Welcome to Waypoint Author Academy

Waypoint Author Academy is your first step on the journey to becoming a confident writer and savvy business person.

Because whether you’re blazing your own trail in self publishing, or are pursuing the well trodden traditional route, at the end of the day you are still in a business.

Here at Waypoint our goal is blend writing, publishing, and healthy mindset to help you become a powerhouse publishing professional and the author of binge-worthy books your ideal readers can’t get enough of.

Waypoint is the place to be if:

  • you are brand new to writing/publishing and want to be sure to start out on the right foot
  • you have been in the industry for awhile and are overwhelmed by all the options and apps and channels for authors to publish and market
  • you need a quick refresher or reality check to get you out of your head and back into the flow
  • you want quality information from industry professionals who you can trust to guide you with honesty, integrity, and compassion

Waypoint is absolutely not the place to be if:

  • you are looking for a magic bullet or quick-fix to game the system and boost your vanity metrics only
  • you want all the readers and think your books are for everyone
  • you are not ready to implement long-game strategies, and attract only the ideal readers to your books

Campus Tour

Waypoint Author Academy is a virtual learning hub designed specifically to help fiction authors build long lasting and profitable careers.

In the online space non-fiction and fiction authors are often lumped together in articles about publishing and marketing but the frustrating truth is that they are not even close to the same.

Waypoint focuses on marketable genre fiction and authors who want to produce quality books for a voracious audience.

Take a look around and see if Waypoint is a good fit for you!

The Adventure Starts Here…

7 Reasons You May Need a Publishing Consultation Call

Are you feeling stuck in one or more aspects of your author career? Has the business side of the writing life got you down? A Publishing Consultation Call can help you get focused, and get moving again. 

Here are 7 reasons why some one on one time might be exactly what you need to get back on track.

1. You’re sometimes paralyzed about which publishing avenue is best for you or your current project.

When it comes to publishing options, it can be difficult to choose which avenue works best for a particular book, genre, or author. Do you want to be an independent, traditional, or hybrid author? 

Depending on the (one or more) genre(s) you write in, one or more of the available publishing options may be right for you. If you’re feeling confused as to which route to take, you may need someone to help you sort through your brilliant ideas and map a way forward. 

2. You envy other authors’ Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, or other social media feeds. 

The comparison trap: I’ve been here, and I think most of us have been. It’s super demoralizing to feel like other authors “have it all together” while we’re just winging it over here (spoiler alert: they don’t). Ouch, right?

How do other authors find the time to make everything so pretty and streamlined? When do they get a chance to carefully curate such attractive images and quotes? A Career Chat can help you hone in on your platform, what you’re saying to the world, and teach you how to reflect yourself well in your online marketing. 

3. You wish you knew how to better present yourself online to find readers.

This relates peripherally to #2. Do you find yourself wondering how those other authors have so many people gushing about their books online? Wondering how to attract those same kinds of exuberant, enthusiastic readers yourself? It can help you gain perspective to chat with another industry professional about how to attract the right readers–and how to keep them engaged. 

4. Social media options are overwhelming for you.

When it comes to online marketing, there are so many options! Should you just choose one or two platforms, or go all out and post everywhere? How often should you post? How do you know what’s working, and what’s not? At what point are you just spinning your wheels?

A Career Chat can help you narrow down your social media options to the best ones that will be most effective for your online presence. Then, you can get to work focusing in the right places, rather than stressing over all the options. 

5. You’re working on your bio for your website, publisher, or query. 

Your author bio is an important piece of information you’ll share everywhere when it comes to your books. Knowing what to say about yourself–and what to leave out–can be daunting, especially because your bio is often the first thing a new reader reads about you. A Career Chat can help you get clear on the pertinent information you need to reveal through your bio.

6. You want to make your author website spectacular.

Your author website is the main digital hub for your online presence. If you want to make that space spectacular, a Career Chat can help you know what you need on your site, and how to position yourself to draw in more readers.

