[Guest Post] HOW I WROTE AND PUBLISHED THE DIVIDED NATION by ANGELA R. WATTS

Hello Lovelies! Today I have author Angela R. Watts on the blog sharing about her new novel which has released today! At the end of the post you will find all her social links and book summary below!

 

Every novel writing process, for me, is different. However, I’m a firm believer that every work I write should scare me in its own way. (Ironically, when I attended Realm Makers, Brent Weeks said the same thing. It was funny to have that mindset before hearing it from a NYT bestseller!) And The Divided Nation scared me from the start.

The Divided Nation began as a roleplay, which lasted for a couple years, but when my roleplay partner left for good and told me to do with the story as I wished… I was both lost and ecstatic. It wasn’t the first time a roleplay had gone “wrong”. But it was the first time the story didn’t leave my heart and it baffled me! After all, how could I do this story justice? It was a long series. I couldn’t handle that. “It isn’t the time,” I kept saying to myself. “Dystopian is hard, you will have to research so much.”

After a while, I told those voices to shut up and I listened to what God said. And the journey began. It started with a short Christmas prequel that I whipped up in one day during winter. I liked it. A lot. I couldn’t believe how much I’d enjoyed it, so I promptly got it ready to publish for that December. I had dipped my toes into the world I’d tried to avoid… and came out of the story absolutely in love. Emmanuel is currently free on Amazon but it is priceless to me. Why? Because it proved that these books are not out of my hands. God gave them to me. I just had to grab the bull by the horns. Emmanuel helped me do that on a super small scale.

I had pages and pages of notes, scribbles, snippets, plot ideas, character sheets, etc, for the series before I ever wrote a first draft of The Divided Nation by myself. I gathered all of this together, added some, wrote a real outline… And started writing the first draft in February 2019. Draft one took around a month to finish and I printed it out, wrote out all that needed changing, and started draft two.

After draft two, I self edited a great deal before… beta readers. The beta reader stage was quite a wild ride. Dystopian is a strange genre and not one many Christians read, or so I thought. I had betas loving the novel. I even brainstormed with a few and got epic ideas I hadn’t thought of before… Even if this meant replotting the whole series, but I don’t mind so much.

I wanted to self publish this novel with the new knowledge I had learned: a book should sell itself. How does it do that? 1. The story must be good. This is obviously up to interpretation, but make sure the book is solid, not tossed together. 2. The cover and formatting need to make people WANT that story even more. People like pretty things. If the story is good and the book is nice looking… You won’t have to work so hard later on.

So I hired a cover designer, formatter, and finally decided I’d take the wild ride of using KDP and Ingram to publish… and the rest is history. It took hours of work, hours of talking with the great people I hired to get what the book needed, and hours of research as I figured out Ingram. But it was all so worth it.

And now, I’ll take a moment to reflect on the big lesson that writing and publishing this novel taught me… Changing your lane. What do I mean? Well, all I’ve published thus far is Christian fiction. Clean content, by most standards, nothing too dark. Christian readers have generally enjoyed my previous works. The Divided Nation is different. I knew this from the start. It is one reason I was afraid to write and publish the series. Because these books aren’t limited to the Christian market. They aren’t super clean. They aren’t for people with faint hearts. So, what was I supposed to do? Most of my friends write and read Christian market fiction! And no one published dystopian anymore (that’s incorrect, by the way, I was just blind)!

I had a decision to make. I knew this novel was for readers in search of a story that shows the reality of the world without Jesus, of how every person is a sinner in need of Jesus… This book is for them. Not strictly for Christian readers or secular readers. I wanted it to be flexible. That’s why I decided to market this novel as general fiction with Christian content instead of Christian fiction! I’m so glad I did. This decision was encouraged when I attended Realm Makers this year. “Is it possible?” I asked Robert Liparulo. “To publish a novel with strong Christian content but market it for general audience?” He said it was, reminding me of all the authors who have done just that (TED DEKKER, ANYONE?) so I ran with it. I haven’t looked back. I encourage every single one of you… be bold. Even if it isn’t the norm, even if none of your friends are doing it, even if you don’t get a lot of support… Be true to God and your story. And run with it.

 

                                                 AUTHOR BIO

17597325Angela R. Watts is a Christian fiction author who strives to glorify the Lord in all she does. She’s a homeschooled highschooler living at Step By Step Sanctuary, Tennessee, though with Gypsy and Norwegian in her blood, she tends to travel. She’s been writing stories since she was little, but also enjoys chores, painting, and watching sunsets.

LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngelaRWattsauthor/
Website: https://thepeculiarmessenger.wordpress.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Angela-R-Watts/e/B07F97JNMY?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1564688304&sr=8-1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/angelarwattsauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17597325.Angela_R_Watts

the divided nation_v7 (3)                                      SUMMARY

WHEN THE NATION DIVIDES, THE INFIDELS MUST RISE.

The United States has fallen. Three years after the 2024 presidential election and the declaration of martial law, the nation is at war against itself. Gangs battle, civilians struggle for survival, and officials of the United Nations  thrive. West Johnston, heir to the most powerful ganglord in the country, refuses to continue the family legacy. But, in order to defeat his father, he must become him: bloodthirsty and willing to do whatever it takes for control.

West gains control by helping fellow gangsters, Nate and Simon, when they form an alliance with one of the last remaining townships in America. After years of surviving and winter fast approaching, Springtown is in desperate need of supplies from the two teenagers. When the town leader’s daughter, Rene’, is kidnapped by an unknown rival, Nate and Simon risk their reputations to save her and the town they now love. But without help from West, their rescue mission will fail.

