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What do successful authors have in common? by Joanna D’Angelo #amwriting #promotion #marketing

Embrace it. ;)
Embrace it. 😉

There are things that a publisher can do for an author. And there are things that an author needs to do for him/herself. 

If you sign on with a publisher and expect to hit a bestseller list right away, it can happen, but chances are it won’t. But if you want to make a living as an author, sell consistently, and be able to pay your bills and sock some money away – you need to start doing what successful authors do.

So what distinguishes authors who make a good living from authors who are not getting sales?

Here are some observations I have compiled over the years of interviewing successful authors, talking to marketing professionals and in working with LeeAnn Lessard, Publisher of Lachesis Publishing. She knows her stuff. 🙂

1. Successful authors have a PLAN and if something in their plan isn’t working they change their plan. How do they change it? (keep reading).

2. Successful authors research ways that they can promote their books. They talk to other authors who are successful. They look into different blogs, review sites, online advertising, newsletter promotions, increasing their newsletter subscribers, etc . . . If something doesn’t work they go onto the next item on their list.  They look for different approaches. The point is they SEEK OUT and FIND OUT what other successful authors are doing.

3. Successful authors write every day but they also DO BUSINESS every day. A successful author knows that he or she is not just a creative artist – he or she is running a business. If you are an author – and you want to make a living at this you need to understand this. YOU ARE RUNNING A BUSINESS. And when you run a business you are either selling a product or a service. If you are selling a product you have to understand that merely telling people about your product is not going to convince them to buy it. You can’t just throw up a post on your facebook wall and say “hey, here’s my book” or “hey, my book is on sale”. You have to SELL THE EXPERIENCE of YOUR book. You know those Super Bowl ads that everyone loves? They are cinematic experiences that elicit a particular emotion from the audience. Successful authors understand what that means. They understand that they have a unique brand that appeals to a particular audience and what they need to do is to FIND that audience and REACH OUT to them in a meaningful and appealing way. If you don’t know what the means – there are a lot of books and professionals that explain it very well. Again – seek and you shall find.

Keep Calm and Market Your Book
Keep Calm and Market Your Book

4. If a successful author doesn’t have the time to do all of this marketing stuff – they HIRE someone with the skills and know-how who does. Yes. Successful authors know that you have to spend money to make money. Either that or you have to have someone IN YOUR LIFE  like a spouse or son/daughter who is your partner and who works on your behalf to do all the promotion and marketing that you need.

5. Successful authors are always connecting with readers on social media and through their newsletters – sharing their lives – sharing their humour – sharing their creativity. And in return – reaching out to their fans and readers and listening to them and reading what THEY have to say. In other words  – they INTERACT. They don’t simply post “buy my book” posts – they interact with people. This is common sense right? You’d be surprised how many authors don’t know this.

6. Successful authors know that they can’t put all of their eggs in one basket and if they want to build momentum they either publish with more than one publisher or they self-publish as well in order to get more books out. It’s true you can’t just put out one book every two years and then sit back and let the money roll in. Unless you have a sweet publishing deal with a big pub. And even then you still have to produce your next book. Most successful authors who write full time and make a living at it – publish several books a year.

7. Successful authors understand what marketing and promotion means. If they don’t they research it.

8. Everyone has a right to complain if they fall off the horse and something doesn’t go their way. But successful authors get right back on. They are highly motivated people who move forward in their quest for success.

Work it. :)
Work it. 🙂

9. Successful authors don’t work in spurts. They don’t do things here and there. They don’t “putter”. They don’t send an email a few weeks ago or last month. They work consistently and diligently EVERY DAY not JUST on their writing but on their BUSINESS. Even if they have a full time job and kids and a dog to take care of and all they can manage is 1 hour a day. They make good use of that hour.

10. Successful authors know that it takes time to become successful. It’s not for fly-by-nighters. It’s for people who put in the time, effort, and the day-to-day drudgery of running a business. That’s what successful authors do.

The end.

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, social media, and good writing.

Connect with Joanna on twitter@JoannaDangelo, on facebook and on pinterest.

Her facebook page is: Love Romance Novels (on facebook)

Her other blogs are: thepopculturedivas and therevolvingbook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

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The Three Cs of Promoting Your Books by Joanna D’Angelo #amwriting #bestseller

clip-art-snoopy-921342Something I’ve noticed over the years is the difference between successful authors and authors who sell only a handful of books a year. If you want to get an idea of how you’re selling – check your ranking on amazon and barnes and noble. But shouldn’t your publisher be doing all the work of selling your book? Nope. There isn’t a publisher IN EXISTENCE big or small who does that. Your publisher has to promote many different titles a month (both older and new releases). Whereas YOU just have to worry about YOUR books. Your publisher has to worry about many different authors. Whereas YOU just have to worry about YOURSELF. If you are consistently in the 1 million or higher ranking, you need to re-evaluate what you are doing (or not doing) to sell books. Here are a few key qualities that I have seen that successful authors have in common. I call them THE THREE Cs: COMMITMENT, CONSISTENCY, CLEVERNESS.

tumblr_miy082ZuYC1s0s30po1_1280COMMITMENT: Successful authors are committed, not only to their writing craft but to promoting their work. After they release a new title, they don’t just forget about it and move on to the next book. No way. They have a plan in place to promote that book. That plan – should be in place well BEFORE your book comes out. One year before. One year? But won’t people get tired of hearing about your book a year in advance of it coming out? You’re not LITERALLY talking about your book every single day. USE COMMON SENSE. You are BUILDING your identity on facebook so that when your book DOES come out, you will have lots of friends and followers who know you and (hopefully) like you. People that you have made a CONNECTION with.

Let’s say you plan on promoting your book on facebook. Terrific! BUT, now here’s the hard part: What is your commitment going to be? How often should you post? What should you post about? How can you engage your friends and followers? If you don’t have enough friends and followers, how can you get more? As an author, you have to be asking yourself these questions WELL IN ADVANCE and you have to answer them. Ask other authors. Read books or articles on social networking. Figure out what you want to say and say it. READ. OBSERVE. RESEARCH.

But isn’t that a lot of work? Sure it is. But if you want to sell books, then you have to do it. Or, hire someone who knows how to do it.

