Writers With Wrinkles

Living a Writer's Dream in London: Author Elizabeth Eulberg on inspiration, series writing and handling reviews

October 02, 2023 Beth McMullen and Lisa Schmid
Living a Writer's Dream in London: Author Elizabeth Eulberg on inspiration, series writing and handling reviews
Writers With Wrinkles
More Info
Writers With Wrinkles
Living a Writer's Dream in London: Author Elizabeth Eulberg on inspiration, series writing and handling reviews
Oct 02, 2023
Beth McMullen and Lisa Schmid

Send us a Text Message.

Join us on a captivating adventure with renowned author Elizabeth Eulberg, whose latest middle grade book Scared Silly #2: Zombie Wedding Crashers, is out NOW!

Elizabeth generously shares her journey, from securing her Global Talent Visa, to the deep inspiration she draws from the city in her work.

We do a deep dive into what makes a series work and how to handle reviews.

Whether it's a glowing editorial review or a dreaded one-star rating on Goodreads, Eulberg preaches balance - cherishing honest feedback during the writing process, whilst acknowledging that post-release reviews are usually beyond an author's control. Buckle up for this enriching ride with Elizabeth Eulberg.

Find Elizabeth Eulberg: Twitter, Instagram, Website



Support the Show.

Subscribe for updates, cheat sheets, news
Visit the Website

Twitter: @BethandLisaPod
Insta: @WritersWithWrinkles

Writers with Wrinkles Link Tree for more!


Writers With Wrinkles +
Help us continue to make great content for writers and readers everywhere!
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Join us on a captivating adventure with renowned author Elizabeth Eulberg, whose latest middle grade book Scared Silly #2: Zombie Wedding Crashers, is out NOW!

Elizabeth generously shares her journey, from securing her Global Talent Visa, to the deep inspiration she draws from the city in her work.

We do a deep dive into what makes a series work and how to handle reviews.

Whether it's a glowing editorial review or a dreaded one-star rating on Goodreads, Eulberg preaches balance - cherishing honest feedback during the writing process, whilst acknowledging that post-release reviews are usually beyond an author's control. Buckle up for this enriching ride with Elizabeth Eulberg.

Find Elizabeth Eulberg: Twitter, Instagram, Website



Support the Show.

Subscribe for updates, cheat sheets, news
Visit the Website

Twitter: @BethandLisaPod
Insta: @WritersWithWrinkles

Writers with Wrinkles Link Tree for more!


Beth McMullen:

Have you ever dreamed of running away to London and getting to walk in the footsteps of Shakespeare and Dickens? If your answer is yes, you'll want to stick around and hear all about how one author did just that. Stay with us and we'll be right back. Hi, friends, today we are thrilled to welcome author Elizabeth Yulberg to the podcast. Elizabeth was born and raised in Wisconsin before moving to New York City to work in the publishing industry. While she got to work with amazing authors as a publicist, she also once had to play basketball dressed in a Clifford the Big Red Dog costume.

Beth McMullen:

She is the author of novels for teens and young adults, including internationally bestselling YA novels, the Lonely Hearts Club and Better Off Friends, and the acclaimed Great Shelby Holmes Middle Grade series. The second book in her newest Scared Silly series is Scared Silly number two Zombie Wedding Crashers, and this is out now. Elizabeth lives in London, where she spends her free time going on long walks around her favorite city in the world and eating all of the scones, which is something that I can totally relate to. So I was. I was reading that bio and I was like, yeah, baked goods, that's my downfall Carbs.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

They, they, it's what moves us.

