An Open Letter to the SciFan™ Community

August 16, 2017

Your support is needed.

SciFan™ Magazine

“We are SciFan.” Those are the words that first intrigued me about the merging of science fiction and fantasy known as science fantasy. It was late 2016 and I had stumbled upon the science fantasy community. I saw posts from Richard Mulder and other admins and learned more about science fantasy as a whole. I learned Richard had trademarked the SciFan logo he designed. I approached him in December 2016 about SciFan™ Magazine and the rest is history.

We are now 8 (soon to be 9) issues into SciFan™ Magazine and we find ourselves at a crossroad. To continue the Magazine, for which we have an extreme passion for, or shut it down.

You see, the purpose SciFan™ Magazine is and always has been about the authors. It has been about giving authors who might never have gotten a platform a shot to reach readers on the largest potential market…

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Strategy for #Zombie Authors

July 31, 2017

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

This may or may not be part of a series of blog posts about online personal branding for authors (not just Zombie authors) that desire to be known. If it is, this is the second blog post in the series. The first is here:

https://stanfaryna.blog/2017/07/27/why-did-you-publish-a-zombie-book


Online Strategy


Social media marketing is a long term strategy unless you have serious ad and marketing spend at the ready. Even if you have a million dollar war chest for online advertising and marketing, the results are still not guaranteed. I’d like to tell you all about a 500 Million dollar TV campaign that produced no trackable and no visible results but then I’d be violating a confidentiality agreement.

A reasonably successful social media marketing strategy requires you to build enthusiastic and supportive relationships with other human beings on social media – especially with those persons who are themselves obviously exercising a smart social media marketing strategy. Don’t spend time, attention and interest on the curious and fickle. Most likely, they won’t be around in six months in continuation of the mutual support and benefit that is critical to your getting known.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with being helpful and kind. In fact, I encourage reasonable exercises of those things just for the sake of character and growing you.

Long term and long tail

According to best-selling author Mark Schaefer, getting known takes anywhere from two to five years. I would round that up to three to ten years. If you are discouraged by Mark’s or my assessment, stop wasting your time on the sand castles. You could use all those hours of curious and half-hearted experiments for better purposes: loving on family and friends, reading better books, and writing better books, for example.

Practical tricks and tips

This section is an interruption of the business plan that I want to explain to you. But I imagine it is necessary because who doesn’t want a glimpse at the how to’s of effective strategy?!

Most Author-related FB posts and Twitter Tweets are poorly designed direct marketing prompts for a sale that is unlikely to happen; they too often present like the untrustworthy slogans and barks of a used car salesman in a cheap suit. I make that mistake, myself, when I’m pressed for time, a deadline, coming short on milestones or didn’t plan the week/month strategy.

If I make the same mistake twice in the same week and on the same channel – it actually means I’m losing the hard won credibility that I have worked so hard to build. Don’t do this.

Here’s what a bad selling post looks like. Please don’t ask, expect or encourage people to share a post that looks like this. It’s just really bad mojo for everyone.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.40.56 PM.png


Here’s what a better designed selling post looks like. But still, I can’t use/recycle this particular post more than twice a month without my feed looking spammy.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.09.58 PM.png


Here’s another. Do notice, however, that even these better ads don’t get much traction in terms of likes, shares and comments.
Better ad.png
… 
Do try to relate to actual persons OR allow them to relate to you through your subject matter and comments. This is the effective course of action to take. One powerful way to relate to an author is by posting encouraging Amazon and Good Reads reviews of their books AND posting those reviews to your social media.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.33.01 PM.pngHere’s another.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 9.37.07 PM.png


Here’s an example of a poorly designed, generic post that authors can “relate” with. Still, it was shared 118 times without me having to personally ask people to share it. Memes can do some serious lifting but don’t go overboard.

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 8.52.02 PM.png

Start thoughtful (or exciting) conversations.

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 2.22.48 PM.png

 

Time, design and technicalities

Doing things in an ok manner takes time (attention and work), design (money) and some awareness of the technical challenges and work arounds. A smart group will figure out ways to solve most of these challenges. For example, if a group can keep talented graphic designers and editors in paying work, they can negotiate lower rates. This is especially an important to do for getting graphics support and the development of generic graphics that everyone can use.

