Want a Look Inside? Click here.

“How to Build a Powerful Writer’s Platform in 90 Days”90 Days From Now, you and your book can bean online sales success story.

  • How to generate buzz around your book
  • How to launch a book successfully using only social media
  • How to make sure your book lives up to the hype you’re about to build
  • 90-day Calendar where I show you what you need to do every day to succeed.
Price:
$ 15,00$ 7,97

Description:
I wrote Writer’s Platform specifically to help writers and bloggers like you to build effective, virtually cost-free social media presence. Writer’s platform is your easy-to-follow, comprehensive and proven resource to making your book into the online sales success it deserves to be, instead of just one more great book no one’s ever heard of or read.

Real Testimonials from Real Readers:

What I really liked: this book is a straightforward game plan to build an online presence that serves “the brand” you create … If you are willing to spend a few hours a day at your computer, building the on line platform of your dreams, read this book. M. Knapp, Amazon reviewer.

 

Austin Briggs refreshingly delivers upon this promise in a concise, unhindered presentation without any annoying fluff or blustering boasting regrettably too common among many authors trying to sell their how-to book of the day.

I am C, Not X, Amazon reviewer

 

To be truthful, I have skimmed many books on “how to publish and market new books” and most of them were a waste of time, repeating the same old information. So, I didn’t expect much from this book, but was very surprised! This book is wonderful!

bkmcavoy, Amazon reviewer.

 

The thing that struck me almost immediately when reading this book was that the systematic approach set out in it was equally applicable no matter what your product was. … You could use Austin Briggs’ methods for setting up a website and creating an online presence for almost anything you wanted to sell.

Davros-10, Amazon reviewer.

 

A wonderful, concise piece that works to educate a writer or potential writer in the fine art of building a successful platform using online media to boost the reach and success of a book. I was pleased to find that for a non-fiction work such as this, it did have humor and straight-talk that meshed extremely well. I did feel as if the author was talking to me when I read this in one sitting, a definite plus.

Wofljack, Amazon reviewer.

http://austinbriggs.com/writers-platform/how-to-build-a-powerful-writers-platform-in-90-days/

Fantasy

November 2012 Winners

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Every month, I promise myself to resist listing all the stories I “especially” liked :)

This month I’m not going to keep this promise, again. I’ve loved so many that I just can’t resist mentioning the ones I’ve short-listed for victory.

Recall, November was all about Fantasy, any fantasy at all.

Here goes the short list:

1. The Emperor of Time by R.J. Saxon.

2. Changing Magic by Carole Fowkes.

3. Trouble with the Imps by Michael Coady.

4. The Gilded Cage by Betsy A. Riley.

5. True Face by Elizabeth John.

6. The Sylph by Michael Coady.

7. The Choice by Yvonne Hertzberger.

8. Often Passed but Never Ventured by Morgen Bailey.

9. Icy Misadventure by Richard Lawrence.

10. Caged Fantasy by Deborah Lean.

11. The Gatekeeper by John Moon.

12. Behind the Eyes by Thomas Giles.

I’ve limited my list to a dozen, but of course I’ve carefully considered each story, rereading them over and over again.

Please don’t be sad if your story didn’t make it to the 12 above… each month, the competition seems to get tougher as the quality of the stories goes up. It breaks my heart not to award some powerful stories you folks sent.

Anyway, time for the drum roll.

I can afford a few more prizes this month, so I’m awarding 3 stories that are, in my mind, exceptional:

1st Prize ($55): The Choice by Yvonne Hertzberger.

2nd Prize ($30): True Face by Elizabeth John.

3rd Prize ($30): The Sylph by Michael Coady.

Congratulations to the winners! As always, I’ll contact you guys by email and will send your winnings via PayPal.

My hat is off before the other wonderful stories posted in November.

I love them all. I wish I can award them all, too! :)

Now, on to December.

Let’s switch gears this month into something completely different.

The Secret

Write a 55-word story based on a secret of your choice.

Mask

Authors: 5 Laws of Becoming Relatable on Social Media (without getting a drink thrown into your face)

If you prefer to see a slide show, check this out — I suggest you view in full screen (button in bottom right corner):

Otherwise, read on!

First, let me ask you a question.

