Friday Giveaway! The Book You Were Born to Write by Kelly Notaras

It’s Friday and I think we could all use a little bit of a boost here in the dog days of summer. What better way to boost yourself than a free book? And what better boost to your writing career than some advice from a publishing veteran?

The Book You Were Born to Write: Everything You Need to (Finally) Get Your Wisdom onto the Page and into the World

A guide to writing a full-length transformational nonfiction book, from an editor with two decades' experience working with authors from all walks of life.

"I know I have a book in me."

"I've always wanted to be an author."

"People always ask me when I'm going to write my book."

"I have a story to tell, but I never seem to make time to write."

These are just a sampling of the messages Kelly Notaras hears every day from would-be authors around the globe. Life coaches with new methodologies for living on purpose . . . energy workers who've discovered new ways to prevent disease and teach self-healing . . . everyday heroes and heroines who have made it through difficult circumstances and want to inspire others to do the same. In today's tumultuous world, we need these voices in the marketplace. Moreover, publishing a book has never been so simple, accessible, or affordable as it is today. So why are so many thought leaders, healers, and change-agents stuck at the starting line?

This book will light the way--offering a simple, step-by-step path that takes authors from concept to finished book. In it, publishing veteran Kelly Notaras demystifies the publishing process and gives writers the tools, insider information, and inspiration to start strong, keep going, and get across the finish line as quickly as possible.

Kelly will be a guest on the October 7th podcast episode! Be sure to follow the Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire podcast so you don’t miss out!

Authors Helping Authors

Whether here or on the podcast, I’m sure you’re constantly heard one word in relation to publishing: networking.

And networking, much like marketing, is something that can make a lot of authors shiver. It sounds schmoozy. It sounds showy. It sounds… social. It can be all those things, but it’s in the way you approach it, and how you choose to do it.

Honestly, the better way of putting it is just making connections. And if we’re going to be even more hand-holdy about it, it’s called making friends. I know, that’s totally scary, too.

This past week is a great example of how networking has helped my career, and shaped me into the person - and writer - that I am today.

Let’s start with Kate Karyus Quinn and Demitria Lunetta. These are two authors I met through the Class of 2k13 - a group of children’s authors who debuted in 2013, and banded together for support. Kate and Demitria and I have gone on to work on multiple projects together - including the anthology Among the Shadows, and the upcoming Betty Bites Back: Stories to Scare the Patriarchy.

With Betty Bites Back nearing publication, we’ve been in contact every day, 24/7 - and I do mean that. Whether it’s Slack, emails, or text, there is a constant line of communication open between the three of us. Without the connections - networking - I made by joining the Classof2k13, these two anthologies wouldn’t exist. And neither would quite a few road trips, panels, workshops sessions, and some stories about Mindy when she’s had too much to drink.

What else? I’ve got an on-going text conversation with my friend and fellow Ohio author Kurt Dinan. We text, and often call each other to air ideas, try out a new plot, or just honestly, bitch a lot.

The same is true of Kamerhe Lane, who has a short in Betty Bites Back. She is my PitchWars mentee and we share an agent. Just last week she ran two pitches past me, and can I just say - she is one hell of a talented author.

Just scrolling through my texts I see a conversation I had with David Arnold, who reached out to ask me about some specifics of bodily harm for his newest novel. I get those questions a lot. Sometimes I know the answer, and sometimes I don’t. When the latter happens, I rely (heavily) on Lydia Kang - a practicing doctor and novelist who I also met through Class of 2k13.

Madeleine Roux was in my neck of the woods recently and we took advantage of a long ride to the airport (okay, okay so I got turned around while we talking, alright?) to talk about publishing - and how to survive it. Writers need these conversations to keep ourselves sane.

I see texts in my recent conversations from Brittany Cavallaro and Kendare Blake - we’re all going to be at the same event coming up (soon-ish) and I reached out to see if we can not-so-accidentally cross paths there. I’ve toured with both of them, and I know good people when I meet them!

There’s Natalie D. Richards in my emails - another Ohio author. We’re trying to put together an event soon, since we don’t get to see each other enough.

I’ve got a note here to myself to text Jeff Zentner and SL Duncan about some questions I have about the manuscript I’m working on. They’re both lawyers, and I need their lawyer brains.

That’s just this past week. That’s how much I rely on other authors, and how much I’m relied upon. When we talk about a writing community, this is what we mean. We’re supportive, helpful, and kind. If only the same were true of all workplaces!

Are We Having Fun Yet? Remembering Why You Write

I used to work in a public school. The two libraries I helped oversee served 5th graders through seniors, and I often ended up in the building way past the hours that I stopped getting paid. There's always something going on in a school, and basketballs bouncing in a gym have a way of calling to the ex-athlete, as does the ring of softballs hitting aluminum bats.

I don't get a chance to play much of anything anymore, taking the kayak out in the spring and hitting the gym three times a week is how I get my exercise now. But I'm often drawn into school sporting events, and while I know that the past is golden, I see some definite differences from the proverbial way things used to be.

I see the parents of fifth graders keeping stats in the bleachers, kids being pulled aside after games by coaches and parents alike (sometimes with a referee in tow for official backup) about what they did or didn't do, and how they can improve. I see adults talking about college admissions, scouts, percentages, injuries hurting playing time, and having conversations more suited to ESPN than a gym with fading paint.

Kid's faces are intense, and don't get me wrong - I think that's awesome. I know exactly how it goes in the moment, when a turnover under your hands feels like the end of the world, when sliding into home and winning the game could very well be the best thing that ever happened to you. Yeah, that's all true.

But sometimes I wonder if anyone out there is having fun anymore. Or anyone in the bleachers is either, for that matter.

Writing often feels the same way. I spent ten years receiving rejections for books that I was certain were Pulitzer material (they're not, for proof hit up my hashtag #BadFirstNovel). I was writing with visions in my head of awards, fame, and yes, money (that's a whole other post).

What I wasn't doing was writing because I loved it. I was writing because I was intent on making it my everything, and proving to myself and the world how freaking awesome I was.

  • Reality check #1 - I just wasn't.

  • Reality check #2 - That's partly because there was no heart in my writing.

After ten years of failing, I gave up. I truly did just let it go for a few years. I came back with a recharge and the thought that maybe I should try writing YA, since I had just started working in a high school. I came up with an idea I loved. A fun idea, nothing that was going to land me awards or even a sale, but something fun. Something I liked.

And I wrote it.

And while it didn't garner representation or achieve publication, I rediscovered the enjoyment of writing. Which prompted me to write Not A Drop to Drink, which opened up a whole new chapter of my life.

So if you're mired in your stats, or singing sad misereres over the dusty bones of the novel you've been rehashing forever, try to remember why you started doing this in the first place. And then maybe have some fun with it.