Murray Newlands and Oliver Roup Chat with Paul Edmondson on the Future of Publishing

Ever wonder what it’ll be like to be an online writer three, five, or ten years from now? Check out the Future of Publishing today at 12 noon Pacific Time (-8 GMT).

The hour-long show, hosted by VigLink CEO Oliver Roup and blogger/online marketing consultant Murray Newlands, will include a series of interviews of today’s sharpest publishing and marketing minds (HubPages CEOs included!). In today’s episode, Newlands and Roup interview the following experts:

  • Pirouz Nilforoush, President & Co-Founder NetShelter,
  • Yulia Smirnova, SEO Manager, and
  • Paul Edmondson, CEO of HubPages.

Future of Publishing is airing live from San Francisco tomorrow right here. Come back to this post to watch it and don’t be left out!

This week only: Playkast is having a contest on the Future of Publishing Facebook page! After the show, viewers will be able to answer a series of questions which they will only know from watching the show. Viewers who score well will be entered into a random drawing to win an Amazon Kindle!

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Watch live video from futureofpublishing on www.justin.tv

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Future of Publishing is sponsored by VigLink.
Find out more at FutureOfPublishing.tv!

Reaping the Benefits of a Truly Stellar Hub – Stats on Flagship Hubs

The Flagship Hub Program was something we ran on a limited basis from 2007-2009. It paid Hubbers $25 (above the standard 60% impressions-based share of ad revenue) for publishing an incredibly in-depth, informative Hub.

Now, years later, we’ve had an opportunity to see how those 156 Hubs have done. Their overall performance is remarkable:

  • Total lifetime views:12,752,747
    Per Hub average:81,748
  • Current total monthly views: 430,330
    Per Hub average: 2,759
  • Assuming a $6 CPM average to the Hub Author, an ongoing $16.50/month per Flagship Hub in ad/affiliate revenue

This should be heartening to any Hubber, particularly those whose traffic hasn’t “broken through” yet, since there is nothing magical about the Flagship Hub formula. The very high requirements simply demand that the Hub cover its topic in considerable depth. Note, however, that the topics were carefully chosen and put together into a search-friendly title using our topic and title research techniques.

Ready for a challenge? Take a stab at making your next Hub perform to these standards (or, if one of your former traffic drivers has seen its views drop, then refreshing to this standard) and wait to see the impact. Truly great content might not get traffic outside of HubPages right away, but Google and other search engines tend to eventually reward the very best content with the highest rankings.

  • A minimum of 1500 words of truly informative, well-written, useful content
  • A minimum of 5 relevant, high-resolution, properly-attributed photos (ideally your own)
  • 1 video (ideally your own)
  • 1 Map and/or Table Capsule
  • 1 Poll and/or Quiz Capsule
  • 10 relevant tags, including 2-3 common spelling variants, if any
  • A maximum 150-word succinct, naturally-worded description of the utility of your Hub in the Hub Summary
  • Excellent thematic and aesthetic organization

Be sure to read the Learning Center entry on the elements of a stellar Hub for a more in-depth explanation.

New Notification Pane coming

We’ve been working to improve notifications to you over the past year, so that you’ll know when Hubs, comments, questions, answers, and forum posts are published on the site that you might want to know about. 2011 saw plenty of customization options, as well as improved digest and instant notifications, so that you could personalize when and how we notified you via email.

Starting on Monday, and on a limited basis at first (approximately 10% of users, randomly chosen), a notifications pane, similar to the one you might have seen used on Facebook and Google+, will let you know about site activity that might interest you, including comments left on Hubs you’re following, Forum posts on threads you’re following, new answers to any questions you’re following, and the like. Using requires simply clicking on the number, which represents how many unread notifications you have, and then clicking on the notification itself. If you have more than 6 notifications, clicking on the final row of the notification pane will take you to a listing of your most recent notifications.

After this initial trial rollout, when we’ll be fixing any bugs and adding additional polish and other utility enhancements, we’ll roll out this exciting new feature to everyone.

Take a look at a screenshot furnished by Simone below, to get an idea of what to expect:

Video Tips from K9keystrokes

K9keystrokes is one of our community’s strongest Hubbers. In addition to regularly turning out useful masterpieces (often related with our Weekly Topic Inspiration theme), K9keystrokes is participating in our video beta program, testing out our new hosted video feature that will soon be available to all Hubbers.

