Ten Years of Non-Fiction at Immanion Press

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Ten years ago, give or take a month, my book Pop Culture Magick was published by Immanion Press. That was the start of the non-fiction lineup, which eventually became the Megalithica book imprint for Immanion Press. When I first wrote Pop Culture Magick, I shopped it around to the big Pagan and Occult publishers. None of them wanted the book. I was told it had no market appeal, and that the topic was considered too controversial (Ironically enough now the topic of pop culture magic is quite popular and one of those bigger publishers has published books along that theme of thought). So I took the book to Storm Constantine, who had started Immanion Press up in the next year and asked her what she thought I should do. She looked the book over and told me I should publish it with Immanion Press. While it was true that they were publishing Fantasy and Horror, she thought the book should be published and she felt Immanion Press would be a good home for it. To this day, I’m grateful to her, because she not only helped me get my first also book published, she also got me involved in the world of publishing.

A few months later, Nick Farrell asked me if Immanion would publish his book Gathering the Magic, which was about group dynamics and leadership in magical orders. Although he had books published by bigger publishers, none of them wanted that book. I passed his book onto Storm and she OKed it, but afterwards she asked me if I would like to actually head up the non-fiction line. She realized that it could grow and that people already knew me. I agreed and became the managing non-fiction editor. Shortly after we published Nick’s book, Lupa gave us her first book Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone: A Primal Guide to Animal Magic. Later on we published Tony Mierzwicki’s Graeco-Egyptian Magick. Years later, he would tell me that he’d shopped the book everywhere and gotten tons of rejections and had just about been ready to give up, when he came across us and sent it out one last time. We accepted his book and later on that helped him open some doors with larger publishers. Since then we’ve published over 3 dozen non-fiction books on esoteric topics that are for intermediate to advanced practitioners and cover specific niches or focus on social justice issues in Paganism, and we’ve got more books on the way!

When I think back to ten years ago, I remember how excited I was to open the first box that contained copies of Pop Culture Magick. Here at last, in manifest form, was the book I’d written, ready to be shared with other people. I still feel that way every time a box of books, and not just my own books, but the books of the authors who’ve chosen to publish with us. To know that Immanion can be part of the process for the writer is a humbling experience. I feel blessed to be able to participate in the writing and publishing of the books sent to us by the authors we work with.

Happy anniversary to the non-fiction line! It’s been quite a ride up to this point and I look forward to continue that ride for many, many years to come!

How to write good workshop copy

Workshop

Whether you’re putting workshops on at a bookstore, or presenting at a convention, its important to write good workshop copy that will grab your potential audience and get them to consider attending your presentation. In the case of conventions, you also need to write good copy that will get the programming team to consider your workshop. On top of all that your copy needs to be concise and focused. The following tips can help you write good workshop copy.

1. Write at least five potential titles for your workshop. The reason you want at least 5 possible titles has to do with the fact that you want to make sure the title is catchy. A non-descriptive title will not grab people in the same way a descriptive one will and before people will even read the copy, they’ll look at the title and if it doesn’t grab them they won’t look at what else you wrote about the workshop. So come up with at least five titles, if not more, and then test them out on friends. See which title grads your friends the most. For example, one of the titles for my one of my workshops was Space/Time Magic. It’s an okay title that does kind of intrigue because of the topic, but when I changed it to Weaving the Web of Space and Time, that grabbed people a lot more because of the imagery associated with the title. People want words to paint them a picture.

2. Write a headline for your workshop. A headline is a concise statement that sums up what your workshop is about. The headline describes what the workshop is about, and what you will get as a result from taking the workshop. Here is the headline for weaving the web: “Space and Time create a web that weaves our lives into the intersection of reality and possibility. When you learn to weave your web of space and time, you learn how to manifest your chosen possibilities into reality and manifest the life you want to live.” As you can see the headline describes the gist of the class.

3. Write other salient details, such as what people will learn. By helping readers understand what they will learn you set up specific expectations about what the class will deliver. If you are writing a workshop for a program, you’ll need to keep this short and sweet, so I suggest writing one or two additional sentences that describes what people will learn in the class. For weaving the web, I use the following short description: “In weaving the web, you will learn how to work with Space and Time as distinct principles of magic that can be applied to your life and spiritual practices. You will also learn how to integrate memory, imagination, stillness, and movement into your space/time magical workings, in order to manifest specific possibilities when and where you want them to manifest.” This short description describes what people will get out of the class and helps them understand why they might want to take it.

