Job Hunting Is Hard, Guys!

Hello everyone!

It’s time for another life update. I’m in a weird bubble at the moment. I graduated last month with my MS in Book Publishing. I was super psyched about it—obviously—and I’m quite proud that I accomplished that goal—again obviously—but now I’m in a bit of a pickle. Two and a half-ish years after I quit my full-time job at MLFA in Eagle River and four and a half-ish years since I last looked for a full-time job, I’m back trying to find another one.

And guess what I forgot in my years away from the hunt?

Job hunting is hard, guys!

I did it a bit before I graduated—and landed an interview!—but then stopped for my family vacation, so I started over two weeks ago. I’ve since applied to numerous jobs, emailed a bunch of companies that didn’t have “Jobs” listed anywhere on their website to see if they have openings, and got rejected from more places that I want to mention.

Trying to find jobs that match my skills, spending all this time crafting cover letters, and redoing my resume to match the companies’ needs takes forever. And then there’s the waiting…the waiting is agony. Of course I don’t wait for the companies to get back to apply to another position—simultaneous applications all over the place!—but still, the waiting for companies to get back is crazy. I know that companies have different timetables than applicants do. I know they have a bunch of stuff on their end and other tasks might take priority. I get it, really, and I try not to be sitting on pins and needles for each application, but that’s hard not to do.

So I was pleasantly surprised that after applying to a job (with HANK AND JOHN GREEN! *falls over*) over the weekend, they had a little note saying they’d get back to the applicants by July 15 and if we hadn’t heard anything, assume we didn’t get past this first bit. This is so thoughtful it just made me want to work for them even more and if I’m ever in the position to be hiring someone, I hope to be able to do the same. I’m super excited about this particular job though, so I hope to land a second interview with them! Until then, I’m going to keep applying to ALL THE JOBS (that seem appropriate and interesting, which is a whole different thing smashing around in my brain) and keeping my fingers crossed that I land something sometime soon.

TL;DR – Job hunting is hard, but I’m excited about the possibility of working with Hank and John Green.

Do you have any sage advice about looking for a full-time job? Leave a comment!

I hope you’re having a lovely day!
Warm regards,



Graduating From Ooligan Press

Two years ago I uprooted my life and moved to Portland, Oregon, in order to pursue a Master’s of Science in Book Publishing from Portland State University. This weekend I’m graduating from that program and moving on to the next chapter of my life. It’s exciting. It’s wonderful. It’s something I’m proud to have accomplished. And…it’s also a little sad.

I loved my time here at PSU, especially at Ooligan Press, the student-run publishing house attached to the program that grad students have to be a part of in order to get their degree. Ooligan has been such an experience. I’ve learned so much working with Abbey, Per, Kathi, and the other professors here, who I’m happy to call mentors and even friends. I’ve learned so much working with my fellow students, too, and the class of 2016 has formed a merry little band that I’ll be loyal to and keeping an eye on, as well as cheering for, as the years progress. I’d be thrilled to work with them again and look forward to seeing them around the publishing sphere later in life. I’ve also learned a lot about myself during my time in this program. I’ve faced wonderful highs and terrible lows. But I’ve never been happier here at Ooligan, and that’s why I’m a bit sad to leave. It’s been wonderful here and I’ve learned so much about the business that this weekend will be a bittersweet moment.

I know that exciting things are in my future, though, and I’ll be happy to apply the knowledge I’ve gained at Ooligan and PSU to a job. (I already am, too! I had an interview this week and I understood every word he said even though it was industry speak! Abbey would be so proud.)