On the other hand, if everybody does their own thing in their own way, ain’t nobody got time for that. Literally. Ain’t nobody got time to market and sell books all by their uninformed and ornery lonesome.

Exercise Two

Do you want more blog posts about an online strategy for getting known as an author?

Here’s what I need to see to be convinced that this unpaid effort of mine is meaningful to you.

1. I need to see 30 or more comments on this blog post. Comment with a few words of thanks, ask a question, or give me intelligent heck with sufficient evidence of my error.

2. I need to see 30 additional shares of my pinned tweet for my YouTube reading of the Desiderata (link below) because 7000+ shares is not enough. [grin]

https://twitter.com/Faryna/status/526399279456591872


30 July 2017
Fairfax, Virginia

Have you heard about my novella, Francesco Augustine Bernadone?

“This fast and furious LitRPG, sci-fi book packs a punch like Saitama, the One-Punch Man, while giving us haunting glimpses of the near future and our existential predicament. With subtle hints of Dostoyevsky, Tolkien and The Walking Dead, this story is more delicious than the world’s greatest chimichanga. Sorry, Deadpool.”

– Yogizilla


Why did you publish a #zombie book?

July 27, 2017

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Valerie Lioudis, author of the zombie thriller, Aftershock: A Collection of Survivor Stories, asked me to write about how authors can use social media to market their books.

VL Aftershock.jpg

Valerie specifically wanted me to write for the authors that participate in the Reanimated Writers Zombie Fiction Fan Group on Facebook. I’m flattered by Valerie’s request and I hope I don’t disappoint her and Kevin. Because before I can get into the process and tasks, I have to get into the purpose. If the purpose and grit is lacking, there really isn’t any need to proceed further.

So I must ask you, fearsome author, why did you publish a book?

You published your book for it to be read, enjoyed and praised. By many. More than 100. Maybe, 5000. OR you have published a book for the wrong reasons.

Of course, many often say, just write. Others, write for yourself. In other words, write to understand you and, perhaps, benefit from truthful self-examination. Maybe you can fix you. Heal you. Find the path to a better you. Certainly, writing can help you do these things.

But once you have an ambition to publish your writing, you seek to be known. You seek to be trusted, preferred over others, honored, praised and otherwise rewarded. You want to matter to others. Me too.

Even if you possess talent, technique and style (however challenging they are for you to achieve in your work), these are not sufficient to get known. And, truth be told, a published book is not the accomplishment today that it was 100 years ago. In fact, anyone can publish a book today. And everybody seems to be doing it too!

Who will buy your book?

People need to see it to believe it. They need to believe it is worthy of their attention and time before they will taste it and see for themselves if it is good. Your book needs to be brought to market and it needs to succeed in a fierce competition among other books and, often, among better written books than yours.

It’s great, for example, that the zombie market is huge. Last year, there were over 12 million total viewers of The Walking Dead. But how will your book get to that market of zombie fans?

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 8.53.19 PM.png

Your book is competing for the attention of readers against 500,000+ new Indie books per year – not to mention all the books published by the industry leading publishers with their long experience and proven strategies for selling and marketing books. Today, an accomplishment is selling 5,000 or more copies within five years of publication.

Of course, there is some accomplishment in writing a book fit for publication. But the line between fitness and self-humiliation has been blurred much by the celebration of self-publication. And what self-respecting adult prizes a participation trophy?!

But those with purpose and grit will succeed in the serious accomplishment with a modest financial investment. Under $1200. Do not think, however, that it’s easy to compete against millions of dollars of marketing and ad spend of the top 20 publishers. That would be some really bad maths and poor common sense on your part!

With much, enduring and persistent effort to market your books and build positive and mutually beneficial relationships in social media, you can become known. My friend, business professor and author, Mark Schaefer swears it in his best selling book, Known.

MS Known

Building positive and mutually beneficial relationships may not be why you are on social media. It may not be how you do social media. That’s something we can easily fix if your purpose is to be an accomplished author.

Since I find that most learning is actually happening when there is doing, therefore, I will only continue to write further on this subject if I see 20 retweets and shares of both of the following tweets and posts. Even if there is not enough of you do so easily, encourage your friends to retweet and share. Because that’s how social media savvy is done.

