Chuck Barrett https://chuckbarrettbooks.com Author Thu, 13 Dec 2018 21:25:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.1 Are you an Outliner or a Pantser? https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/12/13/are-you-an-outliner-or-a-pantser/ https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/12/13/are-you-an-outliner-or-a-pantser/#respond Thu, 13 Dec 2018 21:25:38 +0000 https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/?p=4448 Over the years I’ve run across so many authors who say they outline, some extensively, and declare there is no other way to write a novel than to have an exhaustive outline. I’ve also run across just as many authors, very successful ones I might add, who claim that writing by the seat of the…

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Over the years I’ve run across so many authors who say they outline, some extensively, and declare there is no other way to write a novel than to have an exhaustive outline. I’ve also run across just as many authors, very successful ones I might add, who claim that writing by the seat of the pants is the only way to really capture that unexpected thrill that a reader gets when a story takes an unexpected turn or twist…because it was unexpected for the pantser author as well.

For example: Many years ago I attended a writers conference in Northeast Florida and one of the presentations had two NY Times bestselling authors on stage, Steve Berry and Lee Child. They both have very successful thriller series with the main protagonists, Cotton Malone for Berry and Jack Reacher for Child. I have read both authors for many years and enjoyed countless hours of reading pleasure from both. But the writing habits of these two authors are different as night and day.

While on stage, the authors were asked about how much research each did before writing a novel. I already knew Steve Berry’s answer. I had known the man for a few years prior to this conference. He even blurbed my first novel, The Savannah Project. Steve Berry researches extensively prior to writing a single word, outlining as he goes. Then he revises that outline until he is satisfied…then he writes. Berry proceeded to tell the audience of writers about his routine. Then the same question was asked of Lee Child. His answer was short and to the point. “I never research,” he said. Although a little hard to believe that he does NO research at all, he nevertheless typifies a true pantser.

So what is the difference and what type of writer are you?

 

Outline vs Pantser

  1. Outline: An outline is a listing of either the scenes in the novel or the chapters in the novel. Many authors create a list of scenes and, later, decide what will constitute the chapters.

The outline should tie back to the Premise.

The Outline will probably be revised several times during the writing of the novel.

  1. Pantser: Some authors prefer to create a Premise and a protagonist, then put the protagonist into the inciting incident and see where that leads the author. They claim this is more creative and more “involving” than trying to outline the novel from the start.

This is called “writing by the seat of your pants…or pantser!

Advantages to outlining your novel:

  1. An outline forces you to focus. Writing an outline forces you to take a step back and narrow your vision. Just what is this story you’re going to tell? What is the conflict between the characters? How will they resolve the conflict? How will they grow and change along the way? Your ideas about these things might change in the course of writing the story, but the outline forces you to think about them early on.
  2. An outline fights fear. An outline serves as your roadmap, a reassurance that you do, indeed, have a goal in mind. The outline can help keep you on tract and point you toward “the end” and your completed manuscript.
  3. An outline helps you balance. An outline, being an overview of your story, helps you determine if you have the right balance of elements in your story.
  4. An outline helps you plot. To write an outline you have to know what happens in the beginning, middle and end of your book. The particulars of those events may change in the course of writing the book, but the outline gives you the framework of your plot. Knowing the ending helps you ‘aim’ the story in that direction. Writing the outline also plants that ending, your goal, if you will, in your subconscious mind, so that as you work on your story, your subconscious is always coming up with new and better ways to push your characters toward their black moment and eventual triumph.
  5. An outline prevents sagging middles. Write an outline and you will find out right away if you have enough going on to sustain the middle third of your book. If your middle stretches like an empty road between the beginning and end of your story, the outline gives you an opportunity to brainstorm complications and events to make that middle an interesting, important part of your book.
  6. An outline helps you write faster and be more productive. If I have an idea what needs to happen in a chapter, when I sit down to write I don’t have to waste a lot of time with false starts and stalls. I have my goal in mind and as soon as I sit down to write, I’m on my way there.

Disadvantages to outlining:

  • You can’t possibly cover everything that happens
  • An outline doesn’t show emotion, character reactions, etc.
    • An outline tends to focus on plot ‘what happens. But how it happens, why it happens, the people it happens to, and the effect the action has on those people is just as important and in some cases MORE important, than the plot itself. If you forget that, what you can end up with is a technically competent, well-plotted story that leaves the reader cold.
  • You feel you must stick to your outline
    • That said, one of the disadvantages of plotting the book before you write it is that you may come to feel that you must stick to your outline, no matter what. So, it can be confining.
  • You’re more likely to opt for the easy solution
    • You have to be careful when you’re first outlining the book that you don’t opt for the easy solution. Don’t always put down the first thing that comes to mind. Really think about your plot points and situations. Use your creativity. Ask yourself if what you’re putting down is really original, or if you could do better. Because an outline is a short summary of the book, there’s a temptation to do a ‘quick and dirty’ job of it just to get it over with.
  • Takes time to do a good job
    • If you’re going to outline your story beforehand, take the time to do a good job. This pre-writing phase is very important, so give it the attention it deserves.

