Saturday, May 31, 2014

Buy signed books, art, and tons of local goodies at The Austin Flea on 6/14

I'm thrilled to announce that I'll be selling signed copies of Destruction and The Charge at the Austin Flea, a trendy flea market event on South Congress. 

Join the Facebook event here:

You can find me at the booth for Sun of a Beach, my very talented artist cousin. Here is some of his work:

Come visit us and support lots of great local artists and craftsmen of all varieties! To thank you for your help in spreading the word, I'm giving away one signed copy of Destruction and The Charge. You must pick up your prize at the Austin Flea on 6/14.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Why I Read My Book's Reviews

I am excited to have recently reached 50 reviews for Destruction! That may seem like small potatoes to some, but it's a big deal to me. And, I'll tell you, I read them all. I have occasionally seen authors advise other authors not to read reviews of their books, and obviously everyone has the right to do what makes sense for them. However, I have chosen to read my least for now, maybe one day I'll have too many to read (a girl can dream).

Here's why:

It's like having tons of critique partners and beta readers. Yes, your reviewers may not all be as helpful or considerate as your actual critique partners, but most of them are well-read and knowledgable. I've learned some important things from my reviews.

You learn what your readers want. I believe that you should write the story for your characters, not for your fans, but let's be serious, it's helpful to know what your fans do and don't like to help you shape future books.

You learn who your readers are. You might see trends in the types of people who like your book which can be useful for marketing.

It takes away the fear of the unknown. Every time I see that I have a new review I feel nervous, but the vast majority of the time, I am the most anxious before I read the review. I can't imagine a mountain of unread reviews looming over me all the time.

It prepares you for future criticism. If you wish to continue writing books, you're going to continue getting reviews. The most reviews you read, the easier it gets. You also learn more about your own strengths and weakness, so there will be less surprises to come.

You learn about the nature of reviews. If you read enough reviews, you'll find that the same thing that one person loved, another person hated. Reviews are likely to have common themes, but they will also contradict, which reminds you that they are subjective.

It feels awesome. Okay, obviously not all the time. Sometimes it feels horrible. But, I wouldn't want to miss out on reading those shining 5 star reviews!

Of course, even though reading reviews can be helpful, I understand that it can be painful. In how many professions do your pour your soul out for people to rate on a scale from 1-5? It's enough to drive anyone mad. Here are my suggestions for how to manage negative reviews:
  • Write a good book. I know that's so obvious that it's not very helpful, but it is important. I'm not saying you have to write Pulitzer quality work, but never publish anything that you're not comfortable having thousands of people read and review...I mean, that's the goal right?
  • Be confident. Every author has self-doubts, but the more you have, the harder it will be to read reviews. That's what hurts the most, hearing someone else say what we fear about ourselves. Confidence isn't always easy to obtain, but be proud of your work! Know why it's awesome! Even if you're your biggest critic, make sure you're also your biggest fan.
  • Be self-aware. Confidence isn't just about blindly thinking you're great. Confidence is knowing your strengths and weaknesses and still thinking you're great. Understand what people might not like about your book, as it's easier to handle if you expect it.
  • Have some perspective. I'll be honest, I'm a big picture person. As long as I have a good star rating, an individual review won't get me down too much. I know not everyone is like that...but it helps to try! If a review gets you down, look at those pretty gold stars. 
  • See negative reviews as a good thing. Seriously! They can be a good thing. Negative reviews mean people are taking you seriously as an author. It means people besides your mom and BFF are reading your book. Find one successful author that doesn't have negative reviews, I dare you.
  • Understand that reviewers are people. People are a mess. They're biased by their own experiences. Sometimes they are...dare I say...simply wrong, stupid, or mean. On the whole, reviewers are intelligent people with helpful advice, but keep in mind that even the most helpful, intelligent people may not always be right.
  • Know your own issues. Your reviewers are a mess, and guess what, so are you. Some things reviewers might say could get under your skin for personal reasons, like if you create a character like yourself or someone you love and a reviewer hates that character. For a great example of this, check out Saving Mr. Banks. I don't need to tell you this, but don't turn down a movie contract from Walt Disney because you have daddy issues.
Another interesting thing I noticed about reviews is that people rate books very differently. I can get a five star review that has important notes of criticism, and a three star review that doesn't say anything negative. There is no agreed upon standardized definition of what stars mean, however, as an author here is a basic guide for how to read and react to different star ratings.

5 stars - Hooray! Read on and bask in your awesomeness. However, don't just bask, read carefully. These are your most enthusiastic fans and the ones most likely to buy your future books. Their opinions are very important!

4 stars - Hooray again! 4 star reviews are still considered to be quite favorable, and often these will also be the most useful reads. Clearly this person understands and appreciates your book, so their criticisms are more likely to be accurate than someone who just trashes it. Read these carefully, and take their criticisms seriously.

3 stars - Meh. 3 star reviews are generally considered to be unfavorable, but they didn't hate it. In my opinion, these might be some of the toughest reads. 3 star reviewers didn't hate it so much that they can be dismissed, and they are likely more reasonable people than 1 star reviewers. Their criticism should be considered.

2 stars - These reviews are going to be pretty negative. Read them with caution. They may have some useful points, but they also may be people who just aren't meant to like your book. Not everyone will, no big deal.

