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Anne R. Allen's Blog

...WITH RUTH HARRIS

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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, December 14, 2014

Confessions of NYT Bestselling Author Gone Indie

by Eileen Goudge


We have a visit from a literary superstar this week. New York Times bestselling author Eileen Goudge has written 32 novels, sold over a million copies, and been translated into 22 languages. 

I first heard about Ms. Goudge in the 1980s, when my friends and I all ran out to buy her phenomenal novel Garden of Lies when it first made the New York Times bestseller list. I was living in the San Diego area at the time, and she was making all the local papers as the "hometown-girl-makes-good."

But like so many successful traditionally published authors at the height of their creative powers, Eileen found herself pushed out by her publisher (and agent--in a particularly unpleasant way, as you'll read below) as the marketing department went off chasing the next shiny thing. 

We live in a winner-takes-all economy these days, and publishing companies often don't want to promote skilled, regular producers of good quality product when they can throw all their money behind a brand new Snooki book or ghost-written celebrity tell-all. 

By cutting the advertising budgets of long-term successful authors, publishers create self-fulfilling prophecies that these authors "aren't selling anymore" and the authors find they're no longer making a living at the profession they've practiced successfully for 20+ years. 

Luckily we now have self-publishing. Some of the most successful self-publishers are the former stars who were told they "weren't selling anymore" and went on to hit the bestseller lists as indies and live there permanently, like Catherine Ryan Hyde (who has a similar story of being told she "no longer had an audience" before hitting the #1 spot on Amazon with each of her self-published novels.) 

However, Eileen didn't just have to deal with shifting publisher loyalties, difficult agent relationships and the usual disrespect. She also had a tech/social media catastrophe that would win any bad luck contest. 

She has a message for all of us about how to take care of ourselves so this doesn't happen--so DO read the part at the end about social media. (Especially where she calls me a rock star. LOL) 

But she's back on her feet, has a fabulous new series, and has lived to tell the tale...Anne

HOW I WENT FROM 'ON THE LIST' TO 'OUT ON A LIMB': CONFESSIONS OF A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR GONE INDIE

By Eileen Goudge



Let me begin by saying I’ve never met an author who was an overnight success. It just sounds sexier when you put it that way and makes for good press.

So if you should happen to Google my name and come across an old article about my “meteoric” rise from welfare mom to millionaire, take it with a grain of salt. Yes, I was on welfare, years ago, at an especially low point in my life. And yes, I wrote my way out. But it didn’t happen overnight.

Behind every successful writer is a stack of journals or boxful of unpublished manuscripts moldering in the basement. I’m no exception.

The year was 1983. I had just moved to New York City from California with my two young children, a typewriter and no child support. I’d been eking out a living as a freelance journalist, but needed to find steady work – pronto – or we’d all starve. 

At a party I chatted with an attractive young woman who confided that she earned more money moonlighting as a call girl than from her day job as a flight attendant. She offered to set me up with her escort service. I declined.

I wasn’t that desperate.

I signed with a book packager instead. 

For the next couple years I paid the rent and stayed afloat churning out genre romances for teens. I was among the stable of ghost writers behind the wildly successful Sweet Valley High teen series created by Francine Pascal. I didn’t get rich from it—I was making only enough to squeak by—but I’m proud of the role I played in launching the series. 

The "Overnight Success"


In 1986 I had the joy of seeing my first adult novel published in hardcover. I was ecstatic when Garden of Lies went on to become a New York Times bestseller. I’d been warned that green-colored book covers don’t sell but had ignored the warning, figuring if mine was the only green cover it would stand out. I was right, as it turned out.

Unfortunately it was the only thing I was right about.

Back then I naively believed I’d continue to build on my early success if I reliably produced a book a year. I failed to factor in the variables. The shifting sands of the publishing industry for one and flux and flow of the economy for another. 

There was also the fact that I was married to my agent whom I later divorced.

I had a nice ride for a time. The novels that followed Garden of Lies sold well. 

The Four-Step Fall from Grace


Then came a spectacularly horrible two-year period worthy of one of my novels in which I was slammed by the quadruple whammy of: 

1) a corporate merger, 

2) falling out with my editor, 

3) the loss of my in-house “rabbi” to another house, 

4) the aforementioned divorce from my agent husband. 