7. You’re having an impossible time trying to find time to write and create that work-life balance people keep talking about (that doesn’t actually exist). 

Pfffft, balance–what is that, exactly? At Waypoint, we believe “balance” is a myth. Author life is more about focusing our energy where it needs to be, at any given moment. If you need to talk through the idea of moment-to-moment focus and what that might look like in the context of your life, a Career Chat can help.

Do YOU need a Career Chat? 

If you need help taking the next steps in your author career, contact us for a Career Chat. On this call, we can help you level up an important aspect of your author life that needs extra attention. 

A Career Chat is a 60-minute phone call to help get you unstuck from a specific business- or publishing-related issue. Some of these include: 

  • Building your author platform
  • Strengthening your online presence
  • Unifying your author brand
  • Directing your online marketing efforts
  • Planning your next book launch

A Publishing Consultation Call is a great way to get focused on the business side of your author life. We’ll help you take your next steps with confidence. 

Want to get that call on the books? Click HERE

Happy Writing!


Introduction to Writing LGBT+ Characters

2021 has seen more books featuring LGBT characters hit the bestselling lists than any year prior. These books have come in all genres: memoirs, YA novels, erotica, thrillers, you name it. With this explosion in LGBT-centered stories, many authors have a desire to include an LGBT character in their stories, whether as a main character or a side character. However, this can sometimes be tricky. How do you write about a life experience that actual everyday people have while seeming like you personally understand it?

The truth is, writing LGBT characters is pretty simple. Here are a few quick tips to get you started.

Tip #1: Avoid stereotypes

I could write a whole article on this alone, but here is the rundown: Your character has to have a personality outside of their LGBT identity. No more gay best friend characters whose main personality trait is being flamboyant. The best way to avoid stereotypes is to think about the character’s personality first, and their identity second

Let’s say that your main character has a gay best friend. First of all, think about what that character’s personality is.

Why are they friends with your main character in the first place?

Have they recently figured out their sexuality, or is this old news to them? How exactly are you going to bring their sexuality up in your story, or is it an irrelevant detail only mentioned in passing?

The important thing to remember here is that, while being gay or trans is a part of one’s identity, it is most often secondary to their interests, hobbies, and personality. 

The problem with using stereotypes is that they often take away from your characters rather than adding to them. Plus, most LGBT people don’t fit neatly into stereotypical boxes. A gay man doesn’t have to be super feminine to be gay. A lesbian doesn’t have to be super masculine to be a lesbian. Non-binary people don’t have to be androgynous, and trans people don’t have to fit strictly into gender roles either.

Focus on developing your character’s personality first, then consider how their LGBT identity plays into this. This will make it easier to avoid stereotypes about how LGBT people present and act.

Tip #2: Research, research, research

No, I am not asking you to read a million scholarly articles (yawn), but I am suggesting that you do some searching. There are hundreds of online sources created by LGBT people talking about their life experiences. Read a couple blogs, watch some YouTube videos. Researching the lives of LGBT people does not have to be strenuous, and it will give you a better idea of how to represent your characters in a way that is relatable and respectful. 

Social media can also be a good place to learn more about what it’s like to be LGBT. Whether you’re watching TikToks, scrolling Twitter, or browsing Instagram, there are thousands of LGBT content creators who talk about their lives, both the good parts and the bad. Thanks to the internet, we have more access to this information than ever before, with the ability to read about life experiences different from ours. 

Another good idea is to watch reviews of other books featuring LGBT characters, preferably reviews done by LGBT people. What about the representation did they like or not like? Was there anything in that book that they considered to be written in poor taste? Keep an eye out for books that received a largely-positive response from the LGBT community. All of this can be part of your research process as well. 

Tip #3: Leave out the unnecessary bigotry

You might have read that and scratched your head a little. Never fear, I can explain. 

