Saturday, February 25, 2017

Alone in Paris Book Trailer

   Here is the book trailer for Alone in Paris!

 I know it is just a slideshow but this is my first try at really working on a trailer for one of my books. I hope it looks all right! Here is the link to it on YouTube and my YouTube Channel:

My YouTube Channel:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Advantages of Self-Publishing

   I have self-published 2 books now and I wanted to share some advantages of self-publishing with you guys now that I feel that I have enough experience. Sometime down the line, I will write disadvantages to self-publishing as well so you can decide the best route for yourself.

 You basically have total say in the book cover. This does come out of your own time and pocket. I would not recommend making your own unless you have experience and can make the cover look professional and realistic. It is better to search for a really good cover designer. These can be hard to come by but I have found a few by taking the time to search.

 You basically have total say in the format of your book. This also comes out of your own time. Formatting your book is just as time consuming as revising. It takes a lot of time to decide on what looks best and what matches the theme of your book. Fonts, paper dimensions and headers take up a lot of time and can be frustrating.  

 You get most of the royalties. Usually by self-publishing an author can get anywhere between 60% to 90% of the royalties. Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing gives you about 90%. This was a pretty big part of it for me because I wrote the book, revised, revised, and revised it some more, so I wanted to get most of the money because I put in a lot of work. I'm not saying that traditional publishers don't put in a lot of work; I'm only saying that I did not want to be paid in advances for my books. I wanted to try my hand at self-publishing to see how I would like it and to test the waters to see how much I could make on my own.
 It's been an eyeopening experience.

 You are responsible for revisions/editing. Revising is a hassle, I know. It is probably the #1 thing I hate because I struggle to delete unneeded parts. But I have complete control of what I want to delete and change. I am completely open to criticism, so I always send my books to my beta reader to see what she has to say about parts of my book and then I go back to fix them before sharing it with her again. But if I feel like something is too important to delete, I try to find a way to make that part better instead. 

 No deadlines. You can take your time finishing your book to make it as good as it can be. If you're writing a series, then this should be very important to you. Life often gets in the way of our plans to write, so it can take a while to finish writing a book and then revising it several times. All of these things are very time consuming. Having a deadline can pressure us to just write, whether it is good material or not.

 All of these are reasons why I self-published. It doesn't mean it's for everyone. I hope one day I will get a book published traditionally, just to get the experience.

Can you think of any more advantages? Leave a comment down below!

Friday, February 17, 2017

First YouTube Vlog Where I Talk About Alone in Paris

    Here is an awkward video of me telling you guys about Alone in Paris in video-form!

 I was so nervous filming this video that I had to take separate videos so I wouldn't stumble over my words lol. I enjoyed filming it despite being super self-conscious while I filmed this 45 second video. I hope to do more YouTube videos in the future but my videos don't look so great when I film them on my phone and I don't have a video recorder. We'll see. If I step into the YouTube community, it will be to share writing tips/advice. Let me know what you think of this in the comments!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What I Do When I Can't Write....

   What I do when I can't write.... I'm going to be telling you guys a lot today.

 I don't like it when I can't write. Now, I'm not talking about not being able to write because to every writer's good ol' pal writer's block. And I'm not talking about when you have to miss a day or two of writing because of a busy schedule.

 Oh no. I'm talking about not being able to write for weeks - sometimes months. Yeah, I know you cringed too.

 I'm a college student entering my second year of classes. I'm also a college student that is transferring colleges as soon as Spring 2017 is over. By June, I'll probably be in Colorado. Between now and then, I have to survive my classes, pack up my house because my family is moving too, get my grades and transcripts all figured out and ready at this new college, and get everything settled at my new college. I have to sign up for classes and such from across the country and make sure all of my classes apply to this new school. Talk about stress.

I quit one of my jobs a few months ago in the hope that by having one job and three classes, I would have time to write and pack between the work. NOPE.

