USA Today bestselling author Ernest Dempsey chats with Kevin Tumlinson about a career writing and publishing archaeological thrillers, including how Ernest markets and promotes his work.
Building any sort of successful author career takes thinking things through, figuring out how things work, and working a plan. Few authors have done that as well as thriller writer Ernest Dempsey. In this chat, Kevin Tumlinson corners Ernest on how he’s making his author career work, and how you can use what he’s learned to move forward with your own career.
Visit Ernest online at https://www.ernestdempsey.net/
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Kevin Tumlinson 00:10
Well, hello, everybody. Thanks for tuning in to another D2D Spotlight. If you’re listening in on the podcast, welcome. And if you’re on YouTube and Facebook, welcome to you as well. And today we’re talking to a special guest, he actually stepped in at the last minute. So I really appreciate that, man. We’re talking to USA Today bestselling author Ernest Dempsey. And we’re going to be talking about the ins and outs of his career, everything he’s managed to accomplish, how he’s doing what he’s doing. But welcome to the show, man, I appreciate you being on.
Ernest Dempsey 00:43
Thank you for having me. It sounds so official and cool when you intro me like that.
Kevin Tumlinson 00:51
That’s because I used the radio voice.
Ernest Dempsey 00:54
You did. All that USA Today stuff, it sounds so professional.
Kevin Tumlinson 01:00
Well, we like to pretend that we are professional around here, man. So you are … now here’s the deal. You and I, we’ve hung out quite a bit at conferences, NINC especially. And we discovered a few years back that you and I both write in the same genre. And then we went and coined the name of that genre as Archaeological Thrillers. Even though apparently that term had already been around. But I still think you and I invented it.
Ernest Dempsey 01:29
I don’t believe that it existed before we had that conversation in the lobby of that hotel. I had never seen it before. So unless I extracted it from the universal consciousness, or you extracted it, I don’t think that it really existed.
Kevin Tumlinson 01:47
I’m pretty convinced.
Ernest Dempsey 01:50
I think we claim it.
Kevin Tumlinson 01:52
I do anyway.
Ernest Dempsey 01:55
Exactly, that’s what I tell people all the time. I’m like no, me and Kevin came up with it.
Kevin Tumlinson 02:00
And then these guys like Steve Berry and Dan Brown and James Rawlins came along. So why don’t you tell people—like, what, is an archeological thriller then, in your words?
Ernest Dempsey 02:16
It’s a more specific form of action adventure, right? So like, Indiana Jones type stories, National Treasure type stories, those kinds of things. The Dan Brown stories, you know. But basically, you have characters that, they either discover something ancient, like an artifact or a relic that has a clue embedded in it, or another character discovers it, and it leads to this great mystery and this chase, usually against some someone else, a villain who’s after the same thing. So was that elevator enough for it, like an elevator pitch?
Kevin Tumlinson 03:01
For like an elevator pitch? Yeah. And to anyone listening. I apologize if things are coming through a little glitchy. I thinkit may be on my side, I’m not sure. So hopefully, you’re getting all the wisdom that Ernie is throwing out there. But sowe, you and I talk quite a bit. One of the things that you did that I really find interesting is, you did a Kickstarter to launch an audiobook. And successfully launched it. So how did that work?
Ernest Dempsey 03:33
Last summer. I didn’t expect you to ask me about that. That’s a good question. So with the Kickstarter, the fans that participated really enjoyed it. And it’s been interesting, because I’ve had to reach out several times to some of the people who backed it, to get their information and send them their awards, because they haven’t sent me their addresses or whatever to send their prizes or their rewards. So it worked pretty well. I think it could have done a little better. But the secret to it is, if you want to know the secret, is to have several tiers, but not too many tiers. You want it to be somewhere in the middle. So I’ve seen people with you know, like, 20 or 30 different tiers where people can back, and it’s the old story of the pie baker, right? When they baked five kinds of pies, they sold out every day. So they thought, I should bake 20 kinds of pies, and then they didn’t sell any because people couldn’t make a decision. So you streamline that decision process for them. And so that’s what I did. I don’t remember, I might have had like 10 tiers, and several of them just, they were tiers that were similar to the one before but with one addition to it. And most of them were like under 50 bucks. And then you should do one big one, right? Like one or two big, like, extravagant ones. Like, have dinner with the author at his favorite steak joint or whatever, for $1,000 or something crazy like that. I didn’t do that. I did, I gave three slots at 500 bucks apiece. And you get all the benefits from the first one. So you get like the digital copy of the book, you get autographed paperback, you get the audio, you get an archeology bag that I got designed produced, manufactured and all that. And then on top of all that, you get your name in a future Sean Wyatt book. And included in the series going forward, because I intend to use characters over and over again. My glasses are all crooked, and I don’t know why. I’m just gonna take them off. So, the other ones were fine, and I went downstairs and I guess I left them down there. I don’t know why I did that. So um, yeah, I actually got two backers at that $500 level with people who wanted their names in books. And so, the second one makes her debut here at the end of the month in the next Sean Wyatt story. So.
