Posts Tagged ‘Trista Herring Baughman’

Helping Author Friends

By: Trista Herring Baughman

Occasionally, I witness a rallying call to support local businesses. It’s a nice gesture, one I’d like to see more often. I prefer to shop local when I can: farmers’ markets, locally-owned specialty stores, mom-and-pop restaurants, etc.

I don’t think authors generally come to mind when we speak of local small businesses, but they should. Indie authors, especially. Their books are their business. Writing, formatting, marketing, and publishing are all their responsibility.

When you write a book, it’s a part of you that you’re setting out into the world.  It isn’t as much about the money as it is impacting your readers. But money pays the bills and allows you to continue your writing passion, so there’s that.

It’s a common misconception that authors make tons of money. Well-known authors such as J.K. Rowling and R.L. Stine probably do. The majority of authors aren’t there, just yet. I don’t know many authors that earn enough to write books for a living.

Most self-publishing authors make more per book in royalties, but typically sell less.

Let’s say you self-publish a full-color, 32-page book on KDP and sell it for $7.99 (The minimum price is $6.08). $3.65 goes to printing. Estimated royalties are $1.14 per book; the rest goes to KDP.

You’ll have to sell many copies to get a decent paycheck. To sell many copies, you need a marketing plan, which, you guessed it, takes more money.

As you can see, your author friends could really use your help.

Whether your friends are traditional or indie authors, here’s a few simple ways to be supportive.

  1. Buy their books. This one seems obvious. When I released my first book, I was so excited. I shared it on social media and told all my friends. I even booked a few signings around my local area. I gave out a few complimentary copies to select friends and family who congratulated me and were excited for me. But only a handful of those actually bought a copy, shared my posts, or came to events. Less than a handful reviewed my book. You may be thinking, “Well, maybe your book sucks.” Don’t think I didn’t wonder that myself. But it doesn’t suck. I came to find out that other authors (amazing authors) had this exact same problem. I think family and friends simply don’t realize all the different ways they can help. So, if your author friend has a book, buy it for yourself or as a gift for someone you know. Books make great gifts for all occasions! You could even grab a copy for your local little free library!
  2. Share their website. Like, follow, and share their pages and posts on social media: Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, Instagram, etc. This will boost their visibility on these platforms and increase the chances of reaching more potential readers. Follow their blog, visit their website for updates. Leave a comment. All of these small things are huge to your author friends.
  3. Review and star their books. Did you like their book? Let someone know! Word of mouth is a great way to get more readers. Sites like GoodReads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble are great places to star and share reviews. It will only take up a little bit of time, even if you do all three! (No reason why you can’t copy and paste the same review). Five star reviews will help their book pop up in more search results. Think of it as a gift that keeps on giving.
  4. Add their books to your “reading” or “want to read” shelves on GoodReads. The more shelves their books are on, the more newsfeed they get into.
  5. Tell them personally what you like (or dislike) about their book. Authors need honest feedback! They will appreciate your praise or constructive criticism.
  6. Volunteer to be a beta reader. Beta readers read the book before anyone else and offer feedback. This may be notes on grammar errors or plot holes, or it could just be your overall opinion of the book. Before you offer to be a beta reader, get the details. How long is the book? Will you need to read the whole book or only part of it? When is the deadline? If you have the time, set a reminder on your phone so you won’t leave them hanging. If you think you won’t have the time, respectfully decline. Saying you will when you won’t is the opposite of helpful.
  7. Send some good old-fashioned snail mail. You can make an author’s day by writing to say what you thought of their book.
  8. Request a copy of their book at your local library and bookstore. If they already carry it, ask anyway! It may inspire the librarian or sales person to read the book themselves or recommend it to others. If enough people request a title, bookstores may order a few for their shelves.
  9. Go to their events. Show your support by stopping by with your copy of their book to book signings or festivals. There is nothing sadder than a book signing where no one shows up.

Whether you’re a writer yourself or not, you can do these things for your author friends. But there’s even more you can do if you are a writer, too.

Writers Helping Writers can…

  1. Interview your author friends for your blog.
  2. Review their books on your blog.
  3. Invite them to your writer’s group or start one with them.
  4. Carpool to a writer’s conference. This is a good way to network and learn valuable trade skills. It’s always nice to have a friend when learning.
  5. Host workshops to lend your expertise to fellow writers. Invite your writer friends.
  6. Mentor a new/struggling writer.

These are just a few ways to help your author friends. They are an excellent place to start. I think you will find that helping others will make you feel great, too!

Trista Herring Baughman

Trista Herring Baughman is a proud military wife and a homeschool mama.  She isthe author of The Magic Telescope. Her second book, Zombiesaurs, will be available soon at Barnes & Noble Press. You can find out more about her books on her website, or catch up to Trista on Facebook.