 

Writing by the seat of your pants. Pantser:

  • Sit down and write
  • Some prep work required
    • Over the years I’ve talked with a lot of different authors and one thing I’ve learned is that even avowed seat of the pants writers, like myself, do some prep work before beginning their story.
  • Focus usually on main character(s)
    • Often, we’ll focus on their main character or characters. We may do journaling or character sketches or character interviews, or we may just spend some time daydreaming about our character, getting to know this person, as it were. When we sit down to write, then, we allow the character to lead us in the direction the story should go.
  • Start with conflict, theme, action
    • Or maybe we start with an idea a conflict, or an inciting incident; the thing that triggers the action of the story. Or a theme we want to explore. We might start with the ending and must try to figure out how to get there.
  • Start with only a basic idea
    • But again, we may not have much more than these ideas or characters when we begin to write. For true seat of the pants writers, the adventure for us is discovering our story along the way.
  • Willing to start with more false starts.
  • Could write yourself into a corner
  • You’re more prone to follow ‘rabbit holes.’

 

If truth be told, even the most devout of pantsers do some plotting. Even if it’s just jotting down plot notes as they go along. I start somewhere around the 50% mark. Usually just things each character needs to accomplish (or have done to them) by the end of the story. Remember, when your writing an intricate 100k word novel, you’ll need some help keeping your eyes on THE END. Remember to tie up all your loose ends or you’re cheating your reader. Dangling threads left unresolved is one good (or bad) way to get nasty emails from unsatisfied and pissed off readers.

By now you’ve probably identified yourself as either a plotter or a pantser. Whichever approach works for you, I’m convinced you can learn from writers who take a different approach.

 

Good luck and keep writing!

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The Premise Line: A great way to kick-start your novel https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/12/06/the-premise-line-a-great-way-to-kick-start-your-novel/ https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/12/06/the-premise-line-a-great-way-to-kick-start-your-novel/#respond Thu, 06 Dec 2018 21:54:13 +0000 https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/?p=4440 Every author, from  beginner to seasoned, must make that first decision: What is this story going to be about and where do I start? For some authors, I dare say most, this is their first big hurdle. Once cleared, they are on their way to writing that novel. Questions abound in the beginning. A big…

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Every author, from  beginner to seasoned, must make that first decision: What is this story going to be about and where do I start?

For some authors, I dare say most, this is their first big hurdle. Once cleared, they are on their way to writing that novel. Questions abound in the beginning. A big one is should I outline? Outlining isn’t for everyone. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll save outlining vs writing by the seat of your pants for another segment. So, where should you start? I have an idea that might help.

You’ve no doubt been thinking about this novel for a while, either deliberately jotting down notes or doing research and printing gobs of articles or just letting ideas stew in your brain. Either way, you’ve probably been wondering how you are going to weave all the pieces together into a finished product. Sometimes getting started seems to be the hardest part of writing a novel. Here is a tip that I use and I think it might help.

Think about this:

Every book, as with every film, TV show, screenplay and stage play have one thing in common—the premise.

The premise is the underlying idea of your story-the foundation that supports your entire plot. If you can establish what your premise is at the beginning of your project, you will have an easier time writing your story.

Without a Premise, an author can fail to make the plot come to fruition. A premise adds focus and is the organizing concept driving the creation of your story. Every scene, every sentence should be written with the Premise in mind.

A Premise contains three elements:

(1) Identifies the protagonist;

(2) Communicates what incites the protagonist to act & why.

(3) Communicates what the protagonist must achieve; this usually involves overcoming an antagonist and/or counter-intention of some sort.

The Premise can (and should) be updated, as the novel progresses.

Examples of premise lines from famous films:

 

See if you can guess these movies by their premise line:

 

  1. A land lubber sheriff tries to kill a giant shark to protect his family and seaside resort town.
  2. A small boy who was accidentally left alone tries to prevent robbers from breaking into his home during Christmas.
  3. The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.
  4. A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.
  5. A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.
  6. A boy who communicates with spirits that don’t know they’re dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

 

Check you answers:

Jaws
Home Alone
The Godfather
The Matrix
Silence of the Lambs
The Sixth Sense

As you can see, a premise line doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s a tool to keep your writing on track and and your mind always focused on The End. I write out my premise line on a sticky note and attach it to my monitor. If and when it needs to change (and that happens several times each novel) I rewrite it and replace the old with the new.