But isn’t this just common sense? Of course it is. But if you already know this then why aren’t you doing it? The answer is because YOU ARE NOT COMMITTED.

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 2.15.36 PMCONSISTENCY: The most successful authors are the authors who are consistent. They post on a regular basis  – not just once or twice a month. They ALWAYS have something to share. Some authors talk about their relationships, kids, even their health issues. While others like to share silly stuff about their pets or funny things they find online. The key is to share consistently but don’t bombard your followers with the same BUY MY BOOK post every day. Be creative. Have fun. Share who you truly are. But do it on a regular basis. Why? Because the key word in social networking is the word SOCIAL. It means “taking part”. Engaging with other people. Being sociable. Not hiding in an ivory tower.

A lot of authors have “regular” features on their facebook pages. What does that have to do with selling books you might ask? Well, social networking isn’t just “HEY MY BOOK IS ON SALE”. It’s about ENGAGING, COMMENTING, and SHARING. And you have to do it on a REGULAR BASIS. Some authors have a Question of the Week, Hunk of the Week, Cute Critter of the Week, Funny Video of the Week . . . You get the point right? Other authors run monthly contests where they give away a free signed copy of their book or some nifty “swag” that they got at various conferences. OR they go out and buy something really cool that has a connection to their book/series and they run a contest that way. How do you promote your contest? Some authors purchase sponsored ads on facebook. Or they ask their fellow author friends if they can share the post. They share the contest info on facebook group pages – spreading it out and posting on various groups every few hours, every. single. day. Some cross-promote on other blogs and on twitter to get the word out. The point is to SET UP A PLAN and STICK TO IT. If the plan isn’t getting you sales then re-evaluate every few weeks to see how you can improve/change that.

snoopy-profileCLEVERNESS: It’s hard to be clever. But the most successful authors are just that. They come up with fun and creative ways to engage their readers and they always keep it fresh. Whether it’s running contests, or posting fun content, or setting up newsletters that reward subscribers with free, original content, or making funny videos that go viral, or coming up with a fun way of branding themselves, or working with other authors on unique cross promotional contests or giveaways – they put their creativity to work – not just in their writing – but in selling. Don’t be afraid to spread your wings and think outside your box. Be a little daring. Take a chance on doing something different. Approach some other authors about setting up a YouTube channel and make regular videos that you can post online. Have fun and keep trying even if you flop the first few times. Just keep thinking and doing. Eventually you will hit your creative stride and come up with something that works really well for you. The point is – don’t just sit back and expect others to do it for you. Do it yourself. Motivate yourself. And if you find it overwhelming to go it alone – then team up with other authors and go for it. You have nothing to lose, and so very much to gain.

Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, social media, and good writing.

Connect with Joanna on twitter@JoannaDangelo, on facebook and on pinterest.

Her facebook page is: Love Romance Novels (on facebook)

Her other blogs are: thepopculturedivas and therevolvingbook

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook. Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter.

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Ray Bradbury: The Coolest Writer I Ever Met – by David Lee Summers (science fiction author)

Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury

In May 1983, I was 16 years old and a junior at San Bernardino High School in California. One of my best friends, Rodney King, was a senior at Pacific High School across town. Rod told me that Ray Bradbury was scheduled to give a presentation at his school. I was on San Bernardino High’s newspaper and persuaded my teachers to give me permission to report on the presentation.

On the morning of Ray Bradbury’s talk, Rod picked me up and we drove to Pacific High School. We were walking across campus, when the principal stopped us. She saw I was carrying a tape recorder and asked if we were reporters from other schools. I confirmed I was. She then said, “Mr. Bradbury is having lunch in the library, would you care to join him?” Of course, we leapt at the opportunity. There he was, the man himself! Ray Bradbury in the library talking to teachers and administrators. He seemed pleased to see some students there as well and we joined in the conversation.

David Lee Summers' signed copy of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
David Lee Summers’ signed copy of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Once we finished lunch, we adjourned to the auditorium where Bradbury spoke and answered questions about his work. Afterwards Rod and I went up to him to say goodbye and thank him for talking to us. He pulled us aside and said, “I’m going out for cocktails with some of the teachers after this. Would you care to join us?” Of course we agreed and spent another hour with him. It was truly a magical day. I remember he told the story of how he came up with the story “The Veldt” from The Illustrated Man. He read some of his poetry. He encouraged us to read and write every day. All of that has remained with me over the years. Sadly, these were the days before everyone carried a cell phone much less invented he word “Selfie,” so I don’t have a picture with him, but he signed my copies of Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes, which I treasure to this day.

Moby_dick434I next had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Bradbury about two years later when he spoke at California State University at San Bernardino. That was a brief visit and he signed a copy of Dinosaur Tales for me. What I most remember is that when I stepped up to him in the autograph line, he immediately recognized me, stepped around the desk where he was signing, and gave me a hug.

I didn’t see Mr. Bradbury again until early 1995. At that point, I was living in Tucson. He came out to speak at a writer’s workshop held at the University of Arizona. I attended with my wife, Kumie, and my friend, William Grother. He gave a wonderful presentation over lunch where he told us a person should read a short story, a poem and an essay every day. “Imagine how much you will learn,” he said. He also told us about his experiences in Ireland, writing the Moby Dick screenplay for John Huston. Again, I had an opportunity to visit with Mr. Bradbury. He gave me and Kumie hugs and we left him to speak to other fans.

whitewhaleA couple of years later, I saw a copy of Green Shadows, White Whale, book of collected Ray Bradbury’s stories about working for John Huston in Ireland. I remembered his stories from the workshop so fondly that I immediately bought the book and read it right away.

About that time, I was also reading submissions for a magazine I was editing called Hadrosaur Tales. Three stories in a row that described a knight climbing a mountain to slay some hapless dragon. I found myself asking, “Isn’t there a fresh way to tell this story?” I thought of Ray Bradbury in Ireland, writing Moby Dick. The question occurred to me, what if teams of people flew out in airships and hunted dragons? I wrote the story of a young man named Rado who joined such a crew. Rado was named for Ray Douglas Bradbury. When the story was published in Realms of Fantasy magazine, I sent Mr. Bradbury a copy and told him the story of how I came up with the idea. He wrote back a few days later and said how much he enjoyed that day in 1983 at Pacific High School, how proud he was of me, and that “The Slayers” was a “fine story.”