I was left reeling. My sales took a hit. That in turn led to booksellers cutting back on orders. Long story short, I eventually reached a point where I was no longer making a living wage. 

Come the Revolution  


I ought to be depressed, right? Out on a ledge with some Good Samaritan trying to talk me down. 

But I’m not depressed. Instead I’m hopeful. Why? 

 Because while I was on my ass a revolution was taking place.

With digital sales growing in leaps and bounds, traditional publishing is no longer the only avenue open to writers. Name authors displaced by the seismic shifts in the industry are migrating to indie publishing. Some have enjoyed great success. Others are making a living. The majority continue to struggle.

But one thing is clear: Indie publishing is a boon to writers. It provides hope where there was little and give us some control over our own destinies.

The inspiration for my first indie-published title, Bones and Roses, Book One of my Cypress Bay mystery series, came while I was strolling on the beach in my hometown of Santa Cruz, California.

I’m fan of the genre and always wanted to write a mystery, since I created the teen series Who Killed Peggy Sue? in the 1980’s. When I sat down to write the first draft, it poured out of me.

But writing was the easy part. 

The Steep Learning Curve


Becoming my own publisher required a whole other skill set. 

I took a self-taught crash course in indie publishing by reading everything I could find on the subject and picking the brains of my indie author friends. My friends have been amazing. They’re always on hand to answer questions, share resources and provide reassurance.

But I couldn’t shake the pit in my stomach and the little devil on my shoulder whispering in my ear that I was a fraud, I’d never be able to pull this off. In addition to the mechanics of launching of a business, there were social media platforms and computer programs to master (Goodreads alone was a labyrinth that had me lost!) and the biggest challenge of all: finding the time to do everything. 

(Note from Anne: I can't figure out Goodreads either, and they've even made me a librarian!) 

The Tech Catastrophe


I acquired so many passwords I didn’t know what to do with them all, so I stored them temporarily on my iPhone. 

Bad move. 

In a single, sleep-deprived moment, with a misbegotten swipe, I accidentally cut-and-pasted the entire list onto the text of an Instagram post. 

I instantly deleted it, relieved to have dodged the bullet until my sister-in-law in California phoned me in alarm to let me know it was still on my Facebook page. 

I panicked and spent the next two hours changing the passwords on all my accounts. I went from sleep-deprived to not being able to sleep, I was so wired, visions of Ukrainian hackers dancing in my head.

(Naked photos leaked on the Internet, as in the case of Jennifer Lawrence, wouldn’t be as bad a having your bank account hacked into!)

Don’t make the same mistake. I don’t mean just this business of securing your passwords. I mean don’t put yourself in a position where you’re so addled your left brain doesn’t know what your right brain is doing. 

I saw my screw-up as a wakeup call. I was worn down from trying to do much. 

Don't Try to Do Everything!  


I know, I know. There are indie authors advising you to go all out and do everything the sun. 

I learned the hard way I’m not one of those authors. 

If you’re like me and value your sanity and wish to have some semblance of a personal life, you’ll ease up on the throttle. Here are three simple ways to achieve that while increasing your chances of success (because I’m convinced nothing good or lasting comes of pain or deprivation).

*Delegate wherever possible.


I signed with a distributor, INscribe Digital, once I realized I couldn’t do it all. Founded by former Borders executives, it’s a young and dynamic company with the expertise and preexisting relationships with e-tailers I knew I could benefit from.

It’s also where bestselling author Sylvia Day got her start. They work on a commission basis (15%) so I wasn’t out of pocket, which is important when you’re on a tight budget.

*Get marketing help


I also hired a freelance marketing expert to help develop a targeted plan of action. If you don’t have money in your budget to allocate on marketing, join an online writers’ group. I belong to several, and I’ve found my fellow members to be unstintingly generous, not only in sharing their wisdom and expertise but in helping promoting one another’s works. You can benefit from your peers. They’re always on hand to give advice, help out, or act as a sounding board. And it’s a global village, so there’s always someone awake in some part of the world.

*Put your money where it will do the most good.


Whether you’re working on a shoestring budget or have bottomless resources, play it smart.