Kevin Tumlinson 06:26
Excellent. How many of those slots? Sorry, man. Those glasses don’t look crooked to me. Well, I guess they look a little crooked.
Ernest Dempsey 06:36
My face is crooked, that’s the problem. The other ones were fine. So the slots were 500 bucks. And I sold two, or I might have sold all three of those. I can’t remember. I think I only sold two. So my goal was like $2000. And I ended up hitting that goal. You want to make sure that you set a goal that you think you can hit, because if you set it for like 10 or 20 grand, it’s all or nothing. So if you don’t hit it, then you don’t get any of that. So then you have to start the whole campaign over again. And so … I’m sorry, my daughter just walked in.
Kevin Tumlinson 07:16
That’s called life.
Ernest Dempsey 07:20
I’m doing an interview right now. Okay. I love you too. I’ll be down in a little bit, okay?
Kevin Tumlinson 07:26
See, we just got a behind the scenes look at Ernie Dempsey, father.
Ernest Dempsey 07:35
Yeah, this isn’t my show. This is somebody else’s show, okay? Sorry.
Kevin Tumlinson 07:38
No, that’s no problem, man. You’re doing me a solid just by coming on the show at the last minute. So whatever happens, happens.
Ernest Dempsey 07:48
There may be two more visits like that might happen. So, just full disclosure. It’s fine when it’s my show, but when it’s somebody else’s show, it’s like …
Kevin Tumlinson 07:59
Yeah, let’s talk a little about your show, though. Because you’ve got. you’re doing something … you and I have talked about this as well. Because we both do, we both have our own little like video programs that we run live, and they’re meant for the fans. And you’ve got a strategy behind that?
Ernest Dempsey 08:16
No, absolutely none. No, there’s no strategy. The two that I do are Coffe at the Dempseys. I’ve changed that to Sunday mornings, because I need Saturday mornings off. I need to sleep in. And, so I do that at 8 a.m. Eastern on Sunday for my readers over in Europe, primarily, in the East Coast here because the 5:30 Drinks with Dempsey on Friday are in the afternoon. And so it’s good for the West coasters or the people here in the States, but the people in Europe, it’s getting pretty late. So that’s the only strategy behind it really. I just, occasionally I have a guest, and sometimes it’s just me chatting with the fans. But the whole idea behind it was … and I ramble. I just ramble and ramble. The whole idea is that I wanted to stay in touch with my fans and do a better job of being in contact with them because I know a lot of emails slip through the cracks, and I try to get to my emails as much as I can. Because I believe in, you know, the way Mr. Rogers did things. He answered every letter from a child personally, and he spent time every day doing that. And that takes a lot of time. But if people take the time to reach out to you, then you should reach out to them too. You should respond if you can. But I can’t always work that into my day and I know some emails slip through the cracks. So doing Facebook live shows, just being there for, you know, it’s not even usually more than like 20 readers or sometimes 30 readers that even hop on. But it’s important. Like, it’s important to stay in contact with them, because without them, we don’t get to do what we do, you know?
Kevin Tumlinson 10:16
Did I drop out there? Sorry about that.
Ernest Dempsey 10:18
I saw you disappear, but I just kept talking.
Kevin Tumlinson 10:19
No, that’s the way … I’m glad. And if I drop out, just keep talking, I’m gonna come back eventually.
Ernest Dempsey 10:28
If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s just keep going, talking and talking.
Kevin Tumlinson 10:33
We got, the adventure just continues, because we’re in this … my wife and I just moved in, for those who don’t know, we just moved into this camper RV full time to travel and internet is still something we’re working to solve. So thanks for your patience.
Ernest Dempsey 10:48
Is that a gnome behind your shoulder there?
Kevin Tumlinson 10:51
That is a gnome. You spotted Romi then the traveling gnome. He’s my little Easter egg. So, oh, then there you go. Okay, are you back? I think I lost you. There we go. Okay. So, um, yeah, so you do a lot of stuff that’s aimed at the fans, aimed at the readers, which I think is important. A lot of authors kind of forget this sort of thing. And you say you have no strategy. But it is part of your marketing strategy to engage this audience, right?
