We are so excited to have young adult author Kathryn Berla with us today to share her writing and publication journey!
Christy reads everything of Kathryn's she can get her hands on because Kathryn's writing is lovely, her settings are without a doubt some of the best she's read, and her characters are always complex, surprising, and fun to get to know.
Without further adieu, welcome our good friend, and amazing author, Kathryn!
Thank you so much, Christy and Erica, for inviting me to share your platform and allowing me to talk about myself here in order to give my husband a break at home.
I’d love to start out by sharing a bit of good news. I’ve just signed two of my titles with Amberjack Publishing. “Dream Me” and “The House at 758” now have release dates in 2017.
My journey as an author has been relatively short (about five years) but it started long before that. I was an English major with an emphasis in creative writing and I had a dream of writing a novel. But as John Lennon once said, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans, and life intruded until—before I knew it—my kids were out of the house and I decided to make my long ago dream a reality.
But I was seriously insecure about writing something that other people would actually read. So I started a blog, which really wasn’t a blog but a WordPress site where I wrote short stories and random essays about my life. And I posted them fairly predictably twice a week. I linked the site to my personal Facebook account, all the while hoping nobody would actually click on it and read what I’d written. Because writing for strangers is scary enough. But writing for your friends and family…well, that was a whole different level of scary.
And then a funny thing happened. I took a break from my “blog” and people I didn’t even know were reading my Facebook posts, let alone my blog, started commenting.
“When are you coming back?”
“Why did you stop your blog?”
“I love your stories. Please bring them back.”
So that’s how I dipped my toe into the proverbial waters of writing and then learned to let go and dive in. And the water was fine.
The next step was getting an agent which came fairly easily. I got four offers for my first novel and, in retrospect, I think it was because I had an unusual subject matter and an even more unusual title. Beginner’s luck. Then even more beginner’s luck—a publisher for my second novel (the first one got me a few agents but not much else). In a strange twist of fate, my first publisher was Penguin Random House in Spain. I wrote the novel in English but it was translated to Spanish. I couldn’t even read my first published novel.
There have been many twists and turns between that time and this past April when my second novel was published by Limitless Publishing. If my first writing hurdle was being okay with strangers reading my work, my second hurdle was getting comfortable with marketing myself to the world. I love all publishers, traditional and indie—but it wasn’t until I had an indie publisher that I got over that second hurdle and, in fact, came to love it. If a traditional publisher holds your hand and presents you to the world, an indie publisher teaches you how to hold your own hand and present your own self to the world. Funny thing is I actually enjoy this part because I love people and this is where you really get to interact with others.
So agented or unagented, traditionally published, indie published or self-published, the quicker you get over those hurdles, the better off you’ll be because you can’t be an author until you do. Or you can be an author but your manuscripts will stay hidden in your bedroom drawer forever.
There’s one final hurdle I had to get over and that was being okay with the occasional negative review. Of course I told myself it’s a subjective field and not everyone will love your story but many will—isn’t that what agents tell us when they turn us down? But it still felt like a sucker punch to the stomach when I read my first bad review.
Here’s how I dealt with it.
Assuming your bad review is on Goodreads, click on the reviewer’s name and take a look at their other reviews. Find a book they awarded 5 stars to and click on that book. I can guarantee you someone else has given that book a 1-star rating. Perhaps many people have. That’s how you remind yourself of the subjectivity of this business. Better yet, don’t read your reviews although (I know) easier said than done.
A quick word about agents. You can do it with or without an agent. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that getting an agent is the ultimate goal. It’s not. And if you get one, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can kick back and your troubles are over. They’re not. When it comes right down to it, you and you alone are the driving force behind your writing career.
So thanks for bearing with me through my story. I hope (cringe cringe) that you enjoyed it, but if you didn’t, I know someone out there did. And that’s the way it goes in the world of writing.
So persevere and Write On! Outsiders might think we’re a wussy bunch but I know the reality—it takes a lot of guts to be an author.
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Have your own writing hurdles to share? Questions or comments for Kathryn? Leave us a note in our comment section below!
Love YA romance? With a beach setting? Don't miss Kathryn's 12 HOURS IN PARADISE!
Twelve hours, thirty-six questions, and a chance to fall in love…
On sale now. Amazon
It’s the last day of Dorothy Patmont’s family vacation. Soon, she must head back to Reno, where all that waits for her is the cold and the snow. To top it all off, her brother, Chester, acted like a little jerk and ate one too many cookies from the sample jar in the cookie store. But his antics have an unexpected benefit—attracting the attention of an intriguing boy who could change her life forever.
Treats can be sweet, but love is sweeter still… Arash Atkinson, fluent in four languages and an adventurous soul, is in Waikiki for a high school band competition. When he meets Dorothy, he realizes their time together is limited. “Come out and play,” he texts her. A night of romantic adventure ensues, and Arash discovers an app that claims it can make people fall in love after answering thirty-six questions in each other’s presence. With each question asked, their stories and feelings continue to unfold. But with every hour that passes they’re more at risk of being found out—Dorothy, by her parents, and Arash by his school chaperone. And then Arash gets the dreaded phone call—he has been discovered missing from his room, and must return immediately.
Can they finish the questions before facing their consequences? When time is running out, true love cannot wait. What Arash and Dorothy have is beyond special, something that comes along once in a lifetime, and begins with Twelve Hours In Paradise…but can it survive the trials of the real world?
For more information on Kathryn, you can learn more in another interview she did HERE. It includes a playlist for her novel 12 HOURS IN PARADISE!