Tuesday Takeover: Off-the-Path Advice on a Hybrid Author’s Journey by Brea Brehn

I love being an author. I love the challenges it brings. From query letter to book reading each step I had to learn myself and brought unique challenges. I also love being able to pour my thoughts and feelings into my work and get them out of my head. Along this road I have also had the privilege of meeting some amazing people. Some are semi-famous, such as the screen writer of the hit TV series, House to horror writer Mort Castle and well known Wisconsin author Michael Perry. Others are not even published yet, but have become good friends. Through it all I have found happiness like I haven’t known since I was a kid. Writing and being an author truly are my happy place. I love every moment of it. Some of those moments have not been perfect, and those are the moments I want to share with you. Hopefully you learn from them and maybe get a good laugh from them as well.

Every writer starts with one common thing. An idea for a story, poem or article. Sometimes where we get our ideas from come from an amusing place. I have been a stay at home/homeschooling mom for over ten years. Having kids is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. It has tested me physically and mentally so many times my body and my sanity often feel like an overused muscle. Some of those limit-reaching moments have resulted in some great writing. I remember reaching one of those moments when I gave my than one year old son a muffin. Of course his sister who was three wanted one too. By the time I got them both a muffin, the one year old had escaped from his high chair mashed himself and the carpet with his muffin and ran scattering the remnants all over the kitchen and dining room. Then he was thirsty so he helped himself to a Sippy cup of water which he was happily pouring into the mashed up muffin in the carpet saying, “I cwean it mama!” All of which could have resulted in a major mommy meltdown. Instead I sat down and wrote a little story called, “If You Give a Toddler a Muffin”. Obviously it mirrored the children’s picture book If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff. My story basically portrayed the chaos of having two kids that are both toddlers and did not go any further than Facebook. The point is I took my stress, frustration, and exhaustion and turned it into something that was entertaining and amusing for others. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is where Laura Numeroff got her idea from herself! What to remember from my story is that strong negative or positive emotions often result in some of the best writing you will ever accomplish. Write what you have and what you know. Write what you are passionate about. Write about what you love or what you hate. Writing is emotion and what you write should evoke emotions in your reader. If you are emotional when you write, so will your readers be when they read it! That is an awesome and powerful gift of writing.

Another thing writers have in common is that we are often trying to get out in the world to learn about our craft, to meet others and to share our work. If you are not, do so! The benefits are immeasurable. One fantastic way to do this is at a literary conference. I was at a conference with over a thousand people in attendance a few years ago. This was before I was published. I was a bundle of nerves. I knew no one. It came time for lunch and I sat at a random table near the front. Soon it filled up with others. I made short conversation with those around me. At one point I asked the man sitting next to me if he was a writer. He looked somewhat insulted and said, “I am the key note speaker actually.” I am fairly certain the look of horror on my face gave away the fact that I had no idea who he was. All I could choke out was, “Oh”. The lady sitting next to me saved me by asking a perfectly charming and intelligent question about the TV character he happened to create, named House. Holy crap! I was sitting next to the screen writer for House! The rest of the conversation at the table was amazing and despite my flummox at the beginning of the meal I am able to look back on that experience now with awe. But I did learn a couple of things from my experience. First, should be obvious. Study the key note speaker list before the conference! Know not only who is speaking, but what they are speaking about and who they are! More importantly, you never know who you may end up sitting next to. The next person you meet may be the agent that is looking for you, the author that may give you career changing advice, or the editor that can teach you something invaluable. You will never meet them though if you don’t go in the first place. When you do go, go with an open mind and ready for anything. All of this is true online as well. If you utilize social media to its full extent you will be virtually meeting tons of people. Again, that can’t happen if you don’t create a Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or whatever else account. Put yourself out there! Being a successful author is a fine balance between social media and real world experience. One I am constantly fine tuning myself. I should add, years later, at that same conference I met my agent. We met for coffee and she is currently working to place several of my books.

