Hustle Smarter, Not Harder by Kristen Martin (Review)

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Today I wanted to do something a little different. A few weeks ago a fellow YouTuber/author, Kristen Martin, launched a webinar series called Hustle Smarter, Not Harder. The aim of the webinar is to help you accomplish your goals and learn what steps you need to make your dream into a reality. The webinar is split into three parts that in total add up to about an hour. When you purchase the first webinar, you get the other two for free. You also get a great little workbook!

A Little About Webinars…

Webinars are used a lot in businesses and are usually recorded live so the audience can ask questions along the way. Usually, they’re just a boring slideshow with the presenter talking. Kristen decided to pre-record the webinar, which was a great decision on her part because instead of having to watch a boring slideshow, you get to see her speaking, and sometimes a slide or two. You can watch Kristen’s webinar whenever you want because it is pre-recorded, so there’s no excuse of not being able to fit it into your schedule.

Why Did I Buy?

I love webinars! My job offers them all the time and I try my best to attend/watch as many as I can. I was a little hesitant to buy Kristen’s webinar because 1). I’ve never had to buy a webinar before, my job always paid for them. 2). I’ve done a lot of my own research into life-balancing, career launching, business building, ect. I didn’t think I’d be able to learn anything new from the webinar. In the end, I decided you can never learn enough so I decided to invest in my career and purchase the webinar!

You Will:

  • Pinpoint what is stopping you from achieving your dream
  • Initiate positive thinking
  • Discover your goals and how to make them attainable
  • Learn how to blend your passion with your dream career
  • Learn how to find/pinpoint your audience for your passion/career
  • Find what you’re wasting your time on
  • Learn how to prioritize
  • And lastly you will learn how to take all this and bring it together to launch your career/product

The Pros!

  • Don’t need to take notes! Like I said, Kristen gives you a workbook, which is basically the whole webinar in written form. If she says something that you think is great, instead of having to write it down, just highlight it in your notebook! (I printed mine out because I like having physical copies).
  • You find yourself. Kristen had a lot of little exercises in her workbook that force you to fill in blanks, decide what’ important to you, and how you can improve your schedule. There are some points in the workbook that are really inspiring and I’m not lying when I say I might just print out a few quotes and hang them on my corkboard over my desk.
  • Part 3 was my favorite video, though it was the shortest. It tells you how to launch your business/product from start to end. There’s even a checklist!

The Cons?

  • No pause button. The downside to the webinar platform is that once the video starts, it keeps going. There were a few points I had a hit of inspiration and had to write it down really quick because I didn’t want to miss anything in the video.
  • In total the three videos are an hour, but I’m not sure what they are split up. The first two were pretty long, but the last one was short. I split up watching the videos across a couple of days because I didn’t know how much time I needed to set aside.

Would I recommend? 

Yes! My cons are not so much cons, but technical difficulties. If you’re ready to take your dream seriously, let Kristen’s webinar inspire you.

If you’d like to sign up, visit thatsmarthustle.com, but make sure to do it before August 10th when the sale ends.

Marketing for Authors: The Basics

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A little while ago I was on Twitter and asked some of you if you’d be interested in some videos on marketing your novels and you guys screamed loud and clear, YES! So this will hopefully be the first of many videos/blog posts about book marketing.

Recently I’ve become more and more familiar with the in’s and out’s of the marketing world because I’ve acted as a marketing and PR intern at three different organizations, all of which had different ways of marketing. Through these internships, I’ve been able to accumulate a ton of ideas to help me market my novel, and while haven’t been able to implement them all just yet, I’m hoping to take you guys along for the ride as I do this.

I’ll be giving you a step-by-step guide to implementing different marketing ideas that I use for myself. Marketing is essential, traditionally published or self-published. You have to sell copies of your book somehow, and this is how you’re going to do it!

Today we’re giving to start off with the basics three things you’ll need before you start any marketing and that’s a product, a home, and a presence.

Develop a Product 

If you’re a writer, your product is your book, but sometimes your product can be other things as well, but I’ll get into that topic in future videos/blog posts. All the marketing that you do should revolve around your book. Every decision you make will be whether this will benefit your book. And course course you also want to ensure that book is well written. Don’t rush through writing your novel just to get it done and move onto the publishing stage. You can have great marketing but the novel won’t pick up unless it’s good.

