Ava Jae

Obsessive writer. Insatiable reader. Perfectionistic Artist.

I Will No Longer Be Commenting on Fan Casts & Here’s Why


Every week or so, I get one of two emails. Someone is either asking when a movie will be made of my books or who I’d cast in the said possible fictional movie of the books. 

I love movies. I love fangirling. It’s a part of who I am. And I am so, so sincerely happy that you guys care enough about my books to want to see them spread into other mediums. 

But I’m going to quit commenting on these posts—at least for a bit—and here’s why:

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"Believing that you are unworthy of love and belonging or that who you are authentically is a sin or is wrong, is deadly." - It Got Better featuring Laverne Cox (x)

(Source: stewarter, via yahighway)

new book news!!



(link here)

hiiii guys! i’m so excited to be able to finally share this news! writing this book was like penning a love letter to all my favorite childhood stories; it’s an overdue acknowledgment that, for me, middle-grade fiction is where the real magic began: in a secret garden; a wardrobe; a cupboard under the stairs. it’s the most fun i’ve ever had writing a novel, and i can’t wait to share it with everyone.

and don’t worry — this doesn’t mean i’m done with young adult novels! there’s still so much more to come! <333 

but until then — a little more about FURTHERMORE?

Once upon a time, a girl was born. It was rather uneventful.
Her parents were happy enough: the mother glad to be done carrying it; the father glad to be done with the mystery of it all. But then one day they realized that their baby, the one they’d named Alice, had no pigment at all. Her hair and skin were white as milk, her heart and bones as soft as silk. Her eyes alone had been spared a spot of color: only just clinging to the faintest shade of honey. It was the kind of child her world could not appreciate.
Ferenwood had been built on color. Bursts of it, swaths of it, depths and breadths of it. Its people were known to be the brightest — modeled after the planets, they’d said — and young Alice was deemed simply too dim, even though she knew she was not. 
Once upon a time, a girl was forgot.
Twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow has only three things in the world that matter: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; triplet brothers, who never knew her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him, so some said he’d gone to measure the sea. Others said the sky. The moon. Maybe he’d learned to fly and had forgotten how to come back down. But it’s been almost six years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other. No matter the cost.
It’s a kind of fairytale, a story where magic is a must, adventure is inevitable, and friendship is found in the most unexpected places.
i really hope you like it!

hugs and hugs,


But the cruelest thing you can do to an artist is tell them their work is flawless when it isn’t. It gives them no incentive to improve or try new things, which a creative person must always strive to do.

— Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw (via roconza)

(via thewritingcafe)

the problem

  • fanwriter: *racebends classic character*
  • fanwriter: *genderflips classic character*
  • fanwriter: *creates a queer headcanon*
  • white dudes: GROSS WHAT THE FUCK NO HOMO
  • professional writer: *creates original narrative featuring prominent female, POC and/or queer characters*
  • professional writer: *tells true story featuring prominent female, POC and/or queer characters*
  • feminism: *points out the overwhelming number of straight white male protagonists and creators, argues in favour of diversity*
  • literally everyone: ...

Writability: How to Build an Online Platform: Twitter

So I’ve been doing this social media thing for a little over three years now, and it semi-recently occurred to me, after a couple people commented at RT14, that I guess I’m semi-sort of okay at it?

I don’t know you guys, I hadn’t really given it much thought until recently.

Occasionally I’ve had people ask me how I got so many Twitter followers/blog views/etc., so I figured I’d share what I know in a couple convenient blog posts. And really, all I know is what worked for me. Your mileage may vary.

Okay? Okay.

So I was going to include all the social media sites I use in one post…but I quickly realized that’d be a ridiculously long post. So I’m splitting it up! Look for more of these in the future. :)

Today’s focus is Twitter! 

  • Twitter birthday: April 10, 2011 (3.3 years, as of this writing). 
  • Followers: Roughly 2.2kish as of this writing. 
  • Time spent weekly: Way too much (read: all the time). (Can’t actually count because…yeah). 

So Twitter was the very first social media venture I started with, and thus the one I have the most experience with. In many ways, it was the scariest (because OMG I’m online now), but I quickly learned that Twitter is actually ridiculously fun and addictive.


    • Getting a ton of followers isn’t the point. What you want are followers who engage with you and genuinely pay attention to and like what you have to say, so that they share your content and remember you. I don’t automatically follow anyone who follows me, but I do follow anyone who fits into this criteria. And it’s how I’ve made some awesome Twitter friends.

    • Be yourself. I follow some people who swear. I follow some people who talk politics and religion. I follow some people who scream in all caps about the next Sherlock episode and rage about whether or not Korra and Mako should be together. 

      Guess what? You’re going to lose followers for being yourself, but it doesn’t matter. Again, you don’t want followers for the sake of having followers—you want people who genuinely like you and what you say. So say whatever you want to talk about and be yourself and you’ll get genuine connects with people who genuinely like you. And that’s pretty awesome.
    • Be professional. This may sound like the opposite of the last point, but it’s not—you can be yourself without being rude or burning bridges pretty easily. If you’re a writer, it means not raging about rejections or screaming about the evil publishing gods or badmouthing industry people (or people in general, really). Be nice. Be polite. And still be you. (TL;DR: Don’t be a jerk, okay?) 

  • Reciprocate. Eventually, the day will come where people share your stuff. I generally advise you pay attention to people who frequently share your tweets and see what content they share—you may very well find you like what they have to say, too. 