Click the link below and retweet the tweet from your Twitter account.

https://twitter.com/Faryna/status/890376572481490947

Click the link and like and share the post from your Facebook account.

https://www.facebook.com/stan.faryna/posts/10155576931798415

Stan Faryna
26 July 2017
Fairfax, Virginia

P.S. The conditions for a second blog post were met. Here’s the link to it:

stanfaryna.blog/2017/07/31/strategy-for-zombie-authors

Have you heard about my novella, Francesco Augustine Bernadone?

“This fast and furious LitRPG, sci-fi book packs a punch like Saitama, the One-Punch Man, while giving us haunting glimpses of the near future and our existential predicament. With subtle hints of Dostoyevsky, Tolkien and The Walking Dead, this story is more delicious than the world’s greatest chimichanga. Sorry, Deadpool.”

Yogizilla

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071S75DWB

FAB ebook cover 200


Nisha Varghese #50NewFeet

July 13, 2017

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna
… 
… 
Nisha Varghese
nisha

 

In a recent blog post, Nisha Varghese unintentionally revealed her daily challenges as I reflected again on what this means as she types out her daily blog posts and fundraising tweets.

This morning I typed a Whatsapp message from my smartphone  (because I have Cerebral Palsy I have poor fine motor skills which makes using things like a touchscreen a mammoth task) I feel a bit ridiculous celebrating a Whatsapp message but if you saw how much time and effort it took me to type a six letter word on my smartphone trust me you would be celebrating too.

Her fortitude to do good is not just admirable; it is nothing less than heroic and inspirational.

My subscribers should know who Nisha is and what she’s about. For those who don’t know about her: Nisha is a fundraiser for good causes. And her current campaign raises money for an organization that helps cure the condition of club feet in children around the world. Nisha explains it all on her campaign page here: https://www.crowdrise.com/50newfeet 

Imagine how I feel when I get a personally typed message from Nisha – asking me to ask each of you to give $50 to her campaign – 100 of you. It may have taken her more than an hour to write those 200 words. Obviously, I can’t tell her no. But what an wonderful opportunity! I have to try. I have to put my words to good use. I have to put my writing to Nisha’s service – or I do not know love and, failing in this, I would have to confess that I have never known love.

Nisha, her mom and Katherine.png

None of which means that you are obligated by your own humanity to help me and Nisha with a $50 donation. But if you know love or say that you have known love, you might have to reblog this blogs post, share or tweet out the link, and/or give what you can. Or you could write a better blog post – one that better tells Nisha’s story and better explains her campaign.

Stan Faryna
12 July 2017
Fairfax, Virginia

 


Don’t give me an honest book review

May 28, 2017

The problem with honesty

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

As some of you know, I urgently seek book reviews on Amazon.com for my debut book, Francesco Augustine Bernadone as I compete for a finalist position for Amazon’s 2017 Storyteller contest. Over the years, I have given and received reviews on products, services and other things. This blog post serves for reflection on what makes a review, relevant, meaningful and useful.

Please don’t give me an honest book review. Be truthful, start a new conversation with me, and be an encouragement that I will take to my heart. Don’t be the problem. There’s too much misunderstanding, discouragement, indifference, envy, contempt, violence, pain and hate in the world. Let us endeavor not to add to it.

Lest we destroy the world, each other and our selves.

What is truth?

Truth is not just your or my view of the facts. It’s not just being honest and saying whatever flips off the tongue, pen or keyboard. Today, honesty suggests expressivity but speech itself is not the arbiter of what is right or wrong, beautiful or evil…

In fact, careless, quick and self-serving speech causes a lot of pain in this world.

We all know too well that kind of honesty that destroys marriages, friendships, families, teams, communities, nations…

Unlike a mere exercise of expression, Truth is inseparable from beauty, goodness, love, patience, kindness…

Truth is a two-way blessing, liberator and boon. Write that kind of review. Be that kind of reviewer.

All of the time it will take to write a truthful review (and truthful reviews take time to write with head and heart) is an investment that will receive a return on investment by ten times or more.

Truth is profitable but honesty will put you into debt and in the way of destruction.

Stan Faryna
28 May 2017

Fairfax, Virginia

___________________________________________________________________________

amazon five stars
Francesco Augustine Bernadone
by Stan Faryna
Zombies stalk the streets, greedy tour guides prey on noobs and old men are filled with long-odds hope in this disturbingly brilliant short story by first-time author Stan Faryna.

