U is for…UTOPiACON

U is for …UTOPiACON!!!

This June I will be joining many fellow authors, bloggers, and readers at a special conference in Nashville, TN called UTOPiACON. I’ve never attended a writer’s conference before and I am excited for the new experience. I have been to several book signings at libraries but I feel this will be a completely different experience. I will be signing books and meeting avid readers both Thursday and Friday during the CON. Here is more information on the event for anyone interested in coming out to join the fun. (This info is from the UTOPiACON.com website.

UTOPiA is not a place. It is a mindset. It is the trail you blaze, the risks you take, the friends you make, the stories you share, the victories you celebrate, the love you give, the dreams you lead.
#FightForYourWrite
There will be over 125 authors there signing as well as several workshops and speakers.
Publishers Weekly dubbed Utopia Con “the conference with heart”, and as we continue to grow, we try and maintain that sense of encouragement and unity among the audience.

UTOPiA2016_REBELteeWHO IS UTOPIACON FOR?

  • Established writers of the contemporary and supernatural genres** from middle grade to adult literature categories looking to get an edge on the market with the latest in publishing developments and marketing strategies, as well as a unique opportunity to engage with the readers who love them and support their work.
  • Aspiring writers of the genres** who want to write and successfully launch their very first book that’s been making their hearts soar and hands tremble with excitement and nervousness. Utopia Con will introduce them to the publishing paths available to them, the multitude of vendors out there ready to serve them and give them the support network they need to get through the struggles and celebrate the milestones with them.
  • Book bloggers and booktubers with a strong focus on contemporary and supernatural genres**. This includes the successful bloggers who are helping shape the new publishing and lit landscape, as well as those who are considering becoming book bloggers. We get to the root of book tours, how to professionally blog and how to support the community.
    Connect Educate Inspire through storytelling

  • Fans and avid readers of the massively popular stories included in these categories and genres** who want to meet and hang out with their favorite authors on a level playing field rather than get herded through a mass signing.
  • Film, internet and television writers of the categories and genres**. This is their chance to see the books of today that will be on the big and little screens tomorrow.
  • Industry experts, including, but not limited to producers, photographers, editors, publishers, models, publicists, designers and more who benefit from working with the aforementioned writers.
** “Supernatural” is the term used for our purposes, but please note that our definition extends to fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi, gothic, steampunk, paranormal romance & more.
UTOPiA Con is going to be held at:
Hotel Phone: (615) 259-4343
JUNE 22 – JUNE 26, 2016

C is for…

Critics.
When I set out to write books, my motivation was to try to inspire at least one person to see the world in a positive way. I hoped that single positive change would have a ripple effect and impact many others. Soon after releasing my first book, I received a private message from a reader telling me she was so moved by my story. I felt I had truly succeeded at using my words to make the world a better place. It encouraged me to pick up my laptop and work on my next book.
But like Statler and Waldorf, the infamous hecklers on the Muppet Show, there are people that boldly vocalize their dislike for something. But is that such a bad thing?
WALDORF: They aren’t half bad. 
STATLER: Nope, they’re ALL bad!

I’m not gonna’ lie, when my book received a 1 star rating, I was crushed. I could not help but read the review to find out why the reader felt it deserved such a poor rating. One of her reasons included, “I found Brogen to be selfish and incredibly rude.” The defensiveness came out and I found myself saying, “aren’t most 17 year olds selfish?” A five star review for the SAME book said this, “Rarity touched me way more than I ever thought it would when I read the summary.” Polar opposites on the review spectrum. And for some reason, Rarity has that effect on readers. It seems you will either fall head over heels for the story or hate it – there’s no in between.


So here’s what I learned about reviews:

Bad reviews will exist, if you worry they may shake your confidence…don’t read them. Stick to the 4 & 5 star reviews to drive you through your next writing project.


-Bad reviews that offer constructive criticism can be a learning opportunity. I learned that readers of Rarity wished it was longer. They also wished it showed a bit more of the male MC’s point of view. These were two important criticisms that I was careful to be mindful of when writing my next book.

-Using a chocolate chip cookie analogy…You can make the best chocolate chip cookies in the world, even win awards for the recipe – but there will still be people that hate chocolate chip cookies.


What to do if you get a bad review… put the pencil to the paper and keep writing. EVERY book I have written has been better than the one before it. Don’t give up. Push forward and get working!

-Shouldn’t I comment and correct the reviewer? In my opinion, no. If the reviewer has a history of bad-mouthing and trashing people in reviews, report them. But arguing with someone’s review will more than likely not get them to change their review and it’s tacky.


When I see a book that has (25) 5 star ratings and (2) 1 star ratings, I go and read those 1 star ratings. And usually, I find I disagree or could careless about the points they mentioned in their negative review. Besides, if all you had were 5 star reviews, people would suspect you had your entire family and friends read and review it!



A to Z Blogging Begins!

This month I am participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Each day I will blog about something beginning with a letter in the alphabet. Sundays are off so don’t look for the awesome posts then.
So to begin…our first letter is:

“A” is for…

Author. 
I am a YA author who has published 2 books with Limitless Publishing. I self-published 4 books before an indie publisher (not Limitless) pursued me and my work. While I didn’t sign with that publisher, it got me thinking about trying my books at an indie publisher.


The pro’s of going with an indie publisher:
– meet lots of great authors
– support/advice from authors and editors
– facebook following grew from 200 followers (after 2 yrs) to 1300 followers (in 7 months)
– have an awesome street team
– have a PA who helps promote and looks for marketing opportunities
– kick butt covers (they pay for it)
– amazing editors (they pay for it)

The con’s of going with an indie publisher:
– the profits are shared with the publisher

Overall, it’s been a wonderful move for me career-wise and highly recommend self-pubbed authors to consider indie publishing. Now, if only I had a chance to compare self-publishing and indie publishing to publishing with one of the big 6 publishers!!!! HINT HINT!