4. Bullet points are your friend. When you are writing a workshop description for your website or for a bookstore, you can usually use bullet points, so go ahead and use them. They allow you to make concise statements about the class and help those statements stand out instead of being lost in a sea of words. Bullet points help you make specific points to grab the interest of people who might want to take your class. Look below for an example from Weaving the Web:

  • What the web of space and time is and how it can be integrated into magical and spiritual practices.
  • How to apply imagination and memory to your magical workings and spiritual path.
  • How to use movement and stillness in your space/time magical workings. What the practical space/time magic techniques are and how they can be used to manifest possibilities into reality.
  • How to use meditation to connect with parallel versions of yourself.
  • Who the inner contacts and spirits are that you can connect with to do further work with space/time magic.

As you can see the bullet points make it easy for people to discover what else they will learn in the class.

You don’t want to write long and complicated workshop descriptions. What you want to write is a snapshot of information that helps people understand why they might want to take your class. Give these tips a try the next time you put together a workshop for a convention or bookstore.

How to work with Bookstores to Market Events

bookstore

You’ve found a bookstore that will host your workshops. It’s pretty exciting, but now comes the tough part of marketing the event, plus doing due diligence on your part to make sure that both you and the store are successful. Both you and the bookstore owner need to be on the same page if your event is going to be successful and this isn’t always as easy as you’d think. The following tips can help you work with a bookstore to market your event as well as handle all the other due diligence issues that need to be raised.

1. Agree on the price, date, & workshops. Ideally you should contact a shop no later than 2 months out from the proposed date (I’d recommend 6 months so you can plan your marketing campaign accordingly). Figure out a date, time, and workshops you’ll be offering as well as what the price should be. Typically shops will make an arrangement of 70-30% split with you receiving 70 and them receiving 30. Email them your workshop description.

Now this is where a lot of authors and bookstores stop. The date has been set, the price set, and the workshops figured out and sent for the shop to put on their website…however there’s a lot more which needs to be done if you want a successful event, and both the author and bookstore need to do some work if your event is going to be successful.

2. Make sure the bookstore is going to order your books for the event. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a bookstore, with no books for your event, because the bookstore didn’t order any. Make sure the owner knows which books need to be ordered, as well as providing them the contact information for your publisher or distributor. Don’t assume that they have this information. Send them an email with suggested books they can order for the event, as well as the necessary contact information to order the books.

3. Get your marketing materials together. It’s not enough to write-up a workshop description and post it on your website and on the bookstore’s website. You need to market your event using multiple marketing channels that will help you raise awareness and interest in the event. The bookstore needs to also help with this effort, since they, like you, should have an existing audience. So what should be done:

  • Promote the event through your e-newsletter and make sure the shop is doing it as well.
  • Set up a Google Plus and Facebook Event for your workshop. Don’t use just Google Plus or Facebook…use both because different people prefer different platforms.
  • Make sure the store has a Google Plus Community and a Facebook Group for their shop. Don’t post to their business page, because the reach is poor. Having a Facebook group and Google Plus community on the other hand can be very effective reaching out to the community that goes to the store. Make sure you aren’t just promoting your event. Make sure you also are posting excerpts from your blog, which allows you to share content with people and build a relationship (To learn more, go here). Interacting with people ahead of time will generate interest in you and your workshops, especially if people don’t already know who you are.
  • Get physical flyers made up and emailed to the store so the store can have them on site for people who are come into the store. Need help developing a flyer? I recommend Shauna Aura Knight‘s services. Also if you are doing other events in the area ahead of time, take flyers with you to give to people attending the event.
  • Schedule a call with the shop owner to discuss what each of you can do to market the event and also to check in ahead of time to make sure people are signing up for the event.

4. Launch your marketing campaign. Once all the pieces are in place, launch your event. This means you post your newsletter, post on your social media, have flyers on hand, and otherwise talk up the event when its relevant to do so. The bookstore should also be posting about your event and telling their customers about it when they stop in the store.

