Category Archives: Writing

Permission

jon-tyson-195064I’m forcing myself out of my comfort zone and trying a few “go-to” marketing methods other indies swear by. It feels strange to be paying for advertising. My brain wants to label the act a failure. It wants to label me one too. And I didn’t realize how much of that “failure” was self-prohecised until I watched Ksenia Anske’s live Facebook video about how to get out of your own way so that you can start making sales and building a loyal readership.

The moment she said that the rejection was all in my head, manifesting simply because that’s what I was afraid of and therefore expected…because for some sad sick reason that’s what I thought I deserved, it all clicked.

Pen & Xander is the best novel I’ve ever written. There is no reason it shouldn’t find an audience. In fact, it already has one…they’re all just eagerly waiting for me to find them and share this story with them. That’s what I have to believe if this book is going to have any semblance of life. I have to believe that this story is exactly what many people are looking for. That I’ve written something worth shouting about.

So I started doing something scary. Something I usually NEVER do.

I actually gave myself permission to send the novel to a few friends. There were no strings attached but I have to stop assuming that the people who care about me the most are the ones I must shield my art from at all costs. Usually, when I publish something new, I tell no one but the internet. Very few family members have read my work and that’s only because they found it on their own. But it wasn’t until today that I realized my secrecy doesn’t come from a place of not wanting to be an icky sales person. It comes from my fear that my stories aren’t good enough.

And this fear fuels every decision I make about my books. I always claimed that I didn’t need to spend money on marketing; that it was a waste. The truth is I didn’t think my books were worth the investment. I preferred to give away copies to new readers than to ask them to spend their own money not because I was trying to be generous but because I didn’t think my books were worth the money.

It makes absolutely no sense, especially after all the time and creative energy I’ve spent over the past six years. In that time I’ve written eight novels. How do I still not believe in myself? How am I still struggling with the same doubts I had as a teenager? Maybe I’ll always struggle with my fear of failure. But maybe there’s a way to harness that fear and use it as fuel. Maybe it starts with acknowledging that it’s there and then doing the scary thing anyway. It’s how Pen survives. By pretending. So I will pretend. Every time I hit send, every time I share my story with someone new, every time I sit down to write. Until  my convictions are stronger than my fears and I’m no longer running from the success I deserve.

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Pre-order Pen & Xander on Amazon

Pen&Xander.v9

Pre-order Pen & Xander on Amazon now!

Pen Prado has a passion for cooking. Specifically, cooking her father’s food in her father’s restaurant. It’s the heart of their immigrant neighborhood, a place where everyone belongs, and second chances are always on the menu. Except for Pen. Despite the fact that there’s something almost magic about her food, her father can’t imagine anything worse than her following in his footsteps. And when Pen confesses to keeping a secret from her family, he fires her, ensuring she never will.

Xander Amaro is undocumented but that doesn’t stop Ignacio Prado from offering him a job at his restaurant. For Xander, it’s a chance to make amends and to sever his toxic relationship with the druglord, El Cantil–a man whose been like a father to him since his own disappeared. Soon after, his mother abandoned him too, leaving behind a void that not even his abuelo can fill. Until he meets Pen.

Both seeking a place where they feel like they truly belong, they end up finding each other, and in the face of tremendous fear and self-doubt, they end up finding themselves.

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Pen & Xander Cover Reveal

Pen&Xander.v9

Pen Prado has a passion for cooking. Specifically, cooking her father’s food in her father’s restaurant. It’s the heart of their immigrant neighborhood, a place where everyone belongs, and second chances are always on the menu. Except for Pen. Despite the fact that there’s something almost magic about her food, her father can’t imagine anything worse than her following in his footsteps. And when Pen confesses to keeping a secret from her family, he fires her, ensuring she never will.

Xander Amaro is undocumented but that doesn’t stop Ignacio Prado from offering him a job at his restaurant. For Xander, it’s a chance to make amends and to sever his toxic relationship with the druglord, El Cantil–a man whose been like a father to him since his own disappeared. Soon after, his mother abandoned him too, leaving behind a void that not even his abuelo can fill. Until he meets Pen.

Both seeking a place where they feel like they truly belong, they end up finding each other, and in the face of tremendous fear and self-doubt, they end up finding themselves.

Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads

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Seeking CPs!

It took me years to find a core group of critique partners who I felt like I could really trust. It’s the closest experience I’ve ever had to online dating and the thought of having to relive all of those awkward introductions and “first dates” has led to me putting off finding new CPs altogether.

In the past few years most of my CPs have either gotten agents or the all elusive book deal, meaning they don’t have time to read for me anymore. Others have decided to take a break from writing and some even switched careers. And when it comes to the few CPs I can still rely on, I feel so guilty asking them to read something new from me every 6 months, which means that it’s probably time for me to meet some new people.

It feels like I’ve been out of the self-publishing world for a while, even though it was just last October that I published the last book in my paranormal romance series. Still, it’s been a long time since I was in a routine and drafting one manuscript while revising another. I miss that routine and I’m hopeful that the summer break will help me find my way back. And now that I know what to expect once the new school year starts, I can do a better job of avoiding burnout and staying committed to my creative practice.

Obviously, the title of this post says it all. I’m in the market for new critique partners and I’m open to other indies, traditionally published authors, or any advice on where I might find quality CPs.

A little about me, in case you just stumbled upon this blog by accident–>

*At this point in my self-publishing career my books have been downloaded over half a million times and I have a loyal readership that’s almost 4,000 strong.

*I tend to genre hop and write everything from historical fiction, to contemporary young adult, to paranormal romance.

When it comes to a critique partner, I’m not necessarily looking for someone with similar sales numbers. I remember what it was like to only sell a couple copies of my books a month and how hard it was to make connections with other writers who were more successful. Because of that, my main goal is to connect with CPs whose writing skills are equal to or better than my own. In other words, I want to connect with people who I can learn from and who will push me to become a better writer. Not only will I try to offer that as well but I will also be excited to introduce my CPs to my readers and hopefully grow their audience in the process.

There are excerpts of my novels all over this blog and the first book in my paranormal romance series is perma-free for those wanting to check out my writing quality and style. FYI, I’m currently working on a contemporary YA romance that I would love to get feedback on in June. If you think we’d be a good fit, feel free to email me at lzkbooks@gmail.com or on twitter @laekanzeakemp.

Let me know what genres you write in, what you’re currently working on, what you’re looking for in a critique partner, and what you think you can offer as a CP. A short writing sample will also be helpful, whether that’s personal writing on a blog or an excerpt from a novel. If I think we’d be a good match I’ll definitely be in touch! If you don’t hear from me, it will either be due to differences in quality/style or because I’ve already found what I’m looking for.

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It Doesn’t Suck

I have good news. I’m halfway through revising my new YA contemporary novel and…it doesn’t suck. In fact, there are moments. Real beautifully authentic moments that I somehow created, which means that I am capable of finishing this book and making it good. Which I was not entirely certain I could do after…well, the reaction to TDOTN. Maybe there’s some people out there who aren’t sure I can do it either. But one word, one page, one day at a time I’m going to prove us both wrong.

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