Thursday, July 14, 2016



If you're reading this, may I direct you to my blog's new home on my author website:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Insecure Writers Support Group: July

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Find your writer tribe and kick insecurity to the curb! For regular interaction, join the IWSG Facebook Group here. Writers of all skill level and background ask questions and offer support.

Follow the monthly IWSG blog hop here. Pick a number and visit a few blogs. Comment and make a friend!

Now the IWSG crew has a monthly prompt. Whoohoo! Even easier to join up now.

July 6th Question:

What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

One of my friends who is a writer, who I was friends with before I started writing myself, kept bugging me to read something of mine. I don't know about you all, but sometimes it's harder to have real-life friends read your work vs. writer friends. Imagine they hate what you write, and every July 4th BBQ you have to face them, wondering if they're thinking how terrible your writing is as they serve up a hot dog.

So, I went ahead with it. My friend, a guy, reads and writes wonderful short stories and sci-fi. He read through my whole young adult manuscript, a heartfelt contemporary story about sisters and complicated family dynamics and first love. He said the first few pages were a little tough for him because he wasn't used to reading books from a teen girl's perspective. But then, by about page ten, he said he forgot all about those things and just focused on the story.

That may sound simple, but I consider it a huge compliment! I was able to bring him into a story he would not have otherwise read, and made him forget that it wasn't his usual fare. My manuscript still needed work, but the essential storytelling bones were there.

I read a lot of contest entries through Romance Writers and Pitch Wars and other volunteer mentoring. The best feeling is when a story takes hold of you and you forget all your hang-ups and preconceived ideas.

Have you ever been blown away by a book you didn't expect to like?

Monday, July 4, 2016

July Updates!

Happy Independence Day (Americans!) Happy Monday, everyone else :) 
I've been binge-watching House of Cards on Netflix, which is pretty timely in an election year. I can't say it's giving me much faith in our political process. At least it's fiction.

Beyond that, I've been making a dent in my To Be Read list, and still on a self-imposed library ban to read through the books I own (with exception of downloading audio books from the library). Yes, these are #bookpeopleproblems :)

Now, on to updates!

New website ... soon!

Great change takes time, but soon I'll have my new website up. I'll announce it across social media!


My debut young adult novel Alterations is releasing September 6! Super stoked. A cover reveal and advanced copies coming soon. Spark is a digital book imprint of Bloomsbury, so my timeline is more narrow for these updates prior to release. Meanwhile, I'm over on Instagram regularly chatting about books if you want to follow me!

2016 Debut Author Bash

The 2016 Debut Authors Bash is a very cool blog hop hosted by You can see all the blogs linked here. Go ahead and check out my post on Gabrielle M. Reads' blog including a Book Depository gift card giveaway! The giveaway goes through July 5.

YA Buccaneers Summer Reading!

The group blog I joined this year is celebrating its three year anniversary. You know what that means: giveaways galore, and a bunch of fun posts all about books! Check out the intro post here.

Pitch Wars is Coming!

Writers seeking publication: the time is approaching! I'm signing on as a mentor for my third year. 
Here are the basics on Pitch Wars, where published and agented writers and editors choose a writer to help polish a full manuscript prior to a pre-selected agent round. The submission window opens August 3 on Brenda Drake's website, but the party starts sooner on twitter under the #pitchwars tag, plus hit the Home tab on Brenda's blog for all kinds of preview articles on the pitch contest.

Do you make summer reading plans? How are you doing so far?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Insecure Writers Support Group: Goal, Set, Check!

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Find your writer tribe and kick insecurity to the curb! For regular interaction, join the IWSG Facebook Group here. Writers of all skill level and background ask questions and offer support.

Follow the monthly IWSG blog hop here. Pick a number and visit a few blogs. Comment and make a friend!

Goal, Set, Check!

The blogging group I'm part of, the YABuccaneers, are in month 2 of our Spring Writing Bootcamp. Each week we check in on our Facebook group or on twitter to set goals, motivate each other, and report back. It got me thinking on goal setting and what works and what doesn't.

I love the concept of SMART goals. If you guessed that each of those letters stand for something, you're right!

Generic goal: finish the book by June 30! 