Publisher’s Daily Review

FAB ebook cover 200


Sample Chapter from my debut, new, Indie Science Fiction-LitRPG book: F.A.B

May 24, 2017

Sample Chapter from my new Science Fiction-LitRPG book: Francesco Augustine Bernadone: A Brief History Of Our Tomorrows

You can get my little book here:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071S75DWB

FAB ebook cover 200

 

Chapter Two

 

14 days ago
Rome, Italy

 

Francesco knelt in a stall as he rigorously cleaned the toilet bowl with a brush. Standing behind him, a short, fidgety man in a black suit held a box in his arms.

“I regret to inform you that we can’t keep you, Mr. Bernadone. We have half the student registrations this year than previous year registrations. The budget is a mess. I am relieving you of your janitorial duties immediately.”

Francesco stood up in his gray overalls and the short administrator quickly stepped back.
“Awesome,” replied Francesco in a sad whisper.

The little man handed him the box and Francesco looked in it to see that his personal things had been collected from the school’s basement: a framed picture of his wife and son, a bible, a pill organizer and a crumpled lottery ticket.

 

There would be no pleasantries – not even a farewell hand shake after ten years of exceptional performance.

Mi Dispiace…” The administrator shrugged.

Francesco acknowledged the insincere apology with courtesy.

“Before you go, would you fix a faucet in the faculty restrooms?” asked the small man.

 

Si.” Francesco handed the toilet brush to the administrator. The short man received it with a sour face.

This was the third of Francesco’s three part time jobs that he had been fired from in the same week. Times were hard and employment of the elderly was increasingly discouraged. Just last week, the Italian Prime Minister had called upon the nation to employ its youth.

Francesco carried the box under his arm as he walked out of the college’s front door. He wore a gray suit. It was very important to Clare that he dress respectably – regardless of his station. After all, Francesco Bernadone was an educated and cultured gentleman. This – none could take from him.

A male college student ran up to Francesco and thanked him for fixing his bicycle the other day. As the young man patted Francesco, he stuck a placard on Francesco’s back:
Attenzione: The Walking Dead

Down the street, a group of teenage Sudanese immigrants laughed at Francesco and imitated staggering zombies as they followed him to the bus stop.

“They’re going to eat us alive,” said an elderly Jewish man with a modest black kippah. He had caught up with Francesco, removed the placard from his back and handed it to him. “Because they are, in fact, the zombies – not us. They consume everything in their path. Like locusts!”

Francesco took the placard, read it and smiled. He held out his hand in friendship.

Grazie.

The man shook Francesco’s hand and turned to go in another direction. Some steps away, the Jewish man turned his head to Francesco and spoke out.

“We got to stick together. Otherwise, they’ll put us in furnaces – the elderly, the sick and the disabled. It’s been done. It will be done again…”

 

On the bus, Francesco listened to a twenty-something Asian man in jeans, navy blue sport jacket, and white tee shirt. The young man carried a metallic-canvas back pack and wore matching combat boots. He was speaking about the challenges of molecular computing with a middle-aged Caucasian man in a white, three-piece suit. The topic was interesting to Francesco – even more interesting than the fact that the man in the white suit had no shoes.

“I really do think self-assembling, silver composite nanotubes are the answer to multi-threading the organic transistor,” said the young Asian man.

“And if you’re wrong, Thomas…” The barefooted man drew an invisible cut across his own throat. “That’s 10 billion UNITs down the drain – an unacceptable loss for TENsky. I’d have to take a pound of flesh out of you…”

Francesco got off at his bus stop, walked a few blocks, waved and smiled to various adults and children, entered his apartment building, and went up the abused stairwell to the sixth floor. Above the door to his apartment was a wrought iron sign holder minus the sign. At the foot of the door lay a newspaper. He unlocked the door, picked up the newspaper and went into the quiet darkness.

A small, mechanical white cat waved to him from atop a curio cabinet. He didn’t turn on the lights as his neighborhood was load-sharing – the electric supply was suspended for three hours as the utility juggled the electrical needs of the neighborhoods of Rome.

In the kitchen, he turned on a solar-charged radio, opened a can, and put food in two cat dishes. A female radio announcer spoke about the top news of the day.

