I have my fair share of bullies. I’m not talking about the kids who called me names, spread ugly lies, and took every chance to make fun of me at school. I’m talking about the mean-spirited voice I often hear in my head. This voice tries to scare me into inaction based on its negative comments. It tells me untruths such as, “You’re not good enough, clever enough, or even deserving enough to produce a decent piece of writing.” Most writers call this voice writer’s block. I call it my inner bully.
Inner bullies aren’t real but they can nonetheless hinder us from taking chances, grabbing opportunities, and fulfilling our writing goals. So I thought I would share a few tips on how to beat the inner bullies/writer’s block and move on to achieving a more rewarding writing experience:
The first step to getting rid of your inner bully is learning to recognize its voice. When your thoughts are negative, limiting, or self-sabotaging, it’s most likely your bully talking.
When you can, write down the negative statements your bully is making. The good news is that bullies aren’t very creative, so they will often use the same “catch phrases” repeatedly. That’s why keeping a written record of them helps. You’ll recognize the “catch phrase” and be better equipped to reject its message.
Each time you hear a negative statement, ask yourself, “Is this absolutely true?” Bullies are convinced that their view is the undeniable truth. You don’t have to prove them wrong. All you have to do is question the veracity of their statement, which will slow down their momentum and put you back in the driver’s seat, writing at full speed again.
These are three very simple but quite effective tools to help you banish your inner bully. In time, it will become easier to recognize and silence your bully. You will also notice that when it does pop up, it won’t have the same incapacitating effect on you as it once had. Believe me, I speak from experience.
The world of publishing is no bed of roses. Try to remember what you’ve accomplished. Even if you’ve never been published, you’ve written something that is important and meaningful to you. If it matters to you, that’s an accomplishment. So, don’t forget to give yourself the praise you deserve! And, remember, a professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.
I'm not quitting. I'm still a very much an unheard of author. But I keep writing. My motto is, "Think big, start small, and keep going."
CALLING ALL TEENAGERS!
CALLING ALL TEENAGERS!
CALLING ALL TEENAGERS!
TeenPit is a contest created to showcase teen writing prowess and help teen writers improve their craft! How do you enter? It’s easy:
Here are the rules:
Here’s the Schedule:
March 31: Mentor reveal day. Mentors talk about what they would like to mentor in a short bio.
April 5: Submission day! From 5 PM EST until 5 PM EST on April 6th, teens between the ages of 13 and 19 will submit the first page of their manuscripts, up to 250 words and a short (no more than 50 word pitch) about their books. Include name, age, grade, genre, word count, and if the book is complete or a work in progress. We will cap the number of entries at 200. We will notify via Twitter and on this website when we reach capacity.
April 7-10: First round: Judges select top entries (according to number of mentors).
April 10 (5 PM): Finalists and mentor pairings are announced. Mentors will assist mentees with preparing short bios to go up on blog.
April 10-21: Mentors work with mentees on revisions.
April 22: Second round: Resubmit revised pages.
April 22-25: Judges review new pages, and pick the top entries.
April 26: The Reveal! Top three entries are posted up on blog.
Get your pages ready! It’s your turn to shine!
It is with great pleasure, today, that I get to help out my lovely friend Kristy Fairlamb with the reveal of her super dooper amazing cover! LUCID is one heck of a fantastic YA novel for supernatural thriller fans. It's edgy and different and a super intense read. You will love it. All the details you need are below. So, here it comes...
by Kristy Fairlamb
Genre: YA Supernatural Thriller
Release Date: April 23rd 2019
A Terrifying Power. A Horrifying Curse.
Lucy Piper lives a lonely existence on the precipice between life and death. She possesses the horrifying ability to resurrect real-life tragic events in her nightmares, reliving over and over, as if she were there, the last few moments before the victim takes their final breath. Car accidents, drownings, plane crashes – Lucy has seen it all. No one understands what it’s like living death by night and fearing sleep by day.
When Tyler Sims and his family move to town to escape past traumas, Lucy is drawn to him. The two of them are linked through their dreams, and with Tyler’s trust and friendship, hope for a brighter future returns to Lucy’s world. But Tyler’s presence awakens something else in Lucy, and now she will be forced to make impossible decisions. Decisions that will change history, and the future.
Chilling, haunting and compelling, this novel is the first in a two-part series for fans of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and The Hidden Memory of Objects that will leave you breathless for days.