Sometimes, LGBT characters in the media will be discriminated against in the story for no reason whatsoever. If you have an LGBT character who is learning to accept themself, and someone being rude to them is a relevant moment to the plot, then by all means, keep it in. However, sometimes these scenes only cause distress without furthering the plot at all. Your LGBT readers know very well that LGBT people are discriminated against; they do not want a needless reminder in your story. 

Tip #4: LGBT people are not more inspiring than anyone else

There is a common idea that LGBT people are somehow more brave than others for simply… existing as they are? Sure, it takes bravery if you live in an area where there is wide distrust or discomfort with LGBT people, but at the end of the day, gay and trans individuals are simply living their lives. There isn’t anything particularly heroic about it.

Some authors will try to make their LGBT characters seem brave or heroic for being LGBT, as they believe this is the most correct thing to do. The truth is, it usually contributes to the idea that being LGBT is inherently brave, when really, LGBT people are normal, everyday people. When anywhere from 4-10% of people consider themselves somewhere in the LGBT acronym, being LGBT isn’t terribly special or brave. It just is.

Overall, writing LGBT characters seems far more daunting than it is. The best thing that you can do as a writer is simply tell a good story. If your story happens to feature LGBT people, do them a service by making them fleshed-out characters with their own personalities rather than shallow stereotypes. Listen to LGBT people when they point out flaws in representation. Most importantly, make your characters the best that they can be, as there is no story without them.

Happy Writing!

~ Jesse



DIY Workbook: 5 Point Story Mapping

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

The 5 Point Story Mapping Method isn’t a plotting device. It’s not a new series of beats or a reworking of classic plot tools. The Waypoint Method aims to get deep under the skin of your story so that you understand more than just what happens to your characters. It’s about setting yourself up to succeed, understanding your own motivations as well as your character’s, and using your time and creative energy in the best possible ways.

After a decade of publishing, editing, and evaluating what is and isn’t working in fiction, the core of an author’s story can make or break the final product. Underneath the plot and the setting, what is your story saying to the world?

Below hair and eye color, what does your protagonist need? What do they fear? In this guide, we’ll be digging deep into the origins of your story and your character and help you build your plot around that central idea.

This DIY Workbook is best for authors who:

  • Are sitting down to start a new project
  • Want to work through a character-driven approach to story
  • Are plotters looking to dig deep into story before sitting to plot
  • Are discovery writers looking to arm themselves with more tools before writing

You can get your copy HERE. 

+ developmental self editing

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Developmental Self-Editing

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links.

You’ve completed the first full draft of your shiny new novel, and you’re chomping at the bit to send it off to your developmental editor. I mean, it’s on paper now, right? Isn’t it time to get some help with fleshing it out so you can move on to the next step? 

Not so fast. 

It’s incredibly valuable for authors to run their own round of self-edits before they send their manuscript off to a developmental editor. When we’re in the trenches on a new book, it’s easy to get excited. But we all know that the first draft is never the draft you should kick to the editor, because there are always a ton of problems. That’s just the nature of writing. (I like to say first drafts are terrible, but editing is where the magic happens.) 

“But what if I revised the manuscript as I went?” 

Good try, but…you need a little breathing room to step back, get some distance from the story, then come back to it with fresh eyes to run your own developmental round. It might sound like a drag at first, but self-editing on a developmental level will pay major dividends when it’s time to send the book to professional eyes. 

Dev Self-Edits Help You Catch Low-Hanging Fruit 

When you start your own round of developmental self-editing, you’ll be surprised at how many problems you find yourself. And if you’re anything like me, a lot of those problems amount to glaring plot holes and low-hanging fruit that you can fix on your own. Why is this important? Because (hopefully) you don’t hire an editor to point out a multitude of simple problems that you can easily find and tackle. 

Where you really need the strongest editorial support is in the character arcs, plot, and nuance of the story. It’s going to be harder for an editor to provide those things if you’ve left a horde of distractions on the page. Clear away the surface issues so you can go deeper with your editor. 