I’m also looking forward to updating my professional website on Sunday with how I’ve obtained my degree and redoing my resume to reflect that. I’m going to reorganize the website a little bit as well. I got some constructive feedback during my defense, especially concerning my design aspects. My committee mentioned how my designs weren’t my strong suit and how, compared to others, it might actually be a detriment. I’ve been thinking about that conversation quite a bit over the past few weeks, and I’ve acknowledged that design is something I’m still learning and my skills will grow in time. (I even say that on my website.) I don’t have a design degree or an art background so I know, compared to some other fabulous people at Ooligan, my skills are limited for now. But I also give myself some credit. Considering I didn’t know anything about the Adobe software two years ago, I’ve learned quite a bit and have come quite far. I’ve even got a reoccurring summer freelance job, so my design chops can’t be that bad. But because of that feedback, I will rearrange my website to reflect that better and I know my portfolio will be stronger because of it.

Ooligan was an amazing experience. I’ve made mentors and friends in this program that I’ll have for life and the skills I’ve obtained will help me land a job in the (hopefully near!) future. This weekend, though, I’m going to celebrate this achievement with my friends and family. My fellow Oolies and I deserve to bask in the knowledge that we’ve successfully completed this program, and I’ll raise a glass for us all!

I hope you have a lovely weekend! Mine’s certainly going to be a busy one.
Warm regards,


Not really. Just one major deadline is fast approaching on Friday. One of two major deadlines in my graduate program at Portland State University concerning actually graduating from this program. What is this major deadline? Well, it’s twofold: 1) the professional portfolio in the form of a website to my grad committee, and 2) the final grad research thesis question.

I’m pretty much freaking out on all cylinders. The professional website is live, but I keep fiddling with it, adding and deleting things. You can see it here. I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out for now. For tonight. I’ll look at it again tomorrow and see how I feel. (Blerg.) I plan on turning it in first thing Friday morning.

As for the thesis question, I like the one I have about #WeNeedDiverseBooks, but getting the information is proving more difficult that I originally thought. If I ever write a research paper again, I won’t rely on interviews for most of my info. (ProTip: Don’t do that. Alternatively, if you do need to rely on interviews, do it way in advance.) I’m in a holding pattern to see if anyone gets back to me so I can add them to the question before turning it in.

All the things are due on Friday by 5pm. ALL THE THINGS! And this is just one of the two major deadlines, the next one happens when I turn in the final research paper at the end of the sixth or seventh week. (You can tell I’m only really focused on this one.)

In significantly less stressful news, my science fiction book—Finding Hekate—was published last Friday by Desert Palm Press! You can find it in numerous places, like here and here and here. It’s about a spaceship captain who’s being hunted and has to make a choice: kill her crew and run like she’s done many times before or stick with her crew and fight. The problem is, her time as herself is running out. It’s mostly an action story from the POV of a badass anti-hero of sorts, but there is some lesbian romance tucked away in between those pages. (I’ll do another post later talking about the process in more detail.) If you like it, leave a review and let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Okay, I have to work on more grad prep stuff now.
Because everything’s due on Friday.

Have a lovely rest of the week guys, and if you have anything due really soon, good luck!
Warm regards,

The Wax Bullet War

One of the assignments I was given in Ooligan Press lab was to read one of our backlist books and post the review on two review sites, like Amazon and Goodreads. I did just that, but I also wanted to share it here, too, since the book is a powerful one indeed. The book I read is called The Wax Bullet War, written by Sean Davis and published in April of 2014.


The Wax Bullet War

Wax Bullet War is a compelling narrative, one that speaks to the horrors a soldier faces in war and to the struggles he faces at home. It is a powerful read, an emotional rollercoaster through death of comrades in arms and friends, to lost lovers, to ethics of war and the world, and beyond. Sean’s voice is perfect, crisp, clear, and straight to the point, filled with a dark humor that keeps the momentum of the story moving forward. His tale of PTSD when he returns home is a chilling reminder of how powerful war is and how it affects our soldiers on the ground and at home. If you’ve never been to war (or had friends or family who’ve been to war), read this book. It’s true description of what goes over there and how the men and women deal with it is an insightful read. I would highly recommend this book to my friends and family.


So why, since I posted this review to Amazon and Goodreads, am I sharing it on here, too?

Because it’s important. Because this book is one of the select non-fiction books I’ve read that struck me as something deeper. And because I’m recommending it to all of you. It’s a one-of-a-kind read, and I’m proud that I work for the press that published it.

