I’m not much of a TikToker, but I’m trying to be one

If you haven’t already noticed in my social media links, I now have a TikTok account. I will be the first one to admit that I’m not very good at it and I doubt the Chinese have any interest in the metadata of a independent author of fantasy and steampunk novels. It was the next logical step in further promotion and marketing as an author. I am nowhere near the expertise and zaniness of some of the people on TikTok. I primarily use it to promote my books, events, special announcements, and even some personal holiday fun. Beyond that, it’s difficult to wrap my head around this social media giant.

It’s so much easier in Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to just post a photo and write-up. With TikTok, I have to create a video, add music, stickers, effects, and text. It’s such a process to post a simple thirty second video. I think why I am struggling with TikTok. It’s too much work for one simple person. I mean, I use Hootsuite to publish to my other social media sites (highly recommend it to burgeoning indie authors). It’s FREE for up to three social media accounts and you can schedule up to ten times. There is a paid version but the free works well enough for me to stay ahead of the game.

TikTok, on the other hand, takes time and patience. There are a lot of great people that are fun to watch and they make it look so easy. Maybe its the old man in me. I am nearly 60 but I’ve stayed up on technology since I first typed on a TRS-80 (look it up if you don’t know what one is). I just can’t get into the videos of repeating voice overs of comics or famous movie and television scenes. Even the weird filters aren’t me. I just want to talk about my books, show videos from the events I attend, and that’s it.

There are a lot of great connections on TikTok. I met Teri Schnaubelt (@terischnaubelt on TikTok) a voice over artist who read a section of my book The River of Souls. It was great having a professional do something like that for FREE to hear my words come to life. Pop over to her TikTok page to hear more great books being read by a true professional and great lady. The other authors on there are supportive as well, promoting your books to readers and even giving ideas. Someone posted a video of using mini-candy bars as giveaways by wrapping them in book covers to look like little books. I did that and they came out great. You can really find a lot of good ideas on TikTok.

So, if you are on TikTok, come find me, follow and I will follow back, and hopefully I can get the hang of this new social media and make some fun and interesting content. I’m always open to suggestions.

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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.

Get ready for The River of Souls fantasy novella from Curious Corvid Publishing. Coming in 2023 from Curious Corvid—the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel. Stay tuned for more new fantastic stories from the imagination of Mark Piggott.

Fantasy Maps help expand “world building” for a writer to take the reader on a journey

High resolution map of Middle Earth - Album on Imgur
Map of Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

“Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with land surveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come.”

― Gilles Deleuze

World Building is a skill every writer needs, especially in the fantasy and sci-fi genre. Luckily, as a former D&D DungeonMaster, I have some background in this area before I became an author. Creating the world to take my friends on their many adventures was a part of my life, whether it was Dungeons and Dragons, Space Opera, Rift or any other RPG, I had to create the world in which we were roleplaying.

I used to try and create my own maps using PowerPoint or Adobe InDesign to help me imagine these brave new worlds, but they were poor substitutes and not marketable. Thank God for the independent author and artist community online. They have the resources needed to help bring my imaginary world into a reality.

World building is defined as “the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe. Developing an imaginary setting with coherent qualities such as a history, geography, and ecology is a key task for many science fiction or fantasy writers.” You don’t know how true that is! As writers, we have to imagine everything from landscapes to cityscapes and everything in between. That means political structure, currency, races, religion, etc. It all has to be accounted for, but the biggest factor is the landscape.

In writing, you need to talk about the cities, forests, roads, and everything else when describing your story. If my protagonist is heading east along the Vanir Road, following the Blackbriar Forest on his way to the Gilded Halls of the Dwarves, I have to know where those places are in relation to his current location. In a sense, you could be writing about going one way and then mention somewhere you protagonist has been, and you say east instead of west so then your world becomes confusing.

Think of it this way… Would you have understood the journey Frodo went on in Lord of the Rings without the map of Middle Earth? Maybe, but the map helped me (as the reader) understand the journey they went on through that map. I like to think about that when I look at world maps from the 1600’s, seeing how they thought of the Earth 400 years ago and how different it is today. Even maps from the 1960’s and 70’s are different from what they are today.

The Island of Avalon
Map of Avalon from the Forever Avalon series, designed by Amy Kruzan.

