You Want Your Book To Read Like A Serial – Even If It’s Not One

I remember reading A Tale Of Two Cities in school and being partly fascinated with it. I don’t pretend I grasped the complexities of the novel at that age, maybe eighth grade or freshman year in high school, but I remember it read a lot like a soap opera – and our teacher informed us that it had in fact been released as a weekly serial.

 

Obviously, I didn’t forget that.

curious-woman2
I just have that kind of mind

But why did a popular author like Dickens release it as a weekly serial instead of just release it as a regular book?

 

Well, if you compare it to soap operas or good, dramatic TV shows (say 24, or The Sopranos, but there are plenty of current examples), they solve a problem or two each week and start a new problem, then leave you with a cliffhanger – you have to tune in next week to see if Jack Bauer gets to the ticking time bomb in time!

 

Soap operas tend to the same thing. The husband comes home early and is about to walk in on the wife and her lover – tune in tomorrow to see what happens!

 

And, by the way, the chapters in our books are supposed to do that.

 

man-reading-book
This is amazing!

A writers we want to create a scene and write until the scene is done (the problem is solved) so we can stop and let the next day or next set of problems start the next chapter – but the story tends to be much better if we don’t.

 

For example, in The Water Castle, the Prince has to go meet with a local tribe of hostile Indians who keep attacking his castle. I set up a day long ride and off he goes with his friend.

 

Where’s the best place to end the chapter?

  • After he gets to the Indian camp and before the big meeting
  • After the big meeting, say they get on their horses and ride away
  • As they are riding into the camp and are met by a bunch of angry Indian scouts pointing spears at them?

 

Our natural inclination is to write the chapter and complete the scene, so we have them go to the camp, sit down, hold the meeting, and ride off into the sunset.

 

But… we’re supposed to put our characters up a tree and throw rocks at them!

 

And… we need some tension to turn a story into a page turner!

 

So the rocks will be: they are met by spears. Hmm. Maybe the meeting won’t go as planned. And the cliffhanger will be – they are met by spears, END SCENE

 

What?

 

curious-woman
I wonder what comes next?

Yeah, you have to start the next chapter to see what happens. Now, maybe the spears come down and the meeting goes as planned. Maybe the prince and his buddy get locked up. (Readers probably won’t think they get killed, but only because they’ve both been pretty integral to the story – but Game Of Thrones regularly killed off main characters). Doesn’t matter. By making the reader turn the page and start the next chapter to find out what happens, the reader is more engrossed in the story and less likely to put the book down. That’s a good thing.

 

So, you kind of want your book to read like a serial even if it’s not.

 

Dickens put out A Tale Of Two Cities as a serial to exploit the fact that he was popular, and he created a lot of buzz each week as readers were dying to know what happened next.

 

Certain current authors have done that with eBooks (Hugh Howie with Beacon 23, for example), and a lot of romance novels are written in serial format. Tons of comic books aka graphic novels are.

 

I have been toying with the idea of releasing my latest story as a serial because that’s almost how it was written. Putting a chapter a week up on the critique group site, their standard format, tends to cause that.

 

Dickens put out 45-chapters of ATOTC in 31 weekly instalments to help launch his new literary periodical titled All the Year Round.

 

Can you imagine Kindle readers having to wait 31 weeks to finish a book?

 

Could you?

 

18k2mkqoaqxtwjpg
Maybe not.

I think the key to launching a novel as a serial would be to group several chapters and release it over maybe 6 installments (6 weeks). Maybe price each segment at 99 cents and have the composite – the whole book – available for a buck less than the total of the installments, so impatient readers like me could just jump ahead and buy the dang thing and read it. Also, you might make the installments available on KOLL but not the composite book, (so you don’t screw yourself out of your royalties).

 

Maybe have a preorder link in each prior book so readers could immediately get the next one…

 

But that’s all business plan stuff.

 

What’s really in play is whether a modern, lengthy book would be well received as a serial. Some have. (We all now understand the importance of writing a novel readers can’t put down.)

 

The big guys have marketing arms to help push whatever they want. A serial release might never go anywhere if it wasn’t marketed properly.

 

I barely know how to market a regular book, I can’t imagine marketing a serial is easier!

 

What are your thoughts? How many segments is too many for a serial? How long would you spread it out? Have you ever bought one/read one?

.

Dan's pic
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

 

 

When Should I Start Publicizing My New Book?

Advance marketing? the book's not even finished yet!
Advance marketing?
The book’s not even finished yet!

Occasionally I get a question from a fellow author with a problem and I answer it here.