Ernest Dempsey 11:29
Yeah. I mean, like I said, when you dropped off the call, I can only assume because you hate me, it is a marketing strategy. But sometimes the word marketing can sound like a dirty word. It’s not, but it can to some people. But it is, I guess, a subtle marketing strategy in that you’re trying to maintain contact with fans and build up that relationship, because the best marketing is relationships. Like, that’s the best form of marketing. The old school ways of a handshake and a clap on the back and doing, you know, meeting for dinner or meeting for lunch or meeting for drinks or whatever, that’s the best way to do business. And in this digital age, we’ve kind of lost that a little bit. And I think that there’s, you know, a million YouTubers that are out there doing things. But are how engaged are they really with their fans? They’re putting out lots of content, and that’s good. And writers do that, too. They put out lots of content. But I feel like it’s important to give in as many ways as you possibly can. And oftentimes writers fall into the trap of believing, you know … most of us have a reader magnet at this point, most of us have a free something that you sign up on our newsletter to get, right? And I’m going to be writing a new one of those pretty soon. And that’s great, that is a good thing to give people. And it’s valuable, and you’re giving value. But at the end of the day, a lot of people are still focused on the getting part, which is getting that email so they can extract money from a reader. And while you do have to pay the bills, you know, you want to be able to do this for a living and make money doing it. And so there is that extraction point, that’s, you know, somewhere down the line. I think too many people focus on that. I get a lot of questions and a lot of text messages and emails from readers or other writers who are all the time stressed out about their sales. I know that I used to be at one point about, you know, when sales dropped or, you know, whatever. And it’s still not good to see it happen. But if you’re not focusing on that, that’s where the real success comes from. If you’re focusing on the readers and the fans themselves, then the other stuff will take care of itself. If you’re good at what you do, and you work really hard at it, and you’re unselfish with your time. And you give them multiple giving points, right? You give to charity, with some of your royalties. You give your time to help other authors understand how to do the business. That’s another thing I knew there. It’s really strange. It’s like the almighty brings a new would-be author into my path about once every six to eight weeks with questions on how to write and publish books. I don’t even go looking for it. So I give time that way. And then you need to give time to your readers, either in the form of answering emails for an hour or so a day, or 30 to 45 minutes of, you know, Facebook Live or whatever. And it’s important, and that’s truly the platform tight there. Like, a newsletter is not a platform. A social media following is not a platform. The platform is connections and relationships. And I don’t know if enough people really focus on that. And you need to have as many of those things built into your platform as possible, as many ways to give as possible. So that’s why I’m working on this new YouTube thing too, that I was mentioning before, which is still top secret. Don’t try to extract that from me today.
Kevin Tumlinson 15:27
Yeah, so you, um, how many series do you have right now? Multiple?
Ernest Dempsey 15:36
Yeah. So let’s see. The Sean Wyatt series Book 19 comes out at the end of the month. The Adriana Via series, which was just sort of like three books, really. And then there was the Shadow Cell series, which was three books, and that’ll be expanded later, featuring June Holiday, Tommy Schultz’s wife. And then the Paranormal Archaeology Division series just kicked off in February. The Adventure Guild Kids series, which is archaeological thrillers for younger readers, so that’s more along the lines of like The Goonies and Scooby Doo.
Kevin Tumlinson 16:15
And you’re co-authoring now?
Ernest Dempsey 16:19
Yes, with my cousin writing. He’s gonna be a senior this coming year in high school, but we started when he was in eighth grade, working on that series.
Kevin Tumlinson 16:26
Yeah, I’ve always thought that was really interesting. Being a co-author is tough enough, but being a co-author with a brand new author, who is also so young. I mean, that’s gotta be pretty challenging.
