Thursday, January 7, 2016

"The Uber Author Planner" by Hazel Butler

The Uber Author Planner
by Hazel Butler

The Uber Author Planner is currently on tour with Enchanted Book Promotions. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and two giveaways. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

The Uber Author Planner is the ULTIMATE tool for Authors, Writers, and Bloggers.
Created by an author, freelance writer, and blogger, this planner is specially designed to keep everything writing-related in one place, making you super organised and super productive.
Far more than a simple planner, this book includes a guide for authors, writers, and bloggers, covering many aspects of life as a writer in the modern world, including:
  • Top Tips
  • Writing Targets
  • How To Write An Author Page
  • 5 Steps To Get On The Huffington Post
  • Blogging
  • Growing Your Tribe Of Dedicated Readers
  • Building Your Email List
  • Creating Awesome Content and Freebies
  • 50 Different Blog Templates
  • Novel Planner
  • Story Planner
  • Non-Fiction Planner
  • Project Budget Planner
  • Word Count Tracker
  • Character Outlines
  • Chapter Outlines
  • Scene Outlines
  • The Name Game
The Uber Author Planner will help you raise your writing profile, build your online platform, write more, publish more, and achieve your writing dreams. Coming with a double daily spread, plus weekly blog, newsletter, and social media planners, weekly and monthly target setting, word count tracking, and stacks of extra writing and blogging templates, this planner has everything you need. As if that wasn’t enough, there is also a separate 30 Day Novel Planner.
The planner’s flexible weekly system allows you to start it on any day of the year and still use it for a full 12 months. You will also get exclusive access to easily downloadable versions of all writing and blogging templates, so you can print out as many as you like once the ones in the book have been used! Standing at over 600 pages, hardbound for durability throughout the year, and beautifully illustrated in full colour, this is an EPIC resource for all authors, writers, and bloggers!

