Writing Tips

Highlighting Rejection Day 3: Robert Galbraith (J.K. ROWLING)

To my fellow authors, I know that rejection letter stings. I know that it sinks down into your mind and heart. It makes you doubt whether you should even continue writing. DON’T LET IT. Rejection now does not mean rejection later and it certainly does not mean rejection forever. Let me share with you some well-known authors who experienced rejection themselves!

Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym used by J.K. Rowling who wished to separate her thriller novels from her famous children’s series, Harry Potter. Many people are already aware of both J.K. Rowling’s struggles as an author and of her success. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was turned down twelve times and the thirteenth editor only published it because his daughter wanted to know what happened next. He encouraged J.K. Rowling to “not quit her day job.

In theaters alone, J.K. Rowling’s movie adaptations of her novels earned her 3.2 billion dollars (Movie Mojo). Quite obviously, Rowling could easily quit her day job and focus solely on her writing.

When Rowling finally wrapped up Harry Potter and decided to move on to other books, she used the name Robert Galbraith and was rejected AGAIN by one of the same publishing companies who TURNED HER DOWN BEFORE.

j.k. rowling tweet

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes, our work needs improvement (probably most of the time), but sometimes, the publishers aren’t the right fit. The hard part is, we rarely get to know the reasons behind the rejection so the best thing we can do is work to perfect our writing and be persistent in getting it out there!

Try and try again, it’s all that we can do!

Have you been rejected before, or does the world of traditional publishing seem too intimidating to venture into just yet? Let me know in the comments below!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2022

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Highlighting Rejection: Dr. Suess

To my fellow authors, I know that rejection letter stings. I know that it sinks down into your mind and heart. It makes you doubt whether you should even continue writing. DON’T LET IT. Rejection now does not mean rejection later and it certainly does not mean rejection forever. Let me share with you some well-known authors who experienced rejection themselves!

Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, is one of the most successful children’s author in the world. His well-know works include Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat and the Hat, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Many of his books have been remained into cartoons which were later remained into live-action movies. And now, even his movies are being reanimated closer to their original form.

Needless to say, his success is obvious everywhere!
However, it wasn’t always that way. Did you know the Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book,  And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Streetwas rejected twenty-seven different times!

In fact, he had almost given up on getting his book published at all! It was only due to a chance encounter with a friend, who had recently become an editor, that Theodor Geisel ever became Dr. Seuss.

Can you imagine though, what would have happened, if Theodor had been too broken by his recent rejections to even mention his book to his friend? What would Christmas look like without his classic tale?


If Dr. Seuss, the genius behind children’s stories, can take twenty-seven different rejections and keep moving forward, so can I and so can you!

Try and try again, it’s all that we can do!

Have you been rejected before, or does the world of traditional publishing seem too intimidating to venture into just yet? Let me know in the comments below!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2022

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Finding an Agent

As I am walking through this difficult, oops typo, lovely querying process where I am laying my heart on the line and praying it does not get trampled (or worse, left lying there completely ignored with no closure), I figured I would share my experiences, tips, and tricks with any hopeful authors out there! So today, let’s talk about agents.

Do You Need An Agent?

Yes. If you are looking for traditional publishing with the majority of traditional publishing houses. It is extremely rare, in my experience, for publishing houses to welcome unsolicited manuscripts. In other words, publishing houses have become so overwhelmed with new authors that they needed a way to weed through the submissions so that they are only looking at the best of the best. At the most basic level, an agent basically backs your claim and tells the publishing house “yes, this is a good book, you should read it.”

How Do I Find An Agent?

Not all agents are created equal; just as all writers are unique in their own respects. You cannot and should not just mass query dozens of agents hoping that one sticks without doing your research FIRST. Yes, you heard me, research! Many agents have specific requirements for what they are searching for, how to query them, and whether or not they are even accepting queries at the time. If you just find a random listing of agents and hit mass send, your odds of success are nearly zero. (I only say nearly, because, hey, people win the lottery every day).

Here are some steps:

  1. Start by identifying which agents match your books’ needs. Search reputable lists such as: Poets & Writers (which I found recommended from a publishing house I would love to partner with one day). There is also Publisher’s Marketplace & Query Tracker (although it does cost to get all of the benefits of these sites). Of the two, I have found Publisher’s Marketplace to be more user-friendly and filled with great information! Publisher’s Marketplace tends to work better when you have a specific agent in mind that you want more information on. Literary Rambles has some excellent interviews with agents, what they’re looking for, and how to submit! I love that I can “hear” from so many agents about what they are personally looking for.
  2. With every agent, search for key words that match your book (for example, I searched for Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction). Immediately that took my search from hundreds of agents to dozens. Then I began reading more about the agents to see what type of fiction they were interested in by reading their bios and looking up books they had previously helped the authors get published.
  3. Once you narrow it down, read the agent’s query instructions CAREFULLY. Many agents will bluntly tell you that if you do not follow their instructions, your query will be tossed. Some agents may be on a temporary pause in receiving queries, and once again, straight into the trash your query goes. I know it’s exciting to send your work out into the world, but go slowly, do it correctly, or you may throw away the perfect opportunity.

