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Karole Cozzo, Author of THE GAME CAN’T LOVE YOU BACK, Tells Us 10 Things She Wished Someone Had Told Her About Being an Author (with a giveaway!)

Ten things I wish someone had told me about being an author…

10) There are times you will be a slave to word count. Especially if you are unendingly wordy like I am! Especially if you write YA or MG, sub-genres where the word counts are particularly restricted. You may suffer bouts of anxiety as you watch the word count creep up, running calculations to determine where the number you’re likely to reach by the time you type “the end.” You may long for the days of writing fifty-plus chapter fanfics with nary an editor telling you to keep it in check. But. There’s something to be said for pushing yourself to accomplish more with less. To infuse every sentence with meaning. To “trim the fat.” To kill your darlings, in the name of a more polished, efficient, more riveting story. It’s difficult, but there are very few instances that I’ve ended up truly missing what I’ve cut.

9) You will realize using the word “stet” is the epitome of cool. Trust me on this. The first time I received copy edits to review, I had to google what the editors were talking about when they inquired “change or stet?” (FYI: let it stand, used as an instruction on a printed proof to indicate that a correction or alteration should be ignored) It didn’t take long before I was confidently typing “stet for voice” and feeling like the biggest literary badass on the planet.

8) Just because you’re a published author, you can’t necessarily pull off writing the stories or characters that you want to. It took me a little while to figure this one out, and a bit longer to accept it. But at the end of the day, a great idea doesn’t necessarily translate into a great story… written by me. Maybe, from an industry-standpoint, it doesn’t behoove me to switch to a different genre at this point in my career. Maybe, my idea’s top-notch, but my style doesn’t guarantee a successful execution of my ideas. Maybe, even with a knowledgeable crew of sensitivity readers on board, my life experiences are too different from my character’s to allow me to successfully convey his or her story. For any of these reasons, sometimes stories never make it from your mind to the page. And that’s okay. There will be more, stories that will work for you, stories that will see the light of day.

7) Every reader counts. It’s hard to fill seats and it’s hard to sell books. There are always going to be more well-known authors out there, and there will always be a slew of books releasing each season. I’ve attended author events where the authors have outnumbered the attendees, where I’ve spent more on gas money getting there than I’ve recouped in book sales. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. If one reader shows up, if one person takes the time to meet you in person and tell you what they’ve enjoyed about your story, it’s worth it and you’ve succeeded. You’ve moved someone. It’s quality, not quantity, and every single person who’s spent time with your words and appreciated them, to me, is invaluable.

6) Your fellow authors are your friends, not your competition. If you’d told me this back in the day, I’d probably have given you a wry smile and a “suuure.” Now, I wholeheartedly believe this. There is no one – no one – who will “get it” – the struggles, the heartbreak, the frustrations, the impatience – the way your fellow authors will. They will be your cheerleaders, your sounding boards, your own private pro-bono marketing team. They will be one of the treasured things you take away from this game.

5) You will never perfect your craft. I swear I’ve written about five blog posts to the tune of “it’s an art; not a science.” Usually after I’ve botched some manuscript big time or gotten a delicately worded email about why what I’ve come up with just isn’t working. You learn a thing or two as you go – about what works, the technical aspects of novel writing, how to craft a strong beginning and multi-dimensional side characters – but you will never get your hands on the secret formula. It doesn’t exist.

4) It’s quite possible that no experience will ever trump “the call.” Or the email, as was the case for me. Listen, I have experienced dozens of wonderful, almost too good to be true moments since receiving the call – receiving my first pass pages and seeing my story actually look like a book, taking my first ARC out of the envelope, holding my first hard-bound book in my hands. Each of these is phenomenal; don’t get me wrong. But nothing tops that moment when you realize, for the first time ever, after years of hoping and dreaming, that someone is actually going to print your book. When it comes to you, take pictures, journal it, pop the champers, and savor every last second. Because it’s life on steroids, and you need to stop whatever you’re doing to soak it all in.

3) You will bite your tongue. A lot. But… but… Gah! So many times you want to say “but.” To the reviewer who missed the point, to the person who DNF because they couldn’t stand your character before she underwent the amazing character development to come, to the keyboard warrior on twitter tearing you a new one. You can’t. It’s unprofessional and bad manners. You have to bite your tongue and you have to live with it. You will wait for your skin to thicken (you’ll wait a WHILE) and remind yourself you can’t win them all. And… it may never get particularly easy. But you’ll do it.

2) It never gets old. I used to worry about this. That I would run out of stories, that writing books would lose its magic, that once I accomplished publication, it might lose some of its luster. It doesn’t. It never gets old. I love every book as much as the one before it; they each hold a special spot in my heart the way children do. The magic never fades.

1) At the end of the day, you’ll do it ‘for the love of the game.’ Next week, I’ll have four books out and a few translations here and there around the world. I’m not rich. I can’t quit my dayjob. There are no movie deals I’m waiting to announce. And none of these realities have ever made me think, not even for a second, that I’d like to walk away from writing. Give me the bad reviews. Give me the returns column on my royally statement. Give me the rejected manuscripts. Pile it up, pour it on, take your best shot. You’ll never kill the joy of writing for me. It’s intrinsic; it’s what makes you a writer long after you’ve become a published author. And really, nothing can take that away.


Karole Cozzo author photo

Author Bio:

Karole lives outside of Philadelphia, PA with her loving husband, exuberant little girl, and smiley little boy. She adores YA Romance, because it would be awesome if life in general had a requisite feel-good happy ending rule. Vices include obscene Haribo gummy consumption, addiction to Starbucks NF vanilla lattes, and tendency to hoard Bath and Body Works 3-wick candles.

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The Game Can't Love You Back cover

The Game Can’t Love You Back
Karole Cozzo
(Swoon Reads)
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Eve is used to being the odd woman out. As the only girl on her school’s baseball team, she knows exactly how to put sweaty, macho baseball players in their place, and she’s focused on one thing and one thing only—being the best pitcher she can be.

But when a freak accident forces her high school to be absorbed by the neighboring town, Eve has to contend with a new group of guys who aren’t used to having a woman on their team. And the new team’s star pitcher, Jamie, has no interest in being ousted from his throne. He can’t afford to give up his starting slot to a new pitcher—even worse, to a girl.

As the competition between Jamie and Eve starts to heat up, so does their attraction to each other. Can they keep their heads in the game, or will they end up getting played?

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