Friday, January 19, 2018

2017: A Year in Review or How the Plot Bunnies Overtook My Life

I learned a lot of lessons from publishing my first book, and the biggest one was to just keep writing. It may seem intuitive or even silly in its simplicity, but it's one of those things that (at least for me) was easier said than done. Because after finishing the final edits on THE LAST RESORT in the fall of 2016, I had no idea what I wanted to work on next.


You see, I have a really bad habit of indecisiveness.

I still had a half-finished sequel to my pirate adventure PLUNDER to get back to (MCs Ana and Cade above - aren't they adorable?). I also had a half-finished YA dystopian waiting for an ending. There were also four potential WIPs (works-in-progress) that I had developed on a very high level. One of them even already had one chapter written!

So what was the problem?

Plot bunnies. They were everywhere, yet none of them excited me enough to commit six to nine month to writing, and another half year to revisions and edits. I also couldn't figure out what mattered to me more: creating a book that could potentially get traditionally published or writing a story that would find success on Wattpad and build my base there.

And then it happened. I don't know what finally triggered that spark, but in February of 2017 I got a new idea. It was a YA contemporary with an 18 year-old female MC who competed in a traditionally male-dominated sport. I checked Goodreads and Amazon and didn't find anything similar (this sport is really overlooked in fiction!), which made me even more excited. I have personal (although tangential) experience with this "world", but I also did a lot of research and knew that this was the project I wanted to commit the year to.

I began writing in April 2017 with a goal of a 60K first draft by September. I chronicled some of my progress on Twitter with the tag #PLP and ended up coming in with nearly twenty thousand more two months later. Reasons for the delay other than the extra words and general life stuff? Wattpad had asked me to write a flash-fic to help promote Hulu's THE HANDMAID'S TALE so I ended up writing Glass Houses. I also pitched two stories for an invite-only opportunity, with one getting into the top 15 (out of more than 150 entries). And that is where I am today.

Well, not exactly.

In the next month or so, I'll have another update about something I've known since last fall.  Do you know how hard it is for a writer to keep secrets? Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Countdown to Release Day

It's now only nine days until THE LAST RESORT is officially available to the world and I've been busy doing the marketing hustle to give it the best possible chance for success.

Word-of-mouth recommendations are very important and my publicist Hannah at S&S has been doing a great job making advance copies available to bloggers and reviewers. Although a few physical copies have been printed, because the book is digital-first, NetGalley has been vital to getting e-copies out.

The ARCs (advance reader copies) are made in exchange for an honest review and some of that feedback has started rolling in on Goodreads.

Fangirlish has also already done a review and I'm also expecting a Q&A for Abigail Books Addiction and a feature on We So Nerdy.

Many authors often do Facebook launch parties to celebrate and promote their releases. I decided against this for THE LAST RESORT, but I will be taking part in Leah Crichton's party for her debut. Leah is also being published by Pocket Star and her book releases one week before mine. There are also similar themes of "going away to find yourself" in both books. I will be doing a takeover of the party from 4:00 to 4:30 pm EST on Sunday where I'll be asking three fun questions of participants to get some awesome conversations going. Anyone who answers will have a chance to win door prizes consisting of some free e-books!

The Wattpadres also invited me to join their joint Book Birthday Bash to celebrate all new releases from authors on Wattpad during the first half of 2017. That party will be on Facebook on March 18.

Although I won't have my own Facebook party, I already did an awesome Twitter chat with the Romance Sparks team from Wattpad on March 1 where I answered questions about my publishing journey, the book itself, and my upcoming projects.

All of this has been in addition to setting up the Wattpad Class of 2017 profile and taking part in the 17 Scribes group, both of which consist of authors with releases this year supporting each other with advice and cross-promotion. My incredible friend Michelle Jo Quinn also included info about the release in her March author's newsletter, which went out to 15K readers and I immediately saw an uptick on Amazon pre-orders.

Pocket Books has been tweeting promos twice a week for the last few weeks to their 62K+ followers, and I've also been doing some fun stuff on my Twitter profile using the #HotGuysDoingStuffOutside tag to post pics of . . . well, hot guys doing stuff outside!

On publishing day itself, I'm planning on sending out an email to about 150 close connections, asking for shares and retweets of my release announcement. My HeadTalker campaign has already reached the necessary 25 subscribers so on March 20, Tweets and Facebook posts will reach over 1M users with the news.

I feel like this is both a lot and not enough, but having a book come out in e-form only limits a lot of options. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Wattpad Star

As of last Friday, I'm now a Wattpad Star! What this means is that I'm part of a program that vets successful authors on the online writing site and gives them first priority in new opportunities.

By sheer coincidence, Wattpad rolled out a cool new badge on the site for members of the program on the same day I joined, so now I have a cute little, orange W next to my name on the profile page.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My First Author's Copies

There was a package for me when I got home from work today. At first I thought it was one of our (almost) daily Amazon deliveries, until I looked more closely at the sender.

When I saw it was from Simon & Schuster, I knew it was going to be good! And it was ...

They're the author's copies for Once Upon Now, which will be available for sale on October 11. I guess it's real and I'm now officially a published author. Anyone who is lucky to get an advance copy to read before then, can you please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Prepping for Wattcon

On October 1, up to two hundred Wattpad readers and writers are expected to get together in Manhattan for the third annual Wattpad Convention! This user organized event (this year's hosts are Vic James and Kelly-Anne Blount) will include curated panels like "How to be awesome on Wattpad" and "Tips from Industry Insiders", Q&As with Wattpad Stars and representatives from Wattpad HQ, signings, mingling, and giveaways.

Although the release date isn't until next March, I've already had some custom, limited-edition teasers made up to help promote THE LAST RESORT. These magnets will only be available at the event and only to attendees.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Once Upon Now

I am so thrilled to announce that my short story BETWEEN EARTH & SKY is a Grand Prize Winner in the Once Upon Now contest sponsored by @Target.
It will be published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster on October 11th and includes stories by the my fellow Wattpaders and friends @BrittanieCharmintine @JessicaBFry @Falzswimmer @JesseSprague @liveandlove10 @tasting_stars @Christine_Owen @MikaelaBender and @tamoja All of these amazing authors deserve a load of congratulations and I can't wait to share the printed page with them!
You can (and should!) check out all the stories in the top 10 here:
Look for paperback and e-book copies of the book with all ten of the stories in Target, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, and other retailers on 10/11. It already has a Goodreads page, so make sure to add it to your To Read shelves and feel free to add it to some cool lists, too :)
A huge thank you to everyone who read my entry, voted for the first chapter to get it into the top 25 and for all of your words of encouragement.