Small minds

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Antagonists in the making – The disappointing realisation of what people do when they are threatened, and how it can provide gold for your writing.

I was out celebrating a family member’s birthday recently. It was a big deal for me – I’ve been living on the opposite side of the country for most of my life, out of reach from extended family, so getting to share a special event like this was close to my heart.

We celebrated in a small country town – and consequently the people attending were also from small towns… and a few things that had been said about me (behind my back) got back during the night. Which was confusing because everyone was so lovely. Well, to my face anyway.

Small minds Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleThe things they had said were by no means true; and managed to upset my family to the point of tears. I was a little urked, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t register what some twenty or thirty something thought of me, especially when their idea of a great time was going out on the weekend to get so wasted they could barely stand. It says a lot for their integrity, and frankly I couldn’t be bothered putting stock in the opinions of people who are destructive and do little with their lives. As I’ve stated before a brush with cancer has taught me to value the time I have left on this world, and follow my passion…

(Unleash my inner bitch for a mini rant! My feelings were hurt and I feel protective over my family, so be prepared for my wrath… over-dramatic much?)

But what a great character study for my writing – those two-faced gossip mongers.

We’ve all experienced the passive aggressive nature of others. How someone is inevitably threatened by you in some manner: maybe you are closer to their friend than they are, or have a better body shape, or appear to be genuinely happy or successful. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter – you have no control over what triggers these types of people to turn nasty. It’s the mean girl syndrome. Gender doesn’t play a part in this type of behaviour, but I’ve seen it a lot in the female of our species – what is it that make girls want to tear other girls down?

Most of the time they are probably not even aware they are doing it. An underhanded way of manipulating things to place them in the centre of attention and cast you in a bad light.

It has given me renewed vigour with a story arc I was having trouble with. I needed something to amp up the motivations of a certain character, and now I have it. Granted it wasn’t the most pleasant thing to experience, especially at my age – I left high school behind 30 years ago. But I continue to find inspiration in real life for my writing all the time. Snippets of overheard conversations, personalities, physical descriptors… people watching can be a valuable tool to offer relief to writers block.

From a party that was straight from the script of a CW television show, it has reminded me why I sometimes prefer fictional characters over real ones. And how little patience I have for fakers.

Experiences, both good and bad are fantastic tools for your arsenal. Be vigilant writers and make that manuscript gold!

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How to you say politely ‘you missed the point’ to an author?

How to say you missed the point Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleI read a review copy for a fellow writer on his novel recently, and was horrified to find he’d not even paid attention to the basics of writing a book… So what key elements do you need to make your manuscript successful?

This author is semi successful, he has a number of books self-published, and I have to admit, the premise of his story is very intriguing. His writing style is easy to read and his pacing and action scenes are up there with the best of them. But I found myself continually frustrated. Some essential aspects to writing a novel had been ignored… and I was like, why? WHY!

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Apologies if this post has started off as a little bit of a rant, but it leads us to an important question:

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How to say you missed the point Pic 05 by Casey Carlisle – yeah, I know, how could you miss this one? In the first chapter (maybe two) it’s important to build the world in which your protagonist lives. Introduce the main cast. Make your protagonist relatable in some respect so the reader invests their time in reading you book and the challenger he/she faces. Set up the challenges/quest/problem/whatever it is your character is about to set upon for the course of your novel… and show the stakes for failure.

How to say you missed the point Pic 06 by Casey CarlislePlace your protagonist through their paces. Set them challenges, have them fail, risk losing something important. This gives your character the chance to develop their motive, and develop as a person. All your characters should have a motive – a reason they are there, why they do what they do, and some objective they want to achieve. The more difficult you make it to achieve that goal, generally the more interesting the story.

Build the pace and tension (or angst). Put more and more pressure on your protagonist, each chapter should drive the story forward and increase the stakes for your main character. A series of cool action scenes does not a good book make.

