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Category: A Writer’s Musings

Self-Publish Your Novel – Social Media for Writers

Social media for writers is mostly the same as regular social media for anyone else. There are some small differences and points to consider–being professional* is perhaps more important than on your personal account–but otherwise? Chances are you don’t need to worry. If you’re already using social media, you’ll rock social media for writers, too!

Please note that, while I’m on a lot of different sites, I’m not everywhere. The sites below are the ones I use myself and recommend.

*If you’re not sure what that means exactly and are worried you’ll step on someone’s toes, check out my post What Does ‘Being Professional’ Mean?

CookieBreak | Self-Publish Your Novel - Social Media for Writers


If you’re already using social media, I recommend you start a new account for your writer needs.

It’s a good idea to use the same username across all platforms, too, so your readers can find you without any guesswork. Having the same picture everywhere helps, too.

It’s frustrating when you’re trying to find someone from Twitter on Instagram and you think you have the right person, but it could just as easily be someone else! Unless you know them personally, it can be hard to tell.

This is why consistency in username and picture is so important.

If you’re tempted to create an account on every platform for max exposure, don’t. Pick two or three, and start there. If you still want to add to it later, you can, but when you’re just starting it’s important not to overdo it.

And it’s easy to overdo it, friends. Pick two favourites and see how it goes.


The internet is a visual place. Posts with images tend to do better anywhere, which makes Instagram the perfect social media for writers.

Because guess what’s visual? Cover reveals. New shiny maps. The proof copy of your book arriving in the mail. Pretty aesthetics.

I’ve sold more books through Instagram than any other platform, simply because people saw my covers and fell in love!

You can also join monthly challenges, which will help grow your audience and tell people about your book without seeming pushy*. #igwritersmay is a good one to join since the prompts relate to your writing life.

If you read this after May, be sure to substitute #igwritersmay for whichever month you’re in, like #igwritersjuly 😉

It’s never too late, either–I know we’re halfway through May**, but you can totally hop on right now!

*no judging here; promoting your book consistently without sounding repetitive is hard.


Twitter used to be my main online hangout before I joined Instagram.

It’s another good platform for monthly challenges which will let you meet other writers and tell people about your book.

I recommend #authorconfession (mothly) and #WIPjoy (every three months).

Twitter is a lot more social than other sites, so regular interactions do best. I always find my follower numbers drop if I don’t post for a few days or only post once or twice a day, so being around is key to Twitter success.

It can also get overwhelming faster than other sites, just because so many people use it every minute. I’ve stopped paying attention to the main feed, because there are hundreds of new tweets every time I look away for five seconds. I can’t keep up with that!

BUT Twitter has a useful little feature which helps with that. You can create lists, and stick as many people into them as you like. That way, when you open a list, you’ll only see tweets from the people you put there.

It makes it easy to keep up with the people who matter without being assaulted by everything else. If you don’t have much time, it’s perfect.


Generally, social media for writers is a happy, supportive place. But I have mixed feelings about Facebook. To me, it feels like there are two sides to it.

On one side, you have your personal feed. For me, this consists mostly of other writers and authors–and most of them either rarely stop by, or are there every day to complain about low sales.

‘This is so hard, I should just give up.’

‘OMG, I only sold ten books last month, time to give up.’

‘Ugh, I only sold five books last month, what am I doing wrong??’

Honestly, my Facebook is littered with depressing messages like these. The truth is that writing and self-publishing a book is not the same as finding a gold vein and selling it to the highest bidder. You won’t sell much.

The more you publish, the more attention you get but it’s still not guaranteed you’ll sell much. If that makes you want to quit, this isn’t the business for you.


The other side to Facebook is groups. I’ve joined a few, and while I don’t pop in often there’s a big amount of support and encouragement from your fellow writers.

They’re essentially the exact opposite to regular Facebook as described above.

There are a lot of groups, though, so picking one can be difficult. I recommend you only join one or two, because you won’t be able to keep up otherwise.

Let me make it easy for you–join my group, The Indie Writer’s BrownieBreak. We talk about books, writing, and every Saturday we talk cake and self-care.


Pinterest isn’t a social platform as much as it’s a search engine. Think Google but entirely visual. This makes it excellent for research.

It’s also really easy to lose a couple of hours to it, so be careful. Modern procrastination was born on Pinterest.

Pinterest can also drive more traffic to your blog if you set it up well, but that’s another blog post entirely.

The more you use Pinterest, the more Pinterest rewards you. This sounds simple, but you need to pin a lot every day to really increase your traffic.

There are scheduling apps out there to make posting all the time easier, but I can’t review any of them because I haven’t tried any. I’m using Tailwind and it seems to work well, but until they make it available for Android phones I won’t get much out of it*.

Once Tailwind is available for Android phones and I can test it properly, I’ll do another post.

Of course, this isn’t an issue for you if you want to use Pinterest solely for research. If you want to use it to grow your business and drive more traffic to your blog, however, it’s something to think about.

*I’ve asked a few times and all they can tell me is it’s coming, but they don’t know when.


I’ve been on LinkedIn for a while and even though I don’t use it as obsessively, I can see why it’s become a social media platform.

When I first signed up years ago, I struggled with this. I remember the employability sessions we had to attend at university, and they all advertised LinkedIn as an online CV.

It is that, but you can also share blog posts, new book releases, endorse professionals you worked with (and get endorsed in return), and contact info.

There are plenty of groups for writers and authors, too. While I’m not active in any of them, I have used them for feedback once and got a good response. If you join a group, you also get emails with new topics discussed once a week.

But it is largely an online CV and job board, and the social aspect comes second in my opinion. You can meet other writers, cover designers, agents, you name it–but you can do that on every other platform, too.

As far as social media for writers go, this isn’t my top recommendation.

It’s a good platform to be on, but I recommend it for when you’re ready to expand rather than when you’re just starting to build your online presence.


Instafreebie is a paid site. I won’t go into huge detail now*, but Instafreebie is great for two things: getting your book out to new readers, and growing your mailing list.

Now, the same is true for Instafreebie as for any other giveaway. A lot of people who download your book may never read it, and many of those who do may never review it. But some will, and personally I think it’s worth it for the few that do.

I also can’t ignore the growth of my mailing list. Before April, I had roughly 75 newsletter subscribers. I did two group giveaways (these are free and super easy to join, btw) and now I have over 300.

