Millennials

The Best Part About Being an Author

There are so many cool things about being an author and publishing your book. It's not always easy, but it's definitely worth it — and so fun! So just before The Secret of the Codex launches tomorrow, I thought I'd list a few pretty cool things I've found about releasing my book.

Cool Things About Being an Author

  1. Setting up your author page on Amazon.com
  2. Someone putting your book in their TBR pile on Goodreads (actually three someones — check them out at the bottom!)
  3. Someone actually reviewing your book, and on #authortube, no less!
  4. And that same person posting the review on his blog, on Goodreads, and on Amazon too!
  5. Reading all the words of encouragement and support on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
  6. Finding your book on Barnes and Noble
  7. Submitting a guest post and getting it accepted! You know, three times. On Positive Writer, Shayla Raquel's website, and The Write Practice.
  8. Creating all the book swag and promotional items The Secret of the Codex Swag Pic
  9. Successfully funding a Kickstarter (still not sure how I pulled that one off — oh wait...only with the help of all my wonderful family and friends!)
  10. Seeing my name on a book cover (see below)
  11. Holding my actual book in my hands Melissa Holding The Secret of the Codex
  12. Searching my ISBN and finding out that my book apparently has a Google Books page. I didn't even know this was a thing.
  13. Getting to plan a launch party that feels a little bit like a baby shower... (for my book baby!)
  14. But the one thing I'm most proud of, the one thing I can't believe I actually accomplished, was creating this picture.

The Secret of the Codex Paperback PromoI know, you just saw the heavens open and heard angels singing, right? Because this is a thing of beauty. Let's just take a moment...Haha, just kidding. (It just took me forever to figure out how to do it and I really wanted it for the launch!)Thought I'd share a lighthearted post about being an indie author before the craziness starts tomorrow. I mean, TOMORROW. IN LIKE 10 MINUTES. I CANNOT BELIEVE IT.<3 Melissa

Guest Post: Shayla Raquel — Instagram

In case you missed it, I wanted to let you all know that I wrote a guest post for Shayla Raquel's amazing blog! Since I've been all about Instagram for the past few months, I thought I'd share what I've learned!Instagram Guest Post on Shayla Raquel's WebsiteIf you're a writer who's been wondering how to effectively use Instagram to build your platform — or if you're just curious — check it out! I tried to make it informative and really easy to follow!Let me know what you think!<3 MelissaP.S. The Secret of the Codex is revealed in 3 short days! Preorder the ebook now, or snag the paperback on Tuesday! I can't wait!!

Monday Updates!

Happy Monday Everyone!I just wanted to quickly give you a few updates about The Secret of the Codex book launch (and some other things, too). I hope it brightens up your day! 

1. My Guest Post Went LIVE!!

I wrote a post for Shayla's Raquel's website and it went live this week! It's all about how authors on Instagram can market themselves and their book — even if the book's not out yet!Please check it out, then let me know what you think!How to Market Yourself on Instagram Without a Book to Sell (Yet)Instagram Guest Post on Shayla Raquel's Website 

2. The Secret of the Codex eBook is Up for Preorder!!

That's right! If you were wanting to get the ebook, you can preorder it here! The paperback will be available on August 28th on Amazon. I'll send out the link to that when it's live!Preorder The Secret of the Codex now!The Secret of the Codex eBook Preorder! 

3. August 28th Online Release Party!!

Y'ALL. (I sound like Mandy in the book hahaha) The book releases in EIGHT DAYS. EIGHT!! It's so hard to believe this decade-long journey is finally culminating with The Secret of the Codex being revealed to the world. It's been in my head and my heart for so long — I'm so glad you all will finally be able to read it!I'll be doing some online celebrations on Facebook and Instagram (possibly even Twitter) on August 28th! Of course, all of you on my email list will be getting a few (okay, probably more than a few, but I'll keep it to a minimum) emails about the book release! (If you're not on my email list, why not? It's super easy to join, and you can always unsubscribe at any time. Just follow this link! You'll even get the first three chapters of The Secret of the Codex for free, just for signing up.)This Friday, I will be sending out an email to you with promotional pictures and some information about the book. I'd love it if you would share these on your various social media platforms!! It would really help me get the word out. Sign up now to be included!!Speaking of which... 

