My top five(ish) Instagram posts of 2016

I was going to do a list of my favourite bookish Christmas Instagram posts by other people, because there are some corkers out there, but WordPress restrictions prevent me from properly embedding Instagram posts so that people can readily access the original. And I wasn’t comfortable copying the images off Instagram and uploading them separately, even with links, because that way lies madness and copyright infringement.

So. I decided instead to list my own top five most liked posts from 2016 — because that way they are my own photos and I can’t get in trouble from anyone but me. (I may have a stern word with myself later…) I’m still relatively small time in #bookstagram circles, but these posts did better than usual, and I’m rather proud of that.

You’ll notice that every single one of these images has something in common: a PopVinyl figure. I have a rather embarrassing collection of them and, while I do post a few images without them, those never seem to be as popular. I can understand that. I love my Pops too! ❤

Five — 99 likes

I chose five because that’s how I roll. Of course, the problem is that three of my images are tied at 99 likes each. And if you don’t think that the missing like to get them to 100 is driving me nuts, you’re kidding yourself. :p

jewelhermy mockingjaybookmark newthufflepuff

Four– 103 likes

This is such a simple photo — I noticed that my Katniss Pop went really well with the cover of Atlanta Burns, so I, um, popped the two together and snapped a pic. I didn’t predict how well it would do.

atlantaburnskatniss

Three– 105 likes

I posted this just after Fantastic Beasts came out (it’s a great movie, btw), so I guess it was always going to do reasonably well! The book was a Christmas present from my son, but (because he’s seven and I actually had to pay for it) I took the picture before we wrapped it up. Shh!

fantasticbeassts

Two — 109 likes

Another tie! The picture of Cinder is very recent; I only took and posted it this week. The other one is about a month old. Rose isn’t my favourite companion, but for reasons I don’t understand you can’t get Donna Nobel or Martha Jones as Pops. Gah!

rosedoctor cindercinderella

One — 133 likes

I’m tickled pink that my most liked picture so far is of my own books. I’d like to imagine that is the reason, but I suspect it has more to do with the Sarah PopVinyl (from Labyrinth), and the fact I had a Scentsy burner in there. Still, I’m going to call it a win!

islasarahscentsy


Bookstagramming, my way

I know I’ve mentioned from time to time that I am on Instagram now. Like Twitter, I joined Instagram because I had a vague thought that it might be a good idea to have an author profile there. But, also like Twitter, I’ve very rapidly fallen in love with #bookstagram, where book obsessives take smexy photos of books and post them for all to fangirl over. It appears to my creative, visual art-y side. And my book obsessive side.

It’s really interesting, seeing the different approaches people take with their styles, or feeds; some people have a combination of different looks, while others have a definite overall theme: books with lights, books with food, messy book pics, abstract book pics … you get the idea.

After a bit of playing around, I discovered that my favourite sort of photo to take was one with a crisp white background and white colours; the below picture is a screenshot of my most recent nine photographs. That doesn’t mean I don’t do other styles, but that combination predominates.

Here are things you can expect from my posts if you follow me:

  • Crisp white backgrounds and bright colours (duh)…
  • PopVinyl figures. Because my son and I have around 80 of the adorable little suckers, and I might as well get some use out of them!
  • Pokemon, because I am a Pokemon Go addict and my son owns a bunch of plushies and toys.
  • Fake flowers and candles, as these are basically compulsory for bookstagram photos.
  • The occasional geeky paraphernalia, because that’s how I roll (dice) (see what I did there).
  • Some photos of finished colouring projects.
  • BOOKS!
    • (Sometimes even my books, because they are very pretty, if I do say so myself.)

And even if you don’t follow me — if you don’t have Instagram or just don’t love me that much  😉 — I’m sure I’ll keep posting the occasional picture here, when I review a book that I’ve read in paper format. So you won’t miss out!

capture

 


Isla1_Front_smlDo you like free things?

Just a reminder: the Isla’s Inheritance ebook, the first book in my young adult urban fantasy series, is available free from the following retailers:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

Smashwords


So I’m on Instagram (and I’m kinda lonely)…

Aussie Owned and Read — where I am a co-blogger — just got itself onto Instagram (@aussie_owned_read), courtesy of the super-enthusiastic Sharon. I’d been thinking I should create myself an account for a while now, because something-something-social-media, and AOR’s involvement encouraged me to jump on the bandwagon.

You can find me @cassandrapage01. I’ve been off crook from work for most of the past week, feeling too unwell to write much of anything. But not too crook to take lots of pics, apparently.

