Your Novel’s Details

by Carole Brown

elephant forget free

Have you ever read a book that has the details wrong? And I’m not just talking about historical details, but mundane details that you didn’t catch when writing–even editing–your manuscript. Examples:

  • You wrote that an event happened on Wednesday, but a couple chapters later, on that same Wednesday, you wrote a totally, and unusable, event happening at the same time?
  • Or what about forgetting to finish a subplot detail by not following through with a satisfactory solution?
  • Did you ever change a name and find out you missed a time or two where he/she’s referred to as the previous name? Ouch!
  • Or start out with the main character’s eyes blue and finish up with a green-eyed protagonist?

 

If you’ve ever read about this happening and don’t want it to happen to you, or you know you’ve missed a few things in your manuscript, then may I suggest a couple ideas:

 1. Choose a paid-for program that works for you. There are different ones that are available that can give you guidance and steer you in the direction needed to keep all your manuscripts details clear and in order.  Depending on the money you want to invest, it can go from inexpensive to very expensive.

To those who like having it all set up for you in advance and have the money to spend, this is the way to go. There are all kinds of apps out there with varying prices. Google or ask other writers to find out what would work best for you.

programs free

Note:

I’ve heard good things about Evernote (basic is free; premium costs a decent price). Use it to keep track of your characters by using tags and keywords: eye and hair colors, photos of possible character look-alikes, clothes, styles, etc., and articles of research that you want to keep and refer to later in your work.

Scrivener: a writing software where you write without worrying about formatting. You also have the ability to use tags and keywords, clip websites, store photos and other research material. It can outline with text or a simulated cork board with index cards. You also have the added benefit of it tracking your daily quota of writing.

 

2.  Create your own “program” where you keep a detailed list of what’s happening, when, where and who.  This is the one I want to focus on today.

checklist free

 

 

 

First:  you’ll need to decide what you’ll use for your Details List: post it notes, whiteboard, index cards, spreadsheet, physical notebook, etc. Use these to help you:

  • Keep track of all characters, including minor characters who may appear only as a mention or very little in your book. List their names, ages, looks, habits, character traits, quirks, relationships (past and present) and anything else you might want to attribute to them and that helps you understand them better. You may not use everything, but it’s valuable for you to determine why and how your character acts the way he/she does.

Example: It’s easier than some realize to forget a minor character’s name, what color of eyes you first used, etc. I changed a minor character’s name in one book and couldn’t remember what it was. Another time, I changed a pretty important character from one position to another, from one name to another, then back again. Details like this are so much easier to remember when you have your handy, detailed lists.

 

character2 free

 

  • Keep track of what happens in each chapter. Some events or thoughts or actions may need follow up in later chapters. This helps you to not miss anything that needs to be visited again.

Example: this saves tons of time when you need to double check something to make sure what you previously wrote vibes with what you’re ready to write (rather than having to scroll through pages trying to find that particular scene).

book chapter free

 

 

  • Keep track of all major scenes in your book. This is a more specific listing that keeps you right in line to where you’re headed. You can follow the scenes and know whether you’ve left out any vital action, thought or words that would help clarify it or make it even more realistic.

Example: Recently, I wrote a scene of which I had that vague sense it wasn’t quite what I wanted. But in the push to finish the book, I went on writing. When the first draft was finished, I realized details weren’t as they should be in that one scene. I went back through and rewrote it twice before I came close to being satisfied with it.

Praise on the Bible

 

  • Keep track of timeline. Obviously, this is a biggie. Writers have to keep track of the time events happen, whether it’s minor or major. Readers are sharp. They can pick up a major error like this easily if they’re detail-oriented. It’s an author’s obligation to make sure their story’s timeline is “time-right.”

Example: Is it on Sunday morning before church or after an evening meal when the bad guy is taken to jail? Sometimes, especially when you switch viewpoints, you can overlap actions and times from various characters, but when it comes to certain actions or the same character, you have to consider that he just might not be able to scale Mount Everest the same time he’s eating luncheon with his girlfriend. Keep it straight with your list!

timeline free

 

  • Keep track of your plot.  Make sure you’re headed in the right direction. There will be changes and sidelines that create an even better story, but you want to remember that by keeping track of your plot, it will help keep you in line for a satisfactory ending. Every line, every scene, every chapter should lead to the ending of your plot.

