Feral and Gritty
YEGman is a thrilling crime novel taking place in the underworld of Edmonton, Canada. Why did you want to set your story in this location?
I had several reasons why I wanted to have the story take place in Edmonton. I prefer to write Canada-based stories and I’ve spent a lot more time in western Canada than I have out east, so can craft stories in these locations easier. A second reason is the name YEGman itself. YEG is the airport code and a common hashtag for the city. It is easier to say than – for example – YYCman for Calgary.
I also have grown up in Edmonton and have seen the city change over the decades. It is a pretty (no offence Edmonton!) bland city when it comes to major issues. So it is a good thing. That raises the question, how can you make a tame city feral and gritty? This was an interesting challenge to me.
This story takes a uniquely gritty look at the Edmonton crime scene. What were some ideas you wanted to capture when developing this underworld?
For YEGman’s version of Edmonton, I wanted to paint a crime-infested city that has some similarities seen in superhero comics. Daredevil/Hell’s Kitchen and Batman/Gotham are examples. A city that is in dire need of help. It becomes a motivator for someone to become a vigilante when they feel the city isn’t making any progress.
The details of the drugs and music scene I wanted to make real by showing there are good people that get caught up in these dark worlds of gangs and violence. Either they feel trapped or do not know any better to get out and just try to keep their friends safe.
Where did the idea for YEGman come from and what were some book titles you considered?
YEGman actually was birthed from the album that accompanies the launch – Sounds of Society. Both YEGman and the album tell a story of someone who can’t handle the constraints of society and go off the deep end. They also share similar content in the lyrics. Originally I was working on this album in 2012.
The plot and character of YEGman came to me in the summer of 2015 when I was at a book signing in a comic store. It was a quiet period and was daydreaming about super heroes because of the increase in popularity due to the Marvel movies, DC movies, comic expos and I was in a comic store at the time. Personally I am not a huge comic book far so I asked myself – what type of superhero story would someone who doesn’t like superheroes read?
From there I drafted out the concept of the superhero YEGman. Quite quickly I decided against super powers and made him very earth-bound. This helped map out the ending as well. If he was just an average person, and didn’t have any tech toys, money or ninja training, he’s going to have a pretty difficult time being a crime fighter. After writing out the outline for the ending I reverse engineered the story – a process I do not normally do with writing.
In November of 2015 I wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo but shelved the concept because my horror novel, Seed Me, wasn’t fully edited yet. That took a higher priority and I didn’t revisit YEGman until 2017 after doing some heavy research into police procedures and psychology. These two points of study helped craft the inner thoughts of Michael.
So overall, comic books were the inspiration and I looked at comics such as the Punisher, Sin City, The Watchmen, and Hellboy to name some.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I really need to wrap up the dark fantasy series Mental Damnation. Book three is coming out in the fall of 2018 and the fourth is in the works. I also am working on a slasher novella but it is in the early plot outline stage.
Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
In the darkest streets of Edmonton, crime is around every corner. The police have exhausted their resources. Citizens are in a constant state of fear. The city is in dire need of justice. Someone needs to give the felons what they deserve – skip the courts and deliver their verdict with a fist full of fury!
At least that is what Michael Bradford tells himself. He struggles with violent tendencies while personally investigating the Crystal Moths, Edmonton’s most notorious gang. His vigilante methods get caught on film and are uploaded to the web with the hashtag YEGman. These videos catch the attention of a rebellious journalism student whose aspires to cover the developing story on the city’s underground hero.
Posted in Interviews
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Your Book Launch Timeline —What to Do When to Launch a Book That Sells
95% of authors I ask this question to reply “I don’t have one” or say “I’ll post a link to my book on social media and hope for the best”.
Hope is not a strategy and won’t get your book on the bestseller lists.
But you know what will?
A carefully orchestrated book launch.
Here’s what you do:
Assumption: the entire execution time from idea to launch is 5 months.
