guest post: what does it take to get published?

I am so excited to share this with you guys!!! The lovely Larissa Lopes, author of the Alec Brock series, has graciously taken the time to write a guest post for my wee little blog!

You may remember that I reviewed All My Love, Alec Brock not too long ago. I enjoyed it so much! And the sequel, No More Lies, Alec Brock, launches in just a couple weeks. You better believe I’ll be reviewing that one, too, so be on the lookout for that!

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In short, this book is about a teenaged girl who thinks she’s been long-distance dating a teen pop star named Alec Brock. She goes to LA to surprise him only to find out that he has no idea who she is! And that’s before things get really spicy!

Since this book centers around a pop star, naturally music would be a major focus. But not only that: music was also an inspiration for Larissa throughout the writing process. So it seemed like a natural choice to have Larissa choose a few of the songs that inspired her while writing the series.

The result was even better than I anticipated! So without further ado…

[Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase using my link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.]


My Writing Journey Through Songs

By Larissa Lopes, author of the Alec Brock Series

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Music has always been important to me. I’m one of those people who has a personal soundtrack for every big moment of their lives. But over the past three years, the challenges I had to face in order to publish the Alec Brock Series gave a whole new meaning to the songs in my playlist. And I’d like to share a few of them with you today.

Where Do Broken Hearts Go – One Direction

“Now I’m searching every lonely place
Every corner calling out your name
Tryna find you but I just don’t know
Where do broken hearts go?”

This was one of the very first songs that I added to my “Alec Brock playlist.” I literally listened to it every day when I was writing Book 1 in the series; it was part of my morning routine. The lyrics made me think of Linda’s relationship with Impostor Alec, and every time I listened to it, my story felt so real to me that it was like watching a movie play out before my eyes! And the song itself is so energetic that it put me in the right state of mind—it helped me believe I would be a published author one day.

This is probably my “biggest secret” to stay motivated, actually. Every day, I take some time to dream!

Because when you condition your brain to visualize “your dream coming true” while listening to a particular song, that song becomes a weapon against procrastination, self-doubt, depression… So I like to pick one song that reminds me of my characters, and then I take 5 minutes every single day to listen to it with my eyes closed. I train my brain to recognize this song as “a moment in time where my dreams are already my reality.” And whenever I feel like I’m losing my faith, all I have to do is to escape into my imagination and listen to this song again and again, until I get my motivation back.

PS: Other songs that helped me “stay motivated” when I was writing All My Love, Alec Brock: Hurricane by The Vamps, Something Big by Shawn Mendes, and Heartache On The Big Screen by 5SOS. 

Consequences – Camila Cabello

“Loving you was dumb, dark and cheap
Loving you will still take shots at me
Found loving you was sunshine, but then it poured
And I lost so much more than my senses
‘Cause loving you had consequences”

I guess every author writes at least a little bit from experience, it’s never 100% our imagination. But this particular story (the Alec Brock Series main plot) was based on my own experiences as a victim of catfishing. So, to me, this song is not only “Linda’s soundtrack”—it’s also mine. And it reminds me of why I’m doing all this. Why it was so important to me to write this story down and to share it with the world. (I believed my book could help save other girls from falling prey to online predators and suffering the same fate as me.)

So when you ask me, “What does it take to get published?” This is the first thing that comes to my mind: you need a strong why. Because things will get hard along the way, and “motivation” won’t be enough to pull you through it. You’ve got to have a reason to say, “This is important to me. I can’t just give up.” 

Paper Hearts – The Vamps

“If my heart was paper, I’d fold it
Throw it to the wind and just hope it
Ends up with you”

The third song in my playlist represents a trait that I believe every artist must have in order to finish a project: passion. You have to love your characters and this world you’re creating so much that you can’t help but become obsessed with it. Because if you can stop thinking about it, you’ll probably find something else to do instead.

Once I start writing a book, it’s hard for me to think of anything else until I finish it. And I like that. I actually feed my obsession by listening to songs that remind me of my characters even when I’m not writing! I think it’s a great way to develop the story in your head.

And sometimes, these songs end up inspiring me more I realize! That’s what happened with Paper Hearts…and also Amnesia by 5SOS, Perfect by One Direction, When You’re Ready by Shawn Mendes, Lose You to Love Me by Selena Gomez—just to name a few. All these songs directly inspired me to write scenes and even plot points in the Alec Brock Series, simply because they reminded me of my characters so I kept listening to them on repeat. LOL

In My Blood – Shawn Mendes

“Sometimes I feel like giving up
But I just can’t
It isn’t in my blood”

It took me 2 years querying—and over 100 rejections—before I signed with my agent. And that was with my second manuscript; the first one is still unpublished. So this Shawn Mendes song means a lot to me. It became my anthem back in 2018, when I felt like I would just fall apart if I got another “no” from agents.

But today I realize how important it was for me to go through all that—to receive all those rejections. I’m actually grateful that I didn’t publish my books sooner. That I took the time to learn from my mistakes and grow as a writer.

Believe me, I know how much it hurts to be told you’re not good enough. But just because you’re not where you want to be yet, it doesn’t mean you will never get there! So, please, use this time to learn, to accept feedback, to work on yourself. And keep trying until someone says yes! Don’t you dare give up on your dream!

Old Me – 5SOS

“Shout out to the old me
And everything he showed me
Glad you didn’t listen when the world was trying to slow me
No one could control me
Left my lovers lonely
Had to fuck it up before I really got to know me”

I picked this final song to remind you that someone will eventually say yes. That your hard work will eventually pay off. And that the dream you wished with all of your heart one day will come true!

I’ve never cried so much listening to a song before. 5SOS has been inspiring me since I started writing All My Love, Alec Brock in March 2017, so you can imagine how touched I was when they decided to release this song just a couple of weeks before my book release (in March 2020).

I felt like they had written it for me, and the lyrics touched me so deeply that I literally broke down in tears. To me, that was the finish line. The day I held my book in my hands for the first time, crying to this song, alone in my kitchen—that was the moment I realized “I had made it.”

So here’s my final tip for you… Do this for yourself. Don’t define your success by numbers or how much recognition you’ll get from this. Because, to me, the “real success” is called fulfillment. And to achieve fulfillment, you only have to make yourself proud.


Thanks again to Larissa for writing this amazing post! You can purchase All My Love, Alec Brock here or click the image below!

Featured image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

All other images © Literary Crush and Larissa Lopes

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