Ray Bradbury in 1978 (The Paris Review)
Ray Bradbury in 1978 (The Paris Review)

If you’d like to hear Ray Bradbury speak, my friend Gloria McMillian recently pointed me to a YouTube video recorded in 2001, the year my story was published in Realms of Fantasy. In it, he gives terrific advice and tells many great stories from his years as a writer. You can watch it at: here.

Back in 1983, Ray Bradbury told the story of visiting a carnival when he was a child. A man called Mr. Electrico strapped himself into an electric chair. With lightning arcing all around, Mr. Electrico pointed a lightning rod at the young Bradbury and said, “live forever!” That’s the moment Ray Bradbury decided to be a writer, so he could live forever.

That day, Ray Bradbury pointed
at me and said, “Live forever, submit your stories now!” I have lived by that ever since and now it’s my turn to point to you. “Live forever!” 20160324_164510

You can purchase David Lee Summers’s books at Lachesis Publishing, on amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

Connect with David Lee Summers. online via facebook and twitter, and check out his web site.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.

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Super, Savvy, and Successful Authors: Q and A with Jenni James (YA author and cover artist)

jenni james 84Jenni James is a YA and kids author who also writes contemporary romance (sweet). Not only does she manage a blended family (with her husband) of ten kids. YUP. TEN KIDS. But she has a booming writing career and she works as a cover artist as well. Welcome Jenni!

You are a YA and kids author. Tell us how that came about and why you decided to write YA?

51tgYgtgNpL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_JJ: I never wanted to be an author. Honestly. I was a busy mom with seven kids, living in England (at the time) and didn’t think it’d be that fun. However, a book would NOT leave me alone. It kept me awake for three days in a row, so I finally gave in and wrote out the first chapter to Pride & Popularity. The next day (after lots of sleep) I woke up so curious as to what would happen next, I couldn’t wait to write more. Wala! Which is how I developed a love for a talent I didn’t know I had, I didn’t even know I wanted . . . For a while I stuck with YA because honestly, my girls were growing up fast and there weren’t really good happy “romantical” books for them. Twilight and The Hunger Games were huge, but nothing sweet and clean and just fun. I figured if I was going to become published I might as well write a whole lot more books anyway, with my own girls in mind.

41293EzwW+L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_You’re also a cover artist – and you not only design your own book covers but you design covers for other writers as well. So which came first the writing or the art? Are you a self-taught artist/designer? Or did you study art?

JJ: Oh, ART!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE art. It’s a huge passion of mine and an incredible way to unwind. I wanted to be an artist since I was teeny tiny. I doodled and drew and eventually became a portrait painter. I actually have 67 portraits/paintings sold around the world today. I didn’t study for it. Honestly, the idea of the nude painting classes I would have to take, sort of creeped me out. Like writing, when I decide to develop a talent, nothing really stops me from doing so. I have this edge in me to grab hold and continue to perfect, throughout the mistakes, until I learn what to do.

You live in the country and you have a BIG family – 10 kids. WOW! Walk us through a typical day in your household – how do you balance a big family with your writing?

Typical morning in the Jenni James household.
Typical morning in the Jenni James household.

JJ: Holy cow, it’s so much fun! Seriously. If somebody would’ve told me I’d have a ton of kids when I was an adult I would’ve laughed. But now that they’re here, I don’t know how I could live without them. Families are amazing. And big families are just an extension of what working together as a team can really create. I’ve been blessed with hard working, multi-talented kids, who are NOT shy, and who aren’t afraid of life and changes. So we go through it all laughing a TON. It’s kind of the best way to face the junk life throws at you.

A typical day… 7am… we’re up doing family scripture study and prayer, then breakfast and getting the teens out the door for the bus. My 12-yr-old puts on his boots and heads out to the farm. His job is to water/feed animals. I help the younger two with their hair, while my hubby makes sure they’ve got all their homework in

One BIG happy family. :)
One BIG happy family. 🙂

place, and he starts on my morning marketing—he runs my website Jenni James. Then he drives the youngest ones to the elementary school at 8am . . . and (shhh!) when he gets back, we head back to sleep. By ten we’re up for good and I get online answering whatever emails have come in through my various publishers, editors, fans, etc. I have a brief meeting with my hubby discussing marketing and our day and then we both get to work. I write for an hour or two mingled in with research/social media/editing/etc.

12107815_1136712953027065_2589656018353524704_n 12042724_1126586130706414_3533613308520945086_n

What Jenni and family do in their "spare time".
What Jenni and family do in their “spare time”.

After lunch I’ll jump back on and write another hour or two and then take a break once the kids get home from school.  Then back for another hour of writing, while dad makes sure they do homework/chores/and begins dinner. We come together as a family for a few hours each night. And get kids bathed and ready for family prayer. Then off to bed. That’s when I can REALLY write. Nighttime is best for me. After another quick marketing meeting with the hubby, I jump back to the computer and will write sometimes three/four more hours. Then, because I’ve hardly seen my hubby, once I’ve met my writing goals (each book is different . . . but usually I manage 3500 words a day), he and I will snuggle on the couch and maybe watch a movie if it’s not too late, or just talk and share our day.

Jenni's nickname for herself: "Secretly Awesome Ninja"
Jenni’s nickname for herself: “Secretly Awesome Ninja”

How many titles do you publish per year and do you make a good living as a writer? Is it a supplemental income or better?

JJ: I completely support our family on my book sales. And since I just bought my first house ever, all by myself last year, I’d say it’s better than supplemental. 😉 My husband has been a manager at Walmart (largest store in the US) for years and years, but we realized if he stayed home and helped with kids/food/chores/marketing, etc. I would have much more time to write and essentially make more than him. That hasn’t happened yet, but it sure is wonderful to have him home and worth the pay cut to do so. Life is much easier on us both. As for titles published it varies from year to year. This year I’m on a mission to get us completely out of debt. To do so, I’m challenging myself to write twenty books this year. So far I’m on my fourth since Jan. And right on schedule. The last couple of years I’ve only published about three a year and in 2013 I wrote thirteen books. So it really depends. That’s the best part of being self-employed, you choose what you’d like to do.

