James. James Bond. I have decided that James Bond needs an update. I am working on a new version of an old favorite, with a twist of America.
My mentor is a former Navy SEAL who also happened to be CEO of one of the largest outdoor brands in the world. He’s outwardly a tree-hugging hippie, but inside he’s a warrior and a deadly weapon. Total West Coast meets Rambo. So why not have a surfing, farmers-market-going, Tesla driving James Bond. Why the hell not?
Is there any advice you can give other authors?
Don’t give up. Ever.
Whether its in writing, starting a business or trying to lose weight. Yes, you’re going to experience failures along the way, but that’s part of the process. The more times you fail, the closer you are to success. Trial and Error. Make adjustments. Reorganize. Hop back on.
Also, write everything down. You cannot improve what you do not measure.
What is your writing process?
- Outline the chapters. “Measure twice, cut once” as they say. I am spending a lot of time on the outlining process for my next book. It also includes lots of military research, conducted before writing begins
- Eat the elephant piece by piece. My next book is 60 chapters and each chapter is 1,000 to 1,200 words. I aim to knock out a whole chapter during each writing session.
- Warm up with revision. When I sit down to write the chapter, I like to start off by revising what I wrote during the previous session. This gets the motor hot.
I like to write about what I know. My books are usually based off what is going on in my personal life. Entry-Level was about a deranged young professional. When I wrote Entry-Level I was definitely a deranged young professional. In fact, the most degenerate stuff didn’t even make the book. I was a mess in those days, and you get to read about it.
How do you do your research? Do you pretty much stick to the Internet or consult experts or librarians?
I am GUILTY of sticking to the internet. However, for this next book I am making a commitment to consulting with experts. In researching locations, I always travel to the location. I only use settings that I have been to and connected with.
What was the most interesting factoid you learned while researching your book?
How to detect if you’re being tailed when driving.
Have your reading tastes changed since you became an author?
No. I just appreciate good writing and will toss a book if it does not entertain. Life is too short to waste on bad reading material.
Are there any bestselling authors you hope to emulate?
Brad Thor, but less aimed towards the grumpy Fox News crowd, and more towards the center.
What promotional tool has worked best for you?
Happy Hour. It seems like each time I go to happy hour I sell a book. So the answer would be networking. Discounting also seems to work. On that logic, if I had a coupon code to distribute at happy hour, my guess is that I’d be famous by now. Let’s get a coupon code!
Which promotional tools have been the least effective?
Advertising, which is sad because in my day job I am a marketing director. You’d think I’d know how to sell some books on Facebook, etc. But the sad truth is, most pay per click is not going to put an up-and-coming author on the best-seller list.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started publishing?
Time management can make or break you. Working full time and finding time to write takes organization. I cannot imagine how writers with jobs and families do it, but if you want to succeed, take your excuses to the trashcan. Plenty of writers have juggled career, family, social life. You can too.
Do you have any fun stories to share from author events or interactions with fans?
One of my favorite journalists read my book and knew who I was when I went to see him at a book signing of his. That was Neil Strauss. He’s big time, so that’s cool.