What can you expect to find if you follow me over there?

Definitely some of this

And a little bit of this

This (obviously)…

My book babies

And occasionally, if you’re really unlucky, some of this…

Are you on Instagram? If you leave a comment with your handle, I’ll pop over and stalk say hi to you.


Memes made by me: making images for fun and (if I’m lucky) profit

On my Facebook page, I have an album I called “Memes Made By Me” (because I love the alliteration). That’s where I save the various non-promotional memes I’ve made, from the ones I’ve done with various meme generators to ones I’ve actually made with stock art. Some of them are (hopefully) funny; others are (maybe) inspirational.

Why do I make them? Partly it’s a shameless self-promotional thing; the theory goes that if someone likes my meme, they might click through to learn more about me and my books. (I don’t think that ever actually happens, though — at least, not based on my own Facebook-viewing behaviour.) Another thing I’ve noticed is that, if I get lots of activity on one post, then the next post I share seems to be shown more widely by Facebook’s evil algorithms. That may be a coincidence, though.

The real reason I make them is because it’s fun. I love using Photoshop to come up with pretty pictures with words on them. :p

Here are some of the non-promotional memes I’ve made over the past few months:

Callous monster

I hate those posts so much…

Cinderella

Stock: Shutterstock

dr-horrible

Neil Patrick Harris belongs to Joss Whedon (and also to Neil’s husband, David). No copyright infringement intended.

Meme Marilyn quote

Stock: Shutterstock

Puppy review

Stock: Shutterstock

Meme Post-apocalyptic Fiction

My friend’s ten-year-old daughter came out with a comment very similar to this. I adapted it. 🙂

I’ve also made a ton of promotional teasers, most of which you’ll have seen on my blog if you’re a regular reader. If you’re not, here’s the most recent one. You’ll notice I’ve kept the text quite small on the overall page. That’s because I’ve been thinking about using this one in an advert, and Facebook requires that images for ads have no more than 20% text. (I may be pushing that limit with this one, because it’s not just the text on the top left that counts but the title on the book as well.)

SPR Review

And here’s one I made for my friend, Stacey, whose newest book came out last month.

Teaser for Pretend by Stacey Nash

Teaser for Pretend by Stacey Nash (Stock: Shutterstock)

I’d love to hear what you guys think of these kinds of memes and teasers. What do you like to see in a meme? What makes you click “like” or “share”? How about in a book teaser?


The Book of Faces

If you want to reliably see what I’m up to on the Book of Faces, Jay Kristoff has the good oil on how to do it. My Facebook page is here!

Jay Kristoff - Literary Giant

facebook

So I’m not sure if you beautiful folks are aware of this, but I thought I’d share since Facebook isn’t all that great at spreading the word about its own functionality.

The facey lair of Lord Zuckerberg has been shrouded in dank shrouds of dank, shroudy mystery for a while now, and most authors I know don’t really bother with it as a social media platform anymore. Not only does the Tome of Face-ishness seem oh so very Naughties, but it’s just not all that great for getting the word out about your warez, as opposed to Twitter or Tumblr or Tinder (omg all these T words) or whatever it is the cool kids are using this week.

One of the reasons companies and content creators are fleeing like virginal 16 year old protagonists in the presence of hockey-mask-wearing mass-murderers is that the Grimoire of Facery actually doesn’t…

View original post 285 more words


Pinterest for Authors: A Newbie’s Guide

Building your author platform? I’m over at Aussie Owned and Read, giving some advice on setting up a Pinterest account.

Aussie Writers

Ribbon,_Pinterest Source: Wikipedia Commons

If you’re a new author who is looking to build your social media platform, either before you start querying agents or because you’ve got a deal and have been told it’s something you need to work on, then you might want to consider Pinterest, the image-sharing website. It’s less demanding than a blog, Facebook or Twitter…  although it can be just as much of a time vampire if you let it.

Still, with a bit of self-discipline, it can be a way to promote yourself and your books, while also being a great source of inspiration for your writing.

What should I pin?

Look at creating at least ten boards on different themes, and having at least the same number of pins in each. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Have a board directly relating to each of your books or to each series. I have a board for my 

View original post 811 more words


Kickstarter, Stacey Jay, and sexism…

Warning: this is a long post. I have my rantypants on.

