into the Zombie genre, just a tad, and give my take on the phenomenon.  While the story is primarily dark fantasy, it does have horror elements.  I try not to limit the story, because life nor the universe is limited.  Anything can happen in the Waking Dream.

You can buy Lost Haven for a mere .99 cents on Amazon!  It is certainly worth it for anyone who wants to explore the Waking Dream even further.

Soon, I will be releasing another novella, right before Book II.  “Shadows on the Soul” completes my trilogy of terror and my homage to H.P. Lovecraft, which started with “The House of the Dead Timbers” and “The Case Study”.  “Shadows on the Soul” will be available by the end of summer.  Even though they are horror tales, they all related, in some way, to the Waking Dream.  Can you find the connections?

I thank you all again for your wonderful support of my writing.  I hope you enjoy it.

Categories
Novella

Free Stories until Christmas Eve!

The Case StudyHouseOfDeadTimbersGreetings, Dreamers!

As a gift to all my loyal fans, I am making The Case Study and The House of the Dead Timbers free on Kindle until Christmas eve!  Tis the season to be horror filled!  Both are being considered for the Bram Stoker Award!  So help me get them to number #1 on the free store!

And if you do download them, please take a moment to review them on Amazon!  Happy Holidays and stay safe!

Free Books

And if you like those, check out the others!

Other Books

Categories
Life

I am Every Bullied Child – Teachers Bully Children

No BulliesTonight, I am going to step out of the norm and address a very real problem that has become an issue in my household.

My child is in a center based gifted program in Chesterfield County, Virginia.  She earned that spot after numerous tests, and has made it from the 3rd grade to the 4th grade.  This is a critical year as she makes the leap to 5th grade.

At the beginning of this school year, the gifted teacher who was supposed to teach the class, became suddenly ill, and was forced to leave under the Federal Law, the Family Medical Leave Act.  It was very much a shame because she is an amazing teacher.  However, with her sudden departure, the Center Based Gifted Program was unable to find an accredited teacher to take the class. Under the Federal Law, they are not allowed to fill the position for 12 weeks.

There was one substitute after another assigned to the class.  No homework was coming home graded, tests were begin given on subject matter that hadn’t yet been taught, and there was no clear curriculum established.  They eventually assigned a substitute to the class who is not certified to teach gifted children, and does not have the necessary credentials to be a teacher.

We sent repeated emails to the Center Based Gifted Program, addressing concerns over the competence of this substitute and questioned their plans for the future until the certified gifted teacher returned.  These emails were forward on to this substitute, who took it as a personal affront.  These emails were meant to be kept in confidence, however, they were not.

As a result, the following sequence of events has occurred, events that have completely overshadowed our year, and taken the wind out of the sails of our holidays, and my child’s previous zeal for learning.

Incident #1

My wife attended a Parent/Teacher conference with the substitute.  To her horror, my child’s desk had been moved away from the rest of the class, barely able to see the front of the class, isolated from the rest of the children. The substitute was unable to provide any grades, or discuss my child’s performance.  But, the substitute did find the ability to berate my wife for questioning the curriculum and the path of the gifted program.  The substitute went so far as to say that my wife was “disruptive to your child’s education” by questioning the substitute’s methods.

My wife immediately went to the Principal. No corrective action was taken against the substitute, but my child’s desk was returned to the group.

Incident #2

A project grade came home. My child’s work exceeded the criteria for the project, and the substitute deducted points from my child’s grade with no explanation.  The principal was notified of this, and there has been no resolution or response since mid November.  Over the course of four months, only seven pieces of work have been graded out of the countless other assignments that have been turned in.

Incident #3

After the incident with the parent/teacher conference, and right before Thanksgiving break, the entire class was given a treat. The substitute announced to the rest of the class that my child did not deserve one and did not get one.

Incident #4

This past Tuesday my daughter, who had already had a cold, was forced to walk in 30 degree weather around the track of the school during recess for handing a ruler to another student.

Incident #5

Yesterday, my daughter wore a necklace to school.  By mid-morning it was causing irritation around her neck.  She was attempting to take the necklace off.  Rather than assist my child in doing so, they berated her until she got it off, then took it from her.

The substitute subsequently sent my child to the counselor’s office for further admonishment.

Incident #6 — The straw that broke the camel’s back.

Today my child and classmates were given snowflake ornaments they had made for Christmas trees.  The substitute accused my child of playing with hers.  The substitute summarily took if from my child, crumbled it up, and threw it in the trash.  When my child became upset and started crying, the substitute mocked her by saying, “Oh, did that upset you?”