Have a great Halloween, folks! Keep it spooky (and safe) out there!
Warm regards,

Grad School Class Presentations

So, it’s currently the end of Week Three here at PSU, which means everything is gearing up to be busy for the rest of the term. It means we have big assignments due for class pretty soon. What’s up next for my classes? Presentations.

Yup. Presentations.


I’m still not used to getting up and talking in front of a class. I don’t know why. I participated in toastmasters, did drama, and co-created a reading event back in my hometown which I MCed every now and then. And I’ve also had previous classes have me to present. I also was a moderator for the Willamette Writers conference over the summer! So I don’t know why this freaks me out so much, it just does.

To combat that freak out, I prepare.

There are many different ways of preparing for a presentation. Some people go over the material once or twice. Some people look at bullet points. Some people just simply know everything and are perfectly find rambling for a few minutes. Some people don’t prepare at all.

I am none of those people.

In order to prepare for my presentations, I memorize. And by memorize, I do mean the whole entire thing.

Now, it might be a catch from my drama days when standing in front an audience forced you to memorize all your lines and spout them out perfectly each time. It might be something from my toastmasters group that had a “no notes at all” policy. Or it could just be a weird little quirk of mine.

I dunno.

Either way, that’s what I’m doing this weekend. Memorizing a presentation. And what am I doing next weekend? Memorizing another one.

Yup, that’s my life nowadays. (And, by the way, this persistent cough is really not making this process any easier.)

How do you prepare for a presentation? Any tips and tricks you can give me?

Warm regards,

Postscript – I have a new goal for this school year. I’m not going to memorize a presentation. Not these upcoming ones…or the Write to Publish 2016 stuff…but by the end of the school year in June I’ll try it out. See what happens. Maybe I’ll burst into flames of endless embarrassment. But maybe I won’t. You never really do know, do you?

PublishingHack: Transmedia Marketing

So one of the classes I’m in this fall is Transmedia Marketing for Book Publishers. It’s taught by Kathi Inman Berens, the newest faculty member in PSU’s book publishing program.

The class is pretty cool. While I have to admit I am struggling a little because I’m also taking her Concepts in Digital Publishing and there’s a bit of an overlap, the Transmedia Marketing class is pretty fascinating.

So what the heck is transmedia marketing?

Well, let me tell you. Basically it’s a form of marketing that uses social media and digital publishing to allow multiple entry points for a work and expand the story. It’s a type of worldbuilding across different platforms, where the content is specific to that type of platform. It also cultivates a participatory culture, where fans actively share, create, and play with their content.

A great example of this from class that we’ve read about but haven’t yet talked about is The Hunger Games and how they marketed the movies. We all know the currently released movies were huge, and we have the ability to look back in the past and analyze why that is so. So why was it so successful? Well, of course it’s because THG had a huge fanbase to support it to begin with, but a main reason, perhaps, is because the transmedia marketing for it was strong as hell. For the Catching Fire movie, specifically, it was a great mixture of social media and fan participation, as well as the creativity of the ad agency Ignition Creative.

Note: I got most of this information from the Transmedia Marketing Case Study: The Hunger Games – Catching Fire blogpost, written by Christine Weitbrecht on Thoughts on the T, if you’d like to read it.

So what did IC actually do? They had IRL high-fashion billboards with “Capitol Couture” written on them and if the people googled capitol couture they would be taken to a Tumblr, Twitter, Youtube, and website specifically for the Capitol. (This could also demonstrate additive culture, because the fans would know instantly that it was from THG but new people would just be intrigued by it. Don’t quote me on that, though, as I’m still learning what that term means.)

The various social media accounts reflected different aspects of THG. For example, the Tumblr was fashioned like a magazine—with IRL fashion brands and writers—people from the Capitol would read, with updates on events in the Capitol, what it was like in the Capitol, and updates on the various characters in THG world. They also had IRL fan challenges, where the fans could upload fashion statements of their own.