This was my final premise Line for Last Chance:  A disavowed spy in search of his vanished partner finds himself in a small Wyoming town reluctantly stuck in a battle between the Town Marshal and a corrupt land baron.

Good luck and happy writing!

 

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Goodreads Book Giveaway! https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/12/02/goodreads-book-giveaway/ https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/12/02/goodreads-book-giveaway/#respond Sun, 02 Dec 2018 22:40:01 +0000 https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/?p=4437 Don’t miss your chance to win my latest thriller! Goodreads Book Giveaway Last Chance by Chuck Barrett Giveaway ends December 31, 2018. See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter Giveaway

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Don’t miss your chance to win my latest thriller!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Last Chance by Chuck Barrett

Last Chance

by Chuck Barrett

Giveaway ends December 31, 2018.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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LAST CHANCE has hit the shelves! https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/10/24/last-chance-has-hit-the-shelves/ https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/10/24/last-chance-has-hit-the-shelves/#respond Wed, 24 Oct 2018 15:44:08 +0000 https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/?p=4415 LAST CHANCE is here! That’s right, the long-awaited day is finally here—Release Day for LAST CHANCE. Early readers have given it rave reviews. Here’s what some had to say: “Suspenseful. Twist & turns. Surprises. Powerful. Touching.” “Well, Chuck, you do not disappoint. This book is outstanding!” “Finished Last Chance last night. My favorite so far.…

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LAST CHANCE is here!

That’s right, the long-awaited day is finally here—Release Day for LAST CHANCE. Early readers have given it rave reviews. Here’s what some had to say:

“Suspenseful. Twist & turns. Surprises. Powerful. Touching.”

“Well, Chuck, you do not disappoint. This book is outstanding!”

“Finished Last Chance last night. My favorite so far. Really good read from start to finish.”

“I loved the pace and the flow. AND I didn’t see some of the things coming; very engaging!”

 

Last Chance is the second in Gregg Kaplan series and a powerful book sure to keep you reading for hours on end. Of course, that is always the plan!

Haven’t bought Last Chance yet? Let me make this as easy as I can, here are all the links you’ll need. Just click and go:

 

Print:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Book-A-Million

Signed copy direct from me

 

eBook:

Kindle

Nook

Kobo

Apple iBook

Audible audiobook


Get your copy today!

If you’ve already purchased Last Chance, my sincerest thanks. I’m certain you’ll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. When you’ve reached The End, I would be earnestly grateful for your honest review on Amazon. Just click the Amazon link above and leave a review.

What am I doing now? I’m busy writing my next thriller. Will it be Kaplan? Pendleton? You’ll have to wait to find out. In the meantime…

Thank you again for being a loyal reader and happy reading.

Chuck

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LAST CHANCE is almost here! https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/10/22/last-chance-is-almost-here/ https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/10/22/last-chance-is-almost-here/#respond Mon, 22 Oct 2018 04:01:13 +0000 https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/?p=4405 In less than 24 hours, Last Chance will be officially released. That means all the pre-orders will be filled. If you pre-ordered the eBook or audiobook version, it will be automatically sent to your device. (Isn’t technology wonderful?) If you pre-ordered the print version, it will be shipped to mailing address. I’m super excited about…

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In less than 24 hours, Last Chance will be officially released. That means all the pre-orders will be filled. If you pre-ordered the eBook or audiobook version, it will be automatically sent to your device. (Isn’t technology wonderful?) If you pre-ordered the print version, it will be shipped to mailing address.

I’m super excited about this release. Last Chance is a little different than all my previous books in theme and setting. I think in a good way, too. I’m confident this is a story you will like.

If you have not pre-ordered your copy of Last Chance, now is as good a time as any. Maybe better! I’ve attached a link to the Last Chance page on my website where you can make your order from the vendor of your choice and in whichever format you prefer. Whether it’s a print copy, and eBook, or an audiobook, your choices are many. You can even purchase a signed copy directly from me!

So, here’s the link, go check it out:

https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/books/last-chance/

Happy reading!

Chuck

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AT&T Cell Subscribers Beware! https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/08/08/att-cell-subscribers-beware/ https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/08/08/att-cell-subscribers-beware/#respond Thu, 09 Aug 2018 00:41:15 +0000 https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/?p=4363 August 8, 2018 I have included the date for a reason, this happened to me today and I’m still fuming. For three months in a row my AT&T bill has inched upward. Not much, mind you, a couple of dollars each month and then a little more for August. As I found out today from…

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August 8, 2018

I have included the date for a reason, this happened to me today and I’m still fuming.

For three months in a row my AT&T bill has inched upward. Not much, mind you, a couple of dollars each month and then a little more for August. As I found out today from an employee at the Fort Collins AT&T store on JFK Blvd, AT&T has done this to all of its customers. And that probably means you if AT&T is your cell phone provider.