Beth McMullen:

Carbs of any story. Give me white flower and I'm a happy person. So I remember I first met you when your first great Shelby Holmes middle grade book was coming out and my first middle grade Mrs Smith's by school for girls book was coming out and I remember distinctly you talking about this move to London and this particular kind of visa that you had gotten and I had never heard of this and it just kind of blew my mind. So if you don't mind, kind of talking about how you came to be where you are right now, I think that would be so interesting for our listeners because I know every writer secretly wants to live in London.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

I mean, we have a really good history and it is the other day I finally went to the globe. So I was at the globe and then afterwards I said to my friend, oh, let's go to this really old pub that used to be an in, in which not only did Dickens once stay in but Shakespeare and not like blew my mind. I've been in plenty of pubs where Dickens has been because the man liked his pint. But to be like in the same place as Shakespeare, because the globe is a new building, a reimagining of the original, it's just, you are constantly walking in the footsteps of literary greats here in London and it's so amazing, and so I get nervous telling you this best because you have a son who is studying abroad here. But my love of London began when I studied abroad in London back in college.

Beth McMullen:

I fully expect for him never to come home like I'm like okay, well, he lives there now.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

Yeah, I've always, I've always loved it and I started coming back more. I have a friend who has a flat here that he was like you know, he lives in Ireland, he was like you ever, you know, want to come to London and I'm not using it, you're welcome. And I just started spending more and more time here and, yeah, and I just was like, hmm, the first time I came was like 10 days, second time was like like three weeks, and every year I just kept spending more time and, being a writer, we can work from anywhere. And I decided to look into getting something called a global talent visa, which is for artists and you have to get an endorsement by the Arts Council in the UK, which requires three letters of recommendation One has to be from a UK-based company and then you have to show proof that you are a writer, you've written work, that your work is of merit.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

You know I had reviews of some of my books. I've had, I used interviews. My books do really well in the Spanish language market, so I use those. Where I had to have a, I've had to have it verified, translated. Yeah, and I got a visa which allows me to live here. But one of the best perks especially when you're self-employed of living in the UK is I get to partake in their wonderful NHS. They're a national health service, so when I was thinking it's a silly for me to move to London, I broke it down of well, I no longer have to pay the nearly $700 a month I was paying for my health insurance premium. There is a tax surcharge, but it was less than like $600 for the year for the NHS, and so I decided to do it. I was only going to do it for two years, but I've extended my stay and my parents have realized, as Beth has, that I think that this is it for me, if they'll let me stay.

Beth McMullen:

So was this visa a set term when you got it? Because, honestly, the first time I had ever heard of it was when you mentioned it and I thought this is so cool, I didn't even know it was out there. Was it a set term of two years and you were able to somehow extend that, or how did that end up work that you get to still be there now?

Elizabeth Eulberg:

So the visa can be either from one to five years, you decide, and I originally did two not to freak my parents out and also because I got approved for the. I got the arts council endorsement in January 2020. And I was supposed to move and then something called COVID started happening.

Lisa Schmid:

And I was like everything was so uncertain.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

So I just did the two years and I re-upped it for four more years Because fun fact once you've been in residence for five years in the UK, you can apply for something called indefinitely to remain, which means I just have to apply to be able to just stay here. Someone told me it's not indefinite, it's just 10 years at a time. Also, after five years you can apply for citizenship, if I decide to do that as well. So my visa is long enough now that I hit the five year mark and then I can decide I'll most likely do indefinitely to remain first.

Beth McMullen:

Wow, oh, my God, I'm so jealous, it's just so cool. I think it's just one of those those things that until you hear about it, it just never crosses your mind that it's something you can do and that you can use this writing career, where we have a lot of flexibility it's one of the perks of this kind of a job, but you can use that to launch yourself into this really new and exciting adventure. I think it's just the kind of thing that people are going to hear about and be like wait a minute, there are all these possibilities. I just never thought about.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

I have gotten a lot of emails, a lot of questions from author friends being like how are you there, how did this happen? So, yeah, it's no, it's been great.

Beth McMullen:

It's like a. It's like a well-capped secret. Do you have tons of people who want to visit you suddenly because you're in this cool place?