The whole point of this is to lead up to a turning point for the character. A place in the story where the events of the novel have changed him/her in some significant way. This may or may not coincide with the climax of your story.

How to say you missed the point Pic 07 by Casey Carlisle – This is where all the really cool stuff goes down. It should be the most engaging part of you novel. It’s an all stakes battle, the part where your protagonist risks everything. Declaring their love for someone they are not sure will return the feelings, leaping from that cliff hoping their psychic abilities will finally help them fly, you get the picture. It should be epic. The quest, plot points resolved so that the reader is satisfied your protagonist has achieved what they set out to do: it doesn’t have to be a physical thing, like getting to the top of that mountain, it could be a spiritual journey, like a woman has finally accepted that it’s okay to be alone and that she doesn’t need a man to make her feel whole. Anything as long as you have made it clear in the beginning that this was your protagonists reason to start the journey in the first place.

You can leave some plot points open ended depending on your writing style, or if you are planning to write a series, but you need to resolve it enough to give the reader a  decent pay-off for investing their time in reading your book.

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Now all of this may sound pretty obvious in writing a story – well, to me it does. But then I’ve studied Literature, read tons of books, and love to then discuss and critique what I read. Some authors don’t have that background and decide to write a novel with a view to self-publish. I say go for it! But please take the time to have a professional in the Literary or Publishing Industry look at your work.

Not all the points mentioned above apply to your manuscript, and there is still a plethora of points I’ve skipped. But it was this core basic concept that had been overlooked in this review copy, and let’s face it, you read one bad novel and that author is going to look unprofessional, and you’re unlikely to revisit any of his/her titles again.

Professionals will help identify clearly the big issues around plot, content, character development, etc. so why not use them? There are plenty of writing groups online and fellow authors who would extend a helping hand, so why not use that resource?

I love positivity and encouraging other writers – it’s important to have a nurturing space in order to hone our craft. But I think the biggest lesson from this experience was, not only to address the basics of storytelling, but not to rush into publishing your novel without it having gone through a decent editing/feedback process.

We all want to leave our mark on the world, share out story, so let’s give it the best possible chance to succeed.

We are okey!

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Am I good enough?

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Helping writers deal with anxiety.

Pretty much everyone in the literary world when creating a piece of work has a moment of doubt (or many). For some it can be crippling. For others, its a moment that is easy to push past and get on with the job.

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A writer friend of mine gets so worried about their work and what others might think about it, that even after coming up on ten years of writing, not a single manuscript has seen the light of day. Constantly re-writing or scrapping parts to start over. Emotions run high, depression and mood swings from moments of being sure that this is ‘the’ vocation – to calling it a hobby, and nothing about that is good or serious.

That would seriously drive me crazy!

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I’m lucky enough that I had to deal with constructive criticism early in life. I was a dancer. Ballroom and Latin. I even went on to win two Australian titles in the 90’s. With that, hours of rehearsal under the speculative gaze of my peers and adjudicators, all judging me on my appearance, movement, technique… and at first it felt personal. It’s hard not to. You are being judged on how you look, your facial expressions, body shape, how you walk, raise your arm… it’s very intimate. So you have to learn when someone says “that’s ugly” they aren’t calling you ugly: it’s the combination of all the little parts that go into your presentation that aren’t meshing well.

It took some time to grow a thick skin and learn that sort of criticism can be gold if handled well.

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Comparatively, writing rings a very similar note. It’s also intimate. We put our blood, sweat and tears into the whole thing. We live it. It is an extension of our own being. So negative comments – or fear of them – is debilitating.

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We need to get that into the frame of mind that criticism, reviews, input from others is only going to help us improve the manuscript. And also let us know what parts we were torturing ourselves over, is in fact, relevant.

Critical writing partners and beta readers have helped me wheedle out parts of a manuscript that weren’t working, elements which are derivative, and other parts that are great. It also let me know about some things I wasn’t sure of – many times my consternation was completely unwarranted.

