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Your Book Launch Timeline —What to Do When to Launch a Book That Sells

What’s your launch strategy?

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

  1. 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).

  1. 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.

 


By Alinka RutkowskaAlinka 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/

 

Powerful Force for Humanity

Hosein Kouros-Mehr Author Interview

Hosein Kouros-Mehr Author Interview

Project Bodi focuses on Google Health and the impact that artificial intelligence has on the future of work. What was your inspiration for this book and why was it important for you to write it?

One day I was driving to San Diego and I had an idea – what if mindfulness meditation can enhance creativity and innovation? Mindfulness is very popular right now with apps like Headspace, 10% Happier, etc. It occurred to me that mindfulness was a way to tap into the subconscious mind and solve the challenges in our lives. I decided to write this book on that drive to San Diego, and I used the same techniques for harnessing innovation to write the book itself, which is why I wrote the book in only 8 weeks. Mindfulness really does enhance innovation, and I have this book to prove it.

Beth and Austin are interesting and well developed characters. What was your inspiration for their relationship?

It’s based on my own experiences in the corporate world. In many companies, the younger, entry-level employees are often ignored and they fall into a void of obsolescence. But in fact companies do best when engage their young employees and set high expectations for them. So the relationship between Beth and Austin is something quite common in the work force in my opinion.

This book has some scary parallels with our current world? Is there anything that worries you about our current level of AI or do you have a positive outlook?

A.I. has the potential to be a bright, powerful force for humanity that can enhance our lives, but there’s no denying the dark potential as well. It will depend on the motivations of our leaders, as described at the end of the book.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

It will happen when the idea comes to me. You can’t force innovation; just like Austin learned, you should let your subconscious mind bring the brilliant ideas to you. Just be patient and it will arrive on its own.

Author Links: GoodReads | FacebookWebsite

In 2029, Google is the most dominant company in the world. Dr. Bethany Andrews heads the company’s Artificial Intelligence Department and leads Project Bodi, the world’s most advanced Augmented Reality smartglasses that will one day revolutionize the tech space. Her lead programmer is Austin Sanders, a 26-year-old psychonaut who loves Burning Man and electronic dance music. Together they embark on a life-changing journey to design the product of the decade, and along the way they discover the mind’s inner source of insight and innovation.

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Out of the Shadows

Out of the Shadows (Shadowlands #1)

I recently read Out of the Shadows by Ashlee Nicole Bye and was immediately hooked by the first chapter. The prologue to the book, which I admittedly skip over, caught my eye and sets the scene for what is a very interesting concept and well written novel. We meet Julian, who we learn is not from this world as he uses ‘humans’ and as you read on, you learn that he is way older than he appears to be. Although his age isn’t described until later, you know he’s old because his eyesight has been bestowed to him almost a century and a half ago. Clearly, he’s seen some things.

I really enjoyed this book. Maybe it’s because I’m Australian as well and we rarely get treated to books that are supernatural AND also mention state capitals that we know (such as Melbourne), but it was immediately easy to immerse myself into this world that Ashlee has so lovingly created. The characters, such as Sachi, are so well written that you can feel their pain, anguish and confusion as Sachi is thrown into a world she’s not entirely sure about. Sachi’s best friend was killed by the ‘Melbourne Slasher’, but it’s not until she ventures out after months of solitude that she sees things that were definitely not there before.

As the book goes on, Sachi and Julian’s worlds become intertwined as we learn that Julian and his friend Moss are a part of a secret society of reapers (which explains why he’s over a century and a half old) called the Order of Light and Dark, who are tasked with finding out what the Melbourne Slasher is and how they plan on stopping it.

This book also brings into play a very interesting idea that you can play with. The Order of the Light and Dark, and their jobs as reapers, means that they control who dies, when they are supposed to die and what manner they are supposed to die in. This ‘melbourne slasher’ is throwing everything out of balance and is throwing the reapers off schedule. It brings a concept forward that can make you feel at peace; your death has been scheduled and you are going to die when you are supposed to. For a control freak like myself, I really liked this concept.