Self-Editing Helps Your Editor Do Their Job Better 

If you want to have the best possible working experience with your editor, then developmental self-editing lowers that barrier to entry. Set both of you up for success by running your own edits, then passing the book on. Doing this work on the front end gives your editor the chance to shine when they dive in. Rather than having them come back to you with a list of issues you could have found beforehand, they’ll be able to get into the real meat of the story. In the end, you’ll both be happier, and your book will be better for the work. 

Need Guided Self-Editing Help? 

Waypoint has you covered! We’ve developed our very first full-length e-course, Master Self-Editor: Developmental Edition, for the kind team over at Infostack. It just released today for their annual Black Friday sale, so if you want in on a ton of incredible deals featuring a wide range of authors and experts in the publishing industry, click here to learn more

Featured image by Joanna Kosinska | Unsplash


Why Working With a Pro Cover Designer Matters for Your Book Marketing and Sales

Readers judge books by their covers. If you’re a self-published author, it’s crucial to hire a pro cover designer to help your book get the attention it deserves.

If you’re a traditionally published author, your publisher will handle all aspects of your publishing, including hiring your cover designer. As a trad author, you may not get a say in this aspect of the creative process. Because of that, this article is primarily aimed at authors who self-publish. 

Let’s jump into the ins and outs of cover design with a pro.

Can’t I Just Create a DIY Book Cover?

There’s no shortage of online design tools you can use to create book covers. Canva, Adobe Spark, Snappa, and similar tools offer optimized templates, images, graphics, and text placement tools for creating covers for eBooks. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, it’s possible to design your own cover in Photoshop.

If you naturally have an eye for design, that’s a plus–and you can definitely try your hand at making a cover. But you might not fully understand the design trends that help books sell in a specific genre or subgenre. 

Pro Cover Designers Understand the Design Factors That Help Books Sell

There’s an art to creating book covers that sell within their genres and subgenres. For example, a cover that might sell an historical romance novel won’t sell urban shifter fantasy. Even text and graphical elements can detract from reader interest if the design doesn’t fit well with books on a virtual (or literal) shelf.

Your pro designer serves more than one purpose. Not only should they be able to create beautiful covers for your books; they should also know the publishing industry well enough to guide you through the design process. You’ll want to interview designers who have experience working in your genre. 

Establishing Trust With Your Cover Designer

A huge factor in your relationship with your cover designer is the trust you establish from the beginning. Yes, as a self-published author, you have the final say on your covers. But you’re hiring a designer to help you navigate concepts that fit your genre, in addition to actually creating the covers.

Consider hiring a designer who isn’t necessarily a “yes person”, but who will gently push back if your design concept doesn’t go over well in your genre. As the author, you can choose not to take their advice, but it’s important to consider their industry experience. 

Finally, if you don’t trust the cover designer you’ve hired, part ways with them. This process isn’t set in stone. If you aren’t happy with how your cover is shaping up, move on until you find the right person for the job.


The Freefall: Letting Go Of Perfectionism During Drafting

Sending an imperfect (or even *gasp* incomplete) first draft to your editor feels a little bit like getting pushed out of an airplane before you’ve psyched yourself up for the jump. 

I know this because I recently turned an incomplete first draft in to MY editor, Allie (in case you haven’t already seen or heard me mention this, Allie and Jo are my editors on the fantasy series I’m working on). 

As a writer, my track record has been “spend four years writing one book, then revise it at least three times before sending it for the first round of developmental edits”. But I’m a series author now, and I have a publication schedule to stick to. So endless revisions are no longer a luxury I can afford. 


But let’s keep going with this skydiving metaphor, yes? 

Perfectionism feels like your parachute. (Spoiler alert: it’s not!)

By subjecting my works-in-progress to revision after relentless revision, I create an illusion that I’m making my own parachute. After all, if I turn in the perfect manuscript to my editor, that means I’ll have a much softer landing and I won’t need to revise as much afterward…right? 

Not exactly. 

