Sometimes we meet other writing groups with businesses we want to shine. Today, our interview is with Devon Carey, owner of ECMNetworks, and the Elite Critique groups on Facebook.
Hello Devon! Introduce yourself if you would?
Hello, yes, it would be my pleasure! My name is Devon Carey, founder of ECMNetwork (Entertainment Creative Media Network). Now, I know what you’re thinking… What happened to Elite Critiques? It’s still a thing, but we just decided to make it its own, single division of our entire company, which is going to be HUGE. And as big as we wanted to make this, “Elite Critiques,” simply was not capturing the BIG idea. I will explain bits and pieces of what we’re planning, our goals, aspirations, as we go along… But first, a little about me… I’ve always had a crazy imagination. I love writing, but I’ve always had an interest in business, too. I’m constantly working toward my goals and almost never stop working. I like to bring people together. I act in movies, major motion pictures. I’m in the National Guard and I drive with Uber part time. I’m also co-writing a few screenplays this year in 2016, one script might be running on a multi-million dollar budget. I just have to make it happen.
- Tell us a little about the history behind ECMNetwork. What motivated you to start this critique community and grow?
First, I began ECMNetwork (formerly Elite Critiques) as a simple Facebook group with 50 members with the hopes and dreams to bring together the creative community to help each other out, critique each others works, meet, network, and have a good time. This became 6 groups (writing, art, film, music, motivation and poetry) and expanded to a whooping 13,000 members across all rooms throughout the year. Then we became an online magazine for readers and writers. And from there, we became an entertainment news blog with an attached magazine to make things more interactive, responsive and more fun to work on for everyone. More details on that coming soon.
- Do you have a mission statement? Would you share it?
We want to always have new, fresh, entertaining content. We want different. We prefer skipping the boring parts and getting right to the good stuff. This is really what we are all about these days, and providing opportunities with other writers, actors, entertainers of any sort, by marketing and promoting for them. We have ways to make money on our website… You can earn commission through our affiliate network or get published in our fiction magazine and make a little bit of cash with your writing. In the end, we want to be that place that people can turn to for a good time. Our hopes is to become a Mobile APP network at some point, too. After all, everything is mobile these days. Look down at your phone and there we are. One step and we’re in your face. 🙂You can earn commission through our affiliate network or get published in our fiction magazine. #interview @ecmnetwork Click To Tweet
- Writing is a big business. What sets your magazine apart from the rest?
Unlike many magazines, we don’t do very many form rejection letters. I actually don’t think we do any. You see, we have multiple story judges instead of an Acquisitions Editor shuffling through submissions and sending them to the slush pile. So, even if a writer gets rejected, they will almost always, guaranteed, leave with feedback for their work. And that is more than you can say about many other magazines out there. Don’t you hate it when you submit and you get a rejection letter, no explanation as to why? We hate it, too. So we wanted to do something different and be true to our child division, Elite Critiques. These are real, normal people reading your work. And what better person knows what people want to read than readers, right? But aside from that, you can see passion in every page of an ECMNetwork magazine–dark, delicious fiction. Pure fiction. The types of stories you’ll read before bed, the ones that will keep you up at nights. Plus, the opportunity to publish other writers in a magazine is an honor and it just adds on to the many publishing opportunities that us, as writers, are always searching for.
- What are your goals for yourself and the company in the next 3-5 years?
This is a big one, but I’m glad you asked. Once our initial ECMNetwork website has enough funding, we plan on investing money earned into the more profitable departments of the business. You see, ECMNetwork is going to be broken up into several divisions. I won’t go into all the details or you’ll keep me talking all day, and plus, much of it is classified… But we have plans on branching off into having our own online critique community where you can get paid for critiquing other people’s works; a unique marketplace where both customer, consumer and merchant can make money; a mobile App Network; the entertainment news blog of course; a publishing department; services department; and even so far as a production division. Of course, this is probably more of a 10 year plan. But, right now, we are focusing on the marketing campaign and the first milestones of monetization. From there, we plan on starting our online Marketplace for merchants. Anyone that comes there to the Marketplace will be able to leave, making money. Even if you are there as a consumer. The business models for these divisions are highly classified, but there is (mostly) a solid 10 year plan in place. The beauty of this whole thing is that we want to create a way, an algorithm if you will, where anyone and everyone involved, even someone just visiting, can make money in the process. After all, making money is the biggest attention grabber. It’s complex, but the business plans / models all make sense.
- Do you have an profile page or portfolio?
- What is the biggest challenge you faced in launching your ezine?
Doing it the way I wanted it. People who worked with us were making it something I wasn’t comfortable with, in the beginning… but since then, it’s all changed and now it is exactly as I would like it to be. But I must say, probably the most challenging aspect of creating the magazine was designing it and affording the cover art and editing services. I found alternatives since then, but the way we started out… I gotta say, total waste of time and money when there were cheaper and more reliable alternatives.
