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Anne R. Allen's Blog


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Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Top 10 Questions from New Writers: Answers to Your Most Burning Questions

We welcome questions from readers, and we always try to offer an answer or at least steer you to a place where you can find one.

A good place to get more detailed information is a book I co-wrote with Catherine Ryan Hyde: How to be a Writer in the E-Age…and Keep Your E-Sanity. It addresses these and most other questions a beginning writer might have. It’s not a tech or self-publishing manual in spite of its techy cover. We may be changing that...

But I realized recently that I spend a lot of time answering the same questions in emails, so I thought it would make sense to put some of the answers here on the blog.

In fact, we could make this a regular feature if people want to send in questions. Just go to the “contact us” page for our addresses and put “Q and A” in the header. Remember the only stupid question is the one you don't ask.

Here are ten of the most common questions we’ve been getting in our emails.

10) Q. Does Facebook count as a Blog / Website? If not, why not? And what site would you recommend?

A. Facebook does NOT count as a website and should not be your primary Web presence. Lots of reasons for this:
  • Facebook requires membership. Not all your readers are going to be members.
  • Facebook can kick people off for very minor infractions—or even if you've done nothing at all. If some troll reports you for spam, nobody checks on the troll, but you're outta there, and it's tough to get reinstated. It happened to me.
  • The site has probably peaked. Younger people are leaving, and lots of users are fed up with the ads and lack of privacy and the fact you now have to pay to have more than a few people see your posts.
  • An author needs a primary Web presence that you can control yourself. You need to establish your brand, with your own choice of colors, tone, photos, etc. It doesn't have to cost money. A Blogger or Wordpress blog is free.
I use Blogger (blogspot.comowned by Google)  It's easy enough for a technomoron like me to use. And I like free. More tech-savvy folks prefer WordPress. Both are 100%  free and work for most writers. Look up in the right hand corner of this blog. See the button for "create blog"? Hit it—and in about 5 minutes, you're a blogger. I don't recommend you do that though. Get things assembled, like photos, ideas for a title, etc. You can get more info on HOW TO BLOG right here. and through some of my popular pieces in the sidebar.

9) Q. Does every new writer need an agent? And how much do they cost?

A. No, every writer does NOT need an agent.
  • If you write short stories or poetry, agents won't be interested. 
  • If you write novels or memoir, you shouldn't seek representation until you have at least one finished, polished book—and most agents would prefer two. 
  • If you've got a nonfiction book or two, an agent might help you, but most nonfic authors do better with self-publishing or small presses these days because most agents require a Dr. Oz-sized platform. 
But if you are Dr. Oz, or you have a couple of novels with a potentially huge global market—the kind that will appeal to one of the Big 5 multinational publishing houses or some of the larger “medium” sized ones like Harlequin (except some lines)—you definitely need an agent.

Small and some medium-sized presses do not require an agent (for more on which ones require agents, they're listed in my book How to be a Writer in the E-Age.)

Most self-publishers don’t have agents, although the role of agent is changing, and now many agents are helping authors self-publish. I think it's a good plan for most first novelists to query agents to see if there’s interest. Going through the query process is a great way to learn about the business and hone marketing skills and it keeps your options open in this rapidly changing business.

But if you do get an offer, always have a lawyer or knowledgeable third party look at the contract before signing. Some agent contracts these days can be predatory, even from legitimate agencies. As far as cost: agents charge a commission—after they've sold your work. They pretty much all charge the same: 10%-15% of domestic sales, 20% foreign.

And NEVER pay an agent anything upfront. It’s not considered ethical to charge a fee for reading your manuscript. The network of agents and editors is fairly small, and a fee-charging agent won’t belong to that network and won’t be able to sell your book to a reputable publisher. Here’s a blogpost with more on how to spot bogus and unethical agents.

8) Q. Do I need to set up my own store to sell a self-published title? How do I set up my blog so readers can buy my book?

A. You probably don't want to bother with your own store unless you have a whole lot of titles and a ton of tech and business savvy. Most authors I know who've tried it say that running their own store is more trouble than it’s worth.

Obviously getting 100% of your cover price instead of 35%-70% is very tempting. But unless you have high visibility already, you’re going to sell more on the retail sites like Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes and Noble to make up the difference. If you prefer not to work with mega-companies like Amazon, consider Smashwords for ebooks and Lulu for paper (but avoid Lulu's more expensive packages, which are operated by AuthorSolutions.) .