Sweet Success for Trista Herring Baughman

Hooray – the wait is over! Trista Herring Baughman’s third book, ZOMBIESAURS, just recently released. This scary, fun picture book is hand-illustrated by Trista and her sons, Robby (11) and Johnathan (8), and contains information on the prehistoric creatures depicted in the book. If you love zombies, dinosaurs, or spooky bedtime stories, this book is for you! Pick up a copy from Amazon.

Zombiesaurs, By: Trista Herring Baughman


In a jungle on an island that is way far out to sea…
Something’s waiting in the shadows,
Come and take a look with me.
Inside this book you’re going to find a terrifyingly spooky rhyme
It’s creepy, spine-tingling, one of a kind.
It may even keep you up past your bedtime.
Good night, sleep tight.
Don’t let the Zombiesaurs bite!

Trista Herring Baughman


Trista Herring Baughman is a star-gazing, pirate-loving, dinosaur digging, country girl, children’s author, and blogger. She grew up in Mississippi, where she met her high-school sweetheart. They are now married and have lived in Nebraska and Louisiana with their sons and critters. Visit Trista at and follow her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Darby Karchut

Sweet Success is coordinated by Darby Karchut who is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. Click here to submit your Sweet Success Story.

Sweet Success for Trista Herring Baughman

By: Darby Karchut

Hooray for Trista Herring Baughman. She is pleased to announce her children’s fantasy, THE MAGIC TELESCOPE, is back in print! This revised second edition contains the original illustrations by Eumir Carlo Fernandez and a new cover design. Get your copy today only at Barnes & Noble Press. Keep an eye out for her upcoming books including HALLOWEEN NIGHT AND OTHER POEMS (available now on Amazon), ZOMBIESAURS, and PiRATS.

The Magic Telescope cover


Seth has his heart set on a new Gazer 3000 telescope for his birthday, but receives a second-hand one instead. He’s disappointed until he accidentally discovers that this is no ordinary telescope. Join Seth and his cat, Sinbad, on an out-of-this-world adventure! Pick up a copy from Barnes & Noble.

Trista Herring Baughman


Trista Herring Baughman is a star-gazing, pirate-loving, dinosaur-digging country girl and children’s author. She grew up in Mississippi and has lived in Nebraska and Louisiana with her husband, sons, and critters. Visit Trista at and follower her on Facebook and Twitter.

Darby Karchut

Sweet Success is coordinated by Darby Karchut who is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. Click here to submit your Sweet Success Story.

Forget the Resolutions…

Set Goals Instead!

By: Trista Herring Baughman

As 2021 comes to a close and 2022 approaches, for many, it’s once again time for making New Year’s Resolutions: get fit, quit bad habits, get organized, spend less time on social media, and more time with loved ones, etc. These are noble ambitions, but I am not one of the many. I stopped making resolutions long ago. 

Although well-meant, my resolutions tended to be feckless aspirations. I suppose resolutions are a good starting point, but they aren’t enough. What I needed were goals. 

What’s the difference? I can track my goals and see the progress I have made. I assign smaller milestones for each objective; each milestone is time-bound. 

I don’t do this solely at New Year’s but throughout the year. I often re-evaluate goals to ensure they are still the right goals. Here’s a checklist to help form and maintain your goals. 

 Goal Evaluation Checklist

  • Is my goal specific?  If your goal is too general, too vague, you’re likely to wander around aimlessly–especially if you’re a list-maker like me.
  • Is my goal realistic?  Can you accomplish it in the given time? 
  • Why is this my goal?  Your why is very important. If you don’t want this, you will not succeed. Motivation is key. 
  • What is the deadline? Not every goal will have a deadline. However, giving a deadline helps with motivation. If I have only a certain amount of time to complete a task, I’m more likely to get it done. 
  • What is the consequence if I do not reach said deadline? What’s the reward if I do?  Didn’t finish your 1000 word per day writing goal? NO cookies for you! 
  • In which category does this goal belong? (daily/weekly/long-term) It helps to prioritize your goals. You want to make sure your top priorities–your big rocks–come first. You will want to check these often to ensure you stay on task.
  • What steps should I take to meet this goal? Smaller objectives to reach long-term goals are often more attainable. Baby steps!
  • Is this goal still relevant; should I adjust it? It’s ok for goals to evolve or change completely. You don’t want to be too wishy-washy, though, or it will defeat the purpose. 