I figured most of them wouldn’t open my emails, but I was surprised to see how many do open my newsletters every month. Success!

And who cares if some of the people downloading your book don’t like it? That’ll happen anyway. Instafreebie just allows you to speed up the process.

*another post at some point, perhaps?

In two weeks, I’ll show you some easy and free ways to promote your book before and after release. In the meantime, you might be interested in these posts:

If you found this post helpful, consider signing up for my newsletter to collect the From Idea to Self-Published freebie! That’s a guide with 60 pages of free info designed to help you self-publish your debut novel <3

Which social media platforms do you use? Are you not sure if you’ve found the right one for you? Make a tea, get a cookie, and chat with me!

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

For all of my other musings, click me!

For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.

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From Idea to Self-Published | Your Free Guide

It’s finally time! Tomorrow, my free guide From Idea to Self-Published will be available to all newsletter subscribers. That’s 60 pages of FREE content outlining how to self-publish your book for you!

(Note: The guide is now LIVE!)

If you’re new to writing and/or self-publishing and are wondering how to self-publish your book, then this guide is for you. If you’ve already self-published several times and know what you’re doing, you probably won’t learn anything new.

Rather than just tell you to sign up and get your freebies, I thought I’d show you what’s inside. Here’s the table of contents:

From Idea to Self-Published | Your Free Guide on How to Self-Publish Your Book

Hi There, My Fellow Writer!

Chapter 1 – What Does ‘Success’ Mean to You?

Chapter 2 – Let Go of Perfection, It Doesn’t Exist

Chapter 3 – Social Media

Chapter 4 – How to Be Professional

Chapter 5 – …But We Were Writing a Book, Weren’t We? Let’s Get to It!

Chapter 6 – The Beautiful Beast that is NaNoWriMo

Chapter 7 – What’s Scrivener?

Chapter 8 – Writing the Blurb (My Nemesis I)

Chapter 9 – Finding a Title (My Nemesis II)

Chapter 10 – The Holy Trinity of Fantasy Writing*

Chapter 11 – Critique Partners and Beta Readers

Chapter 12 – Your Book’s Front Matter

Chapter 13 – Goodreads

Chapter 14 – How to Prepare Your Book Baby for Its Big Day

Chapter 15 – Launch Day and After

Chapter 16 – The Cost of Self-Publishing

Chapter 17 – Time to Register as Self-Employed and Keep Track of Your Taxes!

Chapter 18 – Look After Yourself—Don’t Burn Out

Chapter 19 – Book Recommendations


Useful Links

* your cover designer, editor, and cartographer

Interested? Sign up for my newsletter and collect your freebie:

All content belongs to the author, Sarina Langer.

For all previous updates on my books’ progress, click me!

For Cookie Break’s front page, take a look here.

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Self-Publish Your Novel – How to Find an Editor

How to find an editor? It’s a big hurdle for many new indie writers, and was my own greatest worry when I was at that stage with Rise of the Sparrows.

I knew it was the most important thing I needed to do for my book, but where to start? Which edit did I need? Would an editor change my book? How expensive was this going to get?

Editors aren’t scary*. They’re people who want the same thing for your book you do–the best.

There are personal differences, of course, so it’s important you find the right editor for you. How do you do that?

Allow me to show you.

*I’m definitely not just saying that because I am one.

Self-Publish Your Novel - How to Find an Editor | CookieBreak


The Right Editor for Your Book

Before we begin the hunt search, let’s define who the ‘right’ editor is. What do you want from this partnership?

Above all else, you should hire an editor who gets you and your book, and who can help you draw the most out of your characters and your world. All editors can do this, of course, but not every editor will connect with your writing.

For many writers, their editor is also their ideal reader. I’m one of those lucky writers. My editor knows what I want from my writing, because we’re on the same wavelength.

You’ll be working closely with your editor, so ask yourself what you want and who you’d rather not work with.

Search Your Social Media

If you’ve been building your author platform for a while, you might already have added an editor or two. In fact, this is how I found mine!

If you have added some, go to their websites and take a look at what they offer. Is it what you’re after? If not, move on. If it is, make a note of their name and maybe send them an email or a message on Twitter.

It doesn’t need to be complicated. Just something like ‘Hi, I’m [your name here] and I’m looking for an editor for my [your genre here] novel. Do you accept new customers?’

Editing a book takes time, so don’t assume the editor of your choice is free right now. You may need to book in advance–but if you want this editor, it’s worth the wait.

Your Choice of Edits

I honestly had no idea what to choose. Turned out, how to find an editor wasn’t as complicated as picking the right type!

Here’s a quick summary:

A developmental edit is the most expensive service you can get, but it’s also the most in-depth. Your editor looks for larger issues and fixes, such as plot holes, paradoxes, and pregnancies that last 12 months.

A line edit makes sure your sentences and paragraphs flow well, make sense, and are generally easy to read. Things like repetitions and unnecessary words are cut here.

The proofread is often the smallest and cheapest edit you can pay for. Your editor fixes spelling mistakes and missing punctuation; therefore, it’s the quickest edit to apply to your WIP.

It’s what most people think of when they hear ‘editor’.

Some editors also offer manuscript evaluations. It’s the cheapest edit you can get, but it’s also not in-depth. Instead, you’ll get a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as some other things you might want to consider. For example, if your writing is repetitive, your feedback will say so but it won’t highlight examples in the writing.

It can be perfect if you want professional feedback but don’t feel ready for a full edit just yet, or if you want to know where your writing shines and where it needs improvements.

Also, make sure the editor you want edits the genre you write. Not every editor works with epic fantasy, and many editors aren’t happy to take on erotica.

Moreover, some editors only do proofreads, while others only offer developmental rounds.

Their websites should say which services they specialise in, but ask if you’re not sure.


Every edit is priced differently, and as with everything in this industry, every editor charges different fees.

Editors who’ve been in this business for a while tend to charge by the hour. This can get pricey fast (and it’s harder to get an accurate estimate of the fee), but you might find their experience reassuring.

Honestly, editors charge anything from per page to per word to per hour. Ask for a quote before you commit to anything, so there are no nasty surprises later.

Some editors charge for each edit separately. Others include a proofread with the line edit, and a proofread and line edit with the developmental round. Some give returning customers a discount.

