Valentines Day Advent: Day 2

It’s the first of February! How time flies! It’s also day 2 of my Valentines Day Advent. Check the first blog post HERE.

Day 2: Romances to Read if you like….. (links below)

Before Midnight

Once Upon a Prince (And the entire Rachel Hauk Royal Wedding Series)

Fairest

Go the Distance

Weddings by Bella

Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Series)

February Book Lineup

I’m excited to dive into new books this coming month and I’ve gone through my TBR so that I don’t forget about the ones that have been waiting for me to read. I’m hoping to get to at least half of them but we’ll see with school and life, but I’m determined to get at least one read.

If I get more than that it will be a miracle honestly.

  • Break You Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace

Road to Valentines Day

I’m not usually a big celebrator of Valentines Day but I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite books and book accessories leading up to the holiday for those who needs gift ideas or are looking for books to read themed for the holiday.

Let’s start today!

Day 1: Disney Valentines Books

For those Disney Villain lovers this this cute picture book featuring all the classics from Ursula and Cruella and their henchman looking for the best gift to get their villainous masters.

PURCHASE HERE

Disney Junior Happy Valentine’s Day covers all your kid’s favorite Disney Junior characters all celebrating Valentines Day!

PURCHASE HERE

Do you have a someone in your life who loves Minnie Mouse? Then grab this sparkly fun book and give it to them for Valentines Day!

PURCHASE HERE

Finally, let’s end with a classic- Winnie the Pooh. I loved the Winnie Pooh Valentine movie growing up and this books is just too adorable to pass up!

PURCHASE HERE

My Dream Library

My dream is to one day have an entire room that is a library. I’ve seen so many Pinterest ideas of home libraries and I just want a job that I’d make enough to save up for it (or win the lottery, either option works).

Here’s a little peak to what my ideal library would look like (Pictures from Pinterest)

MY PINTEREST INSPIRATION

My FAVORITE Writing Quotes

As we wrap up January (wow that feels weird to type) I wanted to share a collection of my favorite quotes about writing and art in general.

Enjoy!

“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those dream only by night.” – Edgar Allan Poe

“If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.” Beverly Cleary

“I am a part of everything that I have read.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“I think new writers are too worried that is has all been said before. Sure it has, but not by you.” -Asha Dornfest

“I have lived a thousand lives and I have loved a thousand loves. I’ve walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time. Because I read.” -George R.R Martin

“A pen is to me as a beak is to a hen”. J.R.R Tolkien

“First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.” – C.S Lewis

“The world does not need more Christian literature. What it needs is more Christians writing good literature.” C.S Lewis

How to Create a Media Kit

When you have a brand- whether as an author, blogger, or small business owner, you need to have a media kit.

What is a media kit?

Basically, it’s a group of documents with information about you and your brand. It can include your social media numbers (ie: followers, likes, saves, etc). It’s something that you can give to people when you’re pitching an idea, story, or your business. They used a lot for launches, events, etc. You’ll want to have one because it’s an easy way to sell whatever you are doing.

What’s in a media kit?

            Name

Business Name

            Event/Launch/Project

            Contact Info

            Numbers- followers, past attendance (if it’s an event), sales, etc.

            Testimonials

            Examples of your work- through images or excerpts from writing

How to make a media kit?

            I use Canva for the majority of my graphic design now. I do like Adobe products, but Canva is good when I need something quick and when I can’t afford to make my own graphics. It’s also FREE which is great perk!

            Here’s an example of a media kit:

Now this is obviously just a two-page version. If I was promoting my book to a blogger or even a reporter I’d provide my book cover, sales, blurb, reviews, and of course my book trailer (that you can watch here).

Media kits can be hard to make if you over think it. Just look at it as you telling people about yourself and what you’re trying to promote in a series of easy to read to documents and compelling images. Make it stand out so people won’t forget it (in a positive way).

What’s in a Book Cover?

I think the quote ‘Never judge a book by its cover’ is true for people and not for books. Because that’s how people judge books now. I’ve always been pulled towards books with great covers. The book may be great but if it doesn’t have a compelling or classic looking cover my eyes will graze right over it.

When creating my children’s books and my novel I decided to create the cover myself. I almost hired someone on Fiver to create the cover for my novel, but it was a piece of control over my book that I didn’t want to give up. Because I’m so connected to the book and its characters, I felt I would never be satisfied with someone else’s conception piece of a cover. I went through multiple ideas and a couple were ones I felt determined were THE ONE, but I eventually went with something completely different.

If you have the skills, I highly recommend you create your own cover. No one knows the story better than you. I learned Adobe InDesign and Photoshop in college, and I continued to work on these skills afterward.

When creating your cover make sure you:

  1. Think about the overall essence of the story. What part of your story do you want to use to draw readers in?
  2. Think about the genre and how other book covers in the genre look. You don’t want your book to look out of place beside its fellows.
  3. Think about what catches the eye. What will make the reader pull your book off the shelf? Ask friends and fellow readers of that genre.
  4. Think about the fonts- THEY MATTER!! Your potential readers need to be able to read the title without having to try to decipher the hieroglyphics you chose for a font.
  5. Make it unique. Some may disagree with me on this, but I think it’s important to be current yet unique. I didn’t make mine look like a painting like many others do- instead I used free images (which is an important thing to remember- don’t use copy righted photos!) and with a little Canva magic I created my cover.

