Monday, April 25, 2016

BACK OFF, I'M A NINJA Cover Reveal!

Today is the day! I hope you are all as excited as I am to finally see the end of the I'm A Ninja series. It has been with me since 2008 and I'm more than ready to finally finish the series and have a trilogy to my name. It's been a long time coming, and a difficult process. I learned all the hardest lessons in publishing with Tosh and my ninjas, and it is personally rewarding to have gone forward with this series regardless of all the struggles. So let's get on with this cover reveal!!!










Wheeee! I found this image in 2013, and I knew immediately that it would be the perfect cover for the last book. Tosh goes through some seriously rough times, and though he's fighting it feels impossible to make it through. I felt like this guy, with the red hoodie and sense of despair, really captured the dire situation of the third book. 


Now, on to the copy. *WARNING* If you haven't read the first two books, this copy may contain some spoilers like information. Read at your own risk.

Tosh and Amy may have managed to keep the demon Akuma in the kami realm, but that hardly spells success. While the living realm is spared, Akuma consumes all kami in his path. Even worse—he’s targeting Tosh and Amy’s ancestors, consuming them and weakening the Inyo all in one shot. 

When Akuma’s Clan murders not just ancestors but their living relatives, Tosh and Amy can’t waste time mourning those they’ve lost. They must get stronger. They must defeat Akuma before he siphons all their power and more people die.

Just as they approach their peak strength, Akuma’s dark shaman deals a devastating blow. Weakened and captured by the enemy, Tosh and Amy have run out of options. Unless they can discover a new kind of strength, they must not only sever their connection with each other but lose their souls, and every else’s, to Akuma.

BACK OFF, I'M A NINJA will be out August 30, 2016, but you can win it NOW along with the whole series by entering this giveaway! The first two novels will be sent to you as soon as I have a winner, while BACK OFF will come when I get my first batch of copies. The giveaway is open to the US, Canada, and the British Commonwealth. So get entering!

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Embracing A Book's Process

I'm currently writing the last in my Ninja series—BACK OFF, I'M A NINJA. And as I'm slogging through this book I can't help thinking it not like writing any of my other books. I'm only half way through and I've been writing since last October 2015 (I'm usually done with a draft by now!). The plot is crawling out of me in odd and ends, and I keep having to go back to add pieces I didn't know or skip forward to what I do know (I usually have a more linear approach!). It's a rare occasion where I've not met my own (or my publisher's) deadlines (Because of health reasons, but still!).

Basically, I've written over 20 novels at this point...and I'm still being surprised by my own "process."

I think a lot of authors, especially new ones, have this idea in their head that they have The One True Process that will work for them and their writing for their entire careers. I'm here to tell you to throw that idea out the window.

While we all have some consistency in the way we write, I can tell you without a doubt that the process for writing every single novel I've written has been different. Some have flowed out of me in a flurry of inspiration. Some have been worse than pulling teeth. Some have been organized with a clear plot path, others have been by the seat of my pants with heavy revisions. Some have been linear in writing, others have been very non-linear.

I tend to fight the process of a particular novel for a while. Like, I should have learned by now but I have to get to the point in every novel where I realize I need to embrace the particular process of THIS book instead of trying to force it to come out how I want it to.

Because when you just accept a novel's process, everything goes easier. When you just say, "Hey, the last book came out plot point by plot point, yeah, but this one isn't and that's okay!" ...That's when you're really going to start making progress. We can get so hung up on if we're writing the "right way" or not, but really I'm finding there isn't even a single right way for me personally to write, let alone any other writer's style. When drafting, whatever works is what works. And embracing the ugliness of that first draft and how to spews out is as important as accepting the revisions to come.

And revisions always have their own process, too. Some are smooth and light. Others are major overhauls. I've experienced everything in between those and then some. Facing a new form of revision, or unexpected amounts of revision, can be difficult as well. Whenever I get a revision letter from a crit partner or editor, my brain first wants to fight those points because changing them will be hard. But when I embrace the feedback and find the path to fix the issues, edits always turn out great.