Finally, I want to talk about something that all writer’s will or have faced: rejection. I got over fifty rejections, non-responses, or “this is not the right fit for me” letters before I received an acceptance letter from a publisher. You can’t put your work and yourself out there without receiving some rejection. One rejection in particular I want to share with you that was particularly painful. I always research the agent, publisher or editor I am contacting. I look at what they prefer, the works they have done before, who they represent etc. It is a lengthy process that often can take hours. At one point I was sure I found the perfect agent for a children’s picture book I wrote. Like my story she was passionate about animals. The books she represented held similar messages (but not so similar there would be a conflict of interest). I loved her encouraging message to writers and I felt like I had a good chance. So I spent a couple of hours writing up a query letter for her. I am a type A perfectionist and won’t send anything out until it is as perfect as I can make it. In other words, I spend time and effort to contact her. I sent it out with high hopes. TWO HOURS after I sent it I got a simple one sentence e-mail in reply: “This is not the right fit for me at this time.” Ouch. What did I learn from this experience? I learned that I would have done nothing different. That I sent out what was the best of my abilities and that one no does not mean all will be a no. Most importantly, that effort, time, and dedication will be rewarded with a yes….eventually. I did not give up and neither should you. No matter how many “not for me” responses you get there is a “We are pleased to tell you…” message waiting for you out there. Don’t give up, keep learning and keep writing! Another thing I learned is that a no can lead to all kinds of things. I started with an independent publisher, signed with an agent and then bought back the rights to my dystopian series to self-publish them. Each route has been its own unique journey. I have loved every minute of it.

I have learned these things and so much more on my journey to becoming an author. The key word there is learn. Like everything else, a career as an author requires lots of mistakes, learning experiences, and a whole ton of reward that makes every single step worth it! Keep writing and trying. Your journey is out there waiting.


Brea Behn is very passionate about reading and writing in all genres. She started writing at the age of fifteen, when she wrote a memoir for her twin brother. Currently, she writes dystopian, children’s fiction of several genres, nonfiction, and is building her career as an author and public speaker. Brea speaks on topics ranging from social medial, being a published author, and on more personal topics of grieving as a teen and living with PTSD. When Brea is not writing, she is reading, usually several books at the same time. She also volunteers at her local humane society, gardens, and loves movies. Brea lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their two children.

Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Amazon ~ Goodreads ~ Newsletter ~ YouTube

Aug 23, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: Off-the-Path Advice on a Hybrid Author’s Journey by Brea Brehn

Tuesday Takeover: Something to Offer by David Estes

Estes blog post 2

As a fulltime writer, one of my key daily tasks is to simply sit, close my eyes, and think about things. There’s something that’s been on my mind lately, something that might be obvious to some of you, and I think it is to me too, but it’s just something I’m not sure people really think about much, me included. This post is about having something to offer. Yeah, I just used the word “something” four times in like three sentences. But I’m just going to roll with it.

 And when I say “something to offer,” I mean big things, important things, life-changing things. Things that keep people on their feet (literally, mentally and emotionally). Am I talking about the researchers who are making strides to cure cancer? Of course. How about the leaders out there trying to solve the challenges that face the world’s economies? Sure, them too. But offerings of that scale are not the focus of this post. My focus is much smaller, the little things, the normal people. Wives and husbands and children and brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers…and yes, second cousins twice removed. Them too. This post is about how everyone has something to offer, and how most of the time those things, however small, tend to be the biggest offerings of all.

 So why did I start thinking about all this, you might ask? Mostly because of my Goodreads fan group (David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite!), which has grown to over 3,000 members. It’s because of my daily interactions with the wonderfully diverse group of people in the group that I’ve come to realize just how much every single person has to offer, and how big those offerings really are.

 In the group we have people from all over the world, of different ages, races, backgrounds, economic situations, religions and on and on, and you know what? Each and every person in that group has something to offer each other, and most of them don’t even realize it, which is what makes it so much more special. Let me give you a few examples. On a day to day basis I see:

 -Encouragement! This is my favorite of all, because this is a hard, hard world, one where surviving is easier said than done. We all go through struggles and we all need encouragement. Well, the members of my group are all about it, sharing their writing with each other, offering praise, congratulations on small events in each other’s lives. It’s simply heartwarming to watch and be a part of. This is a welcome relief from a world where bullying has become common place, not just in schools, but in workplaces and online and on TV. In many cases it’s accepted outright, sometimes as entertainment. Well, not in my fan group. The members are nothing but kind to each other. THIS IS HUGE! I can’t say it enough, a lot of people (if not all people) have hard lives, and simple words of encouragement go a LONG way.

