New Reviews are something every author loves to see so keep them coming

Book reviews are something every author likes to see. Good or bad, it helps inform the author about what needs work in their writing and what they’re doing right. I received some great new reviews for The Outlander War and The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart. The first one comes from Booklife Publishers Weekly. They gave The Outlander War a 6.5 out of 10, and broke it down as follows:

Plot: Despite multiple factions working against one another and duplicitous characters at every turn, Mark Piggott’s plotting is tightly woven and flawlessly plotted. The pacing would benefit from being as even-footed.

Prose/Style: The third installment in the Forever Avalon series paints a vivid portrait of the mythical land of Avalon while still lending itself well to the quick pacing of the plot.

Originality: The Outlander War is a unique spin on the familiar legends of the mythical King Arthur and Avalon, combining elements of many iterations of the traditional tales familiar to readers while featuring new characters and mythological creatures. The appearance of Avalon in the modern world amid US Navy ships also provides fresh perspective on the complexities of international relations and the sometimes competing necessities which arise from globalism versus nationalism.

Character Development/Execution: The strong, self-sure Lord Bryan MoodDrake, the Gil-Gamesh, is sure to appeal to readers, even as he is torn between the life and legacy he’s built in Avalon and the career and friendships left behind in our own world. Secondary characters are well-realized and integral to the plot. Villains range from the understandably revenge-driven Mordred to the evil-for-evil’s-sake Secretary Barry.

Click Here to see the entire report posted at Booklife Publishers Weekly. You can pick up the third book in the Forever Avalon series at Austin Macauley. Use code AUTHOR0721 to get 25% off your purchase!

The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart also received two new reviews to start things off! My first book in a new world, with new characters, got a pair of glowing reviews. Just as a reminder, you can pick up this fantasy novel at Lulu. First, from book reviewer/book blogger Diksha Malik (@book_riot006 on Instagram).

Recently I got my hands on the book The Last Magus:  A Clockwork Heart by Mark Piggott. This is my fourth read from the author and his creativity never fails to amaze me. His writing style is quite impressive and I always prefer to go with more works of him. This book is an assemblage of 13 chapters, I found this book quite a long read but the perfect narration made it easier for me to go through. I was completely hooked till the end. Cover of the book is fascinating and the title of the book goes perfect with the storyline. This makes a book a perfect one to be added to the “tbr” for each one of you. I would highly recommend this book to everyone out there, go and get your hands on this book as soon as possible.  Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to riffle through this masterpiece. 

Diksha Malik (@book_riot006 on Instagram)

The second book review for The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart comes from fantasy author Helen Garraway of The Sentinals Series. It is always great to hear from your peers about the work you do as a writer.

The Last Magus is the first book I have read from Mark Piggott, and I’m sure it won’t be the last! Piggott has created a rich world with strong characters, and an original magic system which is slowly revealed. Gideon is a wonderful character, and adds a nice touch of mystery as we meet him regaining consciousness but not his memory, just in time to get stabbed though the heart. Fortunate for him he is rescued by an elderly man who is much more than he seems. The story line keeps you hooked as Gideon strives to recover and to learn all that his mentor can teach him and his journey to follow his mentor’s instructions after his death. The writer in me wishes Piggott showed us a bit more of the characters experiencing their emotions and reactions rather than telling us, but the reader in me can’t wait to read more. The armoury is pure magic, and I loved finding out about the ‘characters’ of the weapons that they call forth. The relationship between the wielder and the weapon was key for me, and I wish there was more of it! The story picks up once he reaches the Basilon Magical academy and the world and the characters expand. I loved Lady Jacqueline and Wren and Guilfoy who turns into a useful ally at the academy! Overall a wonderful tale and great characters that give us a very enjoyable read.

Helen Garraway (@helengarrawayauthor on Instagram, @HelenGarraway on Twitter)

It is always great to get a review, good or bad, because (a) it tells me that people are reading my novels and (b) the feedback helps me, as a writer, to not only improve my writing style but helps me continue on this path as a writer. So please, remember to always leave a review for any author you read, whether it be an established writer to the independent author. We all need the love and support from our readers!

# # #

Mark Piggott is an independent author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series and other fantasy novels and short stories. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon and as an audiobook from Audible and iTunes. 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. His latest fantasy novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is available through Lulu and other booksellers. Get ready for The Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series, coming soon, and the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates.

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.

# # #

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.

Historical fiction takes you on another path, sometimes good and sometimes bad

Image result for man in the high castle fan art
“The Man in the High Castle” fan art by Luis Guggenberger

I am currently in the midst of a major writing project that is different from anything I have written before. Historical fiction is not an easy genre to write. There are plenty of stories out there, like Harry Turtledove “How Few Remain” or Philip K. Dick “The Man on the High Castle” for example. These stories takes the world and turn it on end beyond what we know as history. It’s just science fiction but rather, as the term is coined, a historical fiction. These stories take one moment in history and with a simple turn of the switch, the world as we know it changed.

For example, in “How Few Remain” there was a moment in the Civil War where General Robert E. Lee sent out battle plans to his generals. One courier wrapped those plans around some cigars, but lost them enroute. These battle plans were found by a Union soldier and that gave them the edge over the Confederate general. This single moment in time changed the course of the war, in the eyes of the writer. That’s what it takes to create a good historical fiction… One moment in time changed and that brings about a new timeline. Doctor Who refers to this as a “fixed moment” in time, one that cannot change, like Rosa Parks refusing to get out of her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. By changing these moments in time, we can change the future. To that end, a writer of historical fiction must be a writer and a historian.