So if you're struggling in either drafting or editing right now, I encourage you to find a way to embrace the process of your current project. Don't compare it to another project or wish it wasn't they way it is—just do the work that needs to be done in the way that you must. It'll turn out just fine, and you'll be a lot less stressed.

Now, back to this beast of the final in the trilogy for me!

Monday, March 28, 2016

How To Keep Going

When I was 21, I decided to really go for my childhood dream of being an author. I'd written all my life, but not really thought I could achieve that whole "being publishing for real" thing. It seemed so big, so much grander than little ol' me. In a lot of ways I still feel like that, and I have wanted to quit more times than I care to count.

But somehow, I'm now 32 and I'm still writing novels. Some of those novels are even "for reals published" and junk.

For some reason this year I've been in awe of just how long I've managed to keep going. I mean, writing and publishing is HARD. Like, super hard. Mentally, emotionally, and even physically—this profession taxes you to the very brink of sanity. It'll suck you dry if you let it. Chew you up and spit you out and laugh as you slowly wither away on the cold hard ground. I wish I was being dramatic, but that is pretty accurate in some cases.

So, how do you keep going? WHY would you even want to keep going? I'm going to try and answer that today, should you, like me, ever consider running and not looking back from this crazy career called "being an author."

Focus On The Writing. I don't know how it works, but I know that it does. Whenever I'm getting down on myself and how much I suck as an author because I'm not "enough" of anything (famous enough, cool enough, on trend enough, eloquent enough, recognized enough, loved enough, blah blah blah), going back to the basics always makes an impact on me. If I can just manage to be with MY story and write MY way and love MY own stuff, all the other crap seems to work out alright. Ultimately, that's what authors do, right? They make stories. So make stories. However you want.

Develop Discipline. The thing about being an author is you answer to yourself in the end. Yeah, you might have deadlines at some point if you sell your work, but people miss those deadlines and they can be pushed back and books are canceled. Also, you will ALWAYS end up back at "this story isn't under contract, and I have to actually write it to sell it"—lemme tell you, there's no deadline on that. You need to develop some form of discipline. I'm not telling you to write everyday (I don't.). I'm not saying to get a sticker calendar or report to a friend or do word sprints. Those are all well and good. And they can help. But none of it will work without an innate form of discipline.

What does that mean? Well, it means The Will To Write comes from deeper inside. Discipline is writing even when the story gets hard and you know you're screwing it up. Discipline is writing when you know the book won't sell or has slim chances or is even just for you. Discipline is writing YOUR story even when you know it's not "on market." It's an innate desire to DO, regardless of just how damn difficult the doing becomes. Get that, and you'll keep going. Maybe even when you don't want to anymore, heh.

Eyes On Your Own Paper. Comparing sucks. We all do it. It's nearly impossible to avoid in any creative career path, but it can be deadly to your ability to write if you let it get out of control. Just imagine you're back in grade school taking a test—there's a difference between an accidental glance at a neighbor's paper and sitting there staring at it for answers, right? Except in the writing world you can't really cheat/steal, so you're just staring at someone's unique paper and wishing it was yours instead of enjoying how unique your own paper is.

This goes both for the stories you write AND the publishing path you end up on. We all have different ones. Our paths to publication are as unique as our words. I can tell you right now—in the 11 years I've been trying to sell I have never once heard two authors who have the same path to publication. Similar? Sure. But never 100% exactly the same. Just like we can have similar novels but the details make them vastly different.

So no more comparing. Enjoy your journey. Rejoice in the successes of others who are on their own paths.

Be Bold—Experiment. Maybe it won't get published, but writing can get dry and tired if you're too afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. The stories that have scared me the most have not only taught me the most, but they've actually been my most successful when it comes to the publishing side of things. They're the books I'm the most proud of. They're the stories that have helped me not only grow as a writer, but as a person. They've kept me going when I thought I was all but done.