The video Hubs that K9keystrokes has created so far are fantastic, so we asked her to share some tips and tricks with the rest of us. We hope her excellent advice will inspire you to make some videos of your own soon!

Your video Hubs are a fantastic combination of video and text and photos, and all the information you’ve shared goes really well together. When you’ve started these Hubs, do you already have a plan and layout in mind, or do you kind of wing it?

I guess I would have to say a little of both. When I first created a video for HubPages it had been some time since I had been involved in anything to do with this medium, years in fact. So, I went pretty sparse just to get my feet wet. I chose a more “cottage-rough” style rather than a refined teaching style about clarified butter. This was simply for my own sake and to re-familiarize myself with techniques. No real plan or layout, just a chronological rendition of the topic. Turned out pretty choppy, over edited, and a total mess; but also was a blast to make! The next video, about making Sock Puppets, was more refined and better planned out; still maintaining a chronological take on the subject (which I think is paramount when teaching any subject or project). Having a plan always works best, but sometimes when you are deep within creative thinking, winging it has its advantages. Here’s what I mean; when I watch the raw (unedited) video footage after shooting, the initial plan may not work at all. So, I try to stay open to revisions during editing. When dealing with a video that is built specifically to fit within a written article (hub), flexibility is proving very helpful! But having a plan keeps me on task and within the time frame required.

6021422_f260Two of the video Hubs you’ve created detail specific projects- namely making sock puppets and repairing laminated wood veneer. Did you do those projects to demonstrate things for video Hubs, or did you just turn projects you were already doing into video Hubs?

The two video hubs you mention were done for the sake of making the videos, but served double-duty in terms of projects around the house. The Sock Puppet project was meant to help build interaction between families while having a little fun in doing so. My nieces and nephews come from large families where budgeting is important. The fact that making these adorable creations is dirt cheap was important to me because today, most every family is in this same tight economical position. Nothing wrong with a little cheap and easy homemade fun! The Veneer video was actually derived from rummaging through yard sale stuff and finding an old table that would work great in the house, but had some damage to the veneer top. I researched a few wood working pointers (ummm…I asked my retired Contractor dad) on how to handle laminated surfaces. It worked out great, and fit my needs as well as the Weekly Topic Inspiration on HubPages, which was a real bonus! I must admit, there is a little reenactment during video making, but the projects themselves are real. And, when making videos there is no shame in providing reenactment of a needed process or step if it aides in providing clarity about a task (and hides the fact that you burnt the crud out of your fingers because hot glue is about a thousand degrees in its molten state!).

http://hubpages.com/embed/video.php?vid=139&w=500

Have you made many videos before?

I was involved with making videos for many years, primarily from a producer or directorial position. I lead a team who made everything from Solar Energy Commercials, to Music videos. But, having to push all of the buttons and do all of the actual “work” myself is something new. Managing linear production editing has always been something left for others far more savvy than myself. Doing it all on my own, would have never even crossed my mind. Having the chance to learn to develop the projects from shot to finish, for the sake of articles on HubPages, has been wonderful and a surprisingly easy transition. I think most folks will find videos easy to master and a fun addition to any Online article. I am in no way trying to say I am a master in the realm of video editing, because this is just not the case. I had to learn the process for myself (and am still learning). I was scared out of my wits at first and had little know-how for the process. But, by just doing it, video making has become a joy. Know that I asked questions at any turn that I wasn’t certain about (Thank you HP team), and read up on modern techniques. As much as I hate to admit, it has been beneficial to step outside of my comfort zone. I miss those brilliant editing and video teams who made all of it so much fun back then. But, I find an intense satisfactions from being able to it all for myself today. If you have a chance to make videos with people you delight in being around, you should do it! It is just plain fun!! Yet, doing it all for yourself, brings its own kind of fun and sense of accomplishment.

Do you follow any particular process when creating video Hubs?

