All about Helping…

This month our topic was, well, there was no topic. It’s a “freebie” month. Scene13ers get to blog about anythingFirst Cover Reveal!they want. Well, normally I don’t like freebies. I freeze. I over-think until I can’t think. I stress myself out to the point that my stress is stressed. But this month something really great happened and I want to share.

Last month I shared that I signed a contract to publish my first young adult contemporary romance, “Unspeakable.” Now I have a novella, “Finding Willow,” releasing, too. But as great as that is, it’s not what I want to write about.

When I wrote my debut novel, “PODs,” I knew nothing about the writing community. I didn’t use critique partners or Betas—I didn’t know what a Beta was! I had no idea there were bloggers that lived to review books, nor did I know how many there were.

But writing “Unspeakable” I had a group of ladies who read my work and told me honestly what worked, what they liked, and what they loved. Man, that was a great feeling to hear them gush over my book! Then came the second half of their email… “And this is what sucks…” Well, that let the air out of my balloon.

Second Cover Reveal!

Second Cover Reveal!

So I read their critiques, did some rewriting and had some Beta readers take a look, mainly girls the age the book would be marketed toward, and of course my group of critique partners.

Their suggestions made a huge difference. “Unspeakable” went from a good book, to a great (IMHO) book. And I realize now how essential, how priceless my CPs and Betas are in my writing career.

But there’s one other group of people other than the bloggers who are golden to authors, CPs and Betas who are priceless, and that group is other authors.

I had two cover reveals in a week. I found out about both the day before. Whoa. So I started emailing anyone I could think of that might help. And the response was Amazing. Many of you already know this because you blog here, and you stepped-up and helped. I want to tell you, you are AWESOME.

The authors that dropped everything to set-up a post at the very last minute—twice—just rocked. The way they came together to help really showed me how tight the bond is between authors. Well, how it should be, anyway.

I love helping other authors. I keep a blog for that reason, and only that reason. But to have it turned around and the help focused on me was a very prodigious experience. And for those of you who helped, thank you. You made my cover reveals awesome.

How about you? Have you ever had a time when you needed help and authors or bloggers jumped in?

It's time to read!

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Summer Reading = Summer Critiquing

This summer I’m doing something I’ve never done before. I’m critiquing other writers’ work and they are critiquing mine. When I first started writing I didn’t know anything about critique groups or beta readers. I just winged it.

After I learned of betas and CPs I found it hard to find a group to join. The writers I met had already built relationships with other writers and most weren’t looking to add another person to the mix, because of time or various other reasons.

Capture

But recently a writer friend from another publishing house asked if I wanted to exchange work. I jumped at the chance. Then she introduced me to a writer she uses as CP, who introduced me to her CP and before I knew it I went from zero to four in a matter of a few weeks.

Before I met the wonderful group of CPs I have now, I’d often wondered if critique partners and betas were really helpful or not and I have to say…absolutely! I’ve learned so much from them. They have great eyes and have caught things in my writing—both grammatically and plot related—that I’d missed. Their feedback and ideas have been incredible.

But more than that, their encouragement has been priceless.

So my summer is filled with books that haven’t hit the shelves yet. Some don’t have titles; some aren’t even finished—and I’m so excited to read them!

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