This goal sets you up for failure. There is one objective, and if you don't meet it, you fail. Why do that to yourself?

SMART Goal: draft 3 new chapters by Friday

Specific: instead of "finishing" it's a set amount of chapters.
Measurable: there is a number of chapters indicated.
Achievable: the goal has a smaller chunk of a larger piece of work to do.
Realistic: this will depend on your ability--if you write 1k words daily, giving yourself a week to write 3 chapters is feasible. If you are a sporadic writer with slow output, maybe 1 or 2 chapters is more realistic.
Timely: a set day is named.

The best advice I can offer beyond setting SMART goals is to share your goals with at least one other person to keep you accountable. The IWSG group could be your accountability, or another writer friend.

What type of goal setting works for you? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Link Ups!

This week I'm on the Writing with the Mentors blog talking about Trending Topics: Social Media in YA Fiction. I'd love it if you would check it out!

The YA Buccaneers have a great post this week on Yoga for your Brain. Yes, YOUR BRAIN. BRAIN YOGA! This applies to anyone, not just writers!

Check out this success story on Brenda Drake's blog featuring one of my writer friends and In Real Life critique group partner Kelly Garcia on how she contracted with Literary Agent Terrie Wolf! Kelly entered the Pitch Wars contest in 2015 and the shaping up of her manuscript led to this agent match only a few months later!

The Sweet Sixteens monthly update includes my appearance at Chicago North Spring Fling this coming Friday and Saturday:

Chicago Area YA Panel

Stephanie Scott, author of the upcoming YA novel ALTERATIONS, will be appearing at a YA Panel and book signing for Chicago North Romance Writers Spring Fling in Schaumburg, IL, May 20 – 21, 2016.

Besides all this, I'll have updates VERY VERY SOON on my release date, my new author website, and a bunch of book stuff. It' all happening!

Please share any note-worthy links with me in the comments! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Insecure Writers Support Group: It's (not a) Shame About Rey

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Be insecure no longer! Commune with fellow writers and find your tribe. For more regular interaction, join the IWSG Facebook Group here. Writers of all skill level and background ask questions and offer support.

Follow the monthly IWSG blog hop here. Pick a number and visit a few blogs. Comment and make a friend!

Happy Star Wars Day! That is, May the Fourth ... be with you!

Photo: Stephanie Scott

The Force Awakens and Rey: A New and Old Brand of Hero

Can we talk for a minute about how cool Rey is? In case you somehow missed the epic-ness that is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey is one of our new heroes, a girl abandoned on her home planet who comes in contact with a very special droid and embarks on a dangerous mission.

Sound familiar?

Rey's story mirrors many aspects of Luke Skywalker's from the original Star Wars: A New Hope. That core story of someone unexpected launched into an epic journey is partly what made the original Star Wars so memorable. Luke was someone to root for, especially after he returns to his aunt and uncle's farm to find his family murdered. Similar with Rey: in her first scene we see her working hard scavenging scrap metal only to exchange it for a meager amount of dehydrated foodstuffs which she eats alone in her hideout. She doesn't tell us she's lonely, but we can see it in the image of the vast desert landscape and her sad little meal, and we glimpse her own betrayals in small flashback moments.

Rey is not the same as Luke, but her core story is similar. She's the unexpected Everygirl who becomes part of a much larger adventure.

When crafting our own stories, we can keep these basics in mind. How can we take a core hero story and make it our own? What common threads can we use from classic stories to then mash up with unique details, settings, and experiences?

What's your favorite hero story? Or, if you want to gush about The Force Awakens, I'm all for chatting about Star Wars!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Spring Writing Bootcamp!

How did it get to be May already? 

Moving along, it's time to get to work!

Writers: It's time for another session of YA Buccaneers' Writing Bootcamp! 

YA Buccaneers site
We're hosting a FREE, two-month writing challenge, and you are invited! Spring Writing Bootcamp starts May 1st, 2016 and runs until June 30th, 2016. As with all of our bootcamps, this is a free-form (and free!) writing challenge open to all writers. You set your own goal - to finish a first draft, complete revisions, blog once a week, etc. - and we'll help you make it happen.
How? We'll provide the writing motivation in the form of Word Sprints and blog posts, encouragement via private groups, and book giveaways to keep things exciting. All you have to do is focus on writing, revising, drafting, or blogging - whatever you want to accomplish during the next two months.
We have SO much in store for those who join Spring Writing Bootcamp this year! Just a glimpse of what you'll get when you sign up:
  • Goal setting worksheets
  • A printable weekly writing progress tracker
  • Access to private bootcamp groups on both Twitter & Facebook
  • & more! 