I do my own process for creating video hubs. Once I decide on the project or topic and what the video has to convey, I configure a time line, shooting everything (as much as possible) in the natural order of occurrence. I find this pays off BIG when doing the actual editing. As each segment of the video is set up, I am also thinking about which “still shots” will be most helpful in the body of the hub (and within the same time line). This is because each video has to also offer a written format and still images. It is easier to take the still shots as I go through the process so I don’t have as much to reproduce later. In my humble opinion, this gives each reader more than one style to learn from. Still images, written directions/information, moving video, and in some cases audio. Everyone learns best in their own way, so I try to provide as many learning tools within the topic as I can. This method also keeps readers on my page even if they don’t have the band width to accommodate videos, because it still provides the project information, and on occasion more detailed information.

What sort of camera do you shoot with? What editing program do you use?

I shoot with an older Sony Digital 8 Handycam video camera, and a Fuji S2 Pro digital Photography camera for the stills. I can capture stills with the Sony, but I prefer to shoot them with the Fuji for personal reasons. I download the video footage direct from the digital device to the editing software using an USB cable, which is as easy as plugging it into my PC. The editing program I use (no laughing now) is Windows Movie Maker. It is the free program that came with my laptop PC. My Mac took a turn for the worst so learning to edit with my PC has been a cherished lesson. It is so simple to use, and does just enough to keep me from over editing and under producing, which is the downfall of many new video makers! I also produce PhotoShop still images for each video from the still shots taken with the Fuji S2. Creating my own titles and directions in a step by step manner offers a polished look to the production. And most image editing software provides a wide range of options. Once a title shot or instruction image is done, I simply import the picture to the collections section (video clips) of Movie Maker and slip it into the video according to the time line, using a simple click and drag action. I also use these same instructional stills within the body of the written article which provides a coordinated eye-appeal to the viewer, while teaching the same methods with the still PhotoShopped images as found in the video. For me anyway, it makes a bigger impact when everything looks similar and appears to belong together. I take pride in how hubs look and feel. If it’s worth putting in my published hub collection, it’s worth doing right.

What has inspired the video Hubs you’ve made so far?

The videos so far are totally inspired by my need to learn something new, and the desire to share something I know. I rarely do anything without a reason or meaning, even those things as simple as commenting on a hub I have read, or engaging in conversations in the forums. It is all very real to me, and matters. If it didn’t I just wouldn’t bother with it. This is not from a viewpoint of smugness, but rather from a place where I am old enough to know that, if I am not having fun or can not find appreciation for what I am doing, why should anyone else? And so far, making videos and writing within the HubPages community has provided real significant meaning, and I find myself appreciating this daily. I wouldn’t trade it for anything! So, in a nutshell, my inspiration comes from NOT wanting to let the community or myself down; thus providing high quality written as well as video content is an imperative.

Bonus Tips from K9keystrokes:

A. When first editing videos it is really important to know when “enough is enough”. Transitions are fun to use, but really easy to overuse. My suggestion would be to find a transition that moves smoothly into the next segment of your video and stick with it throughout that video (I like the feel of a “fade” transition). Adding in “punctuation” transitions is fine, but judiciously. Too many obscure transitions can be distracting to the viewer. So, unless you are trying to make something really bizarre and intense, keep transitions subtle and easy to process for the viewer.

B. If you hand hold your video camera remember that when you zoom-in “tight” on something, every tiny movement gets exaggerated greatly. It can even make some folks a little motion sick. Try using a tripod when you have to zoom-in on your shot, this makes for a far more steady and appealing close up.

C. Shoot from different levels. What I mean is take footage from more than one position, i.e., a standing potion, a sitting position, and even a laying down prone position. These different camera angles add interesting components to your video. But, as with editing transitions, use them judiciously.

D. My favorite bit of advice for new video makers is “let your camera do the work” it is made to do. Use auto mode for lighting and focusing. This allows you to considerate on getting the shot framed just how you want it to be around your subject, without the worry of what exposure and aperture to use.

E. Today’s search engine user has a pretty short attention span, usually wanting to get in, get the information, and get out. Even as video can keep viewers on your page longer (simply by its design) keeping videos a reasonable length will also keep these same users coming back. So, edit out as much of the extraneous footage as you can, without damaging the integrity of the video you are creating.

F. Above all things, make sure you are having fun! If you’re not enjoying what you do, why should anyone else? Now go shoot some videos!