Example:  In a couple of my books, I realized, the closer I got to the end, that the bad guy wasn’t the one I’d planned for when I first commenced writing the book. Because I kept track of my plot–which didn’t change–changing the character worked fine.

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There are many other things that can be added to your lists, but the main thing is, keep track, however you decide to do it. I like simple and easy, so going my own way (preparing my own lists–usually with physical notebooks or cards) works for me.

However you decide to go, I think you’ll find this a great idea. Many times writers want to write and not be bothered or “distracted” with lists and such. But I encourage you to give it a try. I had the same mentality once I seriously began writing novels. It didn’t take long for me to realize I needed help…and lists was the way to go.

Questions? Ask. If I know the answer, I’ll be glad to respond. If I don’t I’ll try to find the answer. Best to you as you work on your manuscript!

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Ideas for Marketing 3

by Carole Brown

Quote

                        “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”                                   –Henry Ford

           confused man free            

Henry Ford said it right. Attitude is a large part of a writer’s problem or ability to do the marketing. In today’s world, it’s vital. Besides knowing what a writer should write, a writer must discover for whom they’re writing: widespread or a set group of people or even for themselves. That decides how they should market which leads to where they should market. And sometimes when.

What, Who, How, Where, and When (More on these another time). Keep them all in mind and your writing journey will be that much easier. 

Here’s this month’s marketing tips for your perusal

  • Join some Facebook groups that specifically pertain to what you’re writing. Historical: you’ll find many. Thriller? Poetry? Again, do your research, and, I think you’ll not find a lack of like-minded poets. Just be diligent. Remember, if you write inspirational, use discretion. Some of the groups may not be christian, so decide if you can use them without bothering your conscience. I’ve gotten a few reactions/readers from posting on these sites.
  • Ask David. A Twitter-user-marketing site. This is a very valuable asset to my own marketing. It seems to keep my stand alone, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, higher in the Amazon ranks at times, so check it out. It’s reasonable, cost-wise.
  • Facebook Parties. I know some of them may get annoying or even boring. But if you do decide to use them, then join in with enthusiasm and creatively. Don’t just post information about your book and links, but have fun and brief contests and short information tidbits that catch interest. People love to read interesting facts about you and your work. Just have fun and friendly, and you may gain a new reader or two! 
  • Offer freebies when other writers ask. Yes, sometimes these will gain you readers when you offer your book as a gift. This can be an author’s private launch of a new book where he/she gives gifts of others books. Or a writing conference that requests books for welcoming bags or even bigger conferences where you can create baskets for auctions. DO take advantage of some of these by creating a beautiful and appealing basket that readers are begging and hoping to receive! 

Remember, if some of these seem a lot of work for little gain: nothing is to be despised. We can’t all be NYTimes best sellers, but we can all take control of our writing marketing. Gaining one or two readers (plus more!) here and there is not to be overlooked. Most everything is valuable in its own time and way. Smile.

Blessed Marketing to you!

 

Ideas for Marketing 2

by Carole Brown

Today, I’d like to share a fewdiscouraged2 free places, some of which might seem obvious, but are well worth looking into. Don’t overlook avenues you think aren’t worth your time. You might be surprised! 

Quote:

 “You can’t expect to just write and have visitors come to you – that’s too passive.”            –Anita Campbell

 

  • Pinterest:  They say the eyes are a good way to catch attention of others. One way to use pinterest is to create boards for your books such as memes. Be creative: add your pet to one meme with your book in the picture and a cute saying. What is the setting of your book? Add a board with probable images of places that “could be” the locale of your book. Character pictures, including minor characters, are “wow” items for a board. What about hair styles? Do make sure they all include your book’s title/cover.  (CAUTION: you can become addicted to this site! Lol)
  • Twitter:  I love this marketing avenue! Short, to the point (and you learn how to promote in brief 🙂 ) and they also offer promotional options. To gain attention, add a pic too. It’s a fantastic way to market. Remember, you can also use Hootsuite, or similar, to schedule tweets ahead of time which is especially useful during sales, etc. 
  • Interviews:  If you’re in any writer groups, you’ll usually find people who are offering invitations for author to do interviews/posts/promotion spots on their sites. Take advantage of these! You’ll not only gain marketable visibility but gain readers too. Even one or two good, faithful readers if well worth your time and effort.

Take action–today!

Successful Writing Efforts wished for you! 

