Blog, Writer's Blog

If I Could Start Over as an Author…

I would have a better plan. I often interact with new writers who are anxious to be authors, and I regularly say the same things. Build your author brand, your author platform, a collection or series of books to release, and a marketing plan… because I wish I had. What I’ve experienced since my first publication back in 2016, through my twelve publications and two collections, has taught me the importance of those things. I want to briefly go over these for any writers looking to be authors.

Now, I can’t speak to traditional publishing specifics since I’m indie through and through. But I’ve worked with a lot of writers and authors that are, so I know these things are still important. If you go traditional, you’re still going to want to know the author business and what it takes to get the attention of readers. Even if you get early subscribers and end up going traditional and scratching a few of these plans, you’ll still have a selection of people ready and eager to read and review your published works.

Author Brand

This is the basic concept of your author business. What genre(s) do you want to write? What mood do you want to represent? What colors and themes and images do you want to be associated with your name or pen name? Do you want a pen name?

Your Author Brand is the recognizable collection of your work defined by your cover designs, your website graphics, the language you use when speaking to your readers and narrating your work. But it’s more than this.

You need to know why you write and how you plan to determine your success as an author. Do you want to inspire people, make money, be famous, or just publish stories that mean something to you? Knowing these things will help you decide if you need to write for mass market (money and fame) or if you can write niche works and have more freedom in your content. If you want money and fame, you’ll especially need to understand the genre tropes and expectations and how to effectively implement them in your work.

You’ll want to think about your target readership and what they’ll be interested in. Research websites of authors in your preferred genres and look at how the design their pages, what content they’re including, and which other media platforms they’re on. Take a look at those other platforms to get a feel for how their author brand shows up. This is a critical component of your author brand: being recognizable. You’ll want to replicate, as best you can, your author brand (fonts and their colors, portrait, images, etc) across those accounts so readers will immediately know if they’re where they want to be.

It’s important that you use the same author portrait for your professional author accounts. By this I mean your publishing platforms, inside book covers, any posters or media representing book signings or speaking gigs, and your main social media accounts that engage mass amounts of readers. You want them to know your face.

As many publishers don’t permit avatars as author photos, you’ll have to put your best picture up for the world to see. And you’ll want it everywhere. Don’t worry, you’re not posing for Vogue. You’re a writer. Readers know that. So don’t worry about what you look like. Just be presentable and avoid hugging your dog or significant other or mother in the photo. They didn’t write the book. You did. Be proud of that, and let yourself shine for that tiny moment.

Author Platform

This is a pretty hefty part of being successful in any way as an author. If you have no platform, there’s no real solid way for anyone to discover your books. So what is a platform? It is the collection of locations that readers can interact with you and find out more about your writing and publications. This is where you’ll put to use your author branding.

Your biggest, most important first step is to build a website. Build always sounds like such a hefty word, but really this is very easy. There are tons of websites that let you set up an account for free. Fill out the About section and make sure you give people that visit a way to contact you. Start a blog related to your books or your writing. If you’re not ready for that, then you can always write about other books you enjoy, ones you hope to write similar content to. Do book reviews. Study the science or theories of something you’re interested in that has influenced your work. Build mood and inspiration boards with pictures you find online (either royalty free like with Canva or provide credit of course).

Next will be to set up a professional email account. There are several sites online you can use to do this. I use MailChimp because it’s free for one email list and up to 2,000 subscribers. I’ve broken mine into two sub lists for my Science Fiction Fantasy Fleet and my Sweet and Spicy Romance. I hope to expand in the next year and need to purchase the next step up to include my self-help books, dark romance, and my YA fantasy.

My recommendation: always start out with free services. A lot of authors I know give up after their first book or three because they can’t drum up enough interest or snag enough sales to justify their business. So I suggest you start out free and be very hesitant to purchase anything until you know for sure if your business is going to take off.

I had no help or anyone to talk to and spent thousands on edits and courses on edits and marketing… and books on writing and publishing. This is all money I’m still trying to earn back. I don’t want you to have to go through that, especially with the world’s economy struggling through this pandemic. When you get to the point that you need to upgrade (i.e.: you’ve got too many subscribers, you want to integrate something on your website that requires a different package, or you’re making so many sales you need professional bookkeeping) then do it. But not until you need it.

