The Writing Sparrow Episode 5 | Lessons Learned from Publishing a Debut Series with G. R. Thomas

This week, I had a chat with urban fantasy author Grace – G.R.Thomas – about her recently wrapped-up debut series, the importance of making connections, and what it’s like to get negative reviews. Grace started working on her books in 2014 and has learned a great deal along the way. She shares some of her gained knowledge in this week’s episode.

You can find out more about Grace on her website.

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Read the Transcript

Sarina Langer 0:08
Hello, and welcome to the Writing Sparrow podcast. I’m Sarina Langer, and this podcast is all about writing, publishing and marketing your book. You can find transcripts on my website at Let’s get started!

Hello again, friends and sparrows. And welcome back to Episode Five of this podcast. Um, today is the fifth of October 2020, and it’s a very special one because I have author GR Thomas with me, that’s Grace, and she has written four books. Now it’s a debut series. And I think it’s fair to say that she has learned one or two things along the way. And it’s our hope that by listening to us chat about her journey today that you will maybe learn a thing or two about just what’s in it for you on this journey, especially if you’re just about to start writing your first book.

So, hello and welcome, Grace. How are you? I’m so pleased that we can do this and just have a chat. So you have just published your fourth book by the time this podcast goes live.

Grace 1:25
Hi, Sarina. I’m really well, thank you for having me. Yes, in a couple days. So the 30th of September. Yeah.

Sarina Langer 1:30
So, this should go live on the fifth of October all being well, unless I’ve got my dates wrong, in which case sorry to everyone who I’ve just confused.

Grace 1:37
It will be five days old.

Sarina Langer 1:39
Yay. Very exciting. And I know from personal experience very well that to start with, this was, what, books three and four were just book three, to begin with. Is that one of the biggest changes that you’ve made since you started writing?

Grace 1:57
Um, yeah, huge. I think I didn’t actually understand from the beginning, that although I had an idea, that the characters and the story kind of, can get carried away with themselves. And it goes on and on. And the characters went on and went on. And I thought I was having a trilogy, that was my vision. Because they’re very common, a trilogy, I read a lot of trilogies, and it sounded like a reasonable thing to aim for. And then as you will know, it ended up quite massive. And it was a bit of a conundrum. And I think the splitting of it, in the end was probably the best thing that ever happened for it.

Sarina Langer 2:40
Well, I think we do that, don’t we? We as authors tend to get carried away a lot when we write the first draft. And then our characters also get carried away a lot. Just if we, if we’re brave enough to just give them the reins and just see what they get up to, it can go into a completely different direction. And then suddenly you have, you’ve written 100,000 words, and you were only ever planning on 70. And you have no idea what to do will all that. And of course, in your case, you had written a lot more than just 100,000 words.

Grace 3:08
Yeah, I think probably in all if I added up all four books before editing, it was probably I reckon about over 600,000 words, or–

Sarina Langer 3:19
That sounds about right. Yeah, I seem to remember seeing a little of word count like that and thinking oh dear, better make another tea.

Grace 3:27

Sarina Langer 3:28
That’s all right. You’re good.

Well, let’s start at the beginning. When did you first start writing this? What do you call it, a quadrilogy? Hmm.

Grace 3:41
Well, actually, Beverly Lee called it a quartet. And I quite like that.

Sarina Langer 3:45
A quartet, hm, yeah, that makes more sense. That’s a word, too, unlike what I just said.

Grace 3:50
But, um, I started writing in 2014. After I read a book by an author called Rochelle Maya Callen, and I loved the book, it was like an urban fantasy novel. And I read her bio, I often do that with authors.

Sarina Langer 4:10
I do now as well, it’s something I’ve started doing.

Grace 4:14
Yeah, because I think it’s interesting. And her bio was quite similar to me. She had always loved reading and had always wanted to write a story, but then she thought… she did life instead, she went to university and had a job and da da da, and then had a child. And when she had was… I think, when she was pregnant the first time she thought I’m gonna write that book. And it just resonated with me. So that day, I sent her an email, never thinking I would hear from her. I just sent her an email saying, Oh, my gosh, that’s really inspired me if you can do that, and you’ve written this amazing book that I really love.

