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.Continue reading
Do you have social media? What’s your favorite platform? Instagram? Twitter? Facebook? TikTok? Snapchat? Other? How do you balance your time between social media and writing time? Is it possible to do both well? I think the answer is yes.
For this article, I’m going to focus on Instagram or my Bookstagram, as I call my account. This means it’s an Instagram that focuses on books. It is one of the highlights of my day meeting other readers, writers, and authors. The people on Instagram remind me that I’m not the only one that struggles with mental health or is in the query trenches. It’s a great way to make connections. Instagram is a lot of fun, but it can take a lot of time.Continue reading
It’s the evening after #PitMad and as usually goes, rejection haunts me.
You’d think I would be used to it by now. The trademark of being a writer is rejection. While there are always the lucky few who make their break early and fast, the majority of us writers slog through a plethora of rejections before finally getting that coveted book deal, agent, or movie deal.
And yet, it still hurts to refine your pitches, touch up your query letter and apply for yet another program or pitch your manuscript on Twitter—all for nothing. That empty inbox, that polite rejection email, the lack of likes on your PitMad tweets, staring back at you like an empty bag of chocolate.Continue reading
It’s what we’ve all be waiting for, Nova McBee’s debut novel is released into the wild!!!! *Cue champaign popping and frantic celebration!* CONGRATS Nova! Spinning Pen founder, fierce supporter of new writers, Pitch Wars 2020 mentor, and an expert champion and bridge builder between existing authors, it is now Nova’s turn to be supported and loved on by our community!Continue reading
You’ve written a book! That’s fantastic. And now you’re at the point where it’s all polished and shiny and ready to be out in the world.
Which means you’re facing one of two scenarios: you’ve signed a contract with a publisher who will be releasing your book, or you’re getting ready to self-publish your book baby. Either way, you’ve got a Launch Season ahead of you, and that’s both exciting and scary!
So, what do you need to have a successful launch? Aside from an awesome story (which we know you have since you’re at this point), you need a plan. But don’t worry—it doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds!Continue reading
SP: Hey Gillian! So glad to have you here on the Spinning Pen. 🙂 Before we get started, we want to hear about YOU and your writing journey! What made you want to write and what’s a fun fact you don’t mind sharing?
Thanks for having me here! Growing up, I always had a book in hand, whether I was doing chores, climbing a tree, or riding my horse. (Yes, my sweet old horse let me read on his back while he grazed.) My older sister and I would act out our favorite stories, which morphed into creating our own characters and plots for our play time in the woods, which eventually morphed into writing down those stories. So, the transition between reading to writing felt like it happened naturally, and I always had a story that I was working on. But it wasn’t until I was in high school and stumbled across an author’s blog that I realized authors were normal people who wrote books (as opposed to strange and magical creatures) and maybe I could be one. That’s the moment the dream sparked! What kept it alive was the hope that I could tell stories about characters like the ones that had shaped, encouraged, and inspired me growing up!
Fun fact about me? Just about every pet I’ve owned (other than my horse) has had a literary name of some sort—most of them from the Lord of the Rings.Continue reading
By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the news. Traditional publishing took a one-two punch from 2020. Already over-worked, skeleton crew publishing teams faced even more layoffs and had to scrap much of their 2020 marketing plans when all in-person events—including the now-defunct Book Expo and Book Con—disappeared for the foreseeable future. Indie publishing didn’t fare much better in 2020 thanks to paper shortages, supply chain breakdowns, and even their #1 fans being so stressed out that they didn’t have the attention span to read a recipe, much less an entire book.Continue reading
It’s a sensation we’re probably all familiar with though it never becomes easier to face.
No writer likes to hear, “Nope, sorry, your manuscript/project/idea/fill-in-the-blank just isn’t good enough.”
I recently entered one of my stories in a contest and found myself on the receiving end of some less than complimentary criticism.Continue reading
I’m self-publishing my debut novel, THE WATER CHILD, in March 2021! And has it ever been a journey! I started this book almost 10 years ago. I queried, won contests, found an amazing agent in Kaitlyn Johnson, had positive feedback from publishers, and now I’m self-publishing it as my debut.
Well to answer that I’d have to go into why I wrote THE WATER CHILD which you can read about here. Or the mini version: This story started on a horrific day, March 3, 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami struck the coast of Japan near where my in-laws were living. I didn’t start out trying to write a book about the tsunami, but I’d learned how to deal with PTSD from other events in my life like 9/11 by writing. The writings from that year turned into a book after critique partners read a short story I wrote and encouraged me to turn it into a novel. Now that novel, after 10 YEARS, is finally going to be in my hands and hopefully in yours as well!Continue reading