Elizabeth Eulberg:

Oh, my goodness, yeah, it's amazing. I did joke like, wow, I became super popular once I decided I was moving to London and I'm actually really grateful that there was what like 18 months that people couldn't come, couldn't come. So I, yeah, this summer I stopped counting at 28 people who were coming into town, yeah, and I finally had to kind of just say no to some people. I mean, the good thing about being an author and being on social media is you connect with people. The bad thing is there are a lot of people who think they know you when they actually don't, and so I did have to kind of draw some lines and realize I'm only one person and if you actually are not a friend of mine, you know IRL, like, or I have my personal email, like you know. It's the same where I just kind of you know. It got to be a little bit too much.

Beth McMullen:

I had that same experience when I moved to San Francisco. Suddenly I had people who I didn't even know asking if they could use my spare bedroom, and for a while I said yes to everybody and then I was like wait a minute, we don't even know each other and so no, let's just stop all this. And that was kind of pre-social media. So I can't imagine how many people are knocking at your door saying tell me what I'm supposed to do here, because people show up as tourists and they're clueless and they want your guidance. And all of that takes time and energy on your part you won't be surprised as writers.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

I wrote a document, so I have a document.

Beth McMullen:

When someone's like I'm kind of London, I'm like here you go, that's actually a really good idea, right, like please, this is all I got for you. Please don't ask me anything else. That is amazing. I could, you know, I could sit here and talk about traveling in London all day long, but we do have writing and book related questions that we want to hit you with while we have you. So, lisa, you're going to do question number one, right? Yes, hi, elizabeth.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

I haven't said yet. Thank you for having me on this podcast. I'm really excited. I listened to it a long time. Listener First time guest.

Beth McMullen:

Thank you. We love having you. We love doing the podcast because we get to hang out with people who have interesting stuff to say, which is so great. It's like my favorite thing right now. I think I'm going to just actually give up writing and just do podcasting, because it's so much more fun and having a better time doing it, so I'm going to jump into the first question.

Lisa Schmid:

So you've written for young adults and middle grade readers. How did you make the jump from one to the other? What advice would you give to authors who want to try writing for another age group or genre?

Elizabeth Eulberg:

Yes, I first I think it was my first six books were young adult and that was where my focus was. But, as we know, with authors, it's important to diversify your writing and I started having friends write middle grade and really enjoy it. And I started reading more middle grade and I was trying to think of if I had an idea to do a middle grade, because I wanted to try to challenge myself to do another genre. And I came up with the idea for the Shelby Holmes series and it was such a change for me because not only was it a younger age group, it was a mystery and all my YAs had been, you know, contemporary, like romcom books, and so I gave myself two challenges. But what I did before I started writing middle grade which I know has been mentioned many times on your podcast is to read, read, read and read.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

I was doing a book event and I was in a bookstore one of my favorite bookstores, children's Book World in Haverford, pennsylvania no-transcript, just tell me what to read. And she handed me like a stack of books. I think I even told her it was gonna be like a Sherlock Holmes inspired and I just started reading a lot. And it's funny because with scared silly I'm even branching off more into doing like horror, so supernatural stuff, which I've never done before either. And what I like about middle grade is you have to keep, as you both know, you have to keep the action going. You know, in YA you're allowed to luxuriate and feelings a bit longer, but you don't want to get, have kids, be bored. So it kind of challenged me to really plot things out and to keep it a page turner, to have a lot of twists and turns, which I hadn't done before. And so it's really I think writing middle grade has made me a better writer overall.