 Two months in to this semester and I'm slowly going crazy because the only form of writing I've been able to do is in my journal and blogs. And where is the fun in writing about myself and my problems? I want to write about someone that fights dragons, and I don't fight dragons or wield any sort of weapons for dragon fighting for that matter.

 But I do on paper. When I write, the main character is always me and I'm always a badass. But when I'm out in the normal world too much, I don't feel like a badass. I want to have a balance of being in the normal and fictional world.

 Sometimes I want to write so much that it's physically painful when I can't. I don't have an hour to sit down and create new characters and new settings and a new book. And it breaks my heart.

 I want to get back to writing. NOW. I want a way to relieve all this stress and worry and put it into my writing.

 These are all the things I want to do this year and now I'm starting to worry that I won't be able to get through half of them. Yes, I have time over this summer to write and edit. BUT I WANT TO WRITE NOW!!!

 My goal after spring break is to start on item #1. Editing isn't the same as writing, but it's something. And I'll take anything that has to do with my own books right now.

So yeah, that was my blow up. I'm cool now and ready to go to my next class to take a quiz so I can keep moving forward to get to spring break. I'm determined to start back on writing after spring break. Maybe even over spring break, I don't know. I'm going to California to visit a friend and she might not like it if I split my time between her and my manuscript lol.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Alone in Paris BLOG

   Hey guys! I have some news. Not big news, but news.

 I started an Alone in Paris blog so you guys have one place to go to look at anything involving Alone in Paris. Here is the link,

 And now I'm going to tell you a little bit about it. So I came up with the idea to start a blog for Alone in Paris about 4 hours ago, while I was procrastinating. I'm supposed to be studying right now. I'm struggling to focus. I'll study for my quiz eventually, don't worry.

 But anyway, I came up with the idea thanks to #authorlifemonth. I've been actively posting on Instagram to get connected with you all and to inform you about my writing/author journey. It's been fun and I have 16 more days to go so the fun isn't over yet! But since I'm doing #authorlifemonth, I got the idea to make a blog that only involves things for AIP. Nothing super fancy, but fun nonetheless.

 Anything that has to do with AIP will be posted to this blog. Pictures, collages, snippets, quotes, chapters, and the book trailer I plan to release at the end of this month will all be posted to this website. Everything you need to know about AIP will be on this website is basically what I'm saying.

 I hope you all enjoy this new addition to Alone in Paris. Thank you all for the support and I hope you guys have fun with this!

Here is the link one more time:

Enjoy bookworms!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Chapter One: The Romantic Streets of Paris

   This is the first chapter of Alone in Paris. Enjoy!

