My interview on The Gary Gulluh Radio Show

I was honored to be interviewed on The Gary Gulluh Radio Show via It’s Gorgeous Radio tonight. Gary was a great host, totally down to earth and such a joy to talk to. We talked about my life growing up, my naval career, and my work as a writer-editor, and my books as an independent author.

We talked about the pitfalls of self-publishing, what inspires me as a writer, my favorite authors, and even got into it about how Hollywood remakes old movies and television shows instead of tapping into the unlimited potential of independent authors.

Gary has a foothold in the entertainment industry and understands the ups and downs of bringing new material to life. I have to admit, he was very interested in learning more about steampunk through my books The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart and Corsair and the Sky Pirates. I even got to read an excerpt of Corsair on the show. Click on the link below to watch the show in its entirety. Don’t miss the opening segment with actor Keith Gaffney and his new movie, “Say Less” coming out on April 2.

I gave Gary signed copies of all my books to thank him for inviting me to his show. I highly recommend subscribing to the channel on YouTube and Facebook to keep up on future episodes.

Mark Piggott is an award-winning independent author of several fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. A 23-year U.S. Navy veteran, his stories will take you from the shores of eternal Avalon to a dystopian steampunk future and other worlds.

The Forever Avalon fantasy book series—including Forever Avalon, The Dark Tides, and The Outlander War—is available online at Amazon and other booksellers. His fantasy steampunk novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.

Cross over The River of Souls in a fantasy novella and the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates from Curious Corvid PublishingThe Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel and The Prometheus Engine: Book Four of the Forever Avalon Series, are coming soon. Stay tuned for more new fantastic stories from the imagination of Mark Piggott.

I’m back after my self-imposed hiatus to protest the social media gods and I find myself in 1984

Social networks are the “Big Brother” of today!

So, I took off the past week, ignored my social media accounts and didn’t like, post, tweet, or blog about anything. I thought a simple protest against the social media giants for being “censors” when they’re not supposed to be would gain traction. I thought people would care about “Big Brother” keeping tabs on what we could read, talk about, or share with others. I thought wrong. The world kept on turning, the sun rose and set, and life continued as we know it.

And still, to this day, Twitter and Facebook (and Google to an extent) are deciding what constitutes “free speech” online. They put their own bias into what is available on their platforms. Now, please don’t think of this as a political rant, because it’s not. It’s about free speech, the First Amendment, and the rights we have as American citizens. I refuse to be locked down by these or any other social media platform for expressing my own point of view. If not, we are destined to bow at the altar of social media.

George Orwell said it best when he wrote his prophetic novel 1984 in the year 1949:

“In a world of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act!”

The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what’s happening.”

George Orwell, 1984
George Orwell's Inspirational Quotes from “1984” - Orwell Monegros Project

Do you see what I mean? It’s one of the things I love about being an author. Science fiction has always had a prophetic way of seeing into the future, from Jules Verne to George Orwell. It’s strange how science fiction authors have such a deep insight into the world that they know where we’re heading. This is one such moment in history. Whether you believe it or not, we are living in a world that George Orwell imagined.

So now, what do I do? Do I end my social media footprint altogether and not bow before Twitter, Facebook and the like? This would probably be helpful to my psyche but limit my exposure as an author. Or, do I just continue on and hope that these tech giants are brought down to our level through the courts and other legislation? I mean, that’s what happened to Microsoft in the 1990s when they got to big. Then there’s Section 230, a provision of the Communication Decency Act (CDA) of 1996.

“No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider” (47 U.S.C. § 230).

from Electronic Frontier Foundation (

Per, “online intermediaries that host or republish speech are protected against a range of laws that might otherwise be used to hold them legally responsible for what others say and do.” This gives social media platforms broad latitudes to determine what can or cannot be said on their websites. That, in turn, pisses off people from the Left and the Right which could mean an end to those protections.

There are more questions than answers. I will continue to express my views, no matter how controversial they may be according to the social media “hall monitors” watching over me. I was silent for a week, but no more.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.