5 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – POSITIONING
You start with the end in mind. What do you do when you want to launch a successful business? You look for a niche that you can dominate. You look for a blue ocean. It’s the same with books.
The majority of books fail because nobody sat with the author to help them them find a category which they can both fit in (so that librarians know how to categorize their book) and stand out (blue ocean).
Take my book How I Sold 80,000 Books. This is my big business card.
How does it fit in? It answers the question “How do I sell more books?”, just like its competing titles.
How does it stand out? It solves the question “How do I sell more books?” using the 4Ps marketing mix framework.
4,5 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – OUTLINE
Writers often label themselves as planners vs. pantsters. I’m a huge believer of planning.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
YOU know where you are going — you want to hook your readers, give them an unforgettable reading experience and get them to take action.
To be able to achieve that, you need an outline.
4 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – WRITE
NaNoWriMo gives you one month to write a 50,000-word manuscript. Thousands of writers manage to reach that goal.
If you don’t love to write but still want a book, you can speak it to your phone and then get a ghostwriter to shape it into book material.
3 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – DEVELOPMENTAL EDIT
Wow! You should now be holding a first draft of your professionally written manuscript in your hands. Congratulations!
Do you run and publish it? No, not just yet.
You need to know if there are any gaps or loose ends.
That’s what a developmental editor does.
If they find room for improvement, the manuscript goes back to the ghostwriter. If you get all green lights, you’re off to… no not quite to the races… you’re ready for copy-editing.
2,5 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – COPY-EDITING
This is the fun task of going through your manuscript as many times as necessary to make sure that every comma and period is in place.
This is a must. It shows respect for your reader and it should also completely eliminate any future negative reviews regarding writing style.
2 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – A STUNNING COVER
The first thing people will judge your book by is its cover. The cover consists of two main elements: the title and the artwork.
With the title of a non-fiction book you want to show people what results they will be able to achieve when they read your story.
A great example is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace. If anybody is in a financial struggle, even just holding the book entitled Financial Peace in their hands will bring a sense of peace to them.
Another great approach is a “How to” title. They’re oldies but goodies. They work. For example, when someone buys How I Sold 80,000 Books what they are really buying is that result.
Next is the artwork. Most of your readers won’t be looking at your book in real size. They will be looking at a thumbnail next to other similar book as they search Amazon.
That’s why your book needs to fit into the other books in its genre but also stand out as being unique.
The most important thing to remember is that the title needs to occupy at least one third of the cover. It needs to be clearly visible as a thumbnail. Then you want one big image.
I recommend you order two or three different covers and then let your target audience choose the one that works.
1,5 MONTHS BEFORE LAUNCH – LAUNCH TEAM AND ENDORSEMENTS
- a) You should now have an ARC – an advanced review copy to build your launch team and get endorsements.
Create a landing page where people sign up and get a free review copy of your upcoming book as soon as they leave their email.
This allows you to build your email list and gives you the ability to mass mail all your team members during launch (crucial for the success of your launch).
Where do you get your launch team members? Anywhere your target audience hangs out. Reach out to Amazon reviewers who reviewed books similar to yours, write relevant articles on blogs (guest posts) and invite people to your launch team, appear on podcasts and tell listeners about your upcoming launch, reach out to existing connections.
Remember that about 30 percent of the people who join your launch team will actually leave a review, so if you want to launch with 50 reviews, you need more than 150 people who committed to do so.
You keep building the launch team until about a week before launch (where the time to read the book becomes too short).
- b) Simultaneously you want to reach out to people who could endorse your book so that you can add their quotes on your cover, inside the book and on your Amazon page.
Reach out to your connections, ask for introductions. It’s easiest to get an endorsement from someone you’ve already got an established relationship with but if you don’t it can be a good reason to start engaging with someone.
1 MONTH BEFORE LAUNCH – FUNNEL IN PLACE
Book royalties are great, but you will almost always generate more revenue on the back end than on the front end.
That’s why you need to have a link inside your book that will take your readers to your landing page so that they can subscribe and you can offer them your other books, products or services.
