Everything You Need to Know About My 16th Book, “The Manager”

Well, it looks like once again I’ve fallen off the blog bandwagon for a while. While I may have stopped blogging frequently, writing is something I’ll never quit doing. I mean, I’ve already written 15. Why stop there? 

As I prepare to start writing, here’s some insights and sneak peeks when it comes to my “sweet 16” novel, The Manager! 

So our story takes a break from the action of my past novels and steers more towards comedic relief. It follows 20-year-old Carmen Rodriguez, a college student who works at a hardware store in her hometown of Miami. Carmen’s store, number 7711, (an homage to my hardware store which is number 1177 in the chain), has struggled for years. 

Carmen, although she is just a seasonal cashier at her local “DIY Depot,” nicknamed the “Double D,” loves her store and the people who work there. With another store manager being fired, the 5th in just three years, the store is in danger of closing. No one is willing to step up and save the store. Carmen, wanting to save the jobs of store 7711’s 100 employees, along with making sure the store she loves stays afloat, agrees to drop out of college and train as a manager. 

Although 7711’s employees love Carmen, they have serious doubts about her ability to manage a failing store. However, driven by her love for the employees of 7711, she searches for ways to cut costs that aren’t at the expense of employees, and finds new, yet original ways to create success for her store. Carmens strange and unconventional methods, from motivating her employees with expensive gifts to taking the store’s delivery truck on a road trip to hire the homeless, may actually turn out to be more effective than the store may have planned. 

But with managing a store comes more stress than Carmen originally thought she can handle. Carmen constantly battles with herself emotionally, trying to stay awake during 14 hour shifts and staying calm during all the customer complaints. As the youngest and first Latina manager in DIY Depot history, she also has to deal with pressures and judgement from the higher-ups at corporate. As time goes on, Carmen begins to wonder how long she can actually go on as 7711’s manager. Eventually she still wants to finish her degree, but if she leaves 7711, the store will end up closing. 

So there you have it! The full, non-spoiler details of my sweet 16 novel. More info on The Manager will be coming up soon! 

Life Goes On: Losing My Writing Job

Hello my fellow WordPress followers! It’s been a while since I posted because my life has been kind of upside down. So today I’m going to put a rare personal twist on my post, and share something that has changed the course of my life. 

On April 11th at 4:30, just 30 minutes before the end of the day, I was brought into a conference room with my boss’s assistant and the hr manager. After 4 months, they told me I was fired, wished me luck, and had me clean out my desk. Although it wasn’t a huge surprise, I was still upset. My first job in my field and I blew it. 

I left the office embarrassed and ashamed, but knew that I did my best, gave it everything I could, and that this would be a learning experience. A week later, I started back at the hardwear store where I’ve worked since I was 18. My life feels complete again. 

Even though right now I have crazy hours and no health insurance, I don’t regret leaving my permanent job at the store for the office job in my field. I knew from my college internship that offices weren’t right for me, and this job just reaffirms that–and that’s precfectly OKAY. Not everyone goes on to persue their degrees. I realized how passionate I was about my store, and although I wanted to get through this post without trash talking the company, I learned from my former supervisor what not to do if someday I move up into my new goal of becoming upper management at my store. 

Working at the office was extremely stressful. I really don’t know how people can sit at a computer all day every day for years. I was stressed from the minute I left on Fridays until I went back on Monday–not because I had to sit at a desk, but from other stresses within the company. It’s such a joy not to feel frightened and sick when I go into work anymore. 

Anyway, maybe I’ll work on another post sometime later on about my experience at the office. Although I’m tired after finishing my 15th book and taking a break from writing for now, I plan to keep updating regularly. 

Yes, You CAN Get a Writing Job!

Hello all! For this week’s post I’ll be discussing something myself and probably many other writers have dealt with: getting a job/being told you couldn’t get a job. 

Numerous times I had other students and professors say, “A writing major? What are you going to do with that?” I had people tell me I wouldn’t get a job and that I was even living in a “pipe dream” for thinking I could get my foot in the door anywhere but the big city. 

Earlier this week I was offered a job, ten miles from my home here in Upstate New York, with a local company. Seven months after graduating college, I found a job in my field. 

Anyway, here’s a few tips on how to keep your head up in the job market: 

1. Don’t Completely Give Up

I’ll admit, I was on the brink of hopelessness after not finding anything even close to what I wanted to do a few weeks after graduating. I took breaks from job searching weeks at a time, but checked back every so often for new openings. 

2. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

Even if you don’t feel like you meet the qualifications, apply! You never know what could happen. If the job is based on writing skills, just do your best! 

3. Focus On Yourself

A lot of us follow what our friends are doing on social media and can compare ourselves, especially if friends find a job in their field before us. Just remember, that’s their life! You’ll find success soon enough. 

