Surviving Your Book Launch

Last week, my debut went out into the world. It was exciting, amazing, surreal. And, I’ll be completely honest with you guys, I’m glad it’s over.

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Crazy, right? I worked for that moment for years and years, I should be savoring every moment of it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fabulous feeling. But here’s the thing, debut day felt more about me than the book. Now that the excitement is over, the focus is back on the book.

My original post had a handful of tips on getting through a book launch. I was reading over it before sending it to Tasha and realized those are pretty much the same tips everyone gave me. And while helpful, they were useless when the day actually came.

So here are my tips for you …

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1) Stock up on Kleenex. I knew I’d be emotional but I wasn’t expecting to be that emotional. Seeing pictures and comments from people who’d bought my book did me in. And it was the people I least expected that brought the most tears.

2) Step away from social media during the day. Friends told me to book a pedicure, massage, lunch with a loved one, something, anything. I didn’t. I had work to do – guest posts to comment on, more posts and Q&As to work on, revisions to finish on the next book. And, of course, respond to the congratulations posts on the various social media platforms.

At one point shortly after lunch (and mid-way into box 2 of Kleenex), I shut my computer down. I watched an episode of NCIS and I worked on a crochet horse. Then I went to pick up my son from school and for the next few hours, I focused on him. By the time I got back to email and social media notifications, I was (mostly) re-stocked on emotional fortitude.

3) Do something for someone else. I’ve never been very comfortable being in the spotlight, so while this was an amazing day, it was also pushing me way beyond my comfort zone. The night before, a friend had sent me an email asking for advice “when I came up for air.” Responding to her was the air I needed to feel more grounded in the whirlwind of emotion. And as an extra boost, I went back to working on the mother’s day gift for my mom.  🙂

4) Shelve your expectations. Someone told me once that if you don’t expect, you’re not disappointed. That’s too cynical for me. So yeah, I had a few expectations. Some were met, most were not to be perfectly honest. They weren’t lofty expectations, either – I wasn’t looking at the best seller list. And maybe that’s what made them harder to swallow.

So I suppose this bit of advice falls under the “do what I say, not what I do” category. I’m not sure I’ll be any better about this when book 2 launches. Except maybe by then, I’ll know how to outsmart those expectations that refuse to be denied.

5) Buy yourself a gift. At the end of the day, I splurged on myself. I bought a $5 decal for my computer. Now when I grab my laptop and see the decal of the horse head, it makes me crazy happy and reminds me that my hard work paid off, I have a book out in the world. And it also reminds me that there’s a lot more hard work ahead.
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orlyOrly Konig is an escapee from the corporate world where she spent roughly sixteen (cough) years working in the space industry. Now she spends her days chatting up imaginary friends, drinking entirely too much coffee, and negotiating writing space around two over-fed cats. She is the founding president of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association , and an active member of Writers In The Storm blog and Tall Poppy Writers. She is represented by Marlene Stringer of Stringer Literary. Her debut women’s fiction, The Distance Home, released from Forge in May 2017. You can find her online at www.orlykoniglopez.com or on GoodreadsTwitterFacebook, and Pinterest

Thinking in Threes: Triple MG Interview

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Today on the blog, we’re featuring triplet debut authors Jill Diamond, Elly Swartz, and our own Elaine Vickers! These three authors’ books were released just this week, and they each agreed to answer three of our interview questions. Bonus: They also agreed to do a giveaway! Check the end of the post to find out how you could win a critique from all three authors. But first, the interview…

finding-perfectWhere did your initial story idea come from?

Elly Swartz, author of Finding PerfectOne day, I woke-up with Molly in my head, and she wouldn’t leave until I told her story. At the time, I knew a number of adults and kids whom I was very close with who had OCD. I was awed by the disconnect between how they saw themselves and the world saw them. I then spent the next 7 years researching OCD, writing Molly’s story, and working with OCD pediatric specialists to authenticate the manifestation, discovery and treatment of Molly’s symptoms. Between research and the writing, I learned so much from Molly. She has stayed with me long after wrapping up my final draft. Truly, I think a piece of Molly will stay with me always.

Jill Diamond, author of Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural MysteryI actually came up with Lou Lou and Pea’s names before anything else. I adore naming things! After that, I knew I wanted to write a story inspired by the people, traditions, art, and culture that I love about my neighborhood, the Mission District in San Francisco. I also knew I wanted it to be a mystery and a friendship story. It all kind of fell into place from there, and Lou Lou and Pea were born!

Elaine Vickers, author of Like MagicFrom an editor’s tweet to an agent. (Neither of whom I ended up working with! So you’re not wasting your time on Twitter, folks. 🙂 There was an article about an American Girl doll being checked out from the New York Public Library that this agent and editor felt would make a great middle grade novel. I agreed, and I couldn’t get it out of my head, so I wrote the story. The doll was replaced by a hollowed-out book box after several revisions, but that tweet and that article started it all.

lm-coverTo whom is your book dedicated, and why did you choose that particular dedication line?

Elaine: My dedication line reads:

for my mom

and my daughters

who make my life

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Like Magic is a story of connection—between friends, but also between mothers and daughters. My mom has been my greatest support all my life—the kind of mom I hope to be for my own daughters. So it felt just right to dedicate it to them.

Jill: My dedication line reads:

For Nancy Diamond, known to her students as The Best Librarian in the Whole Wide World, known to me as Mom

I dedicated the book to my mom because it could never have existed without her. My mom was an elementary school librarian and a true champion of children’s literature. I began working on the book when I was caring for her during a terminal illness. I thought it was a fitting way to honor her, particularly because my mom greatly influenced my love of both reading and creative writing.


