Day 1

Indie, Life, The Girl In Between

I’m the type who tries to plan every hour of every day at least five years in advance. I don’t fear change–burying a parent at 18 will teach you that things don’t always happen the way they should and that you can’t control everything–but I would much rather be the driving force behind any changes in my life rather than a helpless bystander. Yesterday was my last official day as part of the 9-5 workforce that sucks the life out of so many of us creative types and today is my first official day as a full-time author.

I hadn’t planned to leave my job so soon–I have student teaching next semester and was anticipating staying around until January–but then the universe intervened and I really had no choice. Work stress is one of the worst kinds, not only because that’s where we all spend most of our time, but also because it seems like the majority of people in leadership roles are borderline psychotic and therefore there is only one means of escape for those of us caught in their cross-hares. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding my early departure, the point is that I’m FREE.

I woke up at 9AM this morning and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’m sure the next few days will be the same. But it’s a wonderful feeling. I took an “artistic sabbatical” once before while I was writing Breathing Ghosts but all it amounted to was six months of stressing about money and the eventuality of finding a job and the BIG UNKNOWN that was my future. This time around I feel like I’m standing at the precipice of something wonderful. The future is no longer dark and obscure but wide open and expanding in an infinite number of directions. This time around I have options and that is true freedom. And it’s all thanks to my readers. You all have given me the financial freedom and the courage to pursue my dreams and I can’t wait to begin this adventure with all of you by my side; I can’t wait to share more stories with you; I can’t wait to be the most unencumbered, most creative, most authentic version of myself I’ve ever been. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And now, after such a devastatingly long break, it’s finally time to start putting Bryn’s nightmares to bed.

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My Big List of Book Reviewers

Indie, Writing

As an indie author I know how difficult promo can be when you’re doing it all on your own. I spent the past three months sending out hundreds of emails, prepping blog posts, creating media kits, formatting review copies, and corresponding with readers and bloggers in preparation for my book tour for The Girl In Between and it’s during times like these that I’m reminded why self-publishing is not the easy way out. I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted but promo is just another part of the job and an important one seeing as obscurity is an indie author’s greatest adversary. The good news though is that there is an entire community out there of book-lovers turned bloggers who are willing to help authors in any way they can.

When I started sending out review requests for my first novel two years ago I had no idea how difficult it would be to find book bloggers who accept indie and self-published titles. For that reason, I’ve been compiling a list of every indie-loving reviewer out there and now that my blog tour is underway, I’ve decided to share that master list of reviewers with all of you! My master list will now be visible in the menu bar so if you’re interested in checking out any of the blogs I’ve discovered, follow the navigation or just click here.

Walking The Walk

Indie, Life, Writing

So I did it. I quit my day job. Unfortunately it wasn’t because my books are selling like hot cakes and I’m suddenly a millionaire. That’s still in the works. But the real reason I had to quit my job is because I’m moving. Again. After almost two years of living in Florida I’ll be moving back to Texas this summer and I can’t exactly pack up my cubicle and take it with me. Not that I’d want to. Besides, it’s time for a change.

In fact, the big unknown that’s been hovering on my horizon feels sort of prophetic all of the sudden.

I’m not sure what it is. That I’m older. That I’m, in a sense, going home (well, six hours east of home). That I don’t have to spend my days analyzing data any more. That I can breathe.

Of course, some days, there’s a part of me that’s still terrified of the unknown. But most days it’s all I have to look forward to. Because even though it’s not the new start I’d been hoping for—you know making the switch to being a full time writer—it’s still a new beginning nonetheless. And that’s exciting. Because even though I’ve always believed that I’m in control of my own destiny, that everything I do today is taking me one step closer to the future I want, to the future I deserve, something about moving, about starting over in a new place, gives that philosophy a whole new fervency.

And so I’ve decided…I’m going to give myself some time. Before I look for another job, I’m going to spend a few months trying out that whole full-time author gig. Because I want to. Because I’m young. Because it’s time to be brave and walk the walk. Because I’ve been saving my money from every birthday and Christmas over the past decade for nothing in particular. And now that I finally have a reason to use it, it feels like this huge gift. The commitment I’ve made to this dream of mine, to myself, it’s a gift. Truly. And that’s how I know it’s right. Because my soul is happy and because nothing is more important than the gift’s we give ourselves.

So I’ll spend the next four months in front of my laptop, at some desk in an apartment I haven’t found yet, or in some random coffee shop, or the public library, and in the midst of swatting away every fear—that I’m wasting my time, that I’m wasting my money, that I’m selfish, that I suck—I’ll be writing. Every day. All day. I’ll be writing. And even with the risk, that still sounds absolutely perfect.

The Book of Your Heart

Indie, Writing

I recently came across a blog post by a YA author called “The book of my heart”—all about that one special book you loved writing more than anything and that is so amazing and so profound that you just don’t know how you’ll ever top it.  I’m not sure I’ve written the book of my heart yet or if such a thing even exists.  But this particular author detailed how after writing one such book that it came so close to landing a publishing contract only to ultimately be rejected which not only deflated her ego but caused her to shelve the novel indefinitely and now it will never see the light of day.

The true intent of her post was to encourage writers that just because the book of your heart doesn’t sell, doesn’t mean that you can’t write another one that will.  But here’s what was implied—that any book that isn’t picked up by a big six publisher isn’t any good. Yes, I can understand negative feedback or any kind of critique leading to a revelation that maybe it really wasn’t any good. But if this is the book, I mean THE BOOK of your heart, why let yourself be so easily convinced?

So much was implied in this post about traditional publishing being the only legitimate way to go and how we should abandon anything that they don’t deem worthy.  It was sickening really because all I could think about were the countless authors out there willing to give up on a story just because someone else said it wouldn’t sell.

First of all if you’re only in this to make sales then you deserve whatever torment comes your way from laboring over book after book because you’re constantly in pursuit of that blockbuster hit/someone else’s approval.  But if you’re in this because you love to write, because this is what you’re meant to do then why would you ever let anyone tell you a book you’re more passionate about than anything you’ve ever written before isn’t important?

Where’s your back bone?  Where’s your self-worth?

Stories are like seeds and if one’s been planted in you, then you are compelled to write it—not by pop culture or the current market or by money or even by your own desires.  No.  There’s got to be something bigger out there pulling the strings.  Especially if this is THE book, the book of your heart.  You are not writing it just to further hone your skills, you are writing it because it needs to be written and if it needs to be written then trust me it needs to be read.  And it is your responsibility as an author to make sure that happens.

So enough of this bowing to the powers that be and making their word law. Please don’t misunderstand. This is not me saying traditional publishing is evil and this not me supporting the self-publishing of trash that takes longer to upload then it did to write. What I’m saying is that writing the book is not your only responsibility as a writer. Getting it out into the world, that is also your responsibility. And if traditional publishing isn’t conducive to that don’t let your ego stand in the way of exploring other options. Especially when you realize that traditional publishers only cater to the majority, and that your readers might not be in that category.

Think about this for a second—what if your favorite book had been rejected by every major publisher, ever indie conglomerate and small press? And what if the author of that book said ‘ok, you’re right. I give up.’ Can you imagine how your own life would be different, what kind of writer, what kind of reader you’d be without that book? If you’re a lover of books or art in general then you can see the serious implications behind this kind of deprival.

So here is my plea. Do not ever give up on something just because it seems like you’re the only one who believes in it.  There is a reader out there who at this very moment is looking, waiting for a book just like yours. So don’t you dare just let it sit in a drawer gathering dust.

The Things They Didn’t Bury NOW AVAILABLE!!!!

Indie, The Things They Didn't Bury, Writing

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