2 WEEKS BEFORE – OPTIMIZE FOR ONLINE SALES
Amazon looks like a bookstore but in reality it’s a search engine. That’s why your book needs to be optimized for online sales.
What this means is that you need to know what readers are looking for and make sure your book pops up at the top of search results when they are looking for answers your book provides.
That’s why I start with keyword research before I even come up with the titles. The full title and subtitle of How I Sold 80,000 Books is packed with keywords, which I found using dedicated software.
Another aspect is choosing the right category. We already touched upon it in positioning. By choosing the right categories you will be visible to those readers who want to read your book most.
You also need a captivating book description and an outstanding bio.
LAUNCH – IT’S SHOW TIME!
Your Amazon page looks stellar (great cover, title, description, bio, author pic, endorsements). Your book is optimized for online sales (keywords, categories) and it’s a book people will want to buy (and continue their relationship with you via your funnel that’s in place).
The #1 strategy here is successful communication with your launch team that you’ve been building up.
I recommend doing a free launch where you make your book free for a few days and urge your team members to download the book from Amazon (even if they already have the ARC) and leave a review which will be marked as “verified”.
Mail your launch members daily, giving them updates on the progress of the launch and sharing milestones, such as copies downloaded, number of reviews written or bestseller rank reached.
After the free days are over, set your book at $0.99 for a week or two and monitor sales. Increase your price every week or two (be consistent) by a dollar with all other factors unchanged and that will allow you to know (not guess) at which price point you make the most in royalties.
As soon as you’ve got your price point right, move to paid advertising (AMS ads, FB ads) and PR opportunities as well as partnerships to keep sales coming, build your list and increase your world domination!
LAUNCH DONE – NOW WHAT?
For more strategies on selling books by the truckload go to http://www.authorwisdom.com/ and download your free copy of my award-winning guide “How I Sold 80,000 Books” now.
Alinka Rutkowska is a multi-award-winning and #1 international best-selling author.
She’s a coach who transforms struggling writers into profitable authorpreneurs.
She’s the founder and CEO of LibraryBub (http://librarybub.com/authors/), which connects librarians with award-winning and bestselling books from independent publishers.
She’s the founder and host of the 5-Figure Author Challenge (http://www.5figureauthorchallenge.com/ which gives authors winning strategies to get to 5 figures in 5 months.
She’s been featured on Fox Business Network, affiliates of ABC, NBC and CBS, Author Marketing Club, The Author Hangout, Kindlepreneur, Book Marketing Mentors, Examiner, She Knows, She Writes, The Writer’s Life and many more.
She’s a sought-after speaker. She’s been voted top 5 speaker and named most creative book marketer at the Bestseller Summit Online.
Download Alinka’s free award-winning guide “How I Sold 80,000 Books” at http://www.authorwisdom.com/
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The Space Opera Thing…
Lockheed Elite is a genre-crossing novel with elements of science fiction, space opera, and adventure as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
That’s a very good question. The short of it is organically. To get the long bit I think we should dissect a bit what my tastes are in literature. I’m not a huge fan of hard science fiction or of technical science fiction. It only interests me if there is a good story there fueled by real and engaging characters getting into trouble. For example, if Andy Weir had written The Martian without a funny, snarky Mark Watney, I would have still “kind of” liked the book but I would not have LOVED IT and read it in one sitting. I love adventure stories with character(s) who struggle to an end. Right now, I’m re-reading, my childhood favorite Where the Red Fern Grows. For me, a story needs adventure with characters that are after something or it’s not all that exciting. I’m adventurous by nature it’s what my brain needs and does, apparently.