Lisa Schmid:

Yeah, and that is. It is an interesting thing when you do like read back and forth, like I'm mainly middle grade. I love middle grade, I've written chapter book, but middle grade is my sweet spot, and so whenever I venture off into another genre I'm just like, wow, this is taking a long time to move things forward, like what. And then I find it's just like it's a good book, you know, but it's just. I'm so conditioned to middle grade where everything there's a huge cliffhanger at every end of every chapter and it just everything moves so quickly that that's where my attention span is. So that must have been an interesting shift for you to go the other direction.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

And, to be honest, I think that scared me the most about switching to middle grade is everybody kept saying, oh, you're going to have to do so many school visits, oh, you have to do so many school visits. And I was used to going to high schools where, you know, people are like looking at me with, like you know, bored dead behind the high because they're forced to listen to. You know, they need to be cool. And I remember the first time I did a visit for the first Shelby Holmes book and just this like little third grade on the front row looked at me and she goes you wrote a book. I said, yes, I wrote a book. That's so cool, you're my favorite author. And I was like this is great.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

Because when you go into these like third, fourth, fifth graders, they just go in expecting to have the greatest time of their life because they're not in math class and hearing someone talk and it's great. They also don't know how to lie and be polite. So if they tell you, if they read your book, and they tell you they like it, they're doing it because they need it. You know, they just don't know. Yet You're supposed to be like, oh no, it was an interesting read. Thank you, you know, yeah.

Lisa Schmid:

I've had a couple of funny experiences like that where, like I remember, one time I was reading, I read like a chapter of my chapter book to these kids in the library and this one kid just said, can you read something that's not so dumb? Oh my God, I just started laughing. I was like, oh my God, you were like the best reviewer ever. And then, like on the other end of this spectrum, I had a school visit where I was walking up and this never happens but they had already this class, they had already read the book, and as I was walking up to the school, I could hear kids on the playground chanting my name. And I'm like this is what Lindsey Curry must feel like at every school visit.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

Now it's my favorite part about writing for middle grade is doing the school visits. It's just. It's so much fun and the energy and they're just, they're great.

Beth McMullen:

They are very, very cute. Well, that was good to hear, because we hear from a lot of people who want to switch from what they're doing to something else and I think, like you said and like many of our guests have said, you just need to read, you need to just sort of immerse yourself in that space so that you know what you're doing, because there are rules there that are spoken and unspoken that you need to follow if you're going to write in a certain space. So I think, just to remind everybody, go get your stack of books and start reading. I mean, there, there, it's not a bad thing to have to do. So, you know, as medicine it's, it's pretty OK. So next question you wrote the Great Shelby Holmes series and I love that one because it was funny in the way that I love. The thing I love about middle grade books is that humor, the characters fun and funny and you're just sucked into it. But I read somewhere and I can't remember where that you have some personal connections to Sherlock Holmes.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

So when the TV show Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch came out, I had so many friends say, oh, you need to watch this show, you're going to love it, it's like modern day London. And I was like, no, I don't like Sherlock Holmes. And my friends were like, what do you wait? Who doesn't like Sherlock Holmes? That's so weird. I was like no, I can't. No, don't like Sherlock Holmes.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

And the reason why I grew up not liking Sherlock Holmes is because I am the. Whenever I tell this story at schools, I always say to kids I was like who has an older sibling? When they raise their hands, I go well, I don't need to go on, but I will. But so I'm the youngest of four and I am the musical one in my family. I played the piano, guitar, clarinet, and so any time my school had a musical I would usually have a lead role. And so sixth grade, my tiny Catholic school did a Sherlock Holmes musical and there were no female parts because apparently women didn't exist in the late 1800s. And so all of the girls, all of the girls in school were in the choir. We were like the Baker Street Irregulars. We had in like page boy hats and, like you know, we sang and my brother was Sherlock Holmes, who is not musical at all, and his best friend was Watson.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

