Category: writing

A Happy Surprise

I got an unexpected (and awesome) email from Amazon over the weekend.  They’re doing this thing in October called #PoweredByIndie to celebrate great writing with a focus on indie KDP published titles/writers.  And that’s only one part of the awesome.  The other part is…they’ve chosen ADORKABLE as one of the featured titles!!!

Like I said, so surprising and definitely very cool.

You can check it out here.

It’s all about the indie and promoting self-published work, which I think is a fantastic idea.  And it gave me the topic for this week’s post, so thank you, Amazon :).

Here are some of my favorite things about being an indie author.

One of my most favorite things is the readers.  I love it when someone contacts me to say they read and loved my book.  That is something I never take for granted.  I love that the story they read and loved is the one I wanted to put out into the world.  Going indie allowed me to safeguard the heart of my story, the characters, and I will always love it for that reason.

I also love the empowerment.  It is such an amazing feeling to take charge of your own destiny.  Going indie, taking that first step and deciding that you are going to make all the decisions about your book, it can be a scary thing.  But if you believe in your book, your story and your characters, you have the power to put the story out there.

You are the one who decides when it’s ready.  You are the one who decides what the cover should look like, how the summary should read, and when to release the book.  The power is in your hands.

Amazon, KDP and indie publishing made it possible for me to publish the books that I love so much.  #PoweredByIndie is right.  Indie publishing empowers authors and allows them to create books that they love and reach readers who may love them as well.

That’s why I’m proud to say I’m an indie author.

I hope you all are having a great week so far, and if you haven’t, I hope you give indie books like ADORKABLE a chance <3.

Happy reading,

Cookie O’Gorman

It’s Finally Here!

Got a surprise in the mail the other day! :)  Which really, it wasn’t a surprise because I knew it was coming, but it still felt like a surprise.  I wrote ADORKABLE several years ago, published it just this year at the end of March.  Yesterday, I got to finally hold my book in my hands for the first time.

It was an incredible feeling <3.

Sigh…I felt it all.  And yes, I did cry just a little.

The print cover turned out AMAZING! Thank you, thank you, thank you to Stephanie Mooney for working your magic yet again.

And now, I’ll share some pictures (because OF COURSE I had to take pictures!!!).

Prepare yourself for all the pretty.

ADORKABLE_proof

This is what the proof looked like in the box…

ADORKABLE_proof2

…and here’s a look inside…

ADORKABLE_proof3

…and this is the book outside the box, in my hand, with the beautiful cover and spine and all the amazing attributes of a real, live, paperback book!  Oh, I love it, and I loved getting to add ADORKABLE to my bookshelves. :)

There is just something about books that you can literally hold in your hand.  No offense to reading devices (I heart mine and use it well and often), but imo a print book is just a different experience.  It’s running your fingers along the cover, flipping the pages, hugging and snuggling the book to your chest…oh is that just me?  Got it, lol!

Anyway, this was the highlight of my week!  I hope you’re enjoying your week as well–and that you get lots of pretty books in the mail, too.

Happy reading,

Cookie O’Gorman

5 Things: I Wish I Knew Before Self-Publishing

Hi everyone!  I decided to do a “5 Things” post because I love lists and because I’ve always thought 5 was a good number :).  This week I’m going to focus on 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Self-Publishing.  Just so you know, I could probably do a list with over 100 items on this topic!

So, here we go.

Before self-publishing ADORKABLE, I wish I knew:

  1. No matter how much research I did, no matter how many articles, books, guides or author posts I read, I would never know everything I needed to know.  Some things can only be learned through the process.
  2. Self-publishing is not as crazy/impossible/unthinkable as it sounds.  It is a lot of hard work (and will cause plenty of nervousness and anxiety), but it’s not impossible.  You can figure out Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook etc.  The truth is anyone can do it.  And they do, every day.  You just have to be ready to put in the work and for things (the good and the bad) not to go exactly as planned.
  3. Sometimes it’s better not to wait.  This is a personal item, but I wish I hadn’t waited as long as I did to self-publish.  After you’ve done all the research, lots and lots and lots of research, you have to put your thoughts into action.  Sometimes the people you love and who’ve shared in your dreams don’t have the time to see those dreams come true unless you act swiftly.  And there are times when, even if you do act fast, it’s still not enough.  Anyway, I don’t think anyone should self-publish before they are completely ready.  But personally, I think I was ready–ADORKABLE sat complete and on my computer for a looong time.  Despite the success the book is currently seeing, waiting for the perfect time in my case, was maybe not the best move.
  4. A bad book review can rip you heart out–but a good one can mend it back together.  Also, just try not to go crazy reading the reviews!!!
  5. Pat was right.  I can do this.  Believing in myself was the hardest part.  I always believed in my books.  I always believed in ADORKABLE and my characters.  My family always supported and believed in me and my work.  The truth was: I was the one holding me back.

