A Day in the Life of a Writer

I’ve been asked a few times what my writing schedule looks like, so today, I want to show you.

I don’t exactly keep a normal schedule. But I still get a surprising amount of stuff done. Never as much as I want to get done thanks to my high standards for myself, but I think that’s probably true for most people.

With my job and my writing, I tend to stay up until about 5am most nights, 3am if I have a 12 hour shift the next day.

But basically, I get up and take care of my small army of cats, then catch up on social media and do my post for the day.

Then, if I’m off work, food. If not, I get ready and go to work for 8 or 12 hours, using whatever precious little downtime I get to type up a sentence or two on my phone, a whole scene if I’m lucky.

If I’m home for the day, errands and cleaning and maybe a dash of video games or reading end up taking up about as much of my day as work would.

Sometimes I end up starting early, organizing book tours or researching things for ads in normal daytime hours.

But usually, I start on my books between midnight and 2am and do something book related until about 5 or 6am.

I’m almost always working on multiple projects, so I try to do something with each one in that time.

Right now, I’m working on three projects (writing Sihetva, editing A Blessed Darkness, and editing The Regonia Chronicles), so I try to do a chapter of each. More, if I can.

But sometimes I don’t get to all three projects.

And that’s okay.

The last half hour of my book time is usually spent wracking my brain to figure out what to post on social media the next day or two. I’ve tried the whole planning-posts-a-month-ahead-of-time thing before, and it just didn’t work for me.

It just felt like the massive block of time I was using for that month’s worth of planning was about the same total time as doing it day by day.

And it felt less personal, somehow.

Like it was removing the normal day to day stuff from my platform, and since one of the main purposes of an author platform is to let readers get to know the person behind the books, I didn’t like that.

Now, there are a few days that are exceptions to this. Days where I work a 12 hour shift go a little differently. The night before is cut off at 3am, so I only get about an hour for my books those nights.

And Sunday nights are usually rough.

I get home after a 12 and two or three hours later, I finish everything else done that I couldn’t do thanks to work and sit down to do my blog and newsletter for the week.

Which usually means I’m too exhausted to actually write or edit by the time I get those done and posted/sent out at about 4 or 5am Monday morning.

I’ll be honest, every week, I consider not doing a blog simply because I’m tired. Lol. Every week, I consider doing the blog and newsletter a different day or cutting them back to once a month, but there’s a reason I started them at this day/time. Because I know I won’t skip a week. I’ll get it done, even if I’m tired.

And that leaves all my book time throughout the week open for me to work on my books.

Forcing productivity, I suppose, because I don’t skip out on newsletters or blogs.

Every Sunday evening/Monday morning for… maybe two years? I’ve kept this up, and fully intend to continue doing so. Honestly, I’m a little proud of myself for not missing even a single blog.

There have been a couple times where I forgot to post about the blog on social media, but there’s always been a blog post. Lol.

And with as many projects as I work on and as quickly as I get them out, weekly newsletters seem appropriate for keeping readers up to date with what’s going on.

Now, I need to get better about advertising. I need to just block out a chunk of time every week to deal with that beast, to tweak the ads I have going and figure out how to make them work better. But before I can get any ad to actually do well, I have a feeling I’ll be enduring many more advertising classes.

Which I’m sure you can tell I’m really looking forward to.

Honestly, advertising is still the bane of my existence. Which sucks because it’s kinda necessary.

But in time, I’ll figure that monster out too. I’ve learned many a skill for the sake of my writing, and one day, I’ll be able to add that one to the list.

But for now, it’s not a daily activity.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

Self-Publishing Resources That Have Helped Me Out

There are a lot of steps involved in self-publishing. And I mean a lot. From searching the internet for good keywords to making pretty pictures of your book to post on social media, there’s a lot to do.

But there are also a lot of awesome resources at our disposal.

The trouble is, they’re hidden in all the garbage floating around online.

So, today, I wanted to give you a list of resources I’ve discovered in the past year that have really simplified things for me.

Some of these things are free. Some are not. But now that I have them, I can’t imagine not having them and having to do all this stuff by hand.

Category Finder

Figuring out what categories to put your book into can be an absolute nightmare. But there’s an awesome tool that finds all the categories a comparable bestseller in your genre is in so that you can use those categories.