The website was the Citizen Control Center of Panem (where viewers had to get ID cards and had the ability to unlock new content), the Facebook and Twitter accounts were the Capitol/Panem Government center (where they had ideologic messaging one would find in the Capitol like “Respect Boundaries” as well as Facebook pages for each district), and the YouTube was the Capitol TV (where they uploaded official trailers and fan-made videos).

Aside from the fan-made content, the information isn’t new, it just amps up the original world by reflecting the life of the Capitol and allows the fans to be immersed into THG world, like they’re really there living it with these characters.

Now, the official website has changed to reflect the upcoming movie—Mockingjay, Part 2—but there are still pretty cool features. For example, it looks and sounds like a governmental-issued website, but if you hover over a certain part, it changes and you can join the “Revolution.” Seriously, go do the thing, and you’ll be amazed.

From a fan perspective, it’s just freaking cool.

Under the lens of this transmedia class, it’s quite the interesting idea in the storybuilding aspect of THG world. It was an amazing transmedia marketing campaign ,and something that is aspiring to look at. (Also it’s freaking cool.)

So, what do you think? Is this the future of marketing? Is this what authors and publishers should consider doing?

I certainly think so.

Warm regards,

Let the Freaking Out Commence: School Is Starting

PSU starts on Monday. This Monday. Two days from now. And to say I’m unprepared for my second (and final) year of graduate school would be an understatement.

Things I Don’t Have Prepared (followed by my internal screaming):

  • Class Locations (WHERE ARE MY CLASSES?)
  • Class Schedule (WHEN ARE MY CLASSES?)
  • Calendar Dates (WHEN IS EVERYTHING?)
  • Internship Research (WHAT DO THEY DO?)
  • Vanguard Copyediting (WHY HAVEN’T I PUT IT ON MY SCHEDULE?)
  • This Blogging Schedule (SAME AS ABOVE!)

So. Many. Things.

So, to that end, this weekend I’m going to be preparing for school.

Thankfully I had a meeting with Chelsea, my co-manager for Write to Publish today, so we have that pretty much covered. And, to be fair, I am having coffee with Ripple Grove Press (my internship place) on Monday, so we’ll figure stuff out then.

I’m just much more prepared by now, you know? It’s awkward. And oddly stressful. But I have my tea with milk and honey and I have a plan of attack for getting everything done, so I’ll be good.

Are you prepared for school to start? Or were you, when it did? (Surely I can’t be the only one, right? Right?)

Warm regards,

Blogging: Achievement Unlocked


I’m so pleased that blogger Sarah nominated me for The Blogger Recognition Award. This is a pretty awesome award, and I’m so happy to be part of a community that celebrates each other so thoughtfully! Sarah has an awesome blog dedicated to discussing all things related to reading, writing, and publishing. She also created a writing service called To Publish Or Not, which gives free advice to writers about story ideas. She’s pretty awesome, so go check her stuff out!

Rules for The Blogger Recognition Award

  1. Select fifteen other blogs you want to give the award to
  2. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you
  3. Write a post to show your award
  4. Give a brief story of how your blog started
  5. Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers
  6. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  7. Attach the award to the post (right-click and save, then upload)
  8. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them
  9. Provide a link to the award post you created

Pretty simple, right?

How This Blog Came To Be

Well, originally this blog was just a personal collection of stories from my day-to-day life. Longterm followers will remember the blog changing not once but twice throughout it’s little lifetime (this used to be Finding My Voice and then it was Snowed In Scribe). I finally settled on Have Pen, Will Pen, because I finally narrowed down what I wanted to talk about: writing, publishing, editing, and the advice that goes along with it, though I still do occasionally post about life (because who doesn’t right?). I wanted this blog to be a place where writers and editors could come and learn about the (somewhat daunting) world of book publishing. I also wanted to convey the struggles that go along with being a writer and the ups and downs of being an editor. I figured sharing what it was like to have a foot in both those doors and giving advice to help writers navigate those tricky waters would help.