Sarina Langer 4:48
I’ve talked about exactly something like that on the last podcast that I’ve just published about how I’ve written… you know, how I’ve read this book by Karen Miller and it’s inspired me to start writing again, and I’d written her an email, not thinking that she would get back to me and she did.

Grace 5:03
Well, that’s the same!

Sarina Langer 5:04
It’s exactly the same!

Grace 5:06
Yeah, within 24 hours, this strange lady from the US, massive, and I mean, this email gigantic. And I still remember, I don’t have the email anymore. I wish I had kept it. But remember that she said, My heart is bursting with joy that you want to write. And I wrote to her as soon as I read your bio, I started writing the first paragraphs of Awaken. And since then, to this day, we’ve remained friends, and she’s gone on this messy writing journey. She’s become a writing coach and all kinds of amazing things. And she’s republished one of her amazing books with a proper publishing house, like she was an indie author, and she’s gone through this huge metamorphosis. And I’m so… we still talk to this day. And I actually dedicated my first book to her because it was because of that contact with her that I literally picked up a pen and started scribbling something down,

Sarina Langer 6:07
That’s such a wonderful thing to get out of that. And only because you were brave enough to write to her in the first place, I mean, let that be a lesson to everyone listening that sometimes, you know, it’s literally all it takes is to just be brave and tell someone that they’ve inspired you and just see what happens. And maybe you just make a lifelong friend out of it. And I think also, what we should take away from this is to all of you thinking that you just knock your book out in a month, and then publish it and get famous right away. Jeynelle has started this journey six years ago in 2014. And, you know, four books and six years, that’s really good. I think that’s, that’s a good number I think to aim for, because obviously, there’s so much that goes into it, as you well know. And especially with your first book, you can’t imagine to just, you know, just sit down home, knock it out, publish it, and then you’re done. You know,

Grace 7:01
I think I actually shocked myself that I finished the first book.

I didn’t quite know that I was going to finish it. And then I did. But then it’s kind of sounds a bit weird. It was kind of like having the baby, My first baby. I had my first baby, I knew I wanted another baby. And

I literally… Oh my gosh, hang on a little, I’m not gonna answer that.

I um literally started the second book Surrender when I sent this other book off to my first editor. And it just sort of went from there. So.

Sarina Langer 7:37
Isn’t that great? See, I did, I did that sort of in a similar way. When I finished my first book, Rise of the Sparrows, in that I thought, well, I want this to be a trilogy, probably because I thought that’s what you do. I thought, you know, when, when you write a series, you write a trilogy, that’s the thing. But I wasn’t really sure exactly how it was going to end, and I had no idea whatsoever what I might be able to deal with books two and three. That was a problem for future Sarina, not a problem for Rise of the Sparrows Sarina. So when I was done with that, I still wanted the series, but also I had no idea what to do. So I went through the first book again, just to see what I might have set up. I mean, my process has changed so much from the first book where I had a plan, but really only for the first book. And now when I plan, I have an idea for the whole series. So I know where I’m going.

Grace 8:29
What’s interesting is that because I’ve always known the ending, and the ending that you know, is exactly the ending I always knew was going to happen. The filling in, in between, um, that’s what sort of evolved and sort of grew and I filled in and fleshed out like there’s certain elements I always knew were going to be there. And they did end up being there. But there were also characters in there who appeared, which I wasn’t expecting. And there was one particular character, which I won’t say, who was going to be a bad guy, but turned out being a really good guy. I thought just…

Sarina Langer 9:09
You should tell me all about that later. I want to hear all about that. I think this is probably one of the most exciting things for me, and I think it is for you too. So when you start with something, and you think you know where you’re going with this, and then suddenly there’s this new character saying, Hello, I’m going to be in your book now. And then maybe they’ll become the most important character, you just don’t know when you start. For me, that’s so exciting.