And because I'm in sixth grade, I of course decided to take this out on Sherlock Holmes for the like, any normal, like what? 11, 12,? I was like I don't like Sherlock Holmes and so I literally just ignored anything Sherlock Holmes. And then so many people told me to watch the show and I remember there was a big blizzard in New York and I was like, well, I'm not going anywhere, I'll guess I'll watch an episode. And then I was like it's 90 minutes, like I was angry, I'm going to show it 90 minutes. But I started watching it and within the first 10 minutes I was like, oh my gosh, that was the best, because, especially the way Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Holmes, he plays them like a spoiled, petulant child, you know, like I don't want to have to play with anybody and I don't have to share anything. And within the first 10 minutes I was like I now remember why we are still talking about Sherlock Holmes 150 plus years after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first wrote about him is because not only did he look at things that no one else did regarding forensics, franking technology and crime related details is that he had a really bad attitude and I'm not kidding, like minute 15, I was like, huh, what is Sherlock Holmes? As a nine-year-old girl? I mean, that was it like right away. And then I was like, well, I guess I'm into the Sherlock Holmes. And then I, you know, did a deep dive.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

Besides watching the Sherlock Holmes, I read a lot of the original stories, I read a lot of nonfiction. I read Sherlock Holmes for Dummies and then I also read I love the Dummies books. Like I put that up when I do school. When kids look at me I'm like, no, it's great. I read Forensics for Dummies and Forensic Psychology for Dummies and went in. And so I just think it's funny that for so many decades I ignored Sherlock Holmes solely because I was jealous of my brother got the lead part.

Beth McMullen:

I loved that show for just the reasons that you said. I mean, you just wanna slap Benedict Cumberbatch in the face like stop being an insolent little brat, Like he plays it so perfectly. And it was not a common portrayal. It's hard to find a portrayal like that in the many, many movies and interpretations that have happened in the past. So, and I too had that 90 minute thing where I was like wait, is this a movie, Is it a show, Is it what? And then it would come out sporadically. So it always had you feeling a little off because you couldn't predict when the next episode would show up and their lengths were all over the place. Yeah, it was. That's funny that that's the thing that kind of sparked it for you. But now that you say that it makes sense, having read those books, there are a lot of similarities in that sort of character that you have in Shelby.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

Because a lot of I watched the other like a lot of different other interpretations of Sherlock Holmes TV and movie adaptations and a lot of times Sherlock is portrayed very stuffy he's very like stuffy and short and Watson especially in the movies with Basil Raffborn, the Watson is just a bumbling idiot and so I yeah I wanted my Watson to be more involved, like he is in the BDBC adaptation.

Lisa Schmid:

Yeah, so you talk about being out of your comfort zone, that it helps you to be a better writer. Can you give us an example of how relocating to London has influenced your writing? And I'm curious, especially with the Shelby home books Did your habits, your writing habits or routine change being in this new place?

Elizabeth Eulberg:

It's funny cause I'm trying to remember what my writing habits were before coming here. I'm someone who I like to go on walks and think about things before I sit down to write, and so when I moved here, it was fall of 2020. And we started getting into restrictions here a lot, and so there were times where I could only go for walks by myself and it kind of didn't really change my work day because I would go in the morning for a walk and here it was great because it's London, and so I started doing blue plaques. So blue plaques are these historical plaques they have on buildings of someone who significantly lived there, and so I went to go see where, like, charles Dickens once lived and where Virginia Woolf lived. I finally, the other day I was near it, so I went to where Jim Henson lived when he lived in London. I know it was very I've been near there enough, but like this time I was like I'm going early so I can just walk by and see the house. Maybe there's a blue plaque.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

So in the mornings I would always think about what I'm gonna write, and then I would sit in a park, and London has a bunch of different parks and pretty places and kind of outline and what I write. So I mean I guess I would go for walks in Europe, like it's so funny that I can't remember Like what did I do beforehand. But yeah, I've developed a new routine where morning walks sit outline. I always have a notebook where I outline what I'm gonna write and then in the afternoon, as I do, most of my writing and it's my time to figure things out and just because London inspires me so much, I look forward to the morning walk.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

I will say I can't talk too much about upcoming projects that haven't been announced yet, but two of the things that I'm working on do take place in London and I've always been inspired. The funny thing is and this is what was part of my letter to the arts council of reasons why I benefit for why I would benefit from being here is three things that I've written have been inspired by British culture the Beatles, where I inspired my first book. I did a retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice called Promen Prejudice, and then Shelby Holmes and Sherlock Holmes. So I do find a lot of inspiration with British culture, so that at least got me here.