Doing all of these activities will help you make the event successful by getting people into seats. However, it is important to get the bookstore on board and doing marketing as well. Some owners and employees will be easier to work with than others, but be persistent and if necessary be willing to provide some ideas on how they can market the event.

 

Seeking Submissions for an Anthology about Pagan Traditions

Pagantraditions

Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press (Stafford, U.K./Portland, OR, U.S.A) is seeking submissions.

We would like to hear from founders and leaders of as many different traditions and organizations, established and brand new, as possible.

Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2015.

By no means can we capture a portrait of every Pagan path. What we are trying to do is give aspiring and knowledgeable Pagans alike a springboard for proceeding with their studies, with information and stories from a wide selection of Pagan traditions.

We are looking specifically for articles and stories from tradition/organization leaders and founders as well as other leaders who have a wider view of the Pagan landscape.

Below are descriptions of the concepts we would like to appear in articles submitted for the anthology. This is generally academic, but personal stories within the pieces are highly encouraged.

To ensure thorough and accurate descriptions of your path, what you see below are not so much suggestions for essay topics as they are questions that we would like answered within essays, so that all pieces are validated in the eyes of the reader, and because consistency lends itself well to comprehension and comparison.

For the well-established tradition leader (Gardenerian, Vanatru, Alexandrian, Correllian, Asatru, eclectic Wicca, Helenist and Celtic Reconstruction, Stregheria, etc) we would like to know the basic structure of the tradition you come from. What types of magic you teach? What are some of the basic tenants and values of your tradition? How are groups structured? How study might differ for a solitary practitioner? How you have adapted the path based on your own experiences to fit your lifestyle? Try to come at it from a perspective of teaching students. Please give us a clear portrait of your path, and a little of your personal story so readers can relate. If you can, cite various in-depth texts at least twice in your work. This opens the door for further study by the readers.

We also want to hear from the young traditions/organizations being created as we speak. This is the place for founders wishing for future students. What inspired you to create a new Pagan path? From what cultures, religions, and traditions do you gather your concepts from? How do your morals and values play into the tradition? What would be the structure of a participant’s studies? What are rituals like and what types of magic are practiced?  Please try to cite various in-depth sources of your concepts at least twice in the piece, for validation of where you are coming from.

There are many leaders out there who lead groups that are not strictly based around one tradition or belief system, or are just well-known voices in Pagan forums. Give us your perspectives on some various topics such as: the rise and fall of Pagan traditions in modern times; the levels of dedication needed for truly embracing a Pagan tradition and the various emotional, spiritual, and mundane changes they bring with them; a sense of Pagan demographics. If you can cite texts for validity, please do.

–We would like to hear from a few people who practice two greatly divergent traditions as part of their path. This could be Alexandrian Wicca combined with Chemetism, or other such combinations. You are charged with showing a reader that taking a road like this may be challenging, but it can be done well. Some of the questions we would like answered in these pieces are: How do the tenets, magical practices, spiritual tasks, and forms of study from two different traditions mesh together? How did you choose a road like this, and what are the challenges you face? Please cite two in-depth sources within your work, at least one for each of the different traditions you follow.

 What we are not looking for:

–We are not looking for spiritual awakening stories or stories of how you found Paganism. We also are not after how you take what you learn from established traditions and alter it in solitary practice, unless you are forging a new branch of that tradition and have well-formed practices, values, and ways for people to learn in place and can discuss them with clarity.

–We are not looking for specific rituals or spells.

 Essay requirements:

2500-5000 words, to ensure that there is sufficient knowledge and details presented.  If your piece falls outside these limits, come to us and we can discuss it.

  • Citations for all quoted, paraphrased, or otherwise unoriginal material
  • Bibliography of works cited
  • Prefer the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style http://www.library.cornell.edu/resrch/citmanage/mla
  • A way to contact your tradition or organization so those interested may do so (if applicable).
  • Send the file in RTF format.

Compensation:

Accepted contributors will receive a free copy of the anthology when it is published and additional copies sold at 40% off the cover price to contributors. All contributors will be provided with a contract upon final acceptance of their essays.

Rights:

This anthology will take nonexclusive first world rights for 6 months.

