Friday, January 20, 2017

Announcing the digital launch of PURSUE Magazine, Issue No. 1! {+Giveaway!}

This time last year, the magazine I'd dreamt of since I was a pre-teen was preparing for the release of its blog/website. Now, I'm excited to announce that our first digital issue will be available to order on April 15th, 2017!

What is PURSUE?

PURSUE is an online magazine that encourages and inspires girls to make the most of their youth by pursuing God, tapping into who He has created them to be, embracing their uniqueness, and learning to how to sustain health. It is a general interest and Christian-based magazine that covers topics in life, encouragement & motivation, inspiration, arts & creativity, and beauty & fashion.

We strive to provide clean, inspiring, and positive media for young girls that will encourage them to pursue God and live the life He's called them to live. Our vision is to create an online community for teen girls where they can go to find support and encouragement in their walk with Christ. 

How can you help? {+ enter a giveaway!}

The only way PURSUE will accomplish our vision is if our readers share it with their friends and engage in the community! 

Here's what you can do:

  • Join our street team. {Click here to join!} On this street team, you'll receive a free copy of the digital issues in exchange for a free review posted on Amazon (if you're interested). You'll also receive behind-the-scene peeks, exclusives, first looks, members-only giveaways, and more!
  • Follow us on social media. You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Ideas: Invite your friends to follow our Facebook page; retweet our Tweets; re-gram our Instagram posts, or tag your friends in the comments of our pictures; re-pin our Pinterest posts; pin images from our blog to your Pinterest boards. 
  • Comment on our blog posts! Is there a post on our blog that resonated with you? Let us know in the post's comments!
  • Share the posts on your social media. You can do this by providing a link on your Facebook, Twitter, or taking a picture of it and sharing it on Instagram.

By supporting PURSUE, you're supporting our vision to provide clean and inspiring media for teens. 

To thank you for your efforts, one person will win a $25 gift card to To enter, all you have to do is comment below and let me know what you did to help spread the word!

Thanks, everyone! I look forward to sharing this issue with you! =D

** {PS ... Are you a photographer? Would you -- or someone you know -- be interested in submitting photography for our magazine on a volunteer basis? Send us an email at pursuemagazine(at)gmail(dot)com!} **

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

How to Navigate Today’s Publishing Industry P.3: Charting Your Course Continued

Pin This!

As I mentioned earlier in this series, the quest toward becoming an author in today's industry looks quite different than it did several years ago. There's more involved than simply sitting at your computer and penning a good story.

{For the beginning of this series, view  Part 1 here  and  Part 2 here .}

Today I’m covering the final steps an aspiring author should take on their quest toward publication….

→ Step 3: Writer spends necessary time editing, revising, and rewriting. They may join a critique group during this time or send the manuscript to their critique partner.

Charting the course:

The editing stage is the most important part of the writing process. This is when the mess that the writer created during the draft stages transforms into a story. Because of that, it’s important that writers spend as much time on this stage as necessary.

For some writers, this is the dreaded stage, but it doesn’t have to be! The hard part of putting the story down is over; now it’s time to form that lump of clay into a piece of art.

Below are books I’ve read and recommend during the self-edit stages:

It’s also advised that writers get involved in a critique group, and/or find a critique partner. The most important thing is that you continue to apply what you’ve learn about the craft to unveil the best story possible. There will always be room to improve. If you want to take it a step further, consider hiring a professional editor. ( Click here to learn more about my affordable editing rates .)

→ Step 4: Writer pitches to agents and/or publishers. They may attend a writing conference during this time and meet them face-to-face.

Charting the course:

This step should only be taken when the writer feels that their manuscript is ready. This means that they’ve written the best manuscript to their ability and have taken necessary steps to edit and polish it.

Then, when it’s time, they’ll send it off to the real world.

This process, I hate to break it to you, can last for months — if not years.

There are plenty ways to find an agent: Through writing conferences, referrals, Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Market Guide, agency blogs, writing contests, etc.

As you do your research, make sure to pitch to agents who represent your genre and are currently looking to build their client list. You especially will want to adhere to their submission guidelines. How embarrassing would it be to have a rejection simply because you neglected to follow their rules!

Prepare yourself for rejection, because it’s inevitable in this industry. Use the feedback you’re given to improve as an author, then continue knocking on doors until the right one opens. (Important note: Don’t necessarily walk through the first door that opens. Research the agent and their clients. Get to know them and their work style. Settling for a bad agent is worst than having zero agent at all.)

→ Step 5: While the writer waits, he/she continues to grow their platform, hone their craft, and begins their next project.

Charting the course:

Spend your waiting time wisely! If you’re stagnant in your writing journey then you risk going in reverse. Writers should always be moving forward, and there are plenty of ways we can do so.

Here’s what you can do while you wait:

  • Begin a new project
  • Read writing craft books
  • Read writing craft blogs (Hint: Comment on agency blogs)
  • Research the trends in publishing
  • Grow your platform
  • Attend conferences and workshops
  • Build your writing resume by submitting to magazines and blogs
  • Enter contests (Hint: Many agents discover new clients through contest winners. Plus, winning a contest means you’re more likely to garner attention of an agent and it looks amazing on a proposal/query.)

Show potential agents that you’re not just seeking publication; rather, you’re seeking to build a career in writing. Agents want to sign with writers who are engaged in the writing community and actively work toward their growth as a novelist—even during the waiting seasons. (Trust me, there are plenty of them!)

