The Characters, The Author, The sweeping Oregon settings. Get the latest scoop on my 2021 contemporary romance now at:

 The Krafty Author

2021: A New Novel Emerges

"The truth is, a divorce is devastating for everyone. It affects the two people getting divorced, the families who are forced to separate because of them, and especially the children of the divorcees. Nothing ever looks or feels the same. Your world is suddenly a new dimension, unfamiliar and unnerving. You can hope to create a new and peaceful norm but sometimes people don't allow that to happen. Sometimes it's going to get more toxic before it gets better, and sometimes it's going to stay toxic and you have to make the extremely painful decision to step out all together. 

Elle's story starts in the aftermath of her parents divorce and the resurfacing of an old love interest that she swears she will never go back to. It's a story about reconnecting with the past and re-examining events in order to understand, learn, and move forward. It's about the process of forgiving what seems unforgivable, not for the sake of the other person but the sake of ourselves. It's about (cringe) accepting when you are wrong.

This book made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me remember why I am still, through all hell and fire, an author... and always will be." 

- Sarah Kraft (Roozenboom) talking about her upcoming novel, FIVE YEARS LATER.

Authors: AKA Nut-Jobs With Pens

A woman once said to me, "Oh, wow! You're an author? What's it like?" 

"Hell," I replied while nodding. "Pure, unadulterated hell."
The woman's gleaming, wide eyes instantly dulled and returned to a normal size. I could tell in that moment that my joking (partial joking) had not only embarrassed her, but destroyed any tiny writing dream she might've had (oops). 
"Oh." The word was a whisper off her lips.
We moved onto a different subject.

Sometimes, I look back on moments like this one. It wasn't the first encounter of its kind, and as hard as I try to tell myself I will stop joking around about writing and authorship I never quite make it. Probably because there is some truth in my joking. 

There is no yellow brick road to the land of Publishing. It's more like a pothole-filled off-road that goes on much longer than you anticipated and is not for the faint of heart. If and when you reach the end, you might find that the glittering city of fame and fortune you were expecting is more like a casino that randomly spits fame and fortune at you.

Don't get me wrong; authorhood does have good moments. But you have to fight for them. You have to go in with your armor on and be ready to combat the criticism, demands, and rejection that true authors face every day. 

Your Baby... I mean Book

If you're an author like me, then your books are your babies. They are your own creation brought into this world with blood, sweat, tears and more love than you can remember ever having for an object. 

The year I wrote MARKINGS was the year I went through a horrible breakup. Heartbreak was a shocking and unfamiliar concept for me, as I had never had a family member or friend that forced me to experience it. Riddled with sorrow and intense bouts of anger, I learned quickly that if I didn't get control of my emotions they were going to rule my life. 

I was able to channel my feelings into novel writing. What started as a hobby quickly grew into my high school senior project which then evolved into a published work. MARKINGS was released nationwide 5 years after the original first copy was finished. A few months after its release, the ebook went free on Amazon Kindle for 5 days. During that time, it was in the top five most downloaded novels in the "epic/adventure" category and in "teen".  

This truly was a good moment in the life of an author. Actually, it's probably one of the best author moments that I have had. But it took a lot to get to where I am. 

Every major literary agency and publishing company in the US vetoed my novel. Even the little shit-ass micro agencies with their poorly-rated works vetoed it. MARKINGS faced over 200 rejections before it found a home. Meanwhile, I went through 5 tubs of ice cream, 4 boxes of tissue, 3 full rewrites, and an uncountable amount of coffee and cuss words before its acceptance. And notice that last word acceptance not publication. Yes, that's right: once it's in the publisher's hands you get to go pull your hair out 3 more times and go through 5 more tubs of ice cream to numb the pain, because now you have to edit the book professionally and to the world's standards - not just your own. 

In the long run, your baby isn't going to look the way it once did and like all parents/creators you have to accept this. You have to help the book grow and change and become the best it can be.

Traditional Publishing Vs. Self-Publishing

Convincing a publisher to take on your work is like entering a pie contest and praying to God they don't hate your recipe. You are up against a zillion other competitors and you will have to be unique, liked, and marketable if you have any chance at winning the grand prize. One of my favorite English teachers, who had dabbled in publishing, told me that only 1 out of 10,000 book submissions gets offered a publishing contract (I may have liked him a little less after hearing this).

The year that I started looking for a publisher was the year Amazon Kindle really hit the marketplace. This, of course, caused panic throughout the entire publishing industry because suddenly paperbacks and hardcovers weren't the shining stars of the book world. Ebooks had surpassed them.

Ebooks changed how everyone bought and read books. I do believe the uproar they caused was why it took so long for MARKINGS to find a home. Ebooks were cheap and easily accessed. You didn't have to go out into the world to buy one - you could download one while sitting at home in your underwear eating popcorn (very appealing to someone like me who dislikes being out in public, though I confess I still do not own a Kindle or NOOK). You also had a mass variety to pick from, as there are more ebooks in the world than paperbacks or hardcovers. 

One of the greatest challenges - as well as one of the greatest blessings for authors - with ebooks is that anyone can be published. We no longer have to shovel out money to greedy, self-publishers nor do we have to grovel at the feet of literary agents to please, please take us. Many companies, like Amazon for example, will not charge an author to publish their ebook (instead, they take a chunk of the author's sales). 