Dear Dan,

My novel is still in its first draft. It´s long, I still have to finish it, and I write a LOT every day, but there´s still a lot of time before it will be published. Many months, probably. Do you think it’s right to start talking about it on my website? What if I don´t know its title yet?

Thanks,

Worried Writer

PS: I´d love to read your novel. Is it possible to get it in paperback?

.

Dear Worried,

Yes, you can start engaging readers now, so there is an interested fan base when the book comes out. A few months before the book comes out, up to maybe as much as six months, is about the right window for advance marketing.

(We recently discussed marketing HERE and HERE.)

OAK TREES FOR SALE
OAK TREES FOR SALE
(eventually)

If you market too early, you may peak fan interest before the book is ready. Start too late, and of course you don’t get enough buzz generated.

Plus, telling readers about the story as it moves along is fun. You can hint at a romantic scene you just finished, or a dramatic twist – tease them a little! That’s what movie previews do, right? And TV commercials? They hint at what’s coming up. The reason a strip tease is sexier than just seeing a naked lady walk out onstage is the anticipation it builds. A menu with pictures making the food look good will get your mouth is watering.

Titles are tough.

Honestly, some of those aren't half bad!
Honestly, some of those aren’t half bad!

What few words can possibly sum up your epic tome? That’s a lot of pressure. Make a working title and consider asking your blog followers if it is a good one; give them a synopsis so they can see if the title “fits” – or maybe they can suggest one. (That’s actually something we could do as a blog post/writing challenge: Name The Story. Let me know and we’ll do it. It’ll be fun. Readers can make up names and vote for the best one).

Then, when you are ready, if you change the name, you can tell your readers. If I were to change the name of Poggibonsi to “Love, Italian Style” and I TOLD everyone, they’d easily switch over. It would give me another excuse to talk about the book, too, generating additional buzz.

Stop spamming me!
Stop spamming me!

There are a lot of ways to market badly, so I’ll only say this: be honest about your enthusiasm, but try not to be obnoxious and tell fans “Buy my book!” ten times a day on every social media outlet you use. However, be sure to let them know it’s coming, and then that it’s here, and that you want them to buy it. When you get good reviews, boast about it. Enthusiasm is contagious. People like it, and it’ll sell books. Just don’t go overboard. 10% or fewer of your posts should be a BUY MY BOOK post or tweet.

COMING SOON
COMING SOON, I promise!

And be sure to thank your fans for being such great followers, for buying your book, and for writing reviews. People like being thanked.

That was a really great question. Thanks for asking it!

See? Didn’t that feel good?

By the way, ALL my books are available in paperback, and the new novel will be, too. Stay tuned! You can read two sample chapters HERE and see some advance praise HERE and see the sample cover HERE

.

Your humble host.
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

BE JEALOUS! New Author Interview: CASSANDRA PIAT from the tropical island of Mauritius

Cassandra Piat
Cassandra Piat

Yes, be jealous, my friends. I live in Florida and Cassandra has me ready to pack my bags. Read on and you’ll see why. 

“What’s It Gonna Be?”  –  her first novel, is a romantic comedy set in Mauritius, an island off the coast of Madagascar (which is an island off the coast of Africa). I can’t help but think that Cassandra and Mauritius were made for each other. Or maid. But I’m jumping ahead…

DAN: What is the working title of your next book?

CASSANDRA: Wouldn’t I just love to know!! I have no idea and am starting to stress out big time as my book is finished and I need to get the cover done and get the ball rolling but have a complete title blank!

It’s a nightmare.cs6

Use the random title generator! It came up with some good ones in our Flash Fiction Challenge a few weeks ago. 

Which is the more important of these two: write drunk, edit sober?

editEdit sober after writing drunk sounds good to me! Am sure great ideas can come out when you’re drunk (not that I’ve ever written drunk but may have to give it a try. On the other hand, not quite sure that editing drunk would work out too well.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, huh? Which living author or blogger would you buy drinks for?

Do you even have to ask, Dan? I would definitely choose you as a blogger/author. (Of course I have to say that because this is your blog after all.)

THIS IS WHERE SHE LIVES!!!!! I am definitely going there for drinks.
THIS IS WHERE SHE LIVES!!!!!
I am definitely going there for drinks.

No, seriously, it really would be great to have a drink with you and not to mention super interesting for me as I have so much to learn from you.

That is my whole goal for asking that question, to line up free drinks for myself.

Smart thinking. As for authors… There are so many lovely ones I’ve social media-ed with over the past few months and who I would love to meet, but the list is too long… Otherwise I’d definitely love to meet Cecilia Ahern whose books I just love.

Tell us what’s awesome about her books and why they speak to you.