Grace 9:34
This one did become quite significant. But also what was a surprise I don’t know whether I’m jumping ahead here or not. But I’m in, I actually between Book Two and Book Three, I had massive writer’s block. I completely lost the voice of my character. Yep, I had six months, even though like I had this vision. I knew where my ending was going. I lost my character’s voice. She was coming out wrong, her… she sounded wrong, she felt wrong. Everything I wrote seemed wrong. And I felt, probably because I felt this urgency to finish it and get going. Because by the time I had started the third book, I was going to pop culture expos and selling my books, which, because mine is urban fantasy supernatural, really suited those things, you know, like, like, Comic Con in America, I have Comic Con in Australia, and we have another one called Supernova. And books, indie books, can do quite well there. And I was having a lot of people buy my books, but then I was having a lot of people saying, oh, I’m not gonna get your series until it’s finished.

Sarina Langer 10:48
There’s a lot of that, and I admit that I’ve done that.

Grace 10:50
Yes. And I felt this kind of urgency like I had to get it finished. But also at the same time I went back to work after having a few years off. And so you know, I was busy here, busy there, obviously being a mum. And it just occurred to me, I just had to put it away for a bit. I didn’t want to, but I did and there were six months, I put it away. And I actually deleted the first probably 10 chapters and started again,

Sarina Langer 11:18
I’ve been there, I feel that pain. I think quite a few writers have been where you were at the time that you just felt blocked, and you just could not get back into it. But also it’s supposed to be a series, so you have to. So, I have to ask, was the thing then that helped you get back into it that you just put it away for a bit?

Grace 11:39
Yeah, it was putting it away, and was actually admitting to myself I was stuck. And also, it felt like I had to cut my arm off, but I had to delete the chapters because I was rereading them, rereading, and I was trying to self edit them. But I couldn’t get past this dialogue that was coming out wrong.

Sarina Langer 12:00
Oh, that’s horrible. I know exactly what it feels like.

Grace 12:03
Yes. So I thought if I’m reading that dialogue and this narrative, and it doesn’t sound right, it’s not going to get out of my mind in my thinking. And I do remember highlighting it. And then I press Delete, and I felt a bit sick.

Sarina Langer 12:18
Oh, that must have felt horrible.

Grace 12:21
I felt a bit sick. Because for a minute I thought let me archive it. But then I thought I’ll probably go back to it. And I’ll stay stuck in it. But I knew it was wrong. And I knew, I knew how Sophia’s voice was meant to sound. And I’ll tell you now she was coming at angry. She was coming at angry and pissed off. And she, for anyone who reads my books or will read my books or has read my books, she has every reason to be annoyed and pissed off. But she was just, she’s coming out unlikable to me. And I thought if she’s unlikable to me, no one else is going to like her. So I had to delete it.

Sarina Langer 12:56
No, because she’s basically one of your children, isn’t she, I mean your main characters will do that. So if you can’t like your own child, you can’t expect anyone else to.

Grace 13:06
And it is really hard to read a book, even with a good story, if you don’t like the main character.

Sarina Langer 13:10
It’s really hard. Yeah, I mean, I always think that obviously, plot is important. And all the other characters and the relationships, they are very important. But the main character is your main character for a reason. And you want your readers to stay for their sake. So if they can’t stand the main character, then that’s going to make it really difficult to finish even just one book, let alone four.

Grace 13:30
And the interesting thing is, Sophia is a very close replication of me and my personality. And so maybe at that time, maybe I was feeling angry, maybe I was feeling stressed. So maybe that’s why she was coming out that way.

Sarina Langer 13:46
And hopefully writing all that down and her voice has helped you a little bit walk through it because writing can be such great therapy.

Grace 13:53
Oh, you know what? I recognise that now. Probably not then.

Sarina Langer 13:58
That’s always how it goes.

