Criticism... How do you deal with it?

Monday, January 30, 2012
Good morning, readers!

Ahhh it's another Monday. I hope everyone had a great weekend and is ready to start the week off right.

Today's post is about criticism and how to deal with it.

When I decided to enter literary land I don't think I was even remotely prepared for what all of it entailed. I just said hey, I'm going to write a book. I'd always been a reader, I'd taken some great writing classes, and I'd won some writing contests when I was a kid, and was always dreaming up stories and writing them down.

My Mom still looks at me oddly every time she sees me when I mention something involving the literary world and shakes her head. "You're such a dreamer, Laur," she tells me.

And I always reply with, "What's wrong with being a dreamer?"

I love my Mom and she's supportive, but she just doesn't get it.

Where am I going with this?

I'll tell you.

In the writing world we open ourselves up to criticism all the time. And it's part of the profession. Whether we get criticism from our Cp's, readers, editors, agents etc... The list goes on and on.

What's important is how we handle it. And how we learn and grow from it.

I can tell you this I wrote the first draft of my first book when I was nineteen years old and it took me eight years, to find myself as a writer and I'm telling you this, I still learn something new every day.

LOL. Sometimes I wish I could rewind time and teach the nineteen year old Lauren the things the twenty seven year old Lauren knows.

But I don't have a time machine.


And I'll tell you something else; There is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting you don't know everything when it comes to your craft and there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help.

If you can't handle the criticism that accompanies literary land than you're not ready for the next step in your career.

I know it's hard. It sucks really, when you pour your heart and soul into something and you get it back from you CP, agent, editor, or even read a review from a reader, and they don't really think it's as great as you do.


As a writer, or anyone in the literary field, there's a certain amount of professionalism you should display.

1. Be prepared for harsh feedback. You're gonna get it sometimes and honestly, I think that's the best kind. If you can't handle it, step away from the keyboard and take a breather because once you get further into your career you're gonna get even more of it and if you can't handle it before you've been published...

Well I think you get the picture.

2. The beauty of the world is that everyone is different and not everyone is going to like what you've written. Even though, for the most part, I always like to think positive you have to look at the negative aspects of the industry logically.

Nobody is out to get you. People want to love your book as much as you do. But that's not always the case. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and you may not see it that way, but it's their opinion, not yours.

I like to use a line from something my aunt said to me when Famished first came out and I got my first not-so-pleasant review for it. She looked at me and said, "Sweetheart, you have to be prepared for these things. You have to be able to learn how to take it. There are millions of people in the world and not everyone is going to think the same thing. Some people aren't going to like it and some people will love it. And the best advice I can give you is work hard, learn from your mistakes, and grow as not only an author/agent, but as a person."

And I have...Trust me.

3. Try to inspire others. I always try to be enthusiastic and positive and I always try to find something good in everything. That's just me. And most importantly, I try to encourage writers to hang in there and never give up because no matter where you are in your career, if you take the time, put in the passion and effort, someday you'll get all the success you deserve.

This industry can be frustrating. We all know this. And I can't tell you how many times I've had to talk myself out of giving up... But I didn't and neither should you.

I'm gonna throw another family example and this person is the main reason why I never gave up in this field. My Grandpa John. He's 82 and still truckin. LOL.
I'm from a very small town and there's not much of a creative outlet at all. So, I get a lot of comments from my family, (even though they are supportive at times) about me re-thinking my career.

On top of the dreamer comment my mom likes to say, "Why did you pick the hardest career to try and succeed in?"

Because Mom...That's who I am.

Then my grandmother will add, "Lauren, you're not going to succeed here.You need a different kind of job."

And this is what my grandpa does every time my grandma makes that comment. His big blue eyes go wide and he looms behind my grandmother shaking his head, and whispers, "Don't listen to her. I'm so proud of you. Keep doing what you're doing."

It's remembering those conversations that have kept me going. Thank you Papa. I love you...(Not trying to get mushy... I'm just saying...I hope everyone has someone like my papa. Because in this difficult field we all need someone like that in our corner. We all need someone to give us that extra push in the right direction, especially when the going gets tough.)

I think it's beautiful thing when a person who has worked so hard achieves every goal they've set out for themselves.

In the agenting world I set a mini goal for myself when I started. I said I'm going to try and sell at least one of every one of my clients' books. So far, I've reached the 50% mark and I'm proud of that. I've only been agenting for 11 months, so reaching that goal for me was a huge accomplishment. I tell my girls be prepared for the happy dance because I usually jump up and down and squeal with delight when they get an offer.

Yeah... I'm hyper. I think I drink way too much coffee. LOL.

4. Lastly, write, write, write... I get new ideas daily. And you never know which book may be "the one" for you. If you've discovered yourself as a writer and know your strengths pull from that. I know you've got that best seller inside of that brain of yours somewhere.

I hope some of this helps you guys!

Have a great week!


Pick A Genre...Any Genre... And Brand Yourself.

Monday, January 23, 2012
Happy Monday Readers!

I hope everyone had a great and relaxing weekend! Well now it's Monday. Time to get back to work!

Today's post is going to be about branding yourself as an author. I know. I know. I was just like you. I'd say to myself why should I limit myself? Why should I focus on one area where there are so many other possibilities?

I don't know about you guys, but I like to challenge myself. I like to pick challenging subjects and write about them. Hence the love triangle in He Loves Me... Or book 2 Love Without Words in the pandemic series.(Which by the way, I'm going to attempt to write an entire book without dialogue. Tricky,tricky, I know.)

But I'll tell you this....

