“Will readers like my novel?” Here’s how to know for sure

“Truth be told, after I reached 10,000 words, I was very disappointed that it was all over. I am convinced that this month will absolutely stand out as one of the high points of this year for me.”

This is what author Liberty Henwick said after winning an award in the 10K Novel Writing Challenge at ChapterBuzz.

For the uninitiated, the “10K” is a month-long writing marathon where novelists of all skill levels endeavor to write 10,000 words and compete for a handful of awards.

So how did Liberty’s book become an award-winning novel, even before it was published?


When writing a novel, it’s important to know what’s resonating with your readers, and what could use some fine-tuning. Once you know this, you can either make the necessary changes or revel in the praise you’re getting—but either way, you can rest assured you’ve got a great novel on your hands.

Fortunately, it’s easy to get feedback on your work! During the 10K Challenge (which you can sign up for now), our writers love helping each other out by reading each other’s work and giving their insights about it.

“Be willing to listen to your readers’ suggestions with an open mind, so they can be completely honest. You don’t want them to hide the painful truths.”

—Liberty Henwick

After all, nothing is going to be perfect the first time you write it, so this early feedback can be very helpful. In fact, it’s every bit as important as a foundation is to a tall building.

Liberty was kind enough to share what she learned about receiving feedback:

Advice to the writer (you!):

  1. Have a thick skin and be willing to listen to the suggestions your readers make with an open mind, so that they feel at liberty to be completely honest. You don’t want them to hide the painful truths!
  2. Don’t take criticism personally, it’s not you, but your writing that is being critiqued. It’s likely that your work will need improvement—it will hardly ever be perfect the first time.
  3. You don’t have to take all advice on board. Sometimes you can stand by what you write if you feel strongly that there’s a good enough reason for it.

Advice to the reader on how to give honest and constructive criticism:

  1. Highlight any confusing passages and language that doesn’t make sense.
  2. Point out sections that are boring.
  3. Write down questions you have about the story so far that you’d like to see answered before the ending.

And Liberty’s parting words of wisdom to you, the writer: “Gag the inner critic and let loose the inner cheerleading team!”

Ready to get a jumpstart on your novel? Enter the 10K Novel Writing Challenge now


The 10K Novel Writing Challenge starts October 1st. Are you in?

Learn more about TimYou know those writers who just swoop in, wow tons of people with their stories-in-progress, climb the charts, and become award winners—all in one month?

That writer may just be you.

And it can all happen in the 10K Novel Writing Challenge, a month-long writing marathon starting October 1st at ChapterBuzz.

Registration just opened, so sign up now on this page.

You can even start your own Challenge Team.

Wait, what?

Yep, Teams are new! Every writer in the Challenge still works on his or her own novel, but working as a Team helps you 1) meet the weekly writing deadlines, 2) hold each other accountable for moving forward, and 3) increase your chance of becoming an award winner by month’s end.

This is sure to be the biggest Challenge yet, and as always, lots of fun. Oh, and even more fun for you—our big winner.

Check it out!

Author interview: Did you like Divergent? You’ll love Reactance

Dacia M. Arnold is a Colorado-based author who’s been hard at work on an adult dystopian trilogy that takes place in post-apocalyptic Denver. The first in the series, Apparent Power, is due out in December from Immortal Works Press. It’s also Dacia’s first full-length novel!

Be sure to get on Dacia’s mailing list to be the first in line for the big launch, and you’ll also get updates on Shifting Power, the sequel planned for a fall 2019 release.

But first, the appetizer. Reactance is the thrilling novella that kicks off the DiaZem series, and the premise is positively electrifying:

When a dormant gene awakens in a quarter of the world’s population, conductors of electricity are at the mercy of the DiaZem who rule over them. After her father is killed in a thwarted plan to eradicate the population without the conductor gene, Sasha Bowman channels her bitterness toward the woman she believes is responsible: the Queen DiaZem. Keeping a journal to share with the world what really transpired, Sasha rallies the community to React against the Apparent Power.

I asked Dacia a few questions about her inspiration, how she writes, and where this is all going.

Where did you get the idea to do a series like the DiaZem trilogy?

I could not get over how many moms loved the Divergent books by Veronica Roth. When I tried to search for adult books like Divergent, I could not find any because they are all young adult books. So I developed the frame work of a high action novel with a mother as the protagonist.