 -Comedy! I swear I’m laughing all the time when reading the posts in the group. There are so many funny people out there, many of them under the age of 18 (if I’m being honest, many of them are like 13, 14 years old), that provide constant entertainment for the group members. I believe that smiling and laughter are extremely important in life, and can change the lives of people for the better.

 -Caring! The people in the group care about each other deeply. If someone says they’re sick or out of sorts, the members are there to offer their shared sadness for another group member’s suffering.

 -Advice! Wow, I’ve been so impressed with this aspect of the group. It sort of just happened, people (mostly Indie authors), asking for advice about book blurbs, pitches, aspects of writing, and the members totally jumped in and helped provide some really good, constructive advice. I jump in to offer my own too, but mostly I can just sit back and watch the members take care of each other.

 -Stories! We have a Share your Writing with the Group section where members can share anything really. I’ve been so impressed by the quality of the poetry, short stories, and even chapter books that comes through from the members. And again, the other members are so encouraging to each other!

 -Welcoming! The members are so welcoming of new members, letting them feel like a valued new addition to the group right away. And so they are!

 I have so many more things to say, but I don’t want to take all day getting to my point. What I’m trying to say is that it’s the little things, the things that ANY of us can offer if we just choose to, that can make the BIGGEST difference in the lives of others. I’m trying to do better at remembering that, both for my own actions, and so that I always recognize that any new person I meet has a story and has talents and has SOMETHING TO OFFER.

 Happy reading!

 David Estes

David Estes

David Estes is the author of more than 20 science fiction and fantasy novels that have received hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide, including The Moon Dwellers, Fire Country, Slip, Brew, and his new SciFi Pinocchio retelling, Strings. He lives in Hawaii with his inspiring Aussie wife, Adele, rambunctious son, Beau, and naughty cat, Bailey. When he’s not writing, you’ll likely find him at the beach swimming, snorkeling, or reading under an umbrella. You can get FOUR FREE books by signing up for his mailing list on his website: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com


Aug 8, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: Something to Offer by David Estes

All Series Now Available in Boxed Sets

boxed setsWant to save 20% on an entire series? Well then I’ve got the deal for you. All my series are now available in boxed sets. That’s one download, a lot of words, three great stories and at a low price. Tell your friends and grab it here.

Jul 28, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on All Series Now Available in Boxed Sets

Tuesday Takeover: Free and Inexpensive Ways to Support Authors by Casey Bond

I was listening to the news one morning and heard the funniest story about J.K. Rowling. I love her Harry Potter series (as does my daughter). Rowling decided to put a chair up for auction, but not just any chair, the chair she sat in to write the first two Potter books. Before the auction took place, it was estimated that the chair would bring in $70,000.00. It brought in $394,000.00. Seriously. The newscaster was baffled. But me? I was all like… #smugface. Because J.K. Rowling is amazing and everyone should know it by now. Not only is her series inspiring people from all ages and walks of life to take up the pen, it’s fun and she’s kind and gracious (all the time).

This post isn’t about opening your wallet to buy a chair. It isn’t about chairs or Rowling at all, but about what the average person (who doesn’t have an extra four hundred grand sitting around) can do to support their favorite authors.

I’m by no means famous, but let me tell you what. My readers are amazing. And this post was inspired by them. So if you want to know how to encourage your favorite writers….read on.

Ideas that cost NOTHING:

  1. Tell them that you enjoyed the book! Message them or post a message on their social media accounts telling them how much you liked it! It’s so encouraging and uplifting.
  2. Tell your friends about their work. Word of mouth is HUGE.
  3. Blast social media. If you read xxxxxx book, post about it without spoilers.
  4. Take a pic of the book on your e-reader and post it on your page.
  5. Tag them when someone asks what you’re reading, if you happen to be reading their work.
  6. Send an e-mail! J
  7. Randomly check in with them to see what they’re writing.
  8. Join their fan groups!
  9. Check their pages for new releases.
  10. Have fun! I haven’t met an author yet who hates getting encouragement, who hates a kind word. We love that you love our stories and characters as much as we do. We love talking to people who get it, who consider the characters we write to be real and important. We LOVE it. We fangirl, too. And believe it or not, we fangirl over fans! Authors love to hear from fans.