As far as linking to retailers, here's what you do on Blogger: 
  1. Click "design" in the right top corner of your blog main page (once you're signed in.)  
  2. This takes you to your “dashboard". 
  3. Go to the list of links on the left hand side of the page that comes up and click "layout." 
  4. A basic pattern of your layout comes up. 
  5. Then hit "add a gadget" wherever you want your book to be. 
  6. Then choose "image". 
  7. A window will come up where you can upload your cover image and there will be another window that says "add a link". 
  8. Paste in the link to your buy page at your publisher or Amazon or wherever you want.
It sounds like a lot of steps, but it only takes a minute or two.

7) Q. I want to know if I have the talent to be a real writer. Will you look at my WIP and let me know if I’m wasting my time?

A. No writing wastes your time. Writing is about organizing thought. It keeps your little gray cells well exercised. It’s like a gym workout for your brain.

As far as being a “real writer”—if you’re writing, and you’re not a puppet carved by an old Italian guy named Gepetto, you’re a real writer. A writer is a person who writes, full stop. It’s a long learning curve, but I believe anybody can learn if they’ve got the drive.

But we can’t give free critiques. Our schedules are jam-packed and we’re always on overload. Plus critiquing can be a thankless job. Lots of beginners aren’t ready to hear how much work goes into learning to write narrative. I recommend CritiqueCircle.com for exchanging critiques.

6)  Q. How much platform-building should I do before I sit down to write my first story? 

A. If you write fiction, NONE. Write a book first. Or at least some short stories. It takes a long time to learn to write good fiction.

You can read some great advice from Jane Friedman about platform right here. Don’t let yourself get obsessed with platform until you have a finished draft and you’ve written some short stories that are ready to send out to contests and journals.

Learning to write well enough to publish usually takes at least three years (or 10K hours.) If you waste that time playing on the Internet, your learning curve will be longer.

If you’re a nonfiction writer, it's a different story. It's a good idea to start right away with a blog. I think all nonfiction writers benefit from blogging and you might as well start building an audience while you learn your trade.

5) Q. I want to get my WIP critiqued, but I’m afraid somebody will steal my plot. How can I make sure it won’t get stolen?

A. Relax. This is the most common fear in beginning writers, but you can let it go.

All your work is copyrighted to you as soon as you write it. If you want it official, you can pay to copyright a finished work with the US copyright office, who have a handy PDF pamphlet to help you along. But make sure it's finished, edited, and polished or you'll have to do it again. Could get expensive.

The truth is there are a whole lot of things to be afraid of out there in the publishing world: bad contracts, fee-charging agents, vanity publishers that masquerade as publishers—but this isn’t one of them.

Most writers have more ideas than they can write down in a lifetime. The more you write, the more ideas you have. Nobody needs to take yours. No matter how brilliant it is. More on the rarity of plot stealing here. 

4) All I get is rejections. Should I give up writing? 

A. Every successful author gets tons of rejections, so only quit if you know you’d rather be doing something else. 

No matter how far along you are in your career, I guarantee somebody will hate your work and say that you “can’t write.” Look at the 140 one-star reviews of the Great Gatsby, which has become a #1 bestseller 90 years after its debut and has never been out of print..

All a rejection means is that you’re sending your work out there. Which puts you ahead of the writers who aren’t getting rejected yet. Ruth Harris has a great post on how arbitrary rejections can be. And here's a guest post on the subject from Catherine Ryan Hyde.

If your rejections are personalized—say you’ve had three that say your novel has structure issues, or point of view problems—you’ve been given a gift. Find a book, blogpost or class on structure or POV and work on your weak points. We all have them.

But if you find you really don’t enjoy writing novels, don’t think that giving up is “failure”. There are lots of other writing outlets besides the novel format. Short fiction is soaring in popularity. Or you may find that you’d prefer to put your energy into blogging. Blogs can reach a lot more people than a novel.

Novels are not somehow “better” than other formats. Writing is writing, and there are lots of ways to be successful at it.

And remember that learning to write takes time. How much time?  Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours are a reasonable estimate.

Or maybe you'd rather create in an entirely different medium. That's OK, too. Pablo Picasso was probably a lousy writer.

3) Q. What do you think of bloghops and will you join ours? 