Ernest Dempsey 16:40
Yeah, so the initial challenge was, he had some ideas for stories of his own. And for somebody who’s never written fiction before, and not taken high school English before, there are a lot of things that you don’t understand about putting pieces together in the puzzle of a story. And so that was a learning curve for him. But how it works is, the first four books, we outlined them together, we brainstormed them together, outlined them together, we put together all the different characters, we discussed all the places that the story would go and all that stuff. And then, so I could see, I could show him the front end of how to construct it. Then I write the rough draft, and then he goes through and does the second draft. And he makes a few changes. But essentially, what I really want him to pay attention to is how it’s done and how it’s written. And really keep him reading. Because nothing teaches you how to write a great story like reading a good story. So that’s helped him. And so actually now, on Adventure Guild Five, he’s working on the outline by himself. I don’t even know … all we did was, we discussed the topic. And, you know, some locations, which we brainstormed months ago. And he’s working on the outline by himself. So the next step in the process will be, you know, I write the draft. But going forward, I told him, what I want to happen next is, it doesn’t have to be an archaeological thriller, it could be a fantasy story, a sci fi story, whatever. Because I like writing all those. In fact, I’ve got the beginning of a fantasy story I wrote on October 19, 1995 right here, when I was in college, and so I’ve always wanted to be one of those. And I said, if you want to do one of those, we can, but I want you to spearhead this and start really, you know, busting out your drafting chops. So it’s been a learning process for both of us, but it’s been good. But that’s, you know, that’s another one of the series in the whole sphere of the Sean Wyatt stuff. And then the Beta Force … He disappeared again, I’m just gonna keep talking. The Beta Force series was intended to be a comedy series, featuring a couple of spies that are both kind of bumbling idiots and just sort of luck their way into success. And those two books didn’t really do super great. I might write a third one, I don’t know yet. I have a few people that really liked those stories. But for right now, I think we’re going to focus on all the other stuff, and expanding those universes, like PAD and Adventure Guild and Shadow Cell. And now the Dak Harper series, the Relic Runner series is the one that I’m posting daily chapters every weekday for free in a serial style. And I’m wrapping up book five of that. Book six will be the last one of this preliminary prequel series, and then I’m going to start writing full-length novels for that this summer to release in the fall. So I don’t know, how many is that? Six or seven series? I have no idea.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:08
That’s a lot.
Ernest Dempsey 20:10
If I could write as fast as you, I’d have them all like fully stocked with 20 books in each series.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:19
I mean, you’re way ahead of me. I don’t know if …
Ernest Dempsey 20:22
Not for long. You write like 4000 words an hour, you said. I can’t do that. Even when I’m … I wrote 2500 so far today in four hours.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:34
Yeah, you can do it.
Ernest Dempsey 20:36
But, to be fair, I wasn’t sitting focused writing for four hours. I had to do like, answer some emails and do some other stuff. And so … but I still, I can only do, the max I can do is 2000 an hour. And that’s if I’m hopped up on as much caffeine as possible.
Kevin Tumlinson 20:59
And that’s the key, is the caffeine intake. So, I don’t know how you do it, though, man. How do you balance so many different series?
Ernest Dempsey 21:12
And a five year-old?
Kevin Tumlinson 21:15
Yeah. And a five year-old. What’s sort of just your process for getting everything done?
Ernest Dempsey 21:23
What do you mean? It’s just, they’re just stories? Do you mean like organizing it all, like keeping everything …
Kevin Tumlinson 21:30
Well yeah. Like, how are you handling your writing time and balancing your schedule? And, you know, you’ve got six different series at a minimum. So that’s a lot to keep track of, I’d think. Are you a pantser, or are you an outliner? Plotter?
Ernest Dempsey 21:46
I typically outline in thirds. And it’s funny, I heard that James Rawlins does the same thing. And when he was interviewing with our friends, James Blatche and John Dyer last summer at Thriller Fest, he said he does something similar. And I was like, yes, finally, somebody else that does that. No, but you know, you got to do what you’re comfortable with. But I typically do in thirds. Or I will, I may go through and do, I don’t know, like 20 chapters and just write one line like, this happens here. This happens here. This happens here. Just one sentence, not even a full sentence, right? But typically, I don’t expand those one line chapter notations very much, I only expand them in thirds. So around the time I’m getting toward the end of the first act, I start expanding those chapters in the second act and getting just a little more detail. And not even every single one, just two or three here and there to guide me. And then I’ll pants, you know, like, three or four chapters within that scene. Because I kind of know where it’s going. As far as keeping it all together, it would sound like I need to be really organized. I’m actually not, I’m not very organized at all. And I should have a Bible for all the characters in every … I know that my editor in Las Vegas, he’s been compiling a Bible behind the scenes for me, but I’ve never seen it. He told me he was doing it. It can get a little confusing at times. But it’s not too hard on that end. As far as doing all those different series, when to release them and all that. So a few years ago, I was trying to release a new Sean Wyatt book about every 90 days. And that’s great … for a while. And truthfully, if I still did that, I would probably make more money. Because they’re my best selling series. That’s what the readers are here for. They do like the other stuff. But that’s why they’re here. But I don’t want to burn them out on it. I don’t want to burn myself out on it. So I’ve cut back to about two Sean Wyatt books a year. I thought about three this year, we’ll see how that goes. But for sure doing two this year. And then I’m trying to expand my platform, right, my content platform. That’s why, so I try to dig deep first and then get a wide base. Hold on one second. Hey, Arden, can you … Okay, just don’t upset the cat, okay? Yeah, I know, honey. She’s getting in a giant basket. Oh, I see. Yep. Hey, buddy, I’ll be done in 20 minutes, okay? I think. So, it’s …
Kevin Tumlinson 25:00
See, that’s part of the whole gig, by the way is, you know, you write … all this stuff we do, you do around life.