What do people use the social media for?

Most do it to get a break during their hectic lives, don’t you think? They kick back with a coffee and have a chat. They gossip. They share a silly joke or an interesting picture. They talk about this political party, or that hurricane.

Some of them even flirt.

Then you, an author, come on the social media stage. And what do you do?

You tweet about your book. You post the most awesome bits of your text on Facebook. You G+ that smashing 5-star review you book got the other day. You automate your “buy my book” link with that clever piece of software (the one that Twitter hasn’t banned yet).

Then, a few weeks into your “social media strategy”, you realize that no one cares.

No one gives a damn.

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Anxiety

Authors: 5 Keys to Getting Discovered Online

You’ve put in the hard yards by creating your book. Wouldn’t now be the time to sit back and watch the sales mount up?

Sadly, that’s almost never the case. Getting discovered is a bit like herding cats—a lot of work with confusing results. Yet, it’s possible to train a cat and it’s possible to compete against the millions of books out there.

The Amazon marketplace has enabled a horde of first-time authors to release an electronic toilet roll to the masses, generating miles of virtual paper that no one’s ever going to read. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. To an extent.

Most of those authors will die undiscovered. Smart authors learn to combine offline and online tools to reach the widest audiences. It can be scary to compete in this arena, particularly when other powerful authors are riding a rocket to fame: Amanda Hocking, Darcie Chain, Hugh Howey, etc.

Inaction’s no use, unless of course you don’t want your work to be read. Though if that’s true—why did you write it? You could keep blank sheets of paper for much less effort.

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Oct 2012 Winner

Hope you like the changes I’m making to the Flash Fiction page. While still not final (we’re working on some formatting issues), it already delivers most of what I wanted:

– Ability to see more stories on one page

– Ability to browse by genre and by author, rather than having to click back through pages and pages of stories.

With that out of the way, let’s announce the results of our Halloweeny, Octobery contest that explored mixing love and horror.

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Aztec Trick or Treat

Trick-or-Treat the Aztec Way

Children all over are counting down to October 31 with bursting eagerness.

Nothing is as heartening as the sight of kids living out their fantasies on the evening of Halloween. When they ring your doorbell, just remember that they waited agonizingly long before they could trick-or-treat you, so don’t shut your lights and withdraw from it all.

Those would be your neighborhood kids. They’d have a chant or a story to tell you, giggling as happy children do. They shout out happily who they are in their costumes. You can then chat some more or give them some treats and see them off to the next house.

All done, back to your TV. Except that some of the children’s joy would have rubbed off on you.

And just like us, the Aztecs also had their trick-or-treat day.

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Flash Story Winner: Sep 2012

Hi all, there we go – September is over. It’s been a great month, with some very nice entries in our Flash Story contest.

First, I wanted to address some questions that folks ask quite regularly. I’ve also added the answers into the contest rules.

(a) Does the author retain copyright? — Absolutely.

(b) Can I post a story that’s longer than 55 words? — Nope.

(c) Can I submit more than 1 story in one month? — Please do so, if you’d like.

(d) Can a non-fiction piece enter the contest? — By all means.

(e) Where’s the button to post my story? — Right here.

Okay, with that done, let’s get to the winners. Are you ready? :)

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Geronimo de Aguilar

Saving Stranded Priest

In the long list of instructions that Hernán Cortés had been given by Velázquez, the governor of Fernandina (Cuba) under whose orders he had sailed to Yucatan, was a mandate to find several Christians believed to be stranded on the coast.

That document is descriptive of the times and is worthy of study. It instructed Cortés to treat the locals with “much kindness”, find out more information about Amazons and dog-faced people living in the forests and, above all, to serve God.

Six lost Christians were mentioned several times, indicating just how important it was to find them.

There was no trace of them on Cozumel, however, although the local Mayas did say that two Spaniards were living in the nearby mainland town of Chaktemal.

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CozumelRuins

Idols Smashed to Bits

In the local Maya language, Cozumel is pronounced as Kú-utz-mil. It was home to the Red Goddess of childbirth, Ix Chel, whose temple was the destination for pilgrims from the mainland Yucatan. A priestess would speak to the pilgrims from inside a large, hollow statue of Ix Chel that stood in the main shrine.