When you write your first draft, you’re largely in an echo chamber of your own making. Sure, you may have friends who look over bits and pieces of your rough draft (I do, and it keeps the creation process fun for me). You might even do a Story Mapping Call with your editor or coach to round out your ideas (I do that, too). But at the end of the day, writing your first draft is a lot of you, alone in your own head, with no one but your characters. 

Revising over and over just gets you stuck in a loop, thinking you’re going to write your own way out of needing to make major edits later. Is that possible? Yes, but it’s not probable, and you shouldn’t drag your creation process out because you’re banking on that outcome. 

Your real parachute is the editor’s feedback. 

Your editor’s notes, and the actual revision process, make up the real parachute that floats you safely back to earth after the jump. When you’ve spent so much time in your head creating this amazing story, you need someone to gently take it out of your hands and look at it with an objective eye. 

It’s going to feel really weird to let that book go sooner than you feel comfortable with passing it on. There’s no way around that. 

When I gave my book to Allie, incomplete (can you imagine, a first draft being incomplete? pfft), I wasn’t expecting to have a visceral reaction. But I literally felt like I was falling. It felt even stranger to agree to NOT touch it again until after she’d finished with the editorial notes. 

But here we are. And I’m still alive. 

So before you take your own leap, there are three important things you need to remember. 

1. You can’t make a first draft perfect. Period. 

I know it’s every author’s dream to turn around a perfect first draft that only needs minimal edits. That would be amazing. BUT, it’s not likely to happen. Should you do your best on draft one? Heck yeah. But you should also allow it to be imperfect. 

Any writer who has been in the trenches will tell you that all first drafts are just rough. No matter how many punches you try to pull, that’s just the truth. So embrace it and find an editor who accepts an imperfect first draft without judgment, and with wholehearted dedication to helping you make the story the best it can be in its final form. 

(And remember: an editor who expects a good first draft and judges the author is a terrible editor. Fire them immediately.) 

2. You need practice letting go of your projects. 

It’s good practice to stick to deadlines. A solid deadline forces your hand and makes you move on to the next step of the storytelling process, whether you believe you’re ready for it or not. (You’ll never feel like you are.) 

When you let go of a project “early”, you’ll feel (very) out of control, but that’s the point. Trying to control too much about your process will backfire, because perfection isn’t possible. Which brings me to #3…

3. Perfectionism is self-sabotage. 

I’ve used every excuse in the book to hold onto perfectionistic behaviors. See if these sound familiar: 

  • I just want my story to be the best it can be! 
  • I have high standards–I’m just sticking to them.
  • My story has to be [XYZ] before I can send it off.
  • I can save the editor some work if I run through this again.
  • If I just revise again, I can go straight to an ARC release! 

Don’t analyze each excuse too closely. They all feel valid when you’re using them. Instead, ask yourself this question: what is the end result of each excuse to practice perfectionism? 

The end result is a delay in your process. Which translates to self-sabotage. 

Self-sabotage feels like comfort when you’re doing it. Sure, it feels really good to revise that book again (either that, or I’m just weird because I like revising). But what’s it going to feel like when you end up moving your release date because you waited so long for the first editorial round? 

Keep your endgame in mind, and it’ll be a bit easier to leave that comfort zone and pass your draft on for editing. Even after all is said and done and your book is on the shelves, you’ll always circle back to your completed story with things you wish you’d done differently. 

Need help letting go of your draft? 

We’ve got you covered. Schedule a chat to learn more about Waypoint’s coaching and editing services. 


How Layering Your Edits Can Make the Revision Process Smoother

When it comes to editing your book, there’s more than one approach to the revision process. Some writers work through their manuscript from beginning to end, in chronological order. Others might work backward, one chapter at a time. Another efficient way to conduct revisions is by layering your edits.

Let’s consider what layering your edits might look like.