Yes, I got that ice cold weight in the pit of my stomach when handing over pages for my colleagues to read. But once you do it a few times it becomes easier. Especially when you see how your writing evolves into a much more fantastic creature.

It’s easier to say, push through it. Everybody is different and handles criticism with varying degrees of emotional attachment. But if you can start viewing your completed manuscript as something you can improve (through market research, using critique partners and beta readers) and develop that critical eye, you are setting yourself up to stay the distance as a writer.

No one wants to be crippled by fear. You’re not writing all those pages to forever remain in a box under your bed.

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WORD COUNT : Are you a numbers fanatic or measure your writing in stages?

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Many of my writer friends measure their daily progress by scribing a certain number of words to deem the day productive… and a few concentrate on finishing a scene or chapter – which one are you?

Personally I hybridize both of these concepts – I have a minimum of what I want to see written each day – 1,000 words (and that’s quality writing), but I aim to try and finish a chapter or scene each day. If you’ve read any of my blog articles on writing before, you’ll know I set ridiculously high goals for myself. Yes, rarely do I achieve the large volume of work I schedule – but when I do, it is a real rush.

But in this manner, I personally, achieve more than I would with lower goals. Smaller, more realistic goals lead to procrastination with me… I can catch up tomorrow, missing just one day is not too bad… and it just snowballs until a month passes and my performance is dismal. So I set huge tasks and take each day as it comes.

Are you a Numbers Fanatic Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.gifA word count goal works on days of low creativity, or when I’m doing re-writes works well. Mainly because that way I can always count on a certain amount of progress on my manuscript; and in turn keep to a deadline. I feel it is important, so that publishers can have confidence in me delivering a completed book on time.

Plus, sometimes it just takes putting words on paper for inspiration to strike and I push past the creative glut and end up exceeding my goal for the day.

Alternatively, when my writing is really flowing, aiming to complete a scene or chapter works better. It’s a small bite of the novel that has a start, finish, and needs to hit certain plot points somewhere in between. Having that overall view and see it all come together gets me excited and keeps fuelling my enthusiasm. It also leaves me jazzed to tackle the next part in the story.

Are you a Numbers Fanatic Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleI try to end my day on a high note too. Leaving excitement about what I’m going to write next. When I first started writing, I’d sit down whenever inspiration strikes; but ended up typing like a maniac for days and emerging out the other end like I’d been drip fed coffee while locked inside a tumble drier to write. And crash. For days.

It taught me the valuable lesson to pace myself. To not disappear for a week or so just because I had an idea. Many of these ‘episodes’ is what lead me to setting daily goals and scheduling my time appropriately. A writing hangover is not fun. I’m like a bear mid-hibernation with hunger pains and PMT. Totally not cute.

Plus, there were times towards the end of the writing sprint that I entered a delirium, and upon re-reading had me questioning my sanity.

The most important thing about having a goal, be it weekly or daily, is the fact that it makes you accountable for your writing – but – and I can’t stress this enough – don’t let it pile on any pressure if you are not getting there. Stress. Anxiety. Pressure. None of these helps in a creative situation (usually). It can kick off a downward spiral of ‘I’m not good enough.’ Or feed the frustration that you are unable to string words together. Not meeting a word count is not going to end your career or doom your novel to Hades. It’s merely a tool for you to measure progress and for publishers to categorize your finished product. A guide. So use it as such and let your mind free. Writing can be an emotional enough journey without adding another layer of expectation to it.

This whole activity is about tricking the brain into flexing its imagination on a daily basis so I can create a lifelong passion and habit of writing novels. And I’m forever learning and training. That attitude has let me handle critique and daily word counts with ease. It’s a concept as fluid and ever-changing as creativity is itself. But once you find that sweet spot, stick to it!

Happy writing 🙂

 

What tools do you use for meeting a word count or writing goal?