My child has been a straight A student the entire year despite this malicious and odious person.  There still has been no response from the School District, Department of Human Resources or the Principal of this school other than numerous disingenuous emails and phone calls from the school principal.  But, as all of you know, I am a firm believer that it is our responsibility to fix these things.  While I understand the plight of teachers, who are overworked and underpaid, they are civil servants.  You pay for them, they work for you and you entrust your child’s future in them.

What I have learned is that one should not automatically believe a teacher when they say that your child is the problem.   You know your child better than anyone.  If you feel that your child is being mislabeled, it is your right to question the motives and methods of our school system.

I know that my child is not the problem because other teachers have expressed being upset my child would not longer be in their class.

This substitute is harassing and bullying my child because we questioned their ability to teach gifted children.  And any of you who are a parent of a gifted child know very well, they are aloof, inquisitive, opinionated, and prone to lose focus if the teacher is not challenging them.  And if they are not being challenged, it is not the child’s fault.  It is squarely on the shoulders of these teachers we trust our children to six hours a day.

Am I angry?  No.  I am disgusted with the lack of accountability in our educational system.  These children are our future.  And my child is being bullied by someone who is not qualified to be in the classroom.

This post will be beamed across the TwitterVerse and Facebook with an estimated audience of over 2 million people.  It is time to send a message that we as parents will no longer accept substandard values in our schools, the schools we pay our taxes to utilize.

Please share this if you agree.  If you do not, feel free to comment below.

Categories
News Novella

Lost Haven – The Order of Seers

HavenGreetings, Dreamers!

I have released Lost Haven as a Kindle Book, all assembled for your reading pleasure!

Again, it is a novella, and it is a stand alone story that happens between Book I and Book II in the series.

I know that many of you have been reading the story, but I decided to release the book on Kindle to gain a larger audience than my blog.

I have decided to curtail language in my future books so that this series can appeal to both adults and young adults.  Book I has one small section with language, however, it is nothing that young adults have not already been subjected to.  The world is not perfect, and I am not Mary Poppins.

The underlying story of the Waking Dream is about understanding that we all have the power to change the world to what we want.  And I know that will begin with our children.

You can read this novella and decide whether or not the Waking Dream is for you. Its not for everyone!  But, I assure you, you can’t truly be a Dreamer until you see what lies ahead.

Happy reading, my friends!

 

Categories
Immortal Memories Life News Novel Novella Philosophy Writing

The Ramblings of a Weird Author

MichaelHibbardGreetings, Dreamers!

I wanted to take a moment and talk a bit about who I am and what I write.  I’ve gained quite a few new followers so I though it was time that I gave you a little more insight into me, what I write, and what inspires me to continue.

I am laying it all out there, because I am a communicator, well, online that is.  In real life, I’m a bit of a recluse, and am not really good in social situations, which I am working on.

Who were my inspirations?

I’ve been an avid reader since I was really young.  The first adult book I read was “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving.  I’ve always loved the supernatural, so I continued with other authors such as Poe, Lovecraft, King, Bradbury, F. Paul Wilson and many others.  Oddly, my two biggest influences were Lovecraft and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Lovecraft is an inspiration because he loved description, words and his creation of the Cthulhu Mythos.  Fitzgerald is an inspiration for his writing style, his ability to expose the dark underbelly of our society, and for giving us my favorite book, The Great Gatsby.

The Waking Dream is not all that I write, but it is a huge focus on my career because it spans so many genres and deals with many social issues, both for adults and young adults.  I love to write horror, especially Lovecraftian Horror, because I do love a good scary tale, and it seems that there are not enough new ideas coming out.  I have not been scared by anything that has come out lately.  I abhor slasher type books, because the news does a pretty good job of covering that genre.  It’s all too real and close to home.

The inspiration for the Waking Dream truly came from my personal quest to understand the nature of reality.  I am inspired by a variety of things: the change of seasons, weird happenings, interactions between people, philosophy, religion, science and the paranormal.

When Did I Start Writing?

I really started writing stories when I was 12.  I was attending a Catholic School in Woodbury, New Jersey.  It was very old, and the basement was very creepy.  I wrote a screen play about dark rituals happening in the basement at night.  My teacher at the time, Mr. DuBois, fully supported me filming it and got permission for me to do so.  Unfortunately, before we could do the film, my parents moved to Pennsylvania.

I was an avid Role-Player, and I’ve played just about every table-top game there is, and I enjoyed being the storyteller more than the player.  I would write very involved campaigns, which were essentially interactive stories.  Then when I got on the internet, I went crazy in the chat rooms with story lines, and had three channels devoted to different settings.  Castle Nightshade was a high fantasy storyline set in a world I created with over 100 people playing at any given time.  Night City was a vampire based storyline with many of the same people playing back and forth.  And then finally, The Waking Dream which only had 12 players as a private group.