It’s funny because I mostly read chicklit books and that’s the genre I like (light and funny), but I just love her books (How to fall in love, P.s I love you, Love Rosie…). They are so deep and touching and always have a wonderful message for the reader. I love her sense of humour too and her characters are wonderful and complex. She has a way of making me feel as if I am right in there with them.

What’s something most readers would never guess about you?

This is the beach Cassandra mentions in her book, AND WHERE HER BEACH COTTAGE IS!!! Are you sold yet?
This is the beach Cassandra mentions in her book,
AND WHERE HER BEACH COTTAGE IS!!!
Are you sold yet?

That I am French-speaking.

Yes, we’ve always spoken French at home but as I not only lived in Mauritius but also in England, South Africa and Australia growing up, I’m also completely fluent in English. It’s strange because I would never be able to write a book in French – it just wouldn’t work. Maybe my sense of humour is in English!!!

Besides writing, what are your favorite things to do?

Breeding cats…

Kidding!
Just kidding!

Oops, we’re out of time! We’ll have to end it there.

Thought you’d say that! Ok, seriously, I love reading, the outdoors (specially the sea, mountains and lakes), scrapbooking, watching movies, going to concerts and the theatre, hanging out with friends, laughing, eating chocolate and drinking wine!

What’s the most fun part of writing a novel or short story? What’s the least fun part?

cs4For me the fun part is writing the story. I love writing and letting my characters take me on a journey with them. It’s liberating and I love that I get to decide on the outcome of the story. In life we have so little control over so many things, that I guess I love the power writing gives me. Creating the cover is also fun, but for me, all the rest is definitely not fun – finding a title, writing the blurb (am so bad at summarizing things), the marketing and promotion, the non-sales etc etc…

What’s the oddest or most awkward or embarrassing research you’ve had to do?

Damn! I wish I had something really juicy to write here but unfortunately I can’t say I have…

There WERE other choices of questions, you know! What, did you panic?

Oops, good point. Let’s try another one then shall we?

Favourite Quotes

There are so many amazing quotes that I like and that inspire me, but this one is related to my publishing adventure;

cs8
One of Cassandra’s favorite quotes.

By publishing my book, I was shooting for the moon and it was a huge risk that I wasn’t sure I should take. In my mind it was either reach the moon or come crashing down, so to speak. But when I read this, I loved the thought that worse case scenario, I would be landing among the stars… and it encouraged me to go ahead and take the risk. And now, although I haven’t reached the moon sales wise, it’s definitely been a wonderful adventure and a journey that I don’t regret for a minute.

Plotter? Or Pantser? And prepare to defend your position!

Definitely a Pantser!

Definitely going to have to stop asking that question. ARE THERE NO PLOTTERS OUT THERE? Okay, why does pantsing work for you, allegedly, Untitled One?

ANOTHER pantser!
ANOTHER pantser!

I am about the most disorganized human being on the planet. I make to-do lists then lose them or just never look at them. I go to the shop to buy bread and come back with 10 other things, but forget the bread. I remember birthday parties but forget to buy presents, or buy presents but forget the parties… anyway you get the general drift. So even if I wanted to be a plotter type of writer, it would be impossible for me. I am just not programmed to organize or plan or plot anything. I’m a spur of the moment type of person and the same goes for my writing. I have ideas and then they come together as I type. I don’t know the ending of the story when I begin. That’s the way I like it – it makes it more fun as you never know where it will lead you.

What was your road to publication like?

cs5Exhilarating, scary, fun, stressful, surreal…

Really! That’s the whole spectrum, just about. Why such a range?

It was hard to realize that I had actually written a book and that I was getting a cover made for it, writing a blurb, and then seeing it on Amazon for the first time – amazing feeling! As I self-published my book, I had to cover the printing costs and that part was very stressful because I knew there was a risk that I wouldn’t actually be getting most of that money back. But when I decided to go for it, I was so excited. I just couldn’t believe that I, Sandrine Piat, my book was going to be published and put on sale in bookstores around the island!!

It’s a special day. Things become more real all of a sudden.

cs10
“My boxes and the first live copies of my book!” – Cassandra

But when they delivered about 50 boxes to my house with 1,000 copies of my book that I now had to sell – my exhilaration turned to sheer panic!!!

Luckily the boxes have slightly reduced in number since April, but there are still quite a lot there… Will have a huge bonfire next year with all the unsold books! You’re all invited.

 

Can you wash light and dark clothes together? Have you even turned a bunch of stuff pink in the washer?

Cassandra sent along a picture of her laundry
Cassandra sent along a picture of her laundry

Of course I can wash dark and light clothes together – but whether they stay their original colour or not when they come out is the million dollar question! I kinda like the anticipation of wondering what my clothes are going to look like when they come out of there though!