Never assume you know what you’ll be charged. Unless you hoard a secret fortune under your basement, I’m guessing you’ll want to know numbers rather than hope for the best.

Speaking of–don’t expect to pay £50/$75 for a full developmental edit of 150,000 words. Edits take time, a lot of work, and thought. An editor who takes pride in their work won’t charge you peanuts for something that’ll take them months to complete.

Get to Know the Editor

If the editor you want is on social media, you can get to know them a little first. Make sure your personalities don’t clash and that you’re a good match. Any edit is teamwork, so it’s important you don’t dislike each other.

While it’s secondary, perhaps, to the editor’s skill, I do think it matters. My editor is funny, friendly, and supportive all the way through. I wouldn’t want to work with someone who’s so serious you can see their blank expression in every note they send you.

An easy way to get to know your editor is by requesting a sample edit. Most editors offer this, but the amount they offer varies. Some offer to edit the whole first chapter for free, some will do the first page, while others will do the first ten pages.

It’ll give you a good idea of whether you’ve found the right editor for you, or whether you need to keep looking.

British English and American English

Many editors are happy to work with either. I write my books in British English, but I’m happy to edit American English. My own editor is American and doesn’t change got to gotten because she knows which is British.

So don’t let an ocean between you and your top choice get in the way! Editors should know the difference, but ask the one you want to be sure.

Signing the Contract

Yes, there’ll likely be a contract. It’s nothing scary–it’s just a confirmation of the services and fees you both agreed on. It’s safety and assurance for both sides.

While it’s not common for people to make you do all the work and then mysteriously disappear without paying a penny, it happens. The contract is just there to make sure they have to pay at the end of it.

This may sound scary, but it shouldn’t be unless you’re planning on cheating your editor once all the work is done.

We do have blacklists, and we talk to each other.


Sometimes, shit happens. Your editor knows this and won’t hold it against you. If something’s come up and you can no longer pay the full deposit or final fee, talk to your editor.

Not all editors are equally flexible, but it’s unlikely they’ll get mad because you had unexpected hospital bills, or because your car has broken down and can’t be fixed.

Contrary to popular belief, editors aren’t monsters. If life gets tough, email yours and see if you can’t work something out.

I’m willing to bet they’ll understand your situation.

In two weeks, we’ll look at how different social media sites can help you build your author platform. In the meantime, you might also like:

How to find an editor | Further reading: Your Book Cover

How to find an editor | Further reading: Resources for Writers

Do you have any other questions about hiring an editor or the process itself? Have you had a bad experience and are unsure about trying again? Would you like a recommendation? Make a tea, and chat with me! 🙂

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

For all of my other musings, click me!

For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.

Gifs came from giphy

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How to Self-Publish Your Novel – Your Book Cover

Welcome to a new series, friends and familiars! The last one was so short the ending completely took me by surprise!

This one will be a little longer–and the timing is perfect, since my FREE guide Self-Publish Your Debut Novel like a Boss will be available soon! Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter if you want in on this freebie 😉

(/self-promotion off)

ANYWAY. Let’s dive into self-publishing your book baby!

How to Self-Publish Your Novel - Your Book Cover

What’s the first thing that will attract potential readers and long-term fans? Your book’s cover. So you need to make sure it’s stunning, draws people in with one glance, AND summarises your book accurately.

Note: I’ve tested all three options below, and therefore speak from experience. I mean my recommendation.

These are your options:

Cover Creators

Self-publishing platforms like CreateSpace and KDP have cover creators. They are free and easy to use–

and I recommend you don’t use them.

While it’s great that they’re simple to use and won’t cost you a penny, your book cover will look like it, too. If you want your book to stand out in a positive way, you don’t want it to look like you put the cover together in five minutes before you had your first coffee.

Your book’s cover needs to be so visually attractive that people can’t help but pick it up. A cover that looks simple (and like you didn’t have time) won’t do that.

A cover created with a cover creator will stand out, but not in the way you want. Once you’ve seen a few you can easily tell the difference.

My experience: I wanted to give it a chance, so I tried it. Your options are limited, and none of the results look professional. I tried a few different things but didn’t end up with anything half-decent, so I moved on.

My books–your books–deserve better than ‘it’ll do.’

How to Self-Publish Your Novel - Your Book Cover | Example: Rise of the Sparrows by Sarina Langer


If you’re skilled with Photoshop or another image editing software, you may want to try designing it yourself! If that’s the route for you, make sure you get lots of feedback before you finalise your cover.

It’s always harder to work on a project you’re as close to as your own book. That’s why editing is so difficult, and it’s why creating your own cover might also be tricky.

Getting feedback from other people–preferably readers who love your genre–ensures you’ve considered every option before calling it done.

Take a look at some of the covers you adore and ask yourself if that’s a standard you can reach by yourself. If you can, go ahead. If you can’t, perhaps you should have someone else do it for you.

You might end up with something you like, but if it doesn’t hit the spot with your focus group of readers and bookworms it won’t do.

My experience: I have an Honours degree in Photography, so I’m not terrible with Photoshop. However, I felt too close to my books to create anything I really loved. The results were okay. But as I said above, ‘okay’ won’t do.

Also, I’m not trained as a cover designer. I know what amazing covers look like, but creating one myself? Completely different story.

I thought I’d be able to create something nice, but it’s not that simple.

Cover designers

There are hundreds thousands of artists who’ve made book cover design their business. Finding the right one for you can take a little while, but is worth your patience and investment.

I suggest you google ‘book cover designer’ and see what comes up. When I was still working on Rise of the Sparrows, I narrowed it down to three designers that way.

I left it for a weekend, and when I came back to it on Monday I was no longer sold on one of my three choices. I emailed my first choice (I loved their examples and testimonials) but they ended up being far more expensive than most cover designers.

I emailed my second choice, and now I’m a loyal customer.

How to Self-Publish Your Novel - Your Book Cover | Example: Darkened Light by Sarina Langer

The key to finding the right cover designer is checking out their covers (their website should have plenty of examples), reading their testimonials, and emailing them.

Ask them what their process is. Ask for a quote, too–it’d be a shame to fall in love with the right designer only to see they’re way out of your price range! Gauge their personality from their responses, and ask yourself whether this is someone you can work with.

Note: Some designers only create paperbacks, while others only do eBook covers. It’s rare, but worth finding out–there should be a section on their website listing their services.