I have gone through several routes of self-publishing in my life. If you are going to publish your own work, I would recommend Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing above all others. That being said, here are some things to consider before taking on authorhood alone.

Ebook Self-Publishing: Pros

  • Instant Publication - On Amazon KDP, your title is available in the Kindle store for purchase within 24 hours. The average traditionally-published novel takes 6-12 months to be released.
  • Free Publishing Tools - KDP offers an array of free promotional tools to help new authors draw in potential readers for their genre.
  • More Money - Because of ebooks accessibility and typically low prices, surveys show that people are buying more books at a time. That means you have a better chance at selling an ebook in the current market than a paperback. While author commissions on paperbacks and hardcovers are usually between 15-20%, commissions on ebooks range from 30-70%.
  • More Readers - Programs like KDP give authors the power to run promotions to bring in book sales. When I self-published TASTE OF SILVER, I did a 5 days free event and had almost 1,000 downloads. I didn't make any money on those downloads, but it paid off in the end: in the following weeks when the book was $2.99 again, I sold 450 copies.

Ebook Self-Publishing: Cons

  • No Editors - With ebook self-publishers, you are probably not going to get any editorial help. If you do, it will be at a price. You'd better have some mad grammar and punctuation skills if you are going to self-publish, or ask a trusted friend or family member to read the book through before you list it.
  • No Marketing Team - You are a tuna in a sea of sharks. Prepare to do a shit-ton of research on cost-effective marketing and reach out to as many bloggers, reviewers, and local media teams as you can. Your book is not going to sell itself.
  • It's all on You - Signings, speeches, tours... it is up to you to coordinate any in-person or online events for your work. This is true even of some traditionally published books, but even more so when you go out on your own. If you want to make this book known, you have to spend long hours promoting it on all social media networks and reach out to writing groups, schools, blogs, anything where your book could make an impression.

Traditional Publishing

If you are going to go the traditional route of publishing, I suggest first trying to hook a literary agent. An agent will offer advice, editing, and will try to get you in front of the big boys: Harper Collins, Macmillan, Penguin/Random House, and Simon & Schuster.  

I know what you're thinking: why can't I just confront the big boys myself? Well, because they aren't interested in talking to you, you little old nobody, unless you have representation. You need a seasoned professional to vouch for your abilities, creativity, and marketability. 

When I was looking for an agent, I used This site is great because there are over 2,000 agents listed to query. When you join the site, it also tells you what agents are accepting which genres, so you know who you have the best chance with. There are also some useful tracking tools so you know who you have contacted as well as what other authors are currently writing and submitting.

If you want to query an agent or small publishing house, here are some tips:

  • Write a damn good query letter - A good query letter is about a page long and gives an outline of your book, yourself, and your writing accomplishments. Pretend this is a job interview - sell yourself! 
  • Read EVERYTHING before submitting - One time I called somebody a Mrs. and the agent was actually a Mr... I never even got a rejection letter. It's little things like that that matter to publishing people. Read all the info on the person you are querying and all their submission guidelines before sending your proposal.
  • Be patient - I know it's hard. I know the wait is like syrup running down an ice block, but it could be worth it. This is the road to a much larger success than most people can accomplish by themselves. 

The Patient Bird Gets the Worm

In the world of publishing, it's the patient bird who gets the worm - or sometimes many worms. Stick it out. Work hard. Do your research on your genre and how to market it. And the most important part, no matter how damn cliche it sounds, is never give up.

Don't ever, ever give up.

No matter what you end up deciding to do with your baby - er - book, whether it is self-publishing or traditional publishing, if you keep going no matter what is thrown at you, I promise you will make it through the hell-filled part of being an author and into the heavenlike bliss of receiving your first great review... and commission check. 

I have been all over the place - mentally and physically!

I'll admit I have a terrible amount of guilt over not writing a sequel to either XENOPHOBIA or MARKINGS yet, but here's what the last couple of years have taught me: when it's time it is time and not a moment before... When it is time to produce sequels to these books, I have no doubt I will. The time for the sequel to MARKINGS I think will arrive sooner than later, but right now I am experimenting with a new genre: contemporary.

A lot has happened to me in five years. Some good, some not good. The not good stuff left me with a lot of fear in my life. Fear makes people think or do really weird shit... or sometimes it makes them think or do nothing at all.

I am in the process of trying to rewire myself, and after years of the same bad habits and bad thought patterns... that's been a pretty big challenge. But I'm starting to realize it isn't impossible. We have all the tools to change our lives - we just need to reach out and take them and realize they really are there.

And we need to learn to love ourselves. That means all of ourselves, even the negative, dark, horror-filled, shitty parts that we don't like. Through experimentation, I've learned that loving  yourself really is the only answer if you want to take your life back-- your happy life.

Another even more challenging lesson that I'm learning is to trust the universe. I trust that there is a plan, and that we are all part of each other as well as of something much bigger than ourselves.

So with all that said, we will see where the rest of this year and next leads. I am currently in the process of planning a wedding, preparing to build a house, and returning to college (I'm kind of an overachiever) on top of writing a new book.

Stay Tuned, my lovely fans.