Talk To People. Writing may take place in a vacuum, but that doesn't mean you have to be alone in the journey. I know I would've given up long ago if I hadn't had writing friends, crit partners, mentors, and even just authors I admire and follow on social media to lift me up when I'm down. Other writers get the struggle, and I've never met another writer who has told me to give up. Even though it can feel like we're all competing against each other at times—talk to writers and you'll find a huge support system of people who get it and who want you to keep going. Sometimes, they've been the only reason I still write.

Don't Be Afraid To Take A Break. I didn't write creatively from my Junior year in high school to my college graduation. Had I quit? Sometimes I thought I did, but I was still writing non-fiction and dreaming of writing my own stories again. It just wasn't the right time to do it. Full disclosure? I haven't completed a novel since February of 2015. Basically, I've been either not writing or just fooling around for a whole year. And you know what? That's okay. I've needed this time. I haven't stopped thinking about writing (as much as I sometimes wanted to), but stepping away has brought me new perspective and given me a chance to refill my "creative wells," as they say.

Get Rid Of Guilt. Guilt over not writing or writing too much. Guilt over having no success to show for your work, or guilt over having more success than you feel you deserve. Guilt over not having enough time to write AND interact with readers. Guilt over taking too long to write a novel or too short a time (according to some). Guilt over too many awards or not enough. Guilt. Just get rid of that crap. It's a waste of your emotional energy. Free yourself from it, allowing you to...

Love Your Work. Look, you're allowed to adore what you write, okay? Even if it sucks right now, or even if it continues to suck for forever. Even if it's difficult to revise and will take ages to get right. Even if it's not going to sell or it's too weird or whatever excuse your brain tries to invent to convince you not to love your book. Love it anyway.

Because there are going to be PLENTY of people out there ready and waiting to tell you that you suck—why be one of them? Why sabotage yourself from the beginning just because there will be haters (and there will be, no matter who you are)? Why make the writing process more painful than needed by convincing yourself that what you're doing isn't worthwhile?

It can be hard to fight those inner demons, but fight them anyway. You're writing your story because you think it's awesome. And you SHOULD think it's awesome! Of course you should. Why would anyone write a book they thought was stupid? It's too much work for that. So embrace the reality that you love what you're creating, and don't let crap get in the way of that.

I'm mostly saying all this for myself, because if I'm struggling to keep going I've usually fallen into one of these pitfalls of guilt or self-doubt or fear. But I've pushed through anyway. And you can, too! It's all in the discipline. In accepting you can do hard things and just because writing is hard sometimes doesn't make it bad. It's just part of the process.

So keep going. If I can, you definitely can.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Diversity As Trend? Please.

First, hi, long time no blog. I filter comments after a post is two weeks old or more—since I tend to get a lot of spam comments—but boy have I also missed a lot of sweet messages from people! If you're one of them, thanks for still reading this little blog though it's been much neglected.

Second, I've been thinking a lot about some of the things going on about diversity in books lately. There have been a recent string of articles by people of color asking white authors to please research and get in the shoes of a POC before writing, to be aware of issues, to really work hard to represent in a real way. These articles have been met with hostility in a lot of cases. And there have already been a lot of responses by the community as a whole. I don't know why I feel I need to contribute, but it won't let me go.

So here's my story with this. Take it for what it is.

I look white. I'm not all the way white. I have included a diverse cast in the majority of my work not because I'm on a mission or because I want to be on trend—it's part of my organic experience as a person and I wanted to see my world in my writing as I think we all do. As a person who passes as white, but comes from a history of people who've been marginalized, I have always been ultra-aware of the difference in how I'm treated because of how I look. And this is what I have seen:

My Books With POC As Main Characters Have Not Sold To Publishers. That is just straight up the reality. I have 8 published novels—the three with white main characters are published traditionally in the US (Transparent, House Of Ivy & Sorrow, My Little Brony). The I'M A NINJA series? FISH OUT OF WATER? Both we subbed for over a year and did not sell. Though I consider them quality work and on par or better than what publishers have bought from me.