When you sit down to write, do you start with a premise, or just see where the pen takes you?

With the first novel I wrote on ChapterBuzz.com, I “pantsed it” the whole way, meaning I wrote it from beginning to end without outlining. The sequel, Shifting Power, was a bit different. I was working within a world I had already created, so in order to maintain the story, I had to outline.

Where do you see yourself in 3 years?

In 3 years, I hope to be completely done with the DiaZem trilogy. I am really looking forward to starting a new adventure with a new story that will likely be a standalone piece—I doubt I ever write another series again. The accolades I have received from the 10K Novel Writing Challenge at Chapterbuzz gives me comfort that I am well on my way to not only meeting this goal, but also being a successful author.

Read more about Dacia in her feature article in Books & Buzz Magazine, and be sure to grab your copy of Reactance on Amazon in print and audiobook.

Join us for this 10,000-word Writing Challenge!

Learn more about TimWant to give your novel-writing career a kick in the pants but need structure? Want to buckle down on your book but can’t seem to find the time?

Problem solved.

It’s the 10K Novel Writing Challenge, and it’s open to all writers, of any level or ability.

What is it? It’s your chance to add 10,000 words to your novel during the month of October, connect with other writers and get feedback on your work, and even win an award for your book-in-progress!

“The morning I opened the email informing me The Girl with White Hair had won an award, there was this pause where I processed it, followed by the biggest flood of relief and sense of achievement.” —Bexx Matthews

This year, you can work as part of a Writing Team (while still working on your own novel) to hold each other accountable to your goals, give each other feedback, and increase your chance of winning an award.

Whether this is your tenth novel and it’s half finished, or you’ve never written a chapter in your life, I know you’ll love this Challenge as much as Bexx Matthews, an accomplished author who is well-known around ChapterBuzz.

As Bexx put it:

“I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to work so hard for something before. The morning I opened the email informing me The Girl with White Hair had won an award, I was half asleep and squinting to read the screen. There was this pause where I processed it, followed by the biggest flood of relief and sense of achievement. I’d written for hours on the last night of the Challenge trying to hit that 10,000 word mark and I am so happy that I managed to get through and finish.

—Bexx Matthews

It’s totally free to join ChapterBuzz and participate in the Challenge. Translation: nothing to lose, everything to gain.

Check it out here, and be sure to pass this on to any writer you might want on your Team.

Want a reminder about the Challenge? Join ChapterBuzz now and I will send you a reminder in a few days, along with all the details about how to register and form your Writing Team.

Writing a novel? You could win an award next month

Learn more about TimCan you write 10,000 words in one month?

Sure you can. That’s only about 350 words a day, yet it’s an exhilarating plunge into the realm of your novel, a confidence boost for you, and a jump start for your writing career.

It all starts October 1st with the 10K Novel Writing Challenge at ChapterBuzz. Come join us on a month-long writing adventure that is sure to leave you with great memories and lots of new chapters for your novel!

But you might also become an award-winning writer. Read about Dacia M. Arnold, one of the very first winners in the Challenge. It didn’t take her long to get a publishing deal, and now her first full-length novel is hitting the shelves in December.

Whether your novel is just an idea in your head, or already half finished, you’re welcome to participate. As long as you write 10,000 new words during the Challenge month, you’ll be eligible for a book award.

And with 3 awards up for grabs, you stand a very good chance of becoming the next Challenge winner.

Learn more here, and I hope to see you in the Challenge!

Ready to brave this 10,000-word writing challenge?

Learn more about TimAttention writers!

October 1st marks the return of the ChapterBuzz 10K Novel Writing Challenge—and this time around, it means business.

Just like last time, your goal is to write 10,000 words. Whether your novel is half finished, just an outline, or doesn’t exist yet in any form, you’ll end the month having made at least 10,000 words’ worth of progress.

That is, if you don’t get eliminated along the way.

Because this time, you’ll be responsible for meeting 4 deadlines during the month, of 2,500 words each.

Make each deadline, and you’re safe. Miss one, and you risk being eliminated from the Challenge.

It’s a new type of Challenge, and it’s designed to get results. You can work with a Team (while writing your own novel), in order to support each other and help each other out in pursuit of your goals.

Up for the Challenge? Learn more here

Why work with a Team? This way, you can hold each other accountable for meeting each writing deadline, provide feedback on each other’s stories, and work together to become the #1 Top Team in the 10K Challenge. Each writer on the winning Team will be awarded bonus Fame Points (to get more visibility for your book) and a mention in Books & Buzz Magazine.

