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Anne R. Allen's Blog


My Photo

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, April 6, 2014

10 Ways Pre-Published Writers Can Start Establishing Their Careers NOW

Today's guest post is from freelance writer Sarah Allen (no relation that we know of, but we do have a lot of things in common, including the agreement that Colin Firth is THE greatest Mr. Darcy, and a tendency to knee-weakness at the sight of Benedict Cumberbatch's cheekbones). She is still in the query process with her novels, but has published numerous articles and short stories. She also has a great blog and is working hard on establishing her career. 

She'll be answering your questions on Sunday while I'm making some of those important in real life (IRL) connections. I'll be speaking at an event given by our local chapter of Sisters in Crime. 

If you're anywhere near Morro Bay CA this afternoon, drop by the Coalesce Bookstore (inspiration for Camilla's bookstore in NO PLACE LIKE HOME) and meet some great mystery authors and join us in a glass of wine, some of my famous Tuscan white bean dip, and some chocolate-dipped strawberries...Anne

10 Things Pre-Published Writers Can Do To Boost Their Careers

by Sarah Allen

There is a long (sometimes a LOOONG) period of time between the moment a writer decides they’re serious about this writing thing and starts writing their book and the moment when their first book finally hits shelves.

A writer can easily go through several years and several manuscripts before they are picked up by a traditional publisher or make the decision to go the indie route.

This period can be frustrating for so many reasons. One of the biggest frustrations about this waiting period for me personally is that even though the most important thing is the writing and writing and better writing, I still have this strong desire to start building an author career for myself.

Except, how does one do that without a published book? How can we start building ourselves this writerly life from the very beginning, without waiting until things work out for us in publishing?

I’ve come up with 10 things pre-published authors can do to boost their careers. Again, even though the most important thing is to just keep writing, and hone your craft, these are some practical things a new author can do to get the professional wheels moving. And even though the tips are targeted to pre-published authors, I think they can be easily adapted for writers at any phase of their career.

1. Write and submit short stories. 

This may be the most important and directly applicable way writers can start building a professional career. 

Publishing short stories is a great way to get your writing and name out there, and show agents and editors that you’re serious as you start querying them. 

It’s also a great way to become a better writer. This is a long-haul and huge-effort journey of its own, but with some hard work it can potentially serve as a quicker way of getting your work out there while you work on the Big Novel Project. You can find great lists of literary magazines at Poets&Writers or NewPages.  

(For more info on this very wise tip from Sarah, see my post 10 Reasons Why Short Stories are Hot..Anne)

2. Pitch articles to consumer magazines. 

Similar to tip 1, but also another fantastic way to get your name and writing out there. I love picking up the latest Writers Market and seeing the insane number of possible venues. It can be a little intimidating, like going in to the Bellagio buffet and realizing how many exotic yet yummy options there are. (Calamari is surprisingly delicious). 

But pick a subject that interests you and start researching a couple magazines in that area. And believe me, you can find lots of tasty options. Some of these magazines reach hundreds of thousands of people, and rather than paying for an advertisement, you get paid (usually) and get your name and bio right there in front of possible future readers.

3. Promote other writers. 

This goes deeper than "I scratch your back, you scratch mine". Yes we want readers for our future books, but promoting other writers comes down to making genuine and lasting connections. It’s more than simply getting your name out there, although promoting other writers on your social media accounts is one of the best ways to do that.

It’s about joining a great community, and becoming someone who those in that community know, like, and trust. Be a friend first, a salesman second. And this pre-published waiting time is the perfect opportunity to do that, by promoting your fellow authors on Facebook, Twitter, and whatever other sites you use.

4. Enter writing contests. 

This, again, comes down to getting your name and writing out there even before you have a published book. Don’t be intimidated by writing contests, and don’t take anything too personally. (Remember, even J.K. Rowling got rejected). But if you keep at it, contests can be a great way to build up some street cred as well as make connections within the publishing world. Awesome contest lists are easily accessible at Writers Digest, P&W, NewPages, and FreelanceWriting.com.

