Stop Telling and Start Showing!

Have a great story? Do this one thing to take your manuscript from a zero to a 10 on the awesomeness scale overnight!

How do they do it? The authors who land one best-seller after another. How do they write in a way that sucks people into their story, and sends books flying off the shelves?

Here’s how.

This must be one of the best “tips for writers” I’ve read in a long time. It’s from the blog Writers Write, and it breaks down a trap many of us authors fall into time and time again.

It’s about showing the reader what is happening as opposed to telling the reader.

Just read their before and after example and you’ll immediately see how this will change how you write forever.

Click here to learn How To Avoid ‘Telling’ Words. Continue reading


Book Reviews: A Terrifying Process

nail biting terrified

Last Friday, it came.

Staring me down from its place in my inbox was the subject line:

Your review is ready to download.

The review of which I speak is the Kirkus review of my novelette, The Tale of Nottingswood.

kirkus review

Now, the internationally respected Kirkus, who proclaim themselves as “The World’s Toughest Critics,” is a big deal–especially for those of us who self-publish. A great Kirkus review means greater exposure and marketing possibilities, so you can imagine the jet-pack-wearing-butterflies in my stomach when, after 2 months of waiting, my review finally came in.

Even though Kirkus is a “pay-to-play” service, a glowing review is not a guarantee. What is guaranteed is an honest review, leaving the choice to publish the review up to the author.

But why was I scared?

  • Am I that neurotic? (Well, yes, but that’s beside the point.)
  • What if my book is not as good as I think it is?
  • What if the reviewer is not a good match for my genre?
  • What if they just don’t “get it?”
  • What if they find a typo?
  • What if, what if, what if, what if?!?!

Your book is your baby, so it’s natural to take criticism personally–especially when that criticism is coming from an organization who has been reviewing books for over 80 years!

What does a man do when he’s afraid to do something? That’s right. He calls his wife to do it for him.

ME: Hey, sweetie? The Kirkus review came in. I need you to read it for me, then call me back.


A few minutes later.


ME: Yeah?


That’s not a good start.

WIFE: …well, don’t they have to give you a good review because you paid for it?

Crap. A bad review.

ME: No. Why?

WIFE: Wow, then they really liked your book!

Excerpt from Kirkus Reviews’ review of The Tale of Nottingswood (emphasis added):

Young’s whimsical narrative is superb. He spins a fairy tale written almost exclusively in verse that flows beautifully throughout his short tale…. The fairy-tale elements, such as magical creatures and an enchanted cloak, will appeal to a young audience, while the underlying moral questions of good and evil, the privilege of free will, and the value of taking risks will intrigue readers of all ages. Grace’s cleverly drawn illustrations vivify the adventure, and those of the evil Ms. Grouse are particularly fun. While Young’s work feels inspired by Dr. Seuss and C.S. Lewis, he creates a story that is uniquely his own.

A touching fable that speaks to readers of all ages.Kirkus Reviews

The Tale of Nottingswood cover JR YoungA Novelette by JR Young. Experience the dystopian upside-down town of Nottingswood. Visit and read the first 28 pages of JR’s latest novelette, The Tale of Nottingswood, for free. Available now in print. Get the eBook on iBooks, NookKobo, and all other formats, including Kindle, right here.

Don’t forget to follow JR on Facebook.

Click here to join JR on Goodreads for Q&A’s, quotes and more. Read his interview with Smashwords here.

I Need Therapy | Writer’s A.D.D.

disorganized writing

I hate it.

I hate it I hate it I hate it.

“Do you need this?”

…she asks, referring to the random sticky notes found throughout our bedroom with half-scratched notes for half-baked ideas for new creative projects.

“What about all these?”

…she asks again. This time she points to stacks of yellow legal pads filled with story ideas and marketing strategies for unfinished books. 

If you’re anything like me, you suffer from what I call: Writer’s A.D.D.

How many of you have a story you’ve started, but, for one reason or another–you’ve quit?

Did you get bored with writing that book, too busy; did it get too hard; did you lose faith, or did you cheat on it with a more attractive story line, only to find it was just like all the rest?

No matter what the reason, I have a solution that may help. Continue reading

How To Find Time To Write

For those who love to put language on paper–or on screens–“how to find time to write” may be the most difficult question to answer; perhaps even more difficult than calculating the origins of the universe itself.

But I have done it. I have broken the code.

So, allow me to break the news to you softly:

You’ll never find time. There isn’t any to find. Sorry, Charlie.

crying meme you hurt my feelings

When you approach writing from the perspective of finding time, you’ll never find it. Instead, you’ll find frustration.

Serious writers don’t find time; they make time.

You don’t have time to write?

Well, you may not have the flexibility, or the resources, like many mainstream authors to hole yourself up at a beach house, a friends house, a cabin–minimizing all distractions–for a week to a month…,

…but there are things you can do. Continue reading

For the Writer: How To Cope When Frustration Sets In

A few days ago, I asked an author friend of mine about the posts he likes to read. Aside from How To Properly Articulate Ghetto Slang, he gave me the following topics:

I’m going to dedicate a post to each topic.

Last week, I addressed How to network with other writers.

Today we’ll discuss:

How To Not Get Down When Things Are Frustrating Continue reading

iBook, Nook, and Kobo Pre-Sale Countdown

Only five more days until The Tale of Nottingswood eBook edition is released.

That means you can order it on iBooks, Nook, and Kobo for only $0.99.

Why the discount?

Consider it a reward for helping us get your favorite novelette into the hands of more people just like you.

Here’s why it helps: Continue reading

DRM (Digital Rights Management) Is Bad For Business

For those of you deciding whether or not to opt into applying DRM, or Digital Rights Management, to your eBook, you may want to see this.

I just took a look at the July 2014 Author Earnings Report put out by There is one section of the report that astonished me, and I had to share.

Below is only an excerpt. The entire report can be read here.

DRM – A Bad Idea Continue reading