My first novel, which was published by Phantasm Books, is my crowning achievement as an author.  I was very pleased to have my book recognized so quickly without having been published anywhere before.  Waking Dream: Devlin is just the first of many to come.  I enjoyed writing it, hated the editing process, and have stressed the promotion.  But in the end, I am happy with what I have produced.

Here is the list of books I have written to date:

What is the Waking Dream All About?

I do get a lot of people who are very confused about the subject matter contained in the Waking Dream.  I have many journals with all of the particulars about the Waking Dream Universe, because it is quite expansive.  I am trying to create a world that is wholly unique, but emulates Cthulhu Mythos, or Frank Herbert’s Dune.

I am fascinated with the universe.  I rarely watch any non-science shows, because I want to understand the nature of reality.  So, I started the Waking Dream as a synthesis of all the concepts I feel to be true about our universe.  If the universe were just a dream we should be able to control it.  It’s just a matter of learning how to.  We are all children, no matter how old we get.  But, we tend to start to disbelieve that we have the power to change it.  We get wrapped up in politics, our daily jobs, acquiring things, and we stop believing that life really is very magical.  The fact that we exist at all is magical in of itself.

The Waking Dream is targeted to people who want to believe and it is appropriate for young adults, as well as adults.  I explore social issues, so there is a lot of allegory in the novel.  I also explore topics that plague our children today, such as coming of age, self-mutilation, poor self-esteem, dealing with loss, and how to fit in.  On the social level, I address self-sustaining communities, religion, reincarnation, the degradation of society, politics, and the struggle between good vs. evil.

What Do I Do for My Day Job?

Currently, I am a data analyst, and I do enjoy it, because it has helped my ability to market my book, and self-promote.  It all comes down to numbers.  But, on the side, I am a programmer and I can program in 11 different computer languages.  All of it self-taught, as I am a true autodidact.  Structured learning is not my thing.  I tend to learn better when I can move at my own pace.

However, I did not start out in this field.  I have had many many different jobs in my 43 years.  Here are the ones I can remember:

Gardener, Greenhouse Worker, Pastry Chef, Sous Chef, Line Cook, Toy Store Manager, Video Store Manager, Blockbuster Assistant Manager, Medical Sales, Web Designer, Project Manager, Grounds Keeper,  Coder, Software Architect, Business Architect, Graphic Designer, and now Published Author.

All of the jobs I’ve had contributed to my experience as a writer.  I have learned something valuable from each of them, though I wasn’t necessarily happy in each job.  Working at a toy store during Christmas was an absolute nightmare!

What Are My Hobbies?

I am a firm believer in the saying “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”.  Those of you who frequent my blog know that I try to post at least once a day.  But I also have my facebook pages, my four secret twitter accounts, and my main @arkangyl account.  So I do love social media.  But my other hobbies include:

Drawing/Illustration (I have designed all but one of my book covers), Guitar, Drums, Music in general, Cooking, Console and PC Gaming, Role-playing, Poetry, Reading, Philosophy, Quantum Physics, Mathematics, Programming Apps and Board Games.

Writing I do not consider a hobby.  This is what I ultimately want to do for a full-time job, and I feel confident that I will get there.  As I’ve said to my other fellow authors, who are just starting out, it takes patience.   Everything requires work and honing one’s craft.

Why Did I Do This?

First, I really did this because I wanted you all to know who I really am.  I believe that it is important to engage my friends, (I hate the term followers).  I do no spend all night looking for people to follow.  I tweet and if someone follows me, I’ll follow them back if it seems we’d be friends!  I always respond to everyone who engages me, because I do not want to sit on some pedestal and have people adore me.

Second, I am what I write.  I am not writing to become rich and famous.  I doubt I could deal very well with fame, as I am a recluse, as I mentioned.  If you know who I am, perhaps you’ll be more interested in the stuff I write, and more importantly, you’ll understand why I write the way I do.

Again, thank you for listening, and I am always interested in a good conversation, either here, on Facebook or on Twitter.

If you hit the Interview Menu at the top, you can listen or read about my other interviews.

Happy Friday the 13th, my friends!

Categories
Life Mism Philosophy Religion Science

So You Want to Be A Dreamer?

OneGreetings, Dreamers!

Today I wanted to tell you about  a new project I am working on.  This is something that I have given a great deal of thought to, and I have been asked by my friends and fans to discuss the philosophy behind my Waking Dream series.