Over the last year, I have gained a new respect for the publishing world, as I’m currently starting my second year as a graduate student in PSU’s Book Publishing program. It’s been an intense ride and working at Ooligan Press has given me new insight that I’d like to share with the world. I’ve also gained a new respect for the writing side of publishing, since I’ve been picked up by Desert Palm Press for my first novel. I’m looking forward to sharing what I learn by going through the process as an author, too!

Advice to New Bloggers

  • Write about something you love. If you love it and are passionate about it, that will shine through in your blogposts. Plus, it’ll give you the opportunity to explore that love and will help you continue to post in a regular fashion.
  • Comment on things you love. If a blogger posted something absolutely amazing, comment on it, like it, reblog it even! The original blogger would be thrilled, and you have a better chance of making connections and building an awesome community of friends by doing so.

Here are my nominations!
(I hope you guys take the torch and pass it on!)

Michelle Magly

Word Nerds Unite

Molly K.B. Hunt

Erika Schnatz

Writer Girl, Lately

Live to Write, Write to Live


Kristin McFarland

Bottled Up Sentiments

A Glimpse of Starlight

Scarring Words

Girls Gone Geek

Grad Mouse

Grace’s Wanderings

Stephanie Flint

Keep writing!

Warm regards,

LifeHacks: Studying Tips

The school year is upon us once again and whether you’re in high school, undergrad, graduate school or beyond, this transition from summer to fall also means the start of what I like to call the “Studying Season.”

And, while my graduate program doesn’t technically restart until September 28, I figured I would share four studying tips that have helped me over the years in the hopes it would help all of you!

Tip #1: Study A Little Bit Every Evening
This is a tip I figured out in high school. I used to have major tests every week and cramming the night before just didn’t do it for me. I couldn’t remember everything all at once and hyperventilated when I couldn’t. Then, I found out that studying a little every night helped me really process the information. It also gave me the freedom to study a little instead of in huge chunks, which helped me not freak out over the testing.

Tip #2: Use Your Resources
Resources are helpful. Resources can be in the form of study sheets, the questions in the back of each chapter if your books contain that kind of thing, the library, or your professor, ex cetera. It can also be things like creating your own study materials, crafting a quiet study area out of your room, or highlighting your textbook. All of these aspects will help round out your studying. Heck, you can even ask to use a fellow classmate’s notes! Which bring me to my next tip…

Tip #3: Quiz Each Other (Or Form Study Groups)
To be fair, I forced my sister and my parents to quiz me, but this can be helpful for friends, too. This could also be known as a study group. I did a few of these in undergrad, and they helped in two ways: a) they allowed us to learn the material in new and different ways since you have different points of view and b) they allowed us to have some fun in the process. Hanging out with friends, even if you’re studying something, is bound to be an enjoyable event. This segues into my to my fourth and final tip.

Tip #4: Have Some Fun
I’m the first one to raise my hand and say that studying is vastly important. Going over information learned in class will help later on, even if you don’t have a test to prepare for. That said, however, it’s really easy to be caught up in the Studying Season kind of lifestyle, where that’s all you do all the time. You should also take some time for yourself. Have some breathing room in your schedule—even just an hour a day would help—and do something fun. Anything fun. It may seem like your blowing off your homework for a little bit, but it’ll be better for you in the long run. Plus, letting off some steam helps ease the tension of test day.

Well, that’s all folks! My four tips to help you study during school. I hope they help you… they certainly helped (and are still helping) me.

Now that I’ve said my piece, I want to hear from you! What are some of your tips for studying in school?

Warm regards,

Moderating a Panel

This weekend I attended the Willamette Writers Conference as a moderator, representing Ooligan Press. I figured this might not be something people get to do everyday, so I wanted to share my process of how I got ready.

Three months before the conference: Per asked me if I would be interested in doing something for the Willamette Writers Conference. I said yes, then pretty much forget about it until after finals and vacation.