How to Determine Your Editing Layers 

When you work with a developmental editor, you’ll often get an editorial letter and/or detailed notes at the end of the developmental process. These notes will likely detail several areas throughout your story that need extra attention. That’s going to look different for every writer, but some of these issues could include:

  • Story threads that need to be present throughout the manuscript
  • Character interactions that need to be more consistent
  • Hints or foreshadowing you need to add
  • Actions, responses, and interactions that should be more in-character
  • Plot points that need to be tightened 

When it’s time to start revising, use your editor’s notes to make a master list of issues you need to address in your manuscript. Then, use it as a map that guides you through each layer of the revision process.

Layering Edits Allows You to Focus on One Story Thread at a Time

Correcting one story thread at a time is an effective way to move through your editorial process quickly. If you’re working through revisions after your developmental edit, it’s critical that you consider layering edits to maintain consistency throughout the process.

What I mean by consistency is that if you’re threading a particular theme through the story, you want to follow that through from beginning to end. Layering can help you focus on one thread at a time so you don’t get lost in other details along the way.

Layering Edits Can Prevent Unnecessary Rewrites

Just like getting lost in details, it’s a little too easy to get caught up in unnecessary rewrites (guilty…very guilty). If you layer your revision process and make a clear plan for the parts of your novel you plan to edit, it might help keep you on track to meet your deadlines.

This method is particularly useful if you’re writing long books with vast worlds. Making a seemingly small adjustment in one chapter could result in many, bigger changes as you go along. If you have a map to guide the process, you might be able to avoid a major detour.

Layering Edits Helps You Stay Focused on the Big Picture

As you move through revisions, you want to keep your focus on the big picture: completing your novel. It’s easy to get tangled in a web of extensive rewrites when you’re really supposed to be refining your existing story, so use your list of edit layers to keep yourself on track. 

Most importantly, remember that there are no hard and fast rules for how to approach the editing process. The most important thing is to finish your book.

If you need to talk through how to layer your edits, Allie and Jo can help. Get in touch with us here.


Writing Disabled Characters – 3 Tropes to Avoid

With the rise of social media and the internet, marginalized groups have been able to create online platforms and share their experiences. With all of this new information cycling the web, and authors wanting to diversify their casts of characters, it can be difficult to make sure that you are representing a character that is a member of a marginalized group in a respectful way.

There have been many depictions of disabled people in literature throughout the years, some being more respectful than others. Some good examples that come to mind immediately are: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green, which depicts mental illness beautifully and draws on Green’s own experience, and the wildly popular Wonder by R.J Palacio (although I would argue that the movie didn’t do the best job at representation, as they overlooked some details of the main character’s disability). There are plenty of thoughtful and honest representations of disabled characters, but there are also plenty of disrespectful and dishonest representations.

So here’s the question: How do I make sure that my character avoids harmful tropes and stereotypes? Well, the best way is to listen to other people who have that disability. However, as a general rule, here are three harmful stereotypes that you best avoid.

Number One: The ‘Has No Life’

This character is pretty self-explanatory. They have absolutely no life whatsoever. They have no personality, and are only there so that you can say that you have a character with a disability in your book. This character has no hobbies or interests of their own. Their main purpose in the narrative is to make your protagonist feel better about their own life, as they realize there are people far worse off than they are.

This is harmful for several reasons. First off, having characters with little to no personality won’t help any story, no matter what the plot is. Second of all, this trope presents people with disabilities as pitiable, only good for looking down on or making able-bodied people feel better about themselves.

There are definitely ways to give your main character a eureka moment where they realize that their life isn’t so bad after all. This moment shouldn’t come at the expense of disabled people.

Number Two: The ‘Tragic Fall From Grace’

Sometimes, perhaps through an accident, a war, or an unexpected illness, people find themselves with a disability. This can be a challenging and daunting event that requires a lot of adjustment. I have definitely read some books that portray this struggle really thoughtfully, but I also have read books that are very insensitive.

This trope isn’t so much something to avoid, but something to be cautious of.

Is this character learning to live with their disability and cope with their changed self, or does this character exist so that they can be looked down on by everyone else?

Once again, the difference between thoughtful representation and disrespectful representation boils down to this question: Is this character there to be pitied, or are they there to grow as a character and have their own journey?

