The Talk

Okay, friends.  It’s time.  I’m ready to have The Talk with you.

This may or may not be a good idea.  I’ve heard that it’s something that authors need to stay away from, to not even acknowledge, but sometimes, I think it’s good to talk about the things that we’re told to not mention.

I’m talking about unflattering reviews.

I use the term “unflattering” rather than “negative” because, when you think about it, no review is really “negative.”  The person bought your book, they read it, they gave it a shot, and they expressed their opinion.  That’s not a negative thing at all.  I’m thankful to anyone who gives my books a chance, regardless of whether or not they like it.  I’ve read plenty of books that I didn’t like that other people simply loved.  I love lots of books that others can’t stand.  It happens.  No one is going to like every book and not every book is going to please every reader.

That being said, unflattering reviews can still hurt, as any artist, musician, author, or actor can probably tell you.  They hurt, perhaps worse than ordinary criticism, because the arts are a labor of love.  They’re the most personal example of self-expression that we have.  I got plenty of criticism in high school and college, but I didn’t really care, because I didn’t pour my heart and soul into my term papers.

The other night, I was exceptionally tired.  I’d been outside all day.  I was dehydrated and hungry.  And I received my first “unflattering” review.  I’m not going to lie to you.  It hurt.  I ended up talking to my sister for hours about it.  And she ended up giving me the best advice I think that anyone could possibly have given.

“Well, you can either keep writing, or you can quit.”

I swear, she is so much smarter than I am.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  There was no sugarcoating it.  No beating around the bush.  And you know, I realized there was never a question.  Of course I’m going to keep writing.  I can’t not write.  I think my world would stop if I ever gave up writing.

Unflattering reviews will happen.  Naysayers will always be there.  But I’ve found that for every one person who doesn’t enjoy your book, there will be at least three others who do.  And those are the ones for whom you keep going.

Thank you all for everything you do.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you for your words of love and support.  I love you all.


Aspiring Authors

Recently, someone asked me what advice I would give to someone looking to turn their passion for writing into a career.  It’s a question that I myself asked after I wrote my first manuscript (which, by the way, will never ever see the light of day).  And you know, looking back, I’m glad I asked it as often as I did, because I would never have gotten as far as I have without hands reaching out to help guide me.  I’d imagine that goes for any career you might pursue.

As far as writing goes, however, here are my top tips for aspiring authors.

1.  Write.

It’s so cliche, right?  But it’s true.  You can’t be a writer if you don’t write.  It’s wonderful to have dreams.  Careers are built on dreams, especially dreams in the arts.  But in order to publish that book, you must first write that book.  Then you’re probably going to rewrite the book.  Then you’re going to send that book off to an editor who will have you revise that book about a hundred times over.  Writing is essential.  And when you’re not writing, you probably should be writing.

2. Make Connections.

Authors are incredibly supportive of other authors and of aspiring authors.  We know what you’re going through.  We know what you’re hoping for.  We know what it’s like to be you, and guess what?  We want you to succeed just as much as you do.  That’s something I love most about the writer community.  These people are the most supportive and encouraging group I’ve ever met, and I’m proud to be one of them.  I just hope that I make them proud.  I hope I help and encourage and support as much as they’ve helped and encouraged and supported me over the years.

3. Do Your Research.

Before I published Cemetery Tours, I was in the library every other week learning everything I could about independent publishing and how to succeed as a writer.  As great as it was to have mentors to offer me advice, I ultimately had to make all the big decisions for myself, because what works for one writer will not always work for another.  It was also easier for me to learn that way.  As an author, you’re going to have dozens of options and dozens of choices to make, and at the end of the day, no one else can make them for you.  Only you know what’s going to work best for you and for your book.