Ernest Dempsey 25:08
That’s right. Yeah, my wife’s at work right now. And it’s been a challenge during COVID, because I couldn’t have my mom over for childcare. So it’s been, working weird hours. Production’s been down some. But anyway … so the idea is, again, it comes back to the giving, I want to make sure that I’m giving fun, interesting content to my readers, that won’t burn them out on one particular thing. And I’m trying to give something for everybody. Certain people really like a female lead character, and some people don’t. And some people, you know, want to … you know, there are younger readers that want to be able to identify with people their age, right? One of the biggest reasons for the Adventure Guild series was, I used to work in a school system. And my school system was, the last high school I worked in was 65% Hispanic kids. And there weren’t any cool books like this for them to relate to. And same with the black community. There’s not enough, you know, books with those kinds of kids. And so, there’s tons of books for white kids. So I wanted to bring in something that sort of brought all three into the mix, right? And so, there’s a black kid, a white kid, and a kid with a Mexican heritage in the Adventure Guild. And they’re all friends, and they all have these strengths. And I specifically designed the female character to be brilliant with math and science, because we all know that we need more women in math and science. And so I want to encourage that, even if it’s … maybe that’s in your face, or maybe it’s subtle, I don’t know. But to a kid, I think it’s subtle. To an adult, you know, like, I see what he did there. But for kids, I want girls to be able to say, “Oh, okay, I can I can do that. That girl’s cool. Ooh, she’s tough. And she’s really good with, you know, chemistry and physics and all this stuff.” And so, but that’s why, I wanted to give a wide base. And also, when you think about like your universe, right, most people just think about their book or their characters. But you need to think about it as a universe. And I know we’re running up close to the question time, so I’m trying to keep an eye on that.
Kevin Tumlinson 27:45
I’m watching, don’t you worry.
Ernest Dempsey 25:47
I’ll get the ruler on the back of the hand. But, I love what the Avengers did. I absolutely love what Marvel did with the Avengers. And Disney, and all them, and how they created so many … They took all those characters from the comics. And it was already there. And they made all these great movies about them and TV shows about them. And then they all brought them in together, right? They’re all kind of wandering aimlessly through the same universe. And people love it when characters cross over. They absolutely love that. So I’m being very intentional with all of these series that take place in the Sean Wyatt universe. So Book 20, I’ve already told my readers this. Book 20 brings in everyone against one mega-villain. And even the kids are involved, from the Adventure Guild, because they’re in that universe. And when Sean Wyatt dies in story 20, somebody’s got to take up the … oh, no.
Kevin Tumlinson 28:55
Oh, no. Spoilers.
Ernest Dempsey 28:58
But yeah, so that’s … Anyway, that’s why I’ve got so many different things there. And it’s fun that way, and it keeps them from burning out and me from burning out. And it gives me permission to release six to eight products a year that way, you know?
Kevin Tumlinson 29:16
Yeah, you and I talk quite a bit about this kind of thing. I am totally stealing all your ideas. For this and more. You’ve got it down. So let’s, we’re at the time that I told everybody, that I promised everybody that they could have their questions answered live. We do have some questions. Let me roll back a little here. So the first question is coming in from YouTube. So, “Please share your thoughts on the ways an author can reach his target readers in his genre.”
Ernest Dempsey 29:51
Oh, that’s a very good question. Did I answer all of your questions Kevin, or do you have more?
Kevin Tumlinson 30:00
Yeah. I always have more, but you answered 30 minutes’ worth of questions. That’s all I obligated you to.