The Jane Austen Diaries by Jenni James (inspired by Jane Austen ;)
The Jane Austen Diaries by Jenni James (inspired by Jane Austen 😉

On average how much MONEY and TIME do you spend marketing and promotion/advertising one of your books?

My goal is to not spend anything on marketing. With the internet there are WAY TOO MANY wonderful ways to market for free these days. However, it does take time to build these places up. And up until a little while ago I was doing it all. Thank goodness I have help now. My hubby spends about 4-5 hours a day on solid building up my platform (followers on twitter, websites), website design, and researching new sites and ideas to use. I spend about 2-3 hrs a day with, answering fan mail, and interacting on facebook. But honestly, the best thing an author can do is write another book. Marketing is essential, and there’s lots of ways to do it, but if you’re spending all day marketing and putting off writing, then it’s not worth it. You’ve got to find a good balance.

You have many series on the go. Some of which are ONGOING. Tell us about your series and why you think series books are important?

It’s a numbers game. Logistically people are more apt to turn toward something that keeps giving and giving. A one-off book is nice, and every now and then you’ll see me produce something like that, but rarely. With each series book that I release, it has that much more potential to reach a whole new audience and bump all the other books in the series too. People will remember you much more, when there’s a series as well. It gives them a reason to buy the next book. Though I try and keep my books as standalone as possible (meaning, anyone can read any book and not have to start at the first.)

Faerie Tale Collection
Faerie Tale Collection

What is something memorable/wonderful that a reader/fan has done for you or said to you?

Wow. I don’t know. I’ve been really lucky. My fans are so awesome. I had one find me at a book signing and she brought me cupcakes and handmade stationary for my birthday. It was so cool! Though, probably the most awe-inspiring moment for me was the teen who wrote and confessed she had been about to kill herself one Sunday, but found my fairy tales in her school library that Friday and began to read. By the end of the weekend she had read so many, and become so happy that she didn’t follow through. She said my heroines faced such horrid things, but always saw the good and persevered. Ironically, that letter came to me at a dark time in my life when I was debating ending the fairy tale series early. After that I KNEW I had to keep writing. And I wasn’t just writing for me, I was writing for teens everywhere.

What is the most EFFECTIVE thing that you’ve done (or continue to do) that has proven successful in your career?

Persistence. Honestly. I’m not the type to give up easily and if I know I can do something and have a belief in myself to do it (like write an insane 20 books) I’ll work my butt off and do it. However, if you’d like to know about what works marketing wise… I believe becoming a featured author on is essential. You’ve got to think outside of the box and see what other angles there are.51XgV8Q5NaL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

What do you have coming down the road?

Lol! Um, 20 books . . . hehehe! Okay, so I’m super, super excited to start my Regency Romance line for adults (they’re still clean!) I’ve always been a huge fan of Regency and I know so much about the era—hey, I even have an embarrassing British accent that comes out from time-to-time, true story. Anyway, I hope to have 6 Regencies written by the end of the year. (my editor is actually working on my first: The Bluestocking and the Dastardly, Intolerable Scoundrel.) I’ve got a lot more fairy tales coming out this year. Two more of my Annie & Annie early reader chapter books coming out. As well as an Austen in Love: My Persuasion (book 3, of that series). Though I’ve JUST released Not Cinderella’s Type a modern Cinderella story, that is so fun!

I’ve seen some of your posts on facebook about your baking and canning – what is the most yummy thing you bake that the ENTIRE family can’t get enough of ? And would you share the recipe? PICTURES PLEASE! J

Not the Tator Tot Chicken Casserole - but a Chicken Crock Pot Dinner that Jenni loves to make.
Not the Tator Tot Chicken Casserole – but a Chicken Crock Pot Dinner that Jenni loves to make.

I LOVE TO COOK!! Love it. Okay. Um, this one is so hard. The kids are in bed right now so I can’t ask them. I know they love my Chicken Tater Tot Casserole. It’s one of those win-over-any-kid-and-dad-ever recipes. And it’s easy, so I’ll throw that one out there.

I make enough for a small army . . . so I’ll try and downsize to a 9×13 pan, you can cut it in half for an 8×8

Jenni’s Chicken Tater Tot Casserole

2 chicken breasts

2 cans of cream of chicken soup

1 ½ bags of frozen veggies (we prefer Normandy blend—carrots, broccoli, cauliflower) approx. 20 oz. total

Cheddar/Jack shredded cheese. Lots. (Probably like 8-14oz)

Tator tots Image:
Tator tots Image:

Paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper

Dollop of oil (Tablespoon)

Bag of Tater tots

Cook the chicken breasts in a pan with oil, 2 tsp of paprika, 2 tsp of garlic powder, salt and pepper… and about ½ cup of water. Cook until nice and browned then chop up. Place the chicken into the 9×13 baking pan. Next add the cream of chicken soup, frozen veggies and stir it all up in the baking pan. Spread out as evenly as possible. Sprinkle yummy cheese on top. Then place the tater tots uniformly on the top in rows. Shake lightly more paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper all over the frozen goodness.

Place in oven at 425 until the tater tots are nice and crispy and cheese is bubbling in the middle. (usually about 45-55min)

It’s sooo good. The perfect meal for family, friends, co-worker who’s sick, or man-food. Seriously, men love this. Not sure why, they just do.

You can connect with  the fabulous Jenni James via her website, facebook and twitter – about books and/or recipes. 

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My friend the superstar author: CJ Carmichael interviews NYT bestselling author Jane Porter

CJ Carmichael and BFF Jane Porter
CJ Carmichael and BFF Jane Porter

CJC: I first met Jane Porter at a writer’s conference in Victoria. She was traveling from Seattle, while I had come from Calgary. We instantly connected and spent hours talking passionately about our desire to write and become published. Happily it happened for us both within the next eighteen months. Here I chat with Jane about her career, the highs and the lows, and the secrets behind her success.

Jane can you begin by telling us who inspired you early on in your career and why?


