Category: writing

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!

Thank you!

Publishing a book for the first time was scary, nerve-wracking, awesome…and did I say scary?

In the days leading up to publication, I was a mess.  Constantly nervous, swinging between happiness that my work would finally be out there–and the crushing fear that I wasn’t ready, the book wasn’t ready, no one was going to read it let alone like it.

Then the ADORKABLE Blog Tour happened.  I read, re-read and sometimes triple-read every review.  I already had a thousand doubts, so I was prepared (I was so not prepared) for the worst.  Not going to lie, it hurt to hear what some readers thought were the flaws in my story.  But that’s also when I realized how much impact one kind word, a few encouraging, sparkling sentences can have.

So today, I’m focusing on the sparkly.  Here are some things reviewers had to say about ADORKABLE:

“From the first touch to the kiss, the chemistry between Becks and Sally was off the charts.”–Rê at U.S. – Brazil Book Review

Adorkable was simply adorable. The main characters were perfect together and the story was fun and interesting. Very recommended.”–Jennifer at Bad Bird Reads

“I absolutely love this kind of storyline and it was perfectly executed here.”  Poulami at Daydreaming Books

“This book was so fun and easy to read, I suffered from a bad case of ‘just one more chapter’ syndrome, finishing at 5am because I couldn’t stop.”–Dani at Dani Reviews Things

“If you’re an adult who enjoys an occasional sweet, simple true YA romance then I think you’ll enjoy this book. I definitely did and I will be purchasing this to share with my daughter upon release.”–Jaime at Fiction Fangirls

“Cookie O’Gorman was born to be a writer, and I hope to see her name on many more books to come.  Adorkable had a life of its own, and I very much enjoyed living in it for a little while.”–Jaime Lynn at The Best Books Ever

“Sal and Becks will capture your heart, be it older or younger and will hold it long after you finished their book.”–Nicole at Books and Starlight

“Adorkable is a fun page-turning teen romance with amazing characters, plenty of angst, and just the right combination of sweet vs. heat.”–T.H. Hernandez at Adventures in Writing

“I felt like there was a great balance between the romance, the character development and the coming of age. In that respect, its story kinda reminded me of The DUFF; only replace the cynical Bianca with a nerdy and more upbeat Sally. It has its funny moments and its charming moments but it also has its real moments and I think readers will connect really well with that.”–Lauren at SERIESous Book Reviews

“If you are looking for a contemporary read that will make you have a great time, introduce you to a new book boyfriend worthy of your swoons, and lots of dorkiness, then you will surely enjoy Adorkable!”–Melissa at The Reader and The Chef

I cried.  Literally, I happy cried, silently sobbing by myself as I read.  People, real people, felt this way about this little book that I love.  It was crazy…and amazing.  This is just a sample of the nice things people have said, and I only have one thing to say to them: Thank you, thank you, thank you!

When releasing ADORKABLE, my goal was not to have it become an Amazon Bestseller–though I’m over-the-moon that it happened (for about 10+ hours :)).  My #1 goal: Put the book out there for people to read.  For it to find readers.

So far, it has, and I am so very thankful.

Happy reading,

Cookie O’Gorman

ADORKABLE Release Day <3

adorkable-final

It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here!

Today is the day that ADORKABLE will be released into the big wide world.  My little book set out into the wild.  I hope it flies so high and that Sally and Becks and Hooker and Ash find a place in readers’ hearts.  This debut has been a long time coming, and I’m so glad it’s finally here and that March 31st can now be a good day.

Thank you so much to every person who has supported me and this book.  Thank you to each and every reader.  May you live long and prosper.  May the Force be with you.  May the odds be ever in your favor.  And may you wake up tomorrow morning to find your letter from Hogwarts waiting on your doorstep <3.  I solemnly swear that I am up to no good–and that I am diligently working on my next novel :).

If you love YA romance, fake boyfriends, best friends, or geeking out, I’d love it if you would give ADORKABLE a try!  And if you do, please let me know.  I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Reading,

Cookie O’Gorman

Why I Write, What I Write

My debut novel, ADORKABLE, comes out on March 31, 2016! That’s next week ICYMI (hip-hip hooray!!!), and to keep from freaking out too much, I’ve been doing some research. I found this article by Kimberly Grabas that said to market your book you have to:

1) Know Yourself.

2) Know Your Audience.

Now, I’m probably the worst marketer in the history of indie publishing. Besides being an introvert (I’ve discovered this carries over into online interactions as well. Just my luck!), a first-time self-pubbing author (again, fun times, but man…the learning curve is steep), and just an overall awkward person (to quote Lady Gaga, “Baby, I was born this way”), marketing myself has never been easy. It’s like constantly fighting a battle against my inner-Self Doubt/Critic–and she is a nasty piece of work. Never shuts up, always present, always trying to hold me back.

But regardless, this article helped me. I may be crap at marketing, but I do know myself and my audience. So, let me break it down.

I write YA. I write in this genre because I love young adult books. My high school years, though filled with way-too-much Awkward (yes, with a capital “A”), were some of the best years of my life. Middle school sucked. Period. But in high school, I had a great group of friends that were a total mixed bag. Some were over achievers; some were popular; some were boy crazy; most were bandies or drama geeks–and all of them were true friends. None of them ever stabbed me in the back, and that’s why in my books you’ll read about real BFFs, who have each others’ backs, who would go to war together and fight off the monsters and mean girls/guys. Those were the friends I knew growing up. So, those are the friends I write.

I write romance. Not only that, I strive to write believable happily-ever-after romance because, in my opinion, real life sucks enough. There are too many tragic endings. If my characters are going to live, they will struggle. They will go through some awful times, sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally, because that’s just life. But in the end, they’ll come out on top. In the movie Becoming Jane, Anne Hathaway put it like this, “My characters, after a little trouble, shall have all that they desire.” So yeah, this. Absolutely, one hundred times this.

I write for the nerd in all of us. This is not just a line. I’m a nerd–which basically just means that I like things and get excited about life (see John Green’s quote below). I love nerdy people, passionate people, the ones who may be awkward but are excited by life and books and movies and music. And if they love Harry Potter, well…those are my people.

John Green_Nerd Quote

I also write for the girls/guys who are in love and too afraid to speak up. I write for the teens experiencing love for the first time and the adults who want to experience it again. Being in love, it is beauty and torture all wrapped up together. In my books, it’s not so much about “if” the characters will end up together. It’s about “how.” I write the journey, the first kiss, the misunderstandings, how the heart breaks, and how we piece it back together.

So, this is me. Why I write, what I write, and the readers who I’m writing for.

I hope you’re one of them :).

Cookie O’Gorman