Integrate your email with your website if you can. If you can’t because it costs money, then put links on your website that connect to subscriber landing pages you’ve set up in your email account. That way, if someone wants to make sure they hear about your newest release or the upcoming Advanced Review Copies before publication, they can sign up to be on your email list.

This is a critical part of your author platform. Email subscribers are by far the most likely to purchase or download (free early copies – I’ll get to this in a minute) your book and post reviews on your platforms. Social media doesn’t do nearly as much for you as consistently as those people who have specifically subscribed to your content. Friending or following someone isn’t the same as saying, “I like this book I spent hours reading, or I want to spend another 8 hours buried in your stories.” But social media can be good for other things.

Social media as a component of your author platform is a great bonus. I’ve often found other writers and writing groups to talk with and exchange ideas. You can run ads on most platforms for your books. And if you research how to do it well, you can make a lot of sales that way (but only via ads. Most regular posts don’t get you any decent interaction). Social media expects high numbers of followers to give you any attention. And everyone is on social media for themselves, not to research quality content. It’s like flash fiction… a momentary story people forget about seconds later when the video of the cat falling in the bathtub scrolls into view.

What I suggest is that you have a presence and link your website and or publishing platform to your account so people can find your content if they only really use that one account. I am on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LibraryThing, LinkedIn, BookBub, and Goodreads. I think that’s all of them. But I really only use the first two and the last two. Twitter and Facebook have great writing communities, and we often support each others’ publications. BookBub is huge for running ads and connecting with readers. Goodreads is a wonderful review platform that gets far more interaction than BookBub for me. But they each have their perks when it comes to finding new readers and bringing them to your profile page.

You’ll want to consider also being on Reader Magnet or Advanced Review Copy sites like Prolific Works, Story Origin, and BookFunnel. There you can give away an early polished copy of your work so readers can have reviews ready to publish the day your book goes live on your publishing platform of choice. Of those sites, Story Origin is currently still free as of the time of this post. Prolific Works is unless you want to integrate your email list (for $20/month) so subscribers can auto-opt in without having to click a link in your book (though that is an alternative). And BookFunnel, last I checked, is $20 a year for new authors and has 500 downloads max and 5 books with no email integration. You can integrate your subscription system for $100/year. BookFunnel has more package options as well. Again, I would start with the free options and upgrade as necessary.

One of the biggest perks of these RM/ARC sites is the ability to join group promotions where all the people will share the link to the page displaying your ARC copy and everyone else’s. Of course, you’ll have to share this promotion page with your email followers, or at least your social media accounts if you’re just starting. There are ways for the group promo coordinators to check and see if you’ve driven any clicks to the page (via a special tracking link). So you’ll want to make sure you use the right link when sharing.

But the benefit is if you have, say, 50 people in the group promo, that’s (hopefully) 50 people promoting it. If they all have email lists of maybe 1,000, that’s 5,000 people that will receive an email about the promo. That said, most often, there’s about a 30-40% email open rate and a 10-20% click rate. So it’s more likely that 500 or so people will actually visit the page and download free books… but that also means they’re (usually) signing up for the email lists of those authors to get the books. Some will undoubtedly unsubscribe because they don’t want more emails. Others will become unresponsive, and you’ll have to clean them out of your email subscriber list due to inactivity. (And you’ll want to do this to make sure your prime readers who actually pay attention get the good stuff and you don’t unnecessarily go over your subscriber limit with your email provider.) At the end of this though, you’ll have gained subscribers you can send further early copies to, tell them about publications, and remind them when and where they can leave reviews.

Reviews are crucial to convincing people on publishing platforms like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, etc. that they should buy your book. This brings me to the next point. You’re going to want to know where you want to publish before you do. Research each location and the rules or requirements for publishing works with them. Amazon has KDP Select which is fantastic because you can earn sales on your books at 35-70% royalty rates and when people read pages from your books through the Kindle Unlimited subscription program they sign up for. The catch is that you cannot publish those books anywhere else, not even as a trilogy, series, collection, or omnibus. You’re in KDP Select for 90 days. Those are the kind of rules you’ll want to know about before you decide where to publish. There are also aggregate publishers that can help you distribute your books to multiple publishing platforms for free, such as Draft2Digital and Smashwords.