Getting over that last hurdle (believing in myself) is still a daily struggle.  But I can and am doing it.  And whether it be self-publishing or traditional publishing, you do it can, too.  I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Cookie O’Gorman

 

Be Yourself

People say it all the time, and you hear it again and again, maybe especially if you’re a young adult.

“Be yourself.”

It’s a great message, the idea that if you just “be yourself” everything will work out–and even if it doesn’t, you’ll be okay.  It’s powerful and empowering…and potentially very scary.  I mean, think about it.  Imagine, putting yourself out there like that, being who you are regardless of what people think, what they may say, how they may react.  You also have to know who you are in the first place, and that is tough for most adults let alone a teenager who is still trying to figure out her place in the world.

Like I said: powerful yet scary stuff.

I work with young kids, and school is about to start.  I was having a hard time deciding what to write this week when I saw all the back-to-school posts.  That got me thinking about how daunting starting a new school year can be.

And then…I thought about Sally :).

One of the things I love best about Sally Spitz (the main character of ADORKABLE) is that she is completely herself.  She loves what she loves and who she loves wholeheartedly.  Whether it’s quoting Yoda, wearing Harry Potter memorabilia, re-enacting her favorite scene from a movie that almost no one knows, or admitting to her best friend that she needs a fake boyfriend, Sally is who she is.  Unapologetically.  Like a proud author-parent, it’s also one of the things I’m most proud of.

That doesn’t mean she isn’t insecure sometimes.  Sally definitely has doubts.  Those are a part of her, too, and they make her human.  The important thing is that despite those insecurities, despite those doubts, she doesn’t let that stop or change her.

Like it or not–like her or not–it’s okay, and here’s why:

Sally likes herself.

She is loyal to her friends, her family and her fandoms :).  She’s a smart girl who loves books.  And she will be herself no matter what.  If you think about it, what “be yourself” really means is: Be brave.

As school starts back, I hope all the young adults out there (and the adults) can be brave.  I hope I can be brave.  I hope it’s one of the things people take away after reading ADORKABLE.

Be yourself.  It’s one of the hardest and most important things you can do.

Happy reading,

Cookie O’Gorman

Bittersweet

“So, how’s the book doing?”

People ask this sometimes, and I always answer, “It’s going really well.”  In reality, the book is doing great in my opinion.  As far as success goes, I reached and surpassed my goals for the first few months following the book’s release.  My debut novel has done far better than I ever hoped.

But when someone in my family asked how many copies I sold, and I told him, he was…unimpressed.

The response (and yes, I’m paraphrasing): “Oh…is that good?”  Then after my explanation that yes, it was very good, “Well, I hope you sell a million copies.”

Me, too.  Absolutely, me, too–but seriously, it’s only been three months!

And I get it.  I know where he’s coming from because until I looked up the standard sales for a self-published debut author (there is no real number; however, you can get a good idea if you read enough posts/articles) I didn’t know how good my book was doing either.

I mean, yeah, I was happy–ECSTATIC!!!–but I would’ve been happy if the book sold 10 copies.  You probably scoffed, but I’m completely serious.

When I started, I had little to no author platform.  This is still basically true lol.  ADORKABLE is my debut novel.  I read and read and read some more about ALL of the many things I needed in place before the book even came out and scrambled like crazy to get everything set up.  I’d worked for years writing books and wanted to give my debut the best chance possible.  The fear of not finding readers (and therefore not selling any books) was always what held me back.  Well, that and the fact that self-publishing seemed like such a daunting task.

Plus…I’m going to tell you a secret.  It may just apply to me, but I’m pretty sure it’s universal.

Just because you write happy books, it doesn’t mean that your life is free of sadness.

No one’s life is perfect.  Crap happens to everyone.  In fact, if my life was a book, I’m pretty sure it would be one of those sad contemporaries that end in tragedy. Yeah, that’s why I can’t write those books and do not often enjoy reading them. No need to remind me of how bad life can be.  I know it, I believe it, and I can never forget it.

But at least, I can (and will) try and make my characters happy.