(Another great resource is C. Hope Clark's Funds for Writers newsletter...and the "Opportunity Alerts" at the bottom of this blog...Anne)

5. Use your hobbies. 

I think it’s important to keep in mind that readers are not ONLY readers. They also have many other interests, including some that may overlap with yours (like kettle corn and all things Pixar...that’s not just me, right?).

So even if you don’t have a book out yet, you can still talk to future readers about things you both love. For example, if you’re a stamp collector, you could start a Philately Friday on your blog. If you’re a Victorian Era fan, do reviews of Jane Austen movies (and who doesn’t need another excuse to look up pictures of Colin Firth?). If you’re an artist, photographer, musician, singer, video-editor, anything like that, use your other skills and hobbies to start making connections in as many ways as possible.

I personally love movies and video editing, so I had a blast making a fun little stop-motion video (with my socks) and putting it on YouTube. (This is the most adorable love story about socks you've ever seen--Sarah sure is multi-talented!...Anne)

6. Use Social Media itself as an artistic outlet. 

This one is just fun to me. It seems like authors are constantly told to push and push on every social media site like the world depends on it. No wonder it all seems weird and intimidating.

However, if you think of social media as an artistic outlet in and of itself--another way to publish your work--then hopefully it’s not only less intimidating, but can provide a way for us to use the best tool we have: our words.

Let me get more specific about what I mean here. Sites like Tumblr and Pinterest are growing incredibly fast, and provide a great way of tapping into new readers. And as I said, it doesn’t have to be super intimidating if you think of social media as another way of telling stories and being published.

You can use your words and creativity to tell stories on sites like Tumblr and Pinterest. There are some hilarious examples out there, like Yacht Cats on Tumblr and My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter on Pinterest. And many of these story-telling social media accounts (including MIWDTD) have been picked up as books.

So be creative, and just think of social media as another way of “getting published.”

7. Go to Conferences. 

Conferences are great places to get good writing advice, learn about the publishing industry, and make connections. It’s as simple as that. I’ll be going to my first conference later this month, and I’m super excited! (If anybody’s going to the Las Vegas Writers Conference...wanna have lunch?)

8. Make IRL connections. 

Wherever you live, it’s probably a good idea to get involved with the local writing community. Get to know your local booksellers, and use MeetUp.com and other sites to find local writing and book groups. You can also use LinkedIn to make real life publishing industry connections.

And if you can’t find any, maybe you can make your own!

9. Blog to join the conversation. 

Yes, I know writers are already told to blog, blog, blog, and I mostly agree with that advice. If social media are spokes of outreach, a blog or website is your hub. And I do think every writer needs a hub.

However, I want to take it one step further.

I suggest looking at a blog not as a way of bringing people to you, but as a way for you to reach out to other people. Especially in the beginning. One of the great things about a blog is that you can make it whatever you want it to be, but keep in mind what type of content will be valuable to your readers.

And use your blog to join a community conversation by reading lots of other blogs and leaving thoughtful comments. Join blog-hops like the A-Z April Challenge currently going on.

Personally, I feel I have learned more about the publishing industry and being a writer through reading some of the amazing blogs out there (like this one...thank you Anne and Ruth) than I have in any other way.

10. Be you.  

I mean this in a practical way. There is a certain combination of interests, skills, and connections that is completely unique to you. Be creative and use what you’ve got and you’ll be able to come up with your own strategies that will work for you in ways they couldn’t for anybody else.

Think of the unique connections you already have, and the unique services you have to offer. Put yourself out there and offer up whatever it is you’ve got (even if it’s mostly just an excessive ability to go on and on about Benedict Cumberbatch’s cheek bones). People are attracted to sincerity, and if you give them you, they’ll stick around for the long haul.

I’m working on these things as much as anyone, but hopefully this gives you some practical ideas to incorporate in your own writing career, whatever phase you’re at. If you’re a pre-published author struggling to get things going, keep working hard, and I have faith it will work out for all of us in the long run!