I won’t go into detail regarding types of publishers here, only the basics. Independent publishers like Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble (to name a few) have a website you can go to and upload your book and your cover. You will be in charge of handling pricing, marketing, and the book sales content like blurbs and editorial reviews. An aggregate publisher has one site that you upload your content to who distributes the book to many online stores. Vanity or Independent presses make authors pay them to do the work of uploading and formatting content, but marketing is still up to the author. Traditional publishers are hardest to get on with due to the querying process. Authors can either submit book queries to them or an agent can do so on their behalf. If authors have work accepted, they will go through edits with that publishing house and often receive a sum of money that is part of anticipated sales upon publication, though each individual situation varies.

Collection or Series of Books

My biggest mistake was being trigger happy when it came to my first book. I’d worked for 5 years on it and was finally ready to just throw it into the universe. So I did. Then I had nothing else to give my subscribers. My sales fell on their face. It wasn’t until I’d published my third book in that first series that I started to see sales pick back up. Now I have another series started and one almost complete. I’m writing the fourth series at the end of this month. But it took me a long time to realize one simple thing that would’ve changed the last four years: write the series first. Not one book. Not two. Three or more. Have them ready when you publish the first. Rapid publishing is far more enjoyable to readers. Many don’t like waiting for the next book to come out (unless it’s super famous like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, or Red Rising) in which case a year or two between books is tolerable. But for most of us, we’re forgettable… another book in a sea of paper and ink and e-readers online.

Writing three books might seem like a huge task. So start with short stories or take a novel and break it up into three or four parts and make them begin and end like short stories. This will give your readers a gradual taste of your writing, providing them a spread of content to engage with while you write the next book or books. Starting small and easy like this will take your stress level down and help you learn to write succinctly and be very engaging with your narration, dialogue, and descriptions in a limited space. Some of the common pitfalls of first time writers include: backstory and dialogue dumping, too much daily life, and not being precise in their language. Their narration will take on copious description that could be condensed into language that paints a more vivid image or implied sensation in fewer words. They need to be concise. See what I did there? Super long versus the ultimate point. Short stories are just a great way to engage with potential subscribers more than once.

If short stories aren’t your thing, I still recommend at least three books you write, edit, and prep for publication before you release the first. They don’t have to be in a series or collection, though that will serve you best. Having three books in the same genre or related subgenres to offer your subscribers will keep them hooked and less likely to unsubscribe or just forget about you altogether.

I started with one scifi, one children’s, and one romance, because those were the genres I wanted to write. I had email lists started for those, but they quickly faded to almost nothing because I could not offer any more content to them. It wasn’t ready. I had to basically start over. And that is immensely frustrating. All of that work to build up for the first release was essentially lost until I published the third book in that first series.

I now do my best to have free ARCs available throughout the year to my subscribers. I try to publish three to four times a year in my two lead genres. Sometimes, I can’t make it. When that happens, I search out other free books, reader magnets set up by other authors in my ARC platforms, and I share those with my readers, so they always have free content that I know they’ll enjoy. It’s important to keep them happy and interacting with your content, even if it’s a recommendation for someone else’s work that’s related to yours. It shows you value them and want to ensure they’re happy. If you let your email list(s) die down, you’ll have to do what I did and start over.

Marketing Plan

Marketing is the only way you’re going to get anyone to notice your book. Most often, people start by sharing on social media and running maybe an ad or two for launch without much luck. Then they give up and move on, or they buy more ads with no real design to their strategy.

Your first marketing is done usually on social media or with your email list if you have one from maybe a blog you started early on in your writing career to drum up reader interest. You’ll share teasers like book cover reveals, blurbs, and expected release dates. What’s worked best for me are quotes from the book on a small graphic with the book cover and some indicator of when or where it’ll be published. Another good one is to use any quotes you can from early reviews. Try to pick ones with powerful words or relevant terms to the genre. Say you write thrillers and someone reviews it with “I love this book.” That’s not really going to send the same message as “Intense, jarring action. Slept with the lights on.”