Making Lists

I like making lists. Especially to-do lists. I learned that I also enjoyed making myself a writing schedule- a very loose one but a schedule non-the-less. Over the summer of 2021 my mom and I fell into an evening routine of eating dinner, watching a little television then going off to work on our separate projects, and finishing it up with a fun game out on the porch. I made my schedule one based on word-count. I tried for the favorited 1,000-word goal every day, and it helped me progress in my book quicker than if I hadn’t.

I do have a dream schedule of writing that I’d love to do one day when my books make me lots of money and I can make writing my career. Here’s my dream schedule:

8:00 AM – Workout

9:00 AM- Shower

9:30 AM- Journal/Prayer/Meditation

10:00 AM- Use a creative writing prompt to get your creativity started. Turn on music to set the mood.

10:30 AM- Look over where writing left off from previous writing day.

11 AM- Begin writing!

11:30- Stand up and stretch.

12:00- Lunch and Pinterest mood boards for inspiration.

12:45- Anything around the house that HAS TO BE done.

1:00- Back to writing

2:00- Take an afternoon walk; this can also be a great way to break up writer’s block

3:00- Back to writing

3:30- Check story to make sure it’s flowing.

4:00- Break for the day? Or continue with Write for 30 and brain break for 15! *

Of course, you can make your schedule whatever you want but I highly recommend adding brain breaks for the sanity of your creativity. I also give time for getting up and stretching because my body thinks it’s 86 not 26 and has to move every 15 minutes or I get so stiff. Find what works for you and try it! Then try something else. Be flexible but organized.

Balancing Life and Writing

I’ve been back to school for 10 days now (okay technically as I write this it’s 4 days till Christmas, but still). As I think back over the past couple semesters working on my second degree, I’ve had to learn how to balance school/work life with my writing life. I published Adelyn’s Amazing Adventures in October of 2020 (first semester of second degree) and I quickly realized I didn’t have as much time to work on my book as I did over the summer. Last semester (Fall 2021) was even harder!! I made sure I finished the first draft of A Royal Mind BEFORE the semester started and I’m so glad I did. If I hadn’t, I don’t think I would have been able to publish it a couple weeks ago.

I didn’t want to give up or push my writing to the side, just for my degree. However, I also knew I couldn’t spend so much time on my manuscript and forget to my assignments finished. I also knew that one day I’m going to be an English teacher, and I’ll be encouraging my students to find time to write for fun while still in school with homework and extra curriculars. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.

So- how did I do it?

I honestly don’t know.

I just figured it out.

Here’s my tips for you:

  1. Set aside time. Sometimes we know that there’s a certain time every day that we don’t have anything to do- or that we can make our free time. I learned that mine was best during lunch on some days and other days I’d type away waiting on classes to start (in person and online).
  2. Set a timer. Maybe you only have 15 minutes, and you can’t go past that. Use your phone timer and make yourself stop when it goes off. It may not always feel like much but it’s better than nothing.
  3. Write right before bed. There have been things like reading, exercises, etc. that I’ve learned to make a part of my nightly routine. Writing might be something you can only give time to at night after everything else is done. Again, set yourself a timer so you don’t get to lost and stay up and lose sleep. Make writing a part of your nightly routine!

Tips for Finding an Editor

The only editor I usually trust is my mom. She’s an amazing writer with a keen eye for details. She’s helped me on numerous projects through school and my children’s book Adelyn’s Amazing Adventures. When I was in high school, she taught me how to edit my papers and that you really have to sit down and give a piece your full focus if you’re going to catch any mistakes.

She started proofreading the first draft of A Royal Mind, BUT I also knew I needed professional help as well. This is my first novel and the main part I wanted to make sure was strong, from an unbiased POV, and that meant hiring an editor.

Sign Up for Fiverr

Boy this part of my publishing journey was nerve wracking. I looked for websites and found Fiver. If you’re unfamiliar with Fiverr it’s a website where you can offer your skills in editing, marketing, etc. for others or search for editors, illustrators, bloggers, etc. to hire for your project. I hired one reader/editor and they gave me good points that helped me a lot, and it felt refreshing to have someone I didn’t know read my very, very rough draft. However, I felt like I still needed something more, someone more really, someone who would go through it with a fine-tooth comb. I did a lot of research of affordable editors on Fiverr, I looked at reviews (especially the bad ones). Finally, I found one that seemed reputable and in my price range. C.K has been such a HUGE help in the making of my book. He’s great at looking for and at details. He works quickly, he communicates with his clients, and he does an overall fantastic job. When he was done with my book and I used a couple of his suggestions in editing, I truly felt like I could present my book to world.

3 Things to Consider When Looking for an editor:

  1. Find someone you work well with- contact them first and tell them about your project to see if you all would be a good fit.
  2. Check and double check reviews!! I’m serious here. Look at their negative reviews- the good ones will have replied to them and most likely explain why that person gave the negative review. Or the best one I saw was when an editor commented back that the client seemed happy with their work and their negative review didn’t make sense.
  3. Find an editor who is stickler for details. Down to the sentence. Sometimes when we’re writing we become lost in thought, or we delete a paragraph and forget to make it flow with the rest of the story. C.K caught a couple of these in my story and I was so glad he did!

SIGN UP FOR FIVERR