SP: Hi Caitlin! Welcome back to the Spinning Pen! Before we get into book stuff, we’d LOVE to know a bit about you and your writing journey! Where did this all start for you? What has your writing journey been like? What other books have you written?
CS: I’ve been writing since I was in middle school, though back then it was more like advanced plagiarism, since I would just rewrite stories I really liked, only badly (Alanna the Lioness, anyone?). I never considered writing stories as a thing I could do in a professional capacity, since it seemed like writing in school was focused on really boring stuff I wasn’t interested in, and all the books I read were so, so perfect, it didn’t seem like actual humans could write them.
But then after I’d already graduated from college, my sister got a book deal and it suddenly clicked in my mind that people write books and that I could potentially be one of those people. I had just read The Hunger Games series and immediately began writing a YA dystopia, which I eventually got agented and sold to Simon and Schuster, which became my first published books, the Last Star Burning series. While I was writing those, I had a secret backburner middle grade project I’d work on between deadlines called A Baker’s Guide to Robber Pie because my first love in books has always been fantasy and I couldn’t not try to write fantasy even if I went dystopia first.
Are you a published (or soon to be published) author wondering what the magic is behind runaway book success?
Unfortunately, the more I learn about wild book success, the more I learn no one knows the exact formula. Just like viral videos, there’s always a bit of luck involved. Like seriously, how have so many cat videos been soooo popular when we all know dogs are better?? Tell me I’m not wrong…
HOWEVER, there are things within your power to give your books the best shot they can at becoming the next best seller.
It’s the question posed to every growing child. However, once you enter college, the question morphs into two questions: “What are you majoring in?” and “What do you want to do with that?”
I majored in English, and I can’t even begin to count the number of times I was told the degree was useless and a waste of time and money. But what I dreaded even more than hearing the word “useless” again, was the inevitable follow-up question.
“Oh, so you want to teach English?”
No, I would say in the kindest manner possible, I wanted to be a writer and editor.
Hello, writers, and welcome to my guest blog for The Spinning Pen! Haylie Hanson here! I’m incredibly excited to be here, teaching you the secrets of sequel writing. Light Hunter, the sequel to World Diver, book one in The Luminaut Trilogy, is about to release on April 21, 2022 with Uncommon Universes Press, and I was honored The Spinning Pen approached me with this wonderful opportunity to share all the advice and writerly wisdom I gleaned during the process.
SP: Hi AJ! We’re so excited to have you here on the Spinning Pen! Tell us all a little bit about you and your writing journey.
AJ: Hi! Thank you so much for having me! I think I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. I’ve always dabbled in writing stories, and I tend to be a voracious reader as time allows. As I got older, I majored in English and became a high school teacher and didn’t have a lot of time or energy to write, but still wrote in my spare time.
SP: Hi Tanvi! We’re so excited to have you here on the Spinning Pen! Tell us all a little bit about you and your writing journey.
TB: Hi, thank you for having me! I’m Tanvi Berwah and I write books that will send you into some kind of existential dread at least once. I used to run fansites during the peak Twilight/The Hunger Games fandom time and an alarmingly huge part of my personality comes from being terminally online during those years lol. I have been writing since I was a kid. Many awful and some not-so-awful manuscripts later, I got into Pitch Wars in 2019 and that really got me to where I am now: happily writing books about angry girls and monsters, figuratively and literally.
SP: Hi Tamara! So glad to have you here on the Spinning Pen! You have an incredibly exciting four book deal with a unique release model. People are saying it’s like Netflix but with books! We’d love to hear more about how this exciting model works!
TG: I love that comparison! And hello to you 🙂 Thanks for having me. I love Wise Wolf Books’ rapid release model! They are releasing all four books in the sports series this year! Release dates are scheduled for early March, June, September, and December. It’s been a flurry getting all of the manuscripts in shape, but I appreciate this model so much as an author and a reader. As an author, I’m connecting with readers frequently with new material. As a reader, waiting is not my strong suit. When I read a good book, I want to binge with the sequel immediately. I love that this model allows readers of the series to do that this year! I’ve also signed with Wise Wolf for a two-book series in 2023, so stay tuned for more on that!
SP: Hi Kristin! We’re so excited to have you here on the Spinning Pen! Tell us all a little bit about you and your writing journey.
KD: Hi I’m Kristin Dwyer! I write kissing books. I love all things romance and big feels. I’m addicted to travel, coffee, compulsively buying books I never read, and I also sometimes enjoy kpop and kdrama, but like… normal, reasonable amounts. I’ve been writing like a job for about ten years, and only in 2020 got an agent and editor. I could wallpaper Buckingham Palace in my unsold manuscripts and rejections. But long after my friends had made their dreams come true, mine finalllllly did. And dear reader, it was worth it.
SP: Ok now for the part we’ve been waiting for…tell us about your first book deal for Some Mistakes Were Made! How did you land this sweet deal and a chance to write a second book too?**FYI to our readers, this book’s steam level is upper young adult and has cursing.**
Why I Really Do What I Do (and Why It Matters to You)
Let’s try a little experiment. What comes to mind when I say, “It’s time to edit your story”?
For many writers, the notion of editing conjures an unwelcome memory of brutal critique or derision—a time you offered your story to a peer or mentor only to be shot down.
Maybe for you, it was a stern English teacher in grade school who filled your papers with inky red hieroglyphics. Or perhaps that college critique group who ripped your idea to shreds and laughed about it—right in front of you. Maybe you’re visualizing the relative who scorned your dream of becoming a writer and told you to find “real” aspirations instead.
Or perhaps—if you’re lucky—you don’t have any specific negative memories of critique; there’s just a general tightening in your midsection at the thought of sending your story child off to a total stranger who probably collects red pens and blogs about comma abuse.
Whatever the source of your apprehension, I get it. Writing stories—even fictional ones—is a deeply personal endeavor, and there’s something terrifying about revealing your creation to another human being, especially when that human’s job (and possibly joy in life) seems to be identifying all of your flaws and weaknesses.