I really ejoyed Sachi and her strong banter with the other characters within the book. I love that strong female leads are becoming the norm (thanks, Gone Girl!). I feel like without the banter and the wit of Sachi, this book would have been a bit difficult to read. She definitely made me laugh a fair bit.

Another thing I enjoyed were the chapter names. The first one had me snorting with ‘It’s too damn hot for a monster to just be walking around’. Ashlee really nails how Australians tend to describe things and this definitely comes forth in the chapter titles. They were descriptive and funny and accurate.

Pages: 338 | ASIN: B06W58K67L

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Jesus is Coming Back Tomorrow at 4:30 pm, Pack a Bag!

Author Interview

Truth and The Serpent explores an alternate creation story that follows the serpent from the Garden of Eden. What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this story?

Once I decided to write this story, I immediately determined that I wanted it to be different in some way. If it’s the same old thing then why write it at all. Honestly, I didn’t know if that was even possible, as these stories have been overdone so many times.

The major theme of the story is true versus untrue or consistent versus inconsistent, unlike every other story you hear of about religion. Where God/ religion is all fake and the explanation is aliens, monkeys, and sun worship. Or its all real, and Jesus is coming back tomorrow at 4:30 pm, pack a bag!

The issue with stories dealing with religion is that they are usually examined through the scope of morality. But morality is not a constant, which changes with culture and time. So, as I was developing the Serpent character I searched to find something to argue other than morality, which is based on perception, and not facts. I decided that even though there were may inconsistencies in these stories there was information within them, that was consistent or true for everyone.

Then I realized that that was a good discussion to have, and one that I had never heard of with these stories. Thus the Serpent would argue consistent information, and the Man of the Present, would represent our everyday biased understanding of these stories. The discussion and theme soon changed from morality, to the impact that these stories have had on culture and society. This is why the Serpent does not debate the existence of God, or Heaven or Hell, because it’s irrelevant. As culture and society deem which acts are “wrong” and which acts are “forgivable.” Once I removed that from the narrative, I could then be honest with the Serpent Character.

I felt that there were a lot of great twists and turns throughout the novel. Did you plan this before writing the novel, or did the twists present themselves to you as you writing?

No, there was no way I could have planned that the story would unfold and then end the way it did. I had an idea for each chapter, but once I got in there they became something more. The original story was a page and a half, and was literally just rewriting the Garden of Eden story form the Serpent’s point of view. It came out well, and then I thought to myself, what would it look like if I continued…

To me most of it was not a twist, but merely a change of perspective. One thing to note, is that every time we are told these stories, we subconsciously put ourselves on the side of the “good narrative” or the “victim/ saved narrative.” By doing so we only see certain things. For example, while writing the chapter “The Earth” which covers Noah/ the flood. Once the flood came I instantly put the Serpent inside the Ark, because that’s just what our minds do. I came up with a scenario that the Serpent was camouflaged hiding in the haystacks, which I’m glad I didn’t go with. But then it hit me, why does the serpent have to be inside? The Serpent is a reptile, there are sea snakes, Sea Serpents of legend even… what would happen if I put the Serpent outside.

I did, and then everything opened up. My mind began to explore this world in a way I had never done before. I soon found that the Serpent was the perfect vehicle to do this with, as putting him outside would not affect our opinion of him, while the same couldn’t be done with the human characters. It was difficult to navigate these stories from this perspective, but once I separated my ego from the subject, I was able to write the story.

I felt that the biblical aspects in this novel were expertly used. What kind of research did you do for this story?

One I read the bible for myself. Second, I removed my ego from the equation. Writing this book was not about me, it is at its core a talking animal story that takes place in the what if universe. That is, in itself, about as fictitiously fantastical fake as you can get. However, once I started reading for myself, I quickly saw how inconsistent the biblical stories were. Then on top of that, there is the commercial understanding that we have been taught and sold.