Mapping is essential which is why, as a writer, I am happy to employ mapmakers in helping me create my worlds. The first one I used was Amy Kruzan, known in Instagram as fantasygraphicsbya. She took my description of Avalon and mapped the enchanted island, as told in the Forever Avalon fantasy book series, into a working map. Now, she helping me with a new layout of Avalon following the aftermath of The Outlander War (I won’t spoil it, so please read it to understand why). Imagining it was one thing but seeing it is something completely new. The layout reflects the ideas I had more than 20 years ago when I started writing the first book in the series.

I found many map artists on Twitter and Instagram. They are quite prolific in creating these myriad of worlds for dreamers like me. The ability to take the words and descriptions to design the forests, mountains, lakes, seas, rivers and cities is designed down to the ridges on the cliffs to the pine trees swaying in the wind. It makes it difficult to formulate things like trade routes, ship ports, rivers and canals, roads, etc. These are all essential for a vibrant or lackluster economy, which makes your fantasy world believable. I mean, how can you take care of an entire island without farmland, shipyards, and all the necessities to feed the populace, export commerce, and transport goods from one place to the other.

“You can’t map a sense of humor. Anyway, what is a fantasy map but a space beyond which There Be Dragons? On the Discworld we know that There Be Dragons Everywhere. They might not all have scales and forked tongues, but they Be Here all right, grinning and jostling and trying to sell you souvenirs.”

― Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

So, besides the regular social media crowd, there are artist websites like Art Station, Deviant Art and others allow artists to showcase their work so it makes for a great place to research styles, designs and artists. Although many maps, especially fantasy maps, look similar in many respects, but its the fine details that make the map into something special and unique for your story. You can find the artist you’re looking for to take your story into the world you’re creating.

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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.

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 (eff.org)

Per eff.org, “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.

Getting back into your #WIP one sentence at a time

The frustration of not writing | A Writer's Life

The absolute frustration of being a writer can cause major headaches, break up families, decrease in your sex life, and cause everything from drug to alcohol problems. All joking aside, THESE ARE the actually feelings of a writer under pressure to finish their work in progress (#WIP) and its been well recorded since the dawn of time. Have you seen some of those early cave paintings?

“The best musicians don’t always get record deals. The best writers don’t always get published. The best painters have showrooms full of work that never sells. To an extent, this is how it has always been.” Jeff Goins, Writer

To that end, I have been forging ahead, one sentence at a time, and it’s actually been working for me. My goal is at least one page per night, at a minimum. Sometimes I only get a couple of paragraphs in, but at least I’m writing. It’s important to get the train moving along the track, even at a slow pace. Just keep things moving… Think Dory (“Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!”) Sorry, bad analogy, but it works.

The good news is I’M NOT ALONE! I have read hundreds of social media posts from other writers expressing the same frustration. It’s a disease amongst this creative community that doesn’t seem to stay long. It jumps from writer to writer and it’s as bad as the flu (at times) and facemasks won’t help you fend it off.

The best solution is WORK! “WORK, WORK, WORK!” (to quote the incomparable Mel Brooks) and don’t stop. If it’s not coming to you, my best solution is going back a few pages and reread what you’ve already written. I find myself back into the story, making a few changes here and there, and it gets my thoughts in line to continue writing. Soon, I add on one more page, then two, then three, etc.

I have been dealing with a serious case of writer’s block this past summer (which I talked about here) and I’ve finally gotten myself over the hump to where I am writing every day now. It’s been a mighty hurdle, believe me. The first day I got over my block, I actually wrote ten pages in one sitting. It was magnificent, like a breath of fresh air on a crisp fall day.

That’s why it’s called a #WIP. It’s a work “in progress” meaning that it’s not finished. You’ve got to cross that creative gap (so named by Ira Glass here) and take a leap of faith. You have to believe in yourself and the story you’re trying to tell. Remember, you’re the author and you’re the only one who can tell your story. If you believe in that, what’s there to stop you?

I’ve already completed two #WIP that I am currently trying to get published… THE PROMETHEUS ENGINE: Book Four of the FOREVER AVALON Series and THE LAST MAGUS: The Clockwork Heart. (HINT: Any interested parties, please contact me here! Yes, I may be a little desperate… All writers are!) Now, I’m working on the next two installments of the series. I’m trying to stay in the moment and keep the story moving along. It’s not easy, but it’s like I said, “one sentence at a time…” That’s the key for any 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 is available from Austin Macauley Publishing.