Branding yourself is important. It is where you discover yourself as a writer. And I'll tell you something I learned about myself. I'm a romance writer. Whether it's a dark romance--like A Whisper To A Scream--or an fun summer fling romance like--If I Can't Have You. Romance is what I'm good at. That's my brand. And that's what I'm going to focus on in the future. And do you know how many books written it took me to learn that? Let's just say...A LOT.

Everyone is different. Some writers are good at one genre, but not so good at another. And I will say the most important thing we can do is write book after book and learn from ourselves. Deep down inside you know what your strengths and weaknesses are.

A lot of times we have to explore our writing capabilities. Sometimes we have to write several different books before we write "the one", and figure out where we want to be as writers. But what's more important than anything is that we dive in head first and never give up the fight.

I hope you've found something helpful in this post. And now for a lil treat! I've pasted a snippet from If I Can't Have You below. I hope you enjoy it and have a great week!

Cheers! <3

For a moment neither one of us moves. We’re mesmerized, swimming in each other’s gazes. Slowly Drake slides his fingers up my waist, locking my hips against his. Then he sits up, still staring, not breaking his focus.There’s sand all over his arms and the rough texture scratches against my burn skin, making it feel raw. He glides a free hand up my spine and I shiver as my shirt slides up and I feel his moist fingers against my back. He gently pulls the hair tie from my hair and my shoulders are covered in waves of chocolate cherry locks. “I want you,” he whispers. “I want you bad.”

And I want him. Oh how I’ve wanted him. For years and years and years. And this moment seems a little surreal to me. That finally, after all this time I finally get what I’ve wanted. What I’ve coveted. What I’ve adored.

I twist the thick straps of his wife-beater around my forefingers and urge his lips closer to mine with each tug. He’s so close his warm breath trails along my cheek bones and heats my face. His lips are so close and if I I move an inch mine will touch his. “You do something crazy to me, kid.”

And he does something crazy to me too. I’m a nut job in a mental institution. Clearly incapable of functioning normally and Drake is the orderly he comes to me every morning to deliver my pills. Without him I’ll be crazy forever. Only he is capable of getting rid of the insanity because he is the cure to it.

How To Grab Your Reader By The Throat....

Friday, January 20, 2012
Happy Friday readers!

I hope everyone has had an amazing week!

Today's post is about pulling in your readers from page one.

Some writer's struggle with an engaging first chapter. I know I am one of them. A lot of times when I'm writing I have to back in and change things at a later time because sometimes our characters don't always speak to us when we want them to. I don't know if that's true for you guys, but it definitely is for me.

Even when I'm reading subs or queries I want to be whisked away from the first page and a lot of times that doesn't happen. Your job as a writer is to dazzle your audience with your story-telling skills and grab them by the throat.

Now I will say that there are some of my books that aren't as good as others, but the important thing is that I learn from every book I write. And I think that most writers do as well. But here are a few helpful tips on how to engage the audience from page 1.

1. Always have something going on. Even if it's minor. Even if it's just your MC brushing their teeth.

2. Put feeling into your characters. It's like a doctor who asks how you feel about something. Ask yourself the same question. How would my character feel about this? Novels are not all about descriptions, grammar, and world-building. Feelings have a lot to do with the way your reader relates to the characters and how are we supposed to like them and relate to them if we can't feel what they are feeling.

3. Bring on the tension.

4. Don't rush it. God, there have been so many times where I've felt like I've rushed things in my books and I wish I could back and change things. Pacing in a novel is very important, so take it from me and learn from some of my mistakes lol.

5. Don't be afraid to cut things. I know. I know. We're all soooo attached to our characters. We love them. We feel them. But...Sometimes we have to cut out some of their scenes. Some things drag your novel down and slow down the pacing and you have to be willing to cut some areas to make things work. I know it sucks, but sometimes it has to be done.

Now hopefully you've found some of these tips helpful.

Have a great weekend everybody!


New Book, New Cover, and some news!

Monday, January 16, 2012
Morning readers!

So.... it's been forever since I've written a post.

First off I have a new YA Romance coming out! YaY! I've pasted the cover below & blurb... I'm super psyched about it.

One is lonely. Three is a crowd.

Robin Mason has never been the same since Drake Robertson, a hot lifeguard at her family's yearly vacation spot saves her from drowning. Ever since that day she's never let another guy hold a candle to him. She's idolized him and has been waiting for the day where they can go from Facebook friends to more. Much, much more.

Flash-forward three years and Robin isn't the same tween Drake rescued from the deep blue sea. She's college bound, curvy, and finally ready to take what she wants most--Drake.

But not if Drake's brother Elliot has anything to say about it.

Robin is torn between what's right and what's wrong, her head and her heart, and two brothers that are simply irresistible. But who will she choose? Safe, sweet, Elliot? Or the hot, smoldering, Drake?

Two brothers. One Girl. One choice. So which will it be?

Also.... I'm going to take Asphodel down. There are some errors I've been made aware of and I'm going to be taking it down in the next week to make some corrections to it.

Lastly, after If I Can't Have You comes out on Jan 31, I'm taking a much needed break and the first book that will be released out of the one's that have sequels will be the sequel to A Whisper To A Scream, Yelling Out Loud on March 20.

On the agent home front I've some awesome news to share soon, but as of right now I have to keep everything hush-hush. BUT.... I will say that I'm going to be accepting queries for romance novels. Both adult and YA are welcome.

AND.... I really really wish some of you would query me with some dark novels. Like YA horror or suspense. Unfortunately, I'm not accepting anymore Paranormal Romances at this time.

I think that's about it.

I hope everyone has a stellar week!