This goddess was popular with young women who wanted their marriages to bear fruit. There was in fact a smaller pilgrimage site just north of Cozumel—an island now called “Isla Mujeres”—where the Spaniards found plenty of images of Ix Chel, as well as images of female travelers.

Cortés put an end to that ancient worship.

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Hernán Cortés Arrives to Cozumel

Hernán Cortés arrived on the island of Cozumel on February 21, 1519. The island was then called Kúutzmil (Island of the Swallows) by the Yucatec Maya.

He needed that island because it had the closest known harbor to Fernandina, or Cuba, which was on the way to Yucatán. Earlier Spanish expeditions had talked of some Christians stranded on the island, so saving those Christians was one of the orders Cortés had received from the Cuban governor Diego Velázquez.

A storm scattered the expedition almost immediately after it left Cuba. When Cortés arrived to Cozumel, five out of ten ships were already there. One of his most influential business partners, the red-haired Pedro de Alvarado, had been loose on the island for at least a full day.

Alvarado, used to treating the “primitives” as slaves during his boisterous career in the Caribbean, had already managed to ransack the main village (situated where San Miguel de Cozumel now stands). He had seized food from the farms, some gold from the temples, and even a few villagers. The people of Cozumel, unable to repel the sudden invasion of hundreds of armed Europeans, had fled into the forest.

Upon his landing, Cortés brushed aside the disdainful habits of the Spanish explorers and didn’t join in the looting. Instead, he scolded Alvarado, imprisoned his pilot, and demanded that all the detained people and stolen property be returned.

While waiting for the remaining ships, Cortés explored the island. For the first time, he saw its stone buildings, so superior to everything he had seen in the Caribbean, its sophisticated food, and, to his utter astonishment, its pictorial books.

The Spaniards found a noble woman who had stayed behind in the village. Cortés placated her with gifts, and she agreed to invite the others to return from their hiding.

And so began in earnest the conquest of Mexico, with Cortés attempting to make friends with its inhabitants.

At that time, around 10,000 people lived on the island. About a year later, an expedition of Spaniards led by the unfortunate Narvaez ravaged the island. They brought with them a killer strand of small pox, and when the dust had settled a mere generation later, there were only 300 people left of the original inhabitants of Cozumel.

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August 2012 Flash Fiction Winner

I dread the moment of judging the entries. As much as I love reading the stories throughout the month, the end of the month fills me with foreboding.

In fact, I’ve developed an nervous tick which kicks in around 29th of each month. I know that in a couple of days, I’ll have to go ahead and de-select some very strong stories from the shortlist of possible winners.

It’s no surprise, then, that pretty much every month I procrastinate… and I just did it again.

Here we go.

August wasn’t a busy month in our contest, this being a vacation month, but as always we got some strong stories. My top five this month were:

1. Show off by Shirley Richards.

2. Time Flies by .

3. Best Served Cold by Liz Powell.

4. Like Clockwork by Liz Powell.

5. A Better Place by Adrian Carey.

Out of these five, pretty much everyone can be a winner… but, in the end of the day, we can only have one. So, this month, the winner is:

Time Flies by .

Congratulations! I’ll contact you by email, Anwyelle, to arrange the payment :)

– – –

And here’s the writing prompt for September:

“… I was just kidding.”

Please use the overall theme for your stories – there’s no obligation to spend precious words using the exact quote, as long as you can capture the mood.

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July 2012 Contest Winner

First of all, I apologise for the delay. Been travelling for most of July. Just back from some remote places deep in the Japanese countryside — Ishikawa with all its rice paddies and edamame fields, “deep Osaka” (the experienced gaijins would know what I mean; I’m talking about that intense, local part of the city where tourists almost never show up), and most recently the rolling green hills of Hokkaido.

I’m online for the first time since end of July, and before doing anything else, I’m here announcing the winners.

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hunger

The Hunger Games – Book Review

A Remake of Battle Royale? Running Man? Lord of the Flies?

I know my title is a little brutal for a book – I’m ALMOST accusing Mrs. Collins of a rip off. But reviews are supposed to be honest; and one feeling that I was unable to shake off while reading this book was that I was reading Lord of the Flies all over again. Or The Running Man. Or The Long Walk. Or, most closely, the Battle Royale.