While Subbing My POC Main Characters, I Noticed A Severe Uptick In "I Don't Identify With This MC" Comments. This is like code for "editor doesn't feel comfortable with the character being not white or not cis or not insert-whatever-here." That sounds mean, but with my white MCs rejections were "this plot didn't grab me" or "I liked the MC but I wasn't grabbed by the story." Always the story. Not the character. With my POC MCs...the rejections seem to be more often character-based for me and not story.

Also While Subbing POC Mains, I've Received Sometimes Flat Out Racist Rejections. And sometimes very "micro-agressiony" rejections. And sometimes half-hearted attempts to blame it on marketing. But the fact is, it happens. I'm not just imagining it, nor are POC authors nor are white-authors writing POC characters. I have real rejections from the industry that say these things, and I'm pretty sure the editors had no idea how hurtful those comments were, but they still happened.

I've Seen Dozens Of White-Washed Cover Comps. Just among my own writing circle. Some were changed before publication, many were not. And you know what? The most quiet, insidious ones are those where they just put no one on the cover rather than reveal that the MC is a POC. That happens a lot. Rather than "risk" a cover telling the market that this book is about not-white people, they'd rather have them find out after purchase or, in sci-fi/fantasy cases, just mentally white-wash them even when they read descriptions that contradict.

As A White-Passer, I Still Feel Huge Fear Over Getting It Wrong. I freak out about this all the time. All. The. Effing. Time. Even after all my research and knowing I'm not *just* white and trying very hard to live in the varying shoes of POC lives, I sometimes want to unpublish all my work and hide from those things I probably also did wrong in all my good intentions. That fear? It never goes away. I've been writing diversity before this was something we talked about online, twenty books worth, and no I don't feel like I'm an expert and I am positive I never will be. I'm also positive no one is.

As A White-Passer, I Still Get The Urge To Want Pats On The Back. This is where I become super aware of how white-privilege affects me. Because even knowing all I know, I still sometimes have those knee-jerk white reactions. Did a part of me squirm inside over these articles about white people doing it wrong? Yes! Yes, I squirm every time. I get a little frustrated and feel helpless because I want to change it and I can't really and I'm trying and UGH why does our world have to SUCK? I want to be patted on the back for trying, but I also know I don't deserve those pats. And that's okay.

I could go on, but this is long as it is. These are just some of my realities as a person whose been in publishing for, oh, six years now? And these are just MY experiences with the unfairness of the business when it comes to diversity. This isn't even all the accounts I've heard from others.

So when people talk of Diversity as some kind of trend, I get a little ragey. I'll admit it. Do you know what a trend is? It's something that helps a book sell. It's something popular. In all my experience in publishing, I've sadly never, ever seen someone have a leg up because they were a POC author or were writing a POC MC. In fact, it's quite the opposite—all I've seen is higher chances of disadvantage. I've personally felt like it was a strike against me, but I did it anyway because that was the story I needed to tell.

This stuff is hard to hear. I know. It's hard for me to say it. It's hard to have experienced it. But when we read these articles, I hope we can listen. Because no one is making these problems up. No one is over-exaggerating. If you see diversity as a trend, please think for a bit on how wildly cruel that is. Not only is it implying that POC are some kind of magical thing like a vampire or wizard or girl on fire or other passing interest, but it implies that somehow POC authors and books with POC are  successful at a time when it's still a serious struggle to get published and even sell those books.

Trend...sigh. It's more accurate to call it a liability in the eyes of most publishers whether they say it or not. That is the unpleasant truth we are trying to change.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Paying The Piper

Everyone's mind is on the New Year, on the new hopes and plans we love to make this time of year. I admit I love it, and I don't care if half the goals I make go unaccomplished. Having this time to review where I am, where I've been, and where I want to go it always exciting to me. A fresh start. A new thing to tackle.

But this New Year I have been in a state of deep reflection on 2015, even on the years before. The future is quite blank with plans for me for once. Maybe this is what happens as you age. Maybe it's just another way my life is forcing me to slow down.