One thing to note, is that Christianity does not own these stories, and they exist in many other cultures and beliefs. For that matter this could very well be Muslim Fiction, Jewish Fiction, or Zoroastrian fiction. We live in a western world, so that is our first thought, but these stories have existed long before there ever was a Christian church. Additionally, this story is not about religion, it is a story of humanity as seen through the eyes of the Serpent character.

Then, once I got started I didn’t limit myself to the bible. As you will note I make references to spirituality, mythology, history, science, and math. I researched and looked up everything, not just say Noah’s Ark the tale, but what Noah’s name meant. I looked up what causes a flood, what happens to flood waters, how does it impact species and topsoil and later plant growth. I viewed the events not as only divine wrath, but in natural real terms. i.e. the animals going to the Ark, is explained as animals changing their migrations. Then I asked, what could cause a change in animal migrations and so on. I then added these definitions to the biblical story, which then added new depth and meaning. I would say that I had about 100 pages of printed notes for each chapter. I looked up everything trying to find something tangible and meaningful beyond the everyday wrath, salvation, and lightshow.

Once I did that, the stories came alive and were now three dimensional, taking on new meanings that I didn’t see coming. But none of that would have been possible if I didn’t research meticulously. Most of all, I didn’t just ask questions, I sought out rational answers as if, I was actually having this epic discussion. So, in a way, it was me asking the questions that I never got an answer to, and using the “absurd Serpent in the what if universe” as a platform to have this discussion, which somehow worked.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

Next is Serpent book 2. It will be the Serpent and another human character who live during the time of Jesus. The Serpent will be his obnoxiously colorful self, adding sarcastic commentary to the events as they unfold. It has a title, but I’m not releasing it until I finish writing it. I have notes started and have started planning out the chapters, but I have not begun writing the dialogue and narrative. Hopefully, I will start officially on it January 2018.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Truth and The Serpent by [Rutledge, J.]What if you encountered a dark and sinister character of not so subtle reputation? One whose origins are the very meaning of temptation and sin. 

What do we really know of creation, myth, and belief? There was a Man, a Woman, a Garden, and of course… a Serpent. Yet, what we have come to know as temptation, and mortal sin are only one side of the story. You see, three sinned, and three were punished, but only two were expelled from the Garden, but afterwards…what happened to the Serpent? 

A present day man finds himself eye to eye with the infamous Serpent of curse and ruin. The Serpent who characteristically makes the man an offer to learn not just what happened, but why. 

A tale unlike any other, where the fall of man is not weighed on a scale of good or evil, but in truth and lies. The Serpent whose intellect, sarcasm, and wit cultivates over time as he appraises the history of man and religious lore. The Serpent who is also on a journey of self-discovery to learn the meaning of that ill-fated encounter and the purpose of his own life. 

Come to know the unsung story of one who lived through creation, survived the great deluge, witnessed a mass exodus, and the rise and fall of exalted kings of men. Could such a tale, as told by a forked tongue, be the end of lies, and the beginning… of the truth.

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A Proper Super Villain Character

Stewart Hoffman Author Interview

Stewart Hoffman Author Interview

The Bug Boys vs. Professor Blake Blackhart follows Alex and Ian who still have nanobots inside them and retain the ability to take on the different aspects of bugs they swallow. What direction did you want to take this book that was different from the first story?

Well the first book was the origin story. How the kids got their powers, and a lot of get-to-know-you stuff, where they live, etc. In the second book, I didn’t have to go over all that again, at least not as much, so I focused on upping the ante with bigger bugs, robots, action, and a proper super villain character. I also wanted to explore what being a hero was all about.

The writing in your novel is very artful and creative. Was it a conscious effort to create a story in this fashion or is this style of writing reflective of your writing style in general?

This is my writing style. I like to keep things moving along at a brisk pace, and I always jump on an opportunity to see the funny side.

I felt this story was very well written. What’s your experience as a writer?