Also, some designers give discounts to returning customers, or to sequels if they created the cover for the first book. Definitely worth finding out!


A lot of new writers don’t want to spend more money than necessary. But consider this:

A beautiful cover means more sales. It’s key to getting your book noticed; therefore, a fantastic cover is necessary.

I’ve sold quite a few copies because my readers loved the covers, and I’ll sell more as I continue to publish books. The ROI is worth it, friends.

The hard truth is that you won’t earn much from actual book sales; however, a stunning cover will help you sell more. More sales mean more readers mean more reviews mean more exposure mean–you get the idea.

My recommendation

I recommend you find a cover designer you like–someone who gets you and your vision for your books–and stick with them.

You can start by emailing Design for Writers. They’re my cover designers, and I can promise you that Andrew and Rebecca are good at this.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, just look at my covers in this post! I do believe they speak for themselves 😉

In two weeks, we’ll look at how to find the right editor for you and your book. In the meantime, you might also like:

Resources for Writers Why I Write my Books in Scrivener

Do you have any questions about your book cover? Or, if you’ve already published (GO YOU), how did you decide on the right option for you? Make a tea and let’s talk book covers!

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

For all of my other musings, click me!

For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.

Gifs came from giphy


Writer’s Burnout – How to Recover When You’ve Burned Out

Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked at what writer’s burnout is and isn’t, and how to recognise your warning signs.

But sometimes, burnout finds you no matter how well you hide. Other times, you think you’re fine only to get a nasty shock and burn out anyway.

So, today, we’ll look at different things you could do to recover!

Burnout - How to Recover When You've Burned Out

Isn’t it odd how easy it is to overlook a bit of self-care? Our everyday lives are hectic and often packed so tight there’s no room for anything else.

I made a self-care spread in my bullet journal back in January. Do you know when I finally filled it in? Five days ago.

It’s almost like we don’t take self-care seriously!

Here are some of the things I do to recover, straight from my bullet journal spread; I hope they help you, too. Feel free to add your own in the comments below, and perhaps we can compile a master list 🙂

Tea, my blanket, and a book.

And maybe the fire, too, if it’s winter*.

One of my favourite ways of recharging is to make a tea, curl up in my blanket**, and read a book. If it’s bad, I might not even read (no brainpower and all that), I might just loaf and watch TV. It’s super cosy, and feels like a real day off.

*or Spring, or Autumn. I freeze fast, okay?
**it has pockets for my feet, guys. Pockets. For my feet.


I love Pinterest, because I never feel like I completely waste my time with it. It’s perfect for visual research, so I can convince myself I’m doing something productive.

If that’s too much stress for my burned out mind, I have a whole folder dedicated to adorable animals. Not productive in the least, but sometimes you need a baby bunny and a baby kitten cuddling each other, right?


Now, bear with me. I know this sounds counter-productive, but I don’t often get a lot of time for my research. I’ve got books full of mythology which I’d love to read, but never get around to.

The only research I have time for is the kind immediately relevant to my WIP. Everything else, no matter how intriguing, has to wait.

That’s why sitting down with a book on mythology for a morning feels like a break to me. It doesn’t help anything I’m currently working on, so it’s not technically work, and I could read about secrets and myths for hours!

Spa Day


I mean, I don’t have the time or the money to dish out on a spa day… But I do have time and money for a face mask I already bought!

And since I can’t do much while the mask drains the oil from my face anyway, it’s the perfect time to meditate.

No need to do anything fancy. Just sit comfortably, close your eyes, and calm your breathing while your mask sets.

It’s quick, it’s cheap, it’s easy, and you’ll feel pampered after!


I’m a huge gamer, so relaxing on the sofa with a controller in my hand and someone else’s fictional world, lore, and characters is one of my favourite ways to relax.

Naturally, I also find it the most difficult. I tend to play every day, so a day playing games isn’t that different to my usual downtime. Also, unless I’ve given myself permission to rest for a day, I tend to feel guilty, like I’m not working hard enough*. However, once I’ve set a day aside as a recovery day, I can enjoy whatever game I’m playing at the time, even if it is during the day.

*you could argue that I’m not since I’m playing games in this example

Comfort Food Everything

You know that movie that never fails to make you smile? That song that never fails to cheer you up? That scenery that always clears your head?

Now’s a good time for all the things that comfort you, friends. And completely guilt-free, too!

Indulge. Spoil yourself. You’ve worked so hard your body said no more–you’ve clearly earned it!

Those are my favourite ways of spending some well-deserved me-time–but I wanted to give you something more. After all, my experiences aren’t going to work for everyone! So, I took to Twitter and asked what other people do to recover. Here are some ideas:



Burnout - How to Recover When You've Burned Out, Tweet Example

Note how often binge-watching TV and reading gets mentioned? Books and Netflix appear to be the answer 😉

If you’d like to follow any of these lovely people, just click their tweet and it’ll take you to their profile.

You might also like:

What is Burnout? Burnout - 5 Warning Signs You're Burning Out

How do YOU recover after you’ve burned out? Do any of the above work for you, too, or do you do something different? Make a tea, plate some cookies, and let’s talk self-care!

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

For all of my other musings, click me!

For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.

Gifs came from giphy


Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 (I’ve (Almost) Done all the Prep Work for You!)

Guess who’s signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo? This girl!

After I failed last November due to two colds and burning out, I wanted to try being a camper this time. And if you’re tempted to sign up, too, you’ll be thrilled to hear I’ve already done the prep work for you!*

*well, sort of

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions

Last year October, I hosted weekly prep sessions for the big monster event. While your goal may not be 50k, being ready still can’t hurt.

If you missed the sessions last year or would like to refresh your memory, here they are again:

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions

Character Creation

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions

World Building

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions


Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions

Reading List and Treats

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions

You can Do This!

Weeks 1-3 come with free downloadable worksheets so you can get plotting right now! They cover all important basics but no more than that to stop you from over-preparing 😉

Whether you want to set rewards or not is up to you. My own goal is 17k, which doesn’t really feel worthy of a reward. If you shoot for 50k, you should definitely treat yourself to something!

Book recommendation

If you’d like to do a bit of outside reading, I strongly recommend this book:

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions Book Recommendation: No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty

It’s short (it claims to be 50k, the length of a NaNoWriMo draft) and written by the father of NaNo, so you know it’s relevant!