Told in multiple bold, abrasive narratives, THE DIVIDED NATION steps into a future where brotherhood bonds must be stronger than iron to survive a broken world, and faith without courage is dust in the wind.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45150828-the-divided-nation

My Bookstagram Tips + Tricks

I have had many Instagram messages asking me if I have a post like this…so here we are! I would like to say I have some magical formula on how I grew my bookstagram account (Books + Instagram = Bookstagram) but alas, I do not. And honestly my account isn’t all that large compared to some out there but one of the things I’m going to talk about is just working hard no matter the followers… but more on that later!

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Photo taken by me and can be found on my Instagram @TheLibrarianFiles

I really want to focus on the tips and tricks I’ve discovered and learned from other people to help other Bookstagrammer’s who are just getting started or looking for fun ways to switch up how you do things on your accounts!

So, First Things First!
As I’ve already said, ‘Bookstagram’ is simply Instagram Accounts dedicated to books and run by bookworms from all over the world! It’s such an amazing community to be a part of and is the sole reason my TBR (‘To Be Read’) List is spiralling out of control!

Now! On to some tips and tricks I’ve learned in no particular order…

 

1. You’ve gotta do it because you love what you do

This applies to anything in life. If you love what you do or, in this case, take photos of that should always be your main priority and I find that when I focus too much on likes and follows I lose my drive, passion, and excitement for what I do.

 

2. ENGAGE! ENGAGE! ENGAGE!

for me when following other accounts, whether they respond to comments left and are a decent human being honestly says a lot if I’m going to keep looking at a page and going back to it and following posts. So don’t be a petty human and think you are above everyone else. Just have fun with it! I promise bookstagram is an amazing place and you will definitely make some friends on the way. So just engage with people in your posts. A good way to do that is to put a question of the day in your caption that people can answer. Like ask people what their favourite book is, why they like a certain book/series, their favourite fandom merchandise. Even ask a favourite holiday or season. Cause bookstagrammer’s are people too 😛

 

3. Comment Loop Groups are your Best Friend

The IG algorithm SUCKS sometimes. It’s horrible. So comment loop groups are an awesome way to keep up with your friends and other bookstagrammer’s page by spreading the love to their posts and them to yours all while kicking the algorithm in the butt a little bit

 

4. Instagram Stories? 10/10 would recommend

Instagram stories is such a fun way to connect with your followers! You can film un-boxings of your orders, book hauls, every day life videos, ask questions/post polls, show off your amazing book/fandom merch, shoutout all your friends accounts and SO much more! It’s a fun and more personal way to connect and invite your followers into your real life a bit! ( Stories Tips: Use hashtags in your stories as well as your posts! People will find your stories more)

 

5. Create your own style. Do what you love!

This is your baby. Your thing! Be creative. Come up with a theme or general look if you want. For me, I started off using just a plain white background (I’ve recently switched to a wooden panelling background) and if you look, my photos are pretty simple. I use very few props and items but for some people, they use lots of props and items! For me, I find that, because I don’t currently have as much time as I would like in a week to take photos I go the more simple route so I can get photos taken but something that is practical for me is also what I love! Like, I have seen some photos where people have multiple books in their photos and multiple props and I love them but that just isn’t for me! So find out what your theme/style is and go for it! Experiment with it. But also don’t constrain yourself to one kind of photo.

Decided you don’t like the background you are using? Change it up! Be you!

Want to go from shelfie photos to flatlays? Go for it!

Only want to post photos using the same 5 books and nothing more? Go for it!

Remember, this is supposed to be fun! Don’t work yourself up and stress yourself out!

 

6. Hashtags!

So you might be sitting there thinking ‘Duh. Of course I would use hashtags’ but seriously. This is super important if you want to get your photos out there! There are some accounts on Instagram that have either feature hashtags or feature accounts! This is an awesome way to get your photos out there. Use that hashtag in every photo. You also want to make sure you find some hashtags that work for you. For me, I have created my own hashtag to track my photos using my username and then a second one with my username with the word ‘reads’ at the end. (e.g @thelibrarianfiles @thelibrarianfilesreads )

My advice for hashtags, is to make sure you use the same or similar hashtags for all your photos and then, on top of those hashtags, you add more based on the theme/book(s) featured in your photo! This sounds confusing but it’s not. Let me give you an example here using one of my posts as an example:

HashtagExample

So, my usual hashtags that I have found work for me, (you have to find what works for you! But feel free to swipe my technique 😛 ) are listed there in the caption, and then as you can see I added some hashtags based on the book features in the photo! It’s really just that simple. Just find what works for you (might take a few posts to find what works best for you) and go for it! But hashtags are super important if you want to get your photos out there.

 

And those are some of the tips and tricks I’ve discovered! Did I miss anything? Is there anything else you want more information on? Comment, Send me a message (through my contact page), or find me on social media! I love helping people pursue bookstagram and doing what they love!

Thanks for tuning in! If you liked this post and want to see more like this let me know!

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Dear Body, I’m sorry

Dear Body,

I’m sorry for the way I treated you.

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I’m sorry that I hate you, that I blame you for the reason I hate myself. Why I can’t look at you in the mirror. I’m sorry for blaming you for my pain.

It’s not your fault, because for almost 21 years you’ve kept me going and kept me moving. Yes, sometimes I’m in pain and I don’t love you the way I should but it’s not your fault. You are doing what you do best. What you were designed and created to do and I have not been treating you kindly.

From here on out I’m going to try my best. I’m going to take care of you this time. This year is going to be a learning curve for me but I’m not going to treat you the way I have anymore…. Why?

Well, because you are beautiful, you keep me living, moving, and breathing.

You were designed perfectly and I’ve neglected you.

No longer am I going to look on you as my worst enemy when I look in the mirror.

I’m not going to shed tears anymore because I hate you… because I don’t.

I love you.

 

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