JP: I was an early reader
and devoured everything I could get my hands on. Some of my favorite books when I was in first through fourth grade were the books by Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder. What I loved about Louisa and Laura was that while they wrote books for little girls, their stories featured aspiring writers. I loved that these were the ultimate book girl stories. They modeled literary success and provided a road map for me by creating a career out of their passion. I wanted the same thing. It was my goal since I was 9 or 10. I will say I am lucky in that I had a lot of help and support early on from my dad. My father was a professor and a writer and he encouraged me when I wrote. He’d go over my poems or stories and talk to me about choices or stanza or rhyme meter. He also found places for me to publish.  Looking back, it was definitely an advantage having a parent make writing seem like the most normal of activities.

woman_450CJC: I have especially loved your The Good Woman and She’s Gone Country. I think in both cases I really connected with the heroines and their dilemmas were so compelling I couldn’t stop reading. What is one of your favourite Jane Porter books and why?

flirting_450x2-295x450JP: It is so hard to pick a Jane Porter favorite but I do love “Odd Mom Out” because it’s honest and real but has a happy ever after which is important to me, and my readers. Another favorite is “Flirting with Forty” because that was the book my husband inspired . . . but the book then inspired ‘us’. I don’t know if I would have thought we could go the distance if the story hadn’t made me believe it was possible.

CJC: I love that answer Jane. You and Ty are not a conventional couple. You are a wee bit older. And he’s a surfer dude from Hawaii while you’re such a book girl. But you really have made a great life together—not to mention an adorable son. Tell me, when did you realize that you were truly a successful author?

JP: I don’t feel like I am a truly successful author. I don’t relate to myself as an author, but a writer. I am most passionate about the work, and the creative act and then about a story when it’s completed. I do set the bar high for each book and I struggle to get it where I want it to go. The words don’t just flow. It can be a battle but maybe what makes me successful is that I stick with it. I believe in giving my readers a great story every time. My focus is always on surprising and delighting my readers.

Flirting with Forty was a hit movie on Lifetime starring Heather Locklear
Flirting with Forty was a hit movie on Lifetime starring Heather Locklear

CJC: That’s a humble answer Jane. You’ve published so many excellent books with Harlequin, Grand Central, Berkley, not to mention Tule, the publishing business you started. And then there was your movie deal for Flirting With Forty. But what advice can you give authors who are just starting out or who haven’t broken through?

JP: Don’t give up. I think that is truly the best advice I can give: don’t give up and keep learning. Focus on the craft. Go to conferences, attend workshops, read writing books, but also read, read, read everything. And then write. A lot. And write some more. Grow a thick skin, ask for feedback and continue to submit and grow thicker skin and work on revising and keep the faith that you’re doing what you are meant to be doing. Writing is a muscle. You’ve got to make it strong and you have to take care of your head so you can handle the ups and downs in publishing.

Jane Porter's shelf is filled with the fruits of her hard work and determination.
Jane Porter’s office is filled with the fruits of her hard work and determination.

CJC: I believe Stephen King has given the same advice and I agree. I really don’t think you can read too much, or too widely, if you want to be a writer. Tell me, what are the qualities that make a romance novel a true “keeper”? – a beloved book that you will read over and over again?

JP: I rarely read a book a second time. (I don’t watch movies a second time, either!) But I do have a keeper shelf and that shelf is filled with books that delighted me. A keeper book is one that engaged me and entertained me to the degree that I laughed and cried and felt like a little girl, lost in a story. A keeper story isn’t a perfect story, but a story that made me think and feel and hope and believe.

CJC: I’ve noticed on Facebook that your fans are really devoted to you. You’re real with them and genuinely interested in what they think. What’s the sweetest/coolest thing a reader/fan has said to you/done for you?

Jane enjoying spending time with her reader friends.
Jane enjoys spending time with her reader friends.

JP: My readers are amazing. I think they are the coolest women on the face of this planet but maybe the thing I love hearing most is when a reader says “you made me love reading again”. That is the ultimate compliment. That one means the world to me.

CJC: You love to travel—and your book “Flirting with Forty” certainly conveys how much travel has impacted your life and your work. Tell us about a very special place you have visited and a place you want to visit.

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (Banff, Alberta)
The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (Banff, Alberta)

JP: I do love to travel and certain settings inspire stories (i.e. Flirting with Forty) and other places become the foundation for a book or a series (Montana or Argentina), and it’s always interesting to me how I can research and write about a place but then visit it, and not be quite as impressed, and then other times I can go somewhere, have no expectation at all, and then be blown out of the water.  Banff and Lake Louise are examples of places that just profoundly moved me.  The first time I went was with you, CJ and it was incredible. I will never have enough words to describe how I feel when in the Canadian Rockies but it’s wonderful and powerful. And where do I still want to go? Jasper! Dying to get there!

12541108_10153285175528093_8067497825427111668_nCJC: Okay, I see a writing retreat to Jasper in our future. Let’s pencil it in for 2017. Of course you have a few more books to write before then. Tell us about your latest release.

JP: My latest release is a romance novella called The Tycoon’s Forced Bride, and I would describe it as a classic Jane Porter romance because it’s emotional and passionate and a bit mad. I love a great intense read . . . flawed characters who are healed through the redemptive power of love.

CJC: Can’t wait to read it! I did adore your latest Christmas story, “A Christmas Miracle for Daisy.” What do you have coming down the road?

TheLostSheenanBride-MEDIUM-300x450I have the sixth and final story in my Taming of the Sheenan series which is set in fictional Marietta, Montana coming out in May and so I’m working on that, even as I plot my new series for 2017 which will launch with a historical story that will also be my Christmas story for 2016. Exciting stuff!

CJC: Thanks so much for chatting with me Jane. It’s nice to look back sometimes and see how far we’ve come. Now, give us some dirt. We know you work hard and you’re very giving to your family, friends and readers. But what’s your guilty pleasure treat?

Jane, the Tulle gals and CJ at Flathead Lake, MT
Jane, the Tule Publishing gals and CJ at Flathead Lake, MT

JP: Guilty pleasure?  If it’s not hanging out with you in Montana or in Banff, CJ, its going to be reading a book at your cottage at Flathead Lake and enjoying a truly wonderful salted caramel chocolate treat.