Grace 13:59
during this COVID lockdown as you know, I finished off the last two books. And I’ve started writing this novella, which I’m absolutely in love with. I’m obsessed with it. But, and it’s really therapeutic because I can’t go anywhere. And my mind is just ticking over. So yeah, I’m finding it now quite therapeutic, but without the pressure of feeling like I have to do or achieve anything for anyone else other than myself.

Sarina Langer 14:28
Yes, because it’s just the start maybe of something. And at this point, you know that it’s not part of a series. It’s not a sequel. So if you don’t publish it, then that’s fine. You can just write it for yourself at this point. There are no expectations and that’s got to be like such a, it’s, it’s probably such freedom.

Grace 14:47
Yeah, I’ll tell you something really funny and interesting that happened last night. There was a big storm here and the power nap for about eight hours. And we had dinner by candlelight with the kids, which was quite novel. And it was novel because they actually all wanted to sit at the table with us, they had no technology. So we all had to sit together. And I was telling them about what I was doing with this new story. And we all had this fantastic, all the different ages, we had this fantastic round table of what they thought about my story. I was going around, because my new story is going to be more horror based, which I haven’t written before. And I was saying, What do you find scary? What do you find scary, you know, sound, smells, tastes. And then in the end, we had this fantastic conversation where they kind of actually helped me change this vision of the ending of this story I’m writing, which was really great.

Sarina Langer 15:44
So often, just talking it through with someone, if you’re feeling stuck, can make such a huge difference. I’m always up for that, as you know, you know, if you’re stuck, I’m very happy to discuss it with you. And just…

Grace 15:57
It’s interesting, because I’ve never felt the confidence of joining a writers group. Because I constantly get told, join a writers group, join a writers group, but I’ve never felt like I’ve got something to contribute.

Sarina Langer 16:07
Yeah. I’ve got experiences with that myself.

Grace 16:12
But then last night, I thought, Well, that was interesting, because they said, Yeah, now that doesn’t sound scary. Why don’t you try this? Oh, but that sounds good, blah, blah, blah. And it was actually really interesting. So it’s made me think, oh, maybe down the track. Maybe I might try something like that, because I’ve got a thicker skin now than when I started.

Sarina Langer 16:29
Yeah, that’s something that writers definitely have to develop, isn’t it? So if you’re listening right now, if you’re just, if you’re still at the start of your journey, watching what Grace has just said is very true, you will need a thicker skin if you haven’t got it already. Get used to it now because somebody will hate everything you do, no matter how much work you put into it. It’s just a fact of the business. I’m afraid it’ll happen. And that’s totally fine. As you know, as I’m sure you know, for every negative review, we’ll probably get 10 or more positive reviews of people who love it.

Grace 17:01
Yeah, I think you’ll learn to take the good out of a bad review. As long as it’s not a mean review. I’ve never had a mean review. I’ve had some ones that have made me cringe a bit, but I try and take the good out of it like, Okay, well, what are they trying to say? I’ll try and learn from it.

Sarina Langer 17:18
That’s the best way to do it. I think. I mean, when I, when I review a book that I didn’t like, I always try to be constructive. So that it’s not just, I hated this, this was terrible, this was awful. I can’t understant that. Especially if it’s maybe an indie book, and maybe it only has like one or two reviews. And I don’t want to be the person who just completely ruins the experience. I think yeah, I think what you’re doing with trying to see the positives of them is a very healthy thing to do. If they indeed give you something positive, you don’t always know. But

Grace 17:50
No, I think, look, I’ve been pretty lucky. I haven’t had any unkind reviews. You know, I’ve had a couple of which were a little bit cutting, but nothing was unkind.

Sarina Langer 18:00
Nothing that was an attack.

Grace 18:03
Yeah, exactly. And that, because they can can be particularly on Goodreads, you know, Goodreads is a bit unmonitored, unlike Amazon, and people can be a bit nasty. And you got to just keep that in mind. Like, I’ve gone, I mean, you can go on to bestsellers, like the biggest books ever written. And people write some terrible stuff about them.