So, what exactly did they do? In a nutshell, they changed your plan and raised your rate…again without your consent. After I complained, here is the official AT&T explanation: “We had a rate increase and compensated you by increasing your data plan.”

I replied, “I already don’t use all the data in my plan, so all AT&T has done is raise my rate.”

“No,” the customer service rep replied, “We compensated you for our rate increase.”

So, unsatisfied with this, I asked to speak to his supervisor. After 30 minutes of holding, a manager came on the line. His story was the same. “AT&T had a rate increase and is compensating its customers by doubling their data plan.”

I complained and then asked, “By what authority does AT&T have to change my plan and rate without my consent?”

Here is the official AT&T answer: “When a customer signs up for a plan or changes a plan, AT&T reserves the right to change the plan and/or increase the costs at our discretion.”

I kid you not, they hid behind the fine print!

I encourage all of you to check your bill. If this happened to you, call and complain. Think about it, according to the ‘1Q  2018 AT&T by the numbers’ report, AT&T has 159.4 million wireless subscribers. The revenue generated by increasing a customer’s bill by a mere $5 is a whopping $797,000,000 dollar increase in revenue!

I imagine top AT&T executives decided what the maximum price increase they could get away with would be without subscribers jumping ship to another carrier. They knew there would be some, like myself, who would challenge what they did, so to add insult to injury, they would tell subscribers that they’ve been compensated by giving them more data. Doesn’t matter whether they need extra data or not. Or even want it.

AT&T is a massive conglomerate and thinks they can do whatever they want and get away with it. Sadly, this is probably true. But, I’ve had all of the AT&T monkey business I can stand for one lifetime. After thirty-something years with AT&T, I’m out. I don’t know if the competitors will be any better, but it won’t be the scamming AT&T taking my $$$ any more. After today, I’d pay more just to get away from AT&T.

Oh yeah, and DirecTV…you’re next! A complete AT&T purge.

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Reading Order Explained: https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/02/08/reading-order-explained/ https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2018/02/08/reading-order-explained/#comments Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:55:28 +0000 https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/?p=4263 Reading Order Explained: Over the course of the past few months, I’ve received numerous emails, Facebook messages, and tweets asking about the reading order for the Jake Pendleton series books. Some confusion might be that on my website the latest release is listed first, putting them in reverse order. I have also had readers ask…

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Reading Order Explained:

Over the course of the past few months, I’ve received numerous emails, Facebook messages, and tweets asking about the reading order for the Jake Pendleton series books. Some confusion might be that on my website the latest release is listed first, putting them in reverse order. I have also had readers ask which Chuck Barrett book they should read first. And a few who have asked which is my favorite. Hopefully, I can answer these questions and set you on a path to enjoyable reading.

Jake Pendleton series

The order of writing and the order of reading can be the same or different depending on your personal preference. The order of writing AND chronological order of the Jake Pendleton series is this:

  1. The Savannah Project
  2. The Toymaker
  3. Breach of Power
  4. DISRUPTION

Now, let’s look a little deeper. Think of The Savannah Project & The Toymaker as one story broken into two books. It is one long story with the same underlying theme running from one to the other. As a matter of fact, The Toymaker picks up right where The Savannah Project ends. Regardless of which order you read the others, I think the best enjoyment will come from reading The Savannah Project and then The Toymaker without taking a break or reading something else in between. It is literally a 700-page story. It is also the bulk of character growth for the protagonist, Jake.

Now, that brings us to Breach of Power & DISRUPTION. Both are stand-alone stories and may be read in any order. I do, however, suggest you read The Savannah Project & The Toymaker before reading either of the other two. The main reason for this suggestion is so you, the reader, will understand how Jake got to the point he is in life. Many readers only like to read books in order. I, personally, think that’s the best way to read a series. You can connect with the main characters better and watch them grow from book to book. Readers who love to read series have an investment in the main characters…that’s what draws them to series reading.

Which Chuck Barrett book should you read first?

Easy enough to answer, I think. If you are a big Lee Child/Jack Reacher fan, then read BLOWN first. It is the first in the Gregg Kaplan series and one I’m certain you’ll enjoy. If you’re more of a David Baldacci, Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler type of fan, then start with the Jake Pendleton series and read them in order.

Which is my favorite book?

I’ve had this asked of me so many times I lost count…and it keeps getting worse. Every book is near and dear to every author’s heart. They all have a special meaning for us…that’s why we wrote them. To ask an author which book they wrote is their favorite is like asking which child is their favorite.