Granted, you don’t have to be a history major to write historical fiction, but you need to research the Hell out of it. My current #WIP is Corsair and the Sky Pirates. The story is based on one of those pivotal moments in history, a chance meeting between Nikola Tesla and Jules Verne. This is where my story begins, but I first had to research a simple question… Were Jules Verne and Nikola Tesla ever in France at the same time? That question was essential to my story, and the answer was yes. In 1887, Tesla was working for the Continental Edison Company in Paris, France. At that time, Jules Verne lived in Amiens, France, just north of Paris. There existed the possibility of that chance meeting, so as a writer of fantasy and science fiction, I made it happen.

From that meeting grew a story of a new world, a new industrial revolution started years earlier than expected. This would be a steampunk world where fragments of a meteor would power technology, built by Tesla from the imagination of Verne. Oh, what a wonderful world it would be, right? That is how a historical fiction begins.

Many books of this fashion focus on two distinct moments… The Civil War or World War II. Seeing a different outcomes to these monumental, worldwide clashes piques the curiosity of readers. We all look at the world and wonder what difference would be made at these pivotal moments, a world under Nazi rule or where slavery extended beyond the Civil War. These are evil times, easy to prophesize and lay out because evil has one goal… Power!

Image result for tesla and edison
Thomas Edison vs. Nikola Tesla

So, in my own historical fiction, I had that moment in history but I needed a villain. That was easy for me. As Tesla was my protagonist, the only choice for an antagonist was Thomas Edison. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Edison was an evil man. He was a genius, an inventor of the precursor of much of the technology we use today. But, he was also a capitalist, interested in making money. Like many corporations today, i.e. Apple, Google, Twitter and the likes, controlling the narrative means controlling the people in the world. That’s the villain I needed, corporations. When you move the industrial revolution forward, you’re automatically giving control over to the corporations that provide us with technology that makes our life easier, for a price. I wanted to represent our current addition to technology and bring it to bear in a steampunk, industrialized world. Edison was the perfect villain for my story.

That’s the beauty of writing historical fiction. You can change the world into something completely different. From turning Abraham Lincoln into a Marxist/Socialist (“How Few Remain”) to an alliance between Roosevelt, Churchill and Hitler to fight back an alien invasion (“Worldwar” series), it is an open book when writing historical fiction. The key is to base it in history. Where you go from there depends on the storyteller.

Research is the best thing for anyone writing historical fiction. I’ve learned more about the world at the turn of the century since I started writing this story. I learned about Jack Johnson, Geronimo, William Hearst, and more. From the people, to the countries, to the events, it is an open book… Better yet, an open world for any writer to explore. It’s the ability to create a world from one we all know, but make it new and make it different.

# # #

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 (

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.

# # #

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.

# # #

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!

# # #


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.

# # #


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.

When make believe steps over into reality, people go crazy

This has been one of those weeks that makes me wonder about the human race. I know some people can be quite gullible, but this is one of those things that makes you do a double-take. As a writer, I enjoy taking people into another world through my stories; but when those same people can’t separate fantasy from reality, I start to worry. Here’s what I’m talking about:

15081911022349-1The Black Panther movie is premiering this week. The movie is being hailed as one of the best Marvel comics movies yet. The visuals of the amazing world of Wakanda is breathtaking, and that’s where people seem to forget that this is a movie.

With all the political divisiveness in the world today, people see a country like Wakanda as a beacon for Africans, a utopia where “colonialism” never took place. They seem to forget that this is not a real place. It’s understandable to imagine a world as technologically advanced as Wakanda–with a powerful leader, incredibly strong people, and rich history–could be real. It’s something to aspire to, but these people don’t seem to realize its not real. Believe it or not, Wakanda, the Black Panther, the entire world there was conceived and created by two ordinary white guys (Stan Lee and Jack Kirby).

Lee and Kirby actually created Black Panther in the 1960’s, a few months before the Black Panther Party was founded; but these same social challenges inspired both the political movement and the super-powered African king. “At that point I felt we really needed a black superhero,” Lee recalled. “And I wanted to get away from a common perception. So what I did, I made I made him almost like (Fantastic Four’s) Reed Richards. He lives in an area that nobody suspects it because on the surface it’s just thatched huts with ordinary ‘natives.’ And he’s not letting the world know what’s really going on or how brilliant they really are.”

In the world of Marvel comics, Wakanda is a place of mystery; but if you read Twitter this past week, people act like its a real place in our world today. They’re using it as an example of what “could be” for African as a whole. That’s all well and good, but unfortunately, a giant meteor containing a super metal (vibranium) hasn’t crashed into the continent just yet.

The great thing about a movie like Black Panther is that its getting people talking about diversity issues, inclusion, and racism. The problem is when its taken to far. Sometimes, discussions like these often lead to violence, and that’s wrong. I’m a firm believer in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.–“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

I believe in that, I truly do. As a writer, we have to be that spear in the war of words when it comes to “social justice” in our world. It’s our responsibility to make examples to inspire people, not incite them. Creating a place like Wakanda is a dream, an example of what “could be” in our own world. Now, lets take those words from “fantasy” to heart and try to make them a “reality” in our world, not the other way around.

 # # #

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.

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.