Sarina Langer 18:22
Absolutely. I think the more positive, I think the more positive reviews a book has on Goodreads, the more every reviewer who doesn’t like the book almost feels compelled to really justify why they didn’t like the book, and they’re really laying into it. But I feel like that’s a Goodreads phenomenon. So again, also something to get used to maybe, don’t read all of your reviews, especially on Goodreads because they can get nasty. And I swear sometimes it’s just for the sake of nastiness.

Grace 18:53
Yeah. And you do have the ones that, I do have my one, my one one-star review with no words. And from what I understand there is that little group of people who like to just go and put one star on things they don’t even read just to bring people’s writing down. So you’ve got to keep that in mind. If there’s a bad review with not even a word, I don’t take that as a review. I just take that as very lazy, or just a bit of meanness. To me, that means nothing.

Sarina Langer 19:21
And also, a negative review doesn’t have to mean that your book is bad. As you probably know, I mean, I always have to look at why they didn’t like the book because you know, someone’s reason for hating a book might be your reason for loving the book. Yeah, you know, we all look for different things at the end of the day.

Grace 19:39
Well, I’m, see I’m, I’m totally not into constant triple x erotic fiction. And like, that like the biggest seller. Maybe I should write it. People just make scrillions out of that. No, I…

Sarina Langer 19:53
You know, I have to say, I thought I should try writing this, but I can’t. It doesn’t come naturally to me.

Grace 20:01
Yeah, it’s not for me, I just kind of think, yeah, but where’s the story? Well, the clothes are off.

Sarina Langer 20:08
I read one book, I won’t name the author or which book of course, but I read one sci fi novella, I think it was, which was supposed to be like an erotic space adventure kind of thing. And it got to a point where the whole station was about to blow up. And the character literally had something like, Okay, so this station, it’s about to explode. But let’s just have sex really quickly. So… no. Which part of the station is about to explode do you not understand? this is not the time to take off your clothes, and have sex with someone. This is the worst time for this. It’s just prioritise. Prioritise.

Grace 20:47
Oh, my gosh. Yeah, I know, I think yeah, I think Yeah, a bit, just having a bit of perspective. And I think, yeah, that thick skin, it takes a little while to grow.

Sarina Langer 20:58
Definitely, but you will need to grow it. And then it’s hopefully just something that will develop naturally, as you start getting negative feedback, which is unavoidable, and it’s fine, it doesn’t mean that your book is bad, or that you’re a bad writer, it’s just something that’s gonna happen.

Grace 21:14
I think it’s important to take, it is important to take feedback on things because they could actually be something fundamentally wrong. Like, I know some people are very stingy about typos. And, yes, they all get through. Um, but you got to be aware of that and be prepared to go in and make a change or understand to be, you know, more attentive to things like that. Yeah, sometimes I know, some readers are very, very sensitive to that very sensitive.

Sarina Langer 21:45
I do think that some readers, especially reviewers tend to maybe overthink it a little bit when they read books, and I can almost picture them with checklists of this book needs to have this and this and this and this. And then if they don’t have it, they give a negative review. And there’s no mention in their review about whether they actually liked the story or not.

Grace 22:05
So I have a tolerance, I have, I have a pretty high tolerance for mistakes in books, if I enjoy the story, because if I enjoy the story Oh, well, you know, I don’t mind. There’s mistakes in loads of books and stuff, as long as it’s not massive. So yeah, I do, I do think you need to take on board if someone’s picked out a legitimate error or something. And like, I won’t say it now but I do know, in time, I’ll go back and probably review things and maybe tweak things, because I’ve learned a lot over the time. But they’re things I’ll do in the future, when I feel I’ve got more experience under my belt.