Buy it on Amazon | Read my review

What am I writing next month? I’ll be writing the first novella of my novella trilogy set in Midoka and Krymistis (if you’ve read my Relics of Ar’Zac books, you’ll be familiar with those). I’m aiming for 17k, and all three will be DARK, bloody, stabby, and possibly a tiny bit smutty. But no promises on the latter 😉

I wish I could share a bit more, but I haven’t got a title yet. I am, however, officially signed up and have created my own cabin. The CookieBreak Writers Retreat would love to have you if you’re taking part–I promise motivation and encouragement 😉

Since my cabin isn’t public, I don’t think I can attach a link to it. If you’d like to join, let me know what your NaNo username is and I’ll invite you 🙂

Sign Up

You might also enjoy:

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions - Scrivener Recommendation

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions - Resources for Writers


Are you going to camp next month? What will you be working on, and whats your target word count?

Happy plotting, NaNonites! <3

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Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I do not endorse anything on this blog that I didn’t enjoy or believe in– all affiliate posts are recommendations.

All content belongs to the author, Sarina Langer.

For all previous updates on my books’ progress, click me!

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Writer’s Burnout – 5 Warning Signs You’re Burning Out

New on Burning out is the enemy of creatives and self-employed people everywhere. It’s so important you take care of yourself–but that’s difficult if you don’t know if you’re burning out.*

*Apologies if you saw the post I accidentally posted yesterday evening…Yes. Again. Twice in one week this has happened. I need more tea, obviously -.-

5 Warning Signs You're Burning Out

Let’s get real for a moment and talk about something that happened last year.

Last November, I burned out.

It had been a long, stressful year, and then–clever girl that I am–I decided to do NaNo. And then I got a cold (a rare occurrence in itself). And then I got another cold.

So it was no surprise, maybe, when I eventually couldn’t do anymore.

Burnout’s a bitch. When you’re self-employed in any capacity, it’s tempting to work all the time. I get it. I’ve felt guilty for taking tea breaks, a day off, or even just ten minutes at the end of the day, too.

But you know what? You’ve got nothing to apologise for. Your mental health is so, so important, and if you don’t look after it it’ll come back to kick you in the teeth.

I’ve come close to burning out a couple of times over the last two years. Each time, I realised what was happening and put myself on time-out before it escalated. But, for some reason, last November I decided to push through it.

5 Warning Signs You're Burning Out

I was exhausted.

Being more tired than I normally am is a little hard to spot for me. I’m low on iron–always have been–so being a little extra tired? Not that rare.

Last November, however, I should have seen that I had to drag myself everywhere. The day I burned out, I couldn’t get up. I made tea as usual, sat down on our bed briefly, and collapsed like an overcooked vegetable.

I physically had nothing left to give.

On top of that, I didn’t sleep well. I was stressing over word counts, deadlines, and a few things that weren’t really issues. Burning out has a way of exaggerating things.

Writing was hard.

We all get days when we sit down at our WIP, and the words don’t want to come. Usually, I write through it and usually, I get a pretty decent result as far as first drafts go.

Last November, I got nothing.

That should have told me everything, but naturally, I didn’t think I was burning out. I thought it was one of those mornings, you know? So I went downstairs, made another tea, sat down for a second–

and couldn’t get back up. My body literally had nothing left to give.

Now when writing feels harder than usual, I ask myself how I feel otherwise before I continue. If the other warning signs on this page are there, I stop. If they’re not, I carry on.

I was emotional af.

Now, I’m not the most emotionally stable person you’ll ever meet, but last November was bad even by my low standards.

In fact, it was realising that I was burning out that did me in. I literally curled up on the sofa and cried in silence to myself, while my cat meowed her concern at me*.

It was like realising what was happening had given me permission to break down and take a forced break.

And then, because I realised I’d burned out, I felt like a failure because I couldn’t work. How’s that for a vicious cycle?

I didn’t even feel like me.

*See? My familiar does care!

Time off? No chance!

As I said above, being self-employed means we feel the need to work all the time or else we’re not putting in enough work*.

However, the closer you get to burning out the more stressed you’ll feel at the idea of taking just an hour to yourself.

When the idea of taking a day (or less) off to look after yourself becomes inconceivable, you need to take that day off.

Trust me–when it feels the most impossible is when you need it the most.

And what would you prefer? Taking a day for self-care, or burning out and losing several days while you recover?

*I’ve seen an editor shamed on Twitter because she spent a Saturday at the beach–don’t be that person.

Your to-do list is magically getting longer?

Even though I was ticking off goals left and right, I didn’t feel like I was making any progress. Every time I drew a tick, I felt like I’d achieved nothing. Every goal I added felt like ten.

Part of the problem was that I set myself too many weekly goals to begin with. I wanted to be ambitious and try my hardest, but I ended up creating unrealistic expectations for myself.

Knowing what you can achieve in a day, week, and month is key. It’s better to set yourself fewer goals and feel like a rockstar when you hit them early than to set too many and become overwhelmed.

In short, burnout is a combination of pure physical and mental exhaustion.

No one tells you to go home at a certain time when you’re self-employed. No one tells you when your days off are, or when to take your lunch break.

That’s your job now.

Trying to push through the growing exhaustion doesn’t make you more professional, more dedicated, or brave. Taking a day off when you need it does.

Stepping away for a day can feel like the hardest thing, but it’s so important that you do. You’re not winning any medals for working even though you’re burning out.

How much you take off is up to you. If one day is enough that’s great, but if you need more don’t feel bad about taking two days or maybe even a whole week.

Your body will tell you when it needs a break, and when it’s ready to go back to work. Learn to recognise the signs, and do something about it.

Don’t overwork yourself, and remember to take regular breaks like an hour for lunch and weekends. Set a time in the evening after which you don’t do any more.

Learn to rest, and be kind to yourself.

Read more:

Burning out further reading - What is Writer's Burnout/Block?

Burning out further reading - Writing Resources

In two weeks, we’ll look at ways to recover if you’ve burned out. If you’ve pushed yourself past your breaking point, nothing matters as much as your speedy recovery!

How do you know you’re burning out? What are your warning signs? Have you pushed yourself too far before and burned out? Make a tea, get a cookie, and let’s talk self-care!

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

For all of my other musings, click me!

For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.