Just go here.

Then, in a new tab or window, go to Amazon and get the ASIN or ISBN-10 of a book similar to yours that ranks in the top 100 in your genre.

Paste that number into the site above and let it work its magic.

And by the way, if you didn’t know (because I didn’t until this year), if your book is published through KDP, you can contact their support team and have them add your book to more categories. They allow two in the setup phase, but you can add an additional eight!

KDP Rocket/Publisher Rocket

This one’s useful for a lot of reasons, though the primary thing I use it for is finding keywords for my books. If you type in a keyword you think might be good, it does some tech magic and finds a bunch of stats for that keyword, as well as any similar keyword that’s been entered into Amazon.

It tells you: how many times that keyword is entered into Amazon and Google per month, how much the books with that keyword average in sales per month, how many books use that keyword, how competitive it is, and a few other things.

A recent update even color codes those stats to show you at a glance whether or not those stats are in a good range.

This one is not free, but it makes keywords so easy that I think it’s worth the $97 (USD) price tag.

Instant Data Scraper Plug-In

This little tool put Goodreads to work for you. You just find a list on Goodreads that has books similar to yours, give this plug-in the requisite link, and let it extract the information. With a little work in Excel to clean them up, you’ll end up with a bunch of book titles to target in ads.

Mock Up Shots

This site charges $198 for lifetime access, but gives you tons of professional mockups for your book. Just upload the cover and download as many of them as you want for as many books as you want mockups for.

Book Report Plug-In

KDP has a decent sales reporting system, at least compared to Ingramspark. But this plug-in shows you a more comprehensive view of your royalties, even breaking it down by individual books. Which is pretty helpful if you’re running a sale or an ad and want to know if a specific book or series is selling.

It’s easy to set up and use. Somehow, it reports sales that might not show up in KDP’s sales reports.

It only works for KDP books though. If it was published through any other publisher, the sales won’t show up on Book Report.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Self-Publishing

The choice to pursue self-publishing or traditional publishing is a tough one, and the “right choice” is different for everyone.

For me, it was self-publishing.

But there are a few things I wish I knew ahead of time.

Today, I’m sharing them with you. 

It’s difficult.

This path takes so much work. You’re not just the writer. You have to be an entire publishing house.

That means that everything falls to you.

Unless, of course, you hire some of the work out. There are a few aspects of this route that most would recommend working with a pro (covers and editing, for example).

So, it can get pricey.

And it is definitely a lot of work. 

This should not be done alone.

I know, the “self” in self-publishing implies otherwise, but working in a vacuum is a dangerous thing, for multiple reasons.

You need feedback from others to know what works and what doesn’t. You’re too close to your work to see all the flaws, sometimes because of attachments to characters and sometimes because we know what’s going on and our brain fills in the things that aren’t (but should be) on the page.

But also because this shit gets stressful.

Having a group of writer friends, people who understand all the intricacies, or a few non-writers willing to learn about publishing through your venting, is pivotal. It really helps alleviate the stress sometimes.

And who knows, they might see a solution you don’t.

Or in the case of writer friends, they might have experienced the same problem you’re experiencing, and maybe they already have a workaround for it.

Start your author platform now.

I used to hate social media. I avoided it like the plague. I dragged my feet, posted inconsistently, and hesitated to start my newsletter.

But now, my author platform is kinda the only reason I’ve sold any books.

At all.

It’s how I reach people, how I meet other authors, how I connect with reviewers and readers.

And it takes time to build a solid author platform. I started late, so I’m not where most would like to be after releasing seven books. But I’m getting there.

And if you haven’t, you need to start building yours.

Even if you haven’t finished a book yet. 

You can post things about you, about how you write, what books you like to read (extra points if they’re in the genre you write in because that’ll draw in people who read in that genre).

Figure out which platform you want to start with and go for it. Start a newsletter ASAP.

And if you’re counting Instagram out because “What would I post pictures of?”… You. Books. Bookshelves. Character art. Mood boards. There are infinite possibilities.

Take some marketing and advertising classes.

Marketing and advertising (yeah, they’re different things) are the main reason I considered traditional publishing. Then, research revealed that a good portion would still fall to me even if I went the traditional route.