Chapter One: The Romantic Streets of Paris

 The streets of Paris are crowded. Because of this, I don’t want to stay long. People surround the marketplace on the corner as I walk by. I dodge and weave through the horde of tourists, careful not to touch, or bump anyone as I walk by. The owner of the market is yelling in French. I don’t understand most of what he shouts, only catching the words fruit, vegetables, and fresh.
   Being so confined around all these people is making my heart race. There is barely enough space between the bodies for me to get through. People are talking over each other as they try to push their way closer to the market. I flinch away whenever someone gets too close to knocking into me.
   Just one more block, I tell myself. My hands are twitching at my sides, tempted to push and shoulder my way through the crowd just to reach the other side. It’s nearly impossible to see beyond the cluster to know where it ends. I just want to make it through before I have a panic attack.
   I finally break through the last of the people, thankfully without being touched or shoved. I let out a long, shaky sigh and run my sweaty hands down my jeans. I hate leaving my apartment. Always have, and always will.
   It’s another block before I reach my destination, but when I push open the door to the bookstore, I’m filled with relief. The bell above the door chimes, announcing the arrival of a customer as I step inside. A woman looks up from behind a heavy, wooden desk that is off to the side of the shop. She smiles at me before making her way to me. I smile back weakly.
   “Are you looking for anything in particular?” she asks when she reaches me.
   “No, just browsing,” I tell her, lying through my forced smile. We stand there in awkward silence for a long moment until I finally walk away. Once I’m out of sight, I let the fake smile fall from my lips.
   The store is empty of anyone else but the owner and me, giving me full-range to wander. I take in the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, walking until I come to the CLASSICS shelf. I begin scanning the spines of the books, quickly reading their titles before letting my eyes continue to wander.
   My search ends when the title, Jane Eyre, stares back at me. I pick it off the shelf and flip through the pages. I was obsessed with the book in high school, reading it several times to grasp every detail. Every word added to the mystery of the plot. I missed reading it.
   But I can’t have it.
   I may never get to read every word the book holds in its pages again.
   “Have a good day,” the lady calls from behind her desk as I make my way to the exit, only to be overwhelmed by the crowd again.
   “Thank you,” I answer in a small voice.
   After pushing my way back through the crowd, I make a sharp right to walk down an alley. When I come to the end of the alley, I make a left and then pass three iron staircases before walking up the fourth. I glance around before opening the door.
   Once inside, I turn and immediately lock the door. With a sigh, I close my eyes and lean against it. I made it.
   Pushing off the door, I walk into the main entrance and up the creaking staircase. The banisters are crooked with cobwebs in between the balusters. The paint is cracked and chipped away in numerous places here and there. A thick coating of dust also covers the railing. My nose wrinkles at just the thought of running my hand over it.
   The old complex has five floors, and my apartment is at the very top. Though there is an elevator, I never dared to trust it. I’m willing to take my chances with the creaky stairs, even though the steps are rotten, old, and rickety.
   I turn left when I reach the top and walk to the end of the hallway—to the last door on the right. I head straight for my bedroom when I walk in, passing right by the kitchen and the bathroom right across from it, without so much as glancing inside. I have a tiny living room, too, with a beat-up sofa.
   I push my bedroom door open and head straight for my window seat, where I intend to stay for the next few hours; settled into the old, dusty cushions as I read. I did not have anything new to read or Jane Eyre, but I will gladly read what I have because it is better than nothing. I glance out the window and down at the street, where I had just come from. People still clutter the sidewalks, chatting and walking, barely taking in their surroundings.
   I go to my collection of books that I have piled beside the rocking chair, analyzing each one as I think about what I’m in the mood to read. I have read each one front-to-back more than once. Though I am grateful to have found them, knowing each one by heart took away the excitement and wonderment of the story they held.
   I settle on Tuck Everlasting before going back to my bench seat. The old book smell hits me when I open the pages.
   I read the words slowly as I sink into the story. I become part of the book. I become part of every book I read, making it seem like I belong in every reality, not just my own.
    I can sink into a story like I belong in it—like I’m meant to be part of it. Since I’m alone, there isn’t much else to do but slip into another reality.

Night has settled over Paris. The streets have cleared of the crowds, and the city has been lit up. I set my book down, deciding to go for a walk. The Eiffel Tower is only a few blocks away. Now that there aren’t many people out, I can walk there without having to fight my way through mobs of gawking tourists.
   Once downstairs, I glance out the window by the door to see if anyone is in the alley. I never use the front door. The apartment complex has been abandoned for years, and it should still be abandoned. I’m trespassing, so I can’t let anyone see me walking out. I can’t let anyone find me living here.
   When I’m sure no one is around, I open the door and step out into the cool night. The barren alley is dark and intimidating as I try to find my way to the street. It isn’t until I make a right that I can see again. The light from the street is visible at the end of the alley.
   I head in the direction of the Eiffel Tower when I exit the alley, relieved to be out of the dark. I stay to the far side of the sidewalk, even though there are few people out. As I pass restaurant and café windows, I glance inside to see busy servers and chatty customers. Most people are partying or having dinner—that’s why no one else is walking the streets.
   I walk down a few more blocks until I’m standing in front of the tower. It’s lit up, brightening up the cloudy sky with its spectacular lights. No moon or stars are visible, leaving people to appreciate the tower’s beauty while the clouds hover above the nine hundred, eighty-six-foot tower.
   There are only a few people scattered around the park, most strolling under the four arches. I turn to face the nearly-empty park.
   Across the park is an overgrown vegetation that hides a small iron gate. Beyond the iron gate holds one of my most precious hiding places. There is almost never anyone here. As I push back the overgrown hedges, I think of The Secret Garden. This place is just as mysterious and magnificent, if not more special.
   I click open the gate and step into the small park.
   String lights twinkle in the trees, illuminating the small pond with gold flakes that remind me of stars. The water is flat—smooth like glass. It would be as dark as the sky if it weren’t for the lights on the trees. A bench rests under the trees, half hidden in the overgrown willows all around the park.
   I walk over to the pond and sit at the edge with my knees pulled to my chest. I look down at my reflection in the water to find my blue eyes staring back at me. My long brown hair rests on my shoulders, warm and soft. I reach up and twirl a strand around my finger.
   I sigh, letting my hand fall, tempted to touch the still water instead—to make it ripple. I stare at the small lights that shine around my reflection and at the image of the Eiffel Tower that looms above me in the pond. I turn my eyes to the illuminated structure above me. No matter how many times I look at it, I never get tired of the sight.
   I reach out, allowing a single finger to touch the surface of the water. It ripples under my touch. The lights shimmer as the tiny waves flow across the water, faintly blurring my lonely reflection in the process.
   Lonely. My heart grips as the word crosses my mind. So many different feelings come with the word, not just loneliness. The word went beyond its definition. Loneliness has a deeper meaning to those who truly know what it means to be alone.

I’m lying on my back in bed, staring up at the spider-web infested ceiling as the sound of my demanding stomach fills the room. I doubt I have enough money for food, but my stomach is not listening to reason.
   I sigh as my stomach rumbles hungrily again, before jumping up and going over to the window. It’s late afternoon; the streets are busy again, but I’m tired of being cooped up in my small apartment.
   I push away from the window and grab my worn messenger bag from the rocking chair that’s in the corner. I speed down the stairs and out of the building though I have no idea where I’m headed.
   I pause at the end of the alley, hesitating as I take in all the people. My stomach growls again, giving me the push I need to head into the crowd.
   After wandering for several blocks, I catch the beautifully sweet scent of fresh croissants. My stomach growls again, and I quietly groan for one of the pastries. I look up across the road and into the bakery’s window. The sight and scent makes my mouth water and stomach rumble.
   I touch the messenger bag at my waist, wondering if I have enough for at least one small pastry. I quickly discard the thought before my stomach can growl again.
   Doubting I have the money, I tear my eyes away from the window and force my legs to carry me away. Having no destination in mind, just knowing I have to get away from the delicious, fresh, mouthwatering pastries that call: Come back! Eat us! We’re delicious!
   I don’t know how far I walk before I decide to stop, but when I do, I’m hit with the need to sketch the scene in front of me. A little florist cart sits between an ice cream shop and a clothing store. A woman in her late fifties is tending to the flowers around her cart.
   This is what I want to sketch, I decide, taking a seat on a bench just across the street. I take my sketchbook out of my messenger bag and begin. I sit there for who knows how long as I capture the light of the sun on the flowers, and the joyful looks on little kids as they walk out with their ice cream cones.
   I can tell I’ve been sitting in one place for a long time by the stiffness in my muscles, but it doesn’t seem like all that much time has passed before my masterpiece is finished.
   “Excuse me, young lady,” an old, frail voice comes from behind me. I jump, turning to find the owner of the voice. A man in his late sixties is staring down at me with a pleasant smile. I don’t bother to force a smile as I stand with the intention to leave. He holds up a hand to stop me, then, once he has my attention, points to my sketchbook. “You are quite talented. May I?”
   I hesitate, looking down at the book in my hand, then at him again. I finally hand it over with the thought that if he wanted to steal it, the old man wouldn’t be able to get far. He looks back down at my sketch for a few long moments as I impatiently shift my weight from foot to foot. He finally looks up at me, his eyes glistening.
   “It’s my wife’s birthday today, and she loves art,” he tells me. “May I buy this from you to give to her?”
   My hand subconsciously moves to my demanding stomach. How much is he willing to pay for an amateur drawing? Right on time, my stomach quietly growls, and I decide that I don’t care. I just need enough money to buy a pastry to quiet my stomach.
   I nod in agreement. The old man rummages around in his pocket for a moment before handing me a ten. My eyes almost bulge.
   “Thank you,” he says just before walking off. I turn and watch him cross the street to speak with the florist. She hands him a single red rose before he shimmies into the ice cream shop.
   I watch through the window as he stops at a table—where a woman about his age sits, reading a book. He taps her on the shoulder before handing her the rose. A wide, happy smile spreads across her face. He hands her my sketch next. She stares down at it for a long moment, before standing to hug her husband. The whole scene is sweet.
   I watch them for a while longer before jumping up to march down to the bakery for something to eat.

 Hope you enjoyed the first chapter of Alone in Paris!

Alone in Paris is currently available for pre-order on Kindle:

Friday, February 3, 2017

Writing a Query Letter

   When I'm ready to send my book out to publishers, I write 2 different letters; one for literary agents and one for publishers/editors. However, I keep the synopsis for my book the same in both letters. I only change the opening lines. I try to sound professional while also going straight to the point.

 Below are samples of the queries I wrote.

 Writing a query letter is difficult and it takes time, so don't get discouraged. It takes me forever to write a query letter, and even when I'm done, I don't feel like it's good enough. These are just some samples, you can tweek it however you'd like. Make it your own!

Query for Agents:


I am seeking representation for (TITLE OF BOOK), a YA contemporary romance (INSERT YOUR OWN GENRE HERE) of approximately (WORD COUNT)-words.


I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your time and consideration

Ashley Earley

Reliable phone number: (INSERT PHONE NUMBER)

Query for Publishers:


(PUBLISHING HOUSE NAME) has a proud history of publishing quality romantic fiction (INSERT THE GENRE YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HERE) and I am submitting my YA contemporary romance novel (AGAIN, INSERT YOUR OWN GENRE HERE), (TITLE OF BOOK) for your consideration.


I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your time and consideration

Ashley Earley

Reliable phone number: (INSERT PHONE NUMBER)

Query I used for Alone in Paris:

Dear (AGENT),

I am seeking representation for Alone in Paris, a YA contemporary romance of approximately 60,408-words.

Breathe, Taylor.

Taylor Clay's family isn't exactly perfect. They may look the part with the nice, big house and her dad's fancy job, but that's what's tearing them apart. That, and her dad's sudden recurring drinking problem.
Though her family is close to falling apart, she never wished for something like this to happen. She never wished for her father to drive off a bridge. Especially not while they were on vacation; especially not when her and her mom were in the car with him at the time.


She's devastated after the fact. And it isn't helping that the papers are gossiping about how the pristine lawyer could have driven off the bridge on purpose. And just when she thinks nothing could possibly make things worse, she realizes she's left alone with no relatives to care for her.
So she's alone. Her parents are dead. And she's stuck in the country her family was visiting for their vacation. She's alone in Paris.

Just breathe.

Then Nathan walks into the picture. Funny, snarky, persistent, and sometimes, just flat out rude, he annoys Taylor to no end. He won't leave her alone, but Taylor doesn't know whether or not she should push him away.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your time and consideration

Ashley Earley

Reliable phone number:

Be sure to pay attention to the guidelines that literary agents and publishers require when you query them. They will give you a specific amount of pages or chapters that they want from your book, they might ask for a bio, and may ask for a few other things. Carefully read over what each agent asks for. Every agent and publisher is different, and therefore, want different things.

Good luck!! <3