1) Start with a professional-looking book cover. For the covers of Books 1 and 2 of my Cypress Bay mystery series, I hired a designer who’d done the covers of several of my backlist titles.

Mumtaz Mustafa is a senior art director at Harper Collins with a freelance business on the side. It was a joy to work with her. She’s super-talented and a seasoned professional. I ended up with two covers such as you might see on a front table at a Barnes and Noble. 

There are other book designers like her; you just have weed through all the dross to get to them. Keep in mind you get what you pay for, so go with the best you can afford. In the meantime, read this insightful article from Psychology Today, Judging a Book By Its Cover, if you want to know more about what is it about certain covers that attracts buyers.

2) Don't stint on editing! The good news is there are lots of freelance editors to choose from. I went with people I knew, the editing team of Perfect Pen Communications. Samantha Stroh Bailey and Francine LaSala are both authors in their own right, so they have a unique perspective. They did an excellent job and delivered on time. I highly recommend them.

*Do what you can and don’t stress about the rest.


Let’s face it, you’re only human. If you try to do it all, unless you have a background in marketing like my savvy indie author friend, Josie Brown, you risk being a jack of all trades and master of none. Sort of like the old saying, He who represents himself in court has a fool for a lawyer. Best concentrate your time and energy on what you do best.

Which for me is

  • Writing
  • Blogging
  • Engaging through social media.

Writing, you already know how to do. So let’s talk about blogging. 

Specifically guest blogging. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately because:


  • I enjoy it. 
  • I always have something to say. 
  • I engage with more people that way than I would on my own.

How do you get invited to hop on as a guest blogger? By first engaging with other bloggers.

Like Anne is always urging.

Actively seek out blog sites in the community of whatever genre you write in. Sign up for their newsletters and comment on their blog posts. That’s precisely how I came to be invited to do a guest post for this blog.

Anne commented on another blog post I’d done and one thing led to another. (At the risk of gushing, may I just say I was totally over the moon to be asked. She’s a rock star and role model.)

None of this happens overnight. Be prepared to do some spade-work. But don’t think of it as work. Find the joy in it. Make it fun! 

(And always, always, always read a blog before you ask to guest post!! Otherwise it's like asking for a favor with your middle finger raised. You will not have happy results...Anne)  

Keep in mind, unless you have a cast of thousands at your beck and call, you will only scratch the surface of all that’s available to indie publishers online. For every social media platform or app you master, there are a dozen new ones popping up. Every day. Every minute of every day. 

If you try to keep up with it all, you’ll go crazy or drive your loved ones crazy. Information overload is a bigger threat than that of any sales you might lose due to not utilizing every bell and whistle. Take a deep breath, then let it out. 

Now repeat after me: 

"I understand I can’t do it all and I’m okay with that." 

Say it a few more times until you mean it.

In short, do what fulfills you, what brings you pleasure, rather than strive for perfection. You’ll be happier. And probably more successful. 

Me? I didn’t sell my body and I’m not going to sell my soul.

What will come of all this? I don’t have the answer yet. This is long-tail publishing so I may not know for another year or two. In the meantime, I’m happy to have some control over my destiny.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go bake a cake. 

What about you, Scriveners? Do you have any horror tales of tech nightmares you've caused by being on overload? What do you feel is the best use of an author's time on social media? Do you have any questions for Eileen? 


New York Times’ bestselling novelist Eileen Goudge is the author of 15 women’s fiction titles, which include Garden of Lies, published in 22 languages around the world. Bones and Roses is the first book in her Cypress Bay Mysteries series. She lives in New York City with her husband, television film critic and entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon.

BOOK OF THE WEEK




Available at Amazon NOOK, Apple, Kobo 

Welcome to the northern California seaside town of Cypress Bay, where the surf’s up, the sixties live on and long-buried secrets are about to surface.

From home invasions to cheating spouses, Rest Easy Property Management owner Leticia “Tish” Ballard thought she’d seen it all. Almost four years sober after flambéing her real estate career in an alcohol-fueled blowout, she’s finally in a good place in her life when the discovery of skeletal human remains rocks her world and plunges her headlong into solving a decades-old crime. 

Now she must delve into the darkness of her own past, including the one-night stand gone horribly wrong with Spence Breedlove, who happens to be the lead detective on the case. When the truth comes out at long last, Tish finds herself pitted against an enemy who will stop at nothing in a fight for her own life.