1 star - Congratulations! Only serious authors get 1 star reviews. You've had enough people read your book that you finally found someone who truly hated it. Every successful author eventually does. IMHO, unless you have lots of 1 star reviews that show a trend, don't take 1 star reviews seriously. As a consumer, I don't take 1 star reviews seriously unless there are a lot of them. Most of the time I judge the reviewer more than the product. When it comes to books, I marvel at why people actually take the time to read books they know they are going to hate. If I was going to give a book a one star review, I would probably know I hated it by the end of the blurb and first page and would never buy it in the first place. Seriously...who has time to read and review books they hate? In any case, enjoy the fact that you're being taken seriously enough to be hated and then let it go.

On a related note, if you choose to read your reviews, don't just sit at your computer all day refreshing your book's Amazon page (except on your release day...that's normal ;) ), sign up for free Rank Obsession e-mail alerts. That way you get an e-mail when you get a new review on Amazon. It saves me a lot of stress and neurotic page refreshing.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Message About Destruction...Disturbing? Yes. Realistic? Yes. #YesAllWomen

It's very difficult to write this post without spoilers for Destruction. Let me just say, if you have read it, you know what I'm referring to. If not, it's good info anyway.

Many readers have strong opinions about some of the events in the novel. And, that's a good thing. If you didn't, then either you're dead inside or I'm a bad writer. Like any polite author, I would never argue with a reader about their opinions, however, I think it's important to understand that however you feel about what happened, it's realistic.

Here are the facts...

Although this is the real world we live in, I feel confident that things can get better. In many ways, I think that awareness has already improved. I plan on having a frank discussion with my children about what consent really means and what is and is not okay.

You can help by spreading the word. Rape is common, and justice is not. Don't let anyone believe otherwise.

Review of The Book of Bart by Ryan Hill

It is my pleasure to share my review of The Book of Bart, Ryan Hill's debut novel. Bartholomew is an an ancient demon who loves to wear suits, smoke cigarettes, and deflower virgins. He hates to be called Bart. So, I'll call him Bart for the rest of this review just to antagonize him.

The Devil sends Bart on a very annoying task. He is supposed to work with a sickeningly sweet angel-in-training on a mission from Heaven to recover the Shard of Gabriel before it's taken by the Black Cloud of Death. If he fails, he'll be sent to the 9th Circle of Hell to hang out with Hitler, who is a horrible roommate. Naturally, Bart and Samantha (the angel) must head to a private high school to complete their mission, because high schools are hot-beds for demon activity. Now, the ancient demon must work with an angel AND deal with high school drama.

The best word for this book is "fun". It's fast-paced, entertaining, irreverent, and very funny. Hill has a fantastic and clever voice as an author. If you're familiar with other Curiosity Quills authors, I would say that this book has the hilarious irreverence of The Kulture Vultures & the Plot to Steal the Universe by William Vitka and the hilarious ridiculousness of Death, the Devil, and The Goldfish by Andrew Buckley. 

I would certainly call this "edgy" YA. If you don't have a good sense of humor, don't understand satire, or are easily offended, you'll probably be well...offended. I think it might actually be better suited for adults, but sophisticated teens would probably enjoy it. However, I wouldn't recommend that adults hand this out to kids without reading it first.

I look forward to see what Ryan Hill comes up with next!

It's still 99 cents, but probably won't be for long! So go buy it now! Bartholomew commands you.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The BOOK OF BART is available now!

Congratulations to Ryan Hill! His debut young adult paranormal novel, THE BOOK OF BART, has been unleashed upon the world!

I'll be reviewing this book on the blog next Monday, but for now I'll just say that this book is a lot of fun. Great voice. Clever characters. All around, an engaging read.

Join us on Facebook for an all day celebration including fun, fellowship, a live Q&A with Bart himself, and FREE STUFF from awesome authors, like Sharon Bayliss (that's me) and A.K. Morgen!

Click here to join in the hijinks! click your copy now because THE BOOK OF BART will only be 99 cents from now until Monday.

Find Bart on:

Only one thing is so powerful, so dangerous that Heaven and Hell must work together to find it: the Shard of Gabriel.

With a mysterious Black Cloud of Death hot on the shard’s trail, a desperate Heaven enlists the help of Bart, a demon who knows more about the shard than almost anyone. Six years ago, he had it in his hands. If only he’d used it before his coup to overthrow the devil failed. Now, he’s been sprung from his eternal punishment to help Samantha, an angel in training, recover the shard before the Black Cloud of Death finds it.

If Bartholomew wants to succeed, he’ll have to fight the temptation to betray Samantha and the allure of the shard. After an existence full of evil, the only way Bart can get right with Hell is to be good.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Enter the BAD Query Contest #bestbadquery

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There are lots of query contests out there looking for GOOD queries, but I'm offering something different. On June 10th, I'll be looking for the worst of the worst.

Here is how it will work:

1) On June 10th, write the worst query you can and post it on your blog.

2) Hop around to the other blogs and take in all the horribleness.

3) On 6/10-6/13, visit to vote for your favorite BAD query.

The query with the most votes will win a $25 Amazon gift card and the glory of knowing you're the worst of the worst.

The idea is to write a fictional query highlighting bad query qualities, not to showcase actual bad queries! The contest is an opportunity to have fun, make each other laugh, and get all the bad query writing out of our system. Anyone who pokes fun at an actual author or book will be disqualified.

Sign up here!

Here are some bad query writing tips to get you started:

Monday, May 19, 2014


This Hop is brought to you by


GENRES: Epic fantasy, Paranorma, Romance, YA
Tour Link:  March Book Frenzy
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