Ernest Dempsey 30:08
Well, I’m always happy to come back on. So, great question and thoughts on the ways an author can reach his target readers in his genre. Well, that’s the big question, right? Like, how do you get more eyeballs to your books? So a lot of people default to advertising, right? Because we all know that Facebook, you can really drill down into the Facebook advertising platform and discover your readership, and they’re there happily, they’re sharing information every day on their posts, about what book they’re reading, or movie they’re watching, or all that stuff. It’s word of mouth delivered to an advertising platform that you can use to leverage and find eyeballs for your books, I do it, you do it, everybody should at least be doing some level of that. But a lot of people stop there. And I don’t think that you should stop there. I think that there are other places you can go. It’s time-consuming, but you need to get in on the conversation. Facebook is a great place to find groups of like-minded individuals. So if you love science fiction, and you write science fiction, you should be in some other author’s science fiction fan group, right? And not for the purpose of promoting your own stuff. But to engage in the conversation, and to learn from them, to become friends with them. And that’s what I tell readers, you know. It’s not on like a, you know, a Misery level with, you know, what’s her face. Kathy Bates or whatever, from that movie? But you should become somewhat of a friend to them. And I’m happy to call many of my readers friends because they are. I’ll text one guy, I’ve never met him in person, but I’ll text him whenever the Oakland Raiders are playing, now the Las Vegas Raiders. And I know he’s watching and I’m watching. I’m a Falcons fan. But I know he’s watching. And I’m like, I love football. And I’ll text him. And so getting into groups like that is a great place to find them, to find your target readers to engage with them, to learn what they like and don’t like. Not necessarily to throw up links all over the place, because you’ll get kicked out of a group for that. But it’s a great networking opportunity just to be a cool person. And I think that that’s something that is overlooked quite a bit.Also, putting out content in various platforms is important. I think every little piece of content you put out there, whether one person views it or 100 people view it, is a window into your world, whether it’s a book or a little Facebook live video or whatever, or YouTube video. All those algorithms compile those things over time, and they create windows into your universe. I’m giving broad answers here. But I hope it’s helpful to Vijay, if I said his name correctly.
Kevin Tumlinson 33:20
I’m sure it is. It’s helpful to me. I got a comment here, just a little kudos to you, man. “I love your giving spirit.” That’s from Donna. You are a giving person. You do a lot. You’ve even got a whole button on your homepage that’s all about your, you have your charities that you promote. Which by the way, if you haven’t yet, go to ernestdempsey.net, which is Ernie’s website.
Ernest Dempsey 33:52
Yeah, I love … My favorite charity is Toys for Tots, because I appreciate the military, first of all, because what they do is courageous, right? And I know people say thank you for your service. But for me, it’s like, I would be terrified. Like if I was poured into combat and I don’t know how to do it, and they just march right in. And so I appreciate that. And then I appreciate that we give food and sustenance and vaccines and medicine and whatever to people all over the world. But there is nothing, I believe there’s nothing more important than giving a child a childhood. Because that is the foundation for what they become later on in life, whether they become the president, or a criminal, or sometimes that’s both. But like, whether they, you know, whether they become a leader for a company, or a teacher, or whatever they become, a lot of that is built in their childhood. And toys give children a childhood, and so I love Toys for Tots. Every single month a portion of the proceeds from my royalties go to them. That’s not like a pat on the back for me, that’s me pushing that charity because I think it’s really important. And then there’s other ones too. I give to ADRA and some others, but that one’s my favorite one.
Kevin Tumlinson 35:23
We have another question here. Let’s see, I’ll pop that up. “What should an author do to build a lasting relationship with readers globally?”
Ernest Dempsey 35:34
That’s a massive question, Jeremiah.
Kevin Tumlinson 35:36
That is a big question. It’s a global-sized question.