For me, goals are exceptionally vital for writing. Think about some things you want to accomplish with your writing: getting your work out there, marketing your book, finding a literary agent, becoming a freelance writer–whatever you’re hoping to do as a writer–to help form your goals. Also, think of things you want to stop: procrastination, being too hard on yourself, etc. Doing so will help you formulate plans and construct manageable steps to ensure their realization. 

Your assignment? Take out your writing notebook and take that first step. Make your list of goals. 

 Goals to get you started: 

  1. Write daily. It doesn’t matter what you write–just do it. You can write your story outlines, character sketches, journal, or work on your current project. Set a writing goal of words per day. 1000 to 1500 words is a good start. Find time the best time to write and be diligent. Commit to finishing your projects. Give yourself deadlines and stick to them. 
  2. Learn to say “no”. Is Facebook calling your name? Look away! Neighbors and friends dropping by in your designated writing time to chat? It’s ok to say no. If you don’t take your writing seriously no one else will.
  3. Learn to say “yes”. Enter contests. Submit your work to magazines and send query letters. Self-publish. Start a blog. You don’t have to do it all, but pick a few things and say yes. Share your talent with the world. 
  4.  Prioritize. There’s a Chinese Proverb that says, “If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.” Choose your goals wisely and pursue one at a time. Multitasking is not always your friend. 
  5. Read more. At least half of your job as a writer is to read. Reading fuels your imagination and feeds your writing soul.  
  6. Travel. Nothing boosts your creativity like going to new places and experiencing new things. 
  7. Update your website and social media pages. Let your readers know about your current projects. Reply to comments on your posts, that sort of thing. 
  8. Stay positive. You won’t reach every goal on time every time. Don’t give up. Find some inspirational quotes to cheer you on. Print them and hang them near your workspace. 
  9. Enlist an accountability partner. Having someone to swap reads and edits with is a fantastic motivational tool. 

You don’t have to do it all at once. Consider your other obligations and choose three or four goals to start. Once you have your list, be sure to implement it. Now is as good a time as any to begin good habits. You can do this! 

Whether you’re smashing plates at midnight, watching the ball (or Moon Pie) drop, kissing your sweetheart, or something else, take time to reflect and to soak in the traditions. I wish you a very happy, productive, and blessed New Year on behalf of Pikes Peak Writers and myself.

Trista Herring Baughman

 Trista Herring Baughman is a proud military wife and a homeschool mama.  She isthe author of The Magic Telescope. Her second book, Zombiesaurs, will be available soon at Barnes & Noble Press. You can find out more about her books on her website, or catch up to Trista on Facebook.

Be a Magpie

By: Trista Herring Baughman

Or a Raven. Or a Rook. Even a crow. Any of the corvids will do.

These perspicacious creatures are said to be fascinated by shiny things.

Your ‘shiny things’ as a writer are ideas. Keep an ear and eye out for peculiar sayings, idiosyncrasies, uncommon names, and unique predicaments.

The best thing I’ve done for my writing lately (besides writing) is to get back in the habit of keeping a writer’s notebook, which is, I suppose, still writing.

Ok, I have more than one writing notebook. I actually have a notebook hoard, most of which I don’t write in; second rule of writing and all.  I keep a tiny notebook in my purse and another on my nightstand. I use these for jotting down snippets of conversation, interesting words, or those flashes of genius that reveal themselves subliminally.

When I’m out and about and have forgotten or misplaced my little notebooks, I have Trello*. Trello is awesome. You can access it from any device. I have a board for writing and separate ones for each project on which I’m working.  I can make checklists, add attachments and labels to things, etc. It keeps me very organized. Trello isn’t the only app out there for writers, but it’s my favorite so far. Bear, Just Write, Evernote, Scrivener are a few others, but there are tons.

I have a regular-sized notebook as well. I use this notebook for–well, notes. It has the same function as the other notebooks and Trello (I always like to have a hard copy of things; it is convenient to keep them in one place). If I take a class on writing, I write my outlines here. I also use it for mind mapping, diagrams, character sketches, storyboarding, and goal setting–anything and everything related to my writing endeavors. I use highlighters and lots of sticky notes. Flipping back through my notes,  I often come across great ideas that get my creative mojo in gear.

Sometimes I get carried away with all the shiny things; it’s hard to focus on just one-the one on which I should be working. I often work on more than one thing at a time That is why making a list of goals and prioritizing them is imperative. When I set deadlines for myself, I’m more likely to accomplish those goals.

Your notebook can be ordinary or fancy, paper or digital–it doesn’t matter! Get yourself a notebook and get into the habit of noticing things. You’ll be glad you did.