4. Connect with Me on Social Media!!

As mentioned before, I'll be doing some major celebrating all over social media on release day (and leading up to it)! I'd love it if you would join me!I can be found on Facebook at Melissa Frey - Author. You can find out all about the book and my life there. If you're on Facebook, check it out!I'm also on Instagram (as you could have guessed from the guest post I did — haha) under @melissafreyauthor where I post about the book, my writing process, and things I do from day to day. You can check out the hashtag #thesecretofthecodex to follow the book around and read more about it. I will also be doing a giveaway to celebrate 1000 followers! I'm so close, so I'd love it if you followed me there and kept your eyes out for that. You could win!I also have a Twitter page @melissafreyauth (I maxed out their character limit lol). Check out my feed there!Real talk: Sure, I'd love it if you got as excited about my book as I am. But that's not why I'd love to connect with you on social media. It will keep you posted about my upcoming books and hopefully entertain and inform you, but mostly I just want to hear from you! I want to hear the things that you'd like to see on my feed, the things you'd like to learn about, the things you'd like me to discuss. So connect with me on your favorite platform and start talking! :) 

5. The Week Before Launch IS HERE!!

I CANNOT BELIEVE IT, but we're in the week before the launch! As such, I'll be sending out a few more emails than usual. I'll try to keep it interesting, I promise. :D Later this week, I'll be sending out my last character profile before the book comes about, this time all about Holun! He's probably my favorite secondary character in the book. His story is incredible! (And he may or may not be in the second book...) ;) Stay tuned, and watch your inbox! Even earlier this year I wouldn't have imagined I'd be releasing a book! You all have been such an encouragement to me. Thank you for joining me on this incredible journey!Hope you have a great Monday!<3 Melissa

Anxiety and the Writer

I figured it was time for some real talk. About that thing that no one seems to want to talk about: anxiety.

It's real, it's stressful, and it's overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like it wins the battle. But it doesn't have to win the war.

Mental-Health-Post-Pic.jpg

The Beginning

When I started on this book journey over a decade ago, I never knew what would come. I just knew I wanted to write a book, and, though I had no clue where to start, I somehow did. It was a long journey, but I finally got to the point where I wanted to release my book.

So on June 1st, 2018 (has it only been two months??), I announced my book release. I was so excited (and still am) and I couldn't wait to see what would happen. Little did I know things would start happening, that very weekend.

I freaked out.Like crying, near panic attack freaking out.

Fear, anxiety, the constant what-did-I-do mantra that swirled through my head sped up my breathing, made my chest tight, consumed my thoughts. My husband, being the amazing man that he is, talked me down, calmed me down. He was, and still is, my rock. I'm convinced I couldn't do this without him.

I wish that was the end of it.

My Journey

Nearly every weekend since (I suspect that this is because I work on book stuff the most on the weekend and that's when I try to tackle the hard stuff), I've had some form of a panic attack. I even had two in one weekend (and even two in one day). They're scary, overwhelming, frustrating, annoying, and make me feel like I'm the only writer in the world who doesn't think they could ever get a book out into the world.

But I'm not, right?

I know I'm not. Despite what my brain tells me in the moment, the highlight reel I see on Instagram isn't the whole story. Because mine isn't. I don't want to show my weekly panic attacks, the too-many-times-to-count crying sessions that leave my eyes puffy and red and my throat dry. I only show the happy things, the things that I'm convinced everyone wants to see. Who wants to be depressed? The world is depressing enough as it is.

So that's why I'm writing this post. To show that we're all human, that what you see on social media is rarely the whole story, and that we all struggle. Sometimes it's depression, sometimes it's anxiety, sometimes it's a host of other things. Mental health is important and is lacking in our incessantly busy, constantly distracted culture.

But There's Hope

And that's the other reason I'm writing this post: you don't have to struggle alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are those of us — the ones that you probably see with a smile on Instagram — who struggle like you do. Who think that they couldn't possibly make their dreams come true. The ones that don't see sometimes how they could manage another smile.

Don't get me wrong: the smiles I put on social media are real. I love my life, and I love my online community. But that's not really the point.

The point is that life is sometimes overwhelming. Sometimes we don't think we can keep working on our dream. Sometimes anxiety seems to win.

But it doesn't have to.

We keep going. We keep trying. We never give up. We look anxiety right in its vicious, angry eyes and tell it that we are stronger, that we are better than what it says we are, and that even though it might seem like it has won the battle, we will win the war.

WE. WILL. WIN. THE. WAR.

<3 Melissa

P.S. If you are struggling with mental health issues and need help, please reach out to someone. You may email me at any time, or connect with me on social media. If you are contemplating suicide, please, PLEASE know that there are people, like me, who care about you. If you need immediate, 24/7, free help, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. I am not a medical professional and this post is not meant to taken as medical advice. I merely wanted to offer a free resource to those who need help, and to reassure them that they are not alone. You are not alone.