Ernest Dempsey 35:43
My goodness, I wasn’t prepared for that. Well, okay. I have readers all over the planet. And I have them as far away as New Zealand and Australia. In fact, one of them asked me why I don’t write in metric because most of the world is on the metric system. And I was like, well, most of my readers are in the States. And we’re still clinging to the Imperial system, even though we left the Empire. So I would say, on just a very zoomed out answer to this question, because it’s a huge question, the best thing that you can do is to learn about the cultures all around the world. Learn, like my second editor Anne is in Australia. And I’m learning every day. In fact, I learned something last night on an email from her on an edit that she made, that’s a cultural thing in Australia. A thong in the United States is called a six string in Australia. Well, a six string in the United States is a guitar. So, learning little quirky things like that helps endear you to the fans all over the world. It expands your knowledge base, expands your cultural wisdom, so to speak. And it will help you relate to people better. So I have a pretty decent following in India. And I love Indian food, and Indian culture is fascinating to me. I don’t know enough about it. But some of my biggest fans are in India. And so, it’s important for me to understand Indian culture. And so learning more about the cultures around the globe I think will help you build lasting relationships with individuals within those cultures, whether it’s the UK, Australia, Japan, wherever, France, all that. And Kevin popped off again, he disappeared. So it’s just me and Jeremiah on the screen right now. I wish that I had … there he goes, he’s coming back. I see the spinning white wheel. I don’t know if you guys see that or not, but I see it. Poor Kevin. He’s still trying to get his life figured out digitally, in his new camper. I’m glad to see that he got the gnome figured out. He’s got the gnome sitting behind his shoulder. So, I want to expand on that while I’m just sitting here waiting for Kevin to come back. Because you just staring at me wouldn’t be a fun thing. But I’m trying to think of some examples too, of things that people have said. One interesting thing was, my book The Napoleon Affair deals with a lot of the Catholic hierarchy. Not a lot of it, but some of it. And there are little nuances that you need to understand about those things. Like, a member of the Swiss Guard would call a Catholic Cardinal Your Eminence, right? And I was just having discussion with a reader about this today. But they would call a bishop Your Excellency. Those little things are important, and they will be important to a Catholic reader of your books, and there are millions of Catholics all over the world. So understanding those little cultural things. And that’s just one tiny example. But maybe that helps you Jeremiah, to a little better understand what I was talking about. There’s Kevin, he’s back with his gnome.
Kevin Tumlinson 39:30
Did I get back okay? Sorry. I apologize.
Ernest Dempsey 35:34
I can talk all day if I need to.
Kevin Tumlinson 39:39
I know you can, you’re a pro, and I really appreciate it. I’m lucky that you’re the guy that’s on right now, actually. Sohere’s a question from YouTube. “Can you explain outlining by thirds? Do you not know the ending when you outline that way? Half pants?”
Ernest Dempsey 39:55
Half pants? Wouldn’t that be shorts?
Kevin Tumlinson 39:58
I’m not going to say it would be shorts, because then it gets confusing.
Ernest Dempsey 40:03
I’m going to switch to my shorts here in a minute. So, yeah, I can explain that. It’s pretty simple. So, I do know the ending, usually. That’s one of the first things I write down. And that’s one of those one or two line things, where I write what happens at the end. That is very fluid. Usually I will change how it ends, like the book The Second Sign that’s coming out in four weeks, I knew what happened, sort of, to the characters at the end, but I hadn’t fully decided on how it happened. So do they, you know, die in a fire? Do they get shot? Do they fall out of an airplane? I hadn’t decided on those things. But I write down, like, sort of a general idea of how something happens to the heroes and the villains. And Kevin’s gone again. Fortunately, I have not fully answered your question, so I’ll just keep going. So, outlining in thirds … I wish I could screenshare. Ictually can but I don’t know if I can do that, I don’t know if I can hit that button, if it’ll work or not. So how I do it is, I go into, I use Scrivener to write, but you could use Evernote, if you want to, you know contain your outline. I do a little bit of brainstorming in Evernote. And what I do is, in Scrivener, you can … it’s backwards on the screen. In Scrivener, you have a little column on the side where you have folders and chapters within those folders. And so what I do is, I’ve got, let’s say it’s a 30 chapter book. And the first 10 chapters, I will click on that number one, that first chapter, it’ll expand and there’s a little thing down in the bottom right corner, a little box that pops up. And I will make notes about what happens in that chapter, just like a sentence or two. It’s almost like story beats. Then I’ll go to the second chapter and do the same thing. Third, fourth, so on. Now usually what ends up happening is that’s not enough, because I’ll write a two and a half thousand word chapter and leave a cliffhanger there for another chapter. And then I’ll fill that in. But it doesn’t matter. I don’t have to outline every chapter, just so long as I have that roadmap for the first 10 chapters or the next 10 chapters of where I’m going. So when you’re driving a car, right, you know your destination, which to answer your question, Elyssa, is, you know where you’re going. The ending is there. But you’re not staring at the dot, the blinking dot on your GPS. If you’re driving from Atlanta to Seattle, you’re not staring at Seattle, you’re looking at the next 200 miles of your trip. And you’re counting down, you know, between here and Nashville, and Nashville and St. Louis, and all that. So that’s kind of what I mean. Does that make sense? I hope that that makes sense to you.
Kevin Tumlinson 43:05
Makes sense to me.
Ernest Dempsey 43:07
I’m happy to take screenshots of some things I’m working on.
Kevin Tumlinson 43:11
I don’t think we need to get that elaborate.
Ernest Dempsey 43:13
No, because some of these projects are top secret and not in our genre.