Stop Censorship now!

As an author, I am a firm believer in the First Amendment and Freedom of speech. Censorship of speech or news, political or otherwise, is not acceptable. I will not be posting on my blog or any of my social media accounts until this Orwellian censorship stops.

The First Amendment is clear:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The actions taken by Facebook and Twitter shows that they believe they are the arbiters of speech. This is wrong. It doesn’t matter what your political views or allegiances, the news is reported and people decide whether to believe it or not.

These past four years has been on false or misleading news and information. Such is the burden of a free society, but if we are free, then our thought and views should be open. It is not up to these social media giants to make those decisions for us.

I hope other authors will join me in standing up for Freedom of Speech.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers.

Writers beware! Social media will not let you write!

It’s safe to say that, in this world of perpetual quarantine, we have become a society “social media” parasites. We are living vicariously through our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Twitch, Zoom, and more. It is the only way we are communicating, coming together, and sharing ideas.

For writers, especially independent authors like me, social media is our bread and butter when it comes to marketing. I work at least 20 hours a week on social media, between designing posts and imagery to scheduling them, responding to queries, etc. When you’re working a full time job, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for eating, sleeping, or writing for that matter.

Plus, there is the draw, the allure, of social media. Between crazy cat videos, cute puppy videos, TikTok girls, creative artwork, and inspirational quotes, there is a constant draw into the world of social media. It’s part of the constant distraction of the internet, the kryptonite of authors. We want to sit and write, but the flow is interrupted. 

“If your content isn’t driving conversation, you’re doing it wrong.”Dan Roth, LinkedIn’s executive editor

Social media is a necessary tool for today’s authors. Through it, you can collaborate with other authors, find new readers, and promote your latest novel. It’s how we “IndieAuthors” find our niche in the book world. It’s the cheapest form of marketing an author can do. I can design a post and then use that same post for Facebook or Instagram as an ad. It’s an easy way to carry over from one form of advertising to another.  I can spend $100 a month in Facebook and Instagram ads that reaches nearly 30,000 people. That’s money well spent, but only if it turns into books purchased or downloaded.

“Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s an ad.” – Howard Gossage, real-life MadMen inspiration

The other problem is that there are so many “one-off” author support sites for independent authors like me. I belong to a couple of different sites, and, that I pay an annual fee for tools in designing ads and social media posts, direct posts to other authors and readers, and a support network of other independent authors. They have been a great asset for me, but there are some out there that are scams who want money to send out tweets about your book to imaginary lists of people. So, beware before you buy into it.

Lastly, don’t be a social media butterfly or wallflower. You need to be aggressive in everything you do. If you aren’t paying attention, responding to comments or retweets, you might lose your audience. Don’t hesitate and be assertive, but always remember. Being a writer is the most important aspect of your job, so don’t stop writing for the sake of social media. You have to write, blog, and post, all at the same time. Multi-tasking is a bitch, but a necessary one. Remember that!

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available from Austin Macauley Publishing.

Now that your book is published, it’s time to market the Hell out of it

The Outlander War: Book 3 of the Forever Avalon seriesI was happy to announce last week that my third novel, THE OUTLANDER WAR, is being published on 28 February 2020. Now comes the next daunting task… MARKETING! For an Independent Author, marketing is a dirty word. Why? Because, unlike authors signed to big publishing houses, we have to do it all ourselves.

From getting copies of your books for sale, paying for a booth for book signing events and festivals, buying marketing merchandise (i.e. bookmarks, flyers, banners, etc.) and sending out press releases to entice local media. It’s a daunting task, especially for someone working a full-time job while trying to become a full-time author. It can be exhausting.

To begin with, I already run my own social media on three platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) as well as this blog on WordPress. Thanks to a great FREE online and app, Hootsuite, I can easily schedule my posts. I try to plan for two a day, a week at a time, and then add additional posts as I need to. I try to include meaningful quotes from books, authors, anime and other media that interests me as well as the occasional writer’s meme. In addition, I push out images, reviews, and promotions for my books, in the hopes that people will buy it, read it, and review it.