Tips for Landing the Perfect Writing Internship

Hey everyone. Due to the holiday and writers block I’ve been absent for a bit, but as usual I’ll try to stay current. Today’s topic: landing that writing internship that all of us college students want. 

Recently, I was accepted as an intern by a local branch of a major TV station. Just six months ago, I had to quit my shady online internship after four months. As writing majors, there aren’t as many options as other majors. It was tough for me to land this amazing internship. Hopefully with these tips, you’ll have an easier time than I do. 

1. Be Wary of Online-Only Internships 

Call me bias, but after what happened with my scam of an internship with University Primetime, I would suggest being wary of online companies. However, some people have a different experience. One of my classmates really enjoys his online internship. 

If you really want to go with an online internship, make sure that you’ve read through their website thoroughly and that they’re a company you want to work with. If you have any doubts, look elsewhere. 

2. Don’t Back Away Just Becuase It’s Unpaid

Sometimes the best reward isn’t cash, it’s experience! If you see a company that looks awesome but doesn’t pay, don’t worry. There’s always a possibility that your unpaid position could lead to a job in the future. 

3. Go to an Internship Fair

I never went to my school’s internship fair because I thought the companies there were only looking for business or finance majors. I took a leap of faith this year, but on my business professional wear, and went to every single table in the room asking if they needed a writer, editor, journalist, or blogger. To my surprise, the very first table I went to said, “Yes! We do!” When I looked down, it was the TV station. 

4. Don’t Underestimate Your Skills

One of my favorite sayings is “Everyone needs a writing major.” And it’s true! We can write, edit, are great at deadlines, and we’re masters of social media. I thought the TV station would be looking for communications, film, or even AD/PR majors. I was wrong. So don’t be afraid to go up to the table of the company that you think doesn’t want you. Chances are that they may actually do. 

5. Totally Nail Your Interview

This one is easier said than done. I’ll elaborate on this more in my next post, but a few simple tips are familiarizing yourself with the company, dressing for success, and having questions ready for the end of the interview. 

Tips for Getting a Writing Internship

I’m going to sway away from talking about edits and publishing progress to share a new experience that I had yesterday. As many of you know, I was extremely heartbroken to find out that the internship I worked so hard to get in January for the website University Primetime was a total scam.

Since then I had given up, then started trying again to find a new internship. I looked at websites again, but everything was “virtual” or solely online. I just can’t trust a place that doesn’t have an actual office. So I took a leap of faith and ironed my old blazer, fixed up my resume, and went to my school’s official internship fair. I knew that in between all the banks and logistics companies, someone, somewhere, had to need a writer/editor/journalist. So while I was there, here are a few things I learned.

1. Sell Yourself

Dressing up and bringing a resume are just part of it. Shake hands, introduce yourself, make eye contact. Talk a little bit about what’s on your resume.

2. Show a Variety of Skills

Writers don’t just write fiction or poetry. While in some areas we’re stronger than others, we can do a lot of things. We can copy edit our work, we’re vigilant readers, we most likely have a blog, and for college students, having to hand in a portfolio at the end of the semester for nearly every class makes us killer organizers.

3. Don’t Downplay Your Acomplishments

Even if you weren’t published in print or don’t have thousands of followers on social media, it never hurts to talk about a finished novel or that book you edited for a Wattpad user. Companies will like that you’re passionate and determined about something.

4. You Don’t Have to be an Ad/PR Major to Advertise

This was probably the most important thing that I learned yesterday. If a company says they need someone in advertising, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to shoot and edit a commercial or design a billboard logo. Many, many companies have social media that needs managing, blogs to update, and events/products that need to be advertised.

All of us want to make it to the big leagues. We all start small. In my opinion, writers are the absolute BEST people for advertising, because we do it all the time! We know all about compelling people to read and buy our works. We have blogs and tons of other social media accounts, where we post about our books whenever we get the chance. We’re social media gurus.

So if a company says they’re looking for someone to advertise, don’t forget to tell them all the experience you have with social media!

Best of luck to all you other hopeful writing interns out there.

Why You Should Never Work for University Primetime

Have you been looking for an internship or writing job? Have you been recruited to write articles by the college website University Prime, with the promise of being paid for every single thing of yours that they publish on the site? 

I remember when I was a junior in college looking for an internship. University Primtime sounded like a dream come true. That was, until I realized I was being scammed. 

If you or someone you know is thinking of writing for University Primetime, don’t be fooled. Stop and run in the other direction for the following reasons:

Difficult Hiring Process

In order to get the job with UP, I had to to extensive work on “trial articles” and get past several cuts just to be a part of a program that I wound up quitting. The guys running the site left several threatening messages in the Facebook group that we would be “cut” if we did not start our trial articles by a certain date. I was once removed from the group because I contacted one of the guys in charge by email instead of Facebook.