Beth McMullen:

I love that you can draw links to your writing to London. I mean this almost feels like it was meant to be, like you had to go there, right, because it's just kind of plugged into your writing DNA, yeah, and it's funny because when I first moved here, it's back when you had to do the 14-day quarantine, so I couldn't leave the flat.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

And when I tell people that they go okay, and then I say no, they actually deactivated the fob so even if I tried to leave the building, I wouldn't be let back in. And they're like, oh, I'm like I don't know what part of I couldn't leave the flat for 14 days. But I have a view of the London Eye. And I was asked while I was in the middle of my quarantine by Marissa Meyer, author. She was doing an anthology of romcom, anthology called Serendipity, out now. And she was like, oh, would you be interested in taking part? We're gonna do a little twist on tropes.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

And I was like, yeah, and I look at the London Eye. I'm like I'm gonna do one where the London Eye is this big, almost Ferris Wheel-like thing and it's a 30-minute journey up and around. And I was like I'm gonna do a trap in the London Eye. So I was like, yeah, it just was funny. I just like right away, I was like sure. And then I was like you know what, looking out the window, there's inspiration kind of everywhere, which is great, especially when I've been doing this for over 10 years now. So get all the inspiration one can get.

Beth McMullen:

Yeah, I was in London with the kids in, I think, 2018. And when they were younger and I ended up writing I think it's the third Mrs Smith's book takes place almost entirely in London and they get stuck in the eye and they get, you know, they're stuck in the eye in one of those cars with the bad guy and, yeah, I mean I feel like there's so much history there, there's so many links that you can make. It really is just kind of fires up your imagination. It's so cool.

Beth McMullen:

So our next question, kind of changing gears a little bit here, I've been thinking about this. I had a conversation with somebody recently where they asked me if I read reviews of my work and I said no, because I don't get anything out of them, except that they, you know, by and large make me feel bad, because you never really read the good ones and say I'm fabulous. Instead, you read the bad ones and you're like I'm terrible. So I thought I would ask you how you you know you've been in this business a long time. You've generated tons and tons of reviews. How do you handle the reviews, positive and negative?

Elizabeth Eulberg:

Because I was a publicist first and so I was the one usually sharing reviews with authors and I have been in the bad position of having to share a really bad review with authors, I mean only if it's a major publication and they're going to be aware of it. What I would always say when people talk about reviews is I'm like you know, look at your favorite book in the entire world and go on Goodreads. There will be one star reviews. I think of the book like Book Thief by Marca Zuzak, which is a brilliant, amazing book. It's got one star reviews on Goodreads. Like I don't know what book these people were reading. I would look at it, as there's not one book that exists in the world that everybody loves. Now it's easy for me to say that, and then when you're the one writing it, it's different, and I wasn't sure how I was going to handle reviews once I became an author. You know editors will send me the trade reviews or a significant reviews, and I know certain things, like for those out there there's a publication called Kirkus and they are known for giving very nasty reviews Like even a book that they love. There's always like a little bit of a dig. I always know to brace myself and kind of go well, it's Kirkus. When they say the one thing, it's just kind of their style. I would like to say I take it pretty well, like I generally stay off of Goodreads. I will If I know the arcs of a book of mine are out. I do kind of want to just see what people are thinking, but I won't after a book has come out, because with arcs, you know, people who are reading it are mostly reviewers of some kind or in the industry. Aren't someone who just wants to give you one star review because they don't like something you posted on Twitter? I feel like I take it pretty well. I have been fortunate to get some good reviews and some not good ones, and, at the end of the day, I like the books that I write and I know that there's an audience for them and it might not be for everybody. I will say, though, I do love with like really mean reviews though, because it's clearly not about the book.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