Makes for a whole new wardrobe at times!

Sounds like a typical pantser

To be honest, here in Mauritius we have maids, so I don’t actually do the whole washing thing myself very often (yeah, I know, I know…) But I have definitely ended up with a few pink sheets, towels and t-shirts in the past.

I could get used to maids!

Coffee addict? Name your poison.

cs12Chocolate and red wine! Not together, just love both.

Nothing beats a glass of red wine to relax in the evening.

And chocolate… umm… anytime, anywhere.

I know that feeling. Chocolate speaks to me with the sounds of love. Then I eat it.

If writing suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do?

Okay, so I have to tell you that when someone tells me that they wish they could win the 40 million rupee lotto, I tend to say, “But what would you do with all that money anyway?!” And I honestly think that. Pretty weird huh?

Maybe not. Depends on what a rupee is.

cs9But if I were to become rich, I guess I would enjoy being able to spoil all those I love and those in need, and it would definitely be wonderful not to have to worry about keeping my day job to pay the bills so that I could just concentrate on writing. Having money to promote my books would be cool, and even better, being able to pay someone to promote and market my books for me!!

Paid promoter! An indie author’s dream. What about shopping?

I guess I would also love to go on a shopping spree where I could just buy whatever I wanted without looking at the price tags. Oh yes, I would also definitely buy lots and lots of bags – I love bags (small, medium and large), and lots and lots of real books (no more kindle versions).

As for being famous, I don’t like being the centre of attention, but it would be pretty awesome to know that people love my books and admire my work.

Speaking of your work, who helped you the most getting started?

sistersMy sister has been amazing at helping out with all the social media and marketing on the internet stuff because I’m not very good at all that. She’s been there non-stop, motivating me and never letting me give up – because I’ve wanted to give it all up so many times after no sales happening for weeks on end! But she’s always been there/and is there, encouraging me to keep going and telling me that things will pick up and that I just have to be patient… couldn’t have done this without her.

Tell us about yourself. Who IS the real Cassandra Piat? And not typical the boring bio stuff. The dirt. Like, when was the last time you did laundry?

What’s with all the laundry questions Dan? Is laundry a passion of yours?? Like Cats?

cs14Okay, a bit about myself…

  • My real name is Sandrine but I decided to use the pen name Cassandra as Sandrine is a bit of a mouthful in English.
  • Craziest, most awesome thing I’ve ever done – skydiving 10,000 feet out of a plane in New Zealand. AMAZINGEST thing EVER!

Or just craziest. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane? No thanks.

  • I just love the Minions quotes – they just crack me up and there are so many that are just so me!
  • cs11For my first (and only) book-signing session, I spent the first TWO HOURS sitting outside the bookshop at a table alone with my books and a lovely bouquet of flowers, and NOT ONE person came up to talk to me or buy my book! I had only one hour left and was about to start bawling my eyes out and running out of there, when suddenly a lovely man came up to talk to me AND he bought my book AND asked me if he could take a photo of me for his wife. My first ever photograph as an author! After that two other people bought my book, a woman stopped by to tell me that she had read my book and really enjoyed it, and another two stopped by to ask about me and my book so I finished on a good note. But those first two hours were so awful and I haven’t had the courage to try another session since!
  • I’m always late and I hate lists and anything official or with too many rules.
  • Did a Radio interview – was such fun and it was just so surreal to hear my voice on the radio. How had I become interesting enough to be on the radio?? When did that happen? Anyway, t’was a great experience although there were one or two embarrassing moments when I did a bit too much of ‘umm-ing’ and when I said that my books were on sale in all the local libraries instead of bookshops (my French is a bit icky at times). But all in all, I loved my 6 minutes of claim to fame.

(Note: It’s actually really easy to get interviewed on the radio in Mauritius, but pretend you didn’t know that – I do J)

  • I hate being in planes (or is in ‘on’?? Never know which one to use!)

Hated it enough to jump out of one!

  • I love pizza

How can you not? It’s pizza.

  • cs14I’m really hopeless at anything womanly i.e. makeup, high heels, fancy hairstyles. A typical example; For my first photo shoot for a local magazine, I stuck my eyeliner in my eye seconds before the photographer arrived so I greeted him with red, watery eyes so he couldn’t do any close up shots!!

Was too embarrassed to tell him the truth so just said that I had got dust in my eye! But that’s what happens when I try to wear make-up!!

  • Lucy, the main character in my book, is a replica of me character wise.

Thanks so much Dan for welcoming me on your blog and doing this interview with me. It’s been a real treat.

Thanks for being such a good sport. It was fun!