A. Blog hops are a great way for new bloggers to network and form community—an essential thing when you’re starting out. If you have time to devote to daily blogging for a month or so, it can be a fun way to get to know your fellow writers and move your blog up in the search engines.

But personally, we’re kinda hopped out. Ruth and I have found the “hop” format doesn’t work well for this blog, because it’s a once a week “slow blog” (most blog hops require daily posts.) Plus this blog is more informational than personal. We don’t talk a lot about our writing process or characters unless they illustrate a point.

And remember other authors aren’t your primary audience. Blog hops are not going to sell a lot of books. They’re for building community.

2) Q. Should I use a pseudonym? 

A. Funny how many writers worry about this as soon as they set out to write their first fiction. Pen names are definitely a good choice if you write erotica or your real name is Donald Trump. 

But if you’re using a pseudonym so your family won’t know you’re a writing a book, you probably will get outed by the time you publish anyway, so consider the hassles of doing business as two people.

If you do want to use a pseudonym, choose one as soon as possible in your career and use the same one everywhere, so all your platform building and social networking can be done under your author name.

Do Google the name to make sure it doesn’t belong to another author, anybody who already has a big Web presence, or is wanted for a heinous crime.

Not everybody agrees with me on this, but I think authors can write under one name for all their books unless they write wildly incompatible genres like BDSM erotica and children’s picture books. These days lots of writers publish different genres under the same name. You can signal your genre with cover design, title and font, and you’ll save yourself a huge amount of time if you only have to build one platform. 

And by far the most popular question is:

1) Q. Can I write a guest post for your blog to promote my book/service? 

A. Probably not. Ruth and I take very few guest posters, as you'll see if you look around. Since we only post four pieces a month, each one has to offer a lot of value. It has to be informational rather than promotional. Unfortunately we've been seeing our stats drop off a cliff whenever we have a guest, even somebody wildly famous—and we've hosted Oscar winners and literary icons.

I'm not sure why that is. It may be that when we read blogs we're like schoolchildren with a substitute teacher: we want what we're used to or we don't feel we have to pay attention. In any case, this means we pretty much have to limit guests to people with their own online followings who can bring some audience with them or people who are pretty well known in the industry.

The best way to get on any blog is to start commenting and get to know the regulars. Readers are more likely to welcome one of their own. If we do start taking more guests, that would definitely put you ahead of the game. If you want to query us, there's more on guest posts on our "contact us" page and here's my post on HOW TO BE A GOOD BLOG GUEST.

BUT: If you have a contest going to promote your service, or you’ve got a literary zine or podcast and are looking for submissions, do send us the deets and we’ll put it in our “opportunity alerts.” That's why I created this section.

How about you, scriveners? Do you have anything to add to my answers to these questions? Do you have questions of your own you'd like us to tackle in future blogposts? 


1) COMPOSE Literary Journal debuts this week with their Spring 2013 issue. Submissions are open for their Fall 2013 issue.  This prestigious journal was founded by Suzannah Windsor, of Write it Sideways, and she's put together an amazing editorial staff. I'm so honored to have my poem No One Will Ever Love Him included in the debut issue. They are looking for art and photography as well as poems, literary short fiction, novel excerpts and essays. Must not be previously published (that includes anything that has appeared on your blog.)

 2) The Saturday Evening Post’s Second Annual Great American Fiction Contest—yes, THAT Saturday Evening Post—is holding a short fiction contest. Could you join the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald; William Faulkner; Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.; Ray Bradbury; Louis L’Amour; Sinclair Lewis; Jack London; and Edgar Allan Poe? $10 entry fee Deadline July 1, 2013

3) FREE book advertising to British readers from EbookBargainsUK Lots of authors and publishers have had huge successes with their free or sale books by advertising on BookBub, ENT, KND, POI, etc. But none of those target the UK, and their links go to US sites Brits can't use. But now there’s a newsletter for UK readers only. It links to all the big UK retailers like Apple UK, Waterstones and Foyles as well as Amazon UK. They don’t sell books direct or get paid for clickthroughs, so they don't have any restrictions on how many free books they can spotlight like BookBub and the others. So it's THE place to tell Brits about your book when it goes free or on sale in the UK. Since Brits have the highest number of readers per capita of any country in the world, this looks like a great idea to me: Plus: the site will be offering FREE book ads until May 31st, on a first come, first served basis.