So, my answer to them…and to you…is my favorite book is the one I’m working on now!
(Full disclaimer: I didn’t come up with that line. I heard fellow author Bob Mayer say it once and have used it ever since)

Be the first to see the cover reveal (coming very soon) for the second book in the Gregg Kaplan series and find out more information about the next book in the Jake Pendleton by subscribing to my Spam-Free-Zone newsletter. Click here— https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/mailing-list/

I hope this helps.

Chuck Barrett

HAPPY READING

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HAS MARKETING BECOME A 4-LETTER WORD? (Part 2) https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2017/11/18/marketing-become-4-letter-word-part-2/ https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2017/11/18/marketing-become-4-letter-word-part-2/#comments Sat, 18 Nov 2017 17:20:21 +0000 https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/?p=4223 QUESTION: Is it easier to build a following of 10,000 people or get 10 people with 1000 followers each to share something exciting about your book? Or 20 people with 500 followers?   Time to assemble your TRIBE! A Tribe by any other name Launch Team Street Team Advocates Any other name you want or…

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QUESTION: Is it easier to build a following of 10,000 people or get 10 people with 1000 followers each to share something exciting about your book? Or 20 people with 500 followers?

 

Time to assemble your TRIBE!

  1. A Tribe by any other name
    1. Launch Team
    2. Street Team
  • Advocates
  1. Any other name you want or like—use it!
  1. What is a Tribe?
    1. An organized group of fans who are dedicated to the success of your book!
  2. How do you find your Tribe?
    1. Start close to home and work outward. Friends, family, and co-workers
    2. Believe it or not, you already have a substantial number of fans. Most will buy your book no matter what. Recruit them and ask them to help excite others and perhaps recruit a few as well.
  • How large your Tribe is, depends on you.
  1. Can you have too few?
  2. Can you have too many?
  1. Dos & don’ts with your Tribe
    1. DO make your Tribe an exclusive club. People genuinely want to feel they are part of something special, make them feel that way.
    2. DON’T try to bribe them with some big prize. Treat them with dignity. If they don’t genuinely WANT to help you succeed, you don’t want them!
  • DO give them an advance copy of your book—print or eBook, but be selective.
    1. Ask them to leave a review-good, bad, or indifferent-and ask them to post it on your book’s release date. ***
  1. DO set expectations and ground rules from the start.
    1. Be clear what you expect from them and when—give them a checklist with instructions and dates. And keep in mind, some will simply not play along.
  2. DON’T make it too hard for them
  3. DO give them the tools they need. Spoon feed them what you want them to share…Tweets, FB posts, Goodreads posts, etc… Make it easy by giving them something they can share in a few seconds, otherwise they will put it off and forget about it.
  • Track your and your tribes’ posts by the use of #.
  • DON’T create a Facebook page just for your Tribe! They just don’t work as you intended. You’ll likely be disappointed with the outcome. They just won’t use it much. Maybe in the beginning, but then it drops off to nothing.
  1. DO focus on one-way communication. Put them on a separate email list. Create an email list of your Tribe and keep them up to date. Encourage everyone use the Reply All when communicating.
  2. DO invite all your fans to be a part of this special group.
  1. Make your Tribe a success

 

THE SUCCESS OF YOUR TRIBE DEPENDS ON YOUR DEDICATION TO ITS SUCCESS.

 

What else can you do?

 

CREATE INCENTIVE—Ask yourself, how many books do you want to sell?

  1. Incentive and Scarcity
    1. Sell hard to existing fans. Even though you already gave your tribe a book, ask them to buy one. (At least the eBook)
    2. Why should someone buy your book? Know the answer because sooner or later, someone will ask.
  • Design scarcity—Create offers or a bonus if people buy before a certain date or pre-order.
  1. MAKE IT EASY FOR READERS TO BUY YOUR BOOK!!!
    1. PayPal, Square
    2. Amazon, BN, Kobo, Smashwords, etc…

 

BUILD A BUZZ

  1. To Blog or Not to Blog, that is the question…
    1. Share stories about your research, especially funny stories.
    2. Write in your own voice, as if you are speaking directly to them, not in a stilted, dull voice. Make jokes. Use sarcasm in a way that will make the reader smile.
  • Share your excitement and enthusiasm. If you can get them to feel your energy and excitement, they will WANT to buy your book.
  1. Videos, podcasts, and Book trailers
  2. Again, make it easy to buy your book.
  3. Social Media
    1. Saturate social media
    2. Leverage your fans
      1. Question: Is it easier to build a following of 10,000 people or get 10 people with 1000 followers each to share something exciting about your book?
  • Post your book launch event on FB, Twitter, Goodreads, community calendars, and anywhere you can think of.
  1. Send invitations — email, snail mail, Evite, etc…
  2. Inherently, your fans want to help. It is your job to show them how.
  3. BUT, they don’t know how so you must equip them. Give them quotes to post, tweets to tweet, images and graphics to share, etc…