You see, I spent much of 2015 sick. The first six months were not only plagued by one of my worst depression periods in a long time, but I also got shingles (super painful, don't recommend it). I spent the summer adjusting to new medications and worked very hard to be gentle with myself while I recovered. Just as my mental health was finally getting to a strong enough place that I could write again, I began getting strep throat. It doesn't sound so bad—we've all had it—but, let me tell you, having it every month for now four months is horrible. And it has completely killed any hope of productivity, and also my health in general. I'm so weak. So tired. So frustrated that I can't do anything without coming home spent and sick.

So this is my voice of warning here.

This year of sickness and struggle and almost no writing? It started long before 2015 was even a thought in my mind. Really it started in 2011, when I sold my first two novels to HarperTeen. That was so wonderful and exciting, but it also came with pressure. With stress. My goals shifted from just "selling a book." Now I wanted to succeed at being a writer, not just publish a book. I wanted my books to be well known, not just on a shelf. I hoped for lists and awards and tours like all debuts do.

None of that stuff really happened. But I kept trying to make it happen. I rolled up my sleeves and got out the elbow grease. More books. As many events as would take me. Paying for my own tour with a friend. Being on countless failed subs. Indie publishing in the meantime. Promoting. Tweeting. Whatever. I tried very hard to become important and to keep believing I was.

I failed on both accounts.

And this year has not just brought the acceptance of that (which I'm immensely grateful for), but the consequences for driving myself into the ground during my debut and the year after. I'm paying the piper, so to speak, for borrowing from my future health to survive the overloaded plate I gave myself for much of 2011-2014.

What do I have to show for my blitz of work? I have 8 novels, which I'm proud of. But that's about it. No mountain of money (or even a modest stack). No awards. No conferences asking me to come back. Effectively, I've been forgotten by the industry for the most part. This isn't all that bad—a lot less stressfull—but it's not where I expected to be or where all my lofty goals were supposed to take me.

It's funny, how you can accomplish all your goals…and yet not have any of the expected results.

Because I accomplished SO MUCH. Who publishes 8 novels within 2 years of their debut? Not many people. I'm proud of that, regardless of continued lack of "success" in a worldly measure. I've learned a lot and I love what I write, though at times I've been super depressed about how few people seem to share my affection for my writing.

But sometimes it's hard to feel proud when you're lying in bed with stress-induced shingles wishing the pain would go away. And it's hard to feel like you did the right thing when you're so depressed and anxious you can't even stand to read or write for months on end. And it's hard to feel like you'll ever do anything of note when you can't swallow or keep your head up long enough to write even when you want to. I've wondered a lot this last year why I've killed myself over publishing. Why I'm now paying for it with my own health. I don't have answers. I'm not sure I ever will.

Lots of writers have health problems. Often from stress. So I guess I'm just saying be careful out there. It's easy to be like "Oh, I can handle all this it'll be fine." And it's super easy to be all "I'll sleep later and I'll deal with that later and I'll put everything aside for this deadline and it'll be fine."

But you're gonna pay for it.

I'm sorry, but you will. In one way or another, that stress will compound and you will break. We aren't superhuman, despite writing about character who may defy all odds.

Maybe you don't even think you're running that hard. Maybe you think you're handling it all fine. But stress and publishing are sneaky like that. And all the writers around you are in the same boat. So it can feel like this is normal and everyone else is getting on just fine.

Then an author might disappear for awhile, and no one notices she or he is gone for a year or more. They don't know why, but you'd be shocked how often it is health or breakdown related. Then one day it'll be one of your own writer friends, or maybe even you. And it'll be jarring and scary and you might not even know what to do.

So this is what you do: You slow the hell down. You might even stop writing and it actually feels amazing not to write. You get your shit together, slowly but surely. And you vow never to kill yourself over this business again.

That's my goal for 2016, I suppose. Don't bend over backwards for publishing. It's just not worth snapping in two and putting yourself back together over and over again. I never would have thought so before I sold that first book—when I was happy to bend and contort myself to fit in any box they demanded I be in—but that's what I've learned this year.

No more sprinting life marathons for me. Peaceful strolls from here on out.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

SIDEKICK Cover Reveal! Plus Some Epiphanies.

