Guest Blog: Erin Lee

Notice to readers: Pretty Bones is now on sale for .99! 

A Crazy Ride: Buckle Up!

Thanks so much to Sassy Girls for allowing me to guest blog with them!

I’m Erin Lee, a USA Today Bestselling multi genre author and creator of Crazy Ink Publishing, LLC. I’ll try anything once and have made my fair share of mistakes and milestones since joining the world of indie four years ago. If I had one word to describe the world of indie publishing, it would be crazy. Ironically, and because I believe everything really does happen for a reason, I’m fortunate enough to have a background and brand behind me that allow me to define ‘crazy’ a little differently than most. To me, crazy is not a bad word. Instead, it symbolizes creativity, chaos, and a little bit of spunk. I wouldn’t want it—or my journey—to be any different.

While I haven’t come close to seeing it all, as a multi-genre, hybrid author and now publisher, I have had my share of experiences. I have made many mistakes along my messy path to bringing my words to readers. At the same time, I’ve been fortunate enough to have some great successes under my belt too. My point? I’m no different than you.
In my author group for Crazy Ink authors, I am happy to post rejection letters and share my mistakes as well as celebrate my successes. Like the company I run, I believe it takes learning from those mistakes to succeed. I will attempt to do the same here – to share with you the lessons I am learning along the way in an effort to make your journey a little smoother. I’d love to hear about your experiences and adventures too.

Before I get into my epic list of mistakes (upcoming blog) let me tell you a little about myself. This is the abbreviated version of my crazy life and the roads that led me to indie publishing. I come from a background that has led well to the path I’m currently on. In my first career, I worked as a journalist. This experience gave me the ability to write quickly and keep to tight deadlines. For this reason, I am able to release books often. At the same time, authors in the indie community have accused me of “flooding the market” because of how frequently I release. To me? Well, there is no such thing. I want my and my authors’ books out there. I want the brand seen and known. I am slowly learning that you can’t please everyone and life really does, like the Crazy Ink slogan reads, “take all kinds.” For me, the more quality material I am able to feed to readers, the better. Why wouldn’t I capitalize on an asset? It only seems logical to make the most of my ability to write quickly. My and my authors’ readers are hungry and I see no need to hold back the words and stories or tease them when they are what keeps the pens moving across the page.

Obviously, journalism was not where it ended. That was only my beginning. My second career was as a marketing director in a mental health agency. There, I learned about a different kind of “crazy.” It bothered me. There was stigma to the word and what surrounded it and I didn’t think it was fair. I wanted to remove the shame from the word. I wanted to do something important. I just didn’t fully know it yet. While I had enjoyed my work as a journalist, I was raising kids at the time and needed more stable hours than work at a daily newspaper as a beat reporter would afford. So, making the best of career two, I got to know the consumers who used the nonprofit agency as a resource to help them manage a variety of pretty severe pathologies. In listening to their stories and getting close-up perspectives on the struggles they faced in their daily lives, I became both fascinated and inspired. While I was gaining marketing skills I had no idea would one day lead to my starting my own crazy company, I wanted to do more than write brochures on suicide prevention. Instead, I found myself lingering in waiting rooms, getting to know clients and doing my best to offer pretty much unsolicited advice. It was the moments where a client would smile or laugh or thank me for listening that made me plan my next course of action.

In 2011, I enrolled in graduate school. Because I’ve always loved children and believe any mental illness impacts family units, I decided to specialize in family therapy. During my grad school interview, I was asked what the one client population I would not be able to work with would be. I said I could not work with sex offenders. Well? Everything happens for a reason. Now, as a home-based therapist specializing in at risk families, I work with families and kids from all walks of life who are generally court-appointed. About forty percent of my cases involve allegations of sexual abuse. These families are in crisis and risk being torn apart due to neglect, abuse, and other charges. It’s my job to “fix” the situation and place kids in safe homes. I can tell you, there is never any real fix. What I’ve learned from this experience is that you can only do your best: Something I apply to my publishing work now. Another lesson for the future I didn’t see coming. Life’s crazy like that.

These days, as a member of Crazy Ink Publishing, LLC, I am striving to take the skills I’ve learned in my former and current careers to celebrate life’s crazy ride. While I often write about real life cases and clients under the pen name EL George, I also enjoy escaping into fictional worlds where things aren’t so heavy. Frankly, it’s fun to take a bearded lady and turn her into a werewolf. #CircusFreakSeries. But in all honesty, my current passion is behind building the Crazy brand so that I can help both authors, mental health charities, and readers alike.

To have a solid business, you need a strong plan. But you need more than that. While it is my goal to treat every author’s book like it is my own and continue that pesky old “flooding the market” gig, I also have a bigger dream. As the company grows, I intend to donate part of its proceeds to mental health advocacy. While I miss my days as a beat reporter and many of the challenging client groups I have served, I have no intention of steering away from my roots of service no matter how quickly Crazy continues to grow. I know no other way than to be curious, to ask questions, and to try to help out where I can. Crazy and chaotic or not, it is just who I am and will continue to drive the decisions I make around CIP.

It is my hope that Crazy Ink will be a supportive, bully-free place where authors lift each other up and form a community where they can depend on one another. I can’t be everywhere at all times but do try to be available. I also can’t do the free therapy authors and readers alike often requested of me, but I can be a listening ear. I truly believe that, together, we can do something crazy fantastic and take our readers with us on this wild ride we call publishing!

When I’m not working with authors to get words into the world, I’m focused on my own books and the crazy research they often entail. From interviewing convicted murderers to touring funeral homes, I enjoy the research as much as I do the writing itself. Most recently, I released Pretty Bones – book one of a duet that will include its sequel, Boned. This one is by far my favorite. Check it out:

Pretty Bones
A Contemporary Coming of Age YA Novel
USA Today Bestselling Author Erin Lee
Paperback live now!

It’s complicated.

Marlow has always been fascinated with bones. To her, they’re no big thing and everything. Bones are things that everybody has – even the dead. Yet, they’re responsible for most of her problems.

The daughter of a mortician, Marlow has spent enough time with the cold bodies in the funeral home to be comfortable with the dead. In fact, the stiffs in the viewing room downstairs are some of her awkwardly-mute best friends. She certainly doesn’t have many of those at school. Not with her condition.

But things are about to change.

Tired of the daily scene at Kennedy High School, Marlow looks forward to her next bone density test where she’ll finally get answers about her condition. There, she hopes to learn more about idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis and the strand of it she has. With the right answers, she just knows the dead can help her. They have to. It’s not like they can object.

It’s simple.

Marlow has a plan.

What happens when the living and the dead collide?

Will the pretty bones be enough to change a life?

So there’s a little about crazy old me and how I got here. Blurb: I’ll try anything once and generally don’t live with a lot of regret. I believe in the community we are slowly beginning to form and am honored that authors have trusted me with their dreams, passion and words. I’d love suggestions for ways you’d like me to use this blog, topics you’d like to see, and any questions you may have. I will post frequently about pitfalls and successes along the way and wish you the best in your lives, reading and writing. Thanks for hopping aboard the Crazy Train. Buckle up!

Want to follow my work or learn more about Crazy Ink Publishing? We can connect in these places:

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