Thank you! As a kid I was always a story teller. More recently I set up my own movie review blog, and after a couple of years doing that I decided I was ready to construct a full novel. Since I’ve watched and analysed so many films (and books, I read a lot too) I think I’ve got a good handle on what’s needed in a story. It also doesn’t hurt to review one’s work with critique groups either!

Will there be a book three in The Bug Boys series? If so, where will it take readers?

There will, eventually! Tentatively titled, The Bug Boys and The Bullet Ant Queen. This one will spend a lot more time exploring the alien’s planet (The Bug Boys are going to visit!), while I explore the subjects of change, and the environment. This one will likely take a bit longer to put together as I also have another novel I’m working on. Something for adult readers, a little afterlife dramedy!

Author Links: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Tumblr

The Bug Boys vs. Professor Blake BlackhartThe fantastic superhero adventure that began with The Bug Boys continues! Alex Adams and Ian Harris take on Blake Blackhart, a disgraced Oxford professor. He discovers the boys’ source of power and plots to use the Secti’s alien technology to wreak havoc across the galaxy. 

With a proper real-life supervillain in the village, the boys must step up their superhero game if they are to put a stop to the professor’s nefarious schemes. Along the way, they make new friends, and they encounter new bugs and superpowers. With the fate of the galaxy in the balance, the boys dig deep within themselves to truly understand what it means to be a hero!

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To Face Off Any Horror

Jesse Teller Author Interview

Jesse Teller Author Interview

Song follows Rayph Ivoryfist as he gathers his friends to return the prisoners that escaped from Mending Keep. What was your inspiration for the setup of the story and how did that help you create the ending?

It’s a simple idea. There’s a prison break. The worst criminals in the world are released, and one man takes it upon himself, with no funding and no support from the crown, to hunt these fugitives down and end their reign of terror. It’s an idea we’ve seen before, but I got stuck on it, and I thought, “What would make this idea different?” I realized the thing I wanted to focus on was the characters themselves, their relationships, and the relentless nature of their leader. It’s not a crime story. We’ve seen crime stories. Song is an exploration of friendship. So that’s what I focused on. I’ve always had this idea that if real trouble ever hit, I could call on a small collection of men and women who surround me to face off any horror that entered my life. And I think it’s not unique to me. I think everybody has that group of people, that if things really went bad, they could call on to help them fight their way out of it. This book is a love story to that kind of friendship. It asks the question, “If my back was against the wall, and I desperately needed help, who would I call on?”

When you first sat down to write this story, did you know where you were going, or did the twists come as you were writing?

When I started writing the story, I had the prison break. I had the characters of the Manhunters themselves, and I had the villains. But when I write all my books, I do not know exactly how it will end or how the plot will progress. All of that comes to me as I write. This book just kept surprising me. I would write a scene and see that it was going in a completely different direction. I would write something and see a twist coming down the road. I let a friend read this book before it was published. His criticism of the book was that it paid off too many times. He said it reaches one climax after the next. I think Song is unique in the fact that I spend 250 pages setting up four different climaxes. But it wasn’t planned. The book is just complex.

As always, your characters are thoroughly developed. What is your writing process like for creating characters?

When I write a character, I like to do away with all archetypes. I think they get in the way. When I meet somebody in real life, I don’t think to myself, “Oh, that person is an underdog.” or “Oh, I know people like this. This guy is a survivor.” Those aren’t the kind of things that hit me when I meet someone. So why would I think that when creating a character? A lot of people talk about knowing the motivation of your characters. But motivation is pliable. I can tell you why Rayph does a thing because I want him to do it. The traits I like to concentrate on are my characters’ hang-ups, the things that bother them, the things they cannot tolerate. I think too often writers create characters in a bubble. They try to describe their character in artificial terms. They create a character outline or a character spreadsheet. They try to create their character in a sterile environment. But that’s not how we get to know people. I like to think about character creation as going to a soup kitchen and meeting people there. Real lives, real problems.

What is the next story that you’re writing and when will it be published?