Again, each Team Member will be working on his or her own novel.

And just like before, individual awards will also be given to 3 novels-in-progress to recognize excellence in writing and how well your emerging story resonated with readers.

You can also work alone during the Challenge if you prefer, but…let’s be honest, that’s not as much fun!

Today, think of a few writers you’d like to invite to be on your Team, and tell them to check out this Challenge page!

The literary world can be a little stuffy, so come on in

Our new literary magazine has officially arrived! Here’s what it’s all about:

Page through any literary magazine, wander the aisles of any bookstore. What do you see? A whole lot of books by authors who appear to have it all: huge readership, major name recognition, plenty of sales. In other words, they check all the boxes of what an author “should” be.

To get to that level, where does a person even start? It’s like applying for a job to build experience, only to be told you need years of experience to get the job. Similarly, you can easily get your book onto the shelves of a national bookstore chain as long as you have an entire sales team behind you, which is easy to get once you’ve proven yourself…by having a large audience. The message writers get is, sure, you can be famous—all you have to do is become famous.

It’s the “experience paradox,” and it can lead even the most gifted writers to throw their hands up in frustration. I am certain that countless truly remarkable manuscripts have never seen the light of day for this very reason, their creators living lives as unknown writers. This is, of course, to our detriment.

That’s the idea behind this magazine and our community of writers and readers: discovery. There’s so much incredible talent out there that deserves to be recognized and placed in front of as many people as possible.

The message writers get is, sure, you can be famous—all you have to do is become famous.

Part of the problem is that we only see the end result: the beautiful book cover, the flawless prose. But where is the process? Where are the imperfect sentences that were ripped apart and rewritten time and time again to get them to flow as they do now? Where are the parts of the story that made no sense until readers pointed them out?

They say getting there is half the fun, and that’s especially true when writing a novel. Our established community of writers and readers makes the journey to becoming a published author enjoyable, starting with the first words you put on paper, continuing as you fine-tune your novel with feedback from readers and other talented writers, and culminating in your first book signing event or blog tour.

I am certain that countless truly remarkable manuscripts have never seen the light of day. This is, of course, to our detriment.

Incidentally, a great way to get started is to join us in the 10K Novel Writing Challenge. Your timing is perfect, too: the next Challenge starts October 1st. If you’re not a writer, stay tuned for for lots of exciting news once the Challenge gets underway.

The 10K Challenge, in fact, is where I met this month’s featured cover author, Dacia M. Arnold. It was March 2017, and she had just begun writing her first full-length novel, Apparent Power. Let me tell you, readers freaking loved it. She took home the “Most Buzz Award” for the month, and her novel-in-progress shot up to #1 on the ChapterBuzz Charts, where it remained for the better part of the year.

When you read her interview article this month, Dacia gives insight into the process: how feedback helped her while she was writing, how she’s grown as a writer and person over the years, and what she does to make it over the rough patches.

Our first guest contributor is a freelance editor from San Diego who lives on a boat and goes by the nickname “Jenny Redbug.” (Wait, back up…did you say “lives on a boat”? I sure did. Wouldn’t you if you lived in San Diego and had a boat?) Jennifer Silva Redmond is also a popular writing instructor and speaker whose short-form memoir has been published nationally, and her article this month is packed with great tips for writing your own memoir. According to her blog, Jennifer is out sailing quite a bit, so if you hand over your manuscript to her for editing, there’s a good chance it will come back to you with sea legs.

Next, blogger and novelist Allison Maruska shares some wisdom about something that most writers will probably see at one point or another: a negative review. How do you deal with that? What’s the best way to handle it, and for that matter, what shouldn’t you do? All these questions, and more, answered in this article.

Finally, what do a butterfly, guardian angel wing, feather pen, and crown have in common? They are all tattoos that Allison Marie Conway proudly wears. Allison has published two books of gorgeous poetry and prose, Vein and Luminae, and reading them is like discovering a secret passage to parts of your soul you didn’t know existed. Her Instagram page is a work of art in itself. In this issue, Allison explains why we need you to tell your story.

Check out the first issue of Books & Buzz Magazine, and be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss anything!

Happy reading,

Timothy Pike
Editor-in-chief, Books & Buzz Magazine