There’s always room for unique, well-written self-published books. There’s no end to the different takes on new and old tropes, so as long as you identify your voice early on and stay on message, you can carve out a following for yourself.
Amazon best-selling author Jessica Hawkins writes to ‘move others’ in a way that is both provocative and inspiring. Having recently published her thirteenth book she talks to us about guarding against ‘hermit’ mode, outsourcing for effectiveness and staying in touch with your writing goals.
The percentage of authors that explode in the market right out of the gate is very low. We all secretly hold onto hope that we’ll be an overnight success, and while it’s okay to keep that little dream nugget close to your chest, it’s best to have a solid plan built for readership reach as well.
Award winning author E.J Mellow on how a high school fairytales class inspired her to start writing, recommendations for securing an agent and the importance of reviews in increasing readership.
‘I find myself incredibly inspired after finishing a good book. There's a spark that comes with wanting to become a better, funnier writer.’
Best-selling author R.S. Grey on staying inspired, building author name recognition and coping with writer’s isolation.
In this saturated, competitive landscape, every single thing you can do better than somebody else, gives you an edge. Writing well simply isn’t enough.
Los Angeles-based science fiction author A. C. Hachem on his transition from poetry to speculative fiction, confidence in marketing your work and how he continues to be motivated by badly written genre fiction.
I’ve read books that have spoken to my heart and when I’ve finished them I’ve hugged them close to my chest and thought, ‘that’s what I want to do. I want to write like that’.
New Zealand romance author Rowena May O’Sullivan remembers first wanting to become an author after falling in love with the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. Later, writing competitions become her encouragement as she started small and learnt along the way. She fills us in on the value of connecting with writers’ groups and believing in yourself.
I wanted to be a storyteller. I grew-up creating characters and stories and then acting them out with the neighborhood kids. Soon I became an adult but the characters wouldn’t leave me alone.
Andrea R. Cooper has always enjoyed inventing characters and stories, but it wasn’t until her late twenties that she began writing novels. Her author tag-line reads ‘for those who believe in magic and love’ and her own life story echoes this sentiment. Divorced and disillusioned by love stories she put aside writing and creativity for a time until she met a new real life hero, her now husband, who supported her writing and led to her to believe in love and imagination once more.
I realized it doesn’t matter how brilliant a book I write, it doesn’t matter if I wrote a Pulitzer winner, someone will hate it. In fact, lots of someones will hate it. I had to learn to let go of some of my need for affirmation, put my head down and do my work.
After receiving her first bad review fantasy author Devri Walls did something unusual. She pulled up every one-star review she could find on Harry Potter and read them all. It was a turning point. She came to the realization that not everyone is going to like your book and that’s no reason to quit.
Write about your experiences. Write about your dreams. Write about unforgettable moments. Embed a piece of yourself in your story to make it authentic. Make it real. Channel your emotions into writing to create something that is completely and utterly you.
Canadian teen fiction author Christine Rees on how music has inspired her writing journey, networking and utilizing the book marketing resources you have on hand and the need to be completely authentic in your work.
There is always a way. If one publishing path doesn’t work out, brainstorm and strategize other options, revise your work, and try again. The word no is subjective. Someone will eventually tell you yes.
With her third YA novel just days away from launch we chat to Nashville-based Caroline George about life as inspiration, how an extrovert handles the isolation of writing and her top two secrets for book marketing success.
I have always loved horror movies, especially anything with monsters. And even today when I sit down and plot a novel, I can’t help but add dark elements and monsters in my stories.
We chat horror and mythology with Australian-based, Romanian-born fantasy author T.F. Walsh.
Do your research. Know what the press publishes, what they’re looking for, who their editors are, what their contracts are like, and their history. It’s a tough market right now, tougher than it’s ever been, and if you want a publisher, be sure it is one standing on solid ground.
Speculative fiction author Christine Rains has a wide variety of interests and four degrees to prove it. She’s a woman who wears many hats, as a writer, blogger and geek mum. She’s published in a wide range of genres but always finds herself drawn to the supernatural. We catch up with her to talk what-if questions and book marketing techniques that work.
It had come out that the publisher was underpaying and sometimes not paying its authors. No one had received any word from the publisher’s owner in several months. The co-owner disappeared. Less than six weeks after my first published story, the publisher’s website had been removed. The story was taken down. I would neither know how many copies I sold nor receive any payments for those copies
Speculative fiction author Cherie Reich shares the harrowing story of her first publishing experience. An event, while crippling, ultimately strengthened her resolve to continue writing and become a published author.
Even if you’re lucky enough to be published by a large imprint, you’ll have to do some self-promoting. Gone are the days of being able to hide and only pop out when you have a new book. You have to keep people constantly aware of your existence.
Multi-genre author and screenwriter M Pepper Langlinais always loved making up stories as a child. Now with a long list of varied writing projects, she chats to us about her beginnings as a scriptwriter, trial and error book marketing and the dangers of writing advice overload.
It’s not always physical or social isolation that affects writers, it’s the isolation of being misunderstood... Sometimes the non-writers among us might not “get” what it is we do, or they don’t understand that staring at the wall and daydreaming is a legitimate part of the creative process.
Young Adult author Rachel Rust, creator of the Escape series, begun her love affair with writing while penning her first short story in first grade. We chat to her about approaching publishers with bravado, the value of beta readers in strengthening a plot and writing as a family affair.