Gifs came from giphy


Writer’s Burnout – What Is It and What Is It Not?

Welcome to the new series, friends! This time, I want to talk to you about Writer’s Block Burnout, the natural predator of writers and authors everywhere!

The Banner for the informative post on writer's block and burnout.

I crossed out the word ‘block’ in that banner for a reason–I don’t believe in writer’s block. I do believe in writer’s burnout.

Or rather, I don’t believe in the common misunderstanding of what writer’s block is.

Before we dive into this series, allow me to clear the air and explain what I mean by that.

The Collins Dictionary defines Writer’s Block as ‘an inability to think of ideas’, which essentially means you sit down at your screen and can’t write. So far, so easy–but it’s the reason behind this inability where the misunderstanding happens.

Let’s take a look at what writer’s block burnout isn’t.

A supporting banner suggesting that a lack of inspiration is not the same as writer's burnout.

A lack of inspiration is what most writers, especially new ones, mean when they say they have writer’s block. I’ve talked to some people who haven’t written in years* because they haven’t felt inspired enough.

But a lack of inspiration isn’t the same as writer’s block, friends. Inspiration is great–who doesn’t love that sudden exhilarating rush of ideas? It’s like a high!–but it’s far too rare for you to rely on it.

In fact, inspiration can be ever harder to come by the busier we are with other things. Weekly meetings, traffic jams, grocery runs, and school evenings aren’t exactly an environment where your creativity can strive**.

Stress isn’t food for the soul, it’s food for headaches. While some simple everyday activities like doing the dishes might help, anything stressful isn’t likely to make you want to be productive.

With so much halting our creativity, inspiration is ever harder to find. Are you really going to wait for that? And what happens if it finally finds you? Write a page just to lose inspiration again before your next writing session–and then wait another year?

Your book will never get written that way, friends.

*YEARS, friends! YEARS!
**although, it’s useful for coming up with creative ways of killing your characters, so it does have some uses

A supporting banner suggesting that a lack of motivation is not the same as writer's burnout.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve sat down at my screen in the morning, and got nothing*. I probably don’t need to tell you, either, because you’ve all gone through the same thing at one point or one hundred.

It’s easy to give up for the day and try again tomorrow, but that’s not going to get your book written. Try anyway.

Believe me, I’ve written some terrible chapter openings. But I’ve also written amazing good-ish** chapter middles and endings, because I started anyway.

Sometimes, the first words are the hardest. Not just of your novel, but of individual chapters or wherever you pick up again.

In the wise words of Maya Angelou:

A quote by the author Maya Angelou about inspiration and writing.

If you can never find the motivation to add to your draft at all, you need to reconsider whether this is really the right profession for you. If you want to turn this into a serious career, you sit your butt down in that chair and you write, whether you fancy it that morning or not. Harsh, maybe, but there it is.

Why do you want to write a book? Why do you want to publish? If you can’t answer those questions, perhaps that’s answer enough.

*in fact, just this morning I had no idea how to start, but I did and ended up with 1.4k words in half an hour I actually quite liked!
**let’s be honest, we’re talking about a first draft here

A supporting banner suggesting that a lack of time is not the same as writer's burnout.

Our everyday lives are hectic, and filled with chores upon chores. Having enough time to write can be tricky, but if you really want to do this you don’t find the time, friends.

You make it.

I know some writers who work full-time, raise children, and are happily married, and still manage to write a little every day. It doesn’t take black magic to make it happen, just perseverance and commitment. If you have to get up a little earlier or stay up a little later, then that’s what you do.

I recommend tea or coffee, and lots of it.

You’ve got this. Go make that book happen!

But what IS writer’s burnout?

A supporting banner stating that a lack of energy is the definition of writer's burnout.

I said above that, when you sit down and can’t find the motivation to write, you try anyway. But sometimes that gets you nowhere, and when it doesn’t it might be because you’re dangerously close to burning out.

There’s only one thing you can do:


Please, for the love of your health, stop.

You don’t mess with burn-out. I burnt out last November and don’t recommend it.

If you feel like you have lower energy than usual and just the thought of writing makes you more tired, you need to take a break.

It’s when we need it the most that it’s most difficult. But taking a day or two off to look after yourself will be nothing compared to burning out and not being able to do anything–not just writing–for much longer than a day.

Burnout can feel similar to depression. Treat it accordingly.

And this is what writer’s block really is: the inability to write, not because you’re not feeling inspired enough but because you physically and mentally can’t force another word onto the page.

You might say you’re blocked.

I’ll talk more about what happened when I burned out and how to recognise whether you’re close to burning out yourself or not in two weeks.

In the meantime, if you think you might be burning out, don’t wait. Leave a comment below, get in touch with me privately, or just take a day off. The more you force it, the worse the result is going to be.

If you fancy a bit of further reading, also check out this post by Jerry Jenkins, or my post on Nadia L. King’s blog.

Have you struggled with writer’s block burnout in the past? How did you recover?

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

For all of my other musings, click me!

For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.

Gifs came from giphy


The Basics of Blogging – 9 Easy Features to Include on Your Book Blog

Can we just talk about how much fun writing a book blog can be over some cake and tea, please? <3

Confession: my book reviews were kinda a byproduct of this blog, because I had no idea how else to buff it out.

I couldn’t just talk about my own WIP all the time, because it was a mess of a first draft back then. So, I decided to review a few books since I was here anyway and already read a lot*.

While CookieBreak still isn’t a pure book review blog, I do love that side of it. I know a few people who want to start a book blog but have no idea how, so this post is for you**, friends and familiars!

*Well, not a lot, but enough to review–how some of you read ten or more books a month is beyond me!
**Never say I don’t give you anything nice! <3

A supporting banner in the post about how to start a book blog, introducing the section about your 'About Me' page.

The best way to connect with your readers is by showing them who you are, and an About Me page is an easy way to do that!

It doesn’t need to be much–when you first fell in love with books, your favourite genres, and why you’ve created your blog (to share aforementioned love, perhaps?) is plenty!

It’s a good idea to keep it short, anyway. There’s no need to give your followers a chronological list of your life. They’re there for the reviews and to gush about their favourite books–they don’t care which school you attended between 2009 and 2011.

A supporting banner in the post about how to start a book blog, introducing the section about your contact form.