Find a Home 

Create a website. This is your home base. Everything you do will be linked back to this. All social media accounts will go back to your website. You only have so many characters for a Twitter bio, so put the full bio on your website. If someone wants to contact you, make sure they can do it from your website. Your website should capture who you are as a writer and it should encourage the reader to buy your book. Make it easy for them to find information on you and your books. If you’re first starting out it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but as you grow as an author, make sure your website reflects that.

Create a Presence 

Social media! The free form of marketing! In order to sell books, you have to make sure people know you exist and the easiest way to do this is to be on social media. Now there will probably be a whole series of videos/blog posts about marketing with social media, but today keep this in mind: be professional, be relevant, be you.

Be the lookout for more marketing videos! If you’re looking forward to them, please let me know! Or better yet, let me know if you have a topic that you want to be covered!

Book Unboxing || BookCase Club July 2017

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Get your subscription to BookCase Cub: http://bit.ly/2ljr9R3
Use the code Mandi15 to get 15% off your purchase!

In this month’s BookCase Club:

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

What if, after spending a lifetime deceiving everyone around you, you discovered the biggest lies were the ones you’ve told yourself?
Grace Fontaine has everything: beauty, money, confidence, and the perfect family.
But it’s all a lie.
Grace has been adopted into a family of thieves who con affluent people out of money, jewelry, art, and anything else of value. Grace has never had any difficulty pulling off a job, but when things start to go wrong on the Fontaines’ biggest heist yet, Grace finds herself breaking more and more of the rules designed to keep her from getting caught…including the most important one of all: never fall for your mark.

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.
Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.
Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter. 

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.
When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react—shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened—both with Scott, and her dad—the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.
Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Eric Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

Novel Outlining: Chapter Guides || YA Ink

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You’ve all heard me talk quite a bit about novel outlining. Over the years I’ve used a few different methods to get the same result, but what I haven’t talked about is how I also like to outline my novel while I write. When I outline my novels I start by making a simple chapter-by-chapter outline of my novel of what I want to happen. As I write each chapter, I go into more detail, answering the who, what, where, when and why questions. This means that whenever I write, I have two Word documents open. One of my actual manuscript, and another of my chapter guide. Once I finish writing a chapter in the manuscript, I hop over to my chapter guide and input the information there.

Why Does it Work?

Keeping a chapter guide keeps you organized in your story. You know what happened when and if you forget something you’ve written, you don’t have to jump back into the manuscript, you can just jump back to the chapter in your chapter guide.

The answer to What is the most important (in my humble opinion). If I can’t get a good answer to What, then that means I’ll have some re-writing to do when draft 3 comes along.

 

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Keep in mind that when you create your chapter guide, you’re the only person who will read it. Don’t worry about proper sentence structure. These are your notes. Use bullet points and write only about what’s important. This is not the place to write long sentences of description.

Side note: You don’t have to create your chapter guide as you go. Sometimes I like to use it after I’ve finished the first draft of my manuscript and I’m getting ready for draft 2. By going through each chapter and answering these questions, I not only see any holes in the plot, but I’m able to see what chapters drag on too much and maybe need a touch of excitement.

 

Download the template or find the template on Pinterest.

Do you think a Chapter Guide will help you craft a better novel? Let me know in the comments below!

 

How to Get Motivated to Write || YA Ink [w/ Kristen Martin]

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This week I’m teaming up with the wonderful Kristen Martin. If you haven’t heard of her already, be sure to check out her YouTube channel and check out her videos on writing! But this week Kristen and I are talking about three things that keep us motivated. After to watch my video, be sure to check out Kristen’s here: https://youtu.be/gKU1mq1NAzk