And if you're in the UK, do sign up for their newsletter. It brings links to free and bargain ebooks—at the UK bookstore of your choice—in your inbox every morning. You can subscribe here.

4) The Lyttoniad contest for the WORST first sentence of a novel. The classic Bulwer-Lytton Contest makes news every year. Each entry must consist of a single sentence but you may submit as many entries as you wish. E-mail entries should be sent to Scott Rice at srice@pacbell.net in the body of the message, Ariel 12 font. One e-mail may contain multiple entries. Entries will be judged by categories, from “general” to detective, western, science fiction, romance, and so on. There will be overall winners as well as category winners. No prizes that I know of, but lots of admiration from your fellow writers.  Deadline is June 30th.

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Blogger Christy Farmer said...

Anne—Your timing is impeccable because I left Facebook this week. How did you hear about younger people leaving Facebook? That is intriguing and I would love to hear more about it.

Great answers to today's Q & A. It's gonna help a lot of people. :)

May 12, 2013 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger Charley Robson said...

I'm with Christy - I needed this post right now! Thank you so much Anne!

May 12, 2013 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger fOIS In The City said...

Let's see what happens today, Anne. Great Q&A for newbie writers. Also, thanks for the continuing feature with small publishing ops. :)

May 12, 2013 at 12:07 PM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Hi, Anne, Another amazingly informative post. I'm living proof that even in old age, one can find an absolutely terrific, savvy, professional and writer-friendly publisher WITHOUT AN AGENT involved. I found JMS Books on my own and my work has found a terrific home. As always, your advice to writers is right on the money.


May 12, 2013 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

All excellent tips and suggestions!
I'd worried because I wasn't online until I signed my first contract, but it worked in my favor. (And no surprise, my publisher recommended that I not follow mostly writers and authors.)

May 12, 2013 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 12, 2013 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Christy--Thanks much for sharing this on Google+. And good for you for being brave enough to leave FB. I hear from my teen and 20-something nephews that FB is over because "that's where your mom and grandma are." I don't know if they all feel that way, but I've seen other comments like that.

Charley--So glad it helps!

Florence--Hooray! I finally figured out how to get your comments out of Blogger's spam hell. I hope that sticks. So glad to hear you're finding the opportunity section useful.

Paul--You really are a poster boy for a small press (no agent) success story. JMS publishing looks like a perfect fit for you. I strongly suggest that literary writers like you consider finding a small, quality niche press. They may not pay advances, but they pay higher royalties, and they help with publicity, too.

Alex--I didn't know your publisher clued you in on that, but it was great advice. You have highly successful blog that sells books.

May 12, 2013 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Anne—Such a useful post! Your advice/counsel is, as always, sensible, moderate and invaluable.

I never did get on FB. Wait long enough and the decision gets made for you, right? The next question: should I break down and get on Google+?

~~Ruth continues to ponder~~ ;-)

May 12, 2013 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger widdershins said...

A most excellent post!

May 12, 2013 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Rosi said...

Interesting that you get all those questions from readers. Great answers all. Also interesting to hear about FB. I am just about over it as well, and I'm not very young! I check it once or twice a week, but don't post often.

May 12, 2013 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger ED Martin said...

Great post, definitely something new writers should read, because those questions are valid concerns except they distract you from what really matters in the beginning - writing quality work.

I taught high school, and most of my students had half a dozen Facebook accounts that they never checked - they'd make an account, forget the password, and then just make a new account. You could have a thousand fans, but if no one uses those accounts, what's the point? Same with getting your friends and family to like your page; chances are they're not paying attention to what you post but are just liking you out of obligation.

May 12, 2013 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Anne Gallagher said...

I agree with Ruth. Should I try Google+ or is it just more stuff in my inbox I'll never read?

Thanks for another great post.

May 12, 2013 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Ruth--I don't know if Google+ is worth it. Right now I do almost nothing there but post a few links. Every so often I get a good conversation going though. Since I've connected with so few people there, the connections seem more important though.


Rosi-I think a lot of us are pretty fed up with FB. It’s constantly changing things to be less user-friendly and more predatory.

ED—Good point that these questions, which may seem naïve to some, are actually very distracting and can keep a new writer from the important stuff.

And it’s very interesting to hear about how high school students tread FB. I know my nephews treat it as a joke. One uses a funny nickname and designated his 2-yrs-older brother his “grandfather.”