Ideas that might cost you a little:

  1. Buy their e-book or paperback,
  2. Send a card,
  3. Show up at a book signing with homemade merch that showcases their work (books drawn on a tote/notebook/shirt, photo book with their book covers included in it, canvas with characters drawn on it, etc!). Authors will sign ANYTHING (within reason) so not only do you get to make cool stuff, you get their signature on it! And it’s cool. So…

I hope you enjoyed the ideas. I’m blessed to have such amazing readers and hope to see you all at an event this year! Thanks to everyone who stopped by my tables at Roanoke Author Invasion and UTOPiA con! If you’re attending Carolina Book Fest or Rebels & Readers, please stop by and see me!


Award-winning author Casey L. Bond lives in Milton, West Virginia with her husband and their two beautiful daughters. When she’s not busy being a domestic goddess and chasing her baby girls, she loves to write young adult and new adult fiction.

You can find more information about Bond’s books via the following links:

Website ~ Newsletter ~ Facebook ~ Twitter & Instagram: @authorcaseybond

Available or Soon-To-Be Released Books:

Winter Shadows

Pariah, Book 1 in The New Covenant Series

Paradox, Book 2, The New Covenant Series

Devil Creek

Shady Bay

Reap, Book 1 in The Harvest Saga

Resist, Book 2 in The Harvest Saga

Reclaim, Book 3 in The Harvest Saga

Sin (Serial Series)

Light in the Darkness (YA Anthology)

Fractured Glass (Novel Anthology)

Crazy Love

Water Witch

Dark Bishop (Serial Series)

Jul 19, 2016 | Posted by in Tuesday Takeover | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: Free and Inexpensive Ways to Support Authors by Casey Bond

Tuesday Takeover: To Genre Hop or to Not Genre Hop, that is the Question by M. A. Phipps

I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. I think that’s the case with most writers—it’s something we feel we were born to do and stories have been rushing through our heads pretty much from the day we entered this world. Throughout my twenty-eight years on this planet, I’ve had more story ideas in my brain that I can even keep track of, all in a variety of different genres. Once again, I’d say that’s probably the case with most fiction writers. Hence why so many of us carry journals wherever we go!

With that said, you can imagine my surprise when I learned that some publishers don’t actually like when authors stray from one particular genre. Granted, I’ve recently heard this is beginning to change, and as a side note, there is nothing wrong with writers who do stick to one particular genre. You’ve found your niche, and that’s great! I just personally think I’d feel stifled sticking with only one genre my entire life.

So, why is it that the publishing industry feels that way? I’ve researched the topic a fair bit, and it seems like the argument for niche writing boil down to two major points:

  1. Branding & marketing: it’s much easier to build a brand (and stick with it) if you aren’t jumping from genre to genre. The branding for a science fiction novel would be completely different than the branding for a contemporary romance. If you tried to market them the same way, one or both would probably flop.
  2. Building an audience: although there are many readers out there who will happily follow their favorite author’s career and read whatever they publish regardless of what it is, most readers have specific genres they prefer. If you capture an audience with a YA dystopian novel and then decide to write a steamy erotica, chances are you will not attract the same audience, and the followers you have gained will not pick up that book. You’d have to start over from scratch and build up from the bottom all over again.

Learning this was particularly jarring for me. My debut series is YA dystopian, and the thought of only ever writing in that one genre makes me break out in hives. Now don’t get me wrong, I love dystopian. I LOVE dystopian (obviously, I wrote a trilogy of it!) but my creativity would be seriously dampened, and realistically, I don’t think I could come up with a lifetime’s worth of original ideas for it. On the other hand, considering how hard it is to build up any sort of following as an indie author, the thought of starting over from scratch or having to create a pen name just to write something different also gives me severe anxiety. So, what is a girl to do?

