Self-publishing syllabus: JA Huss

Today’s self-publishing research shout out goes to JA Huss’s free marketing vlog course, THE PERFECT YEAR.

I don’t have any experience with self publishing, so I can’t yet vouch for the efficacy of her methods. But these videos were clear, organized, and user friendly. She takes a ton of information that might otherwise overwhelm a newb like myself, and breaks it down into easily digestible parts. Definitely a good place to start, especially when trying to get a hold of all the different avenues of promotion.

Also, she curses like a sailor and has plenty of attitude. Which? By the time I got to the video where she started calling people c*nty b*tches all over the place, I wanted to take her out for margaritas and become BFFs.

This course is free, informative, and she doles out real information, instead of those irritating-as-hell videos where the person is always about to tell you the key thing, and 50 seconds worth of information is buried in 45 minutes of bullshit.

A toast: Whoop-whoop, J.A!

Progress report: Hiring an editor.

Hired an editor, who has a slot open in the beginning of January. Currently sitting in front of page 236 of my 322 page draft. A little math:

86 pages to go
8 work days before kids escape school
11 days before family vacation

Subtract booze, add desperation, divide by eight, add a dozen other commitments. Carry the crying writer…. And, if I get 10 pages done a day, I can send everything off to my editor in time.

I’m cautiously optimistic.

Blurbing tip

Today, I’m working on my blurb. I made the mistake of telling my husband how intimidated I was at this prospect. You know — cooking down a whole story into some catchy hook in 250 words or less.

He said, “Just go in there and write a blurb today.”

Now he’s dead on the kitchen floor.* I don’t know exactly what happened, except maybe I now have bigger problems than blurbs. Possibly.

If you are like me and planning on writing a blurb TODAY, I do have a useful tip to pass along. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where it came from, but probably from either HM WARD or JA HUSS. It went like this:

*Most people skim the first and last paragraph of a blurb. They’re looking for the TROPES they enjoy. If they can easily identify their tropes, they’ll go back and read the whole blurb.*

Which? That’s totally what I do when I’m looking for a book to read, right? It’s almost like I’m looking for some subliminal key word to tell me if actually reading two paragraphs is worth my time.

So make sure you know what your tropes are, and put keywords indicating that trope in your blurb.

What’s a trope? Here you go.

This advice helped get me away from my navel-gazing, “How do I smoosh this complicated book down to a few paragraphs?” and into the place of, “How do I catch the attention of readers who will like this story?”

Which brings up another point I hadn’t considered when first blurbing: You want to draw in all the readers who like the kind of book you’re writing, while deflecting people who don’t like the kind of book you’re writing.

Which totally makes sense. One person’s sexy is another person’s throw-the-book-and-go-brush-your-teeth style dislike. No judgment. But a good idea to clearly tell readers what to expect so you don’t accidentally get a bunch of people loathing your book in specific, detailed reviews, amirite?

With DarkWeb, I think I’m trying to grab an audience that likes:

-Love triangles, taboo style since it’s brothers.
-Psychological thrillers
-flawed heroines/unreliable narrators

Any other bits of wisdom about blurb writing? Hit me up with knowledge!

ETA: My best guess is that I got these tips, at least in part, from JA Huss’s super interesting free marketing course, which you can find here:

Free Marketing Course

*(Kidding! He magically resurrected after I screamed a couple curse words. Although it should be noted he has no further commentary on blurb writing.)

When you need someone to look at a contract, but you don’t have an agent

Today’s shout-out goes to Authors Guild!!!

Recently, someone offered to buy some of the rights for DARKWEB. In all the excitement, the most burning point of freak out was that I didn’t know where to find someone with the expertise to help.

A small snippet of my anxiety spiral: Hire a lawyer? If so, how did I find one that specialized in this area? What if the lawyer cost more than the advance I was offered? Agents know contracts! Should I contact a handful of agents to see if they’d negotiate on my behalf? What if they they take me because ‘free money’ but were otherwise not a great fit? What if they won’t even take me because it’s not enough money to be worth their time?

Fortunately, I have sane friends. They recommended Authors Guild.

For the price of membership, you can access Authors Guild’s lawyers, who will look at contracts and tell you what they think.

I signed up, and a lawyer emailed me within 5 business days. They were tremendously helpful. I felt like I had someone on my side, who understood what was going on.

When the lawyer had answered all my many questions, I had a clearer grasp of the pros and cons, and felt confident in the decision to pass on signing. AHAHAHA, EMPOWERMENT. Anyway, AG. Definitely worth the price of membership, even if I never use any of their other services.