 

GET ADVANCE REVIEWS

  1. Review Houses
    1. Kirkus Reviews
    2. Foreword Clarion Reviews
      1. Foreword reviews…free pros & cons
  • Midwest Book Review
  1. Apex, Reader Views, many more… Google book reviewers
  1. Endorsements
    1. Non-fiction—experts in the field, specialty professionals
    2. Fiction—like genre authors
  2. Net Galley — You’ve heard the old adage, it takes money to make money, meet Net Galley. Upload eBook and wait. Reviews start coming in after a few weeks.
  3. What do you do with all those reviews?
    1. Post expert reviews as they come in on FB, Twitter, Goodreads. Engage your Tribe to do the same. Spread the word. When readers see what the professional book reviewers are saying about your book, they will buy!

 

HAVE A BOOK LAUNCH EVENT—Virtual and Physical

  1. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE BOOKS!!!
  2. Location, location, location
    1. Bookstores
    2. Rent venues
  3. Timing
    1. Does your book have a seasonal theme? Time you launch accordingly.
    2. Check community calendars for potential conflicts.
  4. Keeping the Buzz
    1. As your release date nears, get more and more active with your buzz. Ramp it up!
  5. Involving your Tribe
    1. Keep your Tribe actively involved. Same as above, as release date nears, have your Tribe get increasingly more active. Flood social media the week of your event. Don’t let people forget it is coming.
  6. Dealing with the Press
    1. Invite the press. Odds are they won’t come, but extend them a formal invitation. Make your event sound fun! If they do show, watch the $$ come in.
  7. BLING!!! — Everybody like stuff, especially free stuff.
    1. Bookmarks
    2. Posters
  • T-shirts
  1. Coffee cups
  2. Mouse pads
  3. Much, much more — Café Press
  1. Volunteers
    1. You cannot do this by yourself. Recruit reliable volunteers. Give them a t-shirt and have them wear it to your event.
  2. Conducting your Event
    1. You are the ENTERTAINER — Make the event fun!
    2. Catering
  • Create contests and giveaways
  1. Entertain the crowd. Tell funny stories. Do a reading if you want to…or have someone read.
  2. Share the core ideas that were the backbone of your content/book
  3. Share stories of interesting people you met during your research
  • Keep it light and informal. Make everyone feel comfortable and at home.
  1. Presentation
    1. How you arrange your table is very, VERY important. Find the most interior design inclined person you know to help you with placement of your products.
  2. All the extras add up to sales
    1. COLLECT EMAIL ADDRESSES AT THE EVENT AND ADD THEM TO YOUR EMAIL LIST!
    2. Arrive early.
  • Stay late.
  1. Offer to help clean up
  2. Add as much to this list as you can think of to make your event a tremendous success.
  3. MAKE IT EASY FOR READERS TO BUY YOUR BOOK!!!
    1. If you are running your own cash box at your event, make sure you have the capability of accepting credit cards and cash. I recommend you do not take checks unless you know the person well. There is nothing more awkward than having a friend give you a bad check and having to ask for payment again.
      1. Square
  • Ask your buyers to become sharers.
  • Ask your buyers to leave reviews.

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HAS MARKETING BECOME A 4-LETTER WORD? (Part 1) https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2017/11/14/marketing-become-4-letter-word-part-1/ https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2017/11/14/marketing-become-4-letter-word-part-1/#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2017 17:20:05 +0000 https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/?p=4221 Facebook Facebook ads Twitter Twitter ads Goodreads Goodreads ads Goodreads giveaways Instagram Linked-In Pinterest Mashable Hubspot Google + Vimeo Digg Flickr YouTube Periscope Blab Tumblr Reddit Paper.li LitRing Book Gorilla BookBub Book Funnel iReads Ryan Zee Many Books eBook Lister eBook Booster eBookasaurus Book Pebble   Feeling overwhelmed? I haven’t yet mentioned review houses or…

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Facebook

Facebook ads

Twitter

Twitter ads

Goodreads

Goodreads ads

Goodreads giveaways

Instagram

Linked-In

Pinterest

Mashable

Hubspot

Google +

Vimeo

Digg

Flickr

YouTube

Periscope

Blab

Tumblr

Reddit

Paper.li

LitRing

Book Gorilla

BookBub

Book Funnel

iReads

Ryan Zee

Many Books

eBook Lister

eBook Booster

eBookasaurus

Book Pebble

 

Feeling overwhelmed?

I haven’t yet mentioned review houses or contests or book awards or press releases or traditional media sources and advertising like radio, TV, newspapers and magazines.

Holy Crap! What’s an author to do? Wanna give up?