A month and a half before: Per offered me a panel—How to Develop an Author Platform—and asked if I’d like to participate as a moderator. I said “Of course!” and added it to my ToDo list. *looked up what the hell a moderator does on Google* *felt pretty good about myself*

A month before: I researched my panel topic, my panelists, how to moderate things, and brainstormed questions. I sent them to Per, got some feedback, and revised.

Two weeks before: I sent the questions out to my panelists for their feedback. I drafted my talking points and added the timing so I’d know what I’d like to hit. I went over the questions five times a day. (Anyone who knows me, knows this is not excessive… for me.)

A week before: *nervously sweats* I started to freak out. I realized I would be speaking in front people, asking questions, and generally doing something I’ve never done before. I kept going over the questions. And I drank tea. Copious amounts of tea.

Two days before: I created some new business card designs and sent them to the printer. I also went over my questions with Molly, one of my friends here at the Ooligan Press. I had been saying it out loud in front of my cats and it was good to practice in front of a person. I also advertised on Facebook and Twitter.

The day before: I gathered my items—binder with paper, pens, water bottle, coat, folder with my moderator stuff in it, bag, keys, wallet, business cards. I tried on a bunch of different outfits. I was perfectly calm.

The day of – T-6 hours: I got up early and dressed. I wore my orange pretzel socks from one of my best friends, Meredith, because they were awesome and I needed to be awesome. I fed the cats and made breakfast. Then, after hugging my cats for good luck, I left.

The day of – T-4 hours: I hung out with Bess, another Oolie and a friend of mine, for a while, waiting for our turn to start this whole crazy moderating thing. Bess was cool as a cucumber. Oddly, I was, too. We met up with Molly right before Bess’s panel. I watched Bess fly through her moderating business. She did amazing. I was still okay.

The day of – T-1 hour: My coolness vanished around lunchtime. I think the process of sitting down with my own thoughts and eating made me realize just how close this insane thing I was doing actually was.

The day of – T-30 minutes: We had just finished lunch. I was nervous. Super nervous. I’d like to say I hid it well, but I probably didn’t. After heading to the panel room, I met with some of my lovely panelists Mary Bisbee-Beek and Todd Sattersten. I was proud that my hands didn’t shake when I poured and handed out the water glasses. (My peeps from high school will tell you, my hands shake when I get nervous.)

The day of – T-10 minutes: I met my final panelist Karelia Stetz-Waters. I chatted with her a little, getting more anxious about the stream of people trickling in. I made sure my talking points were in easy reach. The venue staff came by and handed us mics. I (internally) freaked, since I had never really used a mic before. I told myself it would be okay. I checked my phone to make sure we started on time.

The day of – T-30 seconds: I took a few deep breaths, gave myself an internal pep talk, and grabbed the mic. I fumbled a bit with it at first. The attendees were nice and mimed how I should hold it. *internally freaked out because I always want everything to start off smoothly… … … got over it and moved on*

The day of – 1:313:00pm: The panel went smoothly after that. And oddly enough, even though I was nervous to begin with, the nerves fell away while I was asking the questions.

The day of – 3:00end of day: Completely relieved, I watched Molly moderate her panel—she did awesome—and hung out for a little while, then went home. I made sure to email (and Tweet) the panelists a thank you and announce on Facebook that I had successfully completed the event and everything went well. Then, I crossed it off my list.

Annnnd that’s my process! Really, it was all about having confidence that I could actually pull this thing off. (I gave myself lots of pep talks.) I also prepared quite a lot beforehand, practicing out loud and such. Remember, the preparation process is different for everyone. Do what’s right for you!

It was also lovely to have my friends there, too, so we could root each other on.

Overall, I’m glad I did it. It was an interesting experience and one I can put on my resume. If you have the chance to do it, I’d say go for it! (And coming from a woman who generally doesn’t like speaking in public, that’s saying a lot.)

Warm regards,
Kellie Doherty

Post Script – I have some super exciting news to share with you all, and, because of that, there might be a Bonus Post sometime later in the week!