What I Regret About My Debut Novel (Collab with Mari Suggs)

Today I’m teaming up with Mari Suggs, fellow author and YouTuber, to talk about some things we regret about our debut novels. Mari is the author of two novels and one non-fiction novel, so once you read my blog post or watch my video, be sure to check out her video as well! Our goal today is to be completely raw and open with you to know what we feel we could have done better so you can learn from our mistakes. Debut novels are tough. It’s our first novel! We didn’t know what we were doing! I think it’s safe to say almost all authors see things they could have fixed about their debut novel, so today we’re going to sit down and talk about it.

Regret #1: Writing So Young

This first regret isn’t so much a regret as something I question a lot. For those who didn’t know, my debut novel, Essence, was published when I was seventeen. For a novel I wrote when I was so young, I think it’s really good. Essence is a novel that’s full of a lot of emotion and sometimes that can be something that’s hard to write when you’re young. While I think I did a good job, there are times I question if maybe I should have waited. I question if maybe I had spent another year editing that maybe some things could have been better.  But then again, every writer is their own worst critique and it’s hard to say if our novel is good or not.

Regret #2: Publishing So Young

I also question that even was Essence is amazing, if I should have waited to publish until I was better prepared for the publishing process. There were a lot of things I could have done better to publish my book to help boost sales, but I wasn’t in that mindset when I published Essence. I just wanted to publish it. I didn’t have long terms goals in mind. I work in marketing, so looking back on how I published Essence, part of me is really proud of how much I accomplished at such a young age and the other part of me cringes because I know I could have done so much more.

At the same time, while these are things I think about, I still don’t think I would change publishing Essence when I did, because I fear I may have missed some lessons that I needed to learn if I hadn’t published so young.

Regret #3: Not Cutting Some “Stuff”

This last regret is really my biggest regret. While the first two were things that just pop into my mind, this last one really bothers me. It shouldn’t bother me because it’s just something that someone wrote in one of the reviews of Essence, but it stuck with me. There is one scene in my book where I say “this box is labeled” this and “this box is label” that. It’s a stupid scene and it’s a short scene, but it’s a scene that someone pointed out in a review and ever since I’ve read that review it’s a scene that I really wish I didn’t include in the book. So yes, authors do take your criticism when they read reviews.

And those are my three biggest regrets. If you’ve published a novel, let me know in the comments below what your biggest regret is.

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What to Plan When Self-Publishing [Collab with Natalia Leigh]

Today I’m super excited because I’m teaming up with fellow author and YouTuber, Natalia Leigh, to talk to you guys about the different things you should plan for when publishing a book. In my video, I’ll be talking about using advanced reader copies, finding readers, finding your author platform, creating a book trailer, launching your book and marketing your book. Be sure to also check out Natalia’s video because she’ll be talking about formatting your novel, cover design, finding an editor and beta readers!

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Hustle Smarter, Not Harder by Kristen Martin (Review)

Watch on YouTube!

Today I wanted to do something a little different. A few weeks ago a fellow YouTuber/author, Kristen Martin, launched a webinar series called Hustle Smarter, Not Harder. The aim of the webinar is to help you accomplish your goals and learn what steps you need to make your dream into a reality. The webinar is split into three parts that in total add up to about an hour. When you purchase the first webinar, you get the other two for free. You also get a great little workbook!

A Little About Webinars…

Webinars are used a lot in businesses and are usually recorded live so the audience can ask questions along the way. Usually, they’re just a boring slideshow with the presenter talking. Kristen decided to pre-record the webinar, which was a great decision on her part because instead of having to watch a boring slideshow, you get to see her speaking, and sometimes a slide or two. You can watch Kristen’s webinar whenever you want because it is pre-recorded, so there’s no excuse of not being able to fit it into your schedule.

Why Did I Buy?

I love webinars! My job offers them all the time and I try my best to attend/watch as many as I can. I was a little hesitant to buy Kristen’s webinar because 1). I’ve never had to buy a webinar before, my job always paid for them. 2). I’ve done a lot of my own research into life-balancing, career launching, business building, ect. I didn’t think I’d be able to learn anything new from the webinar. In the end, I decided you can never learn enough so I decided to invest in my career and purchase the webinar!

You Will:

  • Pinpoint what is stopping you from achieving your dream
  • Initiate positive thinking
  • Discover your goals and how to make them attainable
  • Learn how to blend your passion with your dream career
  • Learn how to find/pinpoint your audience for your passion/career
  • Find what you’re wasting your time on
  • Learn how to prioritize
  • And lastly you will learn how to take all this and bring it together to launch your career/product

The Pros!

  • Don’t need to take notes! Like I said, Kristen gives you a workbook, which is basically the whole webinar in written form. If she says something that you think is great, instead of having to write it down, just highlight it in your notebook! (I printed mine out because I like having physical copies).
  • You find yourself. Kristen had a lot of little exercises in her workbook that force you to fill in blanks, decide what’ important to you, and how you can improve your schedule. There are some points in the workbook that are really inspiring and I’m not lying when I say I might just print out a few quotes and hang them on my corkboard over my desk.
  • Part 3 was my favorite video, though it was the shortest. It tells you how to launch your business/product from start to end. There’s even a checklist!

The Cons?