I always had a contact form, but I didn’t think to add a brief bit about whether I’m accepting new books for review or not until later. I wasn’t exactly drowning in a sea of requests, but then reviews aren’t the only thing I do on this blog.

A screenshot example of Sarina Langer's contact page

Despite my weekly book reviews, this isn’t a book review blog. Your blog, however, might be, and if that’s the case adding such a mention can’t hurt!

A supporting banner in the post about how to start a book blog, introducing the section about review guidelines.

I didn’t think to add review guidelines until I’d already been blogging for over a year. As I said, this isn’t technically a book review blog, so it just didn’t occur to me. I eventually wrote a post about how I review books, and this post now doubles as my guidelines.

Review guidelines are an easy way for your followers to learn whether you might accept their book or not. If you don’t accept indie books, it should be in your guidelines. If you don’t accept erotic novels (a lot of reviewers don’t) or only want historic re-tellings, you should mention it.

Whether you’re going to include guidelines somewhere on your blog or not, I recommend you think about what you want from a book and how you decide whether it’s worthy of five stars or barely earns three.

It’s useful when you can’t quite decide how to rate a book, and might even reveal something about your preferences you weren’t aware of!

A supporting banner in the post about how to start a book blog, introducing the section about reviews.

There are hundreds of posts out there telling you how to write the perfect review, but I’d say there’s only two things you need when reviewing any book:

Your unique personality, and honesty*.

Stale reviews are the last things you want, and the best way to avoid them is by being yourself. I’ve already talked about what being professional actually means, and it applies to your reviews, too:

Swear a lot? Laugh a lot? Smile so much people worry about your sanity? There’s nothing wrong with cussing and the occasional smiley in your blog posts. Sometimes you just love a book so. fucking. much!

The whole point of your book blog is to share your opinion on different books with people. Make sure it sounds like you.

If you loved a book that has mostly one and two star reviews, don’t be afraid to say so. If you didn’t enjoy the ARC you’ve been given because it was full of spelling errors or because the characters didn’t develop, you can say that, too.

An example of an unhelpful one-star review from Goodreads.
^ Not useful.

I hate reviewing books I didn’t enjoy at all. The. WORST! Since I don’t have much good to say, I try to make my review constructive.

This is especially important when you’re reviewing an indie book–big, traditionally published authors with hundreds of thousands of reviews won’t think much of it when you say their world building needed work, but an indie author with only two reviews? They might just grow as a writer because of you.

I also recommend you post your own pictures with your reviews, rather than just the cover from Goodreads. It adds more unique personality, and makes it more shareable.

Also, I like to include a quote or three from the book, so my followers get a feel for the author’s writing rather than just my opinion of it. I might not have enjoyed the author’s voice, but perhaps it speaks to you!

*and I guess manners don’t hurt, either, so technically that’s three things

A supporting banner in the post about how to start a book blog, introducing the section about using images in your posts.

One of the first ever reviews for my debut novel had gifs and smileys, and I loved every word of it. Partly because it was a five-star review, but also because the gifs added personality and conveyed beautifully how the reviewer felt at certain parts of the story.

What’s more effective?

I got frustrated because Sue and Terry didn’t kiss.



A gif of a man dressed in a suit flipping over the desk in his cramped office in anger.

The internet is becoming a more and more visual place every day. Content with images tends to do better because people are attracted by pretty pictures, and reviews are a great place for pretty pictures!

A supporting banner in the post about how to start a book blog, introducing the section about honesty.

As I said above, being honest is one of the only two things you need to write a good review. However, don’t be rude.

A book might not work for you, but it’s worked for other people and the author put a lot of work and love and time into it. Saying This book was the worst shit ever. The fuck was the author thinking?!? Don’t read this garbage. is unnecessary.

Not only that, but it’s unhelpful, too. Unfortunately, the characters were flat and unbelievable. By the end of the book, Sue was still arrogant and Pete was still naive af. is far more helpful than writing Couldn’t finish this, the writing was too awful.

Whether something is awful or not is subjective. Your readers won’t gain anything from a review like the example above. Be honest, but give your readers something they can work with, too.

A supporting banner in the post about how to start a book blog, introducing the section about monthly and yearly favourites.

While I don’t pick monthly faves*, I do pick annual favourites every December. I do it in two posts: my favourite reads that year, and my favourite indie reads that year.

Now, I don’t differentiate because I don’t think that indie books deserve to be in the same category**. I differentiate because I love a lot of books, and doing two posts allows me to give more of them a shout-out.

It’s also handy when you’re specifically looking for indie recommendations. I’ve done the research for you, friends. You’re welcome.

*seems pointless given I’m ecstatic when I manage to read four books in one month
**I mean, I’m one of you…

A supporting banner in the post about how to start a book blog, introducing the section about a page sorted by genre.

If the sole/main purpose of your blog is book reviews, I recommend sorting your reviews into categories. Yes, I know it’s not necessary and yes, I know I have a problem*, but categories do make it easier!

Imagine you get to a point where you have a hundred reviews. What if you read in more than one genre? Or your readers are only interested in New Adult fiction? What if you just love organising things?

You’re safe here. I don’t judge. Organise away.


A supporting banner in the post about how to start a book blog, introducing the section about WWW Wednesday.

This is a quick, easy, weekly tag you can join. I participate every second Wednesday, and it’s a nice way to connect with other book bloggers and share what you’re reading at the moment*.

The banner for the weekly blogging and reading challenge WWW Wednesday.

It’s easy. Create a post that answers what you’re reading right now, what you’ve recently finished reading, and what you think you’ll read next, and let others know you’ve joined the game by posting on Sam’s blog.

If you’re not sure how something like this might look, here’s my most recent WWW.

*why, yes, I do have a category for this. how did you guess?

A supporting banner in the post about how to start a book blog, introducing the section about keeping notes.

This is for your personal reference rather than for your blog. When you read more and more books and aim to review all of them, it’s easy to forget a thing or two.

Could you tell me right now what you loved and didn’t love about the book you read three months ago? You probably don’t plan on waiting this long to write your review, but things happen.

I usually write my review within a week of reading a book, but sometimes it has to wait for a few weeks and when it does, having a couple of notes is super useful.

Honestly, it’s the only reason I manage to write half-coherent reviews at all*. It’s a lifesaver, trust me. I have an app on my phone for all my notes, but if you prefer to write them by hand, go ahead!