Sarah Allen is querying two novels (one adult, one YA, both magical realism) and drafting a third. She has been published in several literary magazines and placed in several writing competitions such as the Utah Arts and Letters Original Writing competition and the Writers Digest 77th annual competition. She received her English degree from BYU and currently lives in Las Vegas where she works as a grant writer for Best Buddies Nevada. 

You can find her at her blog, Facebook, Twitter, and a myriad of other places. Her short story collection, Cross-Eyed, is available on Amazon.

What about you, Scriveners? Are you pre-published? Are you taking advantage of any of these ways to jumpstart your career? If you're published now, are there any things you wish you'd done before you started publishing? Anything to add to Sarah's list? 



Every writer who's ever been in a critique group has to see this one.

An ensemble comedy about a weekly critique group of unpublished writers whose fabric is threatened when one member scores an agent, a book deal, and a movie deal in quick succession. Starring Kaley Cuoco of the Big Bang Theory and the late Dennis Farina. (And written by SLO's own Dave Congalton) 

Authors Anonymous 

Available to rent or buy from Amazon and iTunes. It's also at Charter on Demand, Dish TV on Demand, and a whole lot of other Video on Demand sites. Although it's not yet on Netflix, you can save it to your queue. It will be shown in select theaters across the US starting April 18th, including the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo (afterward it will move to the Downtown Center).

and this just in...

Narrated by award-winner C. S. Perryess and Anne R. Allen (as Camilla)

Set in San Luis Obispo. Great for that morning commute...

$17 for the audiobook or free with Audible free trial. Download of Audible is free for your PC or Tablet Nearly 8 hours of hilarious entertainment!  Available at Audible and coming soon to iTunes


The Golden Quill AwardsEntry fee $15. Two categories: Short fiction/memoir (1000 words) and Poetry (40 lines max) $750 1st prize, $400 2nd prize in each category. Sponsored by the SLO Nightwriters and the Central Coast Writers Conference. Entries accepted from April 1-June 30th.

The Saturday Evening Post "Celebrate America" fiction contest. $10 ENTRY FEE. The winning story will be published in the Jan/Feb 2015 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, and the author will receive a $500 payment. Five runners-up will each receive a $100 cash payment and will also have their stories published online. Stories must be between 1,500 and 5,000 words in. All stories must be previously unpublished (excluding personal websites and blogs). Deadline July 1.

Writers' Village International Short Fiction Award. Entry fee £15. This is a biggie. Stories in English up to 3000 words in any genre from anywhere in the world. £3000 First Prize. Judges include iconic mystery author Lawrence Block and Whitbread & Orange short-lister Jill Dawson. £4500 ($7200) in total prizes. The top 50 contestants also get a free critique of their stories. Deadline June 30th.

E. M. Koeppel Short Fiction Award: Entry Fee: $15 A prize of $1,100 and publication on the Writecorner Press website is given annually for a short story. Submit a story of up to 3,000 words. All entries are considered for publication. Visit the website for complete guidelines. Deadline April 30th

Flash Prose Contest $15 ENTRY FEE. WriterAdvice seeks flash fiction, memoir, and creative non-fiction running 750 words or less. Enlighten, dazzle, and delight us. Finalists receive responses from all judges. First Place earns $200; Second Place earns $100; Third Place earns $50; Honorable Mentions will also be published. Deadline April 18th.

Amazon’s literary journal Day One is seeking submissions. According to Carmen Johnson, Day One’s editor, the litzine is looking for “fresh and compelling short fiction and poetry by emerging writers.” This includes stories that are less than 20,000 words by authors that have never been published, and poems by poets who have never published before. To submit works, writers/poets can email their work as a word document, along with a brief description and author bio to dayone-submissions @amazon.com .