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The “AHH” Factor

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It’s coming up on two years since I traded in my stilettoes for gum boots: and how am I fairing?

Walking into spider webs, getting attacked by mites and ants when gardening, dodging cane toads in the wet season after dark. Trying to keep bats, parrots, possums and rats off my vegetable garden. Keeping a keen eye out for snakes in spring – even stepping in between my dog and a small brown snake newly out of hibernation. Seeing spiders the size of my hand and cockroaches the size of matchbox cars… all the things that crawl, skitter, skuttle, slide and bite have me screaming ‘Ahh!’ and wishing for the paved streets of suburbia with a deep yearning. But I love the peace and quiet, the fresh air and the rainforest just outside the back door. A recent trip to the city helped me put my move to the country into perspective…

House-sitting a friends place for a week seemed like a welcome chance to fulfil my withdrawals from city life. I got to wear nice clothes and wasn’t covered in mud and dirt, and caught up with friends over café lunches. I went shopping and indulged in cell phone reception and fast internet speeds. It was all so wonderful. But the maddening traffic with idiot drivers having me in a state of panic with near misses every second day. The sound of the neighbours cooking, eating, chewing… I mean, I heard everything… from both sides! I did not get much sleep.

So I guess there are pros and cons for both locales, but I think for the sake of my nerves, and my writing, my mountain top home is for the win. While it is isolated and comes with all manner of wildlife to combat and shriek at, it feeds my imagination and keeps me calm. All those things I love about city life can be a distraction to my goals this year with writing, blogging and reading. Not to mention the added little expenses of spotting a bargain, some coffee and cake there, and petrol consumption. I save a lot of money living in the wilderness.

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So, I’m thinking with limiting my trips to the metropolis solely for a fix and catching up with friends is something I should have done long ago… but that was when I needed to be in the city for work and cancer treatment. Now I get to chase my dream of being an author and have the Zen of mountain top rainforest to keep me inspired as I release a relaxing breath… ‘ahhhh…’ How that word captures what I love and hate about this place, but I think this is the perfect place for me right now.

Plus, my friend’s just love hearing all the anecdotes about me combatting the denizens here – something about me in a state of panic amuses them to no end…

What is your ideal writing retreat?

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Dad’s car is a death trap!

Dads car is a death trap Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.jpgA stroll down memory lane to the time when I had a brand new driver’s licence I happened to borrow my dad’s ute to take a girlfriend home… and well, the trip didn’t go as planned.

First of all – no jokes about female drivers please. I know sometimes we can be overcautious (as I can be) but gender has no weight on someone’s driving skill. I should know, my Mum was a rally car driver.

Picture this – Sicily 1949… sorry, I just caught an episode of ‘Golden Girls’ and couldn’t resist. Anyhow, the year was in the late 80’s. I had big hair, cut-off acid wash jeans, legwarmers and a hypercolour t-shirt. And I looked narly! At that time I lived in Alice Springs, a small desert town smack bang in the middle of Australia. In other words: Satan’s armpit.

My best friend and I were 16 going on 23; and after spending most of the day inside watching movies (the type you had to hire from a video store and watch on a VCR) due to an unseasonal summer shower, it was time to end our girlie hang out and get her home. I’d not long had my driver’s license and yet to buy my own car, but my parents usually let me borrow the family car. But this time it was unavailable, and the only thing free was my dad’s ute. A small maroon V8 flatbed truck. I really didn’t want to be seen driving it at that age – it was ugly.

But hey – it was a set of wheels – which meant freedom… and beggars can’t be choosers.

This thing gurgled and grumbled like a vintage airplane. We prayed no-one we knew would spot us in this bogan muscle car. So, off we ventured on the wet roads to the other side of town, taking the back streets with Bananarama blearing out of the tape deck. Yay! ‘Venus!’

It was pretty uneventful for half of the trip. I was freaking out a little, because the auto was bigger than I was used to, and smelled like stale boy and cigarette smoke. But at least it was an automatic, no embarrassing struggles trying to change gears. Given this was a column shift, the shift lever stuck out of the steering wheel column. Gah! End me now!