A New Contest & The Benefits of Q&A

The HubPages Know it All ContestGreat news, Hubbers! We’ve got another contest in the works. The HubPages Know It All Contest will take place throughout the month of March, and revolves around the Answers section of the site. You will be able to win prizes not only for Hubs you publish as Answers to Questions, but also for Questions you ask that inspire winning Hubs.

In honor of our upcoming contest, we’ve made this week’s Online Writing Insider all about the benefits of using Q&A as an online writer. In the podcast (The Benefits Asking and Answering Questions Online), we discuss various ways in which both asking and answering questions online can help you conduct research, build a brand, and engage in some valuable networking.

Now, you’re probably interested in knowing more about the contest, so here are the major details.

Most importantly, we’ll be giving away over $3,600 in prize money:

  • $1400 in $50 Daily Drawing Prizes awarded to a randomly selected Hub Answer from the entries submitted each day of the contest
    • $280 in $10 Daily Drawing Prizes awarded to each Question that the Daily Drawing Hubs Answer
  • $600 in $50 Weekly Prizes awarded to the best Hub Answers of each week
    • $300 in $25 Weekly Prizes awarded to the Questions that each winning Weekly Hub Answer
  • $500 First Place Hub Answer Prize
    • $100 First Place Question Prize for the Question that inspires the First Place winner
  • $250 Second Place Hub Answer Prize
    • $50 Second Place Question Prize for the Question that inspires the Second Place winner
  • $100 Third Place Hub Answer Prize
    • $25 Third Place Question Prize for the Question that inspires the Third Place winner

Now, to win these prizes:

  • Hub entries must answer a Question on HubPages (the Hub must be created by first visiting the Question, then clicking “answer this question” and then choosing the “make a Hub about it” option. Short-form responses are not entered in the contest.)
  • Hub entries must have at least one image, and all images are legally used (see our Learning Center guide on legal image use)
  • Entries must be published for the first time on that given contest day
  • Hub entries must be a minimum of 500 words
  • Question and Hub entries must be entirely original to HubPages
  • Hub entries must not be in response to your own Question

And non-random winners will be judged based on:

  • The extent to which the entry accurately answers the Question asked
  • The presence and quality of original photos and video
  • Whether the entry is on a long-tail, niche topic that has not been extensively covered online
  • Whether the entry has a search-friendly title (mirrors common search terms)
  • Excellent writing (proper use of grammar, capitalization)
  • The entry’s uniqueness (not copied or paraphrased from elsewhere online, full of details, examples, names, and figures)
  • Attractive formatting (avoidance of excessive link, eBay, or Amazon capsule clutter, excessive bolding or italics, and all-caps)
  • Judicious use of relevant capsules (original photos [especially your own], video, maps, tables, links, etc.)

Finally, while the contest does not start until March 1st, you can start asking Questions that qualify and drafting Hub Answers (NOT published) now! Here are the logistical details:

  • Hub Answers may first be submitted Thursday, March 1st at 12:00pm (PT) (though Questions may be asked at any time, and Hub Answers may be started as drafts, but not published, ahead of time)
  • The final deadline for entries is Friday, March 30th at 12:00pm (PT)
  • Daily Drawing prize winners will be announced every weekday around 4:00pm (PT)
  • Weekly Prize winners will be announced on Mondays (starting on the 12th)
  • First, Second, and Third Place winners will be announced on Friday, April 6th around 4:00pm (PT)

We hope you’re as excited about this contest as we are- and that you have fun with the Answers feature on our site!

The Best Way to Write a Sports Hub

Many people avoid writing about sports on HubPages because typical sports articles are too newsy to be successful in the long run. That said, sports are actually splendid activities to write about! In addition to being fun to write about (not to mention search-friendly), chances are that you know one or two sports very well, and can therefore leverage your expertise.

The key is to write evergreen, helpful guides to sports explaining their background, the rules of engagement, and helpful tips on developing one’s skills and finding greater success.

If you don’t think you’re a sporty person, think again! You may know all the inns and outs of bog snorkeling, for example, or perhaps you’re an expert at thumb wars and toe wrestling, or maybe you’re well-versed on jousting etiquette.

