Lessons From My Authors Community

Lessons From My Authors Community

How managing writers helped me as a writer.
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The above image is my most favorite meme about authors. I encountered it while hunting down images for a particular week of social media posts for Inkitt.com. I saved it for later, because it reminded me so very much of the community I managed at the time.

This piece has been more of a piece-in-progress for several months now, since every day in my former job was 3/4’s learning, and I had to grow with it each time I found something new. A bit of background info: in May 2015, I was invited to check out a very small, personable writing website named Inkitt. Having just started the final draft of Chimehour and wanting to build a readership for my planned indie novel, I was intrigued. My attempts at promotion with Wattpad and Goodreads had fallen flat, so I polished my first two chapters again and gave the site a shot. A very long and incredible road later, I became the community’s leader and popular reviewer, and my story hadn’t done too badly either. I assisted in the management of Inkitt’s authors (something the site had struggled with in the past)... so six months later, I had seen a lot. I experienced a lot. I spent every weekend in international conference calls that branched from Australia to Iraq. I had moderated AMAs with authors who were simply grateful for their ten followers who brought questions, or with Alan Tudyk, whose amazing, energetic personality alone drew crowds. It was a phenomenal, tireless, busy, annoying, and wonderful job in so many ways. It brings new surprises and incredible opportunities with every passing day.

Authors are just like all artists at the core: we are painters with words and sculptors of prose. But authors cannot be compared to, say, rock stars. They are a private and gentle company. They are quiet creatures who feed on late hours and passionate moods. They dwell, work, express, and share from under their quiet spaces, sharing little of themselves besides that. I am no exception to the rule, and often keep to myself as a creative type. Inkitt wasn’t my first community either, I had spent most of my early teen years lurking around Fanfiction.net, RP forums, and YouTube—to name a few. I had long been around the horse with other creative types. But it was never so obvious to me that other authors behaved the same way I did, not until I was the keeper of their corner of the Internet. We were the other to the Wattpads and FictionPresses of the net: a motley crew of authors who meant business, who loved literature. We were the foundations of a beginning; we were, for a moment, something tangibly different and beautiful. For a moment, we were writers, united in our solitude.

It was a tough job. It was early mornings for my Berlin crew and late nights for the U.S. It was presentation, prep, and a lot of pressure after I became the site’s sole American representative. Working with writers, so I learned, required a kind of bedside manner and humanity that companies can’t provide. Some days, I was organizer and hostess, always planning and presenting ideas to better my community. Some days, I felt like babysitter, keeping peace in a diverse and passionate community. Most days though, I felt like an author and equal, exchanging ideas and stories over Skype with my fellow writers, building ties for a strong community while we traded drafts. It never felt like work to expand my friendships, perhaps because it never felt like I was doing it for work anyway. I’m a big believer in finding one’s tribe; the people who are as passionate about something as you. I found that in Inkitt’s community, and we made for excellent company. My job became as personal as it was professional, and there was nothing quite like it. A realness ebbed through conversations and in every big project. It was incredible when you could reach out to so many people, from so many places, and make something work. It was the Internet’s magic at its finest.

I had to part ways with Inkitt not long ago, due to differences and school schedules. I have returned to my usual author business and hung up my manager badge for the moment, but its lessons and adventures promise to stay for a long time to come. There was something valuable and eye-opening to taking on such a challenging role, and I am wholly grateful for what it’s instilled in me since. I am equally as grateful for its community. I hope many of my companions have since stayed in contact, those connections outlasting the site and growing well past it. Perhaps we can form our own writing community some day. I can only be encouraged after the past year of experience, and hopeful for all the possibilities that have opened up since.

Cover Image Credit: Movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

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A Playlist From The iPod Of A Middle Schooler In 2007

I will always love you, Akon.
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Something happened today that I never thought in a million years would happen. I opened up a drawer at my parents' house and I found my pink, 4th generation iPod Nano. I had not seen this thing since I graduated from the 8th grade, and the headphones have not left my ears since I pulled it out of that drawer. It's funny to me how music can take you back. You listen to a song and suddenly you're wearing a pair of gauchos, sitting on the bleachers in a gym somewhere, avoiding boys at all cost at your seventh grade dance. So if you were around in 2007 and feel like reminiscing, here is a playlist straight from the iPod of a middle schooler in 2007.

