​HOLLY HOOK, YOUNG ADULT AUTHOR

To contact me, it's best to email me at hollyhook(at)hollyhookauthor(dot)com. I check and answer my author emails a bit before 5PM EST on weekdays.  

Whether you want to respond to one of my newsletters, ask a question, provide feedback or even share cute cat pictures I'm all up for it!  

If you're another YA author, I'm open for newsletter swaps, cross-promos, box set opportunities or Facebook release parties.  I usually send out a newsletter twice per month so feel free to email me! Just please don't ask me to buy a paid service right now as I'm on a budget.  

I get a lot of requests for writing advice and even to read other peoples' stuff.  While I don't mind this, I am restricted on time and unable to go into depth in these areas.  For writing advice, I'd first and foremost recommend Lisa Cron's Story Genius.

For eBook marketing, I highly recommend Chris Fox's series.  

​Due to so many requests, I just might write a book on writing advice in the future.  


ABOUT ME

I am a young adult fiction writer and I write anything YA under the spec-fic umbrella.  That includes fantasy, science fiction, fairy tales, paranormal, and even post-apocalyptic.  I also love reading anything in those genres.  I have been writing almost my entire life, but did not begin publishing until September of 2010, when I decided to upload one of my novels, Tempest, to Amazon.com as an experiment.  I haven't looked back ever since!

My story so far is pretty long and I included the following in a newsletter I sent out in mid April 2017.  If you'd like to read it, it's right below:


(Taken from Readers Club Newsletter on 4/15):

Today I have what's probably the biggest announcement I've ever made.    Hang on reading until the end.  I know this is going to be kind of long.  Before I get to that, I want to take a bit of time to talk about how I got here today. 
 
I've always had a passion for telling stories and it's always what I've wanted to do.  First, I thought I was going to be a horror writer, but I decided that teen fiction interested me more.  I wasn't able to write much while in college, due to being so busy with school and work, but by time I landed my first job in the medical field, I was able to dedicate more time to it.
 
The first novel I seriously thought about publishing was called Rita Morse and the Sinister Shadow.  This was back in about 2009.  I started trying to get agents to pay attention to it.  I entered contests and submitted to agencies, but I got the same answer all the time and it was a big, fat NO.  Nobody had anything good to say about this book and I started to get really depressed and discouraged.
 
Then, in early 2010, I was working full time at my second health care job.  It was around this time I brought home some leftover mini burgers from TGI Friday and...well, I forgot to put them in the fridge for a few hours.  But  I had those mini burgers for dinner, and the dreams I had that night gave birth to the idea for Tempest.
 
I was so excited to write Tempest, which is about a girl who discovers she's a human hurricane who soon has to transform into a powerful force of nature whether she likes it or not.  I wrote Tempest and ran it through my online critique buddies and edited it.  Then I entered the manuscript into Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Contest that year--and Tempest got into the Semifinals for the Young Adult category.  Even though I didn't make it to the Finals, I was excited that my writing seemed to have improved, so I shopped Tempest around to agents for a little while. 
 
I got some interest in my manuscript, but one agent told me that there was no place in the teen market for my book and the others didn't respond.  I'd hit a brick wall yet again.
 
It was right about this time that I saw a poster in the window of a Borders, for something called a Kindle.  I had no idea what a Kindle was, but I found out when someone online mentioned that you could upload your book to Amazon as an ebook--and people could buy it and read it on the Kindle. 
 
I was hitting another tsunami of No's from the agents, so I decided that in September 2010 that I would try it as an experiment to see what happened.  Now, these were the first days of independent publishing and things were different back then.  You weren't supposed to self publish.  It was something only failed writers did.  Like I said, this was just an experiment. 
 
Tempest sold three copies on Amazon in its first month. 
 
Yes, three. 
 
And then the month after that, it sold about three dozen.  I also uploaded Tempestto Barnes and Noble's online store about that time, and I had the most amazing luck.  In December 2010 and January 2011, Tempest sold a few thousand copies for the Nook. 
 
But then, things started to die down over the next few months and I found myself selling less and less.  So about a year later, I published Inferno, the sequel to Tempest, but sales never picked back up to the way they were.  Inferno was followed by Outbreak, then Frostbite, and then Ancient.  I had a five book series out by May of 2013, and it helped sales pick up some but not to the levels I had when I first started out. 
 
And then I entered my "failure" period.
 
I started working on The Deathwind Trilogy and the Timeless Trilogy.  The market was changing and things really went downhill for the sales, and no matter now much I promoted these new series, they refused to take off and sold a handful of copies each month.  I even hired a publicist to get things going, but nothing worked.  In addition, my first reviews for Twisted and 2:20 were so negative that I took down the original versions and I sent them to an editor for additional work. 
 
I got depressed again, so much that I couldn't write for two months after Twistedgot hammered.  But then I worked through the edits, learned from my mistakes and published again, and the reviews were better this time. 
 
I don't think I had bad books, but these two series just never took off.  They weren't right for the market at the time.  By the end of 2014, I was selling almost nothing and at a loss.  I think there was one month I made about twenty dollars from writing.  Month after month I just kept failing over and over no matter what I tried.  It hard to drive to a job 40 miles away, return home after a 9 hour day, and still manage to write.  I felt trapped.   If I could just write faster and publish more, and publish the right things, I could get out of the hole I was in.  I was so mad, so angry that my dream was going nowhere and I HAD to do something about it.  Trying the same stuff over and over was doing no good. 
 
And then, around October 2015 I was browsing around on Kindle Boards and came across a book called 5,000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox.  I was so intrigued by concept that I picked up a copy.  The book recommended doing something called writing sprints so I decided to try it. 
 