Questions about finding an agent that’s right for you? Comment below!

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2022

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Setting Your Environment for Success

Hello writers! Some of you may already know this, but maybe some of you have never heard this before. Before you even start writing, you need to set up your environment for writing success!

“Set up your environment?” What do I mean by that?

Here’s the thing, my ideal environment to write in is up in the mountains of Big Bear, sitting on the deck of a two story cabin, the sky blue and the breeze light with birds chirping in the background with a cup of hot tea in my hands. However, as a full time professor, teacher, writer, and wife, my chances for retreating to the mountains are minimized. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t manipulate my current environment.

What I find helpful is setting up a specific space designated specifically for writing. This space should be somewhere that you often find yourself when you are really ready to write. Maybe it’s your bedroom/dorm room, maybe it’s that coffee shop down the street, maybe it’s outdoors, or maybe it’s on the floor of your kid’s nursery (because you know as soon as you leave, they’ll wake up).

For me, my space is my kitchen table. There is plenty of room for me to spread out my laptop, my notebook, my resources, and hey! easy access to food and tea! I don’t have a home office so this table has quickly become my office space. Be inventive with your writing space! Make it your own, make it familiar, and make it encouraging to your writing process.

Image result for book on kitchen table

But before I can start writing I find that I need music. For me, that means turning on the Nordic playlist on Youtube which has already been modified by my thumbs up and down. These familiar songs automatically switch my brain into writing mode for my current YA Contemorary Fantasy piece: The Runic Saga.

Music is such a great motivator! Maybe you don’t have a specific playlist that comes to mind. Have you considered playing vido game music (specifically boss level music). If you aren’t sure what this means, in video games there is specific music that comes on when a character faces the ultimate bad-guy; this music has been specifically created to motivate the gamer and keep them engaged. In the same way, if you are having a hard time staying motivated, consider playing music from a popular video game. There are no lyrics to distract you (most likely) and it’s been specifically created to keep the listener activated in their task.

If that’s not your thing, consider playing soothing music in the background or simply your favorite playlist. Whatever you decide, try to keep it consistent. That way, when you hear the familiar music, you will automatically think that it is time to write!

This one might not be applicable to everyone, some of you might prefer to work in complete silence and that is okay! Whatever you do, try to control your environment the best you can. This might not always be possible so the important thing is to keep writing.

Let me know in the comments: How do YOU set your writing environment?

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Failure is just Part of the Job

Let me be honest. Failure is going to be a part of your writing career. It just is. And let me be blunt. Failure is going to be a part of life.

We are humans, we cannot succeed at everything, all the time.

So, before you begin your career as an author, an artist, a composer, a teacher, whatever you choose, accept that at some point you will fail. However, failure is NOT the end.

Failure today does not mean that you cannot succeed tomorrow.

This is where we so often get bogged down. We receive a rejection letter, or we get passed up for the job that we want and we assume that this is the end. That is where we need to actively work every day to change our mindset. Failure is only a moment in time, a response to a singular incident. Failure does not define you or your career. The best option, and really the only option you have for success, is to accept failure and then move on from it.

Sometimes our failures will be small. For us authors, that might mean that we did not hit our desired word count for that day, or maybe even that month, or maybe we can’t remember the last time we sat down with the intention of solely writing. We cannot let that stop us. We cannot throw our hands in the air and say, “Well, I’ve been failing at this goal lately so it’s over!” Nope, we move forward, we sit down and we try again!

Sometimes our failures will be big. Maybe that means a big ol’ rejection letter that makes you want to give up writing for good. That is one option and honestly, the choice is up to you, but if you really love writing, you’ll try again. Maybe that means sending your manuscript to a different publishing house, or maybe that means taking a hard look at your own manuscript and figuring out how it can be improved.

So accept failure, but do not let it define you. Do not let it stop you. Do not let it hinder your progress. Acknowledge it, learn from it, be strengthened by it.

Accept Failure but Never Stop Moving Forward.

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Give Yourself Some Deadlines

Give yourself Deadlines and here’s the important thing… stick to them!

