Winning: How to Get the Most from Your Beta Readers

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

You’ve finished a draft of your manuscript and done all your brain can possibly do alone. You celebrate because it’s readable– one might daresay enjoyable– but you know the time has come to let other’s eyes see your story. It’s time for beta readers.

Use these 5 tips to get the most out of your beta readers and kickstart your next draft.

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Author Interview: McKelle George

Pen friends! McKelle George, an editor and debut author of Speak Easy, Speak Love –a 1920’s retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, is here to share her writing life and editing tips with us!

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SP: Hi McKelle! Thanks for joining us. First, please tell us a bit of who are you and how long have you have been writing?

Hi! I’m a young adult writer and my debut Speak Easy, Speak Love comes out this month. I’ve always done a little writing (mostly fanfic and RP), but I made the decision to seriously write the summer of 2011. (:

SP: So lets talk about your debut, Speak Easy, Speak Love. How did this idea develop? How long did it take for you to write it? Unknown-12 Continue reading

Human First, Writer Second: Having the Right Mindset for Setbacks and Shortcomings

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It’s 11:00 P.M., and you’re staring at the blinking vertical line on your screen. Your word count has changed by only 50 words since you sat down fifteen minutes ago, and that’s only from deleting the previous sentence because its sounded like something you would read out of a book titled “Clichés 101.” You sigh, shut the laptop a bit harder than you probably should, then head to bed, feeling exhausted and guilty for not having accomplished any of your writing goals. Continue reading

Editor Talk: With Tara Creel & Write On Editing

Pen Friends ~ Today we have more insightful Editor Talk with professional editor Tara Creel, as she shares her insight into editing, publishing, and getting it right!

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SP: Welcome Tara! Can you tell us a bit of who are you and how long have you worked as an editor?  

I’m Tara Creel. I’ve worked as an editor for Month9Books/Tantrum Books for almost four years now. I have also been doing freelance editing on the side, but have recently launched a freelance editing business with Michelle Millet called Write On Editing. Continue reading

Editor Talk with BLINK YA’s Jillian Manning

Pen Friends ~ We are elated to have Blink YA Book’s Editor Jillian Manning with us today. Hope you enjoy her insights, tips, and recommendations!

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SP: Welcome Jillian! Let’s start personal ~Who are you and how long have you worked as an editor? Which books made you fall in love with the publishing industry?

I’m Jillian Manning, one of the editors at Blink YA Books. I’m a Michigan girl, cat lover, list maker, and avid YA reader. (Grown-up books? Yikes.) I’ve worked in publishing since my early college days, and have been an editor here at Blink for over two years. According to my mother, I started reading when I was two years old (though that may be a parental exaggeration), and I haven’t stopped since. I grew up reading Tamora Pierce, J.K. Rowling, and Caroline B. Cooney, and I decided I either wanted to be them or work with people like them. When I found out being an editor meant you could read for a living…well, I was hooked. Continue reading

1 Year Milestone Giveaway

Pen Friends ~ It’s our birthday. We want to celebrate by giving YOU a gift! 

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During our first year we have tried, succeeded, failed, learned, grown, improved, written a lot, won contests, interviewed authors, reached goals, lost, gained, laughed, cried, made friends, built a community of writers, inspired other writing communities, and oh boy, not only did we survive, but we are stronger and plan on sticking around! Continue reading

Guest Post: What do you do with Failure?

Where are you in your writing journey? Are you NaNoing? Writing? Querying? On sub to publishers? In the midst of revisions? Taking time to read and improve your craft? Nurturing the seed of an amazing idea that’s taking root in your imagination?

Whichever of those things you are doing, or if you’re in a completely different place all together, I would like to take a minute to talk about something a lot of people would rather avoid.

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No one likes to experience it, and a lot of us hold back on our dreams to shelter ourselves. But you know what? I’m a huge advocate for failing. I say let’s fail. Let’s fail BIG TIME.

Let me tell you a quick story. Continue reading

What You Need to Know About yWriter5 Writing Software

pexels-photo-52649-large-1After I started taking writing seriously, I decided that looking for better novel-writing software (say, better than Word) would likely help me to stay organized[1] as I tried to complete one of my stories.

I’ve had Scrivener recommended to me multiple times, along with other paid software, but as a mostly-poor working adult, I wanted to find something else that would serve my needs for free. And eventually I found yWriter5. Continue reading

Critical Things to Do Before You Write Your First Novel

Hindsight is twenty twenty they say. Before I ambitiously embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime, I had no clue what to expect. Sure, I’d read many novels and books and blog posts on how to write them.

What I quickly found out was reading about writing, and actually writing, are totally different. It’s like thinking you’re a good singer because you watch America’s got Talent and belting out off key tunes at a karaoke bar. Time for a reality check.

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The Best Writing Advice I Ever Recieved

I once spent a year learning the art of chopping in China.

Why you ask? Why not! Actually it was a cultural misunderstanding as I was under the impression I’d be learning to make Chinese food. You can imagine my disappointment and horror when my teacher brought in a live duck and slit its throat it in front of us the first week of school. This was not what I signed up for.

Life experiences

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