Sarina Langer 22:46
Yeah, that’s I think, that’s quite a healthy attitude. I mean, you see even big name authors like, well, I can’t think of a good example now but, you know, you have seen some that have said, say on a writers panel, that they’ve read the first book again, and they cringe at how different it is to the stuff that they’re putting out now 10 years later. So it’s something that we all do, you know, indie published or traditionally published, we all evolve as writers. So, it doesn’t have to mean that you need to go back to your first book and adapt it to how your style has changed. Just, just leave it, write the next book, keep growing. And I know, again, from personal experience that you have done a lot of growing over the years. And I’m so proud of you, actually, of how much… of how far you’ve come from your first book now to this one, and how much work and effort you’ve put into it. I mean, you really haven’t shied away from having to do the hard decisions on this.

Grace 23:45
Oh, look, I’ve enjoyed your red pen wielding all over my manuscript. Some, you’ve been very kind in your words.

Sarina Langer 23:58
I should, I should say at this point that for Grace’s last two books, I have been her editor on the developmental edit and the line edit. So I know exactly how much these books have changed, because I’ve been behind it.

Grace 24:14
But you see, it’s interesting. A lot of, a lot of, a lot of writers say they hate editing, I actually quite like it. I do. I mean, as you know, though, it has been hard for me to let some things go. And you will see there’s a couple of things I didn’t.

Sarina Langer 24:28
Well, we all struggle with that.

Grace 24:31
But in the main, I let go the things that I did see through your eyes just didn’t work. And then when you go back and look at how it works better, and I’ve really, really learned through that. I think that is… it sounds really silly, but I thought I kind of chilled out of it, through it all and realising it…

Sarina Langer 24:54
I think we all do.

Grace 24:55
Yeah, yeah. The constructive criticisms are there for the positive end of the book.

Sarina Langer 25:03
that said, I mean, I remember when I wrote my first ever book, the one that we don’t talk about, years before Rise of the Sparrows. I was, I was so proud of that but I was terrible, and I mean absolutely terrible, at taking feedback on it. I remember my partner read over it, and I should also say he’s not a reader so he’s not really my target audience to begin with, but he would, he would just give me like some advice on where I got the grammar wrong. And I’d be so defensive of it, which I think is something that so many new writers do, because it, you know, it’s your baby, we get that. You’ve put so much work into it and you always think that no one will understand your book exactly like you do, because it’s come from you. But actually, you need that second opinion of someone who’s not that married to it, who can see it for, well, how a reader is going to see it because you can’t do that.

Grace 25:55
I think the thing… the first time someone who reads your book, particularly someone who is not someone you know, is honestly like.. You know that dream people have where you wake up and you’re like, you’re naked at school, or you’re walking down the street naked, it’s honestly like baring your soul. And I remember the first time anyone who wasn’t even related to me read Awaken I was, I felt sick, I felt absolutely sick.

Sarina Langer 26:22
That’s exactly how I feel with this podcast. I’ve got used to my books to a degree. But this now because I’m also putting my voice out there. And it’s not, it’s not edited. I think that’s probably the hardest part. Because obviously, by the time you publish your book, you’ve had so many different revisions of it. This is very raw. And that’s very scary. So

Grace 26:42
Look, you’re braver than me. I understand that.

Sarina Langer 26:44
And yet, you’re here. And you’re doing this with me. So you’re also very brave.

Grace 26:48
I’ve got braver, well, hey, I, I remember the first day I turned up to my first Expo with my one little book. And I remember when they opened and thousands of people walked in, and people were just kept walking by and by and by and I literally was shaking, I was so nervous.

Sarina Langer 27:06
Oh, they’re so terrifying. We should talk about this in a future podcast, maybe about your experience with those kinds of expos, because you’ve done quite a few and I consider you a bit of an expert on it. So we should have another chat about that at some point. I feel like we’re getting sidetracked a bit.

Grace 27:24
I’d love to! I’m so sorry.

Sarina Langer 27:25
No, that’s my fault. And, um, so over the last six years, since you’ve published your first book, or even just since you started thinking about maybe writing a book, what would you say are the main things that you’ve learned?