If this is any indication of how you feel? Well, welcome to the club.

With all these options, it’s no wonder we’re confused.

Sadly, unless you have the budget to pay someone to do all this for you, keeping up with marketing and social media falls on your shoulders. It’s understandable why we don’t have time to truly do the things we want to do. Like write! Why? Because, to be successful, we feel we must take advantage of every avenue available to promote our books…and ourselves.

Now, let’s step back and take a look at what’s really required as an author and what else you can venture into later, if you so desire.

Before you publish a book, you need to put yourself out there for the world to see. You need to sell yourself as an author. Your book is just your product, probably only one of many.  I say just your product, because too often authors only focus on selling their books. Or have the attitude that since they wrote a book, it will sell itself. I’m here to tell you, if readers haven’t “bought” you, they won’t buy your book.

That being said. what is the absolute minimum you need BEFORE your book is released? I call it the minimum equipment list!

  1. THE #1 most important thing you can have is a website. Not an option, this one is required. This is your face to the world. This tells people who you are, what you are, and what you have to offer. And, it needs to look good. As professional as it can be. If you have talent in website design, then there are plenty of options available for free or very cheap, like WordPress, Wix, Weebly, GoDaddy, just to name a few. Each one has plenty of free or minimally priced templates to choose from that you can customize to your personality. And that’s truly what this needs to be—your personality. A reflection of you, the person, not what you think readers want to see, but you. Don’t pretend to be something or someone you’re not. Anything short of the truth and the readers will eventually see through it. And yes, you should have a website BEFORE you have a book. Because it you wait until after you have a book, you missed a tremendous sales opportunity called preorders. I can not express enough how important your website is. Even if you opt out of everything else, your website is a do or die necessity.

 

  1. Facebook author page. Facebook is still the #1 social media outlet. It is used for everything it seems these days. Recent studies have shown that most people, especially younger people, actually get most, if not all, of their news from Facebook. Which makes it a target for a lot of false stories and false beliefs of the truth.

 

  1. Personally, I rank this as #2 for me, but I listed Twitter here at #3 since it is the second most common place people look for news. There has been a lot of controversy among authors recently over whether you can actually sell books using Twitter and the answer is…it depends. It depends on how you use Twitter. I tell people, “if it isn’t working for you, you’re not using it right.” Twitter is a great tool. It can and will increase book sales. 7 or 8 years ago, Twitter made a tremendous difference for authors and could easily provide a healthy boost in sales. Today, not as much unless you have been selective about your Twitter following. How do you be selective? (Unwritten follow-back protocol, target readers, build your following through sites such as Hootsuite, Manage Flitter, Unfollow, and even Twitter Search) Yes, Twitter Search. It is a great tool and can expand your following with the right kind of followers. The kind of followers you want — readers who will buy your books. Here’s how you do it: It’s all about search parameters. Use parameters, in quotes, such as “book geek” “bibliophile” “avid reader” “Kindle reader” “Nook reader” “Kobo” “Thriller reader” “Mystery lover” the list can be as long and as complex as you want it to be. But whatever you use, target the readers who read your type of book. If they don’t follow back within 7 days or so, unfollow them and move on down your list. WORD OF CAUTION! There are Twitter limits, don’t go over those limits or Twitter will lock your account. If you use Twitter correctly, you can add to your Twitter following AND your readership. And thereby increase your sales. AND TALK! Talk to people on Twitter. Engage with your followers and with people you follow and the people who tweet back and forth with them. Get involved with readers.

 

  1. Goodreads author page. Don’t skip this step. This is where more and more readers hang out. It is also an Amazon owned entity, which makes for an easy link to your books. You need Goodreads. Period.

 

  1. Amazon Author page. Another place readers hang out. You do this through Amazon’s Author Central. You can set up your page and control all the data in it. When your book(s) come out, make sure you add them to your Author Central page. (if Amazon hasn’t added them already)

 

  1. Last, but not least, is that all important mailing list. Your mailing list is your direct access portal to readers who are interested in your book(s). They signed up for a reason, capitalize on it…but don’t spam them. Start developing your list yesterday, collect email addresses via all the avenues listed above…by sending them TO A LINK ON YOUR WEBSITE.

What are some email marketing sites?

  • Mailchimp
  • Constant Contact
  • Get Response
  • Vertical Response
  • Several others

 

All of these are essential FIRST STEPS.

If you haven’t taken them yet, do it ASAP. Later on, you can add more social media sites to your list. Such as…

Instagram

Pinterest

Both of these have been rapidly gaining popularity among readers and writers.

Does this already sound too time consuming? If it does, it’s because it can be, but it doesn’t HAVE to be. As my social media grew, I found myself spending an increasing number of hours every day trying to promote myself and my books. Too many hours…way too many. Then I looked for ways to streamline the process.