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, allauthor.com and bookbrush.com, 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.

Violence in media… Escapism or instigator?

I never try to get political in my blog, nor in my own novels, as I think it alienates people who might enjoy my stories. That said, I need to say something about the violent mass shootings this past weekend. A lot has been said about gun control, mental health, violent video games, social media inciting violence, etc. I think there’s a lot of good points on both sides of the issue. I just wanted to take the time to put my own thoughts down, as someone who plays video games, watches violent movies, and writes stories filled with intense battles.

First and foremost, I want to send my thoughts and prayers to all those impacted by the mass shootings this past weekend. I know that’s not politically correct, but I really don’t care. People affected by tragedy need to be comforted at times like this and offering my sincere condolences is all I can do.

I grew up in a time where mass killings were far and few in between. Although the frequency has ramped up as of late, I can’t blame guns. Guns are just the tool. In my opinion, evil will always find a way. Look at London. They have strict gun laws, so instead, people use knives to commit murder. It’s not the weapon, its the person behind the weapon. Yes, we need better background checks and open communication between law enforcement and mental health professionals to keep these weapons out of the hands of unstable individuals.

As for the argument that violent video games are to blame, sorry but no. In my day, they blamed Dungeons and Dragons for poisoning kids minds when one went cuckoo and killed his friends thinking they were goblins. Video games are just another medium being attacked. Remember, they said the same thing about rock n’ roll music, comic books, certain movies and TV shows, even authors like J.K. Rowling and Kurt Vonnegut were co soldered a bad influence. It’s not the medium, it’s parenting. If parents take the time to talk with their kids and work with them when it comes to media like video games, you can create a better environment for them.

When my son was little, I limited how much time he could play on his video game system and what games he could play. If he wanted to play a rated “M” game, I would play it first to see if it was something he could play. I limited him to fantasy violence. He didn’t play Grand Theft Auto until he was a senior in high school. I just didn’t see a game like that as being productive for a young mind (my opinion).

Social media does play a part. I think social media is being abused by people to incite violence and lash out because they can do it from behind a keyboard. They think it makes them anonymous and, in some cases, invincible; but they soon find out that there can be repercussions. People are losing their jobs and anonymity through violent social media posts. We need better regulatory constraints on these social media companies to make social media more secure, and so that people think about what they type before they click send.

In any case, it’s not the medium that causes these violent acts. Whether its books, movies or video games, these are vehicles of escape. I play video games, watch anime, and write fantasy stories to escape from the doldrums of every day life. I don’t do this to act out violent tendencies that I have dormant inside me. Granted, there are some who do, but as long as they don’t hurt anyone else or themselves, then it’s fine. The key here is individual responsibility.

That’s why we have to look at the individual. We are so focused on other things (i.e. guns, video games, etc.) that we ignore individual responsibility. When did we stop blaming the person for the crime? Yes, mental health does play a part but its not an excuse in every case. Evil is evil and we need to recognize it. Did we excuse Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy for what they did? There comes a time when you have to see if that person lacks morality or remorse for what they did, and if so, they deserve the punishment they get.

There are so many opinions on this matter. What’s important is that all voices be heard and we come together to make informed decisions. LEAVE POLITICS OUT OF IT! I don’t want to see politicians blaming one another or fund raising off these tragedies. That’s a slap in the face to the victims and their families. Set the bullshit aside and work together to make people feel safer when they go into a Wal-Mart, school, or night club. It’s the only thing that matters.

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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 Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniversepublishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.

Social media is the easiest, and cheapest, marketing tool for Independent Authors

marketing through social media

Independent authors are just that, INDEPENDENT! We don’t have a publisher, marketing team, agent or publicist working for us to sell our book. They have to rely on friends, family, and word of mouth. In this day and age, that means social media.

According to Statista, 70% of the U.S. population has at least one social media profile. By 2018, the number of worldwide social media users is expected to reach about 2.5 billion people. With so many consumers using social media every day, this presents a great opportunity for independent authors to reach their online audience.