- How do you define success?
I actually wrote a blog post on this… But the quote that I used, my own, mind you… “Success is when you never quit in the face of constant failure.” Failure is really the stepping stones to success. That’s what success is to me. You’ve only failed if you give up or never try in the first place. People may not see it that way, but why should someone that busts their butt have to suffer or be ridiculed by failing when they are the ones that gave it their all to begin with, right?“Success is when you never quit in the face of constant failure.” -Devon Carey #interview #ourwriteside @ecmnetwork Click To Tweet
- What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When we started making our first profit, realizing it was all becoming a reality. The journey, learning it all, self teaching myself stuff I never thought I’d be able to do–like designing a magazine from scratch, interviewing people, selling ad space, getting testimonials from people. It goes on and on. I also must say… getting to be in movies and major motion pictures has been pretty satisfying. It’s not as big an accomplishment, since I didn’t try hard to get into multi million dollar films… but it certainly felt awesome being on set and production with famous people.
- What social media site has been your most productive for marketing and promotion?
Facebook. To be honest. Interacting, adding friends, chatting with people in groups. I got away from a lot of my old tricks, but it is deff. Something I had some success with, especially when we first launched the Elite Critiques groups.
- Who is your favorite author and why?
I gotta say Richard Matheson. His style, structure, and beautiful execution makes you enter a world from which there is no return. I also have a soft spot for Stephen King and Clive Barker.
- Do you have a favorite genre? Book?
Horror, Dark Fiction. Favorite book… “What Dreams May Come” by Richard Matteson changed my life. “Hell-bound Heart.”
- If you could apply one famous quote to sum up your dream, what would it be?
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
- What advice do you have for new writers?
Love the craft. Love the writing. Do an outline. Don’t get too caught up in Writing facebook groups. Don’t overthink it. Follow the masters in the craft… for instance, the only real tool I use is James Patterson’s Master Class and reading. If you read and follow the Master’s in the business, you’ll be fine. If you get too caught up in facebook groups, you will get a TON of conflicting opinions and everyone thinking they know the best path you should take. It will be confusing, and you gotta think big and have confidence in your abilities.
- What is the future of writing?
Well, since the rise of easy, online, indie publishing, I am sure there have been a lot more writers just trying to make a quick buck on amazon. More have come out of the woodwork now that it’s easier to publish. Before, it was more challenging to even get an agent or publisher to look at you. Now you don’t gotta wait. You can go on Amazon and publish a book in 10 minutes. Not recommended, but the option, unfortunately, is there… which really just builds on to all the poor quality crap out there, and you have to try even harder to stand out.
- Why is your ezine so important for writers?
Writers love publication. Writers love being paid for their work. I’d like to say our magazine is haunting now. It used to just be for writers and readers, but since we started this super awesome new blog, we changed the magazine to a dark fiction magazine. My favorite genre. And a specific niche to focus around. The only thing you will not find on our website that you can find in the magazine is truly unique, new, dark, delicious fiction. The good stuff.
- Give us your elevator pitch. What can you say that will send our subscribers to your website so they can enjoy your ezine?
The first 3 beautiful magazines we ever published are 100% FREE. You get a Box set; we have daily content–true stories, inspiration, fascinating places to visit or not visit. Ways to make money, Advertising opportunities, we do reviews for businesses, products, services; we promote, market for you. You will never have a dull moment on our website. We’re moving a few segments to video and podcasts soon, too. And our magazine, well, you just won’t find better short fiction. Imagine grabbing your favorite candy from the story. You eat it, and it was soooooo good, and you’re craving more. That is what each story in our magazine will do to you.
- I’ve noticed that you ask for critiques on your facebook page. Are you a writer yourself? Is everyone on your staff a writer?
We have a few in-house writers. We have guest bloggers, guest posters, and I am currently working on finishing and publishing my very first book. One of our groups is actually called Elite Critiques, great place to go and connect with other writers and get critiques for your own work. 🙂 But these days, ECMNetwork is who we are. It really captures everything we are going to stand for.
- We see that there is a blog on your site. What do you use your blog for? Is the content created in house or do you accept submissions?
At the present time, we accept guest posts and we do have in-house writers. However, we cannot pay writers to write for our blog right now. In the future, sure. We only pay for stories in our magazine at the moment, but we do accept submissions for every department, as long as the writer in questions understands our terms of agreement, which is also located on our website on the Submission Guidelines page.
- Here’s your chance to self-promote. Please share your favorite piece of writing from your own personal notebook.
I do love a good self-promotion.
Diana Grace (On Driving Drunk)
Thanks for taking time to answer our questions and give us the inside scoop on ECMNetwork. We wish you huge success in your business endeavors.