What I Did Right & What I Did Wrong

Today we have a quest post and giveaway announcement from bestselling author Beth Revis. Beth is known for her fiction (think: Across the Universe, The Body Electric), but now she's sharing her writing and publishing knowledge with writers in a series of books, starting with Paper Hearts, Volume 1. To celebrate the release of the first volume, Beth has a fantastic giveaway - make sure to scroll to the bottom of the post to enter! 

Meet Beth Revis

Beth Revis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Across the Universe trilogy, as well as The Body Electric, Paper Hearts, and the forthcoming A World Without You. She lives in the Appalachian mountains with her boys: one husband, one son, and two very large dogs. 

You can find out more on Facebook, Twitter, or online. If you never want to miss a thing and also get exclusive insider opportunities, sign up for her newsletter.

Hint: You can win a journal with this cover! Scroll to the bottom of this post for details.

Hint: You can win a journal with this cover! Scroll to the bottom of this post for details.

DON'T MISS OUT ON THE GIVEAWAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST! Also, all orders of Paper Hearts made before November 15 from Malaprops will come with a special gift--more details below! 

I wrote Paper Hearts for the writer I used to be. The questions I used to have plagued me when I was starting this career path. How do I get to the end? What's the proper way to structure a novel--is there even a proper way? How do I make my book stand out from all the other ones on sub?

Now, fifteen years, eleven unpublished books, three New York Times bestsellers, one self published book, and countless hours working on craft and working with other professionals, I think I finally have the answers that I needed way back then.

Unfortunately, I can't travel back in time.

But what I can do is try to help others. I've been compiling articles on the things I've learned about writing, publishing, and marketing for years, first informally on blog posts, then more collectively on Wattpad. After hitting 100000 reads, I realized that I should take Paper Hearts more seriously...and that I had not one book, but three.

Fully revised and expanded, the Paper Hearts series will feature three volumes, one each on writing, publishing, and marketing. Paper Hearts, Volume 1: Some Writing Advice was released November 1st, and the other two will be released in December and January.

Preorder Paper Hearts now from: Independent Bookstore ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~  Kobo ~ Smashwords

Your enemy is the blank page. When it comes to writing, there's no wrong way to get words on paper. But it's not always easy to make the ink flow. Paper Hearts: Some Writing Advice won't make writing any simpler, but it may help spark your imagination and get your hands back on the keyboard.

Practical Advice Meets Real Experience

With information that takes you from common mistakes in grammar to detailed charts on story structure, Paper Hearts describes:

  • How to Develop Character, Plot, and World
  • What Common Advice You Should Ignore
  • What Advice Actually Helps
  • How to Develop a Novel
  • The Basics of Grammar, Style, and Tone 
  • Four Practical Methods of Charting Story Structure
  • How to Get Critiques and Revise Your Novel
  • How to Deal with Failure
  • And much more!

BONUS! More than 25 "What to do if" scenarios to help writers navigate problems in writing from a New York Times Bestselling author who's written more than 2 million words of fiction.

If you pre-order the print copy from my local indie bookstore, Malaprops, you'll also get a chapbook of the best writing advice from 12 beloved and bestselling YA authors included in your order for free! Learn more about how to purchase your copy of Paper Hearts.


As I wrote in my biography, I wrote ten novels over the course of ten years before I wrote Across The Universe, the book that started my career as an author and changed my life. Those ten original novels were…not good. I had to learn how to write, and then I had to learn how to edit and rewrite. And I’m a slow study.

But by the time I got to my tenth novel—the one before Across The Universe—I figured I’d learned enough. I’d been writing professionally for a decade. I’d joined SCBWI. I’d been to conferences, paid for critiques, did everything right. And by God, I was going to get published.

The first thing I did was study the market. I was well read in the genre. I knew what sold. I needed a love triangle. I needed magic. Not vampires—I decided to write witches. And it’s always good to set the story in school, right? Everything I did with that novel was calculated. I needed a mythical creature—not dragons, they were overdone. A chimera, then. I was clever.

Too clever.

That book was the book I wrote with the intent of doing everything right—and the result was that I did it all wrong. That book had no soul. I made the whole thing in an effort to write to the market, to make the perfect book—the book that would sell millions. I did everything right. And that was the worst possible thing I could have done.

After that, I didn’t care at all about whether the book I was writing next was right or wrong. I only wanted to write the thing that I cared about writing. It was weird. I wrote in first person present—a point of view and tense structure I’d never written before. That was weird too. And in the end, I realized that I had zero chance of selling this book. There was no market for a weird sci fi. By all accounts and purposes—by my own careful analysis of the market—I’d done everything wrong.

And that ended up being the best possible thing I could do.

That was the book that sold. That was the story that changed my life.

Make mistakes. Do the things you fear. Don’t try to be like everyone else. Care more about the story than the market. Be true to yourself.

Enter the Paper Hearts giveaway!

Help spread the word, and you could win either of these prizes:

  1. A signed copy of Paper Hearts, a 'Write. Edit. Repeat' notebook (made by Hafsah Faizal of Icey Designs), and a Paper Hearts swag pack
  2. 10 ebook copies of Paper Hearts, Volume 1

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Good luck!