If you are anything like me, the creative process goes something like this: You exist in a perpetual state of simultaneous excitement, frustration, and fear due to the ever-increasing muddle of ideas in your head. You are excited by their potential, frustrated by their elusiveness, and afraid that they will never come to fruition no matter how hard you try. You attempt to order this jumble over a period of days, weeks, month, years by endlessly scribbling on any available surface or medium capable of retaining ink, lead, digital input, or Crayola.
The result of these painstaking efforts to get the creative chaos out of your head and into written form is an assortment of half-full notebooks (most of which you can’t find), stacks of scrap paper heaped up in no discernible order, Post-It notes stuck to every available surface and (from the days you were feeling particularly organised) a collection of Word documents saved under random titles without any indication of what they relate to, or what order they are supposed to go in.
Sound familiar?
At the beginning of this year (2015), I decided to really step up my game where my own writing and blogging efforts were concerned. As a freelance writer I spend the majority of my time writing for other people. This has led to a marked drop in my productivity and an alarming amount of tumbleweed blowing through my blogs. I spend an awful lot of time writing blog posts, but most of them are for clients. The result of this is that my own blogs have suffered. Since setting up the business, I’ve also had considerably less time to write fiction, an activity I find very rewarding, relaxing, and paramount to my mental health. The conclusion I reached was that I had to set aside some time every day to work on my own writing. Be it an hour, six hours, or fifteen minutes, it didn’t matter. Once a day, every day, I would sit down and write something for me.
I spend some of my week working on pieces of art, but the majority of my time is spent writing. It sounds like a dream come true; my business is my passion. The problem is that I often lose sight of my own writing in the quagmire created by other people’s.
So how do you write when you’re a writer? For that matter, how do you write when you have a day job that takes up most of your time. Even if you’re graced with the good fortune of writing for yourself on a full-time basis, how do you find the time to keep up with a blog on top of that? How do you find the time to write a book, if you’re a blogger?
After racking my brains for a while trying to come up with a reason why I was able to write client work in a timely and plentiful fashion, yet seldom found time to write so much as a blog post for my own website, I finally realised that, like most things, it all came down to money.
When you write for a living, your income depends on you getting client work done. Likewise, if you have a day job and can only write in your spare time, that day job takes priority because it is the thing that pays the bills and keeps a roof over your head.
When you’re a freelancer like me, you have to schedule everything in carefully, giving yourself enough time for each project but also ensuring you take on enough work to cover your expenses, and provide you with a wage. It’s a delicate balance, and one that is often skewed—freelancers regularly work far too many hours in a week.
I have come to realise that the answer to the problem is to treat your own work—be it blog posts, articles, short stories, books or novels—like paid work. You have a job to do, and no matter how much writing is involved, you simply have to do it. Do what you always do: assess how much time is needed to do it, and schedule it in. Stick to your schedule as if there were a real deadline and a paycheque at the end of it. Once you approach it in this way, you will find that those blog posts will get written, those articles will get posted, those short stories will be done and dusted, and that book or novel you’ve been meaning to finish? It will soon be on its way to an agent, publisher, or editor (well, relatively soon—that one will never be done quickly!).
Although you’re not literally getting paid to write it all, it will eventually pay off, whether in the form of actual cash, new leads, new website hits, new followers, new readers, new sales and—gasp—perhaps even a new publishing contract. Keep all those things in mind when you’re looking at your schedule and thinking, ‘But that’s not really work, is it? I don’t have to do it.’ It IS really work, and it’s the best kind of work, the kind you do because you love your craft. And you do HAVE to do it—at least you do if you ever want to get anywhere with this lark they call writing.
Stick up a few reminders of this: the header from The New York Times Bestsellers list, an image you would like to use as your cover, a great big fat number to represent how many followers you want to hit on your blog or social media sites. Visualise your writing success and you can make it happen.
You will usually find that once you start, you don’t really want to stop. You get in the flow of it. You find new ideas and you struggle to get them down quickly enough. When blocking off writing time now, I tend to do it in large chunks rather than small. Rather than saying I’ll spend half an hour a week getting my blog for that week sorted, I block off one full day a month and get every blog post for the month ahead sorted and scheduled. I’m currently in the process of getting three months ahead of myself, so that I can continue doing one month at a time, but it will always be three months ahead—that way, should anything happen and I find I genuinely CAN’T write any blogs one month, they’ll still keep going out on schedule. Wordpress and other blogging sites are very good at allowing you to schedule posts, and there’s other software you can use like CoSchedule that can really help you nail it.
If you don’t like the idea of doing a full day of blogging, any block of time can be utilised to write a new scene or chapter, sketch out a character, create a new blog post or email marketing campaign. The wait at the kids’ dance classes is a great opportunity to knock out some content. Talk-to-text technology allows writers to speak to their smartphones while driving, then email themselves the text when they’ve safely stopped. Writers can even hire someone to transcribe what they’re saying into written content. The school run or long drive to visit your parents’ house just became a chance to write new content without risking an accident.
I’m an old fashioned girl; I like notebooks and biros (black Bic ones, nothing else). Physical things. Sometimes I use fancy Paperchase notebooks, sometimes the cheap refill file paper. Precisely what kind of notebook it is doesn’t matter, but I have one about my person at all times. You will find piles of them in my office, half filled, brand new, old and battered, stacked about the place haphazardly, or neatly shelved. There are more in my bedroom, at least one in every handbag I own, and of course, several in the glove box of my car—I’ve been known to pull over into a layby and sit on the motorway writing for some time when The Muse hits. It used to happen frequently on particularly long and boring drives from Bury St Edmunds to Manchester and back again.
The problem with this system is that it’s so disorganised. I end up with bits and pieces of things all over the place. I lose things. I want a specific scene or outline I’ve written and although I know I wrote it down, I have no idea which notebook it’s in.
Have you ever had a great idea for a scene, chapter, article, or blog, scribbled down an outline, then sat down at your computer to write it out properly and discovered you’ve no idea where the outline has gone? You can’t find it anywhere. Worse, you can’t remember it, other than the title or the subject it was on.
That burst of creative insight, when The Muse hit you square in the face is lost forever.
I hate that.
I also hate the fact that I often get lots of ideas all at once. So many that I barely have time to write all the ideas down, let alone write them out. Other days, however, I will be at a loss for ideas but have ample time to write. It’s very frustrating.
All these things led to the development of The Uber Author Planner. I was sick to death of the creative chaos, and as the year has unfolded and I’ve become more and more determined to get myself organised, I realised what I needed was a PLANNER. A physical book that I could use to keep track of all my ideas, for every aspect of my writing—fiction, non-fiction, blogging, my author profile—and every aspect of my online platform which, as most of you will know, is essential to the modern writer. After scouring the market and finding nothing but planners for building your business, planners for organising your personal life, and planners that were nothing more than glorified to do lists, I gave the whole thing up as a bad job. The closest I came were books on blogging OR planning a novel. Yet I found these to be of limited use. The written content was mainly information I already knew, while the planners included were non-specific and very basic. There are a couple of really good novel planners out there, but they don’t deal with blogging, profile building, and platform building, and I wanted something that would organise all four in one place.
And so it was that The Uber Author Planner was born. Ironically, while writing this book I have been over-run by Post-Its, scraps of paper, notebooks, and the paper bags they give you your coffee in on Virgin Trains (I’d run out of paper again). Now that it is complete, however, I look forward to a far more organised creative process in the future.
I wish you the same, and a very successful writing career.