That’s one of the things I love about books like ADORKABLE.  It’s like a pick me up, an escape, medicine for the bad times life throws at you.  It is hope that things can get better.  Anyway, I promised to write about the “sweet and (bitter) times” on this journey.  This point in time is definitely bittersweet :).  Hope you have a great weekend!

Happy reading,

Cookie O’Gorman

My Favorite Things

I wasn’t sure what to write this week, so I decided to share a bit about my writing process.  Boring, you say?  No way!  Okay, okay, it may be boring, but I’m going to try and make it as interesting as possible lol :).  Here it goes.

A few of my favorite things (to write) are:

1) Dialogue:  I love, love, love writing these scenes!  There’s nothing I love more than when characters talk to each other.  The banter, jokes, back and forth, the flirting, those scenes are my favorites.

2) Character names:  What can I say?  I love naming my characters.  I have a lot of fun with this (maybe too much fun) and even write it down when I hear a great name.  No really, I have a list.  Some of my favorite authors come up with the best character names.  Gail Carriger, Suzanne Collins and J.K. Rowling come to mind.

3) Titles:  I’ve read that a lot of authors have trouble with this.  Believe it or not, this is usually the first thing I come up with.  Even before I have a concrete idea for the story itself, the title just pops into my head and stays there.  Typically, the title informs me what the book should be about, and I take it from there.  (Note: ADORKABLE has always been the title for Sally and Becks’s story.  It started that way and never changed <3).

4) Kissing scenes:  A great kiss can make or break a book for me.  I love reading them.  I used to be hesitant about writing them, but now, I just try and let the characters have their moment.  First kisses in particular can be earth-shattering.  The kiss factor is very important in any romance, and I will continue to work hard to deliver the swoon.

5) The Real:  I love it when characters show their true colors.  Whether it’s geeking out, freaking out, having a good cry or confessing their love for the first time, I love being there with my characters when things get real.

And there you have it, a few of my favorite things!

Writing can be frustrating at times, but these are parts of the process I really enjoy.  Also, I wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped me get the word out last week!  Thank you for the support and for making the ADORKABLE Kindle Countdown Deal a success.  I truly appreciate it and hope you all have a great weekend!

Happy reading,

Cookie O’Gorman

The Next Step

Here’s a secret: I don’t really know what the next step is.

That’s probably normal (I hope).  I definitely shouldn’t stress about it, and I’m not…much.  Everyone’s journey to publication is different.  I have been trying to post on my blog every week–and yes, I missed one week, but I’ve stayed pretty true to that goal…even though sometimes I ramble…like now lol :-).

I know that you’re supposed to be constantly writing/working on your next novel.  Actually, the novel I’m currently writing is my next-next novel.  In other words, the novel I will release after ADORKABLE is actually complete and undergoing edits.  Yay!  I still have to work on formatting, cover, making absolutely sure everything is as good as it can possibly be before it’s ready to be published.

But I am excited because a lot of readers seemed to like Ash.

And I love him :).

I am currently trying to figure out how to set up a Kindle Countdown Deal.  It seems like an awesome opportunity to thank people for reading my book and also to make the book available to more people because it would be even more affordable.

Also, in case you didn’t know, you can read ADORKABLE for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

I’d like for the deal to run next week, and I just need to figure out how to set it up and then how to promote it so that readers can know about and benefit from the deal.

Sounds easy, right?

Here’s hoping I can figure it out in time and spread the word.  Wish me luck, and I hope you have a great weekend!

Happy reading,

Cookie O’Gorman

Crazy Amazing Stats

If you’ve found this page, I think you probably already know this, but ADORKABLE is my debut novel.  It is the first book I’ve ever published.  When I hit the publish button, I hoped there would be readers.  I hoped there would be people out there who loved Sally and Becks as much as I do.  But I never thought that in almost two months so many readers would have already found it!

Now, to some authors, these stats may not seem that great.  There may be people who hit it out of the park every time they release a book.  But I’m a debut author with little to no social skills and an introverted-ness that nice people would call “awkward” and others would just call “weird.”  Self-publishing for the first time was scary.  My deepest fear was that no one would read my book, that it would be lost in Amazon oblivion.  I’ve heard that this happens a lot.  I’m still afraid it may happen to my book(s)–but right now, I’m amazed by how well my little debut has done, and I thought I’d share some stats with you :).

ADORKABLE was released on March 31, 2016.

As of right now, it has:

91 reviews on Amazon

Reached #1 in three of its categories on Amazon.