If you’re concerned that your favorite sport is too mainstream for any of your guides to break through the competition, just go niche. If you really like football (as many do, right now 😉 ), you can always write a Hub on properly fitting protective padding and choosing good helmets, or perhaps you can share your tips on using wet fields to your advantage, getting started as a kid, or transitioning from a high school to a college football team.

We’ve made sports this week’s Weekly Topic Inspiration theme, and encourage you to join us in sharing tips, background, and explanations of your favorite sports. To join in on the action, create a Hub as an Answer to our Weekly Topic Inspiration question, and share what you’ve published this week’s Weekly Topic Inspiration forum thread, where you can also find additional tips, ideas for titles, and community support.

We hope you’ll join in on the fun!

[Photo (CC-BY-2.0) via Alaskan Dude on flickr]

Hubbing Inspiration from CClitgirl

Every now and then, I come across a Hubber whose Hubs both pique my interest and inspire me to improve my own writing.  Cclitgirl, though still a new entrant to the HubPages community, is definitely one of those individuals.

Since one does not always come across new Hubbers who ‘get it’ so quickly, I was very curious to discover cclitgirl’s secret to success. It turns out that she has all sorts of good things going for her: a splendidly grounded worldview, an inquisitive mind, excellent discipline, and a strong passion for writing.

Cclitgirl expounds on these aspects of her life in the interview below. Perhaps her ventures will encourage you to up your ante on HubPages. They sure have inspired me!

How did you first hear about HubPages? Why did you join?

I found a HubPages article online about getting paid to write. I was interested in making a little bit of side income and had recently rekindled my love of writing. I thought, “why not?” I have a blog and maybe I can do this, too. I joined and have never looked back. It’s been a great experience.

You share in your profile that you’re a Spanish teacher and studied Anthropology, Spanish, Fine Arts and Education. Have any of those fields made their way into your Hubs?

They really have! I would say that they’re part of my Hubs in both indirect and direct ways. I’m noticing skills that I have as a teacher showing up in my Hubs. For example, I’m obsessed with grammar. I really try hard to keep my Hubs typo-free. In my teaching as well as my writing, I also have to be organized. I know that if I’m not, I won’t be an effective communicator. When I studied these different disciplines, I recall the intensity of writing a 125-page paper for my Anthropology thesis and many 25-page papers in Spanish. I enjoy that intensity and enjoy learning. Thus, I can show that enthusiasm in my Hubs – or at least I hope I do. My love of Anthropology, Spanish and Art also show up more overtly at times in my Hubs. I make a living out of using language and culture – especially US culture, because I live here. I have written about selling art and my own artwork. I have peppered some of my Hubs with my Spanish skills. I even have plans to talk more about learning Spanish and doing Hubs on painting.

It may not seem like it, but all my Hubs actually reflect my philosophy towards life, as well. When I was 15, I took a trip to the Philippines. I acutely remember meeting a happy, giving people while also seeing more poverty than I ever had in my life. Since then, I have been to several other countries and I looked at how people lived and how they interacted with each other. People in many other cultures seem happy and they often live on so much less than the average American. Seeing that affected me deeply. It got me thinking about being green, living with less, and living more simply. So, if my Hubs aren’t dealing with language, art and culture, they’re dealing with living simply, frugally, and with commonsense ideas for approaching health and happiness.

You have only been on HubPages for around two months but have already published 40 fabulous Hubs. Are there any secrets to your strong start that you could share with fellow Hubbers?

When I got here to HubPages, I instinctively knew that I would need to participate in the community. I immediately delved into writing Hubs while ascending a steep learning curve. I thought it wise to seek out the Elite Hubbers and emulate them. I also studied Hubs of the Day and other Hubs about creating really well done articles. I was so thankful that so many Hubbers shared information so freely – I learned about referral trackers, backlinking, writing about what others want to read, and even some HTML code. I began commenting and voraciously reading to learn as much as I could about Hubbing and interesting subjects in general. I certainly hope that I can give back to the HubPages Community what has been given to me.

In one of your Hubs, you admit that in the past, you did not enjoy writing, but have recently discovered your passion for it, and have even finished over 200 pages of a memoir as well as another book. Where did the inspiration and drive come from?

There was a time when I definitely didn’t enjoy writing as much as I do now. I was in college and my professors and I didn’t see eye to eye on how I was writing papers versus what they wanted. However, I pressed on. I have notebooks full of journal entries and I have saved written assignments from elementary school onward – physical proof of my love for it.

