Pop Culture Grimoire 2.0 deadline coming up soon!!

pop culture

The deadline for submissions for the Pop Culture Grimoire 2.0 is coming up soon. So far Emily and I have 4 submissions and a couple people who’ve expressed interest. If you have an interesting idea, we need you to submit a first draft by March 15th.

Email for inquiries and submissionsTaylor Ellwood

Megalithica Books, an imprint of Immanion Press (Stafford, U.K./Portland, OR, U.S.A) is seeking submissions for The Pop Culture Grimoire 2.0.

This anthology explores pop culture magic and Paganism in the 21st Century. We invite you to share your pop culture magic practice, pop culture Pagan spirituality, and your experiments, spells, and other workings that have integrated pop culture into your spiritual practice.

Here are some suggested topics to give you an idea of the focus of this anthology:

  • What is pop culture magic?
  • What is pop culture Paganism?
  • Pop culture spells
  • Your experiences with a particular fandom
  • Magic at conventions
  • Cosplay magic
  • Social media magic
  • Blending older mythology with pop culture
  • Your experiences sharing pop culture magic
  • Video Game magic
  • Pop culture music and magic
  • Pop culture art and magic

Rough drafts are due March 15, 2015. These drafts will be edited in a back-and-forth process with the editors. Essays should be 1500-4000 words, although if your work falls outside those limits, do submit it – we can discuss this during the editing process. Drop us an email if you are unsure whether your idea fits into the content. The sooner you start the communication process the better, as after the deadline we won’t be considering additional ideas.

Essay requirements:

  • Citations for all quoted, paraphrased, or otherwise unoriginal material
    • Bibliography of works cited
    • Prefer APA format

Write in your voice! If you’re academically inclined or trained, feel free to be as intelligent and technical as you like. If your work entirely talks in the first person about your own experience, please include this also. There is a wide range of voices, and we are interested in being as inclusive of style as possible.

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, not when they are accepted for editing. If your essay is not accepted for the anthology, we will tell you after the first round of edits.

The anthology will be edited by Taylor Ellwood and Emily Carlin.

Taylor Ellwood is the author of Pop Culture Magick, Magical Identity, and other books on magic. He is also the managing non-fiction editor of Immanion Press. He can be found online at http://www.magicalexperiments.com

Emily Carlin, author of Defense Against The Dark, is a Wellesley grad, lawyer, geek and specialist in Seattle haunted lore.  She presents regularly at PantheaCon, and teaches defensive and shadow magick at
http://www.shadowkrafting.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.

Pantheacon, Bringing Race to the Table, and Racism

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Note: I’m cross posting this blog entry to my website, as well as on this blog.

I’ve just gotten back from Pantheacon. It’s been a transformative weekend, with new acquaintances made, friendships deepened, and good conversation and spiritual work done. One of the events I was proud to be part of was the Bringing Race to the Table Panel, where we discussed the recent anthology Bringing Race to the Table. Unfortunately, before the panel even began, a situation occurred where a racist joke was released in a satirical newsletter. The newsletter wasn’t an official pantheacon newsletter, but something done by individuals as a way to humorously comment on the proceedings of the convention (Its the Pantycon newsletter). In this case however, there was nothing funny about what was written. If anything, it highlighted exactly what people of color deal with everyday, and the fact that this occurred at a Pagan convention shows that racism is a reality no matter where you go. The joke in question was a fake workshop:

“Ignoring Racism: A Workshop for White Pagans
Large Umbrella Pagan Group

Isn’t all this talk of social justice and racism just tiring? Don’t you wish you could just ignore it and put out meaningless statements of pure pablum? We’ll discuss how to ignore requests for consideration by pagans of color, cover up racist actions of high-ranking members, and pretend that you don’t understand the resulting outrage. Remember, #AllLivesMatter, except  when it’s uncomfortabe or inconvenient.
Large Umbrella Pagan Group has been around for long enough that they think they can get away with this stuff.”

This joke is tasteless. Regardless of what the intention of the person or people writing it was, the result was that people of color felt triggered once again. This joke was a form of harassment (to put it mildly) and of racism.

Pantheacon has an anti-harassment policy. The head of programming showed up to the panel and made it clear that Pantheacon didn’t endorse or approve of what had been written. Additionally they had a cancelled workshop on Monday and made sure a follow-up session was made available of Pagans of Color and other people interested to discuss what happened and what could be done to make conventions safe. I was unfortunately not able to attend because I had to catch my flight back.

At the end of the Bringing the Race to the Table Panel, one of the attendees, Luna Pantera, who has contributed to Shades of Faith and Shades of Ritual got up and expressed how she was triggered by what had been written in that newsletter. The pain in her voice, the rage, the hurt, the fear is something that I as a white person have never had to experience. Then she asked all of us what we were going to do to take action, to make change, to stop letting this be an everyday reality.