Kevin Tumlinson 43:17
Yeah, okay. Erotica, then?
Ernest Dempsey 43:21
Kevin Tumlinson 43:24
No, just kidding. Well, let’s see. Let me pop back over, make sure I’m not missing any important questions. Here’s one, I think is actually interesting. But Donna asks, “Do you spend much time reading?”
Ernest Dempsey 43:39
So I try to read a little bit every day. And usually it’s fiction. But sometimes it’s nonfiction, just because I enjoy … I like to learn about astronomy and quantum mechanics and things like that. And history and stuff. I’ve got a National Geographic magazine sitting right here, an archaeology issue. And so I like that stuff. But I read very slow. So I get through one or two books a year at most, reading reading. Now, when I’m doing audiobooks, I can listen to two or three more books a year. But since I work at home, I don’t have a commute. So I don’t have a lot of time. Usually, that’s when I’m at the grocery store or something like that. But yeah, I do read some, but it’s really only about 15 to 20 minutes a day, probably at most, just because I’m constantly juggling and trying to work and all that stuff. So but I do, yes. I read as much as I can. Sometimes I’ll read longer, like an hour or so, if it’s a great like Kevin Tumlinson book, I just can’t put it down.
Kevin Tumlinson 44:48
Yeah, I’m the same way.
Ernest Dempsey 44:53
When you’re reading a Kevin Tumlinson book?
Kevin Tumlinson 44:56
I’m just engrossed in my Kevin Tumlinson books. Can’t wait to get the next one. The guy needs to write faster though.
Ernest Dempsey 45:04
I don’t think that’s possible, 4000 words an hour.
Kevin Tumlinson 45:07
You and I are on par, I think, writing speed-wise. I think you’re just pulling everybody’s leg. All right. Well, we’re at the end. This was a rough one. I have to apologize to you, Ernie, and to the audience.
Ernest Dempsey 45:22
Never. You never apologize to me. Did we get everybody’s questions that we needed to answer?
Kevin Tumlinson 45:27
Yeah, I think we got everybody’s questions right now. So I think we’re good. And of course, people who have further questions, you can feel free to drop them in the comments here or on YouTube. I actually switched internet services there at the end, I wish I’d done it a lot sooner. It seems like this one’s more stable. So that said, everybody, thank you for tuning in. Make sure you go pop on over to ErnestDempsey.net. Did I spell your name right, Ernest?
Ernest Dempsey 46:00
Yep. There’s no A. Can I share a funny quick little diamond? My whole life, my dad spelled it this way, because his dad spelled it this way. And it’s on my birth certificate this way. He looked at his birth certificate last year, and realize there’s an A in his. He’s 78.
Kevin Tumlinson 46:19
So is he going to start using it?
Ernest Dempsey 46:45
No. And by the way, if any of you have any questions, you can find me on facebook facebook.com/ernestdempsey, and message me there. And I’m way faster responding on Facebook than I am via email, because then I can just pick up my phone and …
Kevin Tumlinson 46:39
Yeah, I’m the same way. Speaking of Facebook, you can go subscribe to his Facebook channel, please do. And his YouTube channel, which is what? Youtube.com/ernestdempsey?
Ernest Dempsey 46:51
I don’t know. Their links are all weird. Sometimes you get the custom one, and sometimes you don’t.
Kevin Tumlinson 46:57
Yeah, we’ll figure it out. But type, search Ernest Dempsey. But definitely subscribe to us at youtube.com/draft2digital and facebook.com/draft2digital. Make sure you’re subscribing, liking, hitting little bells to get notifications, all the rules that apply. And be sure you bookmark d2dlive.com, because you’ll get countdowns to more episodes like this one. If you’re listening to the podcast, that’s where you can start finding these things live on YouTube and Facebook. So pop on over there. Ernest Dempsey, sir, you’re a trouper, man. Not only did you come in and save us the last minute, you endured through the gauntlet of bad internet. Two thumbs up.
Ernest Dempsey 47:43
It’s all good, I had a blast.
Kevin Tumlinson 47:45
Yeah, we’ll do a cleaner better one down the road and get you back on.
Ernest Dempsey 47:49
You better, this is ridiculous. I cannot believe … Do you have any idea who I am?! Do you know who you’re talking to?
Kevin Tumlinson 47:57
All right, well thanks everybody for your patience as well, and make sure you tune in to the next D2D Spotlight that’s gonna be happening tomorrow at noon. And if you’re listening of course, it may not be happening tomorrow at noon for you, but go check them out anyway, and we will see you all next time. Take care.