Well it’s already written. The entire Manhunters series is completed. I will be doing some rewrites and final touch-ups of course, but the story’s already been told. The second book in the series comes out April 15th. It’s called Hemlock, named after the city that is the poison capital of my world. In this story, the main villains the Manhunters find themselves up against are vampires. These are not vampires as we know them in the modern world. I took inspiration for my vampires from the original legends. This is before Anne Rice, stories centuries older than Bram Stoker. In the original vampire legends, they were all monsters. No good, no mystery, no romance, just vicious monsters. When they were hungry, they were pale. After they fed, they took on a ruddy complexion. And when they were full, they were a close shade of purple, because their bodies were suffused with blood. My vampires are old and powerful, nearly immortal, and diabolical. Vampirism spreads like a poison, like a plaque, and the Manhunters fight to stem the tide. So look for it April 15, 2018.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Song (The Manhunters Book 1) by [Teller, Jesse]Some of the darkest minds in Perilisc attacked Mending Keep, releasing all its prisoners. Despite his strained relationship with the crown, Rayph Ivoryfist calls old friends to his aid in a subversive attempt to protect King Nardoc and thwart terrorist plots to ruin the Festival of Blossoms. But someone else is targeting Rayph, and even his fellow Manhunters might not be enough to save him.

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Redemption: The Advent

Redemption: The Advent

Redemption: The Advent by Kimon Alexander is a fantastical sci-fi-thriller. Set during present day, police investigator James Baxter becomes host to a Valdor, an ethereal being from a parallel universe. The Valdorians have watched Earth and deemed humanity too far gone to achieve spiritual evolution. What the Valdor decide is to offer humanity one more chance and send one of their own, Balthazar, who ends up in Baxter. Balthazar not only has to convince Baxter to help him, but to also complete his mission and through their combined abilities they combat a drug lord with a mind-controlling micro-chip and an Islamic extremist bent on world domination. All of this coming to a rocking conclusion that sheds light on the very nature of humanity.

The immense project that Alexander has chosen to write on is incredible. He wishes to dig into the depths of humanity and fish for the largest pearls of wisdom that he can yield to the reader. His intentions are clear that he is seeking this with optimism because each chapter holds an inspirational quote from various figures of history. His optimism is in spite of the ruthless characters that his two joined protagonists confront.  In some ways, the narrative feels a bit indulgent of the author’s own ideals that bleed too much into the story, but for all intents and purposes the book rings true and is a welcome change from the cynicism of our modern day.

The novel presents itself as science fiction upon the opening scene. The Valdorian meeting bespeaks of space fantasy as the ethereal beings conclude that Earth might be saved, but that is a slim hope. It then jumps into the thriller genre with drops of science fiction and psychological drama as Baxter grapples with being a host to an inter-dimensional being, but also the last hope for humanity to redeem itself. Some passages become almost too weighted down by the philosophy and thoughts that fill the pages and it works against Alexander’s pacing as he attempts to make the work a thriller.

By the end, Alexander leaves the reader wanting more and leaves the story open for another book. There is so much that happens in this book that it can easily span two novels and still spend just as much time navigating the armchair philosophy he appears to enjoy.

Any reader who enjoys a sci-fi thriller with a parallel dimension backdrop would do well to read this work. Even thriller lovers would enjoy this book if they can get past some of the intellectual heavy lifting Alexander weaves in. True cerebral readers will enjoy this book and relish the mental corridors that Redemption leads us down.

Pages: 317 | ASIN: B01N1X540Y

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End of Knighthood: Ballad of Demise

End of Knighthood Part III: Ballad of Demise (Reverence, #4)

Ballad of Demise is the third and final installment of the End of Knighthood series by Joshua Landeros. Set in the far future, we continue following Will Marconi, the renegade cyborg super soldier, who is aiming to launch an assault the same night as the International Summit. Chancellor Venloran, emboldened by his victory against the resistance fighters, moves into the final phase of his scheme. The International Summit will draw leaders from all over the world to New York City, and he will be able to achieve peace through the dominance of his design. It is up to Will, Alex, Bri, Gabriella, and others to stop the Chancellor and his deadly minions.