Well, do not despair fellow writers. For although you may be in for a much harder and longer road, there are also advantages to genre hopping. Not only are you following your creativity and inspiration (and let’s be honest, your best work always comes when you’re most inspired), but you are showing your versatility to not only the world but to yourself. You will learn more, and above all, over time, you will reach out to a wider audience. Now I know that seems to contradict what I said before, but hear me out. The audience for a YA dystopian may not pick up your sexy erotica, but you now have TWO audiences who potentially love your books! They might not all be rushing out to buy both, but you do have double the people who are listening to what you say and who may in turn become fans of your future works. As they say, there is always a silver lining.

Okay, so sure—being a genre hopper will require a bit more time and dedication, but in the long run, it could also be so much more rewarding. Follow your inspiration. Treat each new genre you tackle as a sort of palette cleanser and learn what you can from it. Widen your horizons, and in turn, you just may end up doing the same for your readers.


Author Bio

M. A. PHIPPS is an American author who currently resides in the picturesque English West Country with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.

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Jun 21, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: To Genre Hop or to Not Genre Hop, that is the Question by M. A. Phipps

Tuesday Takeover: Become an Indie Author and Get Rich Quick! By David Estes (Proud to be an Indie!)

The statement above is a lie, I have to admit. I only used it to get your attention. By rich I really mean relatively poor. And by quick I mean in ten to twenty years if you’re lucky, talented and a hard worker. So why am I being so negative? I’m not really, just being realistic and trying to set the many aspiring Indie writers’ expectations appropriately. Why? Because more and more people are telling me that they wrote a book and self-published in hopes of making some quick cash, becoming a bestseller, and quitting their day job. I’m not here to shatter those dreams, but I do want to put things into perspective. I’m also here to shed a little light on the question: Why is it so hard to get people to buy self-published books? And along with that, hopefully give a few tips on what I’ve done to overcome that challenge. Keep in mind, although my success has been moderate as an Indie author, everyone has a different style and what works for me may not work for you. You have to find your own niche.

Did I have big dreams when I first starting writing and publishing? You betcha! I had “bestseller” bouncing around in my head, dreams of being well known across the industry, of finding a publisher with my first novel, of quitting my job and becoming a career author! Well, three years later I’m a fulltime author, but none of the other dreams have yet to come to pass. But I’m not giving up, because I’ve gained a lot of perspective and really had time to think about why I write in the first place. It’s not for the possibility of riches or of a publishing contract or of book signings or fame or glory…no, it’s simply because I love it! I’d encourage anyone else who’s thinking about writing a book, already writing one, or having already published one, to ask yourself the same question. If your answer is anything other than you love writing, maybe you’re on the wrong track.

So you’ve written and published a book, woohoo! Success! Right? My answer is a resounding YES! You should be extremely happy, writing a novel is challenging and doing so should be considered a HUGE victory. Even if you don’t sell a single copy, you should be proud. If I sell 10 of my books and you only sell 5 of yours, does that mean mine’s better? Maybe, but not necessarily. It simply means I’ve had more success overcoming the stigma that Indie novels have. Namely, that they’re poorly edited crap that isn’t worth the $0.99 or $2.99 or whatever you pay for it. On that note, why is getting people to buy self-published novels so difficult? Here are my thoughts and solutions.

1. Problem: Editing! Everyone finds typos in novels, even big published ones. Some people roll their eyes, some people laugh and joke, others barely notice or ignore it and move on. But most published novels have few, less than a handful in a 300-400 page book. Indie novels, on the other hand, yikes! I’ve read a few that have had in the 50-100 range, sometimes more! That can be excruciatingly painful for a reader. So anytime someone picks up a self-published book somehow, somewhere, begins reading it, and finds tons of typos, there’s a good chance it’ll hurt every Indie author. Because that person’s going to say “Hmm, self-published books are poorly edited. I don’t know if I’ll read anymore.” We all suffer even though you had nothing to do with that book!

Solution: Firstly, edit edit edit…and then edit some more. Have friends read your books and give prizes for finding the most typos. Have friends of friends read them. Hire a professional copyeditor if you can afford it. Read it ten times yourself. Find every last bugger. Do us all a favor and help erase the stigma. Because when someone reads a typo-free self-published novel, they’ll say, “Wow, this had less typos than that big bestselling published book I just read!” And they’ll realize, there’s more out there than just books from the big publishing houses, so much more.