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Next, you’d be best served to set up Advanced Review Copies of your book to get subscribers on your lists and readers who will have potential reviews to post on publication day.

At this time, or possibly earlier if you’re confident on your publishing date, you’ll want to set up a preorder to start gaining purchases that will process on publication day (at least on Amazon). It’ll help create a professional presence online that proves to readers that you mean business.

A trick I’ve learned with Amazon publishing, is to publish the paperback first so that readers can leave reviews that will show up on the day the ebook publishes. To ensure they do this, send out an email to those subscribers in your list that you gave ARCs to and let them know where they can leave reviews. (Preorders only work for ebooks, at least on Amazon’s site.)

So say you’ll have 50 preorders process on the day of publication and you get twenty reviewers to post feedback that day. That will give your book a huge advantage on the top-selling book charts Day 1. This will help Amazon’s algorithms show potential readers (who read in your genre) your book via the recommendations list or customer also-boughts. Having those twenty reviews up there will boost the likelihood of those potential readers clicking the purchase button.

If you want to give your book that extra kick, plan to run a few outside ads (not through the publishing platform) that first week. I usually run three ads spread through that first week if I can afford it. A few sites I like to use are Written Word Media, Just Kindle Books, and Fussy Librarian… because they don’t have review requirements, and I don’t always hit my expected review count or rating the day of publication. I then try to run one ad a week after for the first month, then one a month for each month after to keep drawing interest. But I do highly suggest varying which sites you use and which days you advertise on so you don’t end up showing your ad to the same people that always look for books on, say, Friday at a particular site.

If you can leverage ads on the publishing platform of your choice, do so. Anyone who is actively searching for something to read is going to be more likely to purchase what they find. The fewer steps they have to take to get their content, the better. There are plenty of low cost ways to advertise your book. You just have to research the right advertising sites for your budget.

But if you’re super broke and have zip for funds, you can search for readers in your genre who have reviewed books and contact them directly to inquire if they’d be interested. You can also contact bloggers who focus on your genres and ask if you can do a guest post. I recommend that before you contact anyone that you avoid spammy chatter like “here’s my new book, you want to read this.” Research them and their site. You can do this early on, before you publish, or after. Find out what they like, and see what you can offer them as a post with a mention of your recent book at the very end.

If your book will be free, you can check out AskDavid. It’s a free site that advertises free books in a few locations. I usually get 20-30 downloads that way. So if you just can’t manage anything else, check out this site.

Whatever you do, don’t self-promote where it isn’t warranted. Random people do not want a direct message (DM/PM) from you telling them where to buy your book, especially not immediately after you’ve friended them. You’ll get blocked and irritate people. Reply bots are only good if you’re being helpful or kind. Jamming buy-links down their throats will get you to lose their respect. It’s not a useful way to spend your precious marketing time.

Always make your work and your interaction about others. If you don’t put the reader first, your work won’t go anywhere because it won’t connect with them. Readers are the lifeblood of our publications. If we don’t treat them right, they’ll leave. If we don’t engage with them, they’ll never know we exist. Marketing has to be done, and be done effectively.


Decide on your Author Brand: how will readers recognize you?

-Images you’ll use
-Genres you’ll write in
-Theme/mood of content
-Same author portrait

Author Platform

-Email Subscriber Provider
-Social Media
-Advanced Review Copy distribution sites
-Publishing platforms

Marketing Plan

-Book Teasers
-Set up Preorders
-Remind readers where to leave reviews
-Run outside ads to draw readers to your sales page
-Keep promoting (within your budget)

BONUS: If you can, put subscriber links at the ends of your published books that take them do your subscriber landing pages. Set up a way to send them a free book or short story as thanks for subscribing. When you’re ready to upgrade your subscriber system, build an email campaign workflow that sends several emails over a course of a few months that includes other freebie stories. The more you keep your subscribers engaged, the more likely they are to notice your email amid the tidal wave of promotional messages they get every week. It’s easy for us to get lost. Be memorable and they’ll hunt for your content!

Know your audience and what they want. Know where to find them. Know how to engage with them. If you can get these things under control, you’ll be off to a far better start than I was. I send my best to you and hope these tips help you build your author business into a thriving force to be reckoned with!