Deadlines are SO important, if you do not set realistic goals for yourself, you will find yourself falling behind. When setting deadlines, you are motivating yourself to accomplish small and attainable goals. There are two major premises to making deadlines work for you.

1. You need to have someone to keep you accountable.
Deadlines are great and all, but only if you have someone to be accountable to; if you are only accountable to yourself you are more likely to miss a deadline. It’s kind of like working out at the gym, you are more likely to meet your goals if you go with someone. So here’s some options: Find a friend or family member (who you trust) who would enjoy reading your stuff. Not only will it help you keep your deadlines but they might also give you some great feedback! If you don’t want to share your work quite yet, join a writing community where you can ask for encouragement in meeting your set deadlines.

2. You need to set REALISTIC goals.
This one is SO key. Do not set unattainable goals. When you set a goal that is practically impossible, it will be no surprise when you do fail and then you are only discouraged. Be kind to yourself and set realistic goals such as a certain amount of words per day, a certain amount of pages per week (even if it’s one page), or in my case, a chapter a month. By setting realistic deadlines you increase your probability of achieving your goals which will results in more self-esteem and motivation.

For instance, I know that I can get far more writing done during the summer than I can when I am burried by my school work. Knowing this, I set myself a huge challenge over the summer to write 80,000 words in 10 weeks and I hit every goal! At the same time, I know that I will most likely not see progress like that again until next summer. It’s all about knowing your limitations and abilities when setting deadlines.

What deadlines do YOU plan to set this week?

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Responding to Criticism

Have you ever experienced that soul-crushing moment when you pour your heart out into prose and someone, usually an ambiguous someone, turns around and criticizes everything you’ve done? Often with more insult than advice?

Well then, congratulations, you’re a writer!

And if you hope to continue along in your journey as a writer, you are bound to have this experience again and again.

And again.

I know, that is not exactly reassuring, but don’t worry, there is good news coming! We have to first ask, why is criticism so common? Are we really that bad at writing? (Well, a writing group might not hurt . . .) But really, the reason behind most criticism is the fact that writing is subjective. 

Yes, there are general rules that all writers must observe. And yes, writers should present their best version of themselves in their writing. However, on a whole, writing is subjective. That is the only way to explain why some people absolutely HATE Harry Potter while the rest of the world loves it. It also helps explain why one of my readers loved my book while the other did not care for it at all.

Writing is Subjective.

Everyone has different tastes. For instance, I will never like horror novels, never, they are not my thing. So while I might hate that type of book, it does not make it a bad book for everyone else.

Before you decide to submit your work, you need to prepare yourself for feedback both positive and negative. THERE WILL BE BOTH.

Here are a few ways that you can and should respond to criticism:

  • First, you need to anticipate a mixed review. Maybe the book is perfect in your eyes, but your readers will be seeing it differently, so allow yourself to acknowledge mixed reviews.
  • Next, you need to read through a shield. What does that mean? If someone is being overly-critical, read through their comments, ignore the rude insults, and cherry-pick out whatever can actually be constructive. Usually there is at least one suggestion that you can work with.
  • Finally, after picking out what you can work on, forget the rest! Don’t spend days wallowing over the negative feedback and don’t allow it to corrode your writing!

Have you faced rejection or negative feedback?

How did you respond to it?

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: The Dramatic Arc

If you are a writer, you most likely have already hear of “The Story Arc” or “The Dramatic Arc.”  However, it is always good to remember these five crucial elements to any story: Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

Step One: Exposition

Every story begins with exposition of some sort. Think of it as your background, or the introduction to your story. Who are your major players in this game? What is their world like and how is everything about to change? Consider “The Hunger Games,” in the exposition we learn about Panem and the districts. We learn about the reaping and the relationship between Katniss and Prim, but nothing of huge significance has happened yet.
Image result for hunger games prim gif

Step Two: Rising Action

The Rising Action can begin immediately, it can coexist with the exposition, or it can wait until a few chapters in to occur. These are the events that occur that really get the story going. While we were already introduced to Katniss and her family, the Rising Action truly begins once Prim’s name is called at the reaping. After this moment, Katniss is thrown head first into the crazy, fashion-obsessed Capitol and then forced to survive the Games.
Image result for hunger games katniss volunteer gif
The Rising Action can continue on for quite a long time and makes up a large chunk of any story. All of these events snowball onto one another and lead to the climax. For example:
Katniss does well in the events before the Games, gaining the title “Girl on Fire”
Image result for hunger games katniss chariot gif
Next, her popularity leads to sponsorship that aids her in the Games
Image result for hunger games parachute gif
Because of the sponsorship, Katniss survives long enough to find Peeta
Image result for hunger games peeta camouflage gif
Because she finds Peeta, Katniss and Peeta can gain even more sponsors through pretending to be star-crossed lovers which enacts the rule that more than one tribute can survive
Image result for hunger games peeta katniss kiss gif
Peeta and Katniss are able to survive together which leaves them as the last pair to face off with Cato.
Every step, every action that happens within the rising action leads to the climax of the story.

