I’ve written more than 15 young adult fantasy-romance novels. Recently, the lovely folks at Writers And Authors asked for my top five tips for new writers. Here goes!

FIVE. Read In Your Genre. A lot.

You may have heard this before, but it’s worth saying again. And again. And again. Now one spin I’ll add here is to invest time in finding books that are unusual: a strong voice, a different style of world building, you get the idea. What you put into your head is what comes out of it. If you’re reading the same things as everyone else, you’ll sound like everyone else. Which if that’s your goal, go you! If not, be aware and selective about what you choose to finish.

FOUR. Be Prepared to Suck.

Think of your favorite author. That person you idolize? When the started writing, they sucked. I sucked hard for ages. It takes a long time to build your chops and voice. That’s an okay part of the process, as is tuning out the naysayers who tell you that your work isn’t good enough.

THREE. Find Someone To Kick Your Literary Ass.

This can be an advanced degree. Or a writing group. You just need someone who is going to give you honest feedback without stifling your voice. You can do it!

TWO. Accept Certain Criticism As A Gift.

After 15 books, I’ve gotten a little more balanced about so-called bad reviews. Here’s my rule: if someone gives you one or two stars, then they aren’t your reader and never will be. Buh-bye! That said, a three star review with some negative feedback is gold. This is someone who wanted to love what you did but had some pointers. Accept that for the gift it is.

ONE. Never Forget That You Are Awesome.

Let’s be honest. Writers are the BEST. We create stories that open minds and drive beauty, even though we’re trapped in a world that values piling up the most stuff before you die. It can’t be said enough…

Never forget that you are awesome.