Upcoming Book: I Want to Be an Author – Where Do I Start?

The release date isn’t set yet as I’m finalizing content before editing. But my hope is that this book will help other writers who dream of being authors to get started on their journey. All I wanted was something that told me where to start and what I was getting into when I began looking into publishing. But there were so many best seller courses and books on writing and editing and marketing that I felt turned around. I’ve written this book to guide those unfamiliar with the process. I go over writing and publishing a first book with everything I wish I knew when I began plus all the lessons I’ve learned through my twelve publications. I hope you’ll stick around to see it publish!

Author Interviews, Blog, Sci-Fi Fantasy Blog

Author Interview: B.B. Reed, Fantasy/Mystery

I am B.B. Reed, a fantasy/mystery author, and my most recent publication was DEMON EYE, book 1 of the Blood Witch Saga. Book 2 is currently in editing and forecasted for release in mid-2021!

From Planning to Published

When did you start writing and why?

Author:      I started writing fantasy in middle school after getting immersed in early online fantasy games, though why I did so is harder to answer. Part of it is due to good world building in media like Warcraft or reading The Last Apprentice—those worlds give you so many building blocks to craft stories from! The other part, I reckon, is this was about the time in my life when my older brother wasn’t as large a role in my life. He’d gone off to college and traveled abroad. It was my first time being alone and having nobody around that I could bounce my thoughts off of. So, I started throwing my musings and ideas down on paper, either as drawn art or a mess of words in a notebook.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Author:     It took me six years to complete DEMON EYE. Now that I’ve crossed the finish line, I’m kinda kicking myself wondering what took me so long. Honest, though, I had to spend that time teaching myself how to properly write in a novel format, how to make a plot work, how to craft a living world, how to make characters have impacts and techniques on when to raise the stakes.

If you’ve published, how long did your first book take?

Author:      Seven years in total.

(If applicable) Has your publishing timeframe improved at all since your first publication?

Author:      My publishing timeframe has improved SIGNIFICANTLY! Book 2 has taken about a year or two to already be in editing and polishing stage.

Are you indie, traditional, hybrid, or vanity, and why?

Author:      I’m an indie author because I have a story that needs to be told. It’s not one that most traditional publishing houses would want or are looking for. Besides, I did most of the work an agent or copyeditor would have done anyway.

How did you determine your target audience?

Author:      I am still working on that, I think. I know the Dungeons & Dragons crowd would appreciate the fantasy world of Moira, and then the LGBTQ community would appreciate the inclusion of gay characters on the stage. The themes of witchcraft and feminism would draw the wiccan crowd on top of that. It feels like I cast a wide net with this material.

What platforms do you use to publish your works?

Author:      Amazon Kindle is my publishing platform due to convenience and some sentimental tie to the name. My career in IT has benefitted greatly from Amazon’s tech certifications.

How do you get critiques, betas, feedback, and edits?

Author:      I ask, and I ask, and I ask. Anyone, literally, who would put down the time and effort to consume my novels. So far, my primary source of feedback and editing is a dear friend of mine in the UK who coaches me in some of the classics like Dune and Jules Verne.

DEMON EYE is my debut novel, setting the stage for a series of fantasy novels following the adventures of the main character, Halena Maris. She’s a wandering witch in the kingdom of Arram, helping peasant folk too afraid to confront the entities of the night. Halena makes what coin she can to support her nomadic life and her pursuit of knowledge, until she has a chance at the biggest payout yet as a noblewoman contracts her for an investigation. She’s caught between the world of nobles and black magic as she struggles to keep up with a conspiracy against the throne, or risks her demonic secret being revealed.


Do you have a platform? What does it consist of?

Author:      My current marketing platform is through Twitter and Amazon KDP exclusively.

What is your launch plan for your works?

Author:      Launch means I turn Twitter and my online Discord communities on blast with my work. I almost feel bad for the massive signal boosting, but it must be done!

How do you get reviews for your books?