Additionally, you can find me on Instagram in May doing this photo prompt challenge under the tag #MayIGAuthors. My Instagram is @StephScottYA

Monday, April 25, 2016

RT Booklovers Con!

Hey all! I'm back from RT Booklovers Con in Las Vegas!

Here are a few snapshots from the trip. My badge read Published Author which was a first for me! It was a worlds colliding type conference where I met writers and book fans from all corners of my online writer life: Pitch Wars mentors, writers who found agents from the contest, fellow Sweet Sixteens debut authors, YARWA members, bloggers, and pubbed authors through three different Facebook groups. I met ALL THE PEOPLE!

And more authors signing!

And though I'm not a gambler, I did play slots twice and won money both times! The hubz was with me for this trip visiting family, so I had some time away from the conference to do other stuff around town, like eat seriously good food (including a ramen bar which sadly I do not have back home), visited a comics shop, and saw the mountains. The hubz got to hike Red Rocks but I was busy getting my conference on!

Do you have any favorite conferences? Or favorite cities to visit? Which do you like and why?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

IWSG April: Are You Suffering Social Media Overload?

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Be insecure no longer! Commune with fellow writers and find your tribe. For more regular interaction, join the IWSG Facebook Group here. Writers of all skill level and background ask questions and offer support.

Follow the monthly IWSG blog hop here. Pick a number and visit a few blogs. Comment and make a friend!

Are You Suffering Social Media Overload?

If you're a writer, chances are you've heard you need a social media presence. Since the idea of social media is SOCIAL, having a presence means more than phoning it in with auto-tweets, buy my book links, or other impersonal posts that can't be differentiated between a highly competent robot.

We are writers after all--communicating should be the easy part, right?

The best way to avoid social media burnout is to not become overwhelmed in the first place. 

You don't have to do every social media platform.

What, you say? But so-and-so Top Marketing Insider told me I MUST be on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Linked In, Goodreads, Tumblr and twitter and post every single day on all of them or my book will FAIL!

Nope. If you try to engage in everything all the time then
1.) it leaves you no time to write books which is the biggest factor to selling books (writing them and then writing more of them)
2.) you will lose steam and become frustrated because your efforts are watered down across too many platforms.

However, it is a good idea to register your username on all the big social media sites to secure the name in case you decide to use it. You will find the platforms you like best and use those the most. It does not mean you need to be on ten platforms daily spending all of your time churning out content.

But you do have to invest somewhere

Photo: Stephanie Scott

Where do your readers/potential readers hang out online? Where do YOU go to find updates on the books you like? Romance writers and readers tend to use Facebook heavily. You'll see tons of reader groups, Facebook parties and plenty of interaction because the age demographic fits who writes and reads romance. 

Teen readers? Not so much. Know your niche and then go where your people are! Spend your time where it counts.

Regardless of platform, you want to point back to your home base: your website or blog. If someone looks you up on twitter and barely sees a pulse, but your website is linked in your profile--that's a win. The person looking for you will find your website and ideally what they need.

I don't know where to start. I'm already overwhelmed!

*Cue up your best Al Pacino Scarface impression*: Welcome to my Google Friend 
(see what I did there?)

GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND. If you have a question about something, chances are someone else already had the same question and someone other than that already blogged about it. Search things like:

"What's the best social media for indie writers?"
"How do I created a kick-butt Pinterest account?"
"What's the best way to get started on twitter?"

There are dozens and hundreds and zillions of resources out there. Save yourself frustration and read up on social media trends to better focus your efforts.

Thanks for reading! And just for you awesomely awesome Insecure Writer Support Groupers, if you're curious on how to more effectively use Instagram as an author, join the Facebook group I started called Instagram for Authors. The group is exactly as named: we are working together on how to best use Instagram as an author.

*In approving members, I look for some identifying feature in your profile that indicates you are a writer--seeking publication or published.