 Deadline is March 1, 2015.

For submissions and questions, please contact CJ Blackwood (cjblackwood90@gmail.com).  Please put “Immanion anthology submissions” in the subject line.

 Editors: The anthology will be edited by CJ Blackwood and Tara “Masery” Miller:

CJ Blackwood is a contributor for the Staff of Asclepius blog on patheos.com.  She also authors another blog, Tales of a Feminist Elemental Witch on WordPress.  She has been teaching crystal workshops at Pagan Pride events in Illinois for two years and will be presenting an “Awakening the Goddess Within” ritual from her own feminist elemantal tradition this year at Central Illinois Pagan Pride Day.  She writes fiction and poetry, and enjoys crafts, fishing, traveling, and spending time with friends.  She graduated from Illinois State University with a major in journalism and a minor in English.  She contributed to “rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul: Magic Practitioners Living With Disability, Addiction, and Illness” under the name Lady Cedar Nightsong.

Tara “Masery” Miller is a panentheist Gaian mage who has a deep relationship with the Goddess Gaia. I’ve been involved with Pagan Pride Day, the Pagan Leaders Recommended Reading list with Elizabeth Barrett, and other wonderful magic circles over the years. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in mass communications specifically media studies and research and a minor in religion. Part of her course work included an independent study of mysticism in Christian, Pagan, and Native American traditions and a paper on Witchcraft in Colonial America. She was the editor of “Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul: Magic Practitioners Living with Disabilities, Addiction, and Illness.” She is also the editor of the Staff of Asclepius blog. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/paganswithdisabilities/ Her personal website is http://taramaserymiller.com/

 Immanion Press is a small independent press based in the United Kingdom. Founded by author Storm Constantine, it expanded into occult nonfiction in 2004 with the publication of Taylor Ellwood’s Pop Culture Magick. Today, Immanion’s nonfiction line, under the Megalithica Books imprint, has a growing reputation for edgy, experimental texts on primarily intermediate and advanced pagan and occult topics. Find out more at http://www.immanion-press.com.

 

How to Turn a Conference into a Book Tour

tour Bus

Way back in February of this year, when I found out I’d be presenting at the left hand path conference, I decided that I’d set up a book tour around the event. It costs a lot to fly to the midwest and I wanted to get the most out of that cost. So I decided to turn the conference into an excuse to do a book tour, complete with workshops at places that were relatively close to the conference. You can do the same thing with your own trips, but there are some considerations to keep in mind.

I originally tried to set up a weekend intensive in Chicago, which didn’t quite work out, but I was able to fortunately turn it into an opportunities to present at book shops there. There were a few reasons the weekend intensive didn’t work out. First it was scheduled during the summer, in the midst of a number of festivals. Competing against other events during a season where people don’t want to go indoors wasn’t helpful. Another factor was the city itself. Large cities are not easy to drive, or park in. Finally I made the mistaken assumption that I’d be well-known enough to grab people’s interest with an intensive, when what I needed to recognize is that I needed to build my audience there first.

Nonetheless even though the weekend intensive didn’t work out, I was able to set up events at bookshops, with little notice. I don’t recommend it if you can help it, and if you have to do that, make sure you have marketing resources such as flyers and Facebook headers ready to go. Actually you should do that regardless. I also set up events in St. Louis and Indianapolis. In those cases, I was just doing single workshops and using the opportunity to build up an audience, which is the correct way to go about establishing yourself as someone people would like to see come back to their venue. In each case, I provided flyers well ahead of time as well as setting up a Facebook header for the event.

While having these marketing tools on hand is helpful, you also need to make sure that the shop hosting you is actually using them. In one case, the shop did use the flyers and had them up all over the shop. They also had books ordered ahead of time. In the other shop, no flyers were posted and no books were bought. This indicated to me that I needed to not just provide the materials, but also schedule a conference with the store owners to go over our marketing strategies together. However that’s not always easy to accomplish (That’s a post for another day).

Setting up events around the conference I was attending did allow me to make some connections with people and places where I could present in the future. If you know your going to be on a trip, why not make it a bit longer (if you can) and visit some of the surrounding areas? By doing that you can connect to other places for future events, get to know people who like your books and establish a demand to have you back in the future.