141 reviews on Goodreads

706 people rated it on Goodreads.

1,529 people added the book on Goodreads.

Over 1 million pages have been read this month.

The book is even doing pretty well in Canada and Australia!  Again, it may not seem like much, and I may be making something out of nothing.  I really have no comparison.  But to me, these are some crazy amazing stats!  I am very thankful to every reader who has given ADORKABLE a chance and to those who liked it enough to tell their friends.  I can’t tell you what it means to me to hear that someone read and loved the book.

Happy reading,

Cookie O’Gorman

 

 

ADORKABLE Book Playlist

I love music.  I really, really do.  So, of course, I make a book playlist for each of my books.  Typically, this is a cumulative process, and I add songs as I’m writing as well as after I’ve reached the end.  Some songs represent a character and their feelings; others represent a scene (some fit so perfectly in my head that it’s crazy).  ADORKABLE‘s Book Playlist had several of my all-time favorites.  I’ve included a few music videos and what the songs represent to me.  Hope you enjoy!

“Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap is truly one of my favorite songs.  It represents Sally and this book and how Sally feels about Becks and how Becks feels about Sally…sigh.  It represents ADORKABLE in all ways :).

“Can You Tell” by Ra Ra Riot is so Becks it’s not even funny.  These lyrics: Oh have I been too discreet?  How long am I supposed to wait?  Absolutely, totally Becks–and he would have gladly waited as long as he needed to for Sally…and she would have waited for him.

This is the song I picture playing at the party during the shaving scene (which btw is one of my most favorite scenes!) <3.

The breakup scene :(.  Tegan & Sara do heartache/breakup/yearning songs like no one else.  “Call It Off” has exactly the right feel.

Annnd the happily-ever-after :).  Just being honest–and maybe this makes me a total girl–but DMB’s “Crash Into Me” is perfect for just about every love story ever.  This version of the song, though, I think is perfect for Sally and Becks.

Happy reading,

Cookie O’Gorman

THE ADORKABLE BOOK PLAYLIST

  1. “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap
  2. “Can You Tell” by Ra Ra Riot
  3. “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson
  4. “July Flame” by Laura Veirs
  5. “So Insane” by Discovery
  6. “The Trial of the Century” by French Kicks
  7. “Hysteric” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  8. “Powerful Stuff” by Sean Hayes
  9. “Call It Off” by Tegan and Sara
  10. “Your Song” by Kate Walsh
  11. “Nicest Thing” by Kate Nash
  12. “Hyperballad” by Whitley
  13. “Syrup & Honey” by Duffy
  14. “Oh Boy” by Duffy
  15. “She’s Got You High” by Mumm-Ra
  16. “Heart Skipped a Beat” by The XX
  17. “Tessellate” by Tokyo Police Club
  18. “I’m With You” by The Stills
  19. “Crash Into Me” by Dave Matthews Band (Live at Folsom Field, Boulder Colorado)

Lemons & Lemonade

Confession: I am a lemons kind of person.  This is according to my family who claims that I tend to focus on the negative versus the positive.  The opposite, of course, and what they say I should do is make “lemonade.”  Be happy; look on the bright side.  Lemonade, lemonade, lemonade.

The last post was about all the sparkly (aka the nice things people had to say about ADORKABLE), and I kind of glossed over the not-so-great things.  Well, to be honest, I pay attention to the bad reviews.  I pay A LOT of attention. I’d previously read several articles from other authors that said: Whatever you do, DO NOT read your reviews!  It will only cause you heartache.  And it’s true.

These past couple weeks have been like a rollercoaster of ups and downs, flying and falling within literally minutes, and yes…lemons and lemonade.

Everyone is free to have their own opinions.  There are people who hate some of the books that I absolutely love.  There are people who love the books that I don’t enjoy.  And that is okay.  No one is right or wrong.  If a book sounds good to someone, she or he must decide to read or not and then make up her or his own mind about it.

So here is what I’ve learned: I need to stop obsessively reading the reviews and checking Amazon and Goodreads every five minutes.  I shouldn’t focus on the negative reviews more than the positive–or doubt the positive by saying “Maybe they were just being nice…”  I should realize that it is okay to believe the good.  I love reading.  I love writing.  And, despite any positive or negative reviews, I really do still love my book.

See that family who I know are going to read this post?  There is your lemonade :).

Happy reading,

Cookie O’Gorman

P.S. Be on the lookout next week for a very fun challenge and giveaway!