What she expressed struck me to my core. It reminded me of the privilege I have, the white bubble I live in everyday. I take it for granted. But a person of color can’t take it for granted anywhere. In Shauna Aura Knight’s post she shares how an escort system was set up so Pagans of Color could feel safe and how people would walk by the POC hospitality Suite and yell Racist because the Pagans of Color wanted a safe space.

On Sunday night, after I’d finished up with the Immanion Press panel, I walked by the POC hospitality suite. They were going to have a closed door meeting, just available for them and what I noticed is that they were redirecting people coming to it, to go to another location. I didn’t follow because it wasn’t my business to, but it struck me how a space that was supposed to be safe was no longer because of racism.

Luna asked all of us what we were going to do to change this. I can’t answer for anyone else, but my own answer is to continue to call racism out, continue to take action to support people of color and to support causes that perform a similar function. We can only stop racism if we don’t allow it to flourish in any form, but instead recognize how it causes inequity, how it reinforces a system of oppression and how it diminishes all of us. What will you do to take action?

The Pop Culture Grimoire has been re-released

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The Pop Culture Grimoire (originally published in 2008) has just been re-released in print. We are also still looking for submissions for The Pop Culture Grimoire 2.0.

The Pop Culture Grimoire features essays on how to integrate popular culture into your magical practice and gives you access to creative applications that you can use to inspire your own exploration and experimentation. With essays by notable magicians Lisa McSherry, Lupa, Patrick Dunn, Bill Whitcomb and many more, The Pop Culture Grimoire offers a variety of perspectives on how to make pop culture magic work in your life. In the book you will learn how to:

Use your Ipod to create a music based Tarot reading
Create a pop culture music theme list that you can use for magical rituals
Build your own pop culture toolkit
Use World or Warcraft or other online games in magical rituals
And much much more…

Bringing Race to the Table: Exploring Racism in the Pagan Community is now available

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I’m pleased to announce that our latest anthology: Bringing Race to the Table: Exploring Racism in the Pagan Community is now available for pre-order and will be published on January 23rd.

Bringing Race to the Table: Exploring Racism in the Pagan Community is an anthology which explores the topic of racism and how it shows up in the Pagan community, as well as what we can do to discuss it and bring it out in the open. Each section of the anthology explores different facets of racism and how the Pagan community respond to it. Section 1: People of Color’s experience with Racism shares candid stories of how people of color have experienced racism in both subtle and overt forms, as well as how they have handled it. Section 2 Historical/Mythological Racism focuses on how Racism has shown up in mythological and historical contexts, as well as how it continues to show up in counter cultures. The final section: Being an Ally focuses on sharing suggestions and ideas on how white people can be better allies to people of color and how to be more aware of racism in both the Pagan and mainstream communities.

With essays from Xochiquetzal Duit Odinsdottir, T. Thorn Coyle, Crystal Blanton, Clio Ajana, Erick Dupree, Amy Hale, Lilith Dorsey, Lasara Firefox Allen and many others, this anthology explores racism and offers opportunities for us to engage this topic and proactively work to change our communities for the better.

The Reality of Amazon in Publishing

Amazon

Every so often, one of my authors will email me or instant message me and ask about something that has occurred on Amazon. Maybe they can’t find their book or maybe their book is being offered at a discounted rate, or maybe its something else. What they want is for me to solve the problem. However what they don’t realize is just what a complicated relationship there is between Amazon and publishers. Actually that’s true of distributors and retailers in general. The following may shed some light on the realities of dealing with any retailer, as well as some specific aspects of dealing with Amazon.

1. Publishers make prices, but retailers can change prices. A publisher can decide that a book is worth $20.99 and that’s what the book will cost on the publisher’s website. It’s also what the book will cost if you buy it direct from the author. But if you buy the book from Amazon or some other retailer, you may note that the price is sometimes discounted. Sometimes the discount is small and sometimes its large. This discount can effect royalties authors receive. The publisher has little control over the discount, because the book is being sold by a third party.

2. Kindlelicious. Another service Amazon provides is Kindle. Publishers can sign up for different types of kindle accounts. For example, you can sign up for a kindle account where you only offer e-books through kindle or you can sign up for one where you offer e-books through other sites. Obviously Amazon prefers you sign up for a kindle only account. There are some features you will get with Kindle only, but its always a toss up because not everyone wants to use Kindle.