The only issue was that the accelerator pedal was a touch sensitive.

And a touch is all it took to send us rocketing down the street, pushing our bodies into the back of the bench seat. As if we were about to leave the atmosphere on a quick jaunt to the International Space Station.

And that’s exactly what happened after I pulled to a stop sign, seeing the roads clear, went to turn a corner… and we suddenly found ourselves in a world of blurred landscapes, teenage screams and screeching tyres.

A wet road and a monster of a truck aren’t a good mix…

Dads car is a death trap Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.gifWhat happened next was a collage of permed hair and hooped earrings flapping in the breeze as the car skidded across the road, turning one and a half times, jolting to a stop on the other side of the road facing the wrong way. And off to the side of the road a large dirt storm gutter decorated with metal star pickets.

Dads car is a death trap Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle.gifThank goodness for deserted small towns. And that the car stopped at the curb. Unscratched, still rumbling like a leopard with a cold.

I swear my girlfriend needed to buy a new pair of nickers. I just about soiled myself. This whole event cemented the hatred we had for supped-up muscled cars even more. They were a death trap waiting to happen.

The weird thing was, when the car hurtled from the place I’d stopped at the intersection, we squealed. And after a momentary shriek we fell silent, mesmerised by the suburb sliding across the windshield. We stared at each other with pale faces and a look that said everything – ‘what the frig was that?’

Driving lessons from my Mum had kicked in, I’d lifted my feet from the pedals and turned into the spin without thinking… Love you Mum!!

It could have been so much worse. We could have crashed and died. I think my handling of heavy machinery is also the reason that my partner never lets my mow the lawns, or pick up an axe… it will inevitably end in some weird mishap. Like the time I was digging a hole and broke a window; or the time I was using a belt sander and knocked down the neighbour’s fence. I have a knack for setting off a chain of events to disastrous results.

Consequently, 16 year old me never told my parents of my driving incident for fear of getting my driving privileges revoked. Because at that age, driving is EVERYTHING. It elevates your status and makes you cool. And in the 80’s wasn’t everything cool?

Today – I’m a much better driver. Really. I am. Though the atrociously permed hair is gone, my bestie and I still catch up and reminisce over our teen adventures in an outback town. Oh, remind me to tell you the one about how we were pulled on the side of the road so our friend could pee in the bushes and the cops showed up… that was fun.

Till the next trip down memory lane, Happy reading and get to writing that next best seller 🙂

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

When writing just… won’t!

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Combating brain-fry, an author’s biggest frustration.

This isn’t about writer’s block necessarily, because I’m always creating something on paper – but more about how, if you are trying to complete a project and not feeling it.

I’ve was racing to the finish line with another Work In Progress for May, but the wind went out of my sails. I know I could’ve soldiered on and laid down the structure and embellish later, but I write to escape and enjoy, and tap into something intangible that creates a special magic – so when those things aren’t there, I’d rather not.

When Writing just wont Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle.gifSo I’ve found that I generally have two or three projects I work on simultaneously. When the creativity dries up on one story, I give another go. It’s like being an actor and stepping into a different role. The characters and situation are different so it feels new. Plus, I believe your brain continues to subliminally work on things when you aren’t consciously staring at it. I get some of my best ideas for stories in this manner. Once your imagination sputters to life again over your main project, you can jump back.

 

Another avenue is writing a blog post or book review – their quick and easy, get the flow of words pouring out of the ol’ noggin, and you recieve the feeling of a job well done on completion (not to mention feedback – hopefully positive – from fellow readers).

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If none of that works, I relax with a movie, a book or listen to music; really indulging in the experience. Even a spot of gardening or window shopping helps snap the brain out of its continual task of stringing words together, and stimulate some other senses. Again it takes a small amount of time before I feel fresh and recharged, ready to tackle my manuscript again.