So there was a(nother) scandal in the YA world this week. An author going by the pen name of Stacey Jay — I gather she writes romance too, under another name — set up a Kickstarter project to try and fund the second book in her YA series. She apparently published her first book traditionally, but the sales weren’t enough to make the publisher want to go ahead with the series. However, they were  enough that she could make a viable go of the sequel if she self-published it.

So she set up a Kickstarter, attempting to raise enough money to cover the costs of a cover artist, editing, layout, etc. As part of that, she also included the cost of her time to write the book. She did this because writing is her sole source of income, and because if she was going to take time out from other paying projects to write the sequel, she’d need to be able to feed her kids. You can see the Kickstarter here.

This started a bit of a storm on Twitter. I didn’t see it myself at the time, but I’m told that there was some discussion about the struture of the Kickstarter rewards, some about the idea of wages vs advances vs preorders, some on whether Kickstarter is the program to use at all, and some about the ethics of asking for the cost of living as part of the price of writing a book.

Regardless of the intent behind some of the discussion (I spoke to one person who said it was mostly a discussion about the system), some of it was vitriolic (“who does she think she is?!”), and Stacey Jay took it as an attack. She cancelled the Kickstarter. Her blog post went viral, and a lot of big names latched onto that last point of discussion, about writers being fairly remunerated for their work. Chuck Wendig and Laura Lam blogged about it. Maggie Stiefvater retweeted the blog with a comment saying she agreed 100%.

Then Chuck Wendig tweeted something I’d seen others tweet, although not in the same words:

Chuck Wendig Kickstarter

He was accused of sarcastically subtweeting a group of women, and of being sexist.

This left me scratching my head, because I hadn’t been aware that the bulk of the discussion about the Kickstarter had been by women. I suppose if I’d considered it, I would have realised, because most YA authors are women. But until then, it didn’t seem to have been a factor.

Still, the subject of authors being paid (in money, not “exposure”) isn’t exactly a women’s issue, so the gender makeup of the two sides of the debate shouldn’t be a barrier to others taking part in a discussion arising from it. The fact that the bulk of the discussion was on one issue, rather than the full spectrum of the original discussion … well, that’s just how conversations work. They don’t always go the way we want them to, especially online.

Sidenote: The claim that Chuck Wendig has a big megaphone to broadcast with because he is a man is undermined by the fact that Maggie Stiefvater — who has almost twice as many Twitter followers — said the same thing. I’m not saying that his white male status hasn’t helped him along the way in his career, because there’s no doubt that privilege shortens your odds in the “luck” part of the success equation, but I’d suggest hard work, clever marketing and talent play big role in his success too. And Chuck is the first person to admit he has received “hetronormative white dude” advantages. His self-awareness earns him mad props in my eyes.

Anyway, yesterday, Stacey Jay tweeted the following.

StaceyJay1

StaceyJay2

She’s been doxxed.

(If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s when someone hacks or does intensive research on a target and then publishes their personal details online. Wiki has a page defining it.)

I saw her tweets this morning, my time, and wanted to Hulksmash something. I feel sick. Really ill, and so bad for Stacey Jay that it hurts. Because this isn’t about the pros and cons of asking for money to cover your bills anymore, or whether Patreon is better than Kickstarter, or whether a $20 reward including promo material was poor form. This is about someone’s privacy being violated.

Regardless of what you think of authors using Kickstarter to fund writing a book, we can all agree that doxxing someone is a dick move, yes?

To be clear, I don’t think for a second that the person behind the doxxing was one of those involved in the original discussion. No doubt some “hacktivist” shit-stirrer saw the scandal and decided to make a name for themselves in the cyber community by targeting Stacey Jay.

And this is where I think sexism has played a part, moreso than in the original tall poppy syndrome or the commentary around it. Because doxxing someone contains an implicit threat. I know where you live. It’s been used a lot by the less savoury side of the GamerGate scandal, to try and shut up those on the opposite side. Usually, it must be said, it’s used to target women.

I hope Stacey Jay reports the doxxing to the police and they are able to find the perpetrator — although I’m not optimistic about that. I hope she can find some peace after all this. I even hope that she reactivates the Kickstarter to take advantage of the publicity all this has caused, although given the doxxing I doubt she will. If I were her, I wouldn’t.

And the truth is that I’m scared to post this, because I’m a female on social media, and I’m afraid of drawing the wrong sort of attention. Of having people leave vindictive negative reviews on my book, or of being doxxed myself. Because it has happened to others.

But seeing others doxxed and being cowed by that makes you collateral damage from the original attack. It’s completely messed up. This is what #YesAllWomen is about.

And that is my rant.