With Lockheed Elite, I wanted a space adventure. I wanted something that felt movie-like and I needed to have different character points of views so I could hide what others “off-camera” where up to. That’s what I thirsted for when I started writing Lockheed Elite so that’s what we got. A solid Sci-Fi Adventure with a bunch of twists and surprises. The space opera thing…I’m still trying to figure that one out. J
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Thank you, that feels so good to hear. Severn, is my answer. I like Wicked a lot too. He seemed to identify with the younger me and I drew on that a bit while writing him. But with Severn, I saw her character arc as soon as I introduced her in chapter one. I really wanted her character to develop well. For me, she was the key to this whole thing fitting together and I loved developing her role in the story.
Plus as a writer, I need to always be getting better at building characters that aren’t me. So with Severn, I worked hard at writing a woman. A strong woman. One that can help carry a storyline, if not carry it herself.
Severn is tough. She is strong. But she’s also caring and has a true desire to do good. I wanted her character to shine, not the fact that she can kick some serious ass. Her toughness is a tool of her trade so who she is and who she becomes inside the story must be paramount to that. So yeah, Severn is my favorite.
I do wish Jones would have played a bigger role, though. You can’t say enough about a solid, loyal friend, ya know?
The characters are caught between the authoritarian Galactic Command and the ruthless criminal underbelly of the galaxy. What was your inspiration for these two groups and their role in the story?
Honestly. We’ve seen the “Galactic Command (Military Law)” picture before and we’ve seen the evil villain too. When I started writing Lockheed Elite I thought long and hard about one and then the other…and then I got sick about it. I asked myself. “Am I really going to do a story with another one of these troupes?” The story needed one of these but I didn’t like the idea of it. I don’t want be a story factory doing the same thing. Then I figured out how to do it so it satisfied my need for complexity and opened doors for my desire for twists and turns in the story. The solution for me was to put them both in and pit them all against each other. I’ve made the troupes my own and made a beautifully complex storyline, I hope.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
Okay! You caught me. Only four questions in this interview so now I feel the overwhelming push to tell. I was asked this in another interview and I laughed and went on to the next question keeping it a nice little secret. It doesn’t appear I will be able to do that here.
So let’s have it then.
Last November I finished NaNoWriMo by writing 60,000 words of an outline for my next thing. 60,000 words in an outline IS A LOT OF STORY! So I think it’s going to be a three book thing. Right now, it’s titled The Rift in Saela (you can track the progress on my website). Like Lockheed Elite it’s a science fiction telling but it’s on a huge generation ship that feels like a city so you’re not so crammed in like we were on Elite One.
I will tell you there will be suspense and mystery and a good round of characters again. Think whodunit with a big ass what the hell is happening kind of surprises. At least that’s the goal right now.
Oh and also I started outlining a new installment of Lockheed Elite titled Lockheed Elite – Devil’s Run. The more people ask for a second Lockheed Elite, the more I’ll work on it.
I’m diggin’ both projects pretty heavily but something should be out in a year or so. I’ll be posting quarterly updates on my newsletter on how that’s working out. I’ll pick one of those soon and go full speed ahead on it so we’re not waiting forever for something new.
Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
Working to pay off a blackmailer who has learned that a certain genius mechanic isn’t as dead as he was made out to be, Anders Lockheed takes his team on their biggest salvage op yet.
Unfortunately, Anders has hired an undercover military operative bent on using them as bait to draw out a mastermind who has been attacking the public with deadly mechs.
While on the scav op, things go from bad to worse as the crew of Elite One recover an abandoned woman aboard the claim. Now Anders must decide quickly—stay and fight or cut cables and run.
Either way, it’s too late. Someone has other plans for them. The trap has been set, they’ve rescued the woman and taken the bait, and before long Anders and what’s left of his dwindling crew must navigate with caution through the grips of the military and an especially vile outlaw.
But Anders doesn’t captain just another team flying the black. With a genius mechanic who uses his ragtag high-tech machine shop to aid them in getting in and out of trouble, they’ve earned a reputation as the best of the best. With Anders’s careful planning, this motley crew must band together and flip the military to use them on a monster heist and dig themselves out from the heat pressing in from both sides of the law.
Fly with them. They are clever, they are fierce, they are Lockheed Elite.
Posted in Interviews
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