Our guest today: Dina Silver Why we love her: We love her sweet, sassy narrative! (and so will you!)
Her latest: Finding Bliss
The Scoop: Chloe Carlyle has always longed for the perfect family.
Growing up with an alcoholic single mother, she has seen her share of heartbreak and disappointment, and is striving to build a new legacy for herself. After graduating from college, she takes a job working as a summer girl for the Reeds—a wealthy, accomplished family that personifies her American dream. Her summer takes an unexpected turn when the Reeds’ eldest son, Tyler, the star quarterback for Notre Dame, shows up and turns her life upside down.
An ambitious young woman with a wry sense of humor, Chloe never imagined herself as the type to succumb to the looks and charms of the hometown hero, but she falls hard for Tyler, and is devastated when they part ways at the end of the summer. As she heads off to law school, Chloe tries to convince herself this was just a fling, but she can’t quite get over him. It’s not until Tyler contacts her out of the blue late one winter night that everything changes.
After doing everything in her power to build the perfect life, Chloe soon learns that there are things beyond her control. She must draw on inner reserves of strength as her life takes unpredictable—and sometimes heartbreaking—twists and turns, and she finds herself faced with decisions she never thought she’d have to make. Poignant, heartfelt, and emotional, Finding Bliss is a reminder that you don’t have to live a fairytale life in order to have a happy ending.
Our thoughts: Dina delivers again with this one--make sure to pick it up!
Giveaway: One SIGNED copy! Leave a comment here and we'll choose a winner after July 28th at 8am.
Fun Fact: Dina is a huge Bon Jovi fan! (And so are we!)
CHICK LIT IS NOT DEAD PRESENTS...DINA SILVER'S 5 THINGS I'D TELL THE TEEN ME
1. Misery loves company, yet she’s not a very good hostess. As a general rule, if someone is being bitchy, it’s because they’re not happy with themselves. Miserable people will try to bring you down so that they can feel better about themselves and rejoice in the fact that they’re not alone. Don’t join their party.
2. One day people will be walking around with cameras in their hands at all times, posting pictures and videos of your every move for the world to see. Be grateful you’re growing up in the ‘80s when you can still get away with shit.
3. If he wants to talk to you, he’ll call you. Guys are simple, they’re not nearly as interested in playing games as we are. If he likes you, you’ll know it. Same thing goes for if he doesn’t.
4. You’re young...have fun!!! Enjoy this time when the biggest decision you have is where to meet your friends for brunch on Sunday.
5. Be kind to everyone. This will come back to you in spades. Years later when you walk into an interview, you never know who’ll be sitting behind the desk.
6. You think you’ve got great girlfriends now, just wait until you get to college.
7. Be prepared to regret the following:
--Royal blue eyeliner.
--Covering your lips with concealer then applying pink frosted L’Oreal lipgloss over them.
--Aussie scrunch hair spray.
8. Lastly, don’t be such a stubborn control freak, over-achiever. If someone asks you for “5 Things,” don’t give them 8.
As you may have noticed, we are pretty much still jumping up and down about selling The Toast to Atria late last year-We can't WAIT until early 2014 when it comes out. But, for those of you that have been with us since the beginning, you may be wondering, what the hell happened to our first two books, I’ll Have Who She’s Having and The D Word?
The answer is complicated.
While we love our first two novels, we made the decision to shelve them. Many of you that have followed our VERY LONG writing journey know that traditional publishing was always the goal for us. (Thank you, btw, for listening to us bitch about it for the past four years!)
We queried both IHWSH and The D Word long and hard, enduring more rejection letters than we care to admit. Like so many manuscripts, they just weren’t the right book at the right time that made in front of the right person. And let’s face it, there’s always a fair amount of luck involved too!
So we grudgingly made the choice to self publish them after trying in vain to get an agent. And the books did….okay. Mostly well reviewed but not as much traction as we would like for the financial investment we had put into them. (We’ll get to what we think we did wrong later so you can learn from our mistakes…) It was then we decided to write another manuscript and we made an agreement it was traditional publishing or BUST, damnit!