Don't forget to leave a comment! Which social media platform do you like best? Which do you wish you had a better handle over? 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Upcoming Events!

While my new website is under construction, here's an update on some book events where I'll be this Spring!

Romantic Times Booklovers' Convention
April 11 - 16, Las Vegas, NV

  • April 13: Pitch Wars Road Show: pitching workshop at RT Con
  • April 16: RT Teen Day While I won't be signing (my book's not out yet!) I do have buttons that will be in each gift bag of swag for participants at teen day. There will be an Instagram giveaway related to my swag. Details soon!

Chicago North Romance Writers Spring Fling
May 20 -21, Schamburg, IL

  • May 20: YA panel Game of Tomes: Navigating the YA Publishing Kingdom
  • May 21: Public Author Signing event (swag, mailing list, giveaway)
Spring Fling has been called a "mini Nationals" in relation to the Romance Writers national conference. If you're within driving distance, or a cheap flight, it's an excellent conference. The headliners are all top notch--Robyn Carr is currently on the Bestseller romance list, along with Courtney Milan and Christina Lauren who are very successful and top sellers. Ask me if you have questions! 

Since Book Expo America is in Chicago this year, I am considering going to BookCon on Saturday with the masses of fans and bloggers. Anyone else going?

Monday, March 21, 2016

THE DARKEST LIE by Pintip Dunn

I'm thrilled to take part in the Excerpt Blitz for Pintip Dunn's upcoming YA thriller, THE DARKEST LIE! Check out the book below, along with the teaser excerpt, and be sure to enter the giveaway!

THE DARKEST LIE by Pintip Publisher: Kensington Release Date: June 28, 2016

“The mother I knew would never do those things. But maybe I never knew her after all.” Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked. As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own… Goodreads | Pre-order from Amazon or Barnes & Noble!
“This one will tug your heart and leave you breathless!” --Natalie D. Richards, author of Six Months Later

Excerpt from THE DARKEST LIE

The Darkest Lie, by Pintip Dunn


It’s time to view the body. Family first.

Well, technically, me first. There was always only three of us in the nuclear unit, and

Dad’s been locked in the den for the past seventy-two hours. I’ve only seen him once, when he

shuffled upstairs like a pajama-clad zombie and asked me if I’d eaten.

That was it: Did you eat?

Not: I prefer the cherry wood casket. Or: Let me make your grandma’s travel

arrangements. Or even: I know this was Mom’s favorite dress, but isn’t the neckline a


Did I eat?

Yes, Dad. I had soup from the can and microwaved pizza rolls and a bowl of cereal. The

food sloshes in my stomach now as I walk down the runner to the casket I picked out because of

its mauve tint.

Calla lilies pile in urns around the viewing room, and the air-conditioning wars with the

sweat along my hairline. My mom smiles at me from a portrait erected behind the casket. Her

eyes are hesitant and a little wary, as if she knew, somehow, some way, she would wind up here.

Lifeless. Pumped full of formaldehyde. About to be gawked at by a town full of gossips.

This was only going to end one of two ways—with Tabitha Brooks dead or in jail. I never

thought I’d say this, but I’d give anything to see my mother behind bars.

I wade through the dense, chilly air and stop a few feet from the body. Behind me, my

grandmother and aunt sit, a box of tissues between them, blowing their noses like it’s a sport.

“Look at our Cecilia,” Gram sniffs. “So brave. Not a single tear shed.”

If she only knew. I’m not brave. Fifteen minutes ago, I was retching into the toilet bowl.

Five minutes from now, when the doors open for the visitation, I’ll be long gone, leaving Gram

to shake people’s hands and deal with the bit lips, the knowing eyebrows, that inevitable

speaking-in-a-funeral-parlor whisper. I can hear the titters: “Is it true? Tabitha’s heart stopped

while she was boffing the high school quarterback? Why, she must’ve been twenty years his


Twenty-three years, to be exact, and a high school English teacher to boot. But she didn’t

actually die during sex. Instead, a few days after Tommy Farrow came forward with their affair,

my mother took her own life.

What could be a clearer admission of guilt? She might as well have been caught in the

act. The investigation was shut down before it even began.