OPPORTUNITY ALERTS



VIGNETTE WRITERShere's a contest for you! The Vine Leaves Vignette Collection Contest. The prize is for a collection of vignettes and poetry up to 20,000 words. Fee $25.  Prize is $500, publication by Vine Leaves Press (paperback and eBook), 20 copies of the paperback, worldwide distribution, and promotion through the Vine Leaves and staff websites. It will be judged by an editor from Simon and Schuster. Deadline February 28, 2015.

THE MEADOW NOVELLA PRIZE $15 ENTRY FEE. The winner of the contest will receive $500 and publication in the annual print edition of the journal. Submissions should be between 18,000 and 35,000 words.  Deadline February 1, 2015. 

WALKER PERCY PRIZE IN SHORT FICTION $15 ENTRY FEE. Winner receives $1,000 and publication in New Orleans Review. All finalists considered for publication. Enter previously unpublished original stories up to 7,500 words. Deadline December 31st

Writers’ Village International Short Fiction Contest $24 entry fee. Prizes of $1600, $800, $400 and $80. A further ten Highly Commended entrants will receive a free entry in the next round. Professional feedback provided for all entries! Any genre: up to 3000 words. Deadline December 31st.

The California Book Awards NO ENTRY FEE Three prizes are given annually to writers residing in California for books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction (including creative nonfiction). Prizes are also given for a first book of fiction and a book of fiction or nonfiction that relates to California. Authors or publishers may submit six copies of books published in 2014 by December 22. Visit the website for the required entry form and complete guidelines. Deadline December 22, 2014

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54 Comments:

Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You posted your passwords on Facebook - wow. Yeah, that would cause a meltdown.
Sounds like you have a handle on your career now and have enlisted some excellent people to help you.
And I'm very grateful for the connections I have made here online.

December 14, 2014 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Eileen, thanks for "telling it like it is." Horror stories abound (as you know) and publishing is definitely a business where the glamor is gossamer!

Congratulations on your second-time-around success! :-)

December 14, 2014 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 14, 2014 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Thank you, Ruth! So happy to be a guest on your site. It's my go-to blog for info and has steered me right many a time and in many a way. Yes, glamor is gossamer. True success is achieving one's own personal goals and doing what you love.

December 14, 2014 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Love your blog, too, Alex. Always so informative. The lesson in my social media snafu? Don't post when you're burned out at the end of the day. Though what happened to me seems tame compared to those Sony execs. Thankfully the worst thing that came of my blunder was having to stay up late changing all my passwords. As far as I know Angelina Jolie is still speaking to me :)

December 14, 2014 at 10:47 AM  
OpenID sallyember.com said...

Thanks for telling so much of your story, Eileen, and glad you're successful as an indie.

I, of course, want to know what you left/leave out of such a story.... Next post? Fill in the gaps/blanks. I don't want to interrogate you, but there are some gaping holes, here.... Your story, your selectivity; I know. But, inquiring minds...

Best to you,

Sally

December 14, 2014 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Delighted to read this post from you Eileen! Yes, I remember your earlier books well, and was a fan.
I'm a crime writer (capers and amateur det.) now, with trad publishers (but who knows how long that will last) and the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. But I have a past too...
In the 90s, I had a career writing comedy (standup and a syndicated humour column.) What I didn't realize was that you burn out early if you commit to writing comedy and only comedy. Also, contacts change pretty quickly in that trade, and the people who know you move on (or die, which is a different story, repeated over and over, alas!)
So glad to have you writing in our crime field now! Going to look up your books now...

December 14, 2014 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Eileen--Snortling here at your comment about Angelina. You're so right that those Sony execs have raised the bar on embarrassing revelations. LOL.

December 14, 2014 at 11:36 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

My husband the TV reporter knows Angie. He says she's smart, savvy and even better looking in person. And you can quote him on that.

December 14, 2014 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger ryan field said...

Fascinating...love to read everyone's unique story in publishing. And even though they differ a bit, in most cases there things we can all relate to.

December 14, 2014 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Some of my story is compressed. But you got the gist of it. Any specific questions I'm happy to answer.