Here are all the links to Cassandra:

https://cassandrapiat.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cassandra-Piat/1700738916820157

https://twitter.com/cassandra_piat

https://www.pinterest.com/cassandrapiat/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/12620567.Cassandra_Piat

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Your humble host.
Your humble host.

REBLOG me! Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Wanna do an interview? Or a guest blog post to increase your exposure? Hit the Contact Me button and let’s talk!

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.

7 Ways To Improve Your Blog Presence & Grow Your Platform

We're all busy. Here's how to be more efficient with the same time expenditure.
We’re all busy. Here’s how to be more efficient with the same time expenditure.

The biggest thing you can do to build a loyal, quality base for your author platform is to reliably deliver quality content in your books, your blogs, and your social media.

That takes time, and we wanna be writing.

Here are seven ways to help without taking a ton of time.

  1. Write two new blog posts every week that are helpful and informative to whoever your particular blog’s market is. For mine it’s other writers, so I write blogs that are “how to” or useful somehow for building a base or whatever. That’s Sunday and Monday. Use the hashtag for those days and tweet about your blog topic a few times during the day.

#SundayBlogShare

#MondayBlogs

  1. Wednesday be sure to play the one line Wednesday #1lineWeds on Twitter. Use stuff from your writing and try to get their hashtag and your website into your tweet so you have something that draws interested parties back to your blog.
See my blog site in there?
See my blog site in there?

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  1. On Saturday (I think it’s Saturday) there’s a blog rerun and rehash. So you rerun your BEST blog posts – the ones that got the most likes or comments, or the ones you think are most helpful.

.

  1. Make sure you cheerfully thank anyone who comments on your blog. You may publish a blog on Monday but that doesn’t mean everybody reads it on Monday. You will see comments trickle in through the week. Be sure to reply to each one and be friendly when you do.
Thanks for the support!
Thanks for the support!

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  1. If you can do a guest blog post, do it. Not every site allows them, but right now I am. You’ll get bigger exposure and draw readers to your site as well.

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  1. On the days you’re not posting a blog, or whenever it best fits into your schedule, read other people’s blogs and comment on them. Each comment you make on someone else’s blog is a small advertisement for the content on your website.

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  1. Use tags in your blog posts. I haven’t historically done a lot of that and I’m just starting to, but supposedly it’s a big deal for getting noticed by search engines. You need that.
Well, maybe that last one...
Easy-peasy.

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Basically, that gives you base-building activities seven days a week by only blogging twice a week. Not bad!

There are more (there always are) but this is a good start. Get to it.

What are some tips YOU recommend?

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Your humble host.
Your humble host.

REBLOG me! Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Check out his other works HERE.

FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE

Your humble host.
Your humble host and carnival barker.

If you wanna get right to the challenge skip down to “WELCOME TO OUR FIRST FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE!” and champagne Leo.

As most of you know, my character names tend to be just as boring as watching the grass grow or paint dry.

Steve. Melissa. Barry.

Yawn.

It’s just never been one of my things to name my character Zora or Borax or something like that. With me you might get a Nikki.

I think the most exotic name I came up with was Gina. No, actually it was probably Julietta.

Yawn.

I know, right?

Another problem I struggle with is titles. We’ve discussed this. It’s tricky to get just the right name for a story.  I bet every one of you has a WIP with a goofy name you don’t love.

Now, one day while I was thinking up character names, I thought – go to a list of baby names on the internet and see what’s there! THAT will solve your problem!

It didn’t.

Me! Me! Me!
Me! Me! Me!

So I used the name of the kids in my daughter’s preschool class.

But it occurred to me that if there are websites for random number generators, there are probably websites that are name generators!

In there was!

And it sucked.

It gave me names like Zora and Borax.

New Method: one word from each book cover
New Method: one word from each book cover

However, it also occurred to me that there was probably a random title generator.

And there was!

And it… was kinda interesting.

I chuckled as I looked at some of the titles it gave me – but it made me think how FUN it would be to write stories based on some of those titles.

So I of course immediately thought of you. Why not? You’re a fun type of person. Mostly.

CONGRATULATIONS!

WELCOME TO OUR FIRST FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE!

This idea is borderline brillaint, Dan!
This idea is borderline brillaint, Dan!

Did you see that coming? So here’s the deal. First of all you go to this website

http://www.kitt.net/php/title.php

Honestly, some of those aren't half bad!
Honestly, some of those aren’t half bad!

And get six titles. Pick ONE to write your flash fiction story about.

BTW, the definition of flash fiction is: whatever you want it to be. So sayeth Wiki:

“Flash fiction is a style of fictional literature or fiction of extreme brevity.[1] There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category.”