Writing the Book Blurb

by Carole Brown

book, old writing free

 

A book blurb is one of the most important items of a marketing plan. Without it, you will find it harder to “sell” your book to agents, editors and readers. Here are a few thoughts of how to create an excellent one:

 

 

Introduce your main character(s). Use the names they’ll go by in your book. Keep it simple. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, you don’t need to go into detail about their personality.

character free

Reveal the genre. Again keep it brief. Set the tone or mood of the book. Mystery? Romance? Sci-fi? Thriller?

WMITH Bk Cover small-Modified earrings

Reveal the main conflict. Most books have subplots but they won’t need (usually) to be mentioned here. In one sentence show the problem. Will the detective be able to find the thief? Can the hero save the heroine’s life (or vise versa 🙂 ) etc. Many times this will begin with one of these words:  Until. But. However.

problem-free

Hook the reader’s curiosity.  Is all lost when another man shows up and does what the hero should have done? Is the detective a failure because his main suspect turns out to be innocent?

curious free

Give the reader a hopeful possible. This “longshot” will give your reader hope that all is not lost and keep them reading.

happinessfree

Book blurbs should not be too long nor too short. Fifty words at most; Twenty-five to thirty words is a perfect sized blurb. Keep to these main facts, edit and you should have a winner. 

Happy Writing!

 

Is it Real or Not?

by Carole Brownbook world free

Writers are creators. They create people, settings and events. To do this, they need real or realistic thoughts that turn real-life into imaginary stories on paper. And to produce the work they do, they need three things: 

  1. Imagination
  2. Love of work
  3. Dedication

Why? Because without all three, most people could not continue through the pressure and discouragement you encounter in this line of work. Today, let’s focus on the first one: Imagination.

Without imagination stories would be unrealistic, flat and boring. Imagination keeps the writer soaring and excited over their work, during their production and marketing. Imagination helps to produce the results you, as a writer, craves. Using your imagination successfully is what keeps the reader reading and coming back for more of your work.

forest path free

How would you like to stroll along this lane? What emotions would fill you? What sensations would stroke you?

  • Writers create settings. That includes communities, whether a forest or a city. To do so and do so correctly, one must give the reader that pull into the setting. As one reader said of the Appleton, West Virginia Romantic Mystery series: “I want to move there.” That’s making the setting real. The reader must experience the coolness of the shady forest and cool wind on their cheeks and shoulders, sense with their feet the squishy, moist softness of pine needles on the path, sway with the headiness of standing on the edge of a cliff and staring into the abyss below. These settings can be real places you’ve visited or imaginary ones you’ve dreamed up, but whichever they must seem real to the reader.

 

Civil war canon free

The Civil War was a very real event. How would you draw your readers into this? What would the sound of a cannon be like? What emotions would your characters feel? Fear? Excitement? Awe? 

  • Writers create events. Again, whether you’re writing about specific happenings in our world and inserting special scenes that help create the story you’re penning, the reader must believe, as they’re reading, that this certainly did happen–or at least it did while they’re reading your book. 

 

old woman free

What is she experiencing right now? What emotions are running through her? Is she remembering her past? Worrying over her future? Afraid? Hungry?

  • Writers create characters. They become people watchers. A certain move, speech impediment or action from a real life person aids them in creating their story world character and help that character emit responses that bring them alive.  If your characters are “real-like”, readers will shiver with fright, laugh with happiness and cry over the characters’ disappointments.

Is it okay to use real “stuff” in your books. Depending on what it is, usually, yes. Normally, it’s okay to mention historical figures, historical events and settings from yesteryears and today. In my WWII Spies series, I bring in a mention of the current president during that era. In some of my books, I’ll mention nearby towns and cities, but create my own community. In one book, I was asked where the town was located. Real? Seemed so to that reader.

Does it matter whether your book is filled with real settings and events? Do you need a book filled with people who really did/do live? No, not exactly.

  • But bringing in real historical people lends an air of truth to your book. Studying people aids you in inventing your characters.
  • Showing that your story plot happened during a specific event grabs a reader’s attention of what could have been. 
  • Setting your book in a particular city or place is great if you stay true to locations and particular things in that city. Equally good is creating chef Ok freean imaginary community where it’s so lifelike that, as I mentioned above, readers want to move there.

Is it real? Or imaginary? Only the writer knows for sure. That’s the way we want it, isn’t it?

Tell me, how do you create your settings, events and characters? How much truth is in your work/books?