4.  Don’t Get Discouraged.

This is a long and difficult road that you’ve chosen.  You aren’t going to see results overnight (unless you’re JK Rowling).  It takes a lot of time and patience.  It also takes endurance.  More likely than not, you’re going to have at least one person tell you that you’re wasting your time.  They’re going to say, “You want to be a writer, that’s great, but you’re never going to make money that way.  What do you actually want to do for a job?”  But I promise you, for every person who doesn’t believe in you, there are about a hundred out there who do, and they’re the ones you need to keep by your side.  They’re the ones you need to listen to.  Believe in yourself and believe in your writing.  Don’t let anyone ever convince you that your work isn’t worth it, because it is.  You are worth it.  This is the one life you get.  You might as well spend it doing something you love.  I’ve always thought that I’d rather fail at something I love, than succeed at something I don’t care about at all.  At least I’d know that I’d tried.

5. Know Your Resources.

There are so many sites out there for aspiring authors and professionals in general.  A few I that recommend are:



Author Rise:

The Ladders:



Brainspill Part II

I have a lot of stuff on my mind.  That can be a good thing.  I think I’d rather have too much to think about than absolutely nothing.  However, it does my brain a little muddled and distracted having all these different thoughts floating around.  All these thoughts are mostly combinations of things I need to do, things I want to do, and things that I want to share.  I also want to keep updating semi-regularly, because I feel like I’ve been doing a good job with that recently.  I also need to keep talking and spreading the word about…


Subtlety at it’s finest.

1.  Today’s challenge has been converting Cemetery Tours into a file suitable for Kindle and other eBooks.  Now, the company I used will do that for you.  However, when I clicked the “read through” version, I noticed several things wrong.  The title, for example, was so huge, the word “Cemetery” didn’t fit into one line.  It ended up looking like this…



Not gonna work.  It was also missing a table of contest and the ISBN number was wrong.  So, I had to go and reformat the entire things.  It wasn’t too difficult, unless you count creating that stupid table of contents.  That was torture.  But I’m not good with computers, so maybe it was just me.  Although I think the most difficult task is over, I will still be working on it for the rest of the weekend to make sure it’s ready for Tuesday.

2.  I really like LinkedIn.  However, I keep clicking on people’s profiles over and over again to scroll through their “connections” to see if I can find anyone else I know and I’m afraid it’s telling the people that I keep viewing their profiles over and over again and that they’ll think I’m a stalker.  So… any of my friends on LinkedIn who are reading this, I’m sorry.  I promise I’m not creeping on you (I save that for Facebook).

3.  I have to start getting serious about the release party.  I’ll probably have about three or four lists to make this weekend.  That’s okay though, because I like planning and I like making lists.  I would kind of rather be doing that than formatting for Kindle.  I’m telling you, formatting is my absolute least favorite part of the publishing process.  Seriously, it sucks.

4.  I need to order two books ASAP to send in to the Library of Congress.

5.  I need to start focusing on getting the sequel going.  I’m on Chapter 7 right now, but for as long as I’ve been writing, Chapter 7 has always been the bane of my existence.  I am not kidding.  Every single book I write, I always get stuck on Chapter 7 and it takes like, four times as long to finish it as it should.  Chapter 7 is obviously cursed.

6.  As much as I need to focus on the sequel, however, my muse is really wanting to work on my other stuff tonight.  I know a lot of writers say that you need to pick a book and stick with it.  However, you have to reward yourself sometime.  You always write the best stuff when you write what you want to write (Say that ten times fast.  Go!).

7.  I just know I’m going to forget something really crucial about this whole publishing process, which is why I feel compelled to write everything down.

8.  I need to start hanging up my little postcards on more community boards.  Here’s a picture of the ones that I hung up in Starbucks last week.


9.  If you’ve written a book, please leave me a link in the comment section below!  I want to support you!!

Here are all my links:




10.  If you have any marketing advice, words of wisdom on getting my book out there, please leave a comment of send me a message!  Any tips, experiences, or stories are so appreciated!  Thank you!

11.  I really want to watch The Count of Monte Cristo, but of course, I can’t find my DVD.

12.  I found out that Julianne Moore has been cast as the villainous President Coin in Mockingjay Parts I and II.  While I’m sure Ms. Moore will do a fantastic job, I’ll admit that I was hoping for Viola Davis to get the role.  For some reason, when I read the book, she is the one I envisioned.  She’s such a brilliant actress and she’s so beautiful!!!