Surround Yourself With Other Authors
My biggest motivator is surrounding myself with other writers. Have you noticed that as I’ve written more, I’ve been collabing more with other author YouTubers? That’s not a coincidence. Working with other authors and following their social networks is a huge motivator, and it pushes me to work harder. For example, I met Kristen in person at this year’s BookCon, and after I saw her at BookCon I’m more motivated than ever to work hard so I can find myself at BookCon some day. And let’s face it, most of us who watch writing videos on YouTube aren’t watching them to learn, we’re watching them to get motivated.
Talk About Your Writing
I love to fake it to make it. Tell yourself you’re a writer and you’ll eventually live up to it. Tell people about your writing, that way they’ll start asking, “Hey, Mandi, how’s that book doing?” And hopefully, you’ll say, “Great, I just wrote another 1,000 words last night!” Hold yourself accountable for your writing. Make it so people will check in on you. Tweet about it on social media talk about it on your YouTube channel. Make it so you have to write so you have something to tell other people when they ask about your book. And then when you’re done writing it, they might just want to read it!
Give Yourself Something to Write About
While locking yourself away to write is great, you have to make sure you experience your life. I recently had a conversation with the graphic designer from my job and we were talking about the benefits of travel. When you travel you open your eyes to new things. When you’re on vacation you notice things differently: textures, smells, sounds. Take note of them when you’re on vacation and use them in your writing. I love to travel and one of my favorite ways to do this is through hiking. I have a second channel where my boyfriend and I go hiking and we use my GoPro to film. If you’re interested in our adventures, check out our YouTube channel, DustySnowboots. (Those are our trail names…).
How do you motivate yourself to write? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to watch Kristen’s video!

Writing Progress of Novel #3 || July Goals

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Today’s my 21st Birthday! It’s also Independence Day here in America! With that said, the video you’re watching right now is most definitely pre-recorded because as you’re watching this I’m on vacation in Boston.

With the writing of my third novel officially underway I’m going to start doing monthly check-in videos. At the beginning of each month I’m going to be saying what the word count of my novel is, and maybe some goals I hope to accomplish by the end of the month.

July Goals:

Word Count

At the time of writing this blog post, novel #3 stands at about 20,000 words, but this is pre-recorded/written. So I’ll probably have a few thousand more words written by the time this blog post goes live. My goal has been to write 20,000 words each month and I’ve accomplished that for June, so I’m hoping in July I’ll have 40,000 words!

Re-Organize Author Website

I really like my website, but I feel like the content could be organized a bit better. My goal is to fix just a few minor things and maybe give the header of the website a face-lift.

Exercise

Non-writing related, I used to work out a lot, but recently life has gotten in the way of that. I’m hoping that since things will be a little less stressful in July, I’ll be able to hit up the gym at least 4x a week, though the goal is 5x a week. (Setting the bar low so I don’t disappoint myself).

Become a Remodel Master

As I write this I’m in the process of moving into my basement. The past few weeks my dad, myself, and my boyfriend have been working to put up drywall, paint, and add a window. Everything is coming out great and my hope is that my July goal isn’t to move in, but to re-finish a desk. My dad has this really old desk that I use for my sewing machine and I’m going to try to sand it, paint it and give it new handles. We’ll have to see how that comes out at the end of the month…

I’m going to stop here. If I give myself more goals then I probably won’t accomplish anything at all. Let me know in the comments below what you plan to accomplish in July!

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

Even Book Nerds Need a Puppy

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This is not book-related at all. This week’s video is purely about showing off my family’s new little puppy Dawson. Dawson is a 9 week old (at the time of filming) Shih Tzu. He’s the cutest little ball of fluff and even though he likes to bite anything near his face, he’s still absolutely adorable! See his debut on Youtube!

And sometimes he helps me write…sometimes…

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

Picking a Title for Your Novel…My Author Fail || YA Ink

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So you may remember my recent post? I said I was revealing the title of my third novel? Not to make it seem like it was click bait–I had all the intentions of revealing the title of my newest novel–but…I may have overlooked one tiny detail. I originally said my third novel was going to be titled Remedy for Memory, but there’s another wonderful Youtuber, Brista Drake, who has a book titled Remedy for Memory. Now Brista has been awesome and said I can title my book that as well, but after feeling a little bit silly for not remembering that was the title of her book (I follow her on YouTube for God’s sake!) it just doesn’t feel right to title my novel Remedy for Memory.

For now, novel #3 has no title, but it will I promise! And when it does I won’t have the same issue!

I wanted to spend today talking about how you should choose a title for your novel. More specifically, if you’ve chosen a title, making sure it will work for you.

Do Book Titles Have Copyright?