Just write. Even if you think it’s going nowhere. Even if you think it stinks. Even if you’re convinced that no one in their right mind would ever, ever want to read it. Because you certainly can’t prove yourself wrong unless you try.
Georgia-based Young Adult author Lindsey Ouimet on drawing inspiration from great stories, the power of perseverance and finding the perfect publisher.
No one has lived your life and sees the world the way you do and that’s what you have to express to publishers. Highlight whatever makes you unique. Write the story only you can tell. Different is good. Weird is better.
Megan Gaudino, author of the Guardian Kiss series, describes herself as a mixture of black clothing, iced coffee and a desire to go adventuring, the sort of combination that naturally forms a writer. She talks about getting her start on Wattpad, bleeding onto the page and reading as much as you write.
Be professional and be courageous. It’s hard to put yourself out there to be judged and possibly rejected but if you don’t try, you’ll never know what might have been.
San-Francisco based, YA romance author Kathryn Berla on starting with an idea and seeing where it takes you, setting daily writing goals and being brave with your work.
Writing is my release. When life gets tough, it lifts me. When life is good, it enhances my happiness. It allows me to explore worlds I could never touch with my hands; to comb through thoughts I could never vocalize.
New York based author and poet Sophia Elaine Hanson on approaching publishers, building a loyal reader following and continually evolving as an author.
Many new authors try to do too much. If you aren’t interested in doing pre-order incentives, don’t. If you don’t have time to read and review someone else’s book, don’t. Manage your time wisely.
Northern Utah based YA fantasy author Emily R King on time management for aspiring authors, starting a blog to form connections and getting to know the literary industry.
You can't please everyone. Everyone has different tastes; that's what makes the world an interesting place.
Alice Rachel, author of the Under Ground series, is a native French writer now based in the United States. She discusses the value of writing for yourself first, how imperfect characters bring a story to life and the need to be authentic.
The writer’s life is one of constant adventure. There will always be a need for great stories, so finish writing yours!
‘After the publication of my debut novel, The Truth About Awiti, I had nightmares that the wrong file was uploaded. I also had nightmares that readers would receive books with blank pages. I can laugh about it now but it was terrifying at the time.’ - Author CP Patrick on nailing your elevator pitch, nightmares post-publication and the difficulty of finding your audience.
It wasn’t until my early twenties that I stopped saying “I can’t” and started doing it. I have been writing with fervent passion ever since. Sometimes we are the biggest thing holding ourselves back.
As a child, Jennifer Wilson loved stories but struggled with reading. She was a painfully slow reader and had issues with dyslexia. It wasn't until in her mid-teens, when a persistent friend convinced her to read the Harry Potter series, that Jennifer found her love for the written word. She is now the author of the New World series, a dystopian YA tale, with the third novel due for release later this year.
I’m inspired by a love of words and how descriptive they can be. I’m one of those who highlights beautiful sentences in books or rewinds an audiobook to hear just how melodic a certain set of words sounds.
As an unabashed lover of all things happily-ever-after, Shaila Patel's younger self would finish reading her copy of Cinderella and fling it across the room because it didn't mention what happened next. We were thrilled to sit down with her and talk about treating your writing like a business, the benefits of networking with other authors and adjusting to setbacks.
My history is no longer mine to keep; it's a story that needs to be told.
Hoàng Chi Truong is the author of TigerFish, an autobiography of growing up in a war-torn Vietnam and coming of age in America as a refugee. She shares her tale to advocate and raise awareness to the issues of refugees in America.
If you want to do it, just do it. As with anything in life, the only way you’ll ever accomplish something is if you pave the road for yourself.
Utah author J. Kowallis, creator of The Enertia Trials series, on channelling Shia LaBeouf’s ‘just do it’ tirade, formulating endings as she writes and viewing criticism as an inherent part of self-improvement.
You don’t need a degree or workshops to write. I’m sure they help most people figure out the craft of writing but it won’t make you a better writer. Only you can do that with practice.
Ohio-based Justin Chasteen is the author of several published short stories and yet to be edited novels. He holds a bachelor degree in Creative Writing yet argues the best way for an author to improve their craft is to write. He talks to us about building character before plot, the benefits of writing short stories and eliminating procrastination with a daily word count.
It wasn’t until My Lea did I finally look at my writing as something more. It’s not just a hobby. It is me. Writing is who I am.
Indonesia author E.Mellyberry entered her first writing competition at the age of ten. Yet it wasn’t until years later than she began to publish and recognize herself as an author. She told us about embracing the isolation of writing, connection through social media and bringing your own voice to your work.
‘Don’t let fear hold you back. I was petrified I would never be worthy. I would never write anything worth reading. Now I know none of that matters.’
Western Australian author Nadia L King on overcoming self-doubt, the importance of patience in the editing process and carving out time for writing.
‘You need to be authentic and honest. Teens can sense when you are being real and you owe it to your audience to be real.’
YA author Krysten Lindsay Hager, creator of Landry's True Colors Series and The Star Series, on being authentic, doing your research on the publishing industry and her upcoming book Dating the It Guy.
‘Never give up. Even when life gets in the way and every writing door seems to be slamming, never stop writing.’
Advice from genre-hopping, multi-talented author Diana Anderson-Tyler, who fills us in on her life-long passion for writing, parting ways with her first literary agent and how she seeks to find a balance between creativity and consumption.