I take a shuddering breath. Two more minutes. A hundred and twenty seconds and then I

can leave. I steel my shoulders and walk the final steps to my mother’s body.

Oh god. It’s even worse than I thought.

The room whirls around me, and nausea sprints up my throat. My hands shoot out to grab

the casket, stopping short of actually touching the corpse.

This . . . this thing . . . can’t be my mother. She never smiled like that, all serene and

peaceful-like. She never wore this much makeup; her red hair was never chopped so closely to

her head. My mother was chaos and passion, devastation and joy. Dad used to say you could

reach deep into her eyes and pull out a song.

Well, her eyes are closed now, and I’m not sure there’ll be any music in my life, ever


About the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads
Pintip Dunn graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL. She also published an article in the YALE LAW JOURNAL, entitled, “How Judges Overrule: Speech Act Theory and the Doctrine of Stare Decisis,” Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. She is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart® finalist and a 2014 double-finalist. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, YARWA, and The Golden Network. She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at

Giveaways (2!)

 One winner will receive a prize pack including the following 5 books: Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn; Six Months Later by Natalie Richards; Find Me by Romily Bernard; and From Where I Watch You by Shannon Grogan; Lies I Told by Michelle Zink a Rafflecopter giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Darkest Lie by Pintip 


The Darkest Lie

by Pintip Dunn

Giveaway ends March 28, 2016. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Ent er Giveaway

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Cover Reveal: MY PERFECT MISTAKE by Kelly Siskind

I'm so excited to be sharing the cover of Kelly Siskind's MY PERFECT MISTAKE today! Check out the beautiful cover below, read a sneak peek, and enter to win!


What happens in Aspen is definitely not staying in Aspen . . .


What happens in Aspen is definitely not staying in Aspen . . .

A girls' trip to Aspen was exactly what Shay needed to forget about her toxic ex-boyfriend. She's got her girls, pristine slopes for skiing, and hot guys everywhere. Of course, her epic self-rediscovery goes completely to hell when a wild (and deliciously hot) skier knocks Shay on her ass . . . and war is declared. 

Kolton doesn't know what it is about Shay that makes him lose it. Not just his cool---although she does have an unholy gift for that---but his restraint. When anger gives way to explosive chemistry, they're both shaken with the intensity of it. But somewhere between lust and hate, Kolton and Shay realize they could have something real . . . if they don't kill each other first.

Add MY PERFECT MISTAKE to Goodreads here


Barnes and Noble:

About Kelly Siskind

A small-town girl at heart, Kelly moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in Northern Ontario. When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head.
She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings—Gummy Bears heal all. She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning. She is represented by Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy Literary Group. 2015 Golden Heart® Finalist

Connect with Kelly Siskind:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

IWSG March: How to Succeed at Twitter Without Really Trying

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Be insecure no longer! Commune with fellow writers and find your place and your tribe. For more regular interaction, join the IWSG Facebook Group here. Writers of all skill level and background ask questions and offer support.

Follow the monthly IWSG blog hop here. Pick a number and visit  a few blogs. Comment and make a friend!

How To Succeed at Twitter Without Really Trying

Yesterday on twitter, I happened upon a tweet stream discussing how not to behave as an author: when you get a big book deal, or a big-time agent, don't forget about your pre-published writer friends. More importantly, don't intentionally cut them out.

Here is the Storify link to the tweets I'm referring to.

Bad advice is everywhere, and especially when you get into social media management. You may find advisers suggesting you pare down your lists of followers, that following more people who follow you looks bad. You may even hear a suggestion to cut those who aren't "influencers," meaning users who tweet/post often and have large followings.

You never know where your fans are. There are people I've barely corresponded with on twitter whose books I've bought. There are people whose classes I've promoted, whose causes I've championed, because I've seen them be awesome within the writer community (and beyond). What's worse--showing a lower number of people you follow vs. who follow you, or losing a potential champion for YOUR books/teaching/author brand?

The IWSG community is great--I doubt anyone here would drop writer friends once they got a book deal or a hot shot agent. But apparently some people do this. I am a big proponent of using twitter as it was meant--SOCIALLY. When you interact and don't auto-tweet, you are engaging as a real person. When you don't cull your follow list with an automated-tool based on "influencer" quotients, you keep real people who may not be social media stars, but who may actually buy your book. When I sift through who I follow on twitter, I cut people who aren't following me whom I also rarely interact with, or who themselves are rarely using the platform.