I was working on the final book of the Timeless Trilogy at the time, so I started writing sprints on that book first.  I would type as fast as I could for five minutes at a time, three times per day, and worked up to doing three 20 minute sessions per day.  I would get up early on weekdays and write before work, then during lunch, and then after work, all while using a timer and listening to classical music.  Soon I found myself pumping out up to 5,000 words per day on my novel.  And I got that book done and was able to move on to editing by time November rolled around. 
 
It was also by this time that I got my Reviewer Team together, which was a huge help with getting reviews on the first day.  I was amazed at how fast I got this book done and began to wonder.  If I wrote at this speed all the time, how much could I put out there?  Was it possible to finish a novel a month even while working full time?
 
A lot of other writers might think it was a stupid thing to try (and I've had some people chastise me for this since) because when you write a book, you're supposed to take your time, edit again and again, start over many more times, pay an expensive editor and an expensive cover artist, and then launch.  That's the conventional wisdom and I think it works for many people.  Great books get created this way.  But I had tried all of these things before and ironically, the books I did this with were the ones that failed to sell more than 2 copies a month.  It was a learning experience that I needed, but now conventional wisdom wasn't working for me. 
 
Sometime in November I started working on my next series, the Flamestone Trilogy.  I continued to use Chris Fox's technique and I finished Alone by the end of the month.  It was another month before I actually published it, to give my Reviewer Team time to read it and point out any errors, but during that time I was already writing the sequel, Found.  I was beginning to get a routine going and it was working.  I was doing what I once thought was impossible. 
 
On January 15, 2016, Alone went live on Amazon and I even tried the Kindle Unlimited program for that book and some of my others, including the Timeless Trilogy box set which did well selling at 99 cents.  Alone did pretty well too and had mostly good reviews despite being the fastest book I'd ever written.  And on Feb. 15, Found went live and enjoyed some sales.  I released Freed, the third book, on March 15 and the series continued to do well.  It was thanks to my Reviewer Team for providing some early reviews, which no doubt helped sales.  I was getting out of the dumps.
 
And I started saving money.  It wasn't much at first, but each month it grew.    
 
Later that year, I paid off my student loan. 
 
Light, a companion book to the Flamestone Trilogy, came out on April 15.  I then started work on the Twisted Fairy Tale series, which turned into seven books over the course of the rest of the year.  This series also did fairly well because fairy tale stories were pretty popular at the time. 
 
Now, this wasn't easy.  In April 2016 my job put me on 4 ten hour shifts per week, which really meant 4 13 hour days if you counted lunch and the driving 40 miles each way.  I loved my Mondays off but this made writing more difficult for obvious reasons.  I started falling behind on stuff.  In short I was getting pretty overwhelmed and it got worse as I approached the end of the Twisted Fairy Tale series.  During the week I was working up to 18 hours per day and getting 4-5 hours of sleep per night.  I started getting later and later getting my paperbacks made, answering emails and generally keeping up with everything I needed to do. 
 
And then the darkest time of my life hit.  When I was finishing Glass and Death, my grandmother passed away after a long decline.  It was after that that I began writing The Pulse, a post-apocalyptic novel about Laney, who is dealing with crushing grief after losing her mother.
 
And then, while I was writing its sequel, The Storm, the same thing happened to me on January 1st.
 
I won't go into details as it was sudden and I don't want to relive it.  I shut down for two weeks.  I was sleeping 16 hours a day and then I'd get up and wander around Meijer at 1AM.  Time stopped mattering.  I don't know how I got through participating in all the Facebook promos and events I'd signed up for in January.  
 
I'll admit it.  The Barren Trilogy was depressing, but I think writing it helped me deal with all the crap.  My sanity slowly came back but I really had to push myself to keep going. 
 
I felt a little better after I finished The Freeze.  By this time, in early March, I was writing a book a month, working full time at a job forty miles away, editing, formatting, answering emails, doing cover art, promoting, doing newsletter swaps with other authors, social networking...you name it, it needed to be done.  The little tasks all snowballed into a huge monster that I could no longer manage.  I had reached my limit.  There was no time left to take my writing career to the next level, to give it the attention it needed.  I also wanted to start a pen name to try romance, but...no go. 
 
I hit burnout and had to take a break for about a week and a half.  I thought about things and how I spent all my time being slammed and busy.  I couldn't go one day without feeling guilty if I didn't get some work done--holidays included.  There were no such things as weekends anymore.  I had also been confronted with the fact that life is short.  Did I really want to spend it this way?
 
I realized a decision had to be made and it had to be soon.  I made my decision in mid March of this year, but only today did I get up the bravery to go through with it.
 
So today, on April 11, 2017 I told my job that I was quitting and that my last day will be on April 28th.
 
And on May 1st, I will begin writing full-time.
 
Now rest assured, this wasn't some knee-jerk "YOLO" decision.  I've been researching this and saving for the last year and a half.  This also doesn't mean I'll be sitting around in my underwear, eating bon-bons all day.  Currently, I'm making enough from writing to cover my living expenses including health insurance, but not much extra, but I'm confident that if I pour more effort into this I'll be able to make more--especially if I start my pen name.  I'll also need to follow a schedule and a budget, at least at first.  There's literally so much I want to do to enhance my writing career--things that were impossible until now. 
 
There's no guarantee, but I have an opportunity that I'm not going to pass up. 
 
And I have you guys to thank, along with the Flint Area Writers for helping me improve, the girls at my old online critique group who helped me improve, Chris Fox for writing that book that broke me out of my rut, and even those people who hated my stuff and forced me to get better.