We aren't dogging self publishing at all. It takes incredible drive and talent to be successful when self pubbing your novel and there are some AWESOME authors out there. (Dina Silver and Dee Detarsio come to mind.) Many have done so well both critically and financially that they've been picked up by traditional houses, like Jamie McGuire, Jessica Park, and of course, EL James. But for us, we wanted it old school.
So, for now, IHWSH and The D Word are resting comfortably on Liz’s hard drive. We hope one day they’ll see the light of day again(especially IHWSH—it’s campy and fun and inappropriate and we love it!) But we’re honest enough with ourselves to know that they would both probably need some TLC to be traditionally published—our writing had definitely grown with each book and we’ve had to learn from the many writing mistakes (so much overwriting! Too many super long flashbacks! Telling, not showing!) we made in the first two to get where we are today.
We hope y’all understand. From our experience, neither the self or traditional publication paths are perfect, but you just have the make the best choices for yourself and hope they work out. xo
Are you thinking about self pubbing? We’ve put together a list of Do and Don’ts. And we’d love to hear what you think too!
Liz & Lisa's top 5 Self Pub Do's and Don'ts (aka all the ways we effed up when we did it.)
1. DON’T forget to edit, and then edit some more, and then hire someone to edit your manuscript.
From both an author and book blogger viewpoint, this is the BIGGEST problem we see. We had both IHWSH and The D Word manuscripts professionally edited but there were STILL embarrassing typos. It doesn't mean the editor didn't do a great job, but we're dealing with humans and it's nearly impossible to make it perfect. But typos are distracting to the reader and make you look unprofessional, so just edit the shit out your ms and then go back and edit some more. And then hire someone to edit it before you hit the publish button on Amazon.
For those of you querying agents and publishers: Consider sending the ms out for a grammar and developmental edit before hitting the query circuit. Not only will your manuscript look great, they can help you fix plot holes or inconsistencies in the story. We hired Emily Heckman to edit The Toast, and her notes were INCREDIBLY helpful--worth every penny!
2. Choose your early readers wisely
Make sure to choose people that will give thoughtful, honest feedback. It's really great to have your girlfriends read your manuscript, but if all they're going to say is "I LOVE it!!!" without any specific notes, it really doesn't do much except inflate your ego. Choose people that are hugely supportive(no haters please!) that will take the time to think through your plot points and have the balls to tell you that your heroine is actually a heinous, unlikable bitch. (Happened to us with IHWSH! And they were right!)
It may sting a bit, but good, honest feedback can make or break your book. We let everyone in the world read our first two and then had to decide which feedback to incorporate--it ended up pulling us into a lot of different directions. While writing The Toast, we chose only three people who we felt would provide fantastic, critical notes. And you know what? Those notes SAVED the book. True story.
3. Write an AWESOME pitch
Okay, let us put our book blogger hats on for a minute: PLEASE write a great pitch. PLEASE include all the links. PLEASE research the sites before you send a personalized pitch to them. PLEASE check out this post. Your book is never going to get off the ground with great word of mouth, so make sure to get it in from of the right people.
Having trouble writing something short but sweet?? Your story might be too complicated. We've started writing the pitch before the book, just to make sure we've got a concept we could pitch it in thirty seconds in a elevator, if need be. (You never know when that might come in handy!)
4. Become a social media whore.
Get your mind out of the gutter! We don't mean you should write back those strange foreign men that send Facebook messages asking if they can make friendship with you. We're just saying you need to devote some time each day to promoting yourself online and building a following. And don't forget--it's not just about Facebook and Twitter anymore. Now you've got to give Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads and many other sites some lovin' too.
5. Don't get discouraged!
Not gonna lie-we got discouraged and wallowed in some really good wine over the fact that we didn't become eBook millionaires overnight. And it probably affected the effort we put into promoting our books and the end results we saw. So remember to be realistic when making goals and don't give up--it takes time for the word to spread! Just keep the faith in your book, and yourself. And hey-when you become the next EL James, just don't forget about us!