Pay special attention if you want to write on this topic, as it can be written beautifully.

Number Three: The ‘Inspiration Porn’

This one is probably my least favorite trope. I’m sure a lot of us have heard the phrase ‘inspiration porn’ without knowing fully what it means. Isn’t it a good thing that people with disabilities are able to rise up, beat the odds, and inspire others as they do it?

That all sounds great, but this trope isn’t about disabled people, not really. It’s about what disabled people can do for non-disabled people. At it’s core, this trope is about able-bodied people being inspired by their non-able-bodied counterparts. This doesn’t sound so bad at first, but allow me to elaborate further on the two forms this trope comes in, and you’ll see why it actually sucks.

The first is summed up by this example: One time, I saw a news headline about a girl with Down Syndrome who was asked to prom by one of her classmates. The article was clearly framing the kid who asked her out as a hero for being willing to ask out a kid with a disability. Of course I’m not here to hate on that, and I’m really happy for both people in that situation, but the way people talked about it was… interesting. Able-bodied people should not get extra special praise for treating people with disabilities like people. That’s not how it works. If your characters are treating people with disabilities with basic respect and you are framing it as if they did a heroic deed, you might want to reevaluate.

The second, is the disabled person who can magically do everything. They serve as inspiration to all the able-bodied people trying to pursue their dreams, because if a disabled person can do it, surely they can do it too. The problem with this trope is that disabled people should not have to prove themselves in order to be worthy of respect. Another problem with this trope is that it enforces the idea that, unless a disabled person goes above and beyond, they are worthy of pity. We don’t treat able-bodied people who live mundane ordinary lives with pity- why should we treat everyday ordinary disabled people with pity?

Overall, the golden rule is this: Listen to disabled people and understand that while they do have their own special limitations, that doesn’t mean they should be treated with less dignity and respect than their non-disabled counterparts.

If your disabled character has limits, but also has dreams, goals, a personality, likes and dislikes, everything that makes up any other character; you’re off to a good start. And hey, we can always use more authors who are willing to dedicate themselves to diversifying literature.

~ Jesse Perry



Creative Control in Self-Publishing: What Does it Really Mean?


There are many different reasons authors choose to self-publish. One of the most prominent is the idea of creative control. Many self-published authors are invested in retaining a greater amount of control over their published works than a traditional publisher might allow. 

But what does creative control really mean, and what does it consist of? While self-publishing is right for many authors, there are many misconceptions surrounding what it means to be in control. Let’s deconstruct this idea and clear some of the fog, shall we?

Creative control requires: 

  • Exceptional instincts for storytelling
  • A strong publishing team that understands your genre and the industry at large
  • The ability to delegate editing and marketing tasks 
  • Willingness to learn the ins and outs of your market 
  • Tenacity and perseverance 

If you’re considering self-publishing and want to know more about what’s involved in a successful indie author career, let’s dive in deeper.

Exceptional Storytelling Instincts 

Because you’re taking the reins of your own author life, you want to be confident in your storytelling abilities. A self-published author assumes all the responsibilities of a publishing house. That means you need to not only have a good story up your sleeve–you also need a keen instinct on what readers are buying in your genre. 

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be the expert on your story or your market. But, you need to have your finger on the pulse of things enough that you can build a team around you who can help you run with your ideas.

A Team of Experts 

Creative control doesn’t mean calling all the shots with zero input from other professionals. While you have the final call on every decision you make for your author career, you need a team that can help you take your stories to the next level, then get them in front of the right readers. 

No one wants to go it alone. And in an indie author’s case, you don’t need to.

Spending too much time alone with your stories can cause major tunnel vision. It’s way too easy to self-sabotage, lose sight of the big picture, or even just get so close to your work that you can’t view it objectively. 

Instead of trying to build your author career in a vacuum, build a team around yourself. Choose trustworthy experts who have deep industry knowledge. Editors who will help you make your stories the best they can be. Experienced graphic designers who know your genre. Marketers who know what sells and how to get it in front of the right people. Coaches who can guide you through each step of the process and cheer you on along the way. 