Ballad of Demise is an explosive and satisfying conclusion to the End of Knighthood trilogy. Landeros has been getting better and better with every installment. Expanding the borders of military science fiction, Ballad of Demise incorporates elements of horror through war and the suspense of a thriller. All of this adds up to a book that does its best to defeat the conventions of the genre and archetypal narrative structure.

While confining this book to virtually 48 hours and flashbacks, one would think this is a bold move from a relatively new author, but Landeros manages to pull this off with skill. The pace is snappy and engrossing for the reader. The internal struggle of Will and even Venloran shape the tone and theme of the work, which keeps asking if the ends justify the means. Even for the proposed hero, Will finds himself questioning if everything is acceptable for him to have his vengeance.

If there are any issues in this book at all, it would be that Landeros tries hard to stretch out these two days. Some of the action seems forced, and in other places, the dialogue slows the pacing but never enough for the reader to notice for too long. These are minimal problems and ones that take nothing away from the story itself.

For a trilogy, this series sets a high mark for the rest of Landeros career. In other ways, readers will be sad to see this cast of characters go but maybe they will return in future stories? Either way, this book is memorable and a fantastic sound off for Will Marconi. One can hope that such a world does not arise in the future, but these books seem to be asking, what if?

Pages: 161 | ASIN: B076BW7YLJ

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Trying to Devour the Population

Natalie Wright Author Interview

Natalie Wright Author Interview

H.A.L.F. Origins follows Tex and Erika while they’re running for their lives against a deadly alien virus that is spawning an epidemic around the globe. What was the inspiration behind this idea and how did it develop as you were writing?

The idea of an alien virus was part of the H.A.L.F. storyline from the very beginning of my planning back in 2010/2011. But I planned that the Conexus (the “aliens” behind the virus) wanted to wipe out humans so they could take over the planet. That idea changed a bit when I had the later idea of introducing the M’Uktah, predator aliens from across the galaxy. The addition of the M’Uktah altered how the virus would be used. In general, as I developed the story, I kept looking for ways to make life more and more difficult for my characters! So in book three they are beset with the obstacle of both a virulent virus and alien predators trying to devour the population.

The story is fast paced and throws readers into the deep end of the action. How do you balance action with storytelling to create such a captivating novel?

Novels have lots of “moving parts” and finding balance between the elements is perhaps the greatest challenge. Action, character development, setting, plot, pacing, theme, dialogue, character arc–these and more are all part of the process. Having a fabulous content development editor helps a lot. Alyssa at Red Adept Editing has provided early feedback on all of the H.A.L.F. novels. She is great at helping me see ways to improve pacing, etc. Some of it though is intuitive, but intuition seems to improve with more writing experience. 😉

I enjoyed watching Tex and Erika’s relationship grow throughout the story. Was there story organic or did you plan it in advance?

I did not originally plan for Tex and Erika to end up together. When I wrote book one, I assumed that Erika would end up with Jack and that Tex as their relationship “complication.” But that’s now how it ended up and so yes, what transpires between Erika and Tex was organic. Writing their relationship was the most satisfying part of the writing process of this series.

This is book 3 in the H.A.L.F. series. Are you moving on to other stories or are you going to continue to develop this universe you’ve created?

I am finished with the H.A.L.F. stories and do not intend to write more about Tex or Erika (or Jack and Anna). I’m currently focused on development of an entirely new project that will be epic fantasy.

I may, however, write some shorts or perhaps a serialized story set on the planet of Uktah, the world of the alien predators from the H.A.L.F. series. There has also been interest by screen writers and producers in developing H.A.L.F. for television, so I’ll be working on that as well in the coming months. H.A.L.F. may show up on the small screen some day. 🙂

And I’m introducing a new writing challenge for the writing community called PENuary that will debut January, 2018. Inspired by Inktober, I’ll be writing a minimum of 20 minutes per day from a one-word writing prompt for each of the 31 days of January. I’m inviting other writers of all skill levels to join in this endeavor. You can read more about it here. I’m hoping that I end up with 2-3 cool ideas out of the 31 day challenge.