Totalitarian government – check. Dystopian world – check. Teens fighting to their deaths – check. Only one survivor must remain – check. 42 kids at the start – nope, 24. Same digits, big difference. A simplification, if you will.

And this is where I believe this book wins; a simplification of the complex, foreign, deeply disturbing and graphic Battle Royale for the mass Western audience. For us.

The strengths of the book are fantastic: a past paced thriller, a likable character, lives of innocent children at stake.

The weaknesses are no less formidable. The plot and the writing are unbelievably formulaic. Here are just a few I care to mention:
– Make your character lovable by: (a) being an orphan; (b) having a defenseless relative, preferably a child; (c) taking care of a hurt pet;
– Make your character fight against all odds, ideally for the survival of humanity;
– Make sure she of he are visibly running out of either (a) time or (b) options;
– Have someone (“a guardian”) warn them against the coming dangers…

The check list goes on.

I know this review is a collection of checklists; but this is exactly how I felt reading the book. A set of checklists to create an irresistible thriller.

Having said all that, the result is a fast-paced page turner that’s impossible to put down. Well done. I truly enjoyed this book (although not the two that followed) and will watch the movie.

If only Katniss were less repeatedly whiny about the same issues over and over and over again… oh father… or mother… oh Prim… oh father… oh mother… oh Prim… as if no other thoughts exist to choose from. Sadly, this part gets worse as the series goes on: ad nauseum.

It’s also amazing how Katniss gets through the Games without … spoiler beep … almost anyone. Lucky, I guess.

One major flaw that may call for a re-write, in my opinion, is the missed opportunity to create a hero. Good female leads are few and far between. Katniss (despite the name) could have been one. What do we get instead? A self-centered teen who can’t decide what she wants, does as she told, doesn’t stand for much apart from her family, and manipulates the poor, sincere Peeta. Later on, it gets so bad I don’t want to talk about it. Oh well.

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June 2012 Contest Winner

Hi all, it’s time to announce our June 2012 winner.

The June prompt was “A Beautiful Friend”, and because this was the first months after a brief lull, we’ve had less entries than usual. It was a great pleasure to see all the talented entries.

Here’s our winner – congratulations! 

Crystal Whimsey for her poetic and sarcastic entry, “Such a Beautiful Friend was She”.

I’ll contact Crystal by email to wire the winnings: $55 for the first prize.

I’m truly, truly grateful to all authors and readers who stopped by to send in their stories and to vote. Many thanks to all, and let’s begin our July contest!

The prompt for July is:

A Promise

 

Happy flash-writing!

Austin.

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October Flash Fiction Contest Winners

It’s time to announce our October winners. You’ll notice that I’m doing this mid-November, which is unusual. Normally I announce winners and the new writing prompt early in the month.

I’ve received a few emails asking if all was alright with me :) thanks folks, I’m indeed doing well. The delay is caused by two reasons:

  1. Been traveling. You may know I write Aztec books. For my research, I’ve been all over the Serpent of Central America and some Caribbean islands important for the Spanish Conquest over the last couple months. The internet isn’t always available there.
  2. I decided to pause the contest, and it’s a hard decision to publish. I may restart it later, when I figure out the way to monetize it better.

With that out of the way… here come our winners!

The October prompt was “What Happens on the Road“, and here are our winners. Congratulations!

# 1: Overall Winner is   with his powerful story Misunderstanding.

 

# 2: Strongest Emotion is  with his fantastic A Bloom of Hope.

 

# 3: Best Scare is  with the chilling Prey.

 

There are many fantastic stories that I couldn’t award this month … too many to be named :) I’ve enjoyed them all, and thank you all for playing!

I’ll contact each winner by email to wire the winnings to their Paypal accounts: $55 for the first prize and $30 each for prizes # 2 and 3.

I’m truly, truly grateful to all authors and readers who stopped by to vote. Many thanks to all. I hope to reopen the contest soon.