But instead of doing the smart thing and throwing myself into classes and figuring out how to do those things properly right at the outset, I… didn’t.

I don’t know why, honestly.

Dread, I think. Social anxiety and intimidation.

But I’ve been taking classes off and on, and trying to figure them out. I still have a long way to go, so I’m not about to do any advertising blogs, but I do suggest learning how to market and advertise your books.

As a self-published author, it falls to you to get your books out there, and it is not an easy thing to do. There are literally millions of books out there, and it’s up to us to figure out how to get people to first, see our books, and second, buy them.

This is a valid publishing route.

The self-publishing stigma is intense. So much so that for a while, I was ashamed of my choice. Of course, part of that is just me. (I tend to worry too much about what others think and whether or not I’m letting them down.)

But after more research, after talking to other (much more successful) indie writers, after seeing what’s out there, after paying attention to which books are indie and which aren’t (and seeing monstrosities and absolute gems in both publishing avenues), I realized that this is a valid publishing route.

And shame has no place in it.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

Things Left Unsaid: Read the Prologue Free

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how it’s already almost release day. It doesn’t quite make sense, and I’m not sure where the time went.

And yet, somehow, release day is tomorrow.

But this time, since I’m still getting over this century’s plague and about to start physical therapy for my carpal tunnel, I’m going to cut myself a break.

Rather than stress myself out even more with a live reading (because social anxiety plus reading aloud for people on the internet is stressful as fuck), I’m going to leave the prologue here for you to read at your leisure.

Fair warning, the prologue is from the perspective of the bad guy. And he is definitely a bad guy.

Prologue

Kurt

The car bumps along on the old dirt road as Ian hits yet another pothole. Elbows dig into both my sides as Jake and Kerry ricochet in their seats. I hold myself rigid, digging my feet into the floorboard to brace myself.

You’d think they’d try a little harder to keep from jabbing me. It isn’t that hard to keep control of your parts.

Staring forward at Ian and Ariella in the front seats, I seethe, wishing I could sit there. But my hips are narrower than Ariella’s, making me a better fit for this stupid seat. And it’s Ian’s stupid, tiny car, so of course, he’s driving.

And she called it, so eager as she shouted, “Shotgun!”

My eyes roll as I stare out at the trees choking the road. Yet again, I question the point of this trip.

Her words from yesterday echo in my mind. “Come on, Kurt. You know I love haunted places. And I haven’t seen Ian or Jake or Tori in so long.”

Now, she sits in front, bathed in sunlight and beaming at Ian. They laugh together, recalling old college memories. Their arms bump together on the armrest with each dip in the road.

Ariella tips her head back, laughing deeply. She covers her mouth with her hand, but when she puts her arm back on the armrest, it lands skin to skin with Ian’s.

And she barely pulls away.

Heat surges through my veins as anger burns me. I grit my teeth.

Ian swerves, hitting another pothole. Laughter fills the front seat as their arms brush again. Elbows dig into my sides. Again.

Fucking bastard’s doing it on purpose…

And suddenly, I hear her voice, really hear it, as she begged me to go on this trip. I hear the way she lingered on his name. In my mind, she rushes over the other names, not caring whether she sees them again or not.

She didn’t even try to hide it.

Who knew I’d end up with someone just like my whore of a mother.

And when she called riding shotgun, her eyes lit up brighter than the fucking sun. I watch it play out in my mind, and this time I see the soft smile on his lips, see the way he leers at her.

Fucking Ian.

Kerry sits forward, craning her neck to see the road. She leans toward me, peering out between the seats and stealing my view of Ariella’s betrayal. “Shut up, you guys,” she tells the harlot and the casanova. “It wasn’t that bad.”

But I missed what they were laughing about.

Beside me, Jake laughs at his wife. “It really was.”

She reaches over me to lightly smack his knee. Confined as we are, she hits my knee too, and I barely suppress a glare.

“Oh, sorry, Kurt,” she says. Briefly, she leans her head against my shoulder in a sorry excuse for an apology, and her long brown hair tickles my arm. “See what you guys made me do!” she shoots at Jake. “You made me smack Kurt!”