I decided to write a memoir about two years ago after meeting some friends and telling them some of my life stories. They immediately asked if I had written any of those stories down. When I told them “only some – in journal entries,” they kept prodding me to write. Finally, I decided to do so. I wrote about growing up in a nursing home – yes, a nursing home – and my crazy life with five other brothers and sisters… and how I was adopted when I was little. That added an interesting twist. Though I have around 233 pages, it’s still the first draft. I wanted to set it aside for awhile so that I will be able to go back to it completely fresh and edit and revise for a second draft. I hope to publish it someday.

In addition to having a presence on HubPages, you have a couple of blogs and a website, as well as a Facebook presence. Are the things you publish in all these different places complimentary? How do you manage to maintain so much while also maintaining your career and personal life?

It’s definitely a system of balance and time management. Before I arrived at HubPages, I already had a Facebook presence. Because I enjoy fine arts, I also had that website going. It was after I got to HubPages that I read about the necessity of a blog, so I created two to compliment my writing here. After writing a Hub, I’ll often post to one of my blogs and either take a different angle to the article I wrote or supplement what I wrote in my Hub. The good thing about blogging is that the entries don’t have to be as word-intensive as a Hub – a real timesaver! But with all this writing, I had to create a “routine” of sorts. I get up before work to write and respond to comments from fellow Hubbers. If I have time during the day, I might check to respond to a comment or two. Then after work, I commit to writing for a few hours. I won’t let myself eat dinner until I’m finished! If I have something going on in my personal life, I might take a day off from writing, but otherwise, I try to make this my daily schedule so that I can meet my goals.

What are your writing goals for 2012 – both on HubPages and off?

Because of my passion for writing and conveying information, I hope to create 300 Hubs this year. I know that’s a lofty goal. But I know myself. If I don’t have a routine and don’t make it a habit, I won’t sit down every day and write. One of my biggest inspirations is Jack London, the author of White Fang. He once remarked how he made it a routine to write, with no excuses. He wrote 1400 words per day. While I don’t usually write that much on any given day, it’s definitely something to work towards.

I also hope to start revisions of my memoir during the warmer months. I’ll have more time and can really devote plenty of hours to writing – one day at a time.

I also want to thank HubPages and the Community for reading my Hubs, for all your feedback and help and here’s to great Hubs from all of us in 2012!

How to Find Your Niche Online

This week’s Online Writing Insider podcast is inspired by a request from Krystal Dillard on our Facebook page, who asked us for some tips on finding one’s niche online.

Finding a niche as an online writer is sort of like finding one’s ideal career path in real life. Some people find their niche right away and experience quick success, others take a more winding course, complete with several dead ends and many twists and turns.

Join us in our latest podcast as we share what we think is the best approach to Finding Your Niche as an Online Writer. Clearly there are many ways to find your own special wedge of the Internet, but the steps we outline are those described and used by the majority of online writers who have found success.

Big thanks to Krystal for the fabulous topic. What would you like to see us cover next? Let us know what advice you’d like to get by sending us an email in podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com. We would love to hear from you!

Upcoming Change to Moderation Policy: Feedback Banners Disallowed

Here at HubPages, we are constantly looking to improve Hub quality and ensure that high quality content is presented in the best way possible. Beginning in February, we will no longer allow banner images within Hub content that ask readers to provide feedback. These banners typically ask for up votes with low resolution images and unattractive formatting, as demonstrated in the example provided below.  The UI for Hub feedback is now clear and prominent enough to make such banners an unnecessary distraction to great content.

Beginning today, January 16th, Hubbers can provide us with the image URL from their photo gallery for their promotional banner, and we will can automatically remove the Photo Capsule with the banner in it without unpublishing the Hub. We will do this by the end of the month.

Please submit any feedback banner image URLs via this form.

On February 1st, any remaining images will be subject to moderation.

Shadesbreath Has Published a Novel!

While Shadesbreath may be one of HubPages’ most popular and beloved writers, there is more behind this Hubber, whose real name is John Daulton, than meets the eye!