WOOHOO! HAPPY NEW YEAR, READERS! I can't believe it's 2019 and I'm already here with my first blog of the year. And it's a cracker.
I'd like to welcome my client Laurie Bell who has such an important message for all the writers out there losing faith and wondering why they should keep persevering. Because it totally pays off in the end!
NEVER GIVE UP!
It’s a funny thing about your first. You remember it fondly, or maybe you wish you could forget it. You want to fix it, change it, make it work. You can't let it go.
I wish I could quit you, first book.
No, actually I don't. I want it around for ever. 😊
I wrote White Fire back in high school. It was that story I was busting to tell, because it was a story I was desperate to read. Up until then, I’d written many, many short pieces. I had notebooks full of scribblings. I even teamed up with school friends to write books together, but White Fire (once known as "the title that shall not be named") was MY story. My novel. My first real piece. And I was proud of it. So proud. A story about Toni... the female police/bounty hunter version of Han Solo. A cool science fiction story with a strong, independent, wiseass character... the female James Bond that I wanted to read about as a kid. The Princess Leia, who was the focus of the story not the female sidekick. (Back before she was a General and totally kick-ass in her own right. No, let’s be honest. Leia was ALWAYS kickass.) My Toni WAS the hero of my story (though back then she also had a different name.) She had a robot companion and a snarky AI. She was a spaceship pilot. She was in control – sort of. She beat up the bad guys and saved the universe, all while being thwarted/annoyed/reluctantly assisted by the "not-love-interest" Dan and still found a way to wind up her grumpy boss, Antonio.
I wanted everyone to read it and in my youthful exuberance, did manage to cajole, bribe and force many a friend and family member into reading it. And I love them all to bits because they told me they enjoyed it! Ha ha. Then real life happened, and I put it away. I remembered it fondly as MY FIRST BOOK. A youthful experiment, but I had a real job now and dreams of being a writer faded with my memories of Toni kicking ass.
In the intervening years I continued to write here and there. I wrote another book only reaching the half way mark before STUFF got in the way. I kept up with my short pieces, I wrote a blog, I wrote fan fiction. I joined a weekly prompt writing group called Friday Fictioneers (some of the best people and writers I have "virtually" met.) I kept a pinkie finger in the writing world, but I didn't take any of it seriously.
Eight years ago, through a conversation with a friend, I decided to actually try my hand at this writing thing seriously. Work was work but it wasn't my passion. Writing was when I felt alive. Creating worlds and people and awesome action sequences... that was what I loved. I finished the SECOND book and wrote a THIRD (now published as The Butterfly Stone – read it now!). But in the back of my mind, I always came back to THE ONE. My first book. The book I loved.
I got it out, reread it and BOY did my memory turn it into something it was not. It was okay, it was good... it wasn't great. It was a fun, silly read but I wasn't happy with it anymore.
I could (and had) done better since. My heart wanted to fix it.
I rewrote that baby. I thought it was great. I sent it off for assessment and...
Okay, so maybe it still needed work.
I rewrote again, (based on the learning I had undertaken with my newer books). I had multiple POV, I had action scenes, I had drama, I had a solid plot... but... meh.
I got myself a mentor, and I rewrote that sucker again. And again.
I entered a competition, I joined a writing group and twitter. I rewrote again. I entered a 6-month online workshop where I met THE BEST PEOPLE, and rewrote my baby again. Now, my baby had two parts, a cool intro, lots of emotion and an awesome ending.
I started to query it with agents and publishers, I found myself some amazing beta readers, and trusted CPs and still, I couldn't let my baby go.
I did put her away for a while and concentrated on my new works. And things started to happen. The Butterfly Stone became a reality. (Out now, really... go get a copy!)
But my baby was still there, waiting for me, calling me, tempting me. ("We can be so good together!")
So out she came again.
I sent her off for a new assessment, this time with the lovely Kate Foster. And when her assessment came back I was able to read it with fresh eyes. Kate pointed out the things I'd been unable to admit to myself because I loved my characters so much... I was TOO close to them. I thought they all needed a voice. Kate suggested options. Oh, how I love a person who provides options. And examples! Options and examples. Go back to a solo POV. Concentrate on Toni's story. Understand show don't tell. Focus on the story I wanted to tell.