Every team looks different. You might bring an editor onboard who can coach you a bit on marketing. Or, you might bring a handful of people into your author world.

The only hard, fast rule is to get the support you need to execute successful creative control, whatever that looks like. 

The beauty of choosing your team is that you get to take your time choosing individuals who you trust. You get to pick the marketers you mesh well with, the designer whose work you love, or the editor you trust to help you develop the best stories possible. And, you have the power to let go of those professional relationships that don’t serve you or your books. The power goes both ways. 

The Last Word on the Last Word

Taking on the responsibilities of a publishing house is a weight of responsibility. But for so many self-published authors, it’s also exciting to take the reins. Just remember that getting the last word on your work means intentionally setting yourself up for success 

You’re the architect of your author life. You get to build your dream team around your books then put them out into the world. That’s what creative control is all about, and that’s pretty amazing

Need help plotting out your author life? Hit us up. We’re a team of experienced editors, coaches, designers, and marketing experts who are passionate about helping authors build their dream publishing careers. Get in touch here.  


DIY Workbook: A+ Submission Packet

Ready to start querying agents and/or publishers? We got you.

The A+ Submission Packet walks you through the following:

  • Checking the Market for the viability of your novel
  • Creating a pitch that an industry professional can’t ignore
  • Building a query letter to capture attention
  • Writing a synopsis that will best showcase your story
  • Discovering a personal bio that connects you to your work
  • How to move forward and begin the submission process

This workbook is best for writers who are nearly finished with their novel and hope to find representation and publication for that project.

After workshopping countless authors through this process over the past eight years, Jo knows the common pitfalls and strengths of most writers at this stage in their journey. She also knows that this is often the most vulnerable piece of an author’s career. With this workbook you can work at your own pace, at a time that works for you, and wherever you like. And as always, if you’d like to schedule a “Quick Chat” or a full “Mapping Call” we can go over your submission materials together.

You can find your copy of the A+ Submission Packet HERE

~ Thank you!


DIY Workbook: Write Better Stories Series

Allie and Jo are passionate about helping quality stories find their place the world. We created this series of workbooks to give intermediate authors a series of questions and checklists to strengthen the following:

  • Write a Better Story
  • Create a Better Character
  • Construct Better Tension
  • Build a Better Romance

Write a Better Story walks you through the steps to create stories with the kind of depth that sticks with the reader long after they’ve finished.

Create a Better Character also focuses on depth of story–your plot points mean nothing without the right character to inhabit them.

Construct Better Tension gives you a checklist to work through as you plan your next writing project, or look over one you’ve completed to make sure you haven’t missed possible sources of tension.

Build a Better Romance isn’t just for romance writers! Whether romance is your main plot or a subplot – building a romance that readers connect with will always bring them back for more.

You can find these DIY Workbooks on our Etsy shop HERE.

~ Happy Writing!


DIY Workbook: Master Self Editor

Want to get the most out of your edits and get your book noticed? The best way to make your book as strong as it can be is by learning how to edit your own words before your manuscript ever leaves your hands. 

No one knows your story the way you do, and no one can edit in a way that helps you stay as true to that idea as you can. This workbook will teach you how to look at your manuscript objectively, taking it through your own round of edits before querying agents or handing it over to your editor. Self-editing saves you time and money and helps you get the most out of your editing process, whatever publishing path you take.

This workbook is designed for authors who:

  • Want to get the most out of a developmental edit, or any type of edit
  • Want to feel more confident in sorting through reader and editorial feedback
  • Want to make sure they keep their novel true to their vision

MASTER SELF-EDITOR was created by Jolene Perry, a published author and professional editor. After more than a decade of working with editors from five different publishing houses, reading for agents, and running her own editing company, Jolene has assembled the tools every author needs before handing their manuscript over to a professional.

You can download your copy HERE

~ Happy Writing!