It's funny how you can go for months and months feeling like you are lost and have no idea what you want to be doing with your life—and then in one day it all turns around because of the perfect question asked at just the right time. And that was simply:

If money, success, people's opinions weren't a factor, what would you choose to do as a writer?

And the answer, quite to my surprise, came very quickly: I'd indie publish. When it comes down to it, I love the process. I love creating a book. Not just the writing part but all the way through design and publication. The second I realized this, I got excited about writing again. I immediately laid out plans for several books I could publish. I felt like everything snicked into place and all that confusion was gone.

So this is what I'm going to do. And I'm starting fast and furious by publishing a book next month. Yes, NEXT MONTH. It is one of the many books I prepared for publication long ago, but for one reason or another it never made it through the pipeline entirely.

It's called SIDEKICK. And here is the cover (designed by the ever-awesome Melissa Williams Deisgn):

I apologize for any cravings or hunger pain caused by this cover.
Actually no I'm not sorry that's totally what I intended.
I wrote SIDEKICK after I felt like I'd lost nearly everything in 2010. The story is about Russ, a high school football player who feels like he always comes in second to his best friend, Garret. Well, he's tired of it, and he gets the rather foolish idea that if he can win the heart of the new girl in town before Garret he can prove he's not just sloppy seconds.

Russ has only one edge against Garret—the fact that his anime-obsessed little sister has befriended said new girl—but he plans to use it. He'd never tell the team, but he's been going to Anime Night for years and might even enjoy it. That would ruin his reputation, just like his secret love for cooking and James Taylor.

But pretending to be something you aren't catches up to you eventually, and Russ can only get away with living two lives for so long. As more than one person reveals they have something to hide, Russ must figure out what and who he really wants in his life. And more than that, he needs the courage to make it happen.

I'm super excited to finally be able to share this story with you! It was my very first foray into contemporary, and it rekindled my love of writing after it felt like all was lost. It feels very appropriate to have this be my first published novel after another rough patch in my writing life.

(Also, if you notice, there is now a tab on the blog that directs you to my new online store, where you can purchase signed copies of my novels. Currently the store is US only. Sorry that is the constraint put on it by Square, not me.)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Post "Meh" Debut—Your Options

So you've debuted, and you're not, in fact, a bestseller. Maybe your book/series didn't even do so hot. Or maybe you did alright, but now your genre is out to pasture and your project on sub isn't selling. Or maybe your editor has changed houses or left the business and you're left up a creek. Or maybe your imprint/small press is closing.

I'm writing this post for you all—which I suspect is most of us—in hopes of sharing some knowledge now that I've experienced a lot of post-debut, well, crap. (AKA: All of these things I described above.) Many of us are left wondering what comes next. How do we keep going if we want to still be a writer? How do we let go and move on if we don't?

Well, the first step is to eat your weight in cupcakes. Because this all sucks and you're allowed to feel like it sucks and to be upset about it. The publishing industry is brutal, no matter what path you pick, and for this moment you don't have to pretend otherwise. I won't tell your agent/editor/readers/fellow aspiring authors. Promise.

I'm going to divide my advice into two parts for ease—if you want to keep writing and if you want to stop. So, here we go!

(Any and all options may be combined or used more than once or not at all. Whatever.)

Option 1: Keep doing what you're doing. You totally can stay on course if you want. Keep subbing new work, keep trying to sell what you love to write regardless of market swings, push forward knowing it'll be hard but it might happen again. This can be disheartening when the rejections and stories pile up, but many people have done this and sold more at some point in time. Just know that if you don't sell for awhile it's not you—it's publishing. Markets swing, editors' hands get tied, bottom lines are analyzed and you may be found wanting.

Option 2: Change genres. Many an author has switched up their genre and found great success in doing so. Either they change within, say, YA—from paranormal to sci-fi, or dystopian to fantasy, or steampunk to horror. Or they switch age group/subject entirely, moving from Middle Grade to YA or vice versa. Some leave YA and move into adult genre fiction. There and many ways to switch up your genre and still find success. If what you're doing doesn't feel like it's working or it's just too heartbreaking—try something new.