Grace 27:43
Oh! A, there’s very little opportunity to make some money out of it. You think you’re going into it with grand plans,

Sarina Langer 27:52
That was my first plan before Rise of the Sparrows.

Grace 27:56
So I’ve learned realism and some realistic options. I have learned that, particularly as an indie author, now, I was very invisible to start with. Just finding someone to read or beta read in the beginning was so so hard, it was so hard. And I had to work really hard to make connections. And to be honest, it wasn’t until I got onto Instagram, and I accidentally sort of dropped myself into someone else’s conversation one day on Instagram. And that led me to a particular offer, which led me to another author, which led me to you, which led me to Becky Wright. And it sort of just flowed from there.

So the biggest thing I’ve learned outside of crafting, writing and learning from writing is to make really meaningful connections and friendships through authors and readers and, and learn from them. And, like, help each other, helping each other is probably the most valuable thing I didn’t know I needed in the beginning.

Sarina Langer 29:11
Our community is so good at that, isn’t it. the writing community is wonderful. So if you’re having any second thoughts at all about getting out there on social media, just do it because we are there. And it’s such a welcoming and supportive place.

Grace 29:27
If I had have known at the beginning what I should have done then I would have started marketing my book and making those connections before it was out. I think that’s the thing I didn’t know at the time. So if I’d started marketing I would have had some momentum for it and that, because you know, my book was released and it was like crickets chirping.

Um, but yeah, making that community and it’s not… For me, over time, it’s not just been about the book. Now I’ve made some amazing friendships which I value, I value them more than just being about people who’ve helped me with my book. They’re wonderful. You know.

Sarina Langer 30:12
I know exactly what you mean.

Grace 30:14
I didn’t fly to England last year just to sell you a book did I. I came over to meet you guys, because it was an opportunity. And it was wonderful. And you guys all, you know, mean a lot to me. And it’s like, I’ve got this other life. I’ve got my home life with my family. And I’ve got my book life and my book life is kind of very centering to me outside, outside of the stresses of my normal life. And yeah, so these are things I didn’t know or anticipate when I first started writing.

Sarina Langer 30:49
Well, you’ve heard it here first. Get yourself on social media and just start talking to people. Writers are not weird people. Although we are all a bit weird, aren’t we.

Grace 30:59
We have to be because you make up voices in your head, don’t you?

Sarina Langer 31:03
I don’t make them up, they were already there. We just started collaborating. And now I have books?

Grace 31:09
Yes. You did that by listening to them and writing them down.

Sarina Langer 31:12
Yeah, that’s the only difference. And if you could look beyond that, I feel like we’ve kind of already covered it. But I’ll ask anyway. If you could give new writers who are just at the start of their journey just one piece of advice, something to consider for the years of hard work ahead. What would it be?

Grace 31:33
Ah, you know, I would say, and I warn people of this all the time now, don’t pay for reviews. Don’t go to vanity presses. Do not answer unsolicited emails saying we will promote and market your book.

Sarina Langer 31:46
Oh god, no never. They’re usually always a scam.

Grace 31:50
Everything I have done over the last few years when I was new, and had no one to guide me. I made all those mistakes. I’ve been ripped off, I’ve been scammed. So I… because I didn’t know, I didn’t know any better. I just believed that this was a thing. So I think indie authors, new indie authors, you’re sitting ducks, because you want to sell a book, and you want a review. And people know this and they’re fake, they lie. So really, making connections with real people, you know, read someone else’s book, and they might read yours. And, and keep reading other books, and someone else might read yours, talk about your book, but talk about someone else’s book as well, you know, sort of share the love a little bit and I think that’s how I found it. But don’t pay anyone for anything like that, because it’s just to take advantage of you.

Sarina Langer 32:49
Very well said and thank you very much for that. I think that’s a good point to end on, so thank you very much for having a chat with me, Grace, and thank you guys very much for listening.

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Transcribed by Otter

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Sarina Langer