Of course, I’m totally fine with trial articles and testing out writers to see who is dedicated and the best fit for the site, but I’m not a fan of using threats to get writers to write, which brings me on to my next point:

Unprofessionalism

The site was (and probably still is) run by three young guys. I dealt with two of the three, who were pretty nice at first, but turned sour after a month or so. One continually messaged me on Facebook about sharing content in college groups, which caused me to join and spam over 100 groups, which led to a lot of unhappy incoming freshmen. 

He would even text me if I didn’t respond on Facebook, saying things like, “Hey, I need you to share this article right now, K? I’m sending you links you need to share this on.” He would expect me to drop whatever I was doing and literally share that article right then, to 100 groups.

A Lack for Safety

This one may just be a fluke, but I do defiantly believe that University Primetime doesn’t really want to promote safety more than underage drinking and heavy amounts of weed. Yes, they did publish other articles of mine that had nothing to do with partying, but one of my few articles that was not published (I only had 3 unpublished ones in 3 months) was entitled “20 Ways to Stay Safe on a Night Out.”

I did a lot of research for this article and was extremely disappointed when it was not published. I figured that it might have not been “cool enough” for the site. But I don’t want to flat out say that they don’t care about the safety college students. I’m just saying that the article I wrote about safety for their site was not published for some reason.

Inappropriate Content

While I did leave mainly for the next issue, a big part of me also left because I didn’t want to be associated with the content on the site any longer. One article that I was given to share in 95 Facebook groups was titled, “Study Shows that People Who do Drugs Have More Sex and Get Better Grades.” Other articles included foods to eat while drunk and the best movies to watch during 4/20.

I have no problem with people who do those kinds of things, but that’s just not who I am personally. When they said the site was about “relatable college content” I didn’t think it would be 90% about partying and 10% everything else. Because all college students know, there is a LOT more to college than just going out.

Fake Pay

This was the whole entire reason that I quit working for UP: I was only paid for 2 out of 8 articles that were published on the site. I begged to be paid the other $60 (we were paid $10 per published article, which was a little over $8 after taxes). The runners of the site were claiming that I “never sent them an email” and that “only published articles get paid”. Which they all were. These conditions were listed in a contract that I signed. 

I feel like I was just getting used for free content, and I guess other writers did too, since our Facebook group dropped over time from 115 to 18 members.

Overall Shadiness

Something seemed off about the site, but for some reason I decided to go through with the process because it seemed like a great opportunity. The guys who run the site just seemed downright shady. One of them, who I really need to unfriend on Facebook, has recently been spamming his feed with posts about girls getting a free trip to Vegas with all bottles included if they message him.

I hope this list sheds some light on what comes across as a cool college website and an easy way to make money. Based on my experience, University Primetime is a total scam and I have no intention of ever working for them again. If you hear that they are hiring or see and advertisement form them on Internships.com like I did, keep scrolling!

I Quit My Writing Job. Now What?

I’m going to take a rare moment to blog about my personal life instead of making an advice post, since I’ve been so busy with my summer job and feel like I’m currently out of advice to give.

Over winter break, I slaved over my laptop, browsing internships.com and filling out over 10 applications and learning to write several cover letters.  I found a job that looked awesome. I’d not only be paid, but I’d be writing fun list articles all about college for a website called University Primetime.

Long story short: I worked hard on my trial articles, made it past several cuts, and eventually found myself employed, writing, and having articles published on the cite. However, after getting paid for my first two articles, I was no longer getting paid for anything that was published on the site.

The Facebook group shrunk from 160 to just 18 (seven of them admins who didn’t submit content) writers over four months, many of them facing the same issues that I had to deal with, I assumed. After requesting for over a month to get paid the $70 they owed me for my published articles, I dropped the site over a week ago. The guys in charge never responded to my final request to be paid for my articles.

While it was an awesome learning experience, I’m thoroughly upset because all of my hard work seemed to go to waste.  I turned down other offers to work for University Primetime.  I figured I’d have a cool job and make some side money, and it would count as credits towards my degree.  Now I’m here all summer with nothing but my regular job. I’m not gaining any experience towards my career.  My resume is going to stay stagnant.

I guess now I’m trying to warn people about the website and figure out what to do as far as an internship goes.  So, don’t ever work for University Primetime, unless you want to deal with a bunch of rude guys who run a click-bait site with no helpful information. I’m going to have a new post eventually describing what happened exactly with the site in detail. But for now, I guess it’s back to the drawing board with my internships.