Holy heck, did I have a lot to learn! - And still do. Let’s face it, the journey is not over, I still have a lot to learn and I am loving every little bit of the journey.
It was that old light bulb moment. I rewrote again... this time with purpose. I found a project manager to sort me out (thank you, Joel Naoum) and an editor I adore (the glorious Libby Turner.) And here we are. White Fire. Out Jan 14, 2019. At last I feel like I can let my baby go. It's been a 22-year journey. And perhaps I am a little crazy. Too stubborn to just let old dogs lie... persistent in the face of death... perhaps I should have just hidden it away as a failed first attempt and never thought of it again.... BUT…
I think, if you are truly proud of something, and are willing to put in the work, and the time, and learn about the craft, and yourself and spend a bit of money – oh dear god so much money... (and rework, and rework, and oh my god, Laurie, just let it go! No no, I can't, I love you little book. I'm in it for the long haul... Damnit.) You don’t know what you don’t know. I needed fresh eyes. I needed honesty. I needed to take a good long hard look at myself and realise, at the end of the day, after all the assessments, and CP reads and friends and family, only I could do this.
White Fire is at last a reality. She's a fun old thing full of action and adventure and my silly sense of humour. She's my dream. She's a little bit crazy. A wild ride. She's a fighter. And so is Toni.
And she'll be back. (Well... I'm writing a sequel. It seems Toni still has stories to tell.)
White Fire is out January 14, 2019. You can get it at most online outlets, either in print or ebook, or from me direct. If you read it and enjoy it, I'd love a review. Talk about it, share it. I love to talk so hit me up for a blog interview or author interview or a school visit. If you want to write a book. Write a damned book. And then find someone to love it as much as you do.
The stand-alone historical romance that stole America's hearts has a sequel coming out TODAY! A Shine that Defies the Dark by Jodi Gallegos released in December 2017 and has received amazing reviews and shout outs from the public. So much so that the author decided to expand the world of the novel and create another sequel or world novel that can be read as part of the series or as another stand-alone Historical Romance. The Light at Finnigan's End is now available for purchase! Grab your copy of book two in The Rum Runners Series today. Also, to celebrate, readers can check out the first novel for free on any online retailer this week only!
NOW AVAILABLE:The Light at Finnigan's End Jodi Gallegos Published by: Changing Tides Publishing Publication date: November 5, 2018 Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance Cleric’s Cove is home to the most brutal gang of bootleggers in Southern Louisiana, the Moret family. Desperate to find out what happened to her brother Finn, Deirdre Cassidy is determined to use her skills as a healer, as well as her feminine charms, to infiltrate the Moret crime family. Once she’s ensconced in the Moret hideout, she hopes to gather information that will lead her to Finn—or help her destroy the family that caused his disappearance. But the one thing Deirdre never counted on is Mo Moret. The eldest son and head of the Moret gang, Mo is incredibly dangerous, yet magnetic—the attraction between them palpable. Still, Deirdre doesn’t believe he'll ever set aside family loyalty for love. And even if he did, Deirdre has vowed to see the end of the Morets—whatever the cost. The second installment in the popular Rum Runners series by Jodi Gallegos, The Light at Finnigan’s End is a fast-paced romance with elements of historical fiction, set against the gritty backdrop of depression-era southern Louisiana.
READ BOOK ONE TODAY FOR FREE!A Shine That Defies The Dark Jodi Gallegos Published by: Changing Tides Publishing Publication date: December 5th 2017 Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance Gripping, romantic, and evocative of its time— A Shine that Defies the Dark is a spellbinding story of one woman who will stop at nothing to survive during a tumultuous time in American history. After a six-year exile, Ophelia Breaux and her mother are overjoyed to return to the Louisiana bayou. But it seems the ghosts of the epic feud that drove them away still haunt Plaquemines Parish, and with the Great Depression sweeping the nation, the two soon find they can’t make ends meet. Seeing no other option, Ophelia’s mother takes the drastic step of sharing her bed with the town judge in exchange for a reduced rent. The judge has had a life-long obsession with Momma, and Ophelia is desperate to end this arrangement and get her away from him. When Remy Granger shows up, Ophelia knows it could mean more trouble—and that’s the last thing they need. Handsome and dangerous, he’s the first boy she ever kissed, and a member of the most notorious family in southern Louisiana—but he’s also got an opportunity for fast money in rumrunning. Ophelia goes all in, and it turns out she may have a knack for the business. But she’s going to have to run even faster if she wants to save Momma… dodging the cops, rival gangs, and her traitorous heart at every turn.