CJC: Ah! Flathead Lake! That’s where the ideas for the Montana Born stories were conceived…but that’s a story for another day. Thanks again for chatting with me Jane. I look forward to lots of fun visits and Jane Porter books in the years to come.

Thanks to authors C.J. Carmichael and Jane Porter for joining us today! 

For more info about Tule Publishing you can go to their website, connect with Tule Publishing on facebook. Find Tule Publishing on instagram. Follow Tule Publishing on twitter.

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What’s important to you as an author? Some tips and tough questions. by Joanna D’Angelo


Every author is different. And every author has a different way of working and conducting themselves. I’ve worked with many wonderful authors and talked to many successful authors over the years and there are a few things that I have learned – about what makes an author successful and a stand out.

One question comes to mind that I think every author needs to answer honestly and truthfully in order to shape his/her career: WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU AS AN AUTHOR?



1. Do you want to hit a bestseller list like the New York Times or the USA Today? If you want to be a bestseller then you may want to talk to authors who’ve hit that list or check out their websites, or facebook pages, and figure out how they got there. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT WRITING A GOOD BOOK. There are tons of beautiful writers who fade into obscurity or who don’t care about fame and fortune. Everyone’s path is different – but from what I have seen of successful authors who have hit the list numerous times – they are consistent with their work and their ability to connect to their readers AND to build their reader base.

The Man.
The Man.

2. Don’t think sooooo outside the box that you forget the box itself. The box is there for a reason – it is a foundation for you to work from. By that I mean – you may have aspirations of turning your book into a feature film but don’t lose sight of the book itself – it already exists as an ENTERTAINMENT PRODUCT for an audience to enjoy. So make sure you don’t ignore that already existing product. Make sure you promote it and sell it and advertise it and reach out to readers and reviewers. Stephen King had a reader fan base long before he was the go-to guy for horror movie plot lines. Besides, hands down, people ALMOST ALWAYS prefer the BOOK to the MOVIE.

Bestselling Authors. You know who they are.
Bestselling Authors. You know who they are.

3. Be consistent. If you are a professional author and you want to be taken seriously then don’t consider it a hobby or a part-time job. Consider it as your profession. Even if you have a 40-hour-a-week “day job”, your profession is still AUTHOR. Own it. It’s who you are. So don’t just “dabble” when it comes to planning your career – and building your “brand”. You are an author. What do authors need to do to get their books in the hands of readers? You need to figure that out and do it. Every. Single. Day.

4. Don’t rely on your publisher to be everything and all things to you. PUBLISHERS SELL BOOKS, NOT AUTHORS. Building your career is YOUR job. Not the job of your publisher. So if you want to be a successful author in every respect, then you have to start focussing on all the aspects that are necessary for that to happen.


5. Hit the ground running. When you have a new release coming out you have to HUSTLE AND BUSTLE. You need to have a plan – a marketing and promotion plan. At Lachesis Publishing we will only accept submissions if they come with a MARKETING PLAN. You can’t just sit back and hope your book will sell. You have to plan and execute a strategy that will propel you forward in the first days, weeks, months of that new release.

6. Don’t forget your titles after the honeymoon phase is over. That’s when the “marriage” gets tough and needs support and commitment. These are YOUR books. Figure out how you can keep older titles in play and fresh in the minds of readers. Because. And this is important. You can NEVER HAVE ENOUGH READERS.

7. You can be a fast writer but are you a fast promoter? You can write 10 books a year but if you don’t consistently promote them and YOUR BRAND, then you may as well just keep those books on your own shelf at home. No one will pay attention.


8. Build a support team. Whether it’s fellow authors, or fans/readers, or family members – build YOUR TEAM so that you can call on them to help get the word out about your books – books need REVIEWS. The more reviews you have, the more buzz your book creates, the easier it is for your publisher to snag very important ads that can only be purchased with books that already have TRAFFIC. Ads like BOOK BUB, that can help boost sales.


9. Know your genre. Know where your audiences are online and in person. Reach out to them. If you write erotic romance don’t go looking for readers who love sweet inspirational. Find the readers who like YOUR kind of book.

10. Do you want to make a living at this? If you want to make a good living and be able to pay your bills, and travel, and save money, and do all the things you need to do to live a decent life AS AN AUTHOR then you need to figure out if BEING AN AUTHOR is for you. You need to figure out how to get to your goal. You need to plan it and execute it – not just once in a while – but consistently and long term.

I wish you all peace and prosperity in the New Year. Here’s to good ideas, good writing, and good books. 🙂



Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, social media, and good writing. 

Connect with Joanna on twitter@JoannaDangelo, on facebook and on pinterest.

Her facebook page is: Love Romance Novels (on facebook)

Her other blogs are: thepopculturedivas and therevolvingbook

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Bestselling Authors Q and A with V.M. Black (paranormal romance)

V. M. Black
V. M. Black

Continuing our ongoing series featuring bestselling authors we chat with New York Times  and USA Today bestselling author V.M. Black. V.M. writes dark and sensual paranormal romance. V.M. has created a rich and compelling universe of aethers (superhuman races) in her ongoing series Aethereal Bonds.

What was your first book that hit a bestseller list? What was the list, where did the book rank when it first hit, and how high did your book get?

VMB: My first book hit a couple of minor lists under another name. Under this name, though, my first book to hit was an anthology that I co-ran called A Kiss of Christmas Magic. It hit on the main print and ebook NY Times bestseller list and on the extended ebook-only list. I honestly can’t remember the exact ranks . . . 13 and 11, I think?

Vampire_Choice_3_FinalWhat were you doing when you found out you hit the bestseller list? And how did you celebrate or mark the occasion?

VMB: I was asleep when my phone exploded because all of the other people in the anthology were so excited!

What does being a “successful author” mean to you?

VMB: To be able to support myself financially with my writing and to have an enthusiastic readership.

Some authors are great at it, while others can’t find the right formula, but in order to be a success in today’s market, you have to do promotion. So, what are the top three things that you do consistently when it comes to promotion?

VMB: Mailing list. Social media. Using advertising venues like Bookbub.

 What is one thing you absolutely LOVE about being an author and one thing that makes you BONKERS?