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Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know Sarah!
Very smart advice. The part about promoting other authors and writers is so important. My career would not be where it is now if I hadn't done that.
And the hobby part is good for anyone with a blog. What do you blog about? Well, what do you enjoy? I floundered with mine until I started blogging about my passions,
Excellent stuff, Sarah.

April 6, 2014 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Hi Alex!! Great to see you here. You are definitely one of the great supportive bloggers I'm referring to here. Thanks for all you do for us fellow bloggers!

April 6, 2014 at 10:18 AM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Hi, Sarah, and what a terrific list of ways to build platform and build your writing career. I've done most of them and highly recommend this last. I'm sharing with pals right now. Thanks so much for this post. :) Looking forward to seeing your novels in print, too. Best of luck there. BTW, writing and publishing short stories in small mags and lit journals is how I began too.

April 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Thank you for your comments and kind words! I'm hoping the day of finally seeing my novels on shelves isn't too far in the future :) But in the meantime, yes, magazines and journals are a fantastic venue and resource!

April 6, 2014 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger The Happy Amateur said...

Thank you for the post, Sarah. I do believe that all these things pay off in the long run, and perhaps help make the run a bit shorter :-) Best of luck with your novels, "magical realism" - I just love this term.

April 6, 2014 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Thank you!! I like magical realism too :) And yes, hopefully these are practical things we can all use to boost ourselves along in our journey, wherever we happen to be at.

April 6, 2014 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Wm. L. Hahn said...

Hi Sarah, and thanks so much for this. I'm preparing to speak to young pre-writer types in a couple of venues this month- BTW, Hoo-Hah!- and I have been thinking about what sort of encouragement I can give. This all makes great sense!
My one pet peeve so far is that I can't seem to find such a strong locus of epic/heroic fantasy blogging and support as there seem to be for other genres. Still looking, but if anyone spots it first, I'm not proud- shout!

April 6, 2014 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger Tam Francis said...

Thanks for the great list Sarah (and thanks Anne for having her). It can be frustrating and I love all the advice. I've tried a few of them, like blogging, writing short stories, and contests. I'll try some of the others. Thanks!

April 6, 2014 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Wonderful! Best of luck with your speaking engagements---another great way to boost ones career! Thanks for your comments :)

April 6, 2014 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Thanks for your comments! Yes, there are a myriad of things we can do to boost our careers, and some work better than others for certain people. But hopefully these ideas can help, and if you've had good experience with tips not on this list I'd love to know!

April 6, 2014 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Sarah Brentyn said...

I'm totally copying from my Twitter comment. Is that legal?

This is a great post. Some excellent advice (short stories/mags). And I love your take on blogs...never thought of it in that way. I'm glad I didn't delete mine (something I was thinking of doing a few weeks back). Thanks. And #10...so true. Fellow writers, be you. We love you just the way you are.

April 6, 2014 at 12:50 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Totally legal ;) I'm glad you didn't delete your blog too! Hopefully by us working hard and being true to ourselves, good things can work out for all of us!

April 6, 2014 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Kamille Elahi said...

Thanks for the advice Sarah! I'll try some of it out.

I was wondering, do you need to have an agent to submit short stories?

April 6, 2014 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Linda Maye Adams said...

For SF/F writers, you can also go to cons. These can be great for marketing, but also you'll get to attend panels on writing, marketing, eBooks. In many respects, I've found these are better than writer's conferences.

April 6, 2014 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Nope! No agent needed to submit to magazines. That's one reason I think its a great idea, because submitting to them is something that is under our control, that we can work on consistently. Best of luck!!

April 6, 2014 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Ooh, great idea!! I agree, spec fic writers could learn a lot at cons. Besides they just seem super fun :)

April 6, 2014 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger Kamille Elahi said...

Then I definitely will have to try it out. I don't think I've written a short story in a few years though. I may have lost the skill.

I'm awful with social media too :/


April 6, 2014 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Gina Drayer said...

Good advice. I think too many authors try to start their online platform by just talking about their writing. If you don't have anything they can read then it's just a waste of your time because no one really cares.