I love meeting and chatting with all authors, no matter their choice of publishing path, because I never tire of hearing about every author's personal experience. None are ever the same. And today, I'm thrilled to be joined by self-published D.L. Jordan, who has some great insight into his journey.
1. In a nutshell, who are you and what do you write?
My name is Dominique Langston Jordan and I write under the name of D. L. Jordan. I write in a lot of genres, but I mostly write Fantasy. Throughout my life, people have taken notice that my middle name is Langston and that I’m named after Langston Hughes. I’ve grown up reading his writings, especially his poems, and he’s one of my favorite African American writers of all time. My favorite poem of his is, “I, Too”. It’s such a powerful poem about equality and what it means to be an American.
2. When did you start writing? What set you off on this writing path?
I first started writing when I was just seven-years-old when my parents gave me a journal as a gift. I had always loved to read books, so the sight of one that was completely filled with empty pages confused me. I was so perplexed about what to do with this small, empty book in my hands that I didn’t know what to do. That’s when they told me that I should just write down everything I saw and everything that happened. So, that’s just what I did. I wrote down everything that happened around me in my neighborhood — kids playing in the street, our neighbor’s dog running and barking after every car that passed by, and even the smell of the freshly cut grass under the marvelous blue sky. Everything around me was a source of inspiration.
But eventually, like most kids who get something new, I eventually lost interest in writing and didn’t really regain that interest until I was 14.
At the age of 14, I was in high school and my English class was given an assignment to write a story about a boy who finds a pebble. That evening, as I pondered on what to write about, my mind instantly became flooded with ideas about the boy and the pebble. I began thinking, “Could it be a magical pebble? What if someone had lost it and was desperately trying to retrieve it? Maybe it leads to a wondrous underwater metropolis completely unseen by humans?” I eventually finished my assignment, going along with the latter idea and turning it in to my teacher the next day. But I couldn’t get the idea of the boy and this unrevealed metropolis out of my head. I then began to scribble ideas about the boy’s background and certain things he liked to do. I would also write about the history of the civilization he would visit. Within a few months, these ideas became my first completed manuscript. I was so proud of myself and I wanted others to share in my joy. That was the defining moment for me. I knew then that I wanted to be a writer.
3. How many books had you written before deciding to publish? When did you feel the time had come to get your writing out there, to actually have books available for your readers?
Before I knew I wanted to self-publish, I had written only one book. It was my first book in The Erlonan Tales series called The Erlonan Tales: The Genesis of Destiny. It was back in 2014 and, at that time, it was called The Erlonan Tales: The Destined Child. During that time, it had been with a small publisher called Silver Tongue Press. When the publisher was bought out by an even bigger publisher, the authors signed to the company were given the option to transfer over to the larger company or be dropped from the roster to pursue other publishing outlets. I had read a lot about self-publishing and wanted to pursue it for a while after I was dissatisfied with the ethics and processes of those who were running Silver Tongue Press. I had researched the company that had bought out Silver Tongue Press and could see that they were much like the company they had acquired. After that I had decided, I was going to do everything concerning my works on my own. Ever since that moment, I knew that I had made the right decision.
4. So why self-publishing and not traditional?
After that, I continued to work on my writing and create more stories in The Erlonan Tales series along with other different works in different genres. I also tried to go the traditional route and attempt to find an agent for my book. I researched on how to write the perfect query letter, how to approach agents, what agents were appropriate for the genre I was writing, what to say, what not to say, what time of year is best to send a query, and even how to pitch a query that will catch an agent’s eye. There’s so much information out there written by so many people on how authors can break into traditional publishing. I think I pretty much absorbed all of it. Like so many other writers out there, I wanted desperately for an agent to see the value in my work.
I emailed and pitched my work to so many agents that I even have a folder in my emails of where I store both the email that was sent and even the rejections. I continued to pitch my story to no avail, so I continued to work on improving my writing. I also became dismayed because of the long, waiting process to hear back from the agents themselves. It became frustrating waiting six weeks to six months just to receive a form letter saying that, “Though your manuscript had promise, it wasn’t something we’re currently interested in.”