VMB: I love the freedom. I fear the uncertainty.

51hniqmTPCL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_agatha-christie-and-then-there-were-noneWho are some of your favourite authors and why?

VMB: I have so many! Lisa Kleypas’ early books are among my absolute favorites, along with Judith Ivory and Laura Kinsale. Emily Bronte. Anne McCaffrey’s early Pern books and, of course, Sassinak. Jane Austen, particularly Sense and Sensibility. Lois McMasters Bujold’s Mile Vorkosigan saga. Elizabeth Moon’s Paksenarrion books. Anne Rice. George R. R. Martin. Agatha Christie.

What are you currently working on?

VMB: More things in my Aethereal Bonds world!

In your daily work routine what do you do first and why? A. write/plot/creative  B. social media/promotion C. email/admin

Where the magic happens.
Where the magic happens.

VMB: Writing first. Without writing, there is nothing to promote.

What would I find on your desk at this very moment?

VMB: Gum, daily time journal, color-coded pens, tea, and tissues. LOL. Keyboard and mouse, too.

Finish this sentence: I’m a writer because . . .

51RdwxmtCaL._SX417_BO1,204,203,200_VMB: I’m not sensible enough to choose a more stable job.

You can connect with V.M. Black via her website, on facebook, YouTube, pinterest.

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Bestselling Authors Q and A with Terri Brisbin (historical romance author)

TerriBrisbin-photoIn today’s ongoing series of Q and As with bestselling authors  – we feature the talented Terri Brisbin (historical romance author). Terri’s had more than 34 historical and paranormal romance novels, novellas and short stories published since 1998 by Berkley, Harlequin, Kensington and NAL – in 25 languages in 20 countries! You can contact Terri via her website. On her facebook profile page. or her facebook author page.

What was your first book that hit a bestseller list? What was the list, where did the book rank when it first hit, and how high did your book get?

dangeroustemptationTB: The Highlander’s Dangerous Temptation from Harlequin Historicals was my book that hit the USA Today bestselling list. I hit it on May 29, 2014 and it reached #139….

What were you doing when you found out you hit the bestseller list? And how did you celebrate or mark the occasion?

TB: I was home, working on my computer, when a friend emailed me to congratulate me! I had no idea, thought she was making it up and then went to the USA Today website and saw it for myself! I screamed a lot, called another friend and scared her by screaming . . . I went to NYC the next day for the big BEA tradeshow and celebrated there with Harlequin authors and colleagues!

Terri Brisbin at a conference book signing event.
Terri Brisbin at a conference book signing event.

What does being a “successful author” mean to you?

TB: To me, being a successful author means being able to share my stories with readers. It means being able to tell my stories.

Some authors are great at it, while others can’t find the right formula, but in order to be a success in today’s market, you have to do promotion. So, what are the top three things that you do consistently when it comes to promotion?

TB: Promotion is difficult – what works for one book/one author/today, doesn’t work for the next one. I find that 1)my website, 2) some social media (like Facebook) and 3) writing more books are the most effective promotional tools.

What is one thing you absolutely LOVE about being an author and one thing that makes you BONKERS?

Terri Brisbin with readers at Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon
Terri Brisbin with readers at Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon

TB: I absolutely LOVE being able to reach and meet readers – it’s been so much fun to meet people who know my characters and stories are real…LOL! My schedule drives me BONKERS – between trying to stay on a writing schedule with multiple deadlines each year, and playing on social media, and promoting the current release and planning the next, it’s sometimes hard to keep on it.

Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

a-scoundrel-by-midnight-187x300cover1TB: A few of my favorite authors are: Madeline Hunter, Joanna Shupe, Jo Beverley, Lara Adrian, Bec McMaster, Deborah Cooke, Kristen Callihan, Deborah Harkness, Julie Garwood, Anna Campbell and many more! I tend to read historicals with a few select paranormals but the common denominator is emotional stories.

What are you currently working on?

Book 1 of The Stone Circles Series.
Book 1 of The Stone Circles Series.
Book 2 in the Stone Circles Series
Book 2 in the Stone Circles Series

I’m working on book 3 of my Novels of the Stone Circles series – BLAZING EARTH. It’s due in to my editor in October . . . and I’m getting into the meat of it now! It will be an April 2016 release.

In your daily work routine what do you do first and why?

TB: I do email first, usually in the morning until I wake up…then I move on to a combination of social media and writing….and I switch back and forth as needed.

What would I find on your desk at this very moment?

Terri Brisbin's busy desk.
Terri Brisbin’s busy desk.

TB: Piles of paper and notepads and lots of pens…and sticky notes.

Finish this sentence: I’m a writer because . . .

TB:  . . . because I can’t NOT write the stories in my head.

Teri's seriously cute collection of dragon stuffies. :)
Teri’s seriously cute collection of dragon stuffies. 🙂

You can contact Terri Brisbin via her website. On her facebook profile page. or her facebook author page.

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“The Bestsellers” – Round 1: Q and A With VK Sykes (contemporary romance and romantic suspense authors)

We’re launching a new series here at the Lachesis Publishing Daily Blog – featuring interviews with bestselling authors. It takes a lot to hit a bestseller list. It ain’t just dumb luck. It takes determination, hustle, and damn good writing. We have some great authors lined up so sit back, enjoy, and have fun reading and learning from these talented writers!

Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes
Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes

Our first Bestsellers Q and A is with V.K. Sykes – which is actually the husband and wife writing team of Randy Sykes and Vanessa Kelly. How fun is that? They write contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Randy is great at plotting and characterization and Vanessa handles the emotion. Together they’ve written nine books and one novella. Vanessa also writes sexy historical (Regency romance) under her own name Vanessa Kelly. She’s penned eleven historical novels and four novellas.

This is definitely a dynamic duo.

Welcome V.K. Sykes!

patriots2-coverWhat was your first book that hit a bestseller list? What was the list, where did the book rank when it first hit, and how high did your book get?

Hi, Jo—thanks for hosting us! Vanessa reporting in for V.K. Sykes. I actually don’t remember the exact numbers – LOL! The first major list we hit was USA Today, and we did that with our sports anthology, The Philadelphia Patriots. It was between 120–130 (I think 127). And we also hit the top 50 on both Kindle and Nook.

images-1What were you doing when you found out you hit the bestseller list? And how did you celebrate or mark the occasion?