I’ve been told, across more than one website, that you need reviews to build your presence, especially on Amazon, to gain more visibility. However, reviews cost (in some cases) and again, you’re spending money you haven’t even earned yet. I try to offer other authors a book exchange or a review for a review. It’s how we Independent Authors use our network to help each other. However, the unfortunate reality for most Independent Authors is that you spend more money than you make.

I spent close to $10,000 on a marketing campaign and attending a Hollywood marketing seminar during the release of my second book, The Dark Tides. I thought this would be my chance for a breakthrough so I spent the money. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay out. On top of that, there is a lot of scams out there trying to take advantage of desperate authors. I can’t tell you how many phone calls and emails I received about getting my book as a Netflix show, placed in international book fairs, etc. It’s mind blowing the corruption we face, just trying to make a name for ourselves.

I’ve already signed up for the Gaitherburg Book Festival, on Saturday, May 16, from 10am-6pm, at Bohrer Park, 506 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland. I’ll be selling signed copies of all three of my books. It’s free and open to the public. If you’re in the Washington, DC, area, I hope you’ll come out and support me.

I am an author and I’m going to continue to write and publish my books. I may not be the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, but I will continue to try and find my niche, even though it’ll cost me more than I make in return. That’s the price of being a writer.

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse Publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series will be released on 28 February 2020 from Austin Macauley Publishing.

Social Media is the devil’s playground for Independent Authors

social-media-marketing-imageI wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with this week’s blog, but then, after spending precious time checking my Forever Avalon Facebook and Twitter accounts, it dawned on me. Social media has become the last refuge for independent, self-published authors.

I can’t tell you how many hours a week I put into creating posts, sharing posts, “liking” and “following” other authors, It’s a shared responsibility within our community to support each other and sometimes, the reality is, it’s all we’ve got. We are passionate about our work and we want to share it with anyone who’ll listen. So we post it on every social media website available.

Unfortunately, it takes up a lot of our time. I am currently unemployed, so between job hunting, I am writing and editing the next chapter of my series as well as keeping my friends and followers up-to-date and interested through various social media platforms. I must spend at least 4-5 hours a day on social media alone whether I’m on my computer, iPad or smart phone. It’s a constant barrage of messages, likes comments.

There are also tons of websites professing throngs of followers (for the right price) for independent authors. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking them. I have paid for a few of their services this past year. You just have to be careful who you’re signing up with. Like all facets of self-publishing, social media marketing costs money. You have to pick the right investment that will suit your needs as an author.

I try to take a practical approach when preparing my social media discourse. I write fantasy/science fiction genre so I try to focus my posts on that, from inspirational quotes to interesting articles and, of course, other authors in my network. Additionally, I like to throw in a weekly plug for my books.

This is the day-to-day social media life of an independent author. It’s not as glamorous as some celebrities or social media icons, but it’s how we get by. I was ecstatic when I broke 2,000 followers on Twitter. I’m still waiting to broach the 500 mark on Facebook. It’s a tough row to hoe, especially the wait for that one post to garner multiple likes, shares, hearts, and retweets.

To many reading this, it’s a reflection of the day-to-day doldrums of keeping your social media current and up-to-date. My Monday mornings are spent writing this blog, creating a week’s worth of social media posts via Hootsuite. (FYI, if you’re not using it, you better be! Hootsuite is a Godsend for independent authors, and Google too!)

The key is consistency. You have to keep it current, relevant and focused on yourself and your genre and your day-to-day practices as an independent author. Try to avoid controversial subjects. I like to follow the same rule I follow when I’m in a bar, pub or tavern. Avoid subjects like religion, politics and sex (unless that is your genre of choice) as it is a hotbed in our current “PC” climate of today.

Just remember, this will be a slow and steady process gaining followers and friends through social media. I liken it to the “Tortoise and the Hare” story, slow and steady wins the race.


51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse.