How to publish a book.

Want to know how to get published?

Now that my first published novel is out and about (the most terrifying and awesome feeling ever), folks are getting curious.

How long did it take you to write it? (1 year to write, 1 year to edit)

Where did you find the time? (Time isn’t change on the ground that you find, you make time)

Does it come in large print? (Not yet, Grandmother)

But the main question people want to know, and one that I wanted to know before I had this opportunity, is how in the world does a person go about getting a book published.

My Story:

2006:  I wrote a book. It was terrible. I queried it and got rejected.

2008: I wrote a book. It was slightly less terrible. I queried it and got rejected.

2010: I wrote a book. It was bearable. I queried it, got a little interest, but no representation.

2011: I wrote TEMPUS. I queried it, got a little interest, but no representation. Something in me KNEW this book was worth fighting for. So in …

2012: I spent a year re-dreaming TEMPUS. I sent out manuscripts to people I trusted for feedback. I got a critique partner. I edited, cut down, edited, cut down. I hired someone to edit it.

2013: I queried TEMPUS again. This time, Kitty Bullard reached out to me and asked if I’d like her wonderful publishing house, GMTA, to publish TEMPUS. I was in bed. I burst into tears.

2014: TEMPUS was released .

Quick Tips:

-Tailor your queries so you’re sending agents/publishers ONLY what they ask for. Do you fit in with their niche? Do they already represent someone like you? Do your research, and mention these things specifically in your query. I probably queried 25 agents/publishers with TEMPUS, but I knew each of them were looking for something like TEMPUS, and believed I added to their current list needs.

-Join a good database like Writer’s Market to keep yourself up-to-date on trends and current marketplace needs. This is also where you can get connected with agents, publishers, and other writers.

-Read good books to sharpen your usage and mind. I learned a lot from reading books like WARM BODIES (Isaac Marion), The DIVERGENT series (Veronica Roth), and THE MORTAL INSTRUMENT SERIES (Cassandra Clare). These people have already “made it” so to speak, so watching what they do teaches you what publishers want.

 -And, most of all, keep writing, keep writing, keep writing. If I had given up after book one, that would have been it. Rejection is hard. But I made myself a promise: I would not stop writing until someone published my book. I was just crazy enough to believe that I could do it. And, if you’re a writer, my guess is that you’re a little crazy, too. 🙂

If you’ve been published before, I’d love to hear about your journey.

Holly Lauren is the author of TEMPUS, a Young Adult Science-Fiction Romance out now at and Barnes and Noble.

Why I can’t sleep after finishing ALLEGIANT.




I can’t sleep. It’s been 3 days since I finished Veronica Roth’s ALLEGIANT (the final installment in her DIVERGENT series), and I am still wrestling with it.

First I have to say that Four and Tris (Four-Tris, or fortress, when said together–did anyone else catch that?) are some of the best YA characters of our time. They are gritty and real and I can see them.

But I don’t think Roth does them justice in ALLEGIANT.

First let’s talk about Four. He is brave, smart, decisive, and loving. He doesn’t always say or do exactly what Tris wants him to, but that’s REAL. That’s also why I hate the turn he took in ALLEGIANT.

I think the Four who puts himself through his own fear landscape to sharpen himself would never be naive enough to team up with people like Nita behind Tris’s back. He isn’t that weak. The real Four would have rebelled against the label of ‘damaged’ by rising above it–not defining it with his own actions.

And all the lying to Tris again? Ah! It got so old.

Finally, I don’t think the decision to help Nita is consistent with Four’s biology. He tested Abnegation. His first instinct should have been selflessness. Even in his dauntlessness, he was always selfless. (Helping Al, pushing back against Eric’s tyranny, caring for Tris before he fell in love with her.)  I don’t understand the self-serving/selfish metamorphisis he took in ALLEGIANT. It plagues me. It’s inconsistent.

And, yes, I hate the way Tris died. No, I don’t hate that Tris died–but HOW she died? It seemed so anticlimactic. So pointless. Actually, it was selfish. Why not let Caleb redeem himself? Why not let Caleb do this one selfless thing? She had to be the hero? Tris craved an escape from the pain of life. Dying was not a selfless act for her. Living was.

Yes, we cared about the city of Chicago. But not nearly as much as we cared about Tris and Four. It would have been nice to have spent more time seeing what Tris died for. Instead we are left with a melancholy ending, bleak in its brevity, painful to read.

I hate to sound so negative, because I really did love this series. Roth did so many things right. I learned a lot as a writer by reading it. But this ending? It wasn’t an exclamation point at the end of an adventure. It was an ellipses. It left so much to be desired.

What do you guys think?

How to write a sequel.


Invite your friends over.
Give them snacks and beverages.
Get out your creative board.
Any character can die.
Any character can live.
Any character can be bad.
Any character can be good.
Any character can be both.

The TEMPUS sequel is 80% planned!


A snippet of TEMPUS.

From Chapter One of TEMPUS (and shortened for your quick perusal):

Using her desk for support, Chapel struggled to her feet. Her insides swirled, and her neck felt useless beneath the weight of her head. She shuffled over to Timmy. Her forearms trembled with the effort as she pushed his desk level to the ground.

She pulled her white tank top away from her chest and blew down the front, shaking her head at Timmy. “And you think I’m high maintenance,” she said.

Chapel jerked to her left before she understood why. She had heard a noise. It was a whoosh, soft and quick, like an exhale or a laugh. Her eyes fell on Isaiah Halstead. He was sprawled in his desk like he owned the place, a lazy gaze on Timmy, his lips closed over the lid of his pen. And he was just as handsome as everyone said—black-haired and shadow-jawed.

…”Isaiah?” The name sounded dread-soaked. Had he sighed? Had he moved? Something about him definitely looked different.

… Then three things happened at once. One, her insides gave a heaving quiver, signaling the episode was coming to an end. Two, she moved her knee to get closer to Isaiah and it popped against the tray of his desk. And three, Isaiah Halstead flinched.

… Then, like a faucet going from a tiny trickle to a roaring flow, time resumed, and Chapel found herself breathing heavily, knee smarting. Timmy’s desk kerplunked safely onto all four legs as if he’d never leaned back too far to begin with. And her head felt like she’d taken an extended ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl.

… “I—. Did you?” The space between her brain and mouth was malfunctioning.

Isaiah stood and slung his book bag over his shoulder. A thousand questions filtered through her mind. He’d been breathing. And moving. No one had ever moved before. 

But all she could manage was a hoarse, “Isaiah?”

He leaned over to her, his rough cheek catching at her hair as he whispered, “It’s Zay. You can call me Zay.” Then he was gone.



The Dream Cast of TEMPUS.

TEMPUS’s release date is right around the corner, and in honor of the momentous occasion, I went ahead and “cast” the actors I’d choose if TEMPUS were a movie.

Please Note: I understand the budget for said movie would have to be astronomical beyond belief to afford all the good-lookingness and talent depicted in this reel, but a girl can dream, right?