Here are a couple other resources on keeping a journal and collecting shiny words:

How to Keep a Writer’s Journal
The Best Writing Software

Trista Herring Baughman is a proud military wife and a homeschool mama to two handsome (if she does say so herself) sons. She is the author of The Magic Telescope. Her second book, Zombiesaurs, will be available soon at Barnes & Noble Press. You can find The Magic Telescope on her website, or catch up to Trista on Facebook.

19 Days ’til Halloween

By: Trista Herring Baughman

Countdown to the most spectacular time of the year-the Spooky Season crowning moment-has begun.  If I’m honest, it started last year on October 32nd. (Yes, that’s a thing. Didn’t you know? ;))

Take a deep breath. Do you smell that? The cool night air brings with it familiar scents; freshly fallen leaves, campfires, adventure — Ahh! — and pumpkin-spice everything! 

Your favorite creepy songs are on Spotify. Hocus Pocus is playing on some channel, somewhere, every night. The neighborhood is starting to look like a haunted forest. (Goblins and Witches and Ghosts! Oh my!) These Autumn tokens evoke the phobophilia (the love of fear) inside writers and movie watchers everywhere.

While not everyone enjoys a good horror movie or book this time of year, I think it’s safe to say most of us do. There are so many subgenres of Horror–Psychological, Killer, Monster, Paranormal–that can be further categorized into sub-subgenres. From slightly spooky to gory and disturbing, there’s something for everyone.

What is it about Horror that so many people love? What is so intriguing about menace and murder? And where might one find inspiration to write such stories? I have a few ideas.

Why we love Horror

Idea numero uno:

Curiosity. What makes a serial killer tick? Which characters will make terrible decisions and die? What would you do if you were in the same situation?  It’s like looking at that roadkill on the side of the road. (You know you’ve done it.)

Ask yourself the above questions when you’re crafting a scene to keep yourself on the right track. If you’re curious about what happens next, your readers will be. Of course, you will know the answers to these questions, but hopefully, you will keep them guessing. At least for a little while.

Idea number two:

Perhaps our love of Horror is more thrill-seeking in nature. We’ve all experienced an underlying need to prove ourselves to our peers or significant others at some point. For example, riding on one of those crazy carnival rides (that you were dared to ride). It spins you around until your guts creep up into your throat and threaten to spew all over the gyrating world below.  Fun times.

Or perhaps you find yourself on a date to see a scary movie. The lights are dim; the foreboding, anxiety-inducing music is playing. You know something awful is just around the corner and then BAM! It happens. Your date grabs your hand with a shriek. Talk about an adrenaline rush! Think about these things as you write. What makes your heart pound?

Idea three:

Could it be that we’re attempting to keep our feelings in check?

If you’re depressed or lonely, or even anxious, Horror can be a welcome distraction. Shifting the source of your anxiety can make you feel more in control. And who doesn’t have that one nemesis that they daydream about turning into a potato and gouging their despicable little eyes out with a fork? (No? Just me?)

Although it’s unlikely you possess the ability to turn someone into a spud, gouging their eyes out with a fork is doable. However, I must point out that this is frowned upon in most civilized societies. You’d likely end up in the looney bin.

That latent lynch-mob mentality lies deep within us all. Reading, watching, and especially writing Horror, allows one to “act” on their darker urges without physically acting on them.  Think of this as a form of release, if you will. And this is a terrific place for inspiration.  Take those forbidden desires, those impermissible longings, and transform them into a spine-tingling tale.

These are just a few reasons why we gravitate to Horror. I’m sure there are many. What are your reasons? What inspires you to write it? 

If your own experience is lacking, or you’re looking for inspiration to write horror, pick up a novel. There’s no better way to fill your creative psyche than to curl up with a good book. Dim your lights, leave that window slightly ajar so that your curtains billow eerily in the breeze. Now you’re ready.

Here’s a list of some well-known horror writers and their work to get you started:

  • Edgar Allan Poe – The Cask of Amontillado
  • W.W. Jacobs – The Monkey’s Paw
  • Stephen King – Secret Window, Secret Garden
  • Henry James – The Turn of the Screw
  • H.P. Lovecraft – The Call of Cthulhu
  • Bram Stoker – Dracula
  • Shirley Jackson – The Haunting of Hill House
  • Dean Koontz – Night Chills
  • Ray Bradbury – Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Neil Gaiman – Coraline
  • Clive Barker – Books of Blood

I hope I’ve given you some insight and inspiration. Happy Spooky season; don’t forget to check your backseat for serial killer contortionists.

Trista Herring Baughman is a proud military wife and a homeschool mama to two handsome (if she does say so herself) sons. She is the author of The Magic Telescope. Her second book, Zombiesaurs, will be available soon at Barnes & Noble Press. You can find The Magic Telescope on her website, or catch up to Trista on Facebook.