AdminBD provides us with a few good tips and hints on Anne R. Allen’s blog. Thank you very much for this great article.
on Anne R. Allen:
One of the primo, Number One “rules” for writers is write what you know.
Writing what you know is generally excellent advice for writers who are in the early stages of their careers. Knowing your setting — whether it’s geographical, professional, familial, is one less issue you’ll have to face when you’re still not yet completely comfortable with fiction’s basic craft elements — narrative, backstory, plot, dialogue, character.
What if you can’t — or don’t want to — write what you know?
Ruth Harris published a guest post on Anne R. Allen’s blog about how writers stand between themselves and success. Thank you for your very educational blog post, Ruth.
on Anne R. Allen:
A term used in scoring tennis, “unforced errors” are not caused by the actions of the player’s opponent, but they’re the responsibility of the player him/herself. S/he is caught wrong-footed, out of balance, unable to return the serve, incapable of making the winning shot.
The concept of unforced errors can also be usefully applied to writers. Unforced errors are the self-inflicted harm we do to ourselves.
Anne R. Allen wrote the perfect blog post about the first bad review, and I would recommend every young/new author to read it. She writes with compassion and humor. Thanks for this one, Anne! You rock!
I’m not sure anything stings as much as that first bad review. You’re riding high in triumph. You finished the project that may have taken decades to complete. Then you survived the crushing editing/ querying/ rejections/ revising/ editing again process. But now you’re finally a published author.
Whether the publisher is yourself or the Random Penguin House, the feeling is the same. It’s your baby and you just gave birth. You are experiencing a moment of bliss.
That review. Somebody hates your baby. They really hate it. You are a talentless hack and a worthless defiler of language. They say you should never write another word and suggest you take up underwater basket-weaving or making throw pillows out of dryer lint.
And it hurts like #$&@.
Anne R. Allen informs us on her blog about four newbie writer mistakes that can derail a great book idea. Thanks for your information on that, Anne.
You’ve got a fantastic idea for a novel. It’s been hanging around for quite a while, knocking inside your noggin. The idea keeps saying, “Let me out! Release me! Put me in a book!”
Maybe there’s a scene in your head that plays like a video, with every detail of the setting right there, as if it’s on a screen. You know those characters. They’re like real people to you.
But you’ve never had the time to write it all down.
Now you do.
So here you are, finally banging out that scene. And another. And pretty soon you’ve written 10,000, maybe 15,000 words of brilliant, deathless prose. It almost wrote itself. Wow. That was almost too easy.
It IS brilliant, isn’t it?
Well, maybe not. Maybe what’s on the page isn’t quite as good it seemed when you were in the zone.
In fact, it could be terrible. What if you have no talent for writing at all? Maybe you should be in the living room doing that kitten jigsaw puzzle with Grandma instead. How do you know if you’re any good?
You’ll have to ask somebody knowledgeable. Like a published author.
And this — this is when you fall down the rabbit hole.
Anne R. Allen provides us with an experience no author ever wants to make. Read the blog post and you know what I mean. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Anne.
Recently I got a furious Facebook message from a stranger who accused me of “using her life” in one of my books. It’s amazing how sometimes life imitates fiction.
She had apparently been a Facebook friend, and she dramatically unfriended me after sending a distraught DM describing the traumas in her life that I’d “stolen”.
Since she’d blocked me, I wasn’t able to assure her that Leona Von Schmidt, one of the suspects in The Queen of Staves, is an entirely fictional construct—a comic character who is not meant to resemble any real inhabitant of Planet Earth, living or dead.
When I wrote the book, I’d known nothing about the details of the Facebook woman’s life that she accused me of revealing. (Although of course, I know them now. Some things can’t be unread, alas.)
Julie Valerie writes a guest post on Anne R. Allen’s blog about influencers that can help authors reach agents, publishers, and readers. Thank you very much, Julie!
From Book Blog to Book Deal.
First things first, because I’m sure this question is on a lot of writer’s minds: does a book blog still land a book deal?
My answer? Of course, they do. Great writing and great content will always find an audience, and where there’s an audience, especially a sizable one, there’s typically a book deal waiting to happen. Think Julie Powell, Candice Bushnell, Jen Lancaster, and Jenny Lawson.
Not to mention, entire empires (with books launched along the way), have been built on the humble foundations of blog sites that just wouldn’t quit. Think ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse and Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi.
Anne R. Allen writes about a danger some of us writers are not expecting; sabotage in our own four walls. Thanks for this very informative post, Anne.
Learning to write well is tough. Getting published is tougher. And selling your published books is tougher still.
Nevertheless, we persist. Most writers feel compelled to write, and usually, nothing can stop us.
But we can be waylaid, distracted, and seriously discouraged. Some of us can’t write for years because of devastating “creativity wounds” and body-blows to our self-esteem. Misguided and untrained beta readers and critique groups can also kill a writer’s creativity.
Others quit writing after horrific experiences with scam publishing companies and bogus agents. I have written often about the publishing scammers who lie in wait for newbie writers. Do check out my posts on scams, and always check Writer Beware. Scammers can break your heart as well as emptying your bank account.
I’ve also heard from several authors who put their writing on hiatus after sadistic troll attacks derailed a fledgling writing career. (We had some great advice on how to fight online attacks from Chris Syme last week. Attacks like this were the inspiration for my novel So Much for Buckingham, which is on sale this week.)
But sometimes the writer’s most dangerous enemies are closer to home.
Anne R. Allen provides us with bad publishing advice new writers should ignore. Thanks so much for your advice, Anne. We appreciate it very much.
Social Media is both a boon and a curse to new writers. Online writing groups and forums are an excellent source of insider information on the publishing industry—stuff we once could only find at expensive classes and writers’ conferences.
But social media is also a major source of misinformation and dangerously bad advice.
I belong to a lot of Facebook writers’ groups where I see newbies ask questions that get a bunch of conflicting responses. Sometimes when I see misinformation, I jump in to correct it, but often I can tell that resistance is futile. There’s such a wealth of bad advice that I don’t know where to begin.
I know some people can only learn that fire is hot by getting burned. Nothing a more experienced person says will change their minds.
But if you don’t feel the need to jump in the fire, here’s some popular bad advice you can ignore.
Anne R. Allen informs us about 10 mistakes for authors to avoice. Thank you very much for sharing this information, Anne!
These days, an author’s online presence is of vital importance to a career, whether we’re published or planning to publish. Whether we’re indie, hybrid, or trad-pubbed, it’s not only essential to be easy to find online, but we need to keep a professional presence and guard our author brand and reputation.
I’m not just talking about how we present ourselves on our websites. Your online presence means your book page bio, blog, and all your social media bios and interactions–anything that comes up in a Google search.
Anne R. Allen took the time to provide us with a warning about writing scams to look out for in 2019. Thank you very much Anne!
Predators are on the lookout for scammable new or discouraged writers.
by Anne R. Allen
As long as there are writers, there will be writing scams. Hungry predators will always be lying in wait, ready to pounce on any tender young scribe who strays from the safety of the mainstream herd.
And now there are an increasing number of scammers who target the established writer as well—hoping to profit from the discouragement so many indies are feeling as Amazon’s changing policies and algorithms leave them behind.
In the 1990s, bogus literary agencies were everywhere. They advertised directly to writers in magazines and online—often buying ads in prestigious magazines like Writers Digest and Poets and Writers.