  • No pause button. The downside to the webinar platform is that once the video starts, it keeps going. There were a few points I had a hit of inspiration and had to write it down really quick because I didn’t want to miss anything in the video.
  • In total the three videos are an hour, but I’m not sure what they are split up. The first two were pretty long, but the last one was short. I split up watching the videos across a couple of days because I didn’t know how much time I needed to set aside.

Would I recommend? 

Yes! My cons are not so much cons, but technical difficulties. If you’re ready to take your dream seriously, let Kristen’s webinar inspire you.

If you’d like to sign up, visit thatsmarthustle.com, but make sure to do it before August 10th when the sale ends.

AuthorTube WorkInProgress Tag

Watch on YouTube!

So there’s this tag called AuthorTube WIP Tag and I was tagged by the lovely Natalia Leigh. Unfortunately for me, good for all of you, the tag asks questions about my latest work in progress. I wanted to wait until I had a least the first draft of my third novel done before I started revealing information but I figured, eh, why not? So here we have it! The official title reveal of my novel! (Coming to a bookshelf near you)

What is the working title of my book?

To be determined! Right not I call it novel #3 because I’m not original.

Where did the idea for your book come from?

Both my grandparents have/had a form of dementia. I wanted to write a book that reverberates around the themes of desperation to cling onto your loved ones and also the fact that when someone has dementia you loose them twice. First mentally, then physically.

What genre is your work in progress?

Thriller? We’ll have to wait and find out!

Choose the actors for your movie rendition.

I don’t what TV or movies enough to have a list of actors I love…I live in a bubble.

One sentence synopsis of your book.

Sam’s house was on fire the night Willow reached her breaking point, and now she doesn’t care who’s life she ruins when she attempts to find a cure to Alzheimer’s disease.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My goal is to query agents once I’m happy with the outcome of the manuscript. I feel I’ve finally reached the point where I have enough experience and a big enough platform that maybe, just maybe, a publisher will take me on!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m in the first draft phase still, but we’re getting there! I’ve been working on this story since the summer of 2016 but I wasn’t able to get serious about it until recently.

What other books would you compare the story to?

Still Alice by Lisa Genova, in terms of subject matter, not genre. If you haven’t read her novels yet, pick them up! They’re amazing!

Who or what inspired you to write the book?

My grandmother who has frontal temporal dementia (Pick’s Disease) and my Memere who had Alzheimer’s.

What else about your book might peak the reader’s interest?

This novel doesn’t even compare to Essence and I am Mercy. So far, this novel reaches a whole new level (but I may be biased).

I tag: Shaelin Bishop, Kristen Martin, Vivien Reis

My Third Novel is Outlined!

What happens when I’m sick for three days? Well, I think I get a little loopy actually. Lookin at this video now, I realize I should never be allowed to film while I’m sick. Luckily, I have Molly to amp up the cute factor in the video while I sound terrible because I’m still working on getting my voice back. Anyways….I outlined my third novel!

I’ve been having terrible progress with my newest novel for two reasons: I’m busy and I’m lazy. I also had a lot of writer’s doubt, aka I thought of giving up being a writer completely. With outlining this novel I’ve learned once again why I love writing and why I’m going to keep pushing to get better.

My third novel has 31 chapters outlined (a 6-page outline!) and very soon I’ll be starting the actual writing process for it!

Here’s a video on how I used to outline:

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

 

Marketing Your Novel || Self-Publishing

Oh marketing. It is a headache and a half. There’s so much to do, so much to learn! And the market is constantly changing so once you feel like you understand how it works, you have to change your game plan again. So read some good books on marketing to keep your head in the game.

And then there’s the must have’s:

-social media accounts (don’t do all of them, only choose a few!)

-posting on a regular basis

-a website that links back to everything

-cohesive design

I wrote a guest post on marketing on Teen Authors Journal, check it out! http://www.teenauthorsjournal.com/so-you-want-to-sell-your-book/

Books Mentioned:

How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn

Platform (Get Noticed in a Noisy World) by Michael Hyatt

 

Check out another video on marketing!

I’m a Professional Writer?

Last week your guys heard me talk about my job a little bit and how I do a lot of non-fiction writing for it. In case you didn’t know I work as a marketing and PR intern at a large hospital in Massachusetts. I’ve been able to learn an endless amount of skills from this job, from marketing press releases, to just the ins and outs of working in a corporate world. Some of these skills I’ve even been able to incorporate into my novel marketing (it would be more helpful of course if I had a little more time to implement these skills).

 

Plotting Novels with OneNote

I love OneNote! It’s great for taking notes in class but also for plotting novels! Who knew? Use it to organize your note on your characters, chapters, and setting. This is only the tip of the iceberg for OneNote, so be sure to explore it thoroughly!

Explore OneNote now! https://www.onenote.com/

Access your OneDrive: https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/

 

Will My Writing Get Better?

I really tried not to rant too much in this video…

Listen to my reading of my latest writing! http://bit.ly/2f0tYnS

We all know the more you practice something, the better you get. Same goes for writing. I’ve published two novels, so over the years not only has my writing style changed, but so has the quality of writing. I look back at Essence and realize how far I’ve come as a writer. And Essence not being up to par with my current writing isn’t a bad thing! A little embarrassing maybe, but it shows how hard I’ve worked. And it just makes me that much more excited to publish my new novel!

I Wanted to Quit Writing

Please watch the full video!