Praise for the Book
"I plan to start actively using these in January, with the new year (count this as one of my New Years resolutions). If you’re an author struggling with deadlines, keeping up with blogging, finding time to write and all that (and honestly, what author doesn’t?) then I highly recommend this." ~ Majanka
"I'm a huge organizing freak, and although not an author I did get some good tips from this as a blogger (maybe blogging is kind of like being an author...). I loved the calendars and planners. They all looked so cute with the accompanying illustrations." ~ The Single Librarian
"Are you an author who wants to get organized in 2016? Then I recommend you buy this book! It shows different ways to get organized, gives tips, has a LOT of planners (my favorite being the project budget planner and the non-fiction planner) and basically can be used by any author and blogger." ~ Bookish Madness
"A fast read, filled with planners (as the name suggests) that all look cute and useful. The book had over a 1000 pages in my reader, but most of those are the planners. Not sure if I'd have time to read a 1000 page book otherwise, LOL. If you're an author or blogger struggling with time management, organization or reaching your writing goals, then buy this book." ~ Books are Forever

My Review
Whether you are a blogger or an author, The Uber Author Planner is for you. The author explains the essential elements of successful writing: tribe, organization, profile, platform, sales, content, the craft, communication, and finance. She gives advice on the dos and don'ts of self-publishing, setting targets, how to write your author profile, and how to build your online platform. The Year Planner includes Weekly Planners and pages for each day of the year. There are even daily writing-related quotes to inspire you. You also get the 30 Day Novel Planner, Project Planners, Blog Templates, Writing Templates, Character Outlines, Location Outlines, Chapter Outlines, Scene Outlines, and The Name Game Template.
This book is an extremely informative and inspirational guide, set out in a easy-to-use format. It's an invaluable resource for all writers and bloggers. I'm off to do some planning now!
The Mini Uber Author Planner is a handy ebook version that contains links to all the planners and writing aids for you to download and print at your convenience.
Suggestion for the author: Please develop an online or computer-friendly version of the planners, outlines, and templates for those of us who don't use paper.

About the Author
Hazel Butler is an author, artist and archaeologist from Cheshire, England. She is the founder and owner of The Bookshine Bandit, a business dedicated to helping authors, writers, bloggers, and those looking to self-publish achieve their dreams and maximise their writing potential.
Since 2010 she has been working on a series of Gothic Literary novels, the first of which, Chasing Azrael, was released in April 2014. The Deathly Insanity series are a set of Urban Fantasy novels with overlapping character and plot-lines. Hazel’s other published works include Bleizgeist, and "Grave", a short Dark Fantasy story. She has also published an additional novella and short story under a pen name.
While her primary interests are in Gothic and Fantasy art and fiction, Hazel reads a wide range of subjects and enjoys most forms of art. In addition to this, she runs The Bipolar Bear, a blog on bipolar disorder, and loves of dogs. Her King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Dexter (yes, after the serial killer), is her near-constant companion.
Hazel is currently in the final year of her PhD, which focuses on Gender Dynamics in Late Iron Age and Early Medieval Britain. She studied at The University of Manchester for her Undergraduate degree, then Bangor University for her MA and PhD, spending the two years between her MA and PhD doing corporate archaeology and research excavations, both in Britain and in Austria. She has two papers published in international journals.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win some great prizes: five copies of the hardback version of the planner, five exclusive NINJA USB Drives loaded with all the electronic versions of the planners and templates, and the special top prize of 25% off one of The Bookshine Bandit’s editorial Book Bundles.

You can also enter the author's giveaway for a chance to win a £50 Amazon voucher! This giveaway is aimed at encouraging reviews, and there are multiple opportunities to enter and gain lots of points to maximise your chances of winning, by posting reviews across different sites, Tweeting about the book as often as you like during competition time, and sharing videos of your review, your planner, and how you’re getting along with it.