Ariella’s eyes dart upward, meeting mine in the rearview mirror. Dark eyes pulled tight with worry, she holds my gaze.

Is she afraid for Kerry?

People don’t usually hit me and get away with it.

But she doesn’t know that yet.

I hold myself in check, clenching my jaw. My hands ball up in my lap, but I cross my arms, tucking tight fists under my elbows.

Still staring at me, Kerry asks, “Are you okay?”

Ariella turns to look at me, waves of black hair spilling over the armrest. Long, silky tresses swirl over Ian’s arm, and his eyes tear away from the road for a quick glance at her. His eyes sparkle in the waning sunlight, and the corners of his lips lift into a wistful smile.

My stomach sours.

“Kurt?” Kerry prompts, stealing my attention away from the philanderer in the front seat. Her crisp blue eyes stare into mine, edged with concern.

“I’m fine,” I say, voice tight. “Just carsick. Always happens in little cars.”

She accepts my lie, but when I look forward, Ariella’s brows reach for each other, huddling in confusion. I’ve never been carsick in my life, and she knows it. I’m not that weak.

“Sorry, man,” Ian says over his shoulder. “This is a pretty bumpy road. That probably doesn’t help.”

A deep breath puffs out my chest as I stare hard at Ariella.

“Do you… need to switch seats?” she offers, but I hear her reluctance.

After all, why would she want to give up her seat next to Ian?

“Oh, no,” I answer quickly. “I’ll be fine.”

Her lips purse as she considers me, but only for an instant.

Ian taps her knee with the back of his hand, and she turns forward, not even sparing me a second thought. “We’re here,” he says.

Everyone else stares out the windows at the rickety old farmhouse and the shitty barn behind it. They gape and chatter excitedly about the murders that happened here in the early 1900s and the ghosts rumored to haunt the place.

But I stare at the lecher moving in on my woman. Blond scruff decorates his chin and his short blond hair is a mess.

Yet, she thinks she’ll leave me for him?

I shake my head.

I’ll be second to none.


Let’s just say… Kurt doesn’t handle things very well on their trip.

If you want to find out what he does, you can get your copy of Things Left Unsaid here.

It officially releases August 31st (tomorrow), but preorders are available and it’s free in Kindle Unlimited.

If you want a thriller now, you can check out Annabelle and her weaponized parasol here, also free in Kindle Unlimited.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

How to Find Time to Write

One of the biggest problems most writers face is time. There never seems to be enough of it.

And while that’s certainly true, especially since most of us work another job (or two) and have families, there are a few things that we do to get in our own way.

So, buckle up. This isn’t about organization or getting yourself into the writing zone faster with music (though that does help me).

This is about getting real with yourself so you can stop hindering your own progress.

Prioritize your writing… By dealing with deeper issues.

If you want to write your book, if you want to publish it, if you want to pursue this seriously, you have to make it a priority.

But it isn’t that simple, I know. Sometimes, blocking out a day or an hour to write can be done, and we just don’t do it.

You need to figure out why you let this dream of yours get shoved to the back burner, and then confront that. Stop dealing in symptoms and start dealing in root causes.

For a long time, I didn’t think myself worthy of having a dream. Which made it awfully hard to make that dream a priority. Dealing with self-worth issues isn’t a quick thing, and I still struggle with it often, but it has to be dealt with. For many reasons, obviously.

But without confronting that, without realizing that was holding me back, I never would’ve started on this path, let alone made it a priority in my life.

Fear of failure held me back for a while, too. I didn’t treat my writing time with the respect it deserved because I was afraid that I’d fail, that I wouldn’t be good enough, that no one would care or want to read what I wrote.

So why bother, right?

I didn’t sit down to write when I should have, when I clearly had time, because who would care one way or the other?

But self-sabotage is a terrible road to walk, and it has to be confronted if you truly want to achieve things.

So, if writing your book is important to you, figure out the real problems stopping you. Then, deal with those problems. If you won’t do it for you and the obvious fact that things like this need dealt with, then do it so you can make your dreams the priority they need to be.

Do it so you can stop wasting the time that you do have to write.

Tell the people in your life that this is important to you.