 

Today, 72 civilian ships were scuttled while docked at the Port of Algiers. It is well documented that the boats were all used in illegal immigration operations in the last month. The Algerian government blames these acts of terrorism on joint special ops teams operating under the command of the European Military Protectorate and NATO. No one was injured in the incidents. One Netherlands national was captured by Algerian authorities and is being held in custody as a suspect.


In other news, Wikileaks released a dozen, separate incriminating videos of Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of The World Bank Lady Grey engaging in heinous sexual acts with male and female children under the age of 11…

 

The news faded as Francesco surveyed 12 small picture frames hung on one wall – different scenes of Clare, Cristiano and him. He missed his wife and son.

What am I going to do?

His mobile phone beeped and whirred with an R2D2 ringtone.

Pronto!

“Francesco! Bring avocados, bananas and raw milk when you visit Clare tomorrow morning,” explained a woman. “I’m thinking a smoothie for her and mom might be a cooling, anti-inflammatory pick-me up for their afternoon refreshment.”

“I’ll do it,” replied Francesco.
“Another thing,” the woman added with sadness. “Clare isn’t doing so well. I’m sorry, Francesco. On a level of 1-10, her pain is 13, constantly. I suspect the cancer has spread to several organs.”

Francesco closed his iPhone and tried to put it back in his front pants pocket, but failed and it hit the floor. The screen cracked. He took a deep breath.

 

Then he opened the folded newspaper to the front page and read the headlines:

You Won’t Believe The Money Making In That Zombie Apocalypse Game

Pope Authorizes Trained Laity To Use Formal Rites of Exorcism

Experimental Cancer Treatment Boasts 5% Success For Terminal Patients

66% Unemployment: Time For A Hail Mary As The Americans Used to Say

6x PVP Champion John Dionysius Ranks Up to No. 1 in Jacob’s Trouble

Grand Solar Minimums, Coronal Holes, and Earthquake Correlations

Are UNITs A Better Currency? Remembering The Dollar And The Euro


New LitRPG Short by Stan Faryna

May 22, 2017

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna
…[youtube

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Book Announcement
___________________________________________________________________________________________

FAB ebook cover 200

In 2026, hundreds of millions of gamers hustle in an epic, virtual reality to win real cash prizes. Zombies, ruthless players, scarce resources and menacing artificial intelligence are just a few of the challenges in ‘Jacob’s Trouble’, where less than one in a thousand manage to level up, grind for gear and avoid permadeath in order to loot hidden treasures and find life-changing wealth.

Recently unemployed, Francesco sells his father’s legacy, a Rolex watch, for guidance in the game. Caught up in the naive hope he’ll win the prize money for an experimental, nanobotic cancer treatment for his wife, the ex-janitor begins an adventure that offers all the promise of redemption, but far greater challenges than he ever realized.

Can Francesco, an eighty-year-old non-gamer, find windfall and fortune in this dark and dystopic virtual reality game? Zombies, guns, machetes and death in a game might seem inconsequential, but the cost of failure is a reality this elderly man can not bear.

Get Francesco Augustine Bernadone at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Francesco-Augustine-Bernadone-Tomorrows-Bucharest-ebook/dp/B071S75DWB/

Stan Faryna
19 May 2017
Fairfax, Virginia

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Recommended reading for trips to the beach or park, coffee shop stalking, lunch hours, lazy afternoons, white nights, and public transit such as planes, trains, buses and ferry. It also makes an excellent gift for those who do those things.

This story may be most appreciated by those who enjoy works by the following authors: Ernest Cline, John Wesley Rawles, Paulo Coehlo, Gabriel García Márquez, Frank Herbert, Le Guin, P.K. Dick, Derek Prince, G.K. Chesterton, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Gabriel Honoré Marcel, Robert Hugh Benson, Kierkegaard, Steinbeck, Solovyov, Zora Neale Hurston, Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Dante, Aquinas, Augustine, and Homer.
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Categories: Science Fiction, LitRPG, Post-apocalyptic, Futurism, Babyboomer Lit, Young Adult, Adventure, Horror, Spirituality, Romance, Speculative Future History, TV Movie Game Adaptation, Supernatural, Men’s Studies, Inspirational, Dark Fantasy, Climate Change, Economics

Topics: Video Games, Zombies, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Dystopian Future, Futuristic Predictions, World Currency, Bitcoin, Human Dignity, Disability, Ad Tech, Internet Culture, Digital Divide, Climate Change, Manliness, Technology, MMOs