Elly: 
My dedication line says, “To James, Joshua and Gregory. You make my heart smile every day. I love you.” James is my husband of 26 years, and Joshua and Gregory are our sons. I dedicated this book to them as they are truly my whole heart. On this long journey to YES, their belief in me never wavered. They make me proud and so very happy. I am beyond grateful. And lucky.

lou-louWhat is the best reader response you’ve ever had for this book?

Jill: My favorite feedback thus far was from someone who won an ARC of LOU LOU AND PEA in a raffle. She tweeted: “My daughter LOVED Lou Lou & Pea! She gobbled it up in one night, told me it was super funny (her highest praise), and said she wants to learn Spanish. So – THANK YOU!”

Elly: I had the privilege of Skyping with a class whose teacher had an arc of Finding Perfect that she had read aloud to all of her students. When we Skyped, we spoke a lot about Molly and her unattainable definition of perfect. In response, this fourth grader shared his interpretation of what perfect meant to him after reading Molly’s story and participating in our discussion. I was truly moved.

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Elaine: When I read this book to my daughter for the first time, she surprised me with a Lego recreation of a key scene in the book. I think it will be hard for anything to top that, ever.

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And now for the best part…

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and win a critique of the first five pages of your MG or YA manuscript by Elaine Vickers, Elly Swartz, and Jill Diamond!

Good luck!


JillDiamond_Headshot.pngJill Diamond has loved children’s literature for as long as she can remember, thanks to her school librarian mother and the long, cold winters in Maine. When she’s not writing, Jill practices law, dreams about her next travels, eats soft serve ice cream, and wears cowboy boots. Jill now lives in San Francisco with her husband and their son. Visit her at www.jilldiamondbooks.com or on Twitter @jillinboots


ellyElly Swartz’s debut novel, Finding Perfect (FSG) is about twelve-year-old Molly, friendships, family, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. Through the years, Elly’s been a Sesame Place ride operator, messenger, lawyer, legal author, and college essay adviser. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.


profile-picElaine Vickers is the author of Like Magic (HarperCollins) and loves writing middle grade and chapter books when she’s not teaching college chemistry or hanging out with her fabulous family. You can find her at elainevickers.com on the web, @ElaineBVickers on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, or generally anywhere there are books and/or food for her consumption.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing a Trilogy

Writing a book is exhilarating, frustrating, satisfying, challenging, fulfilling, and let’s face it. 
It’s exhausting. 
Today I’m sharing some of the things that I learned while writing my YA trilogy. First and foremost: when you write a trilogy, multiply that exhilaration, frustration, satisfaction, challenge, fulfillment, and exhaustion by factors of three. 


If you’re thinking of writing a trilogy, here are some questions you might want to ask yourself first. If you’re a plotter, you may find it useful to work out these answers in your outline before you start drafting. If you’re a pantser writer like I am, you can still be a pantser and write a trilogy. However, you do eventually have to sit down and think about how you want to answer these questions along the way. 



1. What are the major themes for the overall trilogy? For each story?
Pick one or two common themes to weave throughout the trilogy, but also think about unique themes for each. Each story will build on the previous one so you don’t have to recreate the wheel with each, but you want to give your readers something new every time.
Star Wars had some great themes (e.g., the struggle to master The Force). Themes are essential.
2. What is significant (and new) about your characters’ struggles and challenges in each story? 
The first story needs to suck in the reader and get him/her invested in the characters and their struggles. The stakes need to rise with the next story and during a good part of the third before the epic resolution. (Think Lord of the Rings: Return of the King).
The struggle should be significant in each story, not rehashing the same old thing.
3. What is the overall ending? 
Even if you’re more of a pantser like me, you need to have an idea of the endgame for the trilogy. Where will your characters be in terms of development? How will the major issues that have been building in books one and two be resolved? 

Elements of your story may change from your original idea as you draft and revise, but you should plan out your endgame from the beginning.
4. Do the first two stories end at natural and appropriate breaking points?
You shouldn’t be resolving all of the issues that your character’s have in book one and two. Most of that should happen in the last book. Yes, cliffhangers happen (remember The Empire Strikes Back?), but your characters should be developing and at least be working toward solutions by the end of book one and two. Your readers need something to keep them going.
Cliffhangers for the sake of cliffhangers are not going to make your readers happy.
5. Does it need to be a trilogy?
This is probably the most difficult question to answer, but it needs to be asked. Do you have enough story for a trilogy? Do your characters need an entire trilogy to deal with their issues? Can you build those necessary stakes and envision a resolution? Are you invested enough in your story and characters to run that long mile with them? Because they’ll need you.
Writing a trilogy is like running seventeen marathons.
As for me, I walked, ran, and stumbled through that VERY long mile with my characters. 390K later, and I’m thrilled (and exhausted) to announce that I completed my first trilogy! 
(It might not even be my last, though I’m currently planning on writing a few stand-alones before I attempt another trilogy.)
In celebration of being DONE with my trilogy, book one is FREE through May 14.
Book two is on sale at $1.99. And book three? I just published it last Friday!  
#endgame
#celebratorybaddance
There they all are! I’m super excited that my characters all got closure at the end of the trilogy (except for the ones that died…okay, maybe even those characters) and also super sad that it’s over. 

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Helen Boswell loved to get lost in the pages of a story from the time she could sound out the words. She credits her dad, an avid fiction reader, with encouraging her to read ALL OF THE BOOKS on his shelves from the time she was a teenager. An author of both urban fantasy and contemporary romance, she loves to read and write characters that come to life with their beauty, flaws, and all. She is the author of YA urban fantasies MYTHOLOGY, THE WICKED, THE ETERNAL, and NA contemporary romance LOSING ENOUGH. She is also one of the authors of the YA/NA crossover anthology LOSING IT.