The philosophy behind the Waking Dream is much more than a simple dark fantasy adventure story.  I truly believe that we all have the ability to change the course of our reality.  Dreamers are the ones who have that ability, and anyone can become a Dreamer, you just have to learn how to do so.

So, in response to all these questions from interviews, friends and fans, I am beginning a new project to be released at about the same time as the next book in the series, The Unkindness.  This book will be called The Little Book of Dreams – Libellus Somnium, and it will be a non-fiction view of a new philosophy I have formulated called Mism, the Merger of all Isms.  (Taoism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Communism, you get the idea).  You can read the abstract at this link, and my view on creation.  This is only the beginning.

The book is targeted to those who want to lead a more peaceful and meaningful existence.  This is not to say that I have perfected my implementation of Mism in my life, but that is because we are not, and cannot, be perfect.  Perfection is a myth, and a fruitless pursuit.  We will always be learning, experiencing and evolving.  But, I can say with profound certainty that we are eternal spirits.  The body you inhabit now is just a vehicle.  It allows you to experience the world, and experience the universe.  When it is broken, you fix it.  When it completely fails, you abandon it and get a new one to continue your journey.

Many people believe that there must be some specific purpose to life.  There is and there isn’t. You create your purpose based on what you want to experience.  The only innate purpose to life is to live and create the universe.  We are all responsible for taking care of ourselves and one another, because we share a Oneness with each other.  We all affect one another, therefore we are inexorably linked.  My action causes your reaction.  Reading this article will invoke thought, negative or positive, and that demonstrates the connection between us.

I always start off my blog posts calling you Dreamers, because those who read my blog are Dreamers, or want to be.  And the more people I draw in, the more we can share intellectual discourse on how best to reshape our world.  So writing The Little Book of Dreams will simply be a compilation of all that I have learned and infused into my life, as well as the stories and novels that make up the Waking Dream Universe.

I also believe in the Weirdness.  That may sound strange to you, because it is just my word for magic.  Do I believe that magic exists?  Not in the Tolkien way, such as fireballs, wizards and dragons.  I believe that each of us possesses an inherent ability that super-cedes conventional physics and what we perceive as impossible.  I have seen and experienced many of these abilities in other people.  Nothing is impossible — somethings just may not be probable, as we have learned through quantum mechanics.

At the core of Mism, we must understand that to completely understand ourselves and the universe, we must merge all of our disparate ideas into a cohesive framework that allows science and religion to coexist and explain each other.  We would remove the distinction between the two and label it a philosophy of life.  A Philosophy of Everything, if you will.

Now, you are probably asking yourself, who is this guy to tell me anything?  The answer to that is very simple, I am the sum of everything everyone living and dead has taught me.  And you are the sum of the same.  I did not create this by myself, all of you have contributed to this idea, in one way or another.

Finally, you are probably asking, why would I bother to write this all down.  And you are free to agree or disagree with me.  But I am writing this down, because it takes just one thought to make a change.  Look around you, look at the state of the world.  Is this the ideal world you want to live in? Do you feel that the right decisions are being made?  Do you have fear for the future?  Are you concerned about what we are leaving our children?  Have you lost your way?  Do you know what you want out of your life?

I am going to give you my perspective on what truly matters, and hopefully in the process, I will learn more about you, so that I can improve myself as a person, and in turn make the world a better place for us all.

Have a wonderful day, and I thank you for listening to me babble, as always.

Michael

Categories
Guest Post Mism

Interview with Susan Wingate

DevlinGreetings Dreamers!

For those of you who didn’t get time to listen (shame on you), you can listen to my 30 minute interview with best-selling author Susan Wingate.

Listen here

You can hear all about Devlin, the Weirdness and Immortal Memories!

I urge you to check out her books and blog at http://dialoguebetweenthelines.com/

Thank you, Susan for the opportunity to speak on your show!

 

Categories
Writing

Self-Publishing is Not a Sin

Greetings, Dreamers!

Today I wanted to just talk a bit about Self-Publishing for all my friends and followers who are also self-publishing.  I have learned a great deal about the industry, and the traditional publishers are starting to see that they are quickly becoming antiquated.

My first book Waking Dream: Devlin is actually published through a real publisher.  However, my novellas and Immortal Memories are self published.

After a great deal of thought, it occurred to me that most publishers are now moving to Print On Demand and eBook services.  The same exact services that one can get through Amazon, CreateSpace or Smashwords. So I’ve decided, at least for the moment, to stay with self-publishing.  But here are some observations that you may find helpful.