December 14, 2014 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

I know what you mean about getting boxed in and burned out, Melodie. That's why I decided to try my hand at writing mystery. I needed to reignite my creative spark. Good for you for making a change.

December 14, 2014 at 11:55 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

My story is more dramatic than most, perhaps, due to my having been married to my agent early in my career. I was the proverbial fly on the wall in publishing. I'm happier now but out of the loop. Also, publishing today isn't what it was then

December 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Great post, Eileen, & ditto the rock star comment.

December 14, 2014 at 1:03 PM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Terrific post, Eileen and Anne. So much useful information. I need to learn and recite that I can't do it all mantra, especially when it comes to promo. I have a great publisher who does most of the preliminary work including cover art and editing so I'm very lucky. But the guest posting and giveaways etc. can get you down. I do the same three things you mentioned, Eileen. Write, guest blog and social media. Will look into Inscribe Digital. Thanks again for a wonderful post.

December 14, 2014 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Maria D'Marco said...

Thanks for sharing, Eileen. I'll be sending this along to the first-book authors I'm working with right now, who are all at various stages of freaking out now that their edits are complete.

These are all authors who hadn't used social media beyond FB for family stuff, but are now moving confidently into Indie publishing and marketing on their own. Your story will really make a difference, I think.

Thanks again!

December 14, 2014 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Wm. L. Hahn said...

Thanks Eileen, for such an encouraging life-post! And thanks Anne as always for discovering another jewel of great advice- DIY or outsource, you hit the target every time. And as for "rock star", well I'd have to see you in sunglasses and spandex to be sure.

Eileen, I will dare to pick nits only with the dubious math, by which you conclude a naked body is always less valuable than a bank account. Speaking with authority, as someone who has nothing to fear on either score, I would venture to guess Ms. Lawrence, who is doubly my opposite, might also disagree! Really it's an explosive comparison, and perhaps I'd better draw a line now before I make things worse...

December 14, 2014 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Sonja Yoerg said...

Wonderful post, Eileen, and thanks to you, Anne, for providing the venue so we could hear all this wisdom.

To me the take away message is that courage, hard work and persistence payoff, no matter the publishing environment. The roads writers choose to get their books into the hands of readers may differ, but these are the common elements of success--we hope!

Thanks for the wealth of advice, and for being bold and telling it like it is!

December 14, 2014 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger Sara Litchfield said...

This is such a great post - thank you for the wonderful advice!

December 14, 2014 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Thanks! It was an honor, truly. May Anne never leave the building.

December 14, 2014 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

I repeat that mantra daily. As a Type A'er, I need to remind myself regularly that I can't do it all. It helps to think of it in terms of pay scale. If I were getting paid for all that online marketing, I'd be getting slightly above minimum wage,whereas I stand to make many multiples of that from writing. Do what you can when you're between writing stints or burned out at the end of the day. Nothing should cut into your creative time.

December 14, 2014 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Happy I can be of help, Maria. I'm hardly a trailblazer, more a not-so-young dog that learned new tricks. But having been on both sides - trad and indie publishing - I do have a unique perspective.

December 14, 2014 at 3:07 PM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Thanks, Eileen. Agree for sure.

December 14, 2014 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Well, sure, nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence would most certainly trump my bank account. Nude photos of myself, not so much :)

December 14, 2014 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Well said, Sonja. And so true. It's all about the writing. It has to come first. The only times I've gotten into trouble was in putting the cart before the horse. Readers find you if you've written a good book.

December 14, 2014 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Thank you for visiting with me, Sara. It was my pleasure.

December 14, 2014 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger Anita Eva said...

"I understand I can’t do it all and I’m okay with that."
-- I think we could apply this to life, quite frankly--what a great and inspiring post with useful information :-)

December 14, 2014 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Sylvie Grayson said...

Eileen, it is amazing how things can turn around. I've read many of your books and find it astonishing the industry would let you go. I have two books out and am in the process of publishing the third, and have done a bit of research. Most advisors say have at least three books out before you put a real effort into marketing, because the reader needs more of your work to go to if they like the product, so that is my plan. You already had it out there so not the same issue for you. Thanks for the eye opener and being willing to share. I am amazed at the generosity of the wriring community.