Lyonesse_II_and_III_book_cover

‘Lyonesse’ by Jack Vance

More serious fantasy readers among us surely remember this book – a story about ancient, long forgotten islands on the Atlantic, consumed by its waters and about people who inhabited them. The Elder Isles – once home to magical creatures like elves, trolls and goblins; once home to human kingdoms of the 5th century A.D., with their politics, wars, passions and troubles; islands that have long submerged under the oceanic waves. In fact, Vance tells us this fact nearly at the beginning of the story, adding to his writing an aura of a long-lost heritage and nostalgia for something that will never return.

‘Lyonesse’ is a novel with several main characters – one of them is a young prince called Aillas. His fate is intertwined with stories of other characters, but Aillas can still be considered the leading one. He is a young prince of an island realm called Troicinet, located more or less 20 miles away from Gaul. Aillas is to succeed his father as king and he receives his education as the future monarch during an important diplomatic mission. Things get complicated, however, when he is mysteriously thrown over his ship’s board…

Aillas’ fate is linked to the fate of Suldrun, a young princess of another kingdom called Lyonesse. Her father, powerful king Casmir, wants to arrange a political marriage to boost his own diplomatic and military stance. But Suldrun does not want any of this – she seems to be interested only in the magical garden on the palace grounds. That is, until she meets Aillas…

The plot offers interesting twists, as one would expect to happen when mixing magic, wizardry, politics and military conquest. Jack Vance created his world while using rich references to our history, mythology and culture. In fact, the realm of Lyonesse is based on ancient chronicles of Phoenician, Greek, Roman and early Christian merchants. Different races and nations like Vikings or Celts also exist in the novel, depicted as declining or evolving into great powers that our history recorded them as.

‘Lyonesse’ portrays the magical reality of the early Dark Ages in a credible and riveting way – the seas are busy with cogs and boats, the battlefields are filled with roars of mighty armies, the highroads teem with merchants, missionaries, pilgrims and adventurers, both from fictitious kingdoms and real places like Gaul, Ireland, Wales or Cornwall. Vance’s world is abundant in historical allusions, although the author himself admitted that he treated historical accuracy with a pinch of salt. So we have the late Middle Ages traditions like jousting and chivalry combined with the political nuances of the collapsing Roman Empire; we have medieval dances, music and architecture existing in contrast with the pre-Christian, semi-barbaric culture saturated with magic.

In short, Vance’s ‘Lyonesse’ is a great read. It is linked to the myths of King Arthur and it artfully combines history and magic. I believe ‘Lyonesse’ is a classical historical fantasy novel, having achieved respect and acknowledgement of international critics of the genre.

Therefore, strongly recommended!

Have you read it? What do you think?

Computer mouse and books - e-learning concept.

Kindle and Kindle Touch Giveaway :)

Hi all, following the success of the July / August Kindle Giveaway, I’m opening a new one. Once again, you can win a shiny new Kindle here on this site!

There are only 3 simple rules:

  1. Purchase “Five Dances with Death” at any online retailer and post a thoughtful review of it there before end November, 2011.
  2. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
  3. Let me know using the form below that you’re done!

That’s it – easy.

On December 1, I’ll run a random selection using www.random.org, and will announce the winner soon after. I always deliver, as Kate saw when she won a Kindle here this August.

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Child Within

September Flash Fiction Winners

Hi all, it’s time to announce our September winners. What a month is was, with many high quality entries.

As I announced earlier, the judge this month was Emily Suess from Suess’s Pieces. You want to check her site out. I love the sarcastic humor in her posts, she runs interesting writing contests, and dishes out tons of useful advice.

The September prompt was “A Child Within“, and here are our winners. Congratulations!

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September Contest Judging

What a month it has been – I’ve received a great number of absolutely amazing 55-word flash stories this month, some of them written by successful fiction writers.

I’m excited about the coming end of the month, when we’ll need to select and award the top stories. I also dread that moment. The selection will be tough.

So I’m grateful to Emily Suess from Suess’s Pieces, who kindly offered a helping hand judging the September contest entries. Here’s Emily’s bio:

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People and Their Empires

Considering the economic woes and political discord that plague our society these days, some people have begun to reflect on the decline and fall of great nations throughout history, from the Roman Empire to the British Empire.

I am one of these people.

I grew up in a stable country. It had history, pride, and a bright future. I was taught to love it. I pledged my life to defend it.

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