The good news is books can have the same title. There is no copyright over titles unless it’s a book that has an “image.” This would be the case for something like Harry Potter. Harry Potter is a trademark, if you used the name in your title you would get sued if it caught their lawyer’s eyes. While you can legally use the same book title as someone else, it’s not always the best idea.

Same Titles?

It’s important to do a Google or Goodreads search when you’re titling your novel. It’s okay if a title is the same as another book, but it shouldn’t be a book in the same genre simply because you don’t want people confusing the two books. Now the book I’m writing and the book Brista published aren’t technically in the same genre, but we use the same marketing techniques. We both appear on YouTube, so our books, and ourselves are bound to bump into each other. With the same titles, things would just get confusing.

Does the Title Fit the Genre of the Book?

Just like you want your cover art to speak for the genre, you want the title of your book to speak for the genre as well. Often times you’ll know a romance novel from a mile away because of the title, and that’s a good thing! A lot of books will get bad reviews because their cover art or title was misleading. Some readers don’t always check what genre a book is, so when they pick up a book with a title like The Floral Night and it ends up being a book with blood and gore, odds are a reader will leave a not-so-good review.

Most of all you just want to make sure the title feels right to you. Play around with a few different options until you find out what’s right for you. And don’t do what I did and announce the book title is absolutely final and you’ve done your research.

What are some of the titles of your novel/works in progress? Share them in the comments below!

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

Book Unboxing || BookCase Club June 2017

BookCase Club Unboxing

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Get your subscription to BookCase Cub: http://bit.ly/2ljr9R3
Use the code Mandi15 to get 15% off your purchase!

In this month’s box:

Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

On her eighteenth birthday, Lady Truthful, nicknamed “Newt,” will inherit her family’s treasure: the Newington Emerald. A dazzling heart-shaped gem, the Emerald also bestows its wearer with magical powers.

When the Emerald disappears one stormy night, Newt sets off to recover it. Her plan entails dressing up as a man, mustache included, as no well-bred young lady should be seen out and about on her own. While in disguise, Newt encounters the handsome but shrewd Major Harnett, who volunteers to help find the missing Emerald under the assumption that she is a man. Once she and her unsuspecting ally are caught up in a dangerous adventure that includes an evil sorceress, Newt realizes that something else is afoot: the beating of her heart.

 

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

bookcase club unboxing

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

AuthorTube WorkInProgress Tag

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So there’s this tag called AuthorTube WIP Tag and I was tagged by the lovely Natalia Leigh. Unfortunately for me, good for all of you, the tag asks questions about my latest work in progress. I wanted to wait until I had a least the first draft of my third novel done before I started revealing information but I figured, eh, why not? So here we have it! The official title reveal of my novel! (Coming to a bookshelf near you)

What is the working title of my book?

To be determined! Right not I call it novel #3 because I’m not original.

Where did the idea for your book come from?

Both my grandparents have/had a form of dementia. I wanted to write a book that reverberates around the themes of desperation to cling onto your loved ones and also the fact that when someone has dementia you loose them twice. First mentally, then physically.

What genre is your work in progress?

Thriller? We’ll have to wait and find out!

Choose the actors for your movie rendition.

I don’t what TV or movies enough to have a list of actors I love…I live in a bubble.

One sentence synopsis of your book.

Sam’s house was on fire the night Willow reached her breaking point, and now she doesn’t care who’s life she ruins when she attempts to find a cure to Alzheimer’s disease.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My goal is to query agents once I’m happy with the outcome of the manuscript. I feel I’ve finally reached the point where I have enough experience and a big enough platform that maybe, just maybe, a publisher will take me on!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m in the first draft phase still, but we’re getting there! I’ve been working on this story since the summer of 2016 but I wasn’t able to get serious about it until recently.

What other books would you compare the story to?

Still Alice by Lisa Genova, in terms of subject matter, not genre. If you haven’t read her novels yet, pick them up! They’re amazing!

Who or what inspired you to write the book?

My grandmother who has frontal temporal dementia (Pick’s Disease) and my Memere who had Alzheimer’s.

What else about your book might peak the reader’s interest?

This novel doesn’t even compare to Essence and I am Mercy. So far, this novel reaches a whole new level (but I may be biased).

I tag: Shaelin Bishop, Kristen Martin, Vivien Reis