I wanted to self-publish, not out of bitterness or frustration, but because I had all these works I’d been writing since I was 14 and I didn’t want them to rot in the crevices of my hard drive. After so much rejection, that is almost what happened. I pictured I would let them sit in a closet or pass them down to future generations with the story of, “…at least I tried.” This may seem dramatic, and rightfully so. I was always told I had a flair for the dramatic growing up. However, I’ve never been one to give up without a fight. Science has proven that the key to survival is adaptation to environment. So, I adapted. I decided to take all the power into my own hands.
I like self-publishing because it allows the author to assert his/her own control over the content they publish. It enables them to reach out to audiences who possess a hunger for their content without the approval or permission of the traditional literary gatekeepers.
Self-published authors, or indie (independent) authors as we sometimes call ourselves, even have the power to develop our own imprints and create, market, and distribute our works under that publishing company. We can publish what we want, when we want, however we want. This is what I’ve done with my company DLJordan Books, which I founded in December of 2017.
The internet has made all this possible. Everything necessary to the publishing process such as editors, illustrators, cover artists, synopsis writers, sites to help you publish your website, and even reviewers can be found on the internet. Of course, none of these necessary processes are free, but they are both affordable and easily accessible. Social media is also a huge help when marketing books.
5. How has the experience been for you so far? What have you found easy, and what not so easy?
So far, the self-publishing process has been a lot of fun. Although, sometimes, it’s not easy. Hiring freelance editors, cover artists, etc. is not only effective and easy – it’s also not cheap. Paying for their services does add up. That’s why it’s always a great idea to find someone who can perform the services you need at an affordable price. Also, it’s hard to find people who are interested in your work once it’s out there. Social media does help, but it’s oftentimes not enough. That would be one of the greatest challenges I’ve faced.
6. For anyone thinking of self-publishing, can you give a breakdown or bullet point list of things to do? Perhaps even an idea of when and how to action each item?
For anyone thinking of publishing, there’s not a definitive outline or process that you can follow. Every author has their own experiences of what they’ve done to self-publish. So far, for me, I would say the most effective thing has been to find different services on Fiverr and sell your work on Amazon. I’ve used Amazon for years and their KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program has been very helpful in helping authors broadcast their work to the world. Having a website or blog helps a lot, as well as having a newsletter.
7. What's the hardest or most important lesson you've learned so far?
The most important lesson I’ve learned so far is to never give up and to never be afraid to re-invent yourself. After querying agents and not being accepted into the world of traditional publishing, I almost let years of disappointment stop me from pursuing my dream. The key is to not give into any feeling that stops you from being the best person you can be.
8. What has and hasn't worked for you?
The one thing that has worked for me is knowing what stories I should write about based on the ideas that I have written down on paper. What hasn’t worked for me is letting myself procrastinate with my writing. I try to be more disciplined with getting my writing on paper. Whether it’s a page a day or a page a week, I try to dedicate myself to writing as much as I can.
9. Give one main piece of advice for those about to embark on the self-publishing journey?
Self-publishing is the new frontier of the publishing industry. More people who never had a chance to show their writing to the world are now getting the opportunity to display their talents. The titles that they’re releasing are even competing with those that have been traditionally published. Those self-published titles are even outselling traditional titles on numerous bestseller’s lists. My advice to anyone who wishes to embark on the journey of self-publishing would be to never give up. There’s someone out there who is waiting to become your number one fan. Keep writing!
You can find out more about Dominique Langston Jordan (D. L. Jordan) at his website at www.DLJordanBooks.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @DLJordan90.
With her second book released later this year, I'm delighted to welcome my friend and fab author Jodi Gallegos to the blog today. She has some great insight on publishing with a small press as well as awesome advice for new writers. Enjoy!
1. Who are you and what do you write?
My name (pen and real) is Jodi Gallegos. I write contemporary fiction, historical fiction and light fantasy for the young adult and new adult/adult markets. I’m currently published as an adult/new adult romance author.
2. When did this all start for you? (your writing that is, not the interview!)
I’ve been a story-teller for as long as I can remember. I’ve always had an endless stream of story lines, dialogues and made-up scenarios running through my head.
In the third grade I was fired from my first writing job: play write. The group project was to prepare a play for the class. While the other girls fought over who would be cast as Cinderella and the wicked stepsisters, I set about writing the play. Sixteen pages in, and with character introductions barely done, I was relived of my duties.