Am I just talking about typos here? Although that’s a huge part, no! There’s so much more to editing. Cleaning up dialogue, reading it out loud, thinking “would someone really say that?” Killing excessive use of adverbs, sentence structure, pacing, the list goes on and on. Edit your book to death until no one can tell it’s a self-published novel. When people start reading your book, they’ll respect you, they’ll appreciate your effort, and they’ll be much more likely to tell other people about it as well as buy your next one.

Secondly, giveaway free copies of your book! I know, I know, you’ve worked so hard and you deserve to be compensated. You just have to bite the bullet on this one. The only way to ensure people will read your book and appreciate all your hard work and your talent and the painstaking time you took to edit your novel, is to force them to read it. And if you offer it for free, it will greatly increase your chances that they will. If you giveaway ebooks it won’t cost you a thing. Maybe they’ll write you a stellar review, maybe they’ll tell a friend, maybe they’ll buy the next one. Every book you giveaway has the potential to result in real sales later on.

2. Problem: The plots of Indie novels don’t make sense! This can definitely be true sometimes. Hell, my first drafts usually have all kinds of problems! Unfortunately, many times the bugs don’t get worked out, because, well, us Indies don’t have a team of eagle-eyed editors to point out the flaws in our stories. But that’s no excuse, because it’s killing our ability to be taken seriously in the industry.

Solution: Use beta readers. Not just anyone, good ones! People you don’t know, or don’t know well. Honest people. People who would rather make you cry than let you publish something that’s not as good as it can be. People who care about your books being awesome. You can have family and friends beta read for you, but they can’t be your only beta readers, because it’s much less likely they’ll be completely honest with you. I recommend having at least ten people, but even five can make a huge difference if they’re very critical and brutally honest. I say ten because I’ve had an instance when my first nine betas had already checked in, I’d rewritten and addressed their comments, and I was just waiting on that tenth reader as a formality. To check the box and say “Yep, I got all your comments covered because the other nine said the same thing!” Guess what? That tenth person saw something that the other nine didn’t see. Something big. Something HUGE. Something that improved the story and set the plot on a path that I never would have planned, that made the series a million, zillion times better! Everyone sees different things, so take every opinion seriously.

3. Problem: There are too many Indies out there! How do I stand out? With the creation of ereaders and ebooks, self-publishing has never been easier. In less than an hour, I could create a book that contains just my name spelled backwards and forwards over and over again, publish it in print and ebook, and make it available worldwide. I swear half the people I see joining the YA book groups I’m a member of on Goodreads are new or aspiring Indie authors. I think it’s fantastic! But at the same time, it makes it hard to get noticed. This is a real problem for serious Indies looking to make a career out of writing.

Solution: Don’t be just another Indie author hawking their wares on the street. If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that NO ONE is impressed by Indie authors spamming message boards with rubbish about their books. Become a valuable part of the book community as a READER, not a writer. Show people you care about books, writing yeah, reading more, but NOT SELLING. People will notice and they will respect you, and they might give your books a shot. But if not, who cares? You might make a new lifelong friend in the process.

Don’t compare your books to other bestsellers! Your book might be a cross between The Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings, but don’t say that, please! It’s arrogant and annoying and the few people that fall for it and read your book will hate you for it if they disagree with your bold statement. Just be you! Unique.

The advice from the first point stands here too. If you write well-edited books and giveaway lots of free copies, you’ll start to get noticed, even amongst the crowds.

Be patient! Those who are trying to make quick money will realize how hard and competitive the publishing industry really is and they’ll give up, but if you’re serious and you keep working at it, publishing more and more books, growing your readership slowly over time, you’ll outlast the others. I’m not talking days or months here, I’m talking years. You have to be in it for the long run, looking at success ten years down the road. Every step you take today is a step in the right direction.

4. Problem: Indies can’t handle bad reviews! This is an important and often overlooked stigma. Even I worry about reading Indie novels given to me by the authors, because what if I don’t like it? Can I give my honest feedback? Will I hurt their feelings? Will they get pissed off and write me nasty messages? Sometimes it’s easier just to read the bestsellers because the authors don’t give a crap whether I like their book—there are a million other people who do!