This part can be scary, but if no one knows your writing is important to you, then they won’t consider your writing time to be sacred. They’ll interrupt you or try to persuade you to do other things because they don’t know it means something to you.

Most people who don’t write don’t understand the bond between a writer and their characters or the need to get these stories out of our heads.

Not unless we explain it to them.

Stop procrastinating.

This gets back into that self-sabotage thing that I mentioned earlier, because that’s all procrastination is. Self-sabotage. But it’s such a major pitfall, that it had to have its own section.

Social media is absolutely flooded with memes about procrastination. I know you’ve seen them, usually something along the lines of:

*opens laptop*
*opens Scrivener*
*prepares to write*
*gets on instagram*

It’s infuriating!

Stop cutting yourself off at the knees and write your damn book.

That might mean less time scrolling through social media. That might mean less time watching TV. It might mean less time sitting on the couch staring into space in existential dread. (Yes, I’m a millennial. Why do you ask?)

But if you want to write your book, you have to freaking write. It isn’t going to just write itself. You aren’t going to wake up one morning, having fallen asleep at your computer, only to find the next Pulitzer Prize winning novel has materialized in the night.

Someone has to do the work and put in the time, and if you want it to be your book that gets written, that someone is you.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

Success, Writing, and Other People (And How to Cope)

Upon hearing that you’re a writer, people will, almost invariably, ask if you’re successful. They ask in different ways.

Sometimes it’s, “Do you have anything published?” Or “Did you get a big book deal?”

Sometimes it’s, “How many books have you sold?”

It’s stressful, to say the least, especially since creative types (like us writers) are prone to insecurity and imposter syndrome.

But success is subjective.

One person’s idea of success is different from another’s. Where one person might see becoming a New York Times bestseller with three movies in the works as the only measure of success, another might see publishing a book at all as a measure of success. One person might need millions of followers, whereas another might want a small group of engaged followers.

And those differences are important.

Knowing what success actually means to you is the a pretty big step toward achieving it.

If you want a high follow count, if you want a close network of fellow writers, if you want to release a book before your 60th birthday, if you want to release three books in a year, if you want to sell millions, or if writing a book is what matters to you, then that’s your measure of success.

And that should be your focus.

For someone with extreme anxiety, publishing a book that has your heart and soul carved into the pages, putting yourself out there in written form, is a daunting task and a worthy goal.

Whereas someone without anxiety disorders might not see that as the challenging part.

To someone burdened by ADHD, finishing a book might be the challenge, and thus the point at which to feel successful, whereas a person with an average attention span might not see that as quite so big of a challenge.

So, you need to figure out your measure of your own success.

And when someone inevitably asks if you’re successful, focus on that.

Most people who aren’t writers don’t know it’s such a stressful question, but they also don’t usually know everything that writing entails. (Or even half of it.) So, enlighten them, all while focusing what you say on the goals you have set for yourself.

For example, if your goal, your measure of success, is to land a book deal and you’re deep in the query trenches, tell them you’re looking for an agent, but finding one that’s accepting submissions like your book is challenging.

Or tell them about all the various side materials you have to put together before you can even submit to agents. Query letters, cover letters (because yeah, there are differences), one page synopses, three page synopses, single sentence summaries that include the ending, five year marketing plans, and all the other hoops writers have to jump through to get a book deal.

Talk about the research that has to be done to find agents to submit your book to, finding agents that work with your genre, subgenre, and age group who are actually taking submissions.

Talk about the unbelievably low acceptance rates, especially if you’re submitting directly to publishers (which adds extra layers of research because a lot won’t accept from authors to begin with and those who do accept maybe 1-2% of submissions).

Find your individual measure of success, and then stick to it, even when people ask about it.

If they measure success by becoming the next J.K. Rowling, explain how unlikely that is and tell them why your sights are set where they are.

Writing is a very personalized journey, and so is success.

Embrace it.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

How to Write like a Reader

Sometimes, as writers, we ignore one of the greatest resources at our disposal: our own experiences as readers.

A vast well of knowledge resides within us, but sometimes we get caught up trying to figure out the rules and completely forget about that.

Our pet peeves as readers should guide us as writers.