Step Three: Climax

Next, we have our Climax. The Climax is the culmination of everything that you have been leading up to in your writing. It is the big event, usually toward the end of your story (however, it is NOT the end). Using “The Hunger Games,” the climax can be seen at the end of the Games when Peeta and Katniss must battle with the brutal, bloody Cato.
Related image

Step Four: Falling Action

However, the climax, as I briefly mentioned, is not the end! Indeed, in the moments after Cato’s death, we have our Falling Action (these are events that often come after and CAUSED BY the climax). In this case, the Falling Action consists of the Gamemakers attempting to force Katniss and Peeta into killing one another. However, when they refuse, Seneca Crane is forced to allow them to live, which leads to our resolution.
Related image

Step Five: Resolution

The Resolution does not have to be happy, it does not have to answer every question and it can leave readers on a cliffhanger. For instance, although Katniss and Peeta are allowed to live and the Games have concluded, Katniss is aware of the danger that still surrounds her. When they head home, Katniss and Peeta’s relationship is hanging on tethers. She survived the Games, but Katniss is still not safe.
Image result for hunger games i don't want to forget gif

So there you have it, the five essential elements of a story! When you write, do you make sure that these elements exist or do they come naturally?

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Allow Your Writing to Evolve

When writing multiple drafts of your book just know that your story WILL change.

Perhaps not a ton, perhaps only a little, or perhaps it will be a completely different book than the one you intended on writing in the first place, but one way or another, your book will evolve over time.

For example, I wrote the first draft of my current book series, The Runic Saga, over six years ago. This last summer, I rewrote the entire thing from start to finish. The characters are the same, the general plot line is there, but everything else is completely different and I mean, ENTIRELY DIFFERENT. Some characters were nixed, some were added, the whole world changed, but I know that it is a more compelling story because of those changes.

Change isn’t a bad thing. As you write, your ideas will grow and form. You might realize that what sounded like a great idea before doesn’t really work well in application. You may be hit with a sudden inspiration to go a different direction.

My advice?

Image result for do it gif

But in all seriousness, go for it! If you feel your book changing, you need to allow it. If you stick too tightly to your original plan, your writing will come out forced and it will sound that way to your readers. Take the new path and see where the new ideas lead you. If you hate them you can always go back and try again.

In other words, planning and outlining your book is important. But it is also just as important to allow your book to change and evolve as you write.

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Manage Your Expectations

As some of you may know, I am wife. We just celebrated our one year anniversary this summer! Being married is the best thing in the world, but it requires work. I’ll never forget that while preparing for our marriage and taking pre-marriage classes, I learned that there is ONE thing that kills marriages faster than anything else. It’s not finances or politics. Nope, it’s unmet expectations!

Now, my blog is not about marriage, however, I could not help thinking how this applies directly to our writing. How often to we come up with grandiose ideas for our novels that will sell a billion copies and make us millions of dollars? Ever catch yourself day dreaming about which actors and actresses would star in your film once that adapt your book into movie formatting? (No one, just me? Anyhoo . . .)

The point is, in our writing too we must manage our expectations. 

Writing is hard and making a break through in the industry is even harder, some might say that it is nearly impossible. So I am encouraging you to “make resolutions” (without the need for a New Year) and to set goals for your writing, but in doing so, make them realistic!

  • Set yourself real goals that you truly can accomplish! Here are some examples:
    • Write Every Day (even if it’s just for 5 minutes)
      • Try to hit a word count every day (even if it’s 20 words).
      • Try to finish as much as that book as possible (even if it’s not the whole thing.)
      • Send out queries to multiple publication houses (but don’t stop writing, waiting to hear back)
  • Don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations. Here are some examples:
      • Starting and Finishing that new idea for a book and having it picked up within the year (yes it can happen, but it doesn’t often)
      • Becoming a millionaire with your first book (Suzanne Collins wrote amazing books for YEARS and was not known until her latest series).

Be kind to yourself and be honest with your writing. Expect that some days will be more productive than others and set realistic expectations so that you do not cause unnecessary hardship.

What are some of your realistic and unrealistic expectations? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.