Now that you know which steps to take, there’s no better time than now than to begin your journey! In next week’s post I’ll help you break down these steps even further so you’ll be prepared to set out on your own unique publishing path.

~ ~ ~

Questions for you...

Which step of this journey are you currently on? How long have you been on this step? Where do you hope to be in your writing journey this time next year?


 How can an aspiring author plan their publishing journey? Tips from @TessaEmilyHall #pubtips #writerslife 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How to Navigate Today’s Publishing Industry P.2: Charting Your Course

Pin This!

Pursuing publication can be a difficult and confusing feat for today's aspiring novelist. That's why I've created this series, How to Navigate Today's Publishing Industry. I want to help YOU, Aspiring Author, understand the path to publication by comparing it to a road trip. Because when you break it down to its rawest form, that's what this is, anyway. A journey. One that should continue long after you first reach the "destination" (publication).  

As I mentioned last week, today's aspiring author first needs the publication “address” (research how to become published). They can then plug it into the GPS (create mini-goals that may eventually lead them to their destination). Finally, it would be time to set off on the journey (which is impossible without perseverance). 

Now we’re going to cover how to “plug it into the GPS” by breaking apart the steps we discussed and creating mini-goals that will lead you to publication. Today we're going to focus on steps 1 - 2, and next week I'll continue by breaking down steps 3 - 5. 

→ Step 1: Writer writes the book. 

Charting the course:

This is the step many aspiring authors can’t seem to move past. Writing a book is not for the faint of heart! It requires time—a lot of it. And perseverance. Hard work. Determination to finish. These are all obstacles, and many aspiring authors can’t seem to move past these roadblocks. They may assume that, in order to be a published author, you have to have a completely free schedule and a “magical” ability to string words together in perfect order during that first draft. 

Here’s the truth: Every author has to squeeze writing into their lives. Even if writing is their only profession, there are several more responsibilities that today’s author has to juggle. If you wait for the perfect season of your life to begin your book—well, plan on waiting a long, long time. ;) 

The key here is to figure out a way to make writing a priority in your life. You have to realize that, even though you’re investing hours and hours into this project, it will be worth it. It’s important to view yourself as a professional writer even before you receive your first publishing contract.

How can you do this? By carving out a block of time each day and dedicating it to writing. Five minutes, or even five words, is better than nothing! If you can write one page a day for an entire year, then by next year you’ll have yourself a 365-page book. 

(It’s also important to note that you must give yourself permission to write an ugly first draft. The point of a first draft is to get the story down on paper. It doesn’t have to “look pretty” or even make sense until its revision stages.)   

Your book won’t be written unless you are persistent in protecting your writing time and making it a priority. One way to do this is by setting goals. Will you aim to write 500 words a day? Or will you aim to work on it for about an hour each day?

Write down these goals and treat them with respect. Don’t focus on the big picture of the project; rather, pour yourself into each day’s work. Challenge yourself with the goals you set, however be careful not to aim too high or you’ll risk becoming burnt out from the work.    

For more help on this subject, see the below post:

  •  How to Finish Your Book This Year by Creating Writing Goals 

  • → Step 2: While the writer writes the book, he/she also makes an effort to building an online presence. Today’s writer understands the importance of this in attracting attention from agents, publishers, and readers. They may also network with other writers on social media and the blogosphere during this time. 

    Charting the course:

    This is another step that today’s aspiring author often become hung up on. They become overwhelmed with the big picture of building a platform that they’re paralyzed and refuse to take the initial step into building an online presence. But what you have to realize is that anything is better than nothing—and if you don’t have anything online, then an agent isn’t likely to sign with you. 

    {Side story: I work as a Jr. Agent at Hartline Literary Agency for Cyle Young, and recently a publisher of a large house rejected a client's proposal. The reason? The publisher did a Google search of the writer and could not find a website, blog, or social media platform that belonged to this writer. Yes, zero online presence can result in zero publishing contract for today's aspiring author!}

    Start small and do what you can, when you can. But also keep in mind that building a platform/online presence must be a priority for today’s aspiring author as well. Agents and publishers request to see the author’s numbers in their proposals—yes, even if you’re a fiction writer. The majority of book sales are made online nowadays, and a publisher will want to see the potential you have in engaging an audience and selling books.

    Just like the above step, it’s important to be specific about the goals you set. Rather than writing down “I want to build a platform”, instead write a task that can be put into action, such as: “I want to build a Twitter and Facebook following”. Then set aside a block of time every week or every day that you can devote into building your following on these accounts.

    If you first focus on simply creating a following on social media, you can then take bigger steps, such as engaging your core audience, building a website, writing a blog, etc. But again, take each of these steps one at a time, and break them down into bite-sized pieces. 

    One book that I always recommend for writers who want to build their online presence is “ Connections ” by Edie Melson. I read this less than two years ago and have already seen tremendous results from following her advice!

    Remember: The most important thing about platform isn’t numbers; it’s engagement. Interaction. Building a connection with your core readership. 

    For more help on this subject, see the below posts:

    Next week, we’ll continue to “chart the course” and cover steps 3 - 5. =) 

    Again, if you have any questions about the publishing process, please let me know in the comments! 

    ~ ~ ~ 

    Questions for you...

    What do you find most difficult about steps 1 - 2? Would you prefer to write a book without having to build an online presence/following?