    I try to make a point of saying thank you to people who share my tweets, but lately it’s become ridiculously difficult to thank everyone because…it adds up quickly and quite frankly, I don’t always have the time to catch up. 

    But! Before you reach that point, I totally recommend you take the time to say thank you (and even after you reach that overwhelming point, do your best). It’s a great way to connect with people, and it’s a nice thing to do. Like I said before—be nice.


This month my life took a detour through Stress City and I have been neglecting the internet. I really owe a good post to you kind folks, and rather than blogging about my cat’s excessive diarrhea, instead I think I’ll talk about something that is the source of many questions in my inbox: How authors get paid.

When you say you’re a writer at a party, people will either find this interesting, or back away from you like you just told them you lick dead squirrels, because a person who licks dead squirrels and a person who wants to write as a profession are generally the same degree of sane. However, once you are published and have gone through those doors, and some Very Important Someone in some Very New York City Office has deemed you passable, the tone changes. Now everyone wants to know how much money you make, if you need a second job, if you’re living off a trust fund, if you’re living in a van down by the river.

Mostly, people think you’re a millionaire, however uncommon that may be. So let’s talk this out. Keep in mind that there is NO guarantee the newly-sold author will make any particular amount of money. I know people who make four figures, and I know people who make seven, and I know a great many more who fall somewhere in between. There are a LOT of numbers between four figures and seven, after all.

Let’s say that your agent has just sold your manuscript to Joe Big Deal Publisher. Congrats! They are paying you an advance of $100,000! That’s good money. That’s more than the average American annual salary, according to the US Census Bureau. Awesome!

You and your agent have a partnership. For facilitating the sale, making sure your contract is fair and to your standard, and holding your hair back while you vomit, your agent will receive 15% of that advance. This leaves $85,000 for you. That’s still pretty sweet. Don’t buy a boat, but it’ll more than cover your rent and you’ll still be able to pay Sarah McLachlan off so she’ll make the sad animals on your TV go away.

Now, this next part is where the publishing experience varies: Payout. For the sake of keeping things simple, I’ll tell you how the standard payout goes for my publishers.

There are three tiers to your payout. After your agent has received her 15%, leaving you with a formidable $85,000, the payment is cut into thirds, and they are paid out as follows:

1.) Execution. You get $28,333 just for signing the contract. Whoohoo! Go drink some wine and call that snot Sally Hencher from middle school who called you pizza face in gym class. Tell her $28,333 can buy a lot of pizza.

2.) Delivery and Acceptance. Once your manuscript is sold, it needs to be edited. After you and your editor have completed this process (which may take a couple of months or so), the publisher deems the manuscript publishable and accepts it. Another $28,333 for you. You go, Glen Coco.

3.) Publication. Your book is published. $28,333. Just like that. Tada!

Now that your book is on the shelf, you probably want to know what you get per sale. You were paid an advance of $100,000. That means your publisher believes your book will make back that money and then some, and they don’t owe you or your agent a dime until they’ve earned back the money they’ve just invested in you.

I won’t get into the complexities of how bookstores purchase books from publishers or what happens when books get returned, because frankly it’s so confusing that I lose track of it myself. Let’s just say, for simplicity’s sake, that your book is available in hardcover for $15 and that your publisher receives 5% of each sale. The rest of that money goes to the retailer and whoever else got your book from point A to B. That’s $.75 in your publisher’s pocket. So that means your publisher has to sell 133,333 copies of your book before you start to receive a percentage of sales. These are known as royalties. So hang on to your advance and don’t spend it all in one place.

Now let’s talk about everyone’s favorite factor: How much The Federal Government gets off of your book! Aka taxes! Okay, calm down, stop jumping up and down like a kid going to Disney Land. I know this is exciting but we need to concentrate.

Let’s assume your book was executed, accepted and published in the same year (this is not likely, but again, for simplicity’s sake because math is stupid). According to the Federal Tax Brackets if you make $85,000 in one year, your federal taxes are going to be 28% of that. That’s a quarter of your advance, leaving you with $63,750. This is, of course, before state taxes. Those vary by region, so you’d have to look yours up by state. Here where I live in CT it’s 6%, so let’s go with that. Now you’ve got $56,100. Okay, still more than half. Really not bad for a year’s salary, especially if you also have a day job and/or a roommate/spouse/eccentric aunt contributing to the bills.

But writing a book is also considered owning a small business. Yep. That means whether you repair cars, shingle roofs, or write a book, it’s all the same category to the state. Again, this varies by region and contains so many variables that I won’t drive you nuts with the specifics. Here is a resource to get you started on that. It can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. For the sake of this post, we’ll leave it out and call your total a solid $56,100. Referring to my average US salary link, this falls to the low-middle end of the American average salary. About as much as you could make doing a number of other jobs that typically require some kind of degree. Not terribly exciting for the inquisitive party guests, I’m afraid. So when people ask writers how much we make, now you know why a great lot of us shrug and say, “It’s a living.”

ETA: As someone pointed out, my math was off on the state tax. The state tax of 6% should be deducted from the $85k. I’ve amended the total to the correct amount. Math is hard.

Romance writers do what they love, and they get paid for it. They hone their craft, like any other writer. They value their work, and they speak with an honest voice, telling the stories that they want to tell. I can’t imagine anything more feminist.

It’s Tuesday vlog time! Today I’m talking about a lesson learned from the fantastic Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo: how to write strong secondary love interests featuring Nikolai Lantsov and the Darkling.