Social media platforms offer a fun and creative platform to promote you book through videos, GIFs, and creative JPEGs for a broad audience. In fact, according to MarketingSherpa, 95% of online adults ages 18 to 34 are likely to follow a brand on social media. However, when users engage with their social media profiles, it is because they find the content and information valuable. Whether they are looking for deals, enjoy entertaining content, or just want to learn more about a certain brand, social media users are open to engaging on social media channels.

That’s where independent authors can find their niche in marketing their novels. Your social media profiles provide yet another way to get more inbound traffic to your website. This makes marketing through social media an excellent strategy to complement your search engine optimization efforts. Each piece of content that you post to your social media profiles is another opportunity to bring new visitors to your site.

There are different platforms that can provide access for a variety of users. Facebook is one of the best social media platforms, with nearly two million monthly active users. Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform with the most diverse audience. When it comes to age, users of all ages are logging onto Facebook, with the largest demographic being those ages 25-to-34. Owned by Facebook, Instagram is another popular channel that promises to be one of the best social media platforms for small business and entrepreneurs. Instagram has more than 700 million active users who log onto the app to enjoy photos and video posts from their friends, family, celebrities, and yes, even certain brands. In fact, according to BrandWatch, 50% of users follow brands on Instagram.

With an average of about 328 million active Twitter users worldwide, this channel is yet another one of the best social media platforms for your 2018 social media marketing strategy. As one of the top 10 websites in the United States, Twitter is the go-to place for the latest news and trends on a variety of topics. The audience on Twitter also tends to be a bit younger with 36% of users between the ages of 18 to 29. Then there’s YouTube. Founded in 2005 and acquired by Google in late 2006, YouTube has quickly become the second largest search engine in the world, right behind Google. What’s more is that YouTube users are watching a billion hours of video each day and generating just as many views. This makes YouTube an excellent channel for reaching and engaging target consumers by creating and publishing compelling video content.

I have one other recommendation for you. If you plan to cross multiple social media platforms with your posts, I would suggest checking out Hootsuite. With this online program, you can put one post on all your social media platforms simultaneously. It also allows you to plan out your posts days in advance. You can find more, in depth information on the best social media platforms for brand marketing at Lyfe Marketing Blog.

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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 Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.

Fahrenheit 451 remake speaks of social influences changing from books to social media

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I recently watched the remake of the Ray Bradbury classic “Fahrenheit 451” and, unlike some remakes, this one was spot on. It was updated to reflect the influence of social media and the control it has on society today. It still paid homage to the original, including the original movie, while bringing it into the modern world.

The casting of Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon was brilliant. They were a perfect foil for the other, each one with their own demons and secrets. I loved how Shannon (as Beatty) spends his nights at home, writing down his own thoughts on tissue paper with an illegal pen, burning them at dawn. At the same time, Jordan’s Montag kept a collection of relics including a Blockbuster videotape of the movie “Taxi Driver” in his bathroom vent.

All under the watchful eye of Yuixi, a futuristic version of Alexa which scares the Hell out of me. The movie talks about the influence of social media, bringing back memories of Mark Zuckerberg and his testimony about Facebook controlling what people see. Everything they do is broadcast live with emoji’s littering the screen from the millions of viewers. The movie showed us the future we are heading to in our social media driven world.

Then there’s the books. I found it interesting that the only three books available to people is the Holy Bible, Moby Dick, and To The Lighthouse. The rest? As the firemen teach the little kids… Burn them! It’s sad to see all the classics burn like this. It’s a testament to the staying power of literature that’s represented in these books. That’s why I love this book, this movie, this story… Ray Bradbury wrote a classic that stands the test of time.

The ending may have changed in this newest adaptation, but the story stayed true. When you erase literature, you erase history. Beatty talked about this when he showed Montag a copy of Huck Finn, how it offended black people so they burned it, erased it. That’s the bigger meaning of this story. You may not like what was written before, but you can’t erase it completely. To do that would wipe away the history as to why it was written and lessons we can learn from it.

Image result for fahrenheit 451 movieFahrenheit 451 remains to be a classic, in any form. It should be a required read for every child in school today just for the fact that it will show them the right way and the wrong way when it comes to books and history. We have to teach them the right way, otherwise the story Fahrenheit 451 will go from being a fantasy to being a reality. Remember that next time you toss a book aside.

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a book/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.