Anne—Maybe you and Ruth and I can start a little Google+ enclave and get some dialog started. Right now it takes no time for me because nothing much is happening. Probably my fault for not putting enough effort there.

May 12, 2013 at 7:02 PM  
Blogger Sophie Kersey said...

Thanks for a really useful post. I am new to blogging and not yet published, though sadly I fall into the 'mum on Facebook' generation that is making the youngsters bail out!

May 13, 2013 at 5:53 AM  
Blogger LD Masterson said...

Thanks for this post. The whole social media/platform thing is an ongoing question.

May 13, 2013 at 7:33 AM  
Blogger Christine Ahern said...

Great post. So much important information. And I look forward to reading your poem in Compose. Big congrats on that one!

May 13, 2013 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Sophie--Starting your blog before you're published is usually wise. Then you'll have friends who can help you spread the word when you do publish. FB is great for mothers and grandmothers who want to share pix of the kids and family outings. I think it will always be useful for those things. Whether it will continue to be a place to connect with readers, I'm not sure. It will depend a lot on your genre. For YA, it's probably better to be on Tumblr, but for Women's fic--FB might be great.

LD--I don't think there's any question that writers have to be on social media. In fact, a social media presence is important no matter what field you're in. But we have to balance it with the real job of writing.

Christine--Thanks! I don't write much poetry, so when a poem gets accepted for a prestigious journal, it's a big thing for me.

May 13, 2013 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Johanna Garth said...

These are some great tips. I think another, for a new writer who's just diving into the social media stream, is to set a limit on social media time. Typically, I look at it as an hour on MWF to keep my social media content fresh and exchange thoughts/ideas with other writers.

May 13, 2013 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

I used blogging both as a platform to launch my nascent writing career and as my main way to connect with people/showcase my writing (especially after five years of blogging).

I'm a bit divided on FB as I did leave for several months, but reactivated my account once I'd signed my first contract, since my publisher is heavy into the social media thing.

I find that FB is a good compliment to my blog and writing, but that's about it.

May 13, 2013 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

very helpful post. Did anyone mention that the link to Compose Literary Journal is broken?


May 13, 2013 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Joanna--Very good advice indeed. Social Media is a time-vampire. It can suck away all your writing time, so limiting yourself to an hour a day, or 3 hours a week, or whatever works for you is very important. It will expand to fill all your time if you aren't careful.

G.B.--Like you, I use my blog as my main social media activity. I like the control and the fact I don't always have to be on guard against trolls and predators trying to steal my personal info.

Judith--Thanks. I just checked and Compose is indeed offline. So is Write it Sideways, the blog that's launching it. They must be having some technical growing pains. I hope it's straightened out soon!

May 13, 2013 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger Carole Di Tosti said...

Yeah! I so agree with a goodly amount of what you have said here. Also, I appreciate your additions at the end. I find that I must write daily, whether it's commenting on various articles, writing for e-zines, writing on my blogs, etc. I enjoy writing and all of it is published online. But again, I am predominately a non fiction writer, though I have a sonnet blog and I've written a novel which I became dejected over when I received a few rejections, a few. So I greatly appreciate what you've said about rejections; I've been told that by other writers...some agents just are into rejections because they are inundated or whatever. One of these writers is self-published and published by Samuel French (plays which they will only receive money on if the play is produced) Self-publishing, they had problems with Trafford because they never received an accounting of how much the publisher sold, etc. They bought a package and paid a lot and then did no marketing of their own. They do have a website, but I've found websites are not visited unless promoted via social media and linked with other articles on blogs, multiple blogs.But the writer wanted to spend time on writing and doing fellowships in Europe and elsewhere meeting people and making connections; it is her way of promoting herself live because she knows little about creating blogs and websites and pays someone to do her website for her. That is her way. Regardless, you are going to have to market and promote yourself; even Robert Caro has to go to Barnes & Nobel and discuss his work and then do signings. That is promoting his work...though he is a Pulitzer Prize winner and and well known writer. Every writer has to self promote. Even the Obama self-promoted when he went on TV and discussed his book. You have to. So whether you do it yourself or hire tweet teams (not a bad idea, actually) or go on Goodreads, it is a part of the situation and eventually, for new writers, after you've written SS and a novel or two, you probably should have a blog or at least start commenting on various sites...to begin to dip your feet in. The more you do, the better and more comfortable you'll be. Peace out!