Writing Advice to my Younger Self

As you may know, I'm doing a hashtag challenge on Instagram called #junelitwrit. (Thank you to @sarahelizabethwriter, @quillmistress, @tyffany.h, @pagewitch, @becky_moynihan, @the_slp_reads, @bobaloolas_art, @blogherosix, @writerdaniellemichael for hosting the challenge! There's a #julylitwrit coming up too if you'd like to follow!) Yesterday's challenge was "Writing Advice I Would Give my Younger Self."I started typing and quickly realized it would make an excellent blog post, mostly because I have way too much to say than will fit in an Instagram photo caption!My Younger Self (2008 Version)So, younger Melissa, if this post somehow makes it back to 2008, please heed my advice. Get tons more sleep, eat better (Paleo will help), start doing yoga, and take care of your skin. And, when it comes to your writing, do all these things:

WRITE

It doesn’t matter how bad it is, how few words get on the page, or how much you know you’ll just end up deleting later, write as much as you can and as often as you can. It's the only way you'll get better at it.

BE BRAVE

Write what seems true to you, and not what everyone else says you should write about. (Even the, er . . . intimate scenes. What's true to you will surprise you. Dig deep and figure it out.) Then don’t be afraid to share it with the world. Be you, and do it relentlessly.

EDIT RUTHLESSLY

You’ll learn this later, but it will help if you get it now. Get rid of all unnecessary words. They will probably be your favorite. Cut them anyway. If you can convey what you want to say in two words instead of ten, cut those eight words. And don’t cry about it. You’ll be amazed at how much stronger your writing is. Trust me. Also, get rid of like 93% of your adverbs.

GIVE YOURSELF GRACE

Your writing won’t be perfect, but it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to be exactly what it turns out to be. And if a few typos make it into print, or you obsess over how you could’ve written that one part a little bit better, just know you’ll make it better with the next book and let the first one be. Imperfection shows vulnerability, an essential quality of being a true creative.

BE AUTHENTIC

I mean, you’re an INFJ, so it mostly comes naturally for you, but share more than you think is comfortable. No one ever made history from their comfort zone.

SHOW NOT TELL

You’ll understand this fairly early on, but it will save you tons of editing if you get it sooner. (And read "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" by Renni Browne and Dave King right now.) But seriously. Think of ways to visualize facial expressions, how it physically feels when someone breaks your heart, what another person may do and look like when they’re surprised. Then describe them. Readers are smart; don’t talk down to them. Let their imagination fill in the rest — they’re up to the challenge, I promise. And they’ll probably love you for it.

KEEP YOUR FOOT ON THE GAS

If you’re bored reading a scene, your reader will close the book and probably never pick it up again. So if it doesn’t serve the story in some way, get rid of it. Make this your mantra: WHEN IT DOUBT, CUT IT OUT. Even if there’s one little tidbit that’s vital to the story but the rest of the scene is worthless — EVEN IF IT’S YOUR FAVORITE SCENE — get rid of it, and put the tidbit elsewhere. Or maybe you really don't need that tidbit at all.

Always ask yourself, with EVERY. SINGLE. WORD.: "Do I REALLY need this?" If not, and you're being brutally honest, get rid of it. Then you'll be able to keep the story moving and keep the reader turning the page. It's what you really want, I know. Remember, I was you like ten years ago. I've got you.

CONNECT WITH AS MANY OTHER WRITERS AS POSSIBLE

This one will be hard for you. I remember well. You can whine and say you don't need anyone, but you're really just throwing a temper tantrum. Because TOUGH LOVE. Get out there, make friends, join a community of like-minded writers, authors, and creatives who will support you, lift you up, and encourage you and your passions like no one else can. I don't even remember what was available to you in 2008 — was it MySpace? And also Facebook, of course — but connect early and often. Your future self (ME) will thank you. So will your follower stats.

CHANGE YOUR TITLE

Okay, this one you'll figure out, and it will be okay. But there's already a book called "The Codex" so change it now. Spoiler: It should be called "The Secret of the Codex", which you know is way better.

STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER AUTHORS

Their methods are not your methods, and that's okay. You can write in frenetic spurts then go days without writing, and you will survive. Just don't go years without writing, like I did. You'll have some life stuff to work through, and it will be tough, but it will get better, and you'll be such a better person for it, but don't stop writing. I think writing would've helped me through it more quickly. But maybe not.Point is, if you write any and every spare moment and never have time to read, then read every spare moment because the book you're reading is really good, that's okay. Which leads me to my final point.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY

Oh, girl. This one's going to be SO HARD for you. But trust me — the journey is the most important part of the process. I know you don't get it. I know you probably can't understand. But believe me, you need the journey you're on to get you to the place where you become me, the person who is finally releasing that book that God gave us over the last ten years. Because the person you become on the journey is much more important than arriving at the destination. I'm older, I have more wrinkles than you, and we have been through a lot. I'm not perfect — you already know that — but I'm happy with who this journey has made me. Things will get better, you'll figure things out, and you'll recover from the mistakes you made. Life won't be perfect, but it will be good.Trust me.<3 Melissa *This page may contain affiliate links, which means if you use those links to make a purchase, I receive a commission at no extra cost to you.*