I'm likely to buy books from people I don't know if I've enjoyed their blog or had good social interactions with them. It give me an idea what type of personality they are and possible what type of writer they will be.

April 6, 2014 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Exactly!! We need to focus on being ourselves and creating quality things online so that when we do have books available, we have people who know, like, and trust us. Great comment!

April 6, 2014 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Sarah, Thank you for such a sensible, eminently do-able and inspirational list! I can't think of anyone who won't be helped by your suggestions. :-)

April 6, 2014 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Thank you so, so much Ruth! I am deeply honored that you guys have let me crash the party here, I hope these tips really do help!

April 6, 2014 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Thanks for the fine tips. I'm not being as flaky as I would have expected.

April 6, 2014 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger Claude Nougat said...

Great advice, Sarah, thanks for sharing your experience. I certainly wish I'd been able to get this kind of advice 3 years ago when I started my blog and began to self-publish - I'm sure that if I had done everything as you suggest, I'd be much further ahead now! Well, there's always the possibility to catch up, right? Now, I am truly doing everything you say - my only problem is that I live in Italy and the possibilities to link up in the physical world are much fewer and far between than for someone who lives in the US or the UK...I guess I've got Italy as a consolation and it's a great place to live, no doubt about that!

I would just add one suggestion to your list: you can also post your short stories on Read Wave, it's a great site, lots of people there who are very good writers and it works nicely, you can make lots of connections...

April 6, 2014 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Thanks for your comment :) Keep working hard, and good things will come!

April 6, 2014 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Thank you for your kind words!! Yes, every place has its pros and cons, and you can use wonderful Italy to your unique advantage :) I'm still working on following my own advice, and I know we've all got long, fantastic journeys ahead of us.

And that is a fantastic suggestion. I've only recently become aware of Read Wave, but have liked what I've seen so far. I will have to use it more frequently. Thanks for your tip!!

April 6, 2014 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger Diana Stevan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 6, 2014 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger Diana Stevan said...

Anne, thanks for continuing to provide great articles for writers. You're very generous. And Sarah, thanks for the MeetUp.com tip. I hadn't heard of this site. Sounds like it could be a good way to get connected with readers of specific genres.

April 6, 2014 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Awesome!! Thanks for your comments. MeetUp is one of those tips that I've seen work for other people and that I'm working on incorporating for myself. I hope it works out for you!!

April 6, 2014 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

I do a lot of blogging and in fact, I've been doing the A-Z Challenge this year as I'm trying to reestablish a brand new blog.

A-Z Challenge at Father Nature's Corner

April 6, 2014 at 3:52 PM  
Blogger Yvonne Osborne said...

Thanks for a wonderful post, Sarah. And links, Anne. Very very good.

April 6, 2014 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger AmyMak said...

Great post! I feel like I'm in the exact same spot as Sarah, so these tips are great. BTW, Colin Firth will always be Mr. Darcy; not negotiable. And sarah, I'm a BYU graduate as well!

April 6, 2014 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

You're new blog is great! Best of luck there!

April 6, 2014 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Thank you so much for stopping by!

April 6, 2014 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Yep, totally agree about Colin Firth. And go Cougars!!

April 6, 2014 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

Sarah and Anne, I'm totally with you on Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Wet shirt, anyone? By the way, I recently got the new DVD of that series. It's been updated with fresh colors. Watched it last weekend for the umpteenth time!

Anyway, Sarah, thanks so much for this great advice. I broke into the market with non-fiction and it was a great way to get my feet wet. And blogging and connecting with other writers is the best thing ever.

Good luck to you on your own publishing journey. I'm heading over to your personal blog now.

April 6, 2014 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Rosi said...

Thanks for mentioning Colin Firth. Now I won't get any work done tonight. These are all great tips. Thanks for the post.

April 6, 2014 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Wet shirt, yes please!!

And thanks for your comments! I'm working on doing some nonfiction as well as submitting short stories. Hopefully great things come for all of us!