Think about it. If your mom is on twitter and follows two people, one of whom is you, do you cut her? Or is she your biggest fan waiting for the chance to shout your praises?

I love to hear from you! Please share in the comments a time where you made an unlikely social media connection!

Writing Workshops and More Blogging:

YA and Middle Grade Writers: Looking for feedback on your first pages? The First Five Pages Workshop is held monthly as part of the Adventures in YA Publishing blog. The March sign-up is this Saturday March 5.

Stay tuned tomorrow on my blog for a cover reveal by a fellow Pitch Wars mentor Kelly Siskind, for her second New Adult romance!

One last thing! I joined The YA Buccaneers, a Young Adult blogging collective. Here is my intro post, plus I'll be posting What the Heck Makes a Good Book this Friday for our month-long Spring Cleaning theme. Please stop by!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

New Author Website in the Works

Photo credit: Stephanie Scott via Instagram

You may see changes or experience delays on my Blogger site due to the awesome and exciting developments going on behind the scenes with my domain name! I'll be debuting a brand new website in the next few months. The team at Atmosphere is working on it as we speak!

Most likely my blog will be a Wordpress blog connected to my new site, but there's a chance this little old Blogger may hold on :)

Photo credits: Leah Lewis, Jason Scott

Meanwhile, I'm blogging in these places:

The YA Buccaneers! I'm so happy to be on board with this most excellent crew of young adult writers. I'm Boatswain Jayne, and even have a my own pirate portrait! Here is my intro post on the blog.

I will be posting about writing, reading, and I'm helping out with their writing bootcamp challenges!

You'll also find me every so often with Writing With the Mentors, including my post on Writing a First Line That Hooks.

You can find me elsewhere online:

Twitter: @StephScottYA

Instagram: @StephScottYA

Facebook Author Page: Stephanie Scott

Exciting things to come as my book debut nears! Thanks loyal hangers-on to this blog. I'll keep you all updated.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Insecure Writers Support Group: February

Welcome to the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Be insecure no longer! Commune with fellow writers. Find your place and your tribe. Join the IWSG Facebook Group here. Writers of all skill level and background ask questions and offer support.

Follow the monthly IWSG blog hop here. Pick a number and visit  a few blogs. Comment and make a friend!

Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr and Instagram and Oh God What's Snapchat, 
Oh My!

My Instagram Mantra
There is a lot involved with being a modern author these days. Often it's all the EXTRAS outside of writing that wakes us in the night with panic (did I schedule my blog post for 6 AM or 6 PM? Did I cross-post my Tumblr to Facebook but not Twitter? WHAT EVEN DAY IS IT?)

My debut YA release is forthcoming mid-year 2016 (!) so I've been poking around at marketing and social media advice sites looking for direction. Here are a few resources I've found helpful so far in planning out how to best focus your social media efforts. I don't know these individuals personally, nor have I paid them any money. My recommendations are all based on the free content they provide on their websites:

Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Etc:
Peg Fitzpatrick: Author, speaker, social media marketing pro
I found this advice-giving entrepreneur linked on twitter. She has posts like The 12 Most Strategic Ways to Use Pinterest for Marketing and The Simplest Ways to Make the Best of Goodreads. Her twitter @PegFitzpatrick links to all these articles. 

Kristen Lamb's Warrior Writers blog. I love her take on how social media should be SOCIAL rather than automated (organization tools=good, autopost=not so good). 
She is my one exception to the paid content comment; I purchased her ebook Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World and found it worthwhile.

Blogging, Various Social Media:
The Social Media Hat
This website features articles like 2016 Social Media Predictions (always fun) to practical advice like How to Focus on your Blogging
Rebekah Radice
How to Grow Your Blog the Right Way

Alex Tooby
Five New Instagram Features and How they Benefit You 

You don't have to do everything. Recently, in a forum of YA authors, Snapchat came up. Someone said: oh great, is this yet another social media site I HAVE to sign up for? No, you don't! If you don't want to use Snapchat, then don't! It's a waste of time to grumble through using a tool meant for social interaction if you hate it and have no vested interest. 