Successful writing!

Overwhelmed…Again!

by Carole BrownBurnout2 free

Once again I’ve allowed too many things to gather in one week than is healthy for me physically and mentally, and probably spiritually too.

This week has been stressful to say the least.  Grandson care, writing, appointments, therapy, driving, housework and all that goes with that, battle with faulty internet, inability to get satisfaction with a book cover, events that were scheduled but not necessary for us to attend although hubby and I felt “obligated” for various reasons.

Does every writer take on more than they can handle, or is it just me? I think not. Once again I have to sit down and figure out how to de-stress my life, and I’d like to share that with you today. Unless you’re a permanently organized individual, you might find these ideas helpful. I’m going to:

  1. First I need to sit down and study my upcoming weekly schedules and check off everything that positively needs to stay on my to-do list. These are very important things that should not be put off: a doctor’s appointment for hubby that I want to share with him. An Essential oil meeting that is important to me for various reasons, including my health regards. A promotion evening that is important in marketing my writing. Church, of course. These items are the basic things I know I have to keep.
  2. There were two events going on today that hubby and I felt pressured to attend–not that it was necessary to do so, but by “guilt words” from others. To say the least, we were stressed, and after we’d headed down the road, hubby said, basically: “That’s it. We’re not going to either.” And we didn’t. But we did make a detour for a few minutes alone to have breakfast together. Something we haven’t had time to do for awhile. Reminder, stop scheduling events that are unnecessary for ME.
  3. Writer (Me!), stop allowing unimportant life stuff drain the energy and inspiration from my being. Find the perfect time to write, and get something down. Stop allowing distractions to hinder my writing time. Figure out my best writing time and do my best to stick with it.
  4. prayer freeFor me, I have to take the time to replenish my soul with prayers and reading God’s word and good devotionals. When my soul is at peace, then it’s so much easier to handle all the rest of life.

 

 

Keep life as simple as possible. I KNOW who and what are important to me, so focus on those things and people, and stop being pushed into thingsdog free I have zero interest in. Take breaks. Sit on the porch. Read a book I love. Do nothing but stare at the leaves and sky. Whisper after dark with the one you love whether person or pet. Call someone you’ve neglected. Take a walk by yourself or with a friend or someone else. Do something you really enjoy at least once a week. Plan a vacation: short or long, close by or far away. Smile. Love. Pray. Relax.

I need to remember to stay on track. Only then will I have fewer weeks like this past one. 

Do you have weeks that are desperately hard to get through? What’s your go-to help to prevent the overwhelming?

Wishing you all a great week!

Do Book Promotions Really Work? Part II

by Carole Brownbook

Yes!

There are two ways to look at promoting books.

  • Discoverability
  • Sales

Both are valuable. Both are necessary to progress as a writer. Only you, as a writer, can determine which you’ll need/want at different times in your promotional periods.

Best ideas to gaining readers and buyers:

  • Capture readers’ attention with your blog posts. Quirky, Eye-catching titles, opening sentences/paragraphs, follow-through information guarantees interest. Some of my posts has experienced the attention, and I do believe the titles have much to do with it. If I follow through with the rest it cinches the interest.
  • Spark interest w/attention-grabbing memes and videos. Nowadays, the attention span of readers wanders if they hit boring information. BUT they love these visual instruments that are well developed and interesting. That draws the eyes. 
  • Well targeted and planned ads that inform and engage with as wide an audience as possible. Always study what marketers are saying. Study others ads. Are they doing well? Sometimes it’s necessary to experiment. Don’t get discouraged if your first one fails to deliver outstanding sales. There’s a learning curve so keep at it until you’ve hit on the right way, the right place, and the best way to ad for YOU.

I want to say here: some will say they have no money for advertising. That’s okay. I’ve been there. But I’ve also learned that if I can’t catch the fish (so to speak) in one way, then I’m determined to do what I CAN do. Remember YOU and your book needs to be discoverable.