Author:      I mostly do grass roots solicitation for reviews. Signed copies, free physical copies, whatever makes a potential reader’s eyes light up. I make sure to inform them how their input for reviews not only helps me become a better author, but also makes the gremlins behind Amazon’s algorithms circulate my work. Otherwise, I post reminders on the regular on Twitter about the importance of reviews for us indie authors.

How do you promote your content?

Author:      I post snippets and one-liners from my book, as well as sharing pieces of non-spoiler artwork I’ve bought over the years that feature my characters from The Blood Witch Saga. On top of that, I divide and conquer. These promotions go through Twitter, Facebook, and my discord communities.

How do you define success as an author?

Author:      You’ve succeeded as an author when you hold your book in your hand and feel yourself compelled to start reading it just as your audience would. Every time I do that, I fall in love with my work all over again.

About Your Work

What type of content do you write and why? Fiction Novels? Poems? Songs? Screenplays? Short Stories? Epic?

Author:      I have begun an Epic Fantasy series with DEMON EYE, and on the side, I do short stories as well. My content usually features dark themes, like the dangers of the esoteric unknown behind magic, or I’ll scrape myself against the grit of war stories to prod at the man vs. man challenges in that theater. I write about these things because I feel like I’ve had a brush with components of those themes. Death, reflecting on your own mortality, what is the quality of a life lived? All the window dressing of fantasy or sci-fi war scenarios helps to frame these themes in more digestible ways.

What genres and subgenres do you write in?

Author:      I write fiction that straddles across Sci-FI, Fantasy, Horror, and mystery

What is your author brand (genre, mood, image, theme, message, etc)? How did you decide on it?

Author:      My brand is definitely Fantasy—especially darker fantasy since I write about witchcraft and magic. However, I hope the message I put out is that despite having an affinity for dark and gothic themes, there is love and acceptance in that. I didn’t so much decide on this as it more just… happened!

How many works have you published?

Author:      One with my second in the works! Goodness, it sounds like I’m talking about kids.

Name some common elements in your writing: villains, magic, red-herring twists, the unfortunate ensign, mysterious phenomena, asyndeton, sentence fragments etc.

Author:      Magick is a huge factor in the Blood Witch series, as well as keeping the reader on their toes as the plot unfolds. I’m also a proponent of maintaining villains that believe they’re on the right side of events.

What was your first goal when you started your journey to becoming an author? Has that changed?

Author:      My first goal was to complete a manuscript draft! But seriously, my goal was to bring a unique and compelling story to the table that someone could reasonably digest. I see no reason in delivering a story that requires a codex to decode heavy exposition. That goal has remained true, I think, and I wish to continue delivering stories that people will enjoy.

What do you want your readers to get out of your works?

Author:      I want readers to pull out Halena’s internal struggle, to feel and empathize with her. Some of the challenges she endures are ones many of us face, whether it’s struggling with mental illness or our neuroses that make us quiver. I want them to see that despite all these factors, having friends and loved ones to turn to is not a show of weakness, but how you must weather those internal storms.

What has been your favorite part of the writing and querying or publishing process?

Author:      My favorite part of the writing process has to be the content generation part of it when making your first draft. You reach those pieces you’ve just been waiting to put down on paper, it’s like riding the lightning! In recent time, however, I have come to love the process of editing too.

Which authors write similar books to yours? How did you find them?

Author:      Kim Wedlock writes magic-focused fantasy like I do and you can find everything you need to know about her work at her Twitter handle (@KimWedlock) or look her up on Amazon!

Have you always read in the genre you wanted to write in? Do you think that’s made it easier or harder to create new stories?

Author:      In the past, I read a lot of fantasy novels, but in recent time I have pulled away mostly because I’m overly familiar with the genre. Reading detective novels by the likes of Jim Butcher or folk tales by Neil Gaiman have been really invigorating. I’m a firm believer that you have to consume media on the regular to generate new media of your own.

What is your writing process, from idea to polished work? Pantster? Plotter? How long does that typically take you?

Author:      I’m a plotter—or an architect—when it comes to my process. I need a rough idea of where I’m going or else I risk writing myself into a corner. I jot down notes for beats and highlights, as well as a few details I don’t want to forget. However, my timeline isn’t very reliable because I outline my stories from high-level end-to-end plot to begin, then outline as I go by story acts. There’s a method to this madness, I swear!

