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
  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!!

My Kickstarter is LIVE!!!

Something exciting happened this week!I recorded a video, my husband, Andrew, did an amazing job editing it, we threw together some info about the book, sorted out reward levels, and The Secret of the Codex Kickstarter went LIVE!!The Secret of the Codex Kickstarter is LIVE!You can pledge here (and see my very first video, if you dare)! :)In case you're unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it's a crowd-funding platform that allows you to offer various rewards to backers that agree to fund your previously-unreleased project. But here's the "kicker" (see what I did there? haha) — if you don't reach your goal, you don't get anything!I've been tossing the idea of a Kickstarter around for a while, but decided it would be a fun thing to try! And guess what — in the first few days I've already reached over $100 of my $1000 goal!Wanna join in? Just click the link to the Kickstarter and pick your reward level. My books will be available online on 8/28, but I have some options that will allow you to get some cool Codex swag! I'm excited about that — I can't wait to get them in my hands!This was just a quick update about Kickstarter — look for another regularly-scheduled blog post soon. I'm been feeling the pull to write again; with this launch, writing has been put on the back burner, but I've been feeling pretty strongly that I need to get back into it. I can literally feel the urge in my gut — it's going to have to be soon, people.Thanks for joining me on this journey!<3 MelissaP.S. ONE MONTH TO RELEASE DAY!! AHHHHH!!!

The Secret of the Codex Release Update

Happy Friday! Who's ready for the weekend? (ME! ME!)My weekend (as with most weekends lately) will be filled with prep for this book release. It's so exciting! But it's also a LOT.*****

So here's an update.

*****Here are some of the things I've worked on so far: 



1. Revealed the book cover (to my email list and then to the world!)

ICYMI, here it is again, officially on my blog this time! The Secret of the Codex Final CoverIsn't it AWESOME?? My designer (@erinnnoneill) is amazing!! And it totally just screams "Mayan Archaeological Thriller," right? Good. That's what I was going for. :) 

2. Submitted my book to TWO printers and am in the approval process

So here's the short version of self-publishing: you have to find someone who will print your book (if you want a physical copy, which nearly every author does—I mean, the dream is to hold your book in your hands!). There are 2 major places to do this: Createspace (Amazon's company) and Ingramspark. Createspace is easy to use, and it's of course AMAZON, so it's good to do. And free! Ingramspark is a little more complicated, but its distribution options are much more robust. Ingramspark also makes it possible for bookstores to order your book (and even stock it if they choose!) as well as making preorders possible. (My book will be available to Barnes and Noble, y'all!)Which brings me to my next point...preorders will be up soon! Ahhh! The release date is getting so close! More info to follow, so keep your ears open!Oh—and guess what? I've ordered my proofs! This basically means that in a *hopefully* short time, I will actually be holding my book in my hands! AHHHHHHH!!!!! Check out my feed on Instagram (my handle is @melissafreyauthor) to keep up-to-date—I doubt I'll be able to contain my excitement when I finally receive them! 

3. Wrote a BUNCH of "copy" for my book and related things ("copy" is short for "sales copy", the industry term for anything that helps sell the book—at least I hope it does!)

Basically, when you self-publish, you write literally EVERYTHING yourself. That synopsis that goes on the back cover? I wrote that. The acknowledgements? Wrote those, too. Copyright page? (The page you probably have never noticed but me, as a book nerd, have at least looked at in nearly every book I've read. It's the page with lots of technical information about the book, including the date, disclaimers, info about the book, etc.) Yup, I wrote that too. Fortunately I had a template to follow, but that was me too. The author bio? You know, that part at the end of the book that talks about the author in third person? Wrote that too. In the third person. It was a little weird.(And I'll be writing more stuff, too! See below for a list of the things coming very very soon!) 

4. Working on getting the book on Kindle

This one's proving a little difficult, as the formatting's not quite right. Andrew's a formatting SUPERSTAR (I mean, LITERALLY a lifesaver) so I'm sure he'll offer his services to make it as awesome as the printed version. (Because he made the printed version look AWESOME.) Once we get that worked out, the preorders for the ebook will go live! :D 

5. Worked on my author platform

Yeah, this isn't as exciting, I know, but I'm really having an amazing time connecting with the writing community on Instagram. Ever feel like social media is negative and critical? Not the writing community, at least on Instagram. Everyone's positive, supportive, and kind.Want to follow along? Check out some of my favorite hashtags and learn about some amazing indie authors!#julylitwrit#campinstawrimo#booknerdigans#writerscommunity#bookstagram#bibliophile#amwritingThese are just a few! I use several more in my posts, so feel free to branch out and even join in the conversation! (Just use the hashtags when you post.)But, since I've been actively trying to build my author platform (since about mid-April), I've nearly DOUBLED my number of followers. I don't do it to feel popular—but more followers mean more people can find out about my book. God gave me this story; it's my job to get it out to the people who need to hear about it. And how will they hear about it if I'm not telling them? Want to know what's coming next? Here's what I've got coming VERY SOON!!! 



1. Preorders!

I'm hoping to have the ebook preorder listing up in the next few weeks (maybe even sooner!) and the print book listing not long after! 

2. Guest posts!

I've been accepted by two blogs for guest posts (blogs with a pretty big following—I'm super excited!) and have two other blogs that have shown interest! I can't wait! 