Basically I’m looking for something around 1000 words. It can be less, it could be more. If you’re closing in on 3000 words and you haven’t really nailed it yet, think about some editing.

THE RULES

  1. You write 1000 words more or less on the topic
  2. Post it on your blog
  3. Reference us on your blog and this challenge so your regular readers don’t think you’ve gone batty.
  4. Post your link to your story here in the comments section.
  5. You have until Friday 10/16/2015 at 12 noon EST, that’s Tampa Florida US of A time, for those of you who live elsewhere.

GET TO IT!

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Your humble host.
Your humble host.

REBLOG me! Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Check out his other works HERE

Author Interview with TA Henry – get ready to smile, it’s a kick!

T A HenryFolks, it’s always fun to chat with friends, so it was a blast to interview T. A. Henry for this interview. I hope you enjoy it as much as did and will check out her new book that releases TODAY!!!

T.A. Henry is a Pacific Northwest transplant who loves it there. “I am a stay at home mom who home schools her only kiddo. I hike, crochet, and yoga with all my spare time. LOL. I like to think I am funny. I hear I am a good friend. I think the secret to that is I have very little judgement.”

Dan: What makes you so damn interesting anyway?

T.A.: I am obscenely boring and that’s what makes me so interesting.

I don’t think it’s possible to be “obscenely” boring. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

30 days.

That’s fast! Maybe obscenely fast…

In fact, I was still typing like a mad woman at 11:51 PM on the 30th of November last year. But I made it, uploaded with three minutes to spare. What can I say, I like to live dangerously.

So it was for NaNoWriMo?

It was. I do all my novel writing during Nano. It’s a huge push during November to get a manuscript to functional. I can’t imagine asking my friends and family to make that kind of sacrifice year round. And to be honest, I’m still really slow at the rest. I needed January through April to edit my Nano novel, then July and August to correlate, analyze, and make changes based on Beta feedback. Not a lot of time in there for new novels. Not yet anyway.

What is the best part about being an indie author for you?

T A Henry 2Total control. I choose everything. It’s published where I want. It has the cover I want. I took a departure from the norm in style and I didn’t have to defend myself to an agent, editor, or publisher.

I think I see a theme emerging: CONTROL!!! Home school, indie… is that present in your stories, too?

Whew. Dive right in there. Let’s pick apart my less than pleasant character traits right off. LOL. I never must have thought about it as control but more as responsibility. If I do it, it will get done right. With my son, I have a responsibility to provide an education that is best suited to him. With my book, I have a responsibility to give it the best chance at being read. I honestly did not believe in the case of Scripting the Truth, that was with a traditional publisher, if I could have even gotten one for it.

What’s the strangest place you’ve gotten a great story idea? Describe in detail. Inquiring minds want to know!

So Scripting the Truth started as a dream, in fact, as a naughty dream. In my dream, “the guy” is working for a porn studio and she goes to audition and they pan her because her boobs are too small so she offers to… well that’s not important. I realized of course that I couldn’t write that book. So it underwent a few modifications.

Don’t be so sure! I was ready to keep reading! (You can give your short synopsis or blurb, since readers will want to know more after reading that) Plus now I get to use the tag “boobs” so it’ll get a lot more SEO hits. I may have to add that as a question, actually: “Can you work the word ‘boobs’ into one of your answers, please?”

At loose end in post World War II London, Lady Margaret Leighton chances upon a movie poster showcasing the young soldier she gave her heart to while serving as a military nurse. Desperate to reconnect with him, she uses her wits and newly discovered writing muse to scheme her way into the movie studio where he is an actor. Molly is certain they will live happily ever after. And they just might… But first Molly has to figure out who she is and what she wants. Can she made this unexpected career work with the expectations of her elite family? She’ll try to do it all while trying to keep the seams on her stockings straight.

 

T A Henry 4
TA’s dog. “The pup is my mutt, I use the term with realistic endearment. LOL. His name is Jersey Cow.”

Speaking of stockings, let’s get to the important stuff: Can you wash light and dark clothes together? Have you even turned a bunch of stuff pink in the washer?

I used to be very anal about separating all my colors. As a kid I was supposed to do the laundry and I could never figure out where to put my dad’s pale yellow polo shirt. I turned many versions of that shirt a few colors. Then I lived in an apartment with the smallest washing machine ever and I started just throwing everything in together. It was fine. I felt so betrayed, all those years of separating, the extra work, and time, and money….all for nothing. Sigh.

It’s a damned conspiracy is what it is. I separated colors FOREVER and my wife let me just because she was happy I was doing laundry. Then I saw her doing it and I was like waaaaiiit!