April 6, 2014 at 10:06 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

I know right? Colin can be very, very distracting :)

April 6, 2014 at 10:06 PM  
Blogger Annie Edmonds Author said...

Thanks Anne and Sarah, Great advice. I love reading what other authors have done or are doing to get their books out there.

April 7, 2014 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Anna Soliveres said...

Hi Sarah, great advice you have here. I find myself both relieved and energized to have practiced a few of them and eager to pursue the other items on the list. I think you are absolutely right in promoting other authors as I have seen the tremendous benefit in doing so in the short month I've begun to network. It can be a bit intimidating at first, but soon after a true connection builds and true friendships are made.

April 7, 2014 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Annie--The best way to learn the business is to see what's working for other authors right now. It's been a while since I was a newbie, so I was grateful to Sarah for this great post. All these things are doable, and they're fun, too!

April 7, 2014 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Anna--I love Sarah's advice, too. Promoting and networking with other authors is essential. We're all in this together.

But I do have one caveat. Writers shouldn't take this to mean that other authors owe them promotion or freebies. We want to be supportive of each other, but not at the expense of our own writing time. We also don't want to spam our readers. :-) In the end it's the readers who matter most. And usually other authors aren't our best audience.

April 7, 2014 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Thank you so much! I like reading peoples experiences too--one of the great benefits of the blogosphere!

April 7, 2014 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Yes, promoting other authors is one of the great ways to get involved. And I also whole-heartedly agree with Anne's caveat, that this isn't about owing freebies, spamming, or sacrificing our own writing time. Its about forging relationships based on mutual generosity.

April 7, 2014 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger JeriWB said...

I've made this my year to submit short stories to literary journals, contests, and magazines. It's important to note which ones don't want previously published material, but there's so many great avenues to get a person's writing in front of potential readers. Plus, the time writer's take honing their craft while submitting really is priceless.

April 7, 2014 at 6:03 PM  
Blogger Debra Eve | Later Bloomer said...

Hey Sarah, absolutely love #6, "Use Social Media itself as an artistic outlet." I've seen MIWDTD -- it's hilarious and so deliciously snarky. Yacht cats might be my new favorite. I'm going to give some more thought to his idea :). And thanks for the intro, Anne!

April 7, 2014 at 11:20 PM  
Blogger Crowhill said...

Using your hobbies is excellent advice.

I have written a fair amount of fiction, but have a hard time getting many sales. Then I wrote a beginner's guide to home brewing, and it's selling pretty well. So now I'm writing a beginner's guide to all-grain brewing, and then I'll write something else about beer.

If you can't make the fiction thing work, try something else! :-)

April 8, 2014 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger ryan field said...

The part about magazines is very good advice. And it's often forgotten. I've always found that I love working with magazine editors, and they pay MUCH better than book publishers. I've sold stories to magazines that garnered over $500 each, and those same stories only would have sold to publishers for $60 each. Huge difference. And, magazine editors are so cool and relaxed. Nothing pretentious or pedantic about them. Great people to work with.

April 8, 2014 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Absolutely! I've been trying to do better at that this year as well. Even just finding a way to submit a couple things each week could bring great results! Best of luck to you :)

April 8, 2014 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

I think it sounds super fun too :) I've been brainstorming for a few weeks now what ideas I might have for doing something like this. Best of luck!

April 8, 2014 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Oooh, awesome! Yes, its a great idea to keep going until we find the niche that really goes well for us. Glad you found something that fit!

April 8, 2014 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Yes, I've been very excited by the magazines I've worked with and hope to continue going forward even more with that in the future. Best of luck to you, with both magazines and books :)

April 8, 2014 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Jeri--This is so wise, Jeri! There's nothing that gets an agent or editor to pay attention to a query like a good solid string of publications and well-known contest wins. It means you've been vetted by a number of professionals in the industry. Some don't take previously published material, but a lot do. That makes those short stories ever-green. And you're right: what it does for your writing skills is priceless.