1. "Bad Day" — Daniel Powter

2. "Hips Don't Lie" — Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean

SEE ALSO: 23 Iconic Disney Channel Moments We Will Never Forget

3. "Unwritten" — Natasha Bedingfield

4. "Run It!" — Chris Brown

5. "Girlfriend" — Avril Lavigne

6. "Move Along" — All-American Rejects

7. "Fergalicious" — Fergie

8. "Every Time We Touch" — Cascada

9. "Ms. New Booty" — Bubba Sparxxx

10. "Chain Hang Low" — Jibbs

11. "Smack That" — Akon ft. Eminem

12. "Waiting on the World to Change" — John Mayer

13. "Stupid Girls" — Pink

14. "Irreplaceable" — Beyonce

15. "Umbrella" — Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

16. "Don't Matter" — Akon

17. "Party Like A Rockstar" — Shop Boyz

18. "This Is Why I'm Hot" — Mims

19. "Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston

20. "Bartender" — T-Pain

21. "Pop, Lock and Drop It" — Huey

22. "Wait For You" — Elliot Yamin

23. "Lips Of An Angel" — Hinder

24. "Face Down" — Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

25. "Chasing Cars" — Snow Patrol

26. "No One" — Alicia Keys

27. "Cyclone" — Baby Bash ft. T-Pain

28. "Crank That" — Soulja Boy

29. "Kiss Kiss" — Chris Brown

SEE ALSO: 20 Of The Best 2000's Tunes We Still Know Every Word To

30. "Lip Gloss" — Lil' Mama

Cover Image Credit: http://nd01.jxs.cz/368/634/c6501cc7f9_18850334_o2.jpg

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My AP Environmental Science Class' Cookie Mining Experiment Shows Why Capitalism Is Destroying The Planet

Who cares about the environment with profits this high?

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With the AP exams in May approaching quickly, my AP Environmental Science class has wasted no time in jumping right into labs. To demonstrate the damage to the environment done by strip mining, we were instructed to remove the chocolate chips from cookies.

The experiment in itself was rather simple. We profited from fully or partially extracted chips ($8 for a full piece and $4 for a partial) and lost from buying tools, using time and area and incurring fines.

This might seem simplistic, but it showcased the nature of disastrous fossil fuel companies.

We were fined a $1 per minute we spent mining. It cost $4 per tool we bought (either tweezers or paper clips) and 50 cents for every square centimeter of cookie we mined.

Despite the seemingly overbearing charges compared to the sole way to profit, it was actually really easy to profit.

If we found even a partial chocolate chip per minute, that's $3 profit or utilization elsewhere. Tools were an investment that could be made up each with a partial chip, and clearly we were able to find much, much more than just one partial chip per tool.

Perhaps the most disproportionally easiest thing to get around were the fines. We were liable to be fined for habitat destruction, dangerous mining conditions with faulty tools, clutter, mess and noise level. No one in the class got fined for noise level nor faulty tools, but we got hit with habitat destruction and clutter, both of which added up to a mere $6.

We managed to avoid higher fines by deceiving our teacher by pushing together the broken cookie landscapes and swiping away the majority of our mess before being examined for fining purposes. This was amidst all of our cookies being broken into at least three portions.

After finding many, many chips, despite the costs of mining, we profited over $100. We earned a Franklin for destroying our sugary environment.

We weren't even the worst group.

It was kind of funny the situations other groups simulated to their cookies. We were meant to represent strip mining, but one group decided to represent mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is where companies go to extract resources from the tops of mountains via explosions to literally blow the tops off. This group did this by literally pulverizing their cookies to bits and pieces with their fists.

They incurred the maximum fine of $45. They didn't profit $100, however.

They profited over $500 dollars.

In the context of our environmental science class, these situations were anywhere from funny to satisfying. In the context of the real world, however, the consequences are devastating our environment.

Without even mentioning the current trajectory we're on approaching a near irreversible global temperature increase even if we took drastic measures this moment, mining and fracking is literally destroying ecosystems.



We think of earthquakes as creating mass amounts of sudden movement and unholy deep trenches as they fracture our crust. With dangerous mining habits, we do this ourselves.

Bigger companies not even related to mining end up destroying the planet and even hundreds of thousands of lives. ExxonMobil, BP? Still thriving in business after serial oil spills over the course of their operation. Purdue Pharma, the company who has misled the medical community for decades about the effects of OxyContin and its potential for abuse, is still running and ruining multitudes more lives every single day.

Did these companies receive fines? Yes.

But their business model is too profitable to make the fines have just about any effect upon their operation.

In our cookie mining simulation, we found that completely obliterating the landscape was much more profitable than being careful and walking on eggshells around the laws. Large, too-big-to-fail companies have held the future of our planet in their greedy paws and have likewise pulverized our environment, soon enough to be unable to return from.

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