There's something else going on, and I think what happened was I. My first book was called the Lonely Hearts Club and it's about a girl who decides to stop dating guys in high school because they're not worth the trouble and it's very I mean, lessons are learned, right, but it's very like go, women, boys are dumb. And I had a Facebook page and some boy posted on it you're the worst thing that's ever happened in the world. And I just laughed because I'm sure what happened was he was dating some girl who read my book or something right. And friends are like, oh my gosh, I saw what was. Are you okay? And I'm like, yeah, no, I'm fine. Like I had this thing. I won't go into that.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

I got bullied really badly and read. It happened with these like male people of fans of a very specific thing ganged up on me and they were like calling me fat and ugly and, you know, telling me I should kill myself. And I was just like, okay, you know, words matter and I'm not going to do anything harmful to myself because I'm a grown woman. But maybe you shouldn't be saying those words. But I know that that's not aimed at me, that they're mad that I had an opinion of something that they didn't enjoy, that somebody who's fighting something else. So I do try to keep a pretty level head. I said that now I'm going to probably get off and be shown a horrible review of zombie wedding crashes and then cry. But I like that book though I will say. Once I saw like a two star review of my book Better Off Friends and I was like, no, this book's better than two stars.

Beth McMullen:

This is one of my kids books and they got a one star review because Amazon sent them the wrong book.

Beth McMullen:

So, you know those sorts of things. I mean, the bullying stuff is so unfortunate and people are just off their rockers lately, but I feel like there's a lot of. The trade reviews are one category. The end user reviews are a different category because again, they're like I don't like the cover or my book came with a tear in it and then it's one star review for you. There's no connection that they make between what they're doing and they're reviewing and it's impact on the author. I read trade reviews. I stopped reading end user reviews like right after my first book came out, because I figured out pretty quickly that there was nothing I could learn from them that was valuable. You know the trade reviews. You can get a sense of like okay, so maybe I missed the mark a little on this, or this is how this is being interpreted. I'll keep that in mind. It's a professional reading, but the end users you're like I can't do anything with this. It's just noise.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

And I also worked with authors who have long standing series and would let the you know their fans like their criticisms of the theories get to them. And you know there's especially when something becomes super successful. There's not anything an author at that point could write that's going to appease everybody. It's just it's what happens.

Beth McMullen:

Yeah, and your super fans take it all really personally, yeah.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

But I will also say it's interesting, because when I give my books to people to read, when I'm, like you know, working through drafts, I don't want to hear it's fine, like I want. I want my book to be ripped to shreds, because that's when it's helpful, that's when I can do something about it, when I want the help and I need the help. And then once it's done.

Beth McMullen:

It's done. I can't fix it, so I don't need to know that. You know you had some problem with what was in it, because I can't, I can't change it now. It's on to the next thing.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

Well, and I think the thing is, is that if you're not going to believe the best thing, you're not, you're going to believe the worst thing that's said about you, but you're not going to believe the best thing that's said about you. And so what is that doing to your mental health? It's, I mean, it's true, it's just you're going to remember the one bad review more than the good one.

Beth McMullen:

Yeah, you could have a hundred glowing reviews and then somebody says, hey, you suck, and that's the only takeaway that you have. You're like I suck. They said so. Those other hundred people who cares? No, don't know what they're talking about. Yeah, I think, for all neurotic Lisa, you want to do the last question.

Lisa Schmid:

So you have a new series coming out? Tell us about it and when does it hit the shelves?