Solution: Don’t react or respond to reviews in a negative fashion whatsoever. Many Indies have gotten themselves into a lot of hot water that way, and once you get a reputation for “reviewer bashing” you’ll never recover. If a review is mean or you think it’s unfair, write it off as bad luck that the wrong person got ahold of your book. Never lash out. If you get a review that’s well-written, balanced, and constructive, read that review ten times over, learn from it, improve from it. Your readers will appreciate that more than you throwing a tantrum.

Wow, I fear I’ve run off the virtual page. If you’ve made it this far, I hope you found my thoughts on the challenges of being a self-published author, and some of my proposed solutions, helpful or at least interesting. I wish you all the best in your writing and publishing endeavors, and remember, never give up!

Happy Reading (and Writing)!

David Estes

David Estes

David Estes is the author of more than 20 science fiction and fantasy novels that have received hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide, including The Moon Dwellers, Fire Country, Slip, Brew, and his new SciFi Pinocchio retelling, Strings. He lives in Hawaii with his inspiring Aussie wife, Adele, rambunctious son, Beau, and naughty cat, Bailey. When he’s not writing, you’ll likely find him at the beach swimming, snorkeling, or reading under an umbrella. You can get FOUR FREE books by signing up for his mailing list on his website: http://davidestesbooks.blogspot.com

Apr 12, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: Become an Indie Author and Get Rich Quick! By David Estes (Proud to be an Indie!)

Tuesday Takeover: You’re Afraid of What? by Casey Hays

Hays blog photo

Have you ever taken a good look at the list of phobias? It’s extensive to say the least. You can find a phobia for just about anything if you search hard enough. We’re all familiar with the most common ones. Claustrophobia, the fear of tight spaces. Arachnaphobia, the fear of spiders. Or how about this one: arachibutyrophobia, the fear of peanut butter. Imagine that!

If I had a phobia, and I’m neither admitting nor denying it, but if I did, I would have to concede to this one: enosiophobia – the fear of criticism.

Okay… I admit it. I cringe just a little, teeny, tiny bit under the weight of that big word.

I am anal enough to also admit that I did google the different types of criticisms. Guess what? The list is just about as long as the phobias’ list.

Reasonably speaking, I know that all criticism isn’t negative. There is the constructive type, and when given in kindness and taken pragmatically, it’s great. And yet, even with this fact planted firmly in my brain, my heart thumps one beat too fast when a critique, good or bad, is directed toward me.

My initial reaction, many times, is to become defensive. Not necessarily externally . . . but inside. And then, I begin to reason with myself before approaching the “antagonizer.” I’m a great debater, you see. I’ll reason myself all the way around a critique or into a corner, whichever comes first, hoping to convince the critic to go easier on me.

But never did this fear of criticism strike me more strongly than when I became a writer.

Is there a fear of edits? Revisophobia, perhaps?

Now, I know my editors are on my side. Like me, they want my story to be the best it can possibly be, and this is the only reason for the harsh “appraisal.” Everything in me knows it. I know it when I’m asked to cut my favorite scene because “it doesn’t really add anything to the plot.” I get it when I’m told “it might be wise to write two extra chapters for consistency’s sake,” thus pushing our deadline back a week or more. When I’m gently prompted to use a different word even though I love the one staring back at me from the page, I still know it. And I still tremble and pout and really, really want to say, “What? Now you don’t like my word choices either?”

I can’t be the only author who suffers from this sickness, haha! Just kidding. Really, I’m not phobic. I’m just an author; I exaggerate for creative ambience. *wink, wink* But seriously, I think all of us can agree that when we write, every single word drips onto the paper straight from our hearts. And when we surface brandishing that beautifully woven tale tightly clenched in our fists and prepare to pass it under the scrutinizing eye of inquiring minds for the very first time, it’s a scary feeling. Gut-wrenching, even. In fact, I don’t believe I’ll ever get used to that lightning streak of unease that crackles through me and encourages a sudden dose of Xanax.

It takes me a good couple of days to work up the nerve to open up an email from my editor when I know it contains a myriad of critiques and cuts and suggestions. My hands get sweaty, my heart races, and I have no doubt, at least in that one single moment that I must indeed suffer from enosiophobia. The same thing happens when I notice a new review for one of my books. The moment of truth . . . and my anxiety level soars.