Option 3: Pen name. Look, it's not that publishing has "black-listed" you. It's just that the second you debut, you have numbers attached to your name. How much you sold. If you earned out. If you continued to sell or buyers dropped the title quickly. If you're being circulated in libraries. That stuff…yes, it impacts your chances to sell another book. Yes, all publishers will look at those numbers and factor them into their decision to buy a book from you. Sometimes? It's just better to change your name if you're writing in the same genre and pretend you're a debut again. Because debuts are shiny and new and have no numbers to be liable for.

Option 4: Try a different publishing path. Maybe your first book was small press and the press went under—trying Big 5 or indie publishing could be something you want to do. Maybe Big 5 burned you bad and you want control over your next project just to gain some peace of mind and enjoyment back, so you try indie (I did this). Maybe you're tired of  indie and want to try to get an agent and see what happens. All of these choices are yours to make! And it really can be refreshing to try and different path and experiment.

Option 5: Contract work. Sometimes while you're waiting for your original work to sell, you can fill in the financial gaps with something called "contract work." If you don't know what this is, it's basically when a publisher is looking for a certain type of book and they hire an author to write it. You don't own rights to the story and the pay/royalties are not as great, but it can keep you going. Many an author has done contract work and done it well and benefitted greatly from it because it gets their name out there and then their original work sells better.

Option 6: Explore other forms of writing careers. There are more than just novels in the world. Some authors I've known have put novels on the back burner and are writing for video games or table top role playing games. Some have moved into non-fiction for blogs and websites. Some of taken a "day job" where they're writing materials for companies. If finances are an issue for you, don't be afraid to try any writing gig you can find.

(Any and all options may be used or combined or you can ignore me entirely. My kids never listen to me and they've turned out alright.)

Option 1: Be bitter the rest of your life and complain about how publishing ruined you. That sounds ridiculous, but it is an option and who am I to tell you how to go about this? I spent a good 6 months feeling like this before I got over it some. But I wouldn't recommend it. Being miserable and letting publishing drag you down is no way to live.

Option 2: Accept that publishing is not something for you right now, for whatever reasons. There are no rules saying that once you publish you have to keep doing it. No one is going to make you feel ashamed of stopping but yourself, and you don't need to do that! Writing is not the only way to live a fulfilling life. It may not be something you can do under current circumstances. You might need a long break before you're ready to face it again. Whatever the reason, do you. Be proud of yourself. Move on. Come back later if you want.

Option 3: Find things that bring you joy. If it's not writing anymore, that's okay! But there might be other things to try out there that give you that same "high." Learn a language, start painting, take a dance class or try yoga. Spend more time with your family. Travel. Once you are in the author mindset it can be hard to think of life outside our little publishing world, but it's beautiful out there and worth exploring. Go do stuff. Have fun. Don't feel guilty about doing instead of writing.

Option 4: Maybe stop publishing, but keep writing. Much of the time it's really publishing that kills the joy of writing. Sometimes you might still feel the writing bug itching you, and you just want to write something but not publish it. You can totally do that! There is no shame in writing just for fun and for yourself. In fact, that might bring you a lot more happiness than throwing your work to the wolves. Maybe that is what suits you and brings you peace.

Option 5: Get help if you need it. If publishing has left you with scars, please don't ignore that. Creative pursuits have a huge impact on our minds and we are all more susceptible to mental illness than the average person. If you find yourself unable to pull out of the bitterness and sadness, talk to a doctor and find the help you need if you're depressed, anxious, or both or anything else. Sometimes it can take time to heal from what your mind might be considering a "loss." You are making a life transition, and those can be rocky. No shame in finding support while you figure it all out.

Ultimately, my friends, you have to find the path that's right for you. I wish I could tell you what that is, but you know I can't. Debuting and becoming a "professional" author is a hard thing, and you don't know what your future holds. And even if you think you do, it can all change at the drop of a hat. But hopefully this post will help you explore the options you have. It can be easy to get stuck in tunnel vision, but really there is still a whole horizon of possibilities out there for you. And really, none of those possibilities are wrong, they're just different. And that's okay.