I was just browsing the USA Today list because friends of mine who were in a joint anthology had just posted on social media that they made the list. I went to look, and there we were! It was quite a surprise. As to what we did to celebrate . . . I think we just got a bottle of champagne and had a few glasses of bubbly. We tend to be pretty low key when it comes to celebrating.

What does being a “successful author” mean to both of you?

Not to be crass, but it partly means not spending more than you make. It’s always a temptation to put too much money (and time) into promo in the hopes that you’ll somehow find the winning formula for the next book. To me, being a successful author also means having the time to write the books you want, finding readers who “get” you, and having a good work/life balance. It means finding people you like to work with, and who help you to be a better writer. Would we like to sell more books and hit more bestseller lists? We sure would. But we also want to have a life that we can enjoy, without being absolute slaves to deadlines.

Some authors are great at it, while others can’t find the right formula, but in order to be a success in today’s market, you have to do promotion. So, what are the top three things that you both do consistently when it comes to promotion?

My newsletter is the most important thing, and I’ve worked hard to build that up. I also engage with my readers on facebook and Twitter; mostly that’s social interaction, but I do use it to promote our books. I’m also a big believer in running giveaways on Goodreads. Very little effort with a pretty big bang for the buck. But the most important thing any author can do is to write more good books.

What is one thing you absolutely LOVE about being authors and one thing that makes you BONKERS?

I love that we’ve made so many new friends, both readers and other authors. And it’s fabulous when a reader writes to tell you how much she loves one of your books. What makes me crazy is how much promotion there is in the industry. There is just an insane amount of promoting going on, especially on social media. And if you’re not careful, you can start comparing yourself to other writers and feeling like you’re not good enough, or smart enough, or successful enough. It’s very debilitating and absolutely not the way to nurture creativity.

544583877f83d_ctytriver_bigACB-2002015-royally-ever-afterthedeath-coverWho are some of your 23664710tkk-compiled-400x600favourite authors 20454672and loveinafternooncoverwhy?

Right now I’m on a Karen Rose binge—she writes the most amazingly smart, suspenseful, and emotional romantic suspense. So satisfying! I also love Elizabeth Peters and the books in her Amelia Peabody Series, which are insanely fun.

Those books also feature my favorite romance hero, Amelia’s grown son, Ramses Emerson. Other favorite authors are Deanna Raybourn (Lady Julia Grey is probably my fave romance heroines), Loretta Chase, Lisa Kleypas, and Meljean Brooke. All of them are talented storytellers and amazing wordsmiths. Randy is a big fan of the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child. He also likes Sandra Brown and would probably list Pat Conroy as his all-time favorite author.

cover_highlanderWhat are you currently working on? We just submitted SEE YOU AT SUNSET, the 3rd book in our Seashell Bay Series of small town romances, so we have to get started on a new proposal for VK Sykes. I’m also starting work on a new historical romance series for Kensington, which is a spin-off of my current bestselling series, The Renegade Royals.

In your daily work routine what do you do first and why?

write/plot/creative: I do this in the afternoon, which tends to be the quietest time of the day for me. It also takes several hours for my brain to kick into creative gear. I am NOT a morning person. Randy, however, does do a lot of his best writing in the morning, so our schedules tend to be reversed

 social media/promotion: morning.

 email/admin: morning

Where the magic happens.
Where the magic happens.

What would I find on your desk(s) at this very moment?

Not much. Lots of scraps of papers and my computer. And my headphones, which are essential for eliminating outside noises. I can’t write when it’s noisy!

Finish this sentence: I’m a writer because . . . I (we) enjoy it!

beach-cover-lgV.K. Sykes is really two people – Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes, a husband and wife team who write USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance. The second book in their Philadelphia Patriots Series of sports romances won the Kindle Book Review Best Indie Books of 2012 Contest, in the romance category. MEET ME AT THE BEACH, the first book in their new series of small town romances set in Maine, released in February, 2015. Vanessa also writes award-winning, Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra and was named by Booklist as one of the “new stars of historical romance.” Her current series,The Renegade Royals, is a national bestseller. You can find them on the web at or Follow them on facebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

tumblr_nnkni9diM61qd7yjyo1_1280Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing. She loves chai tea, writing in coffee shops, social media and romance novels.

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So You Want To Be A Bestselling Author? Part 15: If At First You Don’t Succeed, Fail, Fail Again

WEB PIX PURPLE BOOK copyWhen I was working on Who’s Afraid of Happy Endings?, my documentary about the world of romance novels, I interviewed many successful authors. and one thing I often heard was how long it took so many of them to get published. I was flabbergasted. For some authors it took many years, even 10 years or more. My question is how can you even think of becoming a bestselling author if it took you 10 years to get published in the first place? Easy. You’ve got what it takes for the long haul.

Not everyone is going to get published from their very first query, or start a bidding war between publishers, or land a top agent with just one pitch. Yes we hear and read about those authors who become a huge success with their first book. Do you ask yourself – what does she/he have that I don’t? Of course you do. We all do. The point is, don’t wallow in that way of thinking. Some people become successful right away. That is the minority of course. They may or may not be able to deliver on book 2 or 3. Or they may continue their star status for years to come. But that doesn’t matter. Because you are on your path.

CarrienovelIf you believe that failure is not a good teacher then you are wrong. History shows us all the remarkable people who failed in their careers before becoming who they were meant to be, including Albert Einstein, the most famous physicist in history, and one of the richest and most successful business people in the world, Bill Gates. Check out this article in the huffingtonpost about famous people who had tremendous failure in their lives before going on to become great successes, including Stephen King, whose first novel Carrie, was rejected 30 times before he finally got published. Apparently he threw the manuscript in the trash and his wife fished it out! Now that’s a success story! The idea is don’t give up. If you have the passion, the drive, and the commitment to write then you have what it takes to become a bestseller.

And when you do get there, just imagine the great story you’ll have to share about how you became a bestselling author! 🙂

100_4277Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, great ideas, and a good story.

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