Elizabeth Eulberg:

So my newest series is called Steered Silly. I mentioned it earlier. It's my like, take on, like, like the horror genre kind of, but it's more funny than than frightening and it is about a long dormant which is cursed in this town of Caldron's Cove that these four kids have to have. There's like a monster of the week for each book and so they have to defeat the curse. And the second book just came out, called Zombie Wedding Crashers. The third book, vampires Ruin Everything, comes out on January 2nd 2024.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

And what's interesting and I thought to mention just briefly, because there are a lot of aspiring, you know, writers who listen to this that when people write series, the question we always get well, how many books will there be? And right now there are three books in the Scared Silly series. Hopefully there's more, but we have to see how the book does and I am guilty as anybody that I read the first book in a series and then I don't read the rest. So right now I leave the third book kind of in a maybe things will be better or maybe they won't, but with the hope that there'll be more creatures. But it's this thing where a lot it depends on numbers, and right now, because it's the fall when we're recording this is, you know, the scary season the second book out, we're waiting on school mark, there's a lot of factors and so it's always such a hard thing. I know, beth, you've done series before. When people ask about well how many Because that happened with Shelby is that there were four.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

There could have been more, but just the series kind of had its natural progression, sales wise. So if you want so this is my way to say if you really love a series and you want to continue, you need to buy or at least like review online all the books and tell people about it, because most authors, unless there's like a planned trilogy or duology, would like series, especially for middle graders, to continue and continue.

Beth McMullen:

That's really true, and I remember pitching my last series, which was a Simon and Schuster series, and the publisher seeing that they were backing off of series is because of exactly why you just said. People read the first one, maybe the second one, and then they take a precipitous drop in sales. And they were, they were leaning more into stand-alones. So I remember that. I remember thinking to myself, isn't this all just a big circle? Because when I started writing, it was series or bust. You better be pitching a series or nobody's going to look at it. So I mean there's obviously room for both.

Beth McMullen:

But I think, yes, if you like a series, you know vote with your purchase of the book or asking for it at the library, or however it is that you do it, because otherwise you know it's just, it's not sustainable. There are also those writers who get to book three and they're like I never want to see these stupid characters ever again. And I've gotten I've had that happen to me too where the publisher is like let's go and I'm like let's not go, let's just be done. This is perfectly positioned for the spooky season, and Lisa writes spooky middle grade. I know that spooky middle grade is huge right now, so I think you are very well positioned and hopefully we'll see many more of these coming out.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

Thank you. No, it's been. It's been fun. And also, you know, being writers and being able to count like research, being able to watch like horror movies or in silly, silly horror movies, I was like, oh, I gotta go to work now. It has been a lot of fun. But also, you know, now writing about London, I'm like, oh, I gotta go to high T, I gotta have to have high T for research.

Beth McMullen:

So I think the I think the most important thing of being a writer is write what you love yeah, that's true and write the things that get you to take really awesome vacations and trips, yeah. So, anyway, we have kept you a long time and it's nighttime in London, so thank you so much for being here and sharing all of this wisdom. I know that our readers are going to find really good takeaways in this conversation.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

Thank, you both so much for having me. It's been fun. I love talking to writers about writing.

Beth McMullen:

Good and remember everybody out there. You can find out more about Elizabeth and her books on her website, which is elizabethjulbergcom, and I'll put links to all her socials on the podcast notes so you can easily get in touch if you'd like to. And you did say you were coming back to the States for school visits. You're probably all booked up for that, but if they're interested educators out there get in touch with you and maybe your next round you can get on the schedule.

Elizabeth Eulberg:

Yes, and I'm also available for virtual visits as well.

Beth McMullen:

Right, I keep forgetting that those are a thing. Right, that's all we did for so long, and then it was like nope no more of that and, as always, thank you listeners for tuning in.

Beth McMullen:

Please visit our link tree or the podcast notes and find out how to support the show by subscribing, following and recommending. And we will see you again next week, october 9th, for a top five deep dive episode. We have a really good one teed up for you, so we hope you join us for that and, until then, happy reading, writing and listening.

Living and Writing in London
Reading's Influence on Writing Middle Grade Books
London Inspiration and Handling Reviews
How to stay sane when dealing with reviews