3. Subscription based reading is becoming a reality. Amazon has set up a subscription service where you can read over 70,000 titles if you pay a monthly fee. The books aren’t free (the subscriber is paying a fee) but you won’t get as much royalties as you’d like because its essentially a library. This will become more of a reality for the publishing industry and you can’t do much about it because the retailer is still paying you for the content.

4. Publishers print the books and ship them out, but retailers sell the books and hold the balance of power. Publishing has always been an industry where the retailer holds the power. The retailer is the middle person in the equation and as such is for the most part dealing with the customers. Publishers accept this because of the exposure books get, but also accept that as a result retailers set a lot of the rules for the relationship.

Even if you self-publish, you still end up dealing with retailers of some type. For example, if you write a book and want to sell it, where do you go? Amazon, because you know amazon provides you an opportunity to get in front of your audience. But when you do that you also understand that Amazon is dictating the terms because you need them more than they need you.

My point in writing this post is just to explain that while publishers can and will do their part to represent their authors interests, they nonetheless have to deal with the retailers and that relationship isn’t an equal one by any measure. Knowing that can help you the author understand why some things occur on amazon and other retailer sites.

How to use Tumblr for marketing your books

Tumblr

Tumblr is a micro-blog website which allows users to post pictures, texts, video, etc to whoever is following them. It’s also quite a useful site for authors if you want to market yourself and your books. I’ve been using Tumblr for the last year or so and I’ve come to feel that it plays an essential part of staying in touch with people who might find my work relevant. If you’re an author and you aren’t on Tumblr, you might want to give it a try and see how it helps you connect with people on the site.

So far, the majority of Tumblr users seems to be in an age range between teens and early to mid thirties. A lot of the content shared is multi-media including pictures and texts or videos. A lot of the content shared is fan oriented, but I also see a lot of Social Justice causes shared on Tumblr. A lot of the content on Tumblr is unique to it, which means that it isn’t cross shared across multiple social media platforms.

Why should authors use Tumblr? If your target demographic is on Tumblr, you’ll want to be on there as well. But there’s also a variety of other reasons to consider having a Tumblr presence. What I like about Tumblr is the hashtag feature, which while not altogether unique, is useful for finding your target audience and connecting as well making sure your contents get in front of that target audience. Another feature I find intriguing is how Tumblr is set up to encourage sharing of content, both in terms of reblogging and favoriting. To comment on posts you typically need to reblog a post and offer your own commentary, which makes commenting a bit less back and forth.

How should authors use Tumblr? If you are going to use Tumblr, there are a couple suggestions I have. First, make sure you post some unique content just for Tumblr users. For example I’ll share excerpts of my latest book on Tumblr and nowhere else. Or I’ll write an essay that’s just for Tumblr. Second if you want people to respond and comment, makes you sure end a post with a question. This creates a little box at the bottom of your draft that asks if you want to let people respond. Doing these two things has helped me engage with my Tumblr audience more effectively.

Tumblr is definitely a useful social media site to be on. If you haven’t set up an account or have one, but don’t use it much, consider investing some effort into it, as it will help you connect with a different audience than what you’ll find on other social media sites.

Why Good Reads and Library Thing is your friend

Good reads

One of the challenges of being an author is figuring out how to market your books. The romantic dream of books flying off shelves on their own rarely happens. Usually the author needs to do a lot of work around marketing the book and themselves. One of the ways that an author can market their books is through sites such as Goodreads and Library Thing. These sites are set up so that people can catalog and review the books they have or wished they had. However if you’re an author you can also create an author account.

Simply claiming your author account can help you because of the search engine optimization benefits. It’s a couple more sites linked to your author site, with similar content which makes it easier for people to find your books and website.  An author account gives you a chance to claim the books you’ve written and interact with your fans. It also gives you another place to get book reviews. And there’s many other tools as well. For example on Goodreads you can do a book giveaway contest. I recently started one for my Manifesting Wealth book and I’ve already had 99 people indicate interest in the contest, I’m only giving five books away, so that means there’s a good chance the other people will possibly buy the book. And those who get the giveaway typically are more likely to review a book.

If you don’t have an account on good reads or library thing, consider setting one up. It doesn’t take a lot of time and the process of getting an author account is relatively easy. Once you get the account, take some time to fill out your profile and provide some interesting information to people. Then explore the sites and what they offer to authors. As you look over what they offer, ask yourself how you’ll use it to market your books. For example, I chose to do the book giveaway as a way of raising interest in Manifesting Wealth and also timed it with the holiday season in hopes that people entering the contest might also consider buying a copy. I’ll likely try a similar giveaway after the winter conference season is over.

Making use of these sites can help you market your books and doesn’t take a lot of work on your part. After you have everything set up, visit each site once or twice a month and let people on other social media sites know that you have an author account in case they want to write reviews for your book.