Author Links: GoodReads Twitter Facebook Website

H.A.L.F.: ORIGINS by [Wright, Natalie]

A deadly alien virus spawns an epidemic. Predators attack Europe. And a clandestine organization conspires to profit from chaos and forge a New World Order.

In this heart-pounding finale of the award-winning H.A.L.F. series, Tex, Erika and the rest are in a race against time. They fought for their lives. Now they battle to save our species.

Tex and Erika are fugitives and running for their lives. But when Tex falls gravely ill, a Navajo healer is his only hope for survival. Tex emerges from the ordeal changed in body and mind and with vital information: how to stop the predatory M’Uktah from overtaking the human population and destroying those he has come to love.

Erika Holt seeks a respite from the constant threats to her life but she’s not about to give up. As she and Tex launch a mission to shut down the intra-galactic highway used by invaders who prey on humans, she grows closer to her troubled half-human companion. But what about her on-again, off-again boyfriend, Jack?

Jack Wilson, with his friend Anna Sturgis, is on a mission of his own. He’s determined to destroy The Makers, an illuminati-like organization behind the H.A.L.F. program. It’s time to put an end to their schemes for world domination. Complicating matters, an anti-viral that could save millions from an alien virus has been stolen. As both alien and human forces line up against them, the destiny of all mankind is hand the hands of these young warriors. And time is running out.

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The Beyond Saga

Greg Spry Author Interview

Greg Spry Author Interview

I really enjoyed the depth of your two female lead characters. How do you continue to develop your characters throughout your series?

Each character must deal with both personal and external conflicts that shape them as individuals. In the fourth and final book of the Beyond Saga, Beyond Existence, Maya must find a way to regain her optimism in the face of the losses she’s suffered and despite the occupation of human space by a group of powerful aliens.

I really enjoy David Weber’s Honor Harrington series. Have you read those books? Those books also have a strong female lead. Are there any books that serve as inspiration for your writing?

I’ve read book one, On Basilisk Station. It was good, and it’s flattering that my writing sometimes gets compared to Weber’s. Like Honor, Brooke and Maya are strong female leads. But I came up with Beyond Cloud Nine prior to reading On Basilisk Station, so I can’t say I have too heavily influenced by it.

Collectively, I’ve been influenced by many different books, shows, movies, and video games. I’ve listed some of them on this page: https://www.gregspry.com/influences.php. On the background page for each of my books’ web sites, you can read about what influenced the creation of that particular book.

Here’s a link to the BC9 background page: https://www.beyondcloudnine.com/Background.aspx.

Where does the Beyond Saga takes it characters in the next book and how do you see the story evolving in the future?

The fourth and final book in the series, Beyond Existence, takes everything that’s happened in the first three books and weaves it all together. The aliens that Maya encountered in the past in book three conquer human civilization in a manner reminiscent of Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. Maya must travel to different time periods and alternate universes to figure out a way to end the occupation by an alien race so advanced that they’re practically gods compared to humans.

My next book series will be set in the distant future in an alternate universe and different galaxy and will only loosely relate back to the Beyond Saga.

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Beyond Yesterday (Beyond Saga, #3)

After years of pushing the boundaries of interstellar spaceflight, Commander Maya Davis is ecstatic when she is promoted to captain. But her enthusiasm wanes when she discovers that her new assignment is a one-way mission.

After taking command of the space-time vessel Yesterday, Maya must travel back in time to discover how and why a piece of 23rd century technology appeared 200,000 years earlier. It’s an exciting opportunity–except for the one-way aspect. The best minds of her time say it’s impossible to return to the present.

Trapped in the distant past, Maya must choose between a peace that could condemn humanity to perpetual slavery, or a fight for freedom that involves deception, rebellion, and mass murder. Whatever she decides, her actions may very well erase an entire civilization from history.

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