Here are a few suggested time-saving tricks:

  • Tweetdeck—Simple to use. Free. Makes keeping up with Twitter a snap. Schedule tweets (many) in advance, but awkward to do so.
  • Hootsuite—Simple to use. Free or pay plan for extra benefits. Allows you to monitor multiple social media feeds and post to them all at once or just a selected few. Schedule tweets in advance. Pay plan offers ability to upload a mass number of tweets at once for scheduling. Has a web browser app called Hootlet, which is awesome.
  • Link your Facebook page and Twitter (and others) so you only have to post to one and it feeds to the others.
  • Self-Discipline—Manage your time. Allot only a small amount of your day to social media and marketing, email, phone calls, etc. Make a schedule and stick to it. This is much easier said than done, but once you have made it part of your daily routine, it is very easy to find more time to do what you love —WRITE!
  • Accept the fact that there will be interruptions to your time and schedule. This is just a fact of life. How you handle those interruptions and get back to your writing routine is the key. I’m not saying you can’t have some flexibility in your schedule for those unexpected things that can and will come up. Too rigid a schedule is as bad as no schedule. If that old friend you haven’t seen in years call you up out of the blue and wants to meet for lunch or coffee and it’s the middle of your writing time, take a break and go. In reality, the break might do your creativity more good than the harm caused by the break in your writing day. Just don’t do it every day.
  • Write when you brain is alert, handle social media and marketing when you’re too tired or drained. Save your brain power for your creative writing. If you’re a morning person, write in the mornings and save your marketing & social media time for late in the afternoon or evening when you’ve exhausted your creativity. Conversely, if you’re a night owl, handle those tedious jobs while you’re still trying to wake up and save your writing for when your brain comes alive. The time to write is NOT when you’re tired, but fresh and alert.
  • Learn to say “NO.” As I mentioned earlier, it’s okay to take the occasional spur-of-the-moment outing, just don’t make it a habit. Remember, time is money and there is a creative cost to your time. You can’t jump every time you get an invitation. You can’t accept every opportunity or event or speaking engagement. There comes a point when you must say ‘no’ and be happy with your decision. Resist the urge to be a people pleaser. And do it with no regrets.
  • Don’t take on too much. You can’t do everything you want and still have all day, every day to write. Choose what to let go. Make it a conscious, well-though out decision and stick to it. Again, no regrets.
  • Prioritize your life. What are your ultimate goals and ambitions? Then narrow that and prioritize your goals for the month. Then, the week. Then, each day. Write this down and put it where you can see it every day as a reminder. This will help you keep on track.

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THIS JUST IN! https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2017/05/16/this-just-in/ https://chuckbarrettbooks.com/2017/05/16/this-just-in/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 19:58:24 +0000 http://chuckbarrettbooks.com/?p=4121 Breaking review of DISRUPTION from Midwest Book Review: “Synopsis: In DISRUPTION by Chuck Barrett, former Naval Intelligence Officer turned secret operative Jake Pendleton finds himself in a pulse-pounding race to stop a cyber-terrorist from releasing a string of the most heinous cyber-crimes the world has ever seen. Crimes that could render the world’s advanced technology…

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Breaking review of DISRUPTION from Midwest Book Review:

Synopsis: In DISRUPTION by Chuck Barrett, former Naval Intelligence Officer turned secret operative Jake Pendleton finds himself in a pulse-pounding race to stop a cyber-terrorist from releasing a string of the most heinous cyber-crimes the world has ever seen. Crimes that could render the world’s advanced technology useless.

Jake teams with his partner, Francesca Catanzaro, to track down their only lead, a white-hat hacker in Italy known only as The Jew. A man who might hold the key to stop a group of black-hat hackers from causing worldwide chaos-tag named DISRUPTION.

After a search of the hacker’s flat in Rome turns up empty, Jake and Francesca follow the clues-a trail of dead bodies that leads them across Europe. Along the way, Jake discovers a possible link between recent hacks and a Malaysian airliner that mysteriously disappeared.

In the final adrenaline-charged moments before DISRUPTION, Jake and Francesca find themselves in a high-voltage race to stop these cyber terrorists from unleashing destruction.

Critique: In an inherently compelling novel by an accomplished author that draws its inspiration from this current age of international cyber warfare to which even presidential campaigns are not immune, DISRUPTION will prove to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to community library General Fiction collections. A riveting read from cover to cover, it should be noted that “Disruption” is also available in a Kindle format ($4.99), as well as a complete and unabridged audio book (Brilliance Audio, 9781536663495, $9.99, MP3 CD).”

Thank you MBR for another great review!

Here is their website link— http://www.midwestbookreview.com/sbw/may_17.htm#mystery

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