December 14, 2014 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 15, 2014 at 3:14 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

I think we should apply the same rule to life as to fashion. You know the one about taking off one to two accessories? When making our to-do lists, scratch a couple tasks. Less is more.

December 15, 2014 at 3:16 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Always happy to share! And I think that's wise advice, Sylvie. Based on my experience having a body of work, if only a few titles, helps a great deal in building that critical momentum. That said, it's good to interact online so you have a group of followers and friends who will aid in your efforts when the time comes. I've benefited tremendously from my online community. These are people with whom I would want to hang out regardless of whether or not I wrote another book or cared to market my existing titles.

December 15, 2014 at 3:22 AM  
Blogger Leanne Dyck said...

Though it was poor decision making not overload, I'd highly recommend never changing your blog's url. If you do, readers of your blog will get a message that -- loosely translated from the geek -- tells them that your blog is dead.
As for best use of an author's time = Google Plus
Thank you for the helpful article, Eileen. I almost didn't read it because, after trying the indie route, I've decided to go traditional, but I'm glad I did. I found many of your tips do apply to both.

December 15, 2014 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger Bernardo Montes de Oca said...

Great details and so many important tips! I liked how you covered a multiplicity of factors and how they all affected. It was a long journey, albeit a great one and surely a wonderful learning experience. Thanks for the post! "Don't try to do everything!" Are we not all guilty of that?

December 15, 2014 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Hi, Leanne. I'd be interested to know more about your experience with indie. Mine has been mixed. Sales are aren't what I would call stellar, but I see some growth and I'm happy to have learned the business inside and out, which was invaluable. I'm lucky in that I'm a hybrid author - I have a publisher that publishes my backlist titles - so I don't have all my eggs in one basket.

December 15, 2014 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Thank you for commenting, Bernardo. A long journey indeed. But I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. All l am today is because of it. Maybe if all I'd known was success without failure and universal adoration, I'd be a spoiled brat. (I like to think not, but you never know). Downswings keep you humble.

December 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Leanne--That's really important information, so I want to draw attention to it. DON'T DELETE YOUR BLOG if you're changing direction. Keep the URL and change everything else. A deleted blog looks like a dead blog and it's the first thing that comes up in a search.

December 15, 2014 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Samantha Stroh Bailey said...

Thanks for the shout out, Eileen! Anne, I love your blog. It is one of my go-to sites. Never could I have imagined years ago, when Eileen Goudge was one of my favorite authors, that one day I would be lucky enough to co-edit one of her books. Even better than that, she is a treasured friend and a gift in my life. Yes, Eileen is a master storyteller and a talent everyone needs to read, but she is also warm, kind, generous, hilarious, irreverent, and one of the most amazing people you can ever meet.

December 15, 2014 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Sam! Oh, if you could see me now, you would see me grinning from ear to ear. And blushing. My goodness. Goes to show what good can come of putting yourself out there on the Internet. I never would've met you, or my other wonderful author pals, if not for Twitter.

December 15, 2014 at 11:42 AM  
OpenID tinadavidson said...

Great post!

Eileen, I had no idea you contributed to the Sweet Valley High series. I checked out most of them from the library many many years ago. :)

Anne, your commentary is the best. My favorite comment: "Otherwise it's like asking for a favor with your middle finger raised. You will not have happy results..." Hilarious!

December 15, 2014 at 10:35 PM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

I am unmasked! Yes, I wrote a number of the SVH books back in the day. My bread and butter writing. A great experience, and I sure learned the ropes. Mastering the basics of the beginning, middle and end opened other doors in my career.

December 16, 2014 at 3:00 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Tina--LOL. I wasn't sure if I should leave that in. But I do get so tired of ridiculous demands arriving in my email box every morning. If people can't read even one post of a blog, why do they think I will turn the blog over to them for a whole week? It's just dumb.

December 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Well said, Anne. I respect the hell out of what you've achieved and am a huge fan. I wouldn't dream of agreeing to, much less asking to guest post for a blog I wasn't familiar with and didn't find informative and/or entertaining. Yours ticks all the boxes.

