Calling all aspiring authors! I’ve co-launched a new business offering writing resources and personal coaching to guide you through the step-by-step process of writing, publishing, and marketing a successful Young Adult or Middle Grade novel. We’ll be sharing podcasts, videos, blogs, worksheets, and more.

As part of this, you can enroll in a personalized coaching program, where you’ll have virtual meetings with us twice per week and we’ll guide you through the process of completing your novel.

Visit BlockbusterYA.com to see the resources published so far, and join the site to get writing advice to your inbox. Example topics include:

  • how to structure your story to fit the blueprint used by Hollywood
  • character design worksheets for your protagonist, antagonist, and supporting cast
  • inspiring pep talks to help you get through your self-doubts and struggles

… plus how to get published, marketing advice, and everything else you need to know to build a successful author platform. I look forward to connecting with you!

Today, author C. A. Gray interviewed me on her podcast, where I discussed my decision to self-publish, book marketing advice, inspiration for Ice Massacre, and what I’m working on now.

Listen here

A few things YA author Maggie Stiefvater taught me THROUGH THE POWER OF LITERATURE. (Also posted on Tumblr, where, incidentally, it got reblogged by Maggie Stiefvater! Yay!)

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Ultimate self-publishing checklistThis guide to self publishing a book is based on my own experience as a Canadian author. The general process applies everywhere, but I have included steps for those of us living outside the USA. (If you’re American, sorry eh, just skip those parts.) My hope is that this checklist will save other writers time, stress, and needless trial and error.

New: If you’re writing YA or MG and are looking for more help on writing, publishing, marketing, and franchising your novel, I’m offering author coaching services through blockbusterYA.com. I’ll personally guide you through the step-by-step process of building your author platform and hitting your goals as a successful indie author.

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Inventing fictional worlds! It’s so much fun! Until you get halfway through your novel and realize you’ve forgotten to take into account something vital to society like an education system. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a list to consult before you start writing?

This Worldbuilding Checklist is the combined knowledge of about a dozen panelists at Norwescon 39, plus my own notes for my Mermaids of Eriana Kwai trilogy. I’m endeavouring to make this list as complete as possible. Let’s collaborate on it! If you have suggestions, please add them in the comments.

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The Frankfurt book fair released an annual report of international book market trends, The Business of Books 2015. It contains publishing industry statistics and observations from the past few years. Here are my key takeaways and thoughts on what this all means for indie authors.

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On his way to his goal, your protagonist will likely come to a time when he needs to get information out of someone. How do I sneak into the fortress? What do you know about the dognapping? Where have you hidden my MacGuffin?

First of all, don’t make this easy for your protagonist. That’s conflict. That’s the heart of a story. The more valuable the information, the harder he should have to work for it.

To write this scene, exploit your protagonist’s strengths and the opponent’s weaknesses. This can manifest in a variety of ways. Let’s look at a few examples.

Continue reading my guest post at Writers Helping Writers


Header image via flickr

A good book launch party should be about the guests as much as it should be about your personal achievement. Your guests are there in support of you, so make sure you greet them with food, drink, entertainment, free swag, and the chance to win prizes.

The preparations are a lot of work, but this step-by-step checklist should help reduce that feeling of floundering aimlessly as your launch day approaches. Start planning 3-4 months in advance, and don’t be afraid to accept help from those who offer.

Book launch party checklist
Click the image to see the graphic, or click here to download the PDF. Read on to see my thoughts and recommendations for each list item.

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Finding beta readers and hiring a structural/substantial editor is a vital part of writing a book. Yes, a copyeditor is necessary too, but don’t overlook the importance of getting input on the broader aspects of your story. Even if you’re an expert storyteller, other people will see places for improvement that you won’t. So after you’ve finished your manuscript, take those extra steps of hiring a professional structural editor and seeking out a few beta readers to make your book the best it can be.

Of course, having people tell you everything that’s wrong with your story is painful.

advice on editor feedback

Here’s my advice on accepting feedback from editors and beta readers…

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If epic battle scenes make such exciting climaxes, then a whole book full of them would be like the most exciting story ever, right?! … Right?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve skimmed pages of pointless fighting in order to get back to the plot.

Writing a book about a war promises excitement, but like any aspect of writing, you need to be writing epic battle scenes carefully in order to see them at their full potential. Let’s look at five essential guidelines for writing epic battle scenes.

Continue reading my guest post at Helping Writers Become Authors

I was talking with a writer friend recently, and we got into a discussion on traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. She’s been querying agents like crazy. I’ve been doing self-publishing prep like crazy. She was surprised to find out I didn’t even bother trying to get an agent or traditional publishing contract.

Why would I do such a thing? Why would I not even try to get a publisher?

I’ve done a lot of research on the matter, and while both approaches have advantages, I decided self-publishing was a better option for me. Let’s talk about why.

Continue reading my guest post at The Book Designer

The 2014 Art of Marketing conference in Vancouver featured incredible speakers and big-name sponsors, each presenter offering a unique perspective on the current and future state of marketing—knowledge as essential to the author as it is to the startup tech company.

Read my guest post at Jane Friedman’s blog for my big conference takeaways, including how to find your audience, earn trust, live generously, and generally make your network blow up like a marshmallow in a microwave.