Good Investments:

If you are not a graphic designer, then you should definitely get someone to design the cover for you.  The cover does say a lot about a book, regardless of the saying.  I have read some really terrible books with amazing covers, and some really good books with very bland covers.  But customers do judge your book by the cover.  It is worth paying 300 to 400 dollars for a nice cover.

If you are not an editor yourself, you should definitely have someone edit your work.  But, you can do it yourself if you turn on ALL of the proofing features in your Word Processor, and read why it is flagging something.  But, it is a good investment to get a good editor to make sure that the book flows, that you have continuity in tense, and the dreaded “missing word” syndrome which I often suffer from.  Make sure you get an editor that likes your genre, any old editor will not do, and make sure they have a good track record.

If you are not familiar with print formatting, it can be very difficult.  There are many videos and articles on formatting your book for print, but it is usually fairly cheap to have a professional do it for you.

After that, the only other good investment is making sure YOU read your novel a few times.  When you think you’re done, read it one more time.  Yes, it can get tedious, but it is a very good investment in your time if you want to be successful.

Bad Investments:

Do not ever pay for reviews.  The only thing a reviewer should get is a copy of your book.  Paid reviews are a waste of money, and you run the risk of paying money for a terrible review.  There are many blog reviewers on WordPress.  You simply have to send them a query and ask if they’d be interested.

Ads on Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads are a waste of money you can invest in other things, such as flyers, business cards, posters and copies to sign at an event.  I did a great deal of experimentation on this, and I have found unless you are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for high profile websites, you are just throwing money down the drain.  You should be the advertiser.  You can go to forums, join book clubs, and groups on various social media outlets.  You are your own best marketer.  You wrote it, so you know how to sell your book.

Swag item give-aways are another waste of money.  Most people will come get your swag, then leave.  If you want to do give-aways of your books for reviews, that is the best thing you can give away.

Do not pay for entry into an award!  Any award that requires you to pay for it, is probably not reputable, and the award will mean nothing.  Some of the real book awards, such as the Bram Stoker, or the Amazon Breakout Novel Award are reputable, and they also will consider self-published books.  There are many others out there, you just have to do some searching.

Organizations:

A professional writer’s organization is an excellent investment.  Some require you to have been published, even if its just a short story.  I am a member of the Horror Writers Association which does not require you to be published to become a member.  The Author’s Guild will also allow self-published authors once they hit a certain number of sales.  But they both offer services that help authors establish themselves and become more successful.

Social Media:

Here is one of the biggest things I’ve been analysing for quite some time.  I have found that the best social media outlet to advertise your book is Twitter, without a doubt.  But, you should be thoughtful about your tweets, and don’t tweet every 5 minutes “Buy my book”. You should craft a variety of tweets, trying to include your tag-lines, or short quotes, or even review excerpts.  You can # the genre you are in, and ask for RTs.  Which brings me to my next point, followers.

Finding followers is an onerous task.  You shouldn’t just start following anyone you see in your recommended, or other author’s followers.  Use the search tool to find tweets by people who like you genre or the themes in your book.  Follow these people.  Also follow other authors, because its not a competition.  Writers are readers too, and I have found that they will RT you if you return the favor. Make sure that only 25 to 30 % of your tweets are about your book.  Tweet links to things related to your book subject matter, or other books in your genre.  Let your followers know that you’re a real person, and ALWAYS respond to your followers when appropriate. Remember, you need them more than they need you.

The next most important social media aspect is blogging.  You are a writer, so you can certainly come up with things to blog about!  This allows your readers to see what kind of person you are, how well your write, and it allows you to engage them in comments.  Blogging has been the biggest part of gaining readership.  If they like your blog, chances are, they will buy your books.  And don’t just blog about your books.  Blog about writing and offer tips.  Write flash fiction, short stories or poems.  Anything that will show your fans that you are dedicated to being a writer, and not just sitting back waiting for the millions to come rolling in.

Pricing:

Be reasonable when pricing your book.  There is nothing wrong with a .99 cent book.  In general, readers are more apt to buy your book if its between .99 cents and 4.99, depending on the length.  If you are self publishing,  the lower the better to get lots of people buying and reading it, and hopefully review it.  My guideline is usually, .99 cents for anything less than 17K words, between 17K and 40K  1.99 to 2.99 and anything above that between 2.99 and up.  Pretty simple really.

My final note on self-publishing is that you have to be patient, diligent and realistic.  The publishing world is changing, so don’t give up just because you have slow sales.  Keep writing, be prolific, and make sure your work is polished.  There are more than enough readers in the world, and they will always want new books to read.

Whether you are self-published or traditionally published, you will not be quitting your day job with your first book.  At least not when its initially released!

Good luck!