In the tenth grade I made the bold decision to declare that, while I didn’t know the exact details, I wanted to work in literature when I grew up. My English teacher killed that dream with the words “you’ll never earn a living in literature.”
I spent the rest of my teenage years writing angsty poems, character sketches, situational scenes, and love letters between imaginary people. It never crossed my mind to write a book until I was an adult. (Note to adults: do NOT trash the dreams of children, no matter how unreasonable they seem to you!
Note to children: If an adult tries to kill your dreams, let me know. I'll have words with them!)
3. How long had you been writing, how many books had you written before deciding to become a published author? Can you tell us a little about your journey?
Sure, as I mentioned, I’ve always written “things”, indefinable bits of fiction on scrap paper and napkins, which I’d inevitably cast into forgotten drawers or the trash.
I was in my thirties before I first entertained the thought of writing a book. I experimented with picture and chapter books before finding my voice in young adult and adult genres. My natural tendency is to tackle every project as if it’s something to be conquered, and I did the same with writing. I studied the business as well as the art of writing and took every opportunity to learn more. I started—and discarded—a handful of picture books, chapter books, short stories, and novels before I completed my first novel.
My first completed novel was a four-year endeavor. I’m still revising and perfecting it.
I wrote my second novel during NaNoWriMo. After revisions I was fortunate to be selected as an alternate for a writing contest and received help editing it. That novel became my debut, A Shine That Defies the Dark.
My journey to publication was a mix of hard work, determination, and the connections I’d made with people online and in the publishing world. It took over fifteen years, but all the pieces finally snapped into place.
4. You're published with a small press - can you tell us about your experience so far?
I love the opportunity that I’ve had with my publisher. It’s a small press, but well-established. I’d known about them for quite a while, had read several of their books and found their covers to be amazing.
My debut novel was initially rejected by them (a very kind rejection, with a reasoning that I completely understood). When CTP launched a new imprint for romance I was approached with an offer to re-submit. A Shine That Defies the Dark became the third novel published by Changing Tides Publishing.
The benefit of working with a small press is that I feel like I’m known by my publisher rather than being an anonymous cog in the wheel. There is a camaraderie between the publishers, editors and authors which has helped me navigate the reality of being a published author. As a smaller group we share information, tricks and tips about marketing and the business of being authors. I find that kind of interaction and support to be invaluable as I’m learning to navigate this new world.
5. You also work for a small press. Can you tell us, with your experience on both sides as an editor and author, what the small press experience is like?
First, I should admit that my original intentions in going to work for a small press were entirely selfish. As an author I felt that the querying process was a beast I didn’t completely understand. I volunteered to read submissions to better understand what makes a query effective, and thereby improve my own querying skills.
When I joined Lakewater Press I was given so much more. I learned what happens on the publishing side, the side most authors don’t get a direct glimpse of. Everything I’ve learned about editing, marketing, and publishing has given me a greater appreciation for the business. As I mentioned before, I have a “conquer it” mentality, so I’m constantly striving to better understand and to learn more. The opportunities I’ve been given at Lakewater Press are amazing, I’ve been allowed to stretch my wings and take on new projects. I work with a team of people who are always willing to share their thoughts and guide me as I learn how—and why—things are done as they are. Each thing I’ve learned from the publisher’s side has only enriched my experience as an author.
As an author the things I want other authors to know about publishers are:
6. For anyone unsure about publishing with a small press, what would you say to them?
I absolutely encourage writers to consider submitting to a small press. For me, having a more personal relationship is a benefit. I see it as an author and as a team member for a small press. I think the connection is vitally important. I love to feel as though I’m on a team and that each of us has the same goal: to make each book/author a success.
That said, there are predatory presses/agents and it’s important to do your research before submitting to them. Before you submit to a small press check their website, their submission policy, look at their books and the quality of their covers. Read some of their books, follow their authors on social media, you can even contact small press authors to ask if they recommend their publisher.
I researched both the publisher I submitted to and the one I work for before becoming involved with either. But keep in mind, just because a publisher is new, it doesn’t mean they're not reputable. I joined Lakewater Press just before their first birthday and went in fully confident because of the research I’d done on everyone involved.
7. For new writers, what advice might you have for them that you've learned along the way? What are the main things writers should be doing with their work and careers, in your opinion?