  1. Join writing groups. No I don’t participate all the time, and sometimes no time. But they can be valuable to keep your name and your books in front of readers’ eyes. Don’t scorn at the thought. Being discoverable is very important to your books sale-ability.
  2. Participate in Facebook author parties. I’ve been on at least two so far this year and planning one more this month with six other author friends to promote my WWII Spies series book one: With Music in Their Hearts. Remember, you don’t always have to giveaway tons of books. Other items that pertain to your book are fabulous gifts that readers love. For With Music in Their Hearts’ first promotion, I used an older “diamond” studded pin, puzzles, sweetheart chests, etc. as gifts. I had a lot of people attend and lots of interest going around! Also, plan ahead what you’re going to say. I like to have a prepared document w/many items ready to copy and paste. Toward the end share your social and book information too.
  3. website freeOn your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., share tidbits of your book, your progress in writing it, why you wrote it, a recipe or pattern or something else that will catch attention. Offer small rewards off and on. Don’t throw “buy my book” comments outward too often. Let them get a feel of your book, show them what they’re missing, and they won’t be able to resist! 

More on how to make your books discoverable on the next point. 

  • Invest the time in making your books discoverable on book retailer sites. Play around with keywords, descriptions and price for your books on Amazon and other retail sites. What words are used with other books in your genre? What makes them stand out? Make sure you have a beautiful (and I don’t mean just romantically) and interesting cover. That’s the first thing readers will see. Some check the back covers to read the book blurb. Write the best you can, get help, critics to look over yours before it goes to print. The first chapter needs to draw in your reader, so hone that baby till it’s as perfect as you can make it. Add videos. Encourage people to follow you so they will be notified when you have a new book out. 
  • Invest money in online promotion. (Again, even inexpensive ones give you some exposure).  
  1. Keep track of what works for you and what doesn’t, and remember, that sometimes you might have to try a certain promotion or ad more than once to see results or realize it’s not working at this time. 
  2. Hopefully, before your book’s published, you will be a member of your chosennewsletter free social media sites. Start your newsletter, decide how often you’ll put it out, and even though your book may not be out yet, give subscribers a glimpse of your writing life, how the writing is going, tidbits of your book, and when the cover is ready, a preview of it. Ask for opinions, offer rewards for being a subscriber, and encourage them to stay with you by keeping them up-to-date on your progress.
  3. Find what avenues of advertising that you can afford and use as many as you can. I suggest once a month do something special for your book, or if you have many, alternate between books. It’s ALWAYS profitable! In different ways, but still profitable. 
  4. Study and keep track of what others use as promotional means. Sometimes, many of them will offer promotions at a discount. Even if you can’t use it now, and it’s allowed, sign up and plan on the date when you can use it. Good author stewardship.

Okay, Now I’m going to share a few places I’ve used and maybe a very few I haven’t tried yet, but plan to in the future. Remember, it’s not always easy to get accepted into their promotional services, so follow their rules and be as pliable as you can. Here goes:

  1. Bookbub. Yes, it’s VERY expensive. Most writers I’ve heard, say they get their investment back and profit from it, lots of downloads, and good results. But do your homework. Realize the costs. Calculate all you need to do to try to get accepted by Bookbub.
  2. Ryan Zee. I definitely plan to use this soon.
  3. ENT. That’s E-Reader News Today. They are great and considerably cheaper. But, again, you don’t always get accepted. 
  4. Ask David is a Twitter service that’s fairly cheap, but seems to produce good results. Check it out.
  5. I’ve heard good things about Book Funnel, but haven’t tried them or even checked them out yet.
  6. Amazon ads and promotion. Supposedly a good thing. Again, I haven’t used them yet, but plan to in the near future as soon as I have time.
  7. Keiki Hendrix (Vessel Project), Paige Boggs (google) and Celebrate Lit (Check out Facebook) are good avenues to use for advertising and promotions. 
  8. Free Kindle Books and Tips (Michael Gallagher) is a good one to try. He has some requirements so check them out.
  9. Books Butterfly, Books Daily (but keep your eye on it to make sure it’s what you want and that you realize additional costs for extra items), Robin Reads. There are tons more, some that give more results. 
  10. Don’t ignore your fellow writers. They can be valuable sources of spreading the word about your book(s). Interviews, blog posts, and simple promotional times help. Endorsements from those YOU’ve helped give an extra touch of sale-ability to them too.

I’vbook notes lists etce done a lot of promoting and studying on the different methods of promoting and haven’t touched some avenues yet. I’ve mentioned only a small portion of possibilities. I’ve tried to keep lists of every method I’ve heard of. It’s a good way to pick and choose what you want to try. You’ll soon find what works best for you and your books.

Do Book Promotions work? Yes,

Why? Because once you have these ideas set up, you can count on them to work 24/7 for you, without you doing much else.

Happy Promoting!