December 16, 2014 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

"I understand I can’t do it all and I’m okay with that." There, I said it! This is such a wonderful reminder that one of our main priorities is good health. Writing like a crazy person and trying to wear 100 hats will wear a writer (and mom, and dad, etc.) down. I think it's great that traditionally published authors with their backlist rights can get their books out there again and possibly even attract new readers. What an awesome time in publishing!

(Oh my gosh, about your passwords...that made my heart stop)

December 16, 2014 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Claude Forthomme said...

Eileen, what a wonderful post and I especially like the reminder, none of us can do it all, you're so right...I hope however that aspiring writers will get the message right: going indie is fine if you have published many books before (the traditional way) and have a following, like you have. If you don't have that success story in your background, you need to think twice about self-publishing. The golden era is over, e-books sales (for the first time!) have faltered - losing 2%, not much, but still a wake-up call, considering that for the past 5 years e-book sales had grown exponentially!

In this tougher environment, the writers who'll survive (and indeed thrive!) are those who already have their fans, eager to lay their hands on the latest book. Anyone without that kind of following cannot hope to make it - or more precisely, one can make it self-publishing, no doubt about that, but the chances are like those in a lottery. You might pull the winning ticket and again, you might not. This is a risk and probably a risk well worth taking for all those who like to be "in control" of the whole publishing process. But one should be aware of the stakes here...

This said, you provide some very useful pointers as to how to go about doing this indie thing successfully, and many thanks for the advice - it's very precious!

December 17, 2014 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

I have to repeat the mantra at least once a day. Sometimes I think of my brain as a dog sled team, and I have to remind myself it's me. I'm only one person. Do what you do best and the rest will take care of itself. Gillian Flynn, author of "Gone Girl" rose to the top mainly on the buzz generated by others on her behalf. As for the passwords nightmare, may it never be repeated!

December 17, 2014 at 3:56 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

I'm glad you raised that issue, Claude. You're so right. It's a tough, tough market. Lots of competition, and not easy to get noticed with all the chatter online. It helps if you have a body of work and existing fans. The indie authors I know who are most successful are also very prolific. They write several books a year. I would recommend to anyone starting out that they have at least two books ready to roll before publishing the first one. Preferably three. Hard to get momentum otherwise.

December 17, 2014 at 4:02 AM  
OpenID joanneguidoccio.com said...

Hi Eileen, Thanks for an inspiring post! You've shared so many pearls of wisdom...I'm bookmarking this post for future reference. I've read most of your books (love them!!!) and look forward to reading Bones and Roses. Joanne :)

December 17, 2014 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Thank you! That is so nice. I'm glad you found my story helpful and were entertained by my fictional tales. When bad stuff happens it's never all bad, because I know I can write about it. "It's all copy," to quote the late Nora Ephron.

December 18, 2014 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Irene Paterka said...

Eileen,

Your post and thoughtful insights remind me of your books: each one of them comes directly from the heart. You don't hold back, and you tell the truth. Your readers (raising my hand, but not with my middle finger extended! ) have learned to trust you and love you for that. My mantra is 'Never never never quit'... but if you don't mind, I think I shall be including yours from now on. Sending you cyber hugs and wishing you much success with your Cypress Bay mysteries.

December 21, 2014 at 3:15 AM  
Blogger Linda Bennett Pennell said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and expertise. It is printed out and taped to my mirror so that I can reread it when the publishing crazies strike.

December 21, 2014 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

How nice! Thank you, Kathleen. No, I don't hold back, which sometimes gets me in trouble but has mostly led to wonderful things and opportunities. I have to repeat my mantra often, however, because I tend to bite off more than I can chew. My New Year's resolution is to listen my inner voice. It knows what I need.

December 22, 2014 at 3:07 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

That's the best compliment, Linda! To be taped to the mirror. I have my own face in the mirror telling me, "Slow down, girl! You're doing too much." Life is meant to be lived not set aside for future use.

December 22, 2014 at 3:10 AM  
Blogger LK Watts said...

Great post from a down to earth author. Thanks Eileen. Writers don't have to be crazy all the time! ;)

December 28, 2014 at 9:27 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

LK--I love it that I can be online friends with people like Ruth and Eileen, whose books I loved for years, but I never dreamed I'd get to know personally. The book business keeps changing and morphing. Change can be scary, but I think Eileen has embraced it in the best possible way.

December 28, 2014 at 4:30 PM  

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