Examples from my own personal pet peeves (and thus, my personal guides for my own books):

Blurb vs Review Quotes

I can’t stand a back cover full of review quotes. I want to see the blurb when I turn a book over, not some quote calling it “derisive” or “nebulous.”

Kindly fuck off with that shit.

I want to turn the book over and see what it’s about.

So when I publish, I put the blurb on the back cover. I might have a pull quote somewhere on there, but the blurb is front and center. (Well, back and center because it’s the back of the book.)

Series Numbers

I don’t typically write series (my current, almost completed wip being the exception), but from my experience as a reader, I will have Book One or Book Two or Book Whatever Number The Series Reaches on the cover and spine. There have been so many times that I’ve picked up a book and learned after reaching the end of it that there are 4 or 7 more books.

It’s infuriating.

So as a writer, I won’t do that to my readers.

Inconsistent Characters for Convenience

I hate when characters make stupid decisions that don’t line up with their personalities but are convenient for the plot. So as a writer, I won’t do that.

Head Hopping

I love books with multiple POVs, so I often write them. But I hate when the point of view changes without warning/within the same scene or chapter. Even worse… within the same paragraph.

So for the sake of my readers, when I change POV in a book, I start a new chapter and put the characters name below the chapter number, because that’s how I prefer to read it.

There are so many little things that we’ve learned as readers that can make us better writers or improve the reading experience as a whole for our readers.

So, next time you’re faced with a decision about your cover or your formatting or whatever, switch from writer brain to reader brain.

Do whatever wouldn’t piss you off as a reader.


Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Writing

Being an author has a pretty steep learning curve. There are a lot of lessons to learn, and thanks to hindsight, they seem obvious after the fact.

So, today, I wanted to share a few of those things with you to ease the learning process.

Regardless of your publishing path (traditional vs. self), you’ll have to do marketing.

When I started writing, I assumed that traditional publishers would do all the marketing. Then, I started querying and found that many publishers required marketing plans to be submitted along with the query. (One asked for a five year plan, even though most traditional publishers give a book a two year shelf life.)

So clearly, some of the marketing falls to the author. And if you’re self-publishing, it all falls to you.

(Btw, this marketing effort includes your author platform. More on that in a minute.)

Self-publishing is a valid publishing avenue (but it is exactly what you make it).

Treating self-publishing as a “trash bin” when you get frustrated with querying actually perpetuates the stigma of self-publishing.

Please, PLEASE, don’t do that.

Self-publishing is a viable publishing avenue, and it will treat you exactly as well as you treat it. If you do your research, if you put in the effort, you can produce a quality product that readers (and you) will love.

And if you work on your marketing and advertising, you can sell a decent amount of books.

Your author platform is vital.

It connects you with readers, often for little-to-no money. There are a lot of ways to build it, and a lot of different platforms you can work with.

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, a website, a blog, Tumblr, Reddit, Snapchat, YouTube, TikTok, Goodreads, All Author, the list goes on and on. It seems like there are a million different social media options.

You don’t have to be on every platform. That’s way too much pressure, and you’ll be spreading yourself too thin.

Start with one or two that you’re comfortable with and build those. When you feel like you have a handle on that, branch onto another.

Post about what you’re reading and why you like it. Post about your projects and how you write or plot.

And be sure to start a newsletter. Send it out regularly (whether that’s every other month, monthly, weekly, whatever) and make sure your readers know when to expect it. You can get a bit more personal here, showing more behind the scenes stuff to engage readers.

The earlier you start your author platform, the better.

It takes time (a fuck ton of time) to build an author platform. The more (real, active) people you can count among your audience, the better your book release will be. And if you’re looking to go traditional, a good audience is a bragging point for your query or marketing plan.

Be you.

Who you are, your author voice, is what will make your books stand out. Make sure that comes through on whatever platforms you choose.

There’s a market for everything.

Please, stop worrying about whether anyone will like your idea. The world is vast and full of different types of people with different interests.

Even if your idea is a niche, there’s an audience out there for it. You just have to find them.

Chaos or organization, it doesn’t matter. Write the way that works for you.

Everyone is different. Everyone learns differently, and everyone communicates differently. So please, give yourself the freedom to write the way you need to, whether that means intensive planning or no planning at all.