Bwhahahahah.

What “person” do you like to write in? First Person, Third Person, etc. – and why?

Depends on the work. For Scripting the Truth, I wrote in first person. All from Molly’s point of view.

TA's blog
TA’s blog

What about your blog? How and why did you start that?

The writers from my group told me I needed to get online if I ever wanted to publish. So I started to blog about Nanowrimo, a blog a day, just describing the process of writing 50 thousand words in 30 days or less.

 

How long have you done Nanowrimo? And do you recommend it?

2015 will be my fourth Nanowrimo. As I mentioned I lost the first two years, partly due to bad time management and partly due to the complicated nature of my first novel attempt, which I am still working on. LOL

 

T A Henry 6What can you tell new authors are some of the benefits of accepting that challenge?

Oh, man. Nano is amazing. It’s like super charging your creative drive for a month. I highly recommend getting completely involved locally if you can. I am lucky enough to live in a Region where the MLs make a huge effort to host a write in a day the month of November. Write ins for the uninitiated involved a bunch of writers gathering at a coffee shop, library, restaraunt, and writing together. We have word sprints, how much can you get out in ten minutes, in five, in two. Faster, faster, faster. Yeah, now you won a silly little prize. People will help you work through plot issues, or character problems. You can shout out, I need a name for a twenty something male jerk and eight responses will come back instantly. Support. Nano equals support. And for me, I am about one and a half times as productive at a write than I am at home, and I take my kiddo to write in half the time. The pressure of hearing everyone else type, I come up with something to get my own keys clacking.

ANOTHER pantser!
ANOTHER pantser!

Plotter? Or Pantser? And prepare to defend your position!

Pantser all the way.

Oh, I hate you! WHY pantser?

This comes up a lot in Nano discussions and I think people who plot have practically written the whole thing before the month even begins. The joy of writing 50 thousand words in 30 days or less is actually writing it during the month. If you follow a detailed outline you might as well not even Nano, you’re a cheater. >raspberry<

What’s a good writing secret or time management secret?

So I failed my first two Nano endeavors…

That means you didn’t get 50,000 words written in 30 days?

Yes, and then one year my husband bought me No Plot, No Problem (Chris Baty). He recommends tracking your time usage for one week and seeing what you can give up, if only in the short term. So I did this and discovered I was spending way more time than I thought on email, Facebook, surfing the web and TV. Granted I had a small child and I was pretty worn (um, this is actually the word I meant – threadbare, in tatters) by the time I got him down at night, but still. I cut all that out the next November and bam, I won.

Have you ever been recognized by a fan in public for your writing, or when was the first time a fan came up to you in public (not an author event or signing)?

Ok so I don’t have any fan stories, probably because I don’t have any fans…

T A Henry 3Nobody does. We just have stalkers. They’re polite, though. Usually.

(Laughing) I still remember the first time someone quoted me to me. I was having a conversation with someone and they were like “I just read this interesting bit about….” Yep, from my blog. They were using it as a factoid for the argument. LOL. And then recently someone texted me to tell me they were reading a great book they thought I would love. I reminded them I reviewed it a few months earlier and their response was great: oh so that’s where I got this, thanks for the recommendation.

Still, to have somebody quote you to you – pretty cool? Did you let them win the argument for that?

I totally did. I also rubbed it in that they were quoting me to me and we had a good laugh about it.

If writing suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do?

Buy a Morgan. Hire a nanny for a few hours every day. Oooh, and a weekly house cleaner. My wants are pretty simple.

I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?

Scripting the Truth launches today! Available on Amazon in print on demand and kindle versions.

Awesome! Give us a little taste!

Okay, here’s an excerpt:

T A HenryBy the following morning I had concocted a plan. I dressed in my favorite Schiaparelli suit for the aura of professionalism it lent my visage, which I desperately needed if I was going to pull off the plan I had in mind. I rang for a cab to drive me to the Lime Grove Studio, timing my arrival for mid-morning in hopes that most of the office staff would be having their elevenses and I could successfully parry with a lesser office being. Sadly, there was but an office boy in total at Lime Grove. I moved onto Islington as the next closest office of Rank Organization. Here I struck pay dirt. The office was busy despite it being almost upon the sacred lunch hour. I straightened my beret, checked my lipstick, and powdered my nose before tackling the gargoyle in charge.

“I have business with Patrick Dumount. Please let him know Lady Margaret Leighton is here to see him.” I hoped my no nonsense verbiage combined with my most brisk tone would get me past the first hurdle.

“You have business do you?” The woman’s tone was designed to mock. I got a little nervous.