On his profile, John shares that Shadesbreath is but the sarcastic alter ego of his fantasy and science fiction writing self. This sci-fi-fantasy writer has been quite busy as of late, and has just released his first novel, The Galactic Mage, a magical space epic.

To get a more thorough update on the project, as well as some tips for those on HubPages interested in executing a similar feat, we asked Shadesbreath for an interview to which he obligingly agreed. I hope the following exchange inspires you to develop additional writing ambitions of your own!

So, your novel is officially out! How do you feel at this point? Euphoric? Tired?

Yes. Euphoric and tired sums it up pretty nicely. It’s been a lot more work than I expected, especially this last week, tying up the loose ends, but the experience and learning is great. As far as the euphoria goes, it really is exciting. These characters have been in my head for so many years, like little people locked up in the pickled cells of my brain, but finally they are free. They get to go meet the rest of the world, make friends in a way, and take on an existence of their own. I hope people will love them as much as I do. It’s a little scary, honestly. But very cool.

For how long have you been working on The Galactic Mage?

I wrote it… the first time… eight or so years ago. I sent out queries to publishers until finally one publisher asked to see more. They even asked for the synopsis of the whole trilogy (which I had in great detail). Months later, they wrote back and told me “we love the story, but the writing isn’t what we’re looking for.” I heard that as, “You write like a two-year-old.” I’d already started back to school to get a degree in English and that letter cemented the deal. Rather than feel bad, I realized I had a good story, but I just didn’t know how to tell it well. When I finished my BA, I threw out the old manuscript and started over from scratch. I’ve been polishing it since.

Is this your first novel?

In print, yes.

The Galactic Mage will be published as a trade paperback and Kindle e-book on Amazon.com, and as a Nook e-book on Barnesandnoble.com. How did you choose your publishing formats, and was it much work to offer the book in so many forms?

I picked them based mainly on marketing factors. Amazon is the big dog in the universe, and success with Amazon comes with monster benefits. Cracking 1000 sales on Amazon is a threshold goal for me. From there, I believe the recommendations feature they have—you know, the thing that says, “people who bought this book also bought these others”— can really start generating unit sales. But, you have to get that first 1000 to really have statistical relevance for their system. I realize 1000 is a big number, but I’m aiming high and, well, we’ll see how it works long term. Uhh, by the way, how many copies can I put you and your family down for?

How have you been getting the word out about your work?

HubPages and Facebook are my main platforms. Facebook is fantastic for spikes of traffic and viral buzz. I’ve got a page set up just for the book, you can check it out (you’ll love the video. I’m very proud of the video trailer). Plus, Facebook ads are amazing, almost evil, in how narrow you can target niches. I’ll be working that pretty hard.

As far as HubPages goes, HP is just a rockin’ platform for me. I get about 40,000 page views a month, and while I know some of the hardcore folks like Patty Inglish or Habee would probably cut themselves if that’s all they got, I’m stoked to have access to that many pairs of eyes. My website and blog get consistent traffic from readers who find me through HubPages, and I’m counting on HP to keep delivering readers going forward. The three years I have spent here—even though I mostly write satire and pedantic sounding flatulence jokes—continue to be time extremely well spent for my writing career. And that’s not even counting the network of people I’ve met who help me constantly or any of the friends I’ve made.

Do you have any other books in the works?

I’m in final revisions of a novel titled A Fish Story, and I have a novelette called “Auction Yard” for which cover art is being finished as we speak. Probably out in February on that. Also come February, I’ll be writing book two in The Galactic Mage series, called Rift in the Races. With luck, I can have it out in time to sell for Christmas, but I at least want it out by this time next year.

Amongst all this novel writing you have been doing, what role does HubPages play?

Hubpages is my release valve. I know I’m supposed to write useful articles about stuff that is, uh, useful, but I don’t know anything useful. HubPages gives me an outlet for my writerly spasms, typically of the sort that look like grammatical outrage, social commentary, the aforementioned pedantic flatulence pieces, and whatever satirical something or other I can’t help but write. Amazingly, I get a check every month from you guys for that. I’m still not sure how that works, but I ain’t complainin’.

What advice would you give to other Hubbers who would like to publish books of their own?

Stop dreaming. So many people out there “dream” about being “a novelist someday.” Writing isn’t a dream. It’s a discipline. Make a plan and then do it.