Don’t pay publishers.

Publishers that charge you hundreds or thousands of dollars are scams. Plain and simple. Run far away from them.

Trust me.

I’ve dealt with them, and it’s fucking terrible.

Don’t pay reviewers.

Book reviewers might get a free book in exchange for an honest review if they’re an ARC reader or if they’re working with a book tour company. But if they message you saying that they’ll review and promote your book for a fee, don’t mess with them.

Even setting morals aside, a lot of sites will remove paid reviews, and that renders the money wasted. (I’m pretty sure Amazon is one of those.)


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The Real Cause Of The Self-Publishing Stigma

It’s no secret that self-publishing gets a bad reputation. There’s this belief among people who don’t know better or people who’ve been burned by a self-published book or two that authors only self-publish if they aren’t good enough to land a book deal with a big agent or traditional publisher.

But that isn’t the case.

At least, not normally.

And therein lies the problem.

Self-publishing is a grueling, labor-intensive, valid publishing avenue, but there are some authors out there who abuse it and give it a bad reputation.

They look down on self-publishing, deeming it unworthy, a last resort. As such, when they get frustrated with the unbelievably long and grueling process of querying agents and traditional publishers, they just toss their story up on whatever self-publishing platform they can, with little to no research into what it takes to make a book presentable to the public. (Then get mad and diss self-publishing when their lack of forethought and preparation results in low sales or bad reviews.)

Janky formatting, no editing, hand-drawn covers (even if you’re a fantastic artist, hand-drawn art does not a book cover make)…

And readers notice.

They see these books and worry that spending more of their hard-earned money on other indie authors might get them the same subpar products.

But that isn’t the case.

Most indie authors care greatly for their books and spend as much, if not more, time getting them ready for publication than they do writing them. Many indie authors spend literal tons of money on editing and cover design and formatting, on ISBNs and copyright registrations and websites, on classes and books to study their craft.

The vast majority of indie authors chose self-publishing. For the freedom it offers in publishing schedules, genre mash-up opportunities, creative license, and so many other things. For the ability to control exactly what they’re putting out into the world, because traditional publishers get the last say on everything.

Self-publishing isn’t a last resort.

Any who believe it to be are woefully under-informed, because this is a path to be chosen, a path that requires a great deal of extra effort in a lot of very different fields.

But there’s one more cause for the bad reputation.

The authors who get their work good *enough* and just throw it out there. Some bank (literally) on advertising with a good hook to sell the books anyway and some just don’t care.

And though they make up only a small portion of indie authors, they do some damage. Readers remember when they get burned. They remember, and they tell their friends.

So please, before you self-publish, do your research. Take the time to decide if this is the right path for you. Take the time to improve your work before publishing.

If you won’t do it for you, then do it for the indie authors out there busting ass to turn out the best work they possibly can.


Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

3 Reasons Why Writers Should Never Stop Learning

Learning new things is important. It seems like such a simple thing to say, but it isn’t something we always prioritize.

So many people stop challenging themselves, stop learning new things. They get comfortable and think themselves exempt from continuing to learn and improve. And that’s a good way to stagnate.

And as writers, it’s especially important to keep learning because…

You never know what you might need to know.

Writing is a strange process in that any piece of information could come in handy at some point.

Your first book might require knowledge on the healing process from a stab wound to the gut or how long someone could live without water. Your next might require learning how bears show affection or what appliances were common in turn of the century kitchens. Another might require knowledge of food storage that requires no electricity, how to make candles, or even the exact speed of light.

Depending on the book and the characters (their hobbies, their jobs, their interests), there’s no limit to what you could conceivably need to learn.

(Btw, all of the things listed above are things I’ve either researched for a book or knew ahead of time and used in a book.)

You can never know everything.

There’s just so much to learn. Every new thing you learn can potentially open up more questions.

Which could provide perspective for your book or potentially inspire another.

People who don’t think they need to keep learning just aren’t aware of how much they don’t know.

It turns out that people who think they know everything and have nothing more to learn… really know very little. They haven’t learned enough to see what they’ve done wrong and thus think themselves the best.

And no one wants to be that person.

So, keep learning.

Keep improving.

Because if you stagnate, your books might.


Want to fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).