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What do you do when you start to fizzle out? I’d love to hear about your stories, tips and tricks to keep the excitement at a sustainable level. Comment below…

And as always, happy writing!

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Surprising things on the lawn this morning

I was lucky enough to get a call from an old friend this morning to help with the critters on his grass… sea grass that is.

I think the last time I posted about anything to do with ocean research was back in December last year when I got to do some more turtle tagging and population biometrics. With autumn settling in, it’s pretty nippy some mornings, however, the Sunshine Coast is still boasting warm days and some calm seas. So you can guess this little girl was excited at a chance to get out on the wild blue and do some exploring… Avast me lubbers! Half a day’s travel to a nearby dugong population, Aaron had phoned me up to help him collecting data on a herd he’s been studying.

Me – turn down the chance to swim with dugongs – hell no!

I didn’t have any gear, or an underwater camera, so I’m lucky Aaron was well prepared… usually his calls for help entail me trudging through mangroves, or sitting on a boat. And there is always endless opportunity to make a spectacle of myself, I’m built like a giraffe and co-ordinatedly challenged. But I love it, so my friends have to put up with my trips, falls and ass-pants. But this was amazing! I literally wanted to make a starfish in the seabed it looked so inviting.

Dugong 01 by Casey CarlisleThere was about fifteen dugongs in this herd, and a few swam up close for a nosey. It’d be great to give them a pat, but were observing in the wild and it’s not good to let them get too domesticated. One poor fella had scars across his back – a threat to this species where motorboat propellers catch them travelling over their feeding meadows. But he seems in good health. Many populations in the southern region are in danger, other factors like accidental capture in fishnets have impacted numbers as well.

There were small schools of fish, I glimpsed a cuttlefish and a number of crustaceans on the substrate. I would have loved to wander around and see what else I could find (and snap some pics), but we had a job to do. Did I mention I’m kicking myself for leaving my camera behind? Aaron graciously sent me a few snaps of our outing – probably because I whines so much at being ill prepared to document our outing. Thanks again Aaron – you are awesome!

At least this trip I wasn’t plagued with my usual clumsiness and managed to stay on my own two feet when on dry land.

It looks like the area of the sea grass itself is shrinking. And it had me wondering as to the environmental factors affecting the situation, as we’ve also had a significant event with coral bleaching along the Great Barrier Reef. I shudder to think of a possibility where all the amazing wonders I’ve seen could be wiped out in the near future if we don’t do all we can to protect these colonies, parks and reefs. James Cook University recently released a study that the reef will be dead within 5 years if some major work is not done to save it. I can’t imagine the impact on our parks and industry. It is a daunting thought and I don’t think enough noise is being made to help protect our sea life and their habitats.

Given the water is shallow and there wasn’t a lot of wind around, the water was pretty turgid, so visibility was hazy. I’d love to re-visit on a day with high visibility and low currents, it would be like standing on a hilltop paddock with the cows magically suspended in the air. It made me feel truly humble and I really want to do all I can to help protect this wonderful species. I’d like my children and nieces and nephews to enjoy and appreciate experiences like these.

So my day on the green was a little different, but I still am in awe at everything Mother Nature has to offer.

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Me and Aaron posing for an underwater selfie.

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

‘Elliot for keeps’ teaser

 

Elliot for keeps gif 02 by Casey Carlisle.gifgif fun for the latest contemporary novel that I’ve been editing.

We all go through rocky times and it’s always easier when we have a good friend to lean on. Can’t wait to bring ‘Elliot… for keeps’ to you soon.

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What an Author can do – apart from writing a book.

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You’ve written your novel and want to start marketing it… here’s some things to help you on your way…

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Start honing your sales speak – when people start to ask what your book is about have a brief 30 second pitch to entice your listener. You want to excite them ad encourage them to buy your book. If they start asking questions once you’re done, you know you are on the right track.