3. Kickstarter!

I'm hoping to get a Kickstarter up for my book in the next week or so! Since I'm funding this whole book project myself, I realized I could do so much more with a little help. So I hope to have all sorts of fun bookish extras as well as offering copies of my book, so stay tuned! 

4. More blog posts!

I'll continue to blog about the release here, including excerpts from the book, updates on the second book (I have over 80,000 words so far!), more character profiles, insights into the publishing and writing process, and anything else I can think of! I want you all to be among the first to know about everything The Secret of the Codex, since many of you have been following me since the beginning. You know, back when I wrote about random things and was trying to find my voice. 


AUGUST 28, 2018. Mark your calendars, people.HAHAHAHAHAI'm hoping to do an online launch party that day, but I haven't worked out the details yet. When I do, you'll be among the first to know! 


 There are a few things that you, as the friend of an indie author, could do to help out, if you choose. You are by no means required to, but in case you've been wondering what you can do to help, I wanted to give you an easy list of things to pick from!

1. Preorder the book


2. Support the book on Kickstarter

(Details coming soon!)

3. Once you read the book, consider leaving a review on Amazon!

It's one of the BEST ways to help an indie author (you know, like me) get her name out there.

4. Share on social media

If you like a post, I'd appreciate it if you'd share it with your friends! But if you don't love each and every post, that's okay, too. I'm not sure I love each and every post...haha

5. Talk about it

People in your community might like to hear about a new novel coming out. I mean, don't bring it up awkwardly or anything, but if they start asking you about books, that's your in!

6. Once the book releases, request it at your favorite bookstore, or even the library!

I doubt I'll get there soon, but the more people request my book, the more the bookstores start to consider stocking it!

7. Give me your feedback

This is probably the most important one! Likes and comments on social media posts, comments on blogs, even emails to me help me better connect with you and give you more of what you'd like to see are perfect. You can always reply to an email when you get it (like the one you heard about this blog post from) or message me directly on Instagram or Facebook too! Whether you've been following my blog since I started it way back in 2015 or are new to the party, I am SO GLAD you're here. This writing and publishing journey may seem like a solitary sport, but I couldn't do it without every single one of you.Thank you for following, and let me know what you're most excited about in the comments! Love you all!Melissa

The Music of the Codex


Happy Saturday!

When I first wrote The Secret of the Codex (it was just called The Codex back then, until I found another book by the same name! Spoiler: I like my new title better) way back in 2008/2009, I started collecting music inspiration in the form of a killer "Codex" playlist. I thought it might be interesting for you all to hear the songs that inspired the book as I wrote it. Some songs even fit a specific scene so perfectly that I got chills!

Ready? (If you want to skip my commentary, I recreated the playlist on Spotify and the link is at the end. Feel free to scroll.)


First up... The original Twilight soundtrack. Obvi.

Next up, RED. These guys are my theme band. (If that even makes sense.) Especially their second album, Innocence & Instinct. I still get chills when I hear "Never Be the Same" which I've unofficially dubbed the Codex theme song. Probably more on that later. :) Also, "Start Again" is another one of my favorites, which fits in well toward the end of the book. (No spoilers!)

Then some random songs—Fall Out Boy then a couple from Bones (which I loved)—and my Snow Patrol faves. "Make This Go On Forever" came on just as I was writing a pivotal scene in Chapter 6 and it was one of my first WOW moments when writing. The song fit the scene PERFECTLY. I realize now I'll probably have to go into more detail with these after the book is out!

Next up is Boys Like Girls. Not sure how I discovered them, but I'm glad I did. So many of their songs take me back to that first draft. This song especially, though I don't have a clue why. I probably just like the drops in the chorus. :D

Then The Fray, which I realize now I haven't listened to in forever. *goes and listens to The Fray*

Okay, I'm back.

Some other random songs, but notable ones.

  • "A Man I'll Never Be" by Boston—the band I listened to with my dad growing up. (Awww!)

  • "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence—takes you back, doesn't it? Pretty sure I heard them on the radio today on the THROWBACK LUNCH HOUR. I AM OLD.

  • "Never Alone" by Barlow Girl—if you've never listened to this song, or this band, before, go listen now. Spoiler: the Spotify playlist is below. Makes it easy.

Then my rock phase shows up in the form of random bands (Rise Against, Saving Abel)...

After that is A Twist in My Story by Secondhand Serenade, another album that really takes me back to my first draft. It's great to have albums like that, so you can listen to something if you need inspiration and you're right back there, creating the first draft. Makes you want to get right back at it.

Then a random movie score, you know, to keep things interesting (Angels and Demons by Hans Zimmer—probably for those times when I just couldn't concentrate with words in the songs)...

Then Anberlin! This band is great. Their new stuff is great too. Go listen.

More random stuff (Sixx AM and a couple of others), 30 Seconds to Mars (awesome), a random Natasha Bedingfield selection, lots of Good Charlotte (must've been another phase), then more random songs by Papa Roach, Saliva, Story of the Year, Sum 41, Three Days Grace. Yes, I listened to a lot of rock. Must've edited out a lot of the angst in the editing. Haha, just kidding—it somehow managed to not be angsty! By some miracle...

So here's the Spotify playlist I've been hinting at!



I've found I can listen to just about anything when I'm writing, but when I'm editing I need silence. Which makes me a little sad, but that's how it is.

Do you listen to music when you read or write?