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 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.
Pen Friends ~ Please welcome YA Author Candice Yamnitz talking about her debut novel, UNBETHROTHED, publishing journey, writing dreams, and so much more! It’s always a joy to interview new authors, and I’m excited to have Candice here with us today.
SP: UNBETROTHED will come out in February 2022 by Illuminate YA. Please add on Goodreads while waiting! Here’s the blurb:
Around Agatha Sea, princesses are poised, magically gifted, and betrothed.
So, when seventeen-year-old Princess Beatriz still fails to secure a betrothal, her parents hold a ball. Forming an alliance could mean the difference between peace and war, but Beatriz doesn’t want just any suitor. She’s in love with her best friend, Prince Lux. Marrying Prince Lux will always be a silly dream as long as she has no magical gift.
Princess Beatriz will do whatever it takes to obtain a touch of magic, including making a deadly oath to go on a quest to Valle de Los Fantasmas. A valley where no one comes out alive.
If she can manage to succeed, Princess Beatriz could have everything she desires and secure peace for her kingdom. If she fails, she’ll lose not only her greatest dream but also her kingdom, and maybe even her own life.
What do you want? No, really…what do you want? If you’re like me, sometimes that’s not the easiest question to answer. I have lots of wants vying for my attention. They barge into the forefront of my mind as soon as I wake up, each of them screaming, “me first, me first!” Like a classroom full of unruly kindergartners, I try to get them to sit down and be quiet. Then, with each of their hands raised in the air, I call on them one at a time. That’s on a good day. On bad days, I get overrun and just want to hide in my bed until they all go away. Each of us struggle with life’s legion demands and desires.I think this is why I like hurricanes.
SP: Hi Gillian! We’re so excited to have you back on the Spinning Pen! Tell us about your latest book, Of Fire and Ash, coming out on December 7th with Enclave Publishing. Readers are likening your book to The Scorpio Races—and we couldn’t be more excited about it! How did this idea come to you?
GBA: I love The Scorpio Races, so I’m thrilled that readers are making that connection! Of Fire and Ash is the first book in The Fireborn Epic which is set in a world filled with magical horses. Some can breathe fire, others can quake the earth with their hooves, and still others can vanish into shadow and move without a sound. The main female character, Ceridwen, is a firerider, which means she rides one of the firebreathing horses. Exiled by her father after a tragic accident claims the life of her brother, Ceridwen serves her nation as an Outrider, patrolling the wilds of the kingdom to protect her people from threats. But when she stumbles across news of a widescale invasion from the empire across the sea, she has to carry the tidings home to her father in defiance of her exile, which sets the whole story in motion!
Thrilled to show you the cover for ACTIVATED, book 3 in the Calculated series!
The preorder is now LIVE and there is a signed paperback giveaway for Calculated & Simulated going on with Book of Matches Media and many bookstagrammers on Instagram with this hashtag: #activatedcoverreveal –go enter!
Activated releases March 24th, 2022 with @wisewolfbooks. Read the teaser below & see her page for preorder details. Her preorder campaign (is gorgeous!) but won’t be revealed for another week.
SP: Hi Chelsea! So glad to have you here on the Spinning Pen! You have an incredibly exciting four book deal with a unique release model that frankly, we have not seen done before in the mainstream YA publishing world. People are saying it’s like Netflix but with books! We’d love to hear more about how this exciting model works!
CB: Thank you SO MUCH for having me! I am so excited to be a part of this new model within traditional publishing that, honestly, indie authors have been excelling at for years, the reason being that they understand that readers love to binge their favorite books just as much as people love to binge their favorite shows—we don’t want to wait to find out what happens next to our favorite characters. So I was thrilled to be able to write this 4-book series over the course of 1 year with the intention of all of the books being rapid-released leading up to Christmas. The other thing I love about this series is that, while each book centers on a different couple, the couples are all connected in some way, and they are also all connected to the small (fictional) town of Christmas, Virginia, so that the story of Book 1’s couple, for example, isn’t over at “The End” of Book 1—you’ll still get to see how they’re doing in the background of the other books, and that’s true of all of the couples.