Make some bullet points about the protagonist, the challenges she faces; your genre and target market. Think of the blurbs you see on the back of books… you want the speech to be punchy, give all the relevant information and leave your listener wanting more.

Memorise it! Say it over and over out loud so it becomes second nature to talk about without stammering. Remember to make eye contact and feel excited to talk about your book – your listeners will feed off that energy.

Keep it short. Don’t drone on afterwards. Have some business cards, or bookmarks on you at all times with links and information where to buy your book, or visit your author’s page online. And leave it there! Make your listener eager to jump on line and purchase your baby 😉

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Attend events. Be it writing or publishing seminars, author get togethers, or events that are associated with your book (i.e. spiritual expos if your book is about that topic, talks at the library, festivals…) Socialise! Make friends, talk to people. I know it’s daunting, but if you want people to buy your book you’re going to have to put yourself out there. Or in the least have some friends and family come with you and do it too. Put that elevator pitch into practice.

Usually when you meet someone and ask what they do for a living, they’ll ask you back. If you say “I’m a writer.” You are always going to get asked what you write – there’s you in. Don’t blow it!

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Get artistic. Take some pictures, of your book with people and at interesting places. Get your friends and online followers to post their own. Create promotional banners and gifs. Make a bookmark. Design a big poster. The ore material you have at your disposal, the more chance you have at placing it somewhere to direct traffic to your website or online store to make a purchase. Get creative too. There are no rules to say you have to stick to tried and true methods. It’s possible you’ll reach a wider market.

You need to spend time talking about your book. Don’t just do it once, or for the month after the book is finished… marketing and promoting your book is something you need to do from here on out. There are free and inexpensive ways to get the word out. Community television, newspapers and radio, podcasts, social media, bulletin boards, explore and search these places out. And not just in your local community, look everywhere, other towns, states or even other countries. Your only as limited as your imagination.

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Maybe look into writing with someone else, or guest post on a blog. The point of this is to tap into a different audience, reach their followers. Maybe if you have a group of writers you meet with regularly you could publish an anthology: the combined force of all of your followers/fans/readers extends your reach and sales. (Especially if the other writers have a preferred different genre and target market to yours.)

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This is the flagship of your armada! Create a website. Make sure it is interesting, attractive and has all the relevant information about you, your book, and where to buy it. Have a subscribe button and collect email addresses so you can have a database of fans to sell your next book to, and email out alerts of events and upcoming releases.

You don’t have to spend money either, or be a web genius. It can be as simple as setting up a WordPress blog, or facebook page. Explore other options, there are many free web building sites, and some with low cost hosting. Take the time to do a little research and find something that will fit into your capabilities and budget.

But if you have the funds to get someone else to do it for you, make use of it. It will free up valuable time you could be doing other marketing activities – or writing the next book!

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Don’t just rely on selling your book through Amazon.com – have an online store on your website. Or get creative… see if there are a bunch of authors in your local area and host an event at a bookstore or library. There’s nothing to say you can’t set up a stall at your local markets either. The more places you can find to place your product, the better. Contact independent bookstores, they love to support local talent and will most likely create an event and promote your book off their own bat.

Start local and then keep on expanding.

Selling and promoting is like a snowball rolling down a hill, it will keep getting bigger the more motion you give it. This is definitely a case where the more effort you put in, the more rewards you will get in return.

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If you need financial help in publishing costs if you are not signed to a publisher, don’t let that stop you. Seek out some sponsorship. You could promote a book store or local business in the front or back of your novel (and on your website). Maybe start a gofundme account and link it from your website. Post excerpts or the first few chapters as a teaser and people can donate to see the book published to finish the book.

e-publishing can be free too. You make sure you read the fine print before clicking accept. There are many pitfalls that can leech away your income.

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You are only limited by your imagination!

It was good enough to write a book, so it’s good enough to come up with some creative ideas to engage an audience into buying it.

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.