Whatever is easiest for you when you’re in the middle of an excellent book will do fine.

However, don’t take your note-taking too far. I’ve read some reviews which I swear were working down a checklist. Female lead? Check! Emotionally insecure male side-kick? Check! Overall enjoyment? Erm….

Don’t get so caught up in analysing what works and what doesn’t that you forget to, you know, enjoy the book. What’s the point in reading otherwise? I know many reviewers take it extremely seriously, and that’s fine. But sometimes I wonder if some take it too far.

Just enjoy what you’re reading, and let us know what you loved and didn’t enjoy when you’re done. It needn’t be complicated, friends.

*ahem, most of the time, anyway… my only notes for Equal Rites said ‘LOVE Granny Weatherwax!’ Thanks for nothing, me -.-

And that’s it for another series! Here are the posts again in case you’ve missed something or would like to re-visit a topic:

How Often Should You Blog?

Appearance is Important (well, when you’re a blog, anyway)

Why Interaction with Your Readers is oh-so-Important

What Does ‘Being Professional’ Mean?

The next series begins in two weeks and will be all about writer’s block burnout 😉

Do you have a book blog? Feel free to share a link 😉 What’s a must on your site–and what’s something you thought you needed but discarded?

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

For all of my other musings, click me!

For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.

Gifs came from giphy


The Basics of Blogging – What Does ‘Being Professional’ Actually Mean?

When I was a young teenager, my Mum set up her own business. I helped out in her office one day, and the first thing she told me was that they were known for being professional.

Six years ago*, I was a Photography student. As part of one of my units, we were asked to set up a blog and again, the first thing we were told was to be professional.

I had no idea what that meant either time. Or rather, I thought I did–I just had it very wrong!

I thought being professional meant wearing suits, being calm, and keeping my sentences as short and direct as possible. Just, I had no suit, calm equalled no laughing and no smiling, and keeping my sentences short meant a lack of personality.**

Friends, that’s the opposite of what ‘being professional’ means!

You’ve no doubt heard that being professional is good for your business, and while that’s true it’s important to understand what that actually means for you.

Does it mean you have to wear a suit? Does it mean you can’t smile in your blog posts? Does it mean you’ve fucked up if you swear once?

If your workplace says you need to wear a suit, wear that suit. If there’s no requirement, wear whatever makes you feel most badass.

And don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a long, complicated post. I’ll keep it simple, because it is!

**My definition was way off, clearly

Being professional doesn’t mean your personality can’t shine. There are a lot of blogs out there, friends, and being your wonderful unique self is pretty much the only positive way to stand out.

I bet your favourite blogs ooze personality!

Do you joke a lot? Smile a lot? Swear in creative ways? Make terrible puns? There’s no reason you can’t do those things on your blog!

I smile a lot and most of my posts and comments are littered with smilies and a healthy dose of sarcasm. Nothing on this blog would sound like me if this wasn’t the case.

When I first started blogging, I believed that smilies were a sign I wasn’t being professional, so all of my posts and replies were short, cold, and didn’t sound a tick like me.

Example: Imagine someone leaves this comment: I just found your book and OMG, I loved it so much! The me back at uni thought that ‘Thank you.’ was keeping it professional, and that any more would be unprofessional.

That’s not true.

If the first thing that pops into your head after reading that comment is You’re awesome, thank you so much <3* then that’s what you should put.

People are capable of some pretty intense emotions, and there’s no reason you can’t show them. Unless you’re feeling anger or hatred, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

I’m still worried my sense of humour** might put people off, but I want this blog to represent who I am, and it can’t do that if I’m not honest and hold back.***

Never worry about being yourself, friends. Your unique personality is your USP, so don’t hold back and don’t make any excuses for being you on your blog! Let your personality become part of your brand!

*or even HOLY SHIT, THANK YOU <3 <3 <3
**read: fluent sarcasm
***Besides, you know you’re only here for the sarcasm, anyway. I’ll try to have more of it this year, promise!

Remember what I said about not showing that wide array of strong emotions if it’s anger or hatred?

Being yourself is no excuse to be rude. If someone leaves a comment you don’t like or agree with, you don’t get into an argument. See it as a chance to start a (friendly and polite) discussion, and maybe you’ll even consider some aspects you hadn’t thought of before.

For example, if someone commented on my post about why I write my books in Scrivener with “I tried Scrivener and it’s overpriced junk, don’t know why anyone would buy into it”, the correct response wouldn’t be “Well, you’re obviously doing it wrong.”

Either say “I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. Hope you found something that does! May I ask what you’re using?” or, better yet, say nothing at all.

If you’re not sure you can respond to someone without getting angry, don’t respond.

Your opinion isn’t the only one, friends. People who don’t like what you have to say are just as right as the ones who do.

That’s all being professional comes down to – being respectful of others. You might disagree with some points I’ve raised here or in another post (maybe you do actually think Scrivener is overpriced junk?), and that’s fine. I’m not here to tell you you’re wrong.

Let me give you some examples:

Scenario 1: The book you’ve just published received a 1-star review, saying ‘If I could give this minus stars, I would, it’s that bad.’

The professional response: Don’t respond. You will get negative reviews, it’s part of the job. Suck it up and write another book.

The unpressional response: You insult the reviewer and get into an argument about why they’re wrong and your book is the best thing ever.

Scenario 2: A client you’ve been working with has been difficult for months. Finally, they decide they don’t want you after all, and demand a refund without warning. Right before Christmas.

The professional response: Smile and give them the refund.* Blacklist them, maybe. If you have a blacklist**.

The unprofessional response: Tell them they’ve been a pain to work with anyway, and/or refuse the refund.

Scenario 3: You’ve tweeted about something you thought was pretty awesome, and someone calls your opinion wrong and insults everything you care about.

The professional response: Do nothing. Trolls are common on the internet, and we ignore them.

The unprofessional response: You get into an argument.***

*And don’t mention their name or any specifics if you happen to use them in an example on your blog. Obviously.
**If you happen to have your own business, it can’t hurt to have a list of people you’d rather not work with again. If you can afford to be picky, be picky.
***Unless you’re J. K. Rowling, Queen of Twitter Troll Slaughter.

What does being professional mean to you? Do you define it differently depending on whether you’re at the day job or working from home? Or, if you’ve made the switch to working from home full-time, has that changed your definition?

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

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For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.

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