Because I don’t suffer, however, from scriptophobia (the fear of writing), I continue to subject myself to the scrutiny of editors and reviewers alike.

But if I’m being honest, there’s a bigger part of me that actually loves the fear. I’m pretty sure this oddity in me comes from the same place that makes me keep watching horror flicks despite the fact that I’m jumpy for days afterwards. It’s the terrifying thrill that I must have. Fear lingering over the shoulder of the writer in me eventually gives me the adrenaline rush I need to finally open that blinking message from my editor. It’s what drives me to work harder, to write better, to make those editors continue to say, “Wow, you’ve really come a long way since we first met.”

I like to think that with every book I write . . . handling the criticism becomes easier. To a degree, this statement is true fact. And I’m convinced that one day, taking criticism will be easier than swallowing swords.

Uh, yeah. Note my slight hint of sarcasm.



Casey Hays lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. She is a former high school English teacher turned author. She loves Young Adult Fiction as well as supernatural, fantasy sci-fi, and dystopian–all with a twist of romance. She is the author of four works: “The Cadence” a YA supernatural romance, and Arrow’s Flight, a YA Christian dystopian sci-fi series: Breeder, The Archer, and Master, which released on January 15, 2016. Her short story “Edge of a Promise” is featured in the collaborative anthology PREP FOR DOOM, published June 18, 2015. Currently, she is working on a series of novellas for Arrow’s Flight, as well as a YA supernatural romance based on the legend of the Phoenix.  http://www.whisperingpages.com/



Twitter handler: @CaseyHays7

Mar 22, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: You’re Afraid of What? by Casey Hays

Tuesday Takeover: A Time To Every Season by Caroline Gill

writer's block cat

As a writer, I want to tell the very best story I can. A new story, a journey into the unknown not

yet taken a thousand other times. For me, the crux of each novel begins with a dream. No,

really. Not a dream of what I will do or where I will travel, that’s not what I mean. Each of my

novels begins with a big, plump pillow and a warm, insanely soft blanket. Cats are probably

artists and writers too, it occurs to me.

Ode to Nap time, that’s what I mean. Nap time, the event in a day children resist more than any

other. The same event most adults long for in the middle of a crazed and hectic schedule. There

are numerous studies (scientifically recorded and all) about the restorative properties of an

afternoon siesta. Between 20 minutes and an hour, not longer and that’s all I need for inspiration to strike.

I put in my bright orange silicone earplugs, drink a cup of hot cocoa or tea, close my eyelids and

put the problem in front of my mind: What happens next? I ask a thousands layers of myself,

sleeping, dreaming, subconscious. Replaying the current scene in my head, I get up to the crux

point and fall asleep. And into that dream I wander, sorting through a hundred choices each

character might make, sifting each like sand through my fingers, until I find the right one.

It is right I can tell because it fits perfectly with what has gone before and opens new horizons

with its invention. That’s when I know where the story goes or sometimes how it will get to the

next point in the plot.

Unexpected, revelatory, restorative nap time: an author’s best friend.

And chocolate.

Caroline A. Gill went to school at UCLA and NIU. She married the love of her life. Facing the world with children made her aware of how vulnerable they are. Weaving tales of courage, she tries to find hope. Living near the great California Redwoods, she finds a sense of the finite and infinite touching. The creative world is like that, especially when authors feel inspired.  She’s the author of Flying Away, a YA dystopian, supernatural paranormal fantasy. www.authorcarolineagill.com

Caroline Gill

Feb 16, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tuesday Takeover: A Time To Every Season by Caroline Gill

Suspended Book Trailer

I heard a great quote today. “Readers love visuals.” At first, I was like, “readers love words.” But then I realized that they also love book covers, teasers, and other graphics that get them excited about a book. So book trailers have become more popular. And I’m excited to share the book trailer that I think highlights my best book yet. And it’s my best book trailer to date, probably due to the awesome music of Roman Scott. Check out the trailer and his music. Neither will disappoint.

Grab the new release here.

Jan 21, 2016 | Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Suspended Book Trailer