May 13, 2013 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Carole--What a comprehensive comment. Absolutely: authors must promote themselves on social media, whether they are trad pubbed or self-pubbed. You can promote your blog by networking with other bloggers or through some other social media site: Twitter, FB, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.

Trafford is a notorious vanity press now owned by AuthorSolutions, which is very much NOT recommended.

Next week I'll be talking about how NOT to self-publish: one of the biggies is learning who are the vanity presses and who are legit self-publishing facilitators.

As far as rejections, I do hope you'll take a look at our book How to be a Writer in the E-age. There's lots of info from Catherine Ryan Hyde about how she's dealt with the 1000s of rejections in her life (She's the author of the iconic novel, that spawned a movement: Pay it Forward.)

Most agents only take on about 1-5 new clients a year. If you consider they often get 100+ queries a day, you know your chances of being rejected are pretty good. It usually has nothing to do with your project.

May 13, 2013 at 9:27 PM  
OpenID governingana said...

What I love about your blog is that you break one of the "rules" I've read about professional blogging (keep posts shorter than 1500 words or else you will lose your readers), and you do it so well. It fits well with your schedule of one post a week. In fact, after finding your blog I've been reconsidering my own schedule of shorter posts 3-4 times a week. You've shown me that people *will* read longer posts, and posting less often is one way to do that.

I love and hate FB. The hardest part is exactly what you say--I would love to connect with readers there, but too many people tell me that they can't be on FB for various reasons (usually due to privacy concerns). Yet I'm not convinced that Google+ is a good replacement option, especially since people are unable to leave groups once they have joined.

Oh, and I absolutely agree about starting a blog before publishing, if possible. I blogged for almost a year before my first book was published, and I found a lot of friends and loyal readers before I was selling anything. Plus, the instant gratification (of writing a post and receiving comments) is fun. :)

The last part is half comment and half potential question for future Q&As:

I'm concerned when I watch aspiring author friends pay a lot of money to have someone read/critique their manuscripts, especially when the reader/critiquer hasn't taken the time to talk with the author about what kind of publishing they're interested in (print/ebook, genre, etc.). I've also watched people get scammed by free-lance "editors" who only make a manuscript worse and then disappear with the money. Or who pose as a beta reader, tell the aspiring authors that their manuscript has serious flaws that can be corrected (for a fee). We have some good resources for finding out about bad publishers, but critiquers/readers are harder to spot. Do you have any advice for new authors?

Sorry for such a long comment!

May 14, 2013 at 2:46 AM  
OpenID governingana said...

Darn it. I always forget that signing in with WordPress for comments means my name won't show up. It's Anastasia Vitsky again. :)

And that is one more drawback about using WordPress in a Blogger world!

May 14, 2013 at 2:47 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Anastasia--Blogger definitely wants everybody to join Google+, which is the same as a Blogger ID. I did NOT know that you can't leave a Google+ group. I joined some and I just ignore them, the way I ignore pretty much everything on Google+, and I'm annoyed that I'm asked to join groups that are so far from my interests.

My posts have got longer, and I've contemplated cutting some in half. It would make less work for me, so maybe I'll do that in the future.

But slow blogging is now mainstream. Even the Blog Tyrant now advises blogging once a week or less. Nobody has time to read a bunch of daily blogs, so they unsubscribe. Those daily email notices start to feel like harassment.

You are absolutely right about vetting self-publishing providers. A site called Popular Soda is working on that. Also, if you're shopping for an editor, I recommend the Editoral Freelancers Association: http://www.the-efa.org/dir/

May 14, 2013 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Meghan Ward said...

Wonderful post, Anne and Ruth! I will share it on Twitter and FB.


May 15, 2013 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

I finally subscribed to your blog by email. I don't know what took me so long. You guys have the best info! Retweeting now. Thanks for this great list of Q&A

May 17, 2013 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Meghan--Thanks much for the Tweets and Shares. Love your video on whether authors should blog.

Julie--Welcome! Glad to hear you'll be getting the blog in your email. That function wasn't working for a while, but I finally found out it's because Feedburner doesn't like Word. I have to run the post through Notepad to clean off the Microsoft cooties before Feedburner will email it. No idea why.

May 17, 2013 at 3:54 PM  

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