Find what YOU like and go from there!

If you have a blog and want to focus your efforts, look into what components make a good blog. I personally don't like Facebook much, though I use their group functions quite a bit. I love Instagram and Twitter. Because of what I like, I focus efforts on those sites, and have more meaningful connections there. Farming for followers on any platform won't lead to lasting connections.

What social media tips and strategies have helped you? What overwhelms you? Maybe we can help each other out! I'd love to hear from you in the comments. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Life-Changing and Life-Procrastinating Magic of Everything But Writing

I started 2016 off with reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a bestselling lifestyle book by Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo. The book focuses more on our relationship with stuff than finding cool new ways to organize it. 

Photo: Stephanie Scott 

This is a book best read and thought on for a few days--I actually read it in the remaining days of 2015, but it wasn't until after the first of the year I really started to sort through things. I'd just helped my husband shed half the clothes in his closet (seriously, half--it'd been years) and I'd combed through my clothes earlier in the season. I took an entire trunk of things to the donation center. I figured I was good.

Still, I've got a lot of stuff. Drawers jammed with junk, little baskets of things.

One of the concepts in the book is to change your mindset from what should you get rid of, a what can I purge?mentality, to what do you own that sparks joy? She prompts you to consider why you hang onto items you don't use. There's nothing wrong with it or I paid good money for this, are likely responses. Only those items become buried in a drawer or the back of a closet. Why do you keep it?

So this whole "life-changing magic." I think it's real. There's something about this book that squeezes through the folds in your brain so it's ever-present. Does this candle spark joy? It's not quite the scent I like, and I never burn it more than ten minutes because it smells like roses doused in White Diamonds perfume, but it's a perfectly functioning candle! This sweater is ten years old and still fits so it would be wasteful to get rid of it.

Marie Kondo is all about taking care of what you have by finding a place for it. If an item has no place, it sits around and becomes clutter. 

Basically, all of this assessing of one's stuff leads to this:

Photo: Stephanie Scott

I folded my socks. I took out every pair of socks and knee-high nylon stockings, chucked a bunch, donated a few, and folded them the way God--I mean Marie Kondo--intended. Marie says socks need to rest. They're stomped on all day doing hard work for your feet, so balling them up and stretching them out only causes further torment. If you don't believe your socks having feelings, sure go ahead. Either way, the folding makes it easier to see what I have. It also helped that half of my regular rotation socks were fresh from the laundry and needed to be put away anyway.

But still. I sorted my sock drawer.

Which means my holiday is over and it's back to writing.  Once a writer willingly sorts her sock drawer, she is officially avoiding writing.

Here, I'll go ahead and put that in a quote so we all remember:

At least I'll have a tidy drawer. 

Read my full review of this book here on Goodreads

Have you read this magic tidying book? Have you ever folded socks or are you still a sane human being? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Insecure Writers Support Group: January

Welcome to another year of monthly posts with Insecure Writer's Support Group! If you're new to writing or blogging, this is a great community to network with which spans across writing genres. Check out the IWSG Facebook group and IWSG website. Today the site is announcing the winners of their anthology contest.

I posted about last year's and this year's writing goals on Monday. Today, another new development I'll be a part of is the Writing With Mentors group blog started by writers involved with Pitch Wars. The blog debuts today and will feature twice weekly posts on writing and the publishing business. I hope you stop by and take a look!

Which brings me to this quote:

Any success I've had so far in my writing career, I owe in part to those who've offered help and support. I somewhat blindly navigated my way through query writing and pitch contests and found an agent fairly quickly. But what to do then? Each step forward in publishing leads to more questions and uncertainty. Sometimes I wonder, how did I get here? People are asking ME for writing advice? When does it feel real, like I actually know what I'm doing?

Maybe never?

I'm so thankful for the many blogs and twitter chats and Facebook groups I've read through and joined where writers shared whatever scrap of knowledge they knew. Even linking to a website of writing articles for me was a huge deal when I knew nothing. Now I look back and think, well I might know a *few* things. :)

What's a step you've taken with your writing that you're proud of?

Make sure to visit the blog hop list and check out a selection of participating blogs to meet new writers!