Where do you network most with other writers, authors, and creative types? LinkedIn? Wattpad? Twitter? Facebook? Somewhere else?

Author:      Twitter has been a decent means of networking with other artists and writers, however, I feel it is not a good means of circulating that media amongst ourselves. The company has also made it abundantly clear it has no interest in supporting the creative demographic. Otherwise, I’ve met other creatives through gaming communities through Discord and network there.

Do you sprint-write like a starving cheetah, or are you a totally chill turtle writer? Somewhere in between?

Author:      I sprint when I’m writing a scene I have clear in my head and I just NEED IT to be done. I just can’t wait to see how it turns out! Then, once that rush is done, it’s back to milder and slow-paced writing as I try to figure out how to link all these high notes together in a good way.


What has been the hardest thing to overcome on your journey to authorship?

Author:      Imposter syndrome has been the hardest hurdle in my road to authorship. Querying made me feel like nobody wanted my vision, but I remained stubborn to keep on the path. My characters and their story were worth it.

How has the writing and querying or publishing process affected you emotionally? Do you have any tips for budding writers?

Author:      It’s shown me just how true the old phrase, “You eat an elephant one bite at a time,” is in real life. Everything is possible if you remain disciplined and persistent. However, I will say that the querying process has left less-than-stellar sentiments with me. So, for you budding writers out there, please take inventory of your feelings. If something doesn’t feel right, or it’s making you hate the work you love, listen to those feelings.

Do you have any tips or recommendations for those who want to go the final step and become authors?

Author:      Take Neil Gaiman’s writing advice and start writing. You can always edit it later.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change?

Author:      I wouldn’t have wasted a year on the publishing industry’s niche standards and requirements.

Are you a driven & self-advocating author, a gun-shy promoter, or a total marketing procrastinator?

Author:      I’m definitely a self-advocating author and I’m driven to finish my work to release to everyone for consumption. I will admit I procrastinate in my marketing because I’ve found it to be utterly draining to maintain.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

Author:      I make or commission art of my characters from the main cast of the Blood Witch Saga. Seeing them in such a tangible form and the interpretations varied between artists is so fulfilling and it drives me to keep writing their stories.

How do you combat writer’s block?

Author:      I don’t force the block and I set aside time to consume new media, as well as make an effort to express myself through my visual art.

How did your family and friends react to your writing? Was it what you expected from them?

Author:      My heart skipped when my mother told me she couldn’t put my book down, then I was blown away when my church-going cousin bombarded me with all these questions about my world. There was a piece of me that thought they were being nice in supporting me up until that feedback came. Then I knew that I had something worth it.

What assumptions about writers and authors do you think are myths?

Author:      Many tend to think writing is a lonely profession, and while it does require a degree of loneliness to accomplish the great task of crafting the novel, it could not be accomplished without community. People to exchange ideas with, friends and family to reassure you through the hardships, and the criticisms of how to improve yourself. There is no self-made man behind that book, there is him and the hands he held before touching the paper.

Fun Stuff

What do you listen to while you write?

Author:      I listen to film and game orchestra scores. You have no idea how well the 1989 Batman score can set the mood for a scene!

Is there a fun word or group of terms you like to put into your writing?

Author:      Esoteric, yawning, sable, haunt

Where do you write your stories? A tiny office? A loft? The kitchen table? In the bushes while you secretly people-watch like a total creeper? Or a warm café with mocha in hand and feet up on an ottoman?

Author:      In “The Before-times,” I used to sit in a local coffee shop or Denny’s with breakfast and spend a few hours banging away at my laptop. Nowadays, I gotta get that writing machine going at my own dining table.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Author:      I’m reading Around the World in 80 Days right now!

How do you try to “break the mold” and be unique?

Author:      I break the mould by putting fantasy and mystery together, as well as featuring black magic as a force of good rather than being inherently evil.

What have you learned about yourself from the writing and/or authorship process?

Author:      The overlap between my visual artistic pursuits and my literary pursuits came together to make this possible for me.

What is your favorite writing snack and drink?

Author:      LaCroix and Chex Mix

Do you have a writing companion?

Author:      My own black cat named Patty!

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