Turning youtube audio into a podcast, so you can multitask like a badass

I’m an Ivory Tower kinda girl, meaning I love to research the shit outa stuff I’m interested in. For self-publishing, this often means watching/listening to tons of youtube videos and lectures.

As I’m sure you might guess, this can get boring AF, and I’ve already spent many hours ‘educating myself’ while playing Tetris on another browser until my fingers cramped into a monkey’s paw type situation. Pretty much a throwback to my entire education. Holla, grad school!

My husband recommended playing videos at 1.25 speed, which you can do under the flower shaped button in the bottom right of most videos.

But I gotta tell you, you’re then trapped, playing Tetris, with someone who sounds totally coked out of their mind AND SUPER PSYCHED ABOUT THE MINUTIA OF SELF PUBLISHING.

Another option I’ve recently discovered are programs such as this one,
which convert youtube audio to a podcast format you can play on mp3 player.

I’ve converted exactly one youtube lecture with this link, and it worked. Although, when I came back to my browser, there was a full page ad from Ashley Madison. So be sure to give your spouse the heads up before you get yourself in some marital hot water.

Anyway, you are probably a bad-assed multi-tasker like myself, and enjoy plotting your eventual brand take-over while you go out jogging, or as you heroically mop the floor. If so, this might help you out.

Kboards & an example of smooth self promo

One of my first stops for learning about self publishing was the k-boards ( They say the big draw of self publishing is being able to control all the aspects of publication — cover, formatting, hiring editors, promotion, etc.

HAHAHA, I am not a control freak, and this did not appeal. If memory serves, I think I slowly backed away, closed the browser, and didn’t go back until I had a strong drink in hand.

Likewise, Kboards is a smorgasbord of everyone talking about all these various aspects, and it can get pretty overwhelming to newbs like myself pretty quick.

*Never the less, she persisted* as the saying goes, and so will you. It’s worth it. There are some pretty big names who frequent the place. For example, here’s a HM Ward thread that’s cool and useful.

Also, if you are looking for me over there, I’m finally getting enough of a hold of things to start asking questions. Behold, my one thread to date.

Also, if you are reading this looking to self-publish yourself (and good God, Lemon, why would you bother reading if you weren’t?) Check this out: I was so excited by the HM Ward thread that I shouted out a Thank You on twitter.

Even though she’s a bestseller, she tweeted back less than 48 hours later AND had a perfect tie-in response promoting something she was working on. I was a little amazeballs to see her in action, hand selling stuff in tweet form, even to a dinky account like mine. Definitely putting her strategy in my back pocket when it comes time for me to (ugh!) self promote.

An interesting link about manipulating FB reach

Here’s a link in which Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess, talks about facebook reach, and how links within a post may decrease reach.

I’ve heard other people talking about FB reach as well, and general consensus seems to be it isn’t the powerhouse advertiser it used to be — at least not for free promotion.

Guess it makes sense if FB wants to squeeze a buck from you for advertising your thing (whatever your thing is) they don’t want you to be able to get as great a reach for free. Anyway, just another consideration as I gear up.

xo, T

The Experiment

Welcome to what’s sure to be an experiment in butt-clenched terror and steep learning curve.  For me.  For you, some mild entertainment in the midst of your busy day, perhaps.

I’m attempting to self-publish my romantic suspense novel DarkWeb in April, 2018.  That means I have about four months.

What I’ve got:

*A rough-ish draft novel
*A cheeky attitude
*A website (Hey, check it out, I’ve just put it together this week!)
*Facebook & Twitter

I still need:

*A blurb
*A cover
*An editor
*Some e-book formatting knowledge
*A mailing list
*advertising plan
*Omigod, like so much more, but I don’t want to scare you away on my very first post.

On my side:

*27,900 followers on Wattpad
*I’ve had an offer on some of DarkWeb’s publishing rights, which I turned down.
*Cosmopolitan Magazine featured DarkWeb on their website
*I have a personal blog, so I’m not starting from absolute zero public identity.


*Just about everything else. I don’t know what I’m doing, and I have no idea how to do it.  *Less than zero sales skills. I could probably talk you out of buying toilet paper if I was trying to sell it.

*Also, I’m incredibly socially awkward. Square awkwardness factor if I have to talk about myself.  Cube awkwardness factor if I have to talk with someone I’m not related to.  Send away to NASA for awkwardness factor if I have to try to talk someone into doing something to help me out.


Projected Timeline: six to nine months

Want to learn more about self publishing? Perhaps watch me crumble into insanity for the next six to nine? Well then, do I have a blog for you! Tell your friends! Grab your popcorn!

Because what I do have is an unmitigated urge to tell you what’s going on, especially when it involves me making an ass of myself.  Wheee!