First, I’d say that it is never too early to work on your social media platform. Don’t wait until you have a book deal to establish your online presence. Marketing begins with who you are as a person, not just an author. Take the time to make connections with people and establish relationships with others. I see too many authors who use social media solely as a means of marketing themselves and their books, which is a one-way street to self-promotion. Engage in conversations, ask questions, share the good news of others, ask your followers about their own projects, promote others more than you promote yourself!
Second, don’t underestimate how much effort you need to put towards marketing yourself and your books (that’s right, plural, always keep your eye on the big picture!). Marketing can be an exhausting task, but you’re as responsible for spreading the word as your publisher. The dream is yours though, so I’d argue that you’re more responsible for putting in the work.
Third, be professional. As you interact on social media and submit to agents and publishers you’ll be leaving your footprint in the industry. Sloppy queries, angry responses to rejections, and social media trashing of agents/publishers who reject you won’t get you anywhere.
8. What does the future have in store for you?
Well, a New York Times best-selling world-wide phenomenon is always the goal, right?
My more short-term plans include the release of the sequel to A Shine That Defies the Dark. The Light at Finnigan’s End (Rum Runners, Book 2) comes out November 5, 2018, with Changing Tides Publishing.
I’m hoping to complete final revisions on my first book, The High Crown Chronicles, by the end of the year. I’ve also begun research and plotting for Book 3 in the Rum Runners series and a new romance set in Alaska.
I’m also always on the lookout for the next query to Lakewater Press that will spark my passion.
Jodi is a YA and NA/Adult author, black belt, and registered nurse. She lives with her husband, three sons and an evolving herd of undisciplined animals in Colorado. She has a well-earned fear of bears, but tolerates the Teddy and Gummy variety. She has been obsessed with books, both reading and writing them, for most of her life and prefers the written word to having actual conversations. The most current projected completion date of her To Be Read book collection is May 17, 2176.
Find out more about Jodi here!
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JodiLGallegos/
It is with great delight that I can join in with the book release day blitz for my lovely friend and editing partner, Rebecca Carpenter! BUTTERFLY BLOOD is the sequel to the award-winning BUTTERFLY BONES and it is absolutely stunning. Such a thrilling, devastating, heart-pounding, non-stop ride with so many twists, turns, and surprises. Readers have been calling this series unique and nothing like any other YA novel they've ever read. AND THEY ARE NOT WRONG. Be sure to get BUTTERFLY BONES free right now and BUTTERFLY BLOOD for only 99c on Kindle. These sales won't run for much longer.
Hello! Welcome back to the blog, and today I have some valuable information for all those writing novels. I recently asked the following question on Twitter:
Of course, before reading on for a selection of the answers I received, it's important to remember just how wonderfully subjective this industry is -- which yes, in my opinion is as positive a thing as it is negative -- so understanding why readers stop reading books can be analysed as much or as little as suits. You can see in my question that I didn't specify audience or genre, so if I were to delve deeper into each, I am sure the answers given would shift and vary dependent on expectation.
But, that aside, I find a lot of valuable info in the reasons that come straight from the mouths of readers, and in this case, I'm sure you'll notice two reasons that are raised consistently.
NB: There are 32 answers in this slideshow.
So, there we have it. I hope you noted how flat characters and slow starts both cropped up frequently. I hope these answers help as you move forward with your writing. Feel free to leave your reasons for ditching a book in the comments below.
And be sure to come back next week when I share with you the results of a variety of polls I set up related to reader preferences. It's super informative!
Yeah! I'm back and delighted to welcome Niki Lenz to the blog. Past Pitch Wars mentor, middle grade author, and all around lovely person, Niki answered some of my questions to find out where it all began and how she reached the title of published author.
Check it out!
When you're a Buttman, the label bully comes with the territory, and Bernice lives up to her name. But life as a bully is lonely, and if there's one thing Bernice really wants (even more than becoming a Hollywood stuntwoman), it's a true friend.
After her mom skedaddles and leaves her in a new town with her aunt (who is a real live nun), Bernice decides to mend her ways and become a model citizen. If her plan works, she just might be able to get herself to Hollywood Hills Stunt Camp! But it's hard to be kind when no one shows you kindness, so a few cheesy pranks may still be up her sleeve...
Bernice Buttman is tough, and she is crass. But if you let her in, she'll serve up some laughs, a lesson or two about empathy, and plenty of cheese balls in this delightful debut.