“I do.” Simple and direct. Act as though there is no reason she shouldn’t do exactly what I wanted her to do. That was the trick.

“I’ll bet. You must be the ninth girl this week who tried the business sham to get to see Patrick, and the 200th since that film hit the box office. Now be off with you before I call security.”

“Oh but I know Patrick. I am sure if you told him Lady Margaret Leighton was here he would want to see me.”

“Listen sweetheart pretending to be nobility is actually an offense punishable by law. So take yourself off now.”

“My father really is the Duke of Richmond and I am Lady Leighton and I need to see Patrick Dumount on urgent business.” I found myself getting a bit short in the temper.

“Tell you what honey, bring the good Duke down here and then maybe I’ll believe your story.” With that she picked up her phone and began to slowly push buttons. “I’m calling the security officer right now. I’d be long gone before he arrives if I were you.”

Unless I was prepared to involve my father in this mess I had no choice but to retire bested. As I slowly made my way to the door a flyer on the cork board caught my eye.

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Good stuff. Good luck with the book launch and thank you so much for dropping by!

Fans, you can reach TA here on her blog

https://tahenryauthoress.wordpress.com/

and on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Check out Scripting the Truth on Amazon TODAY!

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Your humble host.
Your humble host.

REBLOG me! Or in this case, TA. Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Interested in guest posting? Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Check out his other works HERE.

Ridiculously Simple SEO to Take Your Blog to the Top – a reblog from Nosegraze

(This post discusses SEO information found in a Nosegraze article, as well as information from Dan Alatorre.)

Must... keep up... with the changes!
Must… keep up… with the changes!

The interwebs are a-changing, folks.

When I started blogging three or so years ago, I had no followers and almost nothing to say – sound familiar?

My blog situation stayed that way for about two years, and I got to the point where I considered stopping altogether. I mentioned this to a friend, who made some very smart suggestions, and we were off to the races! I think we have added 400 blog followers this year. Sometimes we are adding one an hour.

You could say the advice worked. It did – for then.

(Read about using social media for expanding your author platform HERE and HERE.)

Hmm... what about now?
Hmm… what about now?

What about now?

I like short, snappy posts, but I rarely write short posts these days because my highest traffic comes from longer posts. That’s not a discovery I made, it’s what my review of my statistics showed.

“Data shows that a huge portion of the #1 ranking sites are LONG. They’re wordy. Like 1500 massive words.” – Nosegraze

Catchy titles helped.

Relevant content was HUGE.

But there were/are other factors at work. I found the following article and wanted to bring it to your attention. It was eye opening in many respects but it also shows that while shorter posts may have been the vogue in 2014, longer posts may be the vogue for 2016, and other factors are going to play a role as well.

It’s kind of a sales oriented post, meaning it looks like there’s a product they want you to sign up for after you read it, and I’m not recommending or un-recommending that; I have no knowledge of the product, so to speak. I liked the information in the post and thought you’d benefit from it as well.

SEO? I think I give to them at work.
SEO? I think I give to them at work.

I’m not an SEO person, really.

(If you are and want to do a guest blog to educate us on that, hit the Contact Me button and let me know!)

Here’s the Nosegraze article:

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“Ridiculously Simple SEO to Take Your Blog to the Top” – from Nosegraze

Let’s talk about SEO.

Not the super technical bits, because those are confusing.

Let’s talk about what it really is so you can actually understand what the hell is going on.

seriously-simple-seoSEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. But maybe you already know that. What you DON’T know is what the hell that actually is. Seriously. What is it?

At its core, SEO is how likely it is that someone will see your blog come up in a search engine result.

Okay well let’s think about that for a second.

Imagine that you search for something in Google. What usually happens? For me, it’s something like this:

  • I type in my search.
  • I give some SERIOUS consideration to the first few results (like the top 3).
  • If one of the titles of the top results catches my eye, I click on it.
  • If those top results don’t answer my question, then I go back and look at some of the other results on the first page.
  • If I still don’t have my answer at the end of the first page of results, I search for something else. I revise my query because maybe I didn’t search for the right thing.

What can you take away from that information?

  • People look at the top results first.
  • People rarely go beyond page #1 of search results.

Once you understand that, you realize that “SEO” is all about ranking as high as possible on search engines.

If SEO is all about getting SEEN in search results, then that means you have to be in a place that people are likely to read and click on. That means page one. More specifically, it means the top half of page one. Ideally the first result.

But how do you actually get to #1?

To read the rest of the article, click HERE

Original article from the website Nosegraze

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Your humble host.
Your humble host.

REBLOG me! Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Guest Bloggers invited! If you have a helpful idea for new authors, let us know via a guest blog. Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Check out his other works HERE.