How Bookstores and Authors can use Facebook Groups

FB group

Facebook is often touted as the need to be on site for social media. However, as anyone who has a business page on Facebook knows, Facebook isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and in fact is fairly unfriendly to business. The metrics that Facebook has set up for Business pages is designed to make sure that only a small amount of your fans will ever see your content, unless you pay Facebook to promote your posts. Even then, you will never hit your entire fan base or the people they know. In fact, what I’ve noticed about Facebook is that unless a person interacts with a business page on a regular basis, that page will disappear from their news feed. Obviously, this is not ideal for business owners. And while you can pay Facebook to boost your posts, unless you see a definitive ROI, you end up wasting a chunk of change that could go toward more effective methods of marketing your business.

The other day, thanks to an experience I had with Pathway Books in St. Louis, I came to a realization of how bookstores and authors can get around these particular issues. Pathway books has a Facebook group called Friends of Pathway. On it the various people in the community share something that interests them or talk about the bookstore or upcoming classes. The group gets more interaction and better metrics because it is a group, so Facebook isn’t filtering it in the same way that your business page is being filtered. I joined the group a few months back after I set up a couple of events at the bookstore. I started sharing my blog posts on that group page. I got some interaction from that group page. When I visited the store, everyone I met already knew me. We’d never met in person, yet nonetheless they already knew me and were excited to meet me in person. I’d never really seen that happen with other bookstores, but the owners of the store told me that my posts on that group page had already set up a buzz before the event.

My suggestion to independent bookstores is that they should set up a group page and invite their customers to join that group. Your bookstore isn’t just a store. It’s also a community center. It’s a place where people meet to buy books, get readings, meet authors, and attend workshops. Authors should also join such group pages and participate by sharing blog entries, information and occasional promotions of upcoming workshops at the bookstore. You need to make sure what you share is mostly content as opposed to promotions. You want the customers to get to know you and develop a relationship with you. When you visit the store, the customers will be excited to meet you and will also feel they already know you.

Getting creative with the social components of social media can help you find ways to get in front of your customers, build relationships with them and generate excitements and interest in the events. It can help bookstores also get in front of their customers and keep them in loop about the latest news, while also engaging the customer questions and commentary.

How to get on podcast interviews

podcast

One of the most useful tools for publicity and marketing are interviews, and podcasts, in particular are one of the interview mediums that is useful because it provides the author a chance to interact with the host of the podcast, and sometimes listeners. Podcasts have evolved over the years from being radio interviews to now including Google plus hangouts with video. Typically you’ll find that the podcasts are focused on specific topics or interview experts about topics. I’ve hosted podcasts as well as being interviewed on them. You can do both, though it is a time investment in the case of hosting your own and scheduling people to be on the show. The focus of this article is how to get on podcast shows, so if you want to do that the following steps can be helpful in getting interviewed.

1. Know your niche. Podcasts focus on specific niches so you want to be interviewed by people who will be focused on your topic matter and in touch with your target audience. Knowing your niche will help you do some research on podcasts that might want to interview you.

2. Follow other authors. I make it a habit to follow other authors and see what shows they got on. I don’t know every podcast out there, but by following other authors, I’ve been able to find out about other podcasts I haven’t been on, but would like to be interviewed by.

3. Keep a database with contact information. It’s a good idea to keep a database of shows you’ve been on and/or would like to be on with the name of the host, contact information, website, and the last date you were on the air. You can then follow-up with shows you’ve been on and you have their contact information in one place.

4. When contacting a show be prepared. Depending on the show, you may be contacting the host directly or staff. When you contact the show, you’ll usually do it by email. Be polite and indicate interest in being on the show. Share your website and tell them why they should interview you. If they respond favorably, send them a pdf of your latest book and suggest questions the host could ask, if s/he wants question suggestions.

5. Be professional on the show. When you go onto the show, be professional. The host will usually be friendly, but don’t assume that. Answer questions and remember that how you say what you say can make as much of a story as what you say.

6. Share the show on your social media and blog. When the show airs, and after it airs, share it on your social media and blog. Help the host out to spread the word. Also make sure you put the podcast on your media page.

Following these steps will help you get onto podcasts, and help you get your name and books out to your target market.