Where did Niki Lenz - author begin?
Well, I have always been an avid reader, and when my babies were born I started blogging about our adventures. I always got comments like, "You have such a funny way of telling a story!" and "Oh my gosh, you make the dumbest incidents seem like a whole thing..." And so, while my children took naps, I sat at my computer and told myself stories. I remember Googling, "How to be a published author" and "How to write a book." And in those (somewhat futile) Google searches I found out about Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) and thought I would try it, just to see if I could. My first outline was just a list of ten things I thought could maybe happen. Oy.
What's one of the first things you ever wrote?
The first full novel I wrote was a dark and twisty YA set in an insane asylum in the 1920s. Not exactly on brand for me! I tried writing middle grade a few books later and fell in love with the freedom, honesty, and humor there and never looked back.
Did you share it with anyone - what did they say?
Yes, I made a bunch of my friends read it. They were all very supportive, but it makes me cringe now, ten novels later, that they saw my first attempt. I'd like to think I've gotten better since then!
Do you have a day job? Can you tell me about how you balance that and all the other arms of life with writing?
I do have a day job now that both of my kids are in elementary school. I am a substitute teacher. I love getting to interact with kids, plug my books, and help teach writing! And, bonus, no after school meetings to attend! I taught kindergarten for six years before I had children, so it is nice to be back in the classroom but on my own terms. I usually only sub three days a week and try to squeeze author stuff in on the other two days.
What did you do to hone your craft?
Well, some valuable advice I got when I Googled "How to be a published author" was to watch what real authors did and then do that. So I did! I joined a writer's group at the library. I signed up for SCBWI and went to my first regional conference. I read the entire "writing" section at the library. Basically, I was in full on "Fake it til you make it" mode!
What steps have you taken to grow as a writer?
The very very best thing anyone can do to become a better writer is to get some CPs who are better than you. I am serious. My CP, Jennie, is amazing and insightful and she reads all my terrible first drafts and I love her to pieces. But don't just stop at one! Keep switching manuscripts with as many people as possible, because you will learn new things each time.
Have you a team of cheerleaders behind you?
My family is super supportive of me. My husband worked hard to pay for laptops and memberships and conferences when publication was such a long shot. I will be forever grateful to him for that. My kids think it's really cool to have a mom who is an author. And they all work extra hard at staying out of my hair when I am on deadline, so that is immensely helpful.
When did you make the decision to pursue publication?
I went to my very first SCBWI conference in the middle of drafting that first novel, and I knew I was going to query it, at least for practice. I remember hearing statistics at the conference about how hard it is to get your work published, and instead of being discouraged I thought, "Why not me, though? I mean, they have to publish somebody..."
Can you tell us about this journey, from sending that first query to getting that call from the editor?
I queried my first three novels and wracked up three hundred rejections within a few years. But when I was ready to query my fourth novel, I knew had something special. I only queried my top fifteen agents for that one, and when Kate Testerman of KT Lit emailed to set up a call to "talk about my book" I was like "Wow, I've never had an agent call to reject my book before! Progress!" But it turned out that wasn't what the call was about at all. Kate offered me representation, and I was over the moon. We went on submission with that book for about a year before Kate read my next novel, BERNICE BUTTMAN, MODEL CITIZEN. She decided to put novel number four on the shelf and send out BERNICE. It was only a few months before it found it's home at Random House with my amazing and talented editor Caroline Abbey.
If you could pass on one piece of wisdom you've collected during your journey, what would it be?
I think my advice would be to just try to enjoy every stage of the process. It is such a privilege to find an audience for your work, and I don't ever want to take it for granted. If just one kid loves my story, I will be super duper excited. And the rest is just the gravy on top.
And for fun...
Mayo or Tomato ketchup
BOTH ON ALMOST EVERYTHING
Cats or dogs
Paperback or e-book
Day or night
Indoors or outdoors
Beer or wine
Run or walk
Mountains or beaches
Sweet or savory
Niki Lenz is an author living in Kansas City, Missouri. She is married to a handsome and brave police officer and has two adorable children.She studied elementary education at Southwest Baptist University and taught kindergarten for six years. She enjoys reading, travel, glamping, polka dots, red lipstick, and oldies music. Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen is her first novel.
Pre-order Niki's book now!
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