April 8, 2014 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Ryan--This is sooo important. I think I may have to devote a whole post to it sometime soon. Stories and magazine articles often sell for much more than whole books. Advances for many genre novels, especially Romance, can be $1000 or less--for a full year's work. A short article for a good women's magazine can pay $2000 or more. People who say writers who don't write books aren't "serious about their writing" are full of bullbleep.

April 8, 2014 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger AD Starrling said...

I've been seeing more and more of the short story advice recently and it's something I plan to try this year. Thanks for an interesting post!

April 8, 2014 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

I have seen it around too. And I know I have a long way to go in that area in and of itself, but I think its definitely worth it!

April 8, 2014 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Augie said...

Hi Sarah, great advice. augie

April 9, 2014 at 2:52 AM  
Blogger LD Masterson said...

Hi Sarah. Ten good ideas here. Thanks.

April 9, 2014 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger Dr John Yeoman said...

I can relate to that advice, Sarah: write short stories and submit them to contests. (I must declare an interest. I run a large short story contest!) One benefit of doing so is that each story is a 'five finger exercise'. It keeps our craft skills in tune. If we try a new craft technique with each story, we're also learning something as well. Any cash prize is then a bonus. In fact, I've had contestants tell me 'I didn't want a prize, just the experience'. Um, sometimes I wonder why I offer prizes :)

April 10, 2014 at 4:24 AM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Thanks!! And thanks for stopping by :)

April 11, 2014 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Thank you! I always appreciate your comments :)

April 11, 2014 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Sarah Allen said...

Yes, short stories, magazines, and contests can be super helpful. I'll have to check out your contest sometime!

April 11, 2014 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Dana Cassell said...

Writers-Editors Network also maintains a current listing of international contests at http://www.writers-editors.com/Writers/Contests/contests.htm

April 13, 2014 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks for the tip, Dana. That's a new source for me to look for "opportunity alerts" too!

April 13, 2014 at 11:08 AM  
Blogger Kathy Steinemann said...

Thanks, Sarah.

The Notes tab on Facebook is another place where you can share samples of your writing.

Critique Circle is a great way to get and give advice on short stories or works in progress.

And here's another site that lists writing contests: http://writersviews.com/writing-contests.php

April 14, 2014 at 6:00 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Kathy--Thanks for the tips. I always recommend Critique Circle for writers looking for feedback. Before you send out to magazines and contests, it's great to get a little polish from beta readers or critique groups. I have no idea what the notes tab is on Facebook. I'll have to look into it. And I'll check out that list of contests. Thanks!

April 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Love these tips! Number 6 is especially intriguing. I've never seen it talked about that way, but I've definitely seen savvy authors use social media as its own art form. The movie looks funny too!

April 14, 2014 at 5:54 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Nicole--#6 was one of the things that sold me on this piece: such a creative way to look at social media. Most of us see it as a slog, but it CAN be a creative outlet. We need to learn to think outside the book.

Authors Anonymous should be a hoot. I'm going to the premiere on Friday...with my critique group. Should be a fantastic time if we don't recognize too many of our own faults in it. :-)

April 14, 2014 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Dolores Stephenson said...

Great tips for writers! Thank you.

April 17, 2014 at 5:32 AM  
Blogger Linda C Jaeger said...

Thank you for all these useful ideas! I just started my own blog and am all over the internet trying to find tips;) It's interesting that many of you recommend writing short stories - I've seen people claiming there's no money/reputation/future in it several times lately. I'm glad to see you think differently!

May 7, 2014 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Linda--The people dissing short fiction are stuck in the 20th century. This is the new golden age of the short story. I'll be talking about it on Sunday here on the blog. We've also got a great line-up of guest posts this summer from some of the top bloggers in the publishing industry, so come on by! (There's also a step-by-step guide for new bloggers in my book HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE. Only $2.99)

May 7, 2014 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks for stopping by, Dolores!

May 7, 2014 at 3:10 PM  

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