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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, June 14, 2015

Why All Authors May Have a "Hybrid" Future: Veteran Children's Author Kristiana Gregory Goes Indie

The self-publishing movement that was sparked by the introduction of the Kindle ereader eight years ago has taken the entire industry on a rollercoaster ride that shows no signs of slowing down. 

The only thing we can count on in today's publishing world is change. Solid advice given yesterday may not work today. Authors need to realize that there is no one "safe" way to publish.

But there are lots of ways that might work for you. We all need to learn to spread a wide net and be open to the changes as they come zooming at us.

The authors who are doing best these days are "hybrid" authors who both self-and traditionally publish and take advantage of both paths.

Agent Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary believes all authors will be soon be hybrid. She thinks it's the job of their agents to help them self-publish as well as place books with big publishers. She wrote a great piece for us on the subject called, "Why You Don't Need an Agent...But You Might Want One." 

In it she says, "I’d like to make the bold prediction that we'll all be Hybrid Authors in 5 years or less as different paths are taken to achieve each publishing goal."

Of course not every hybrid author makes the decision to jump into self-publishing out of optimism and love of innovation. Some get pushed. 

It's a dirty little secret of the publishing industry that many executives in the traditional houses think of authors as an expendable commodity with a short shelf life. An author's expertise at turning out professional work doesn't matter to management if their last book tanked. Even if it tanked because the publisher put a gun on the cover of your heartfelt women's fiction and changed the title from I Will Always Love You to Gunfire from Hell. 

In the publishing business, you're only as valuable as your last book's sales figures. An awful lot of authors are dropped by their publishers after a few years, even if they have steady sales and good representation. 

What digital self-publishing has done for those "midlist authors" (and their readers) is phenomenal. Seasoned professional authors with an established readership have been rescued from the publishing trash heap. They are now thriving and continuing to entertain and educate us, thanks to ebooks and self-publishing. 

No matter how you feel about ebooks, or Amazon, or the digital revolution in general, this is a fantastic thing for authors and their readers. 

Here on this blog, we have hosted many authors who have re-established careers as indiesor supplemented their trad-pub income by self-publishing. 

Our own Ruth Harris is a million-selling New York Times bestseller who took charge of her own career and went indie with the Kindle revolution.

So did Catherine Ryan Hydeemy co-author on How to Be a Writer in the E-Age. Since self-publishing, Catherine has become an Amazon superstar, even more successful now than she was when she sold Pay it Forward to Warner Brothers. (In fact yesterday Catherine's author rank was #11 on all of Amazon, ahead of J.K. Rowling.)

Other well-known authors who who have shared their indie journey with us are Eileen Goudge, Jeff Carlson, Lawrence Block...and now, Kristiana Gregory

Kristiana is the author of over 30 YA and children's books published with Scholastic, Holiday House and Harcourt. She's a SCBWI Golden Kite award winner as well Literary Classics Gold Medal winner. Two of her books have been made into films by HBO, and her historical novels are staples in school libraries all over the country. 

But, like so many authors, she found her books going out of print in spite of her awards and huge fan base. So she decided to go it alone. 

Well, not really alone. Her whole family joined in and became her publishing team. Amazon ran an inspirational piece about her last month in their "Success Stories" series: Veteran Author Can Reach Kids Again.

This was especially exciting for me because Kristiana was the first writer I knew who "made it" as an author. She and I were members of a writers' group in San Luis Obispo in the early 1980sthe first critique group I ever joined. 

That group was the first place I shared my work and owned up to my writing dreams. We lost track of each other for over 30 years and reconnected when I saw one of Kristiana's comments on Kris Rusch's blog. (Kris Rusch is another trad-pubbed author who has embraced self-publishing in a major way. Her blog is a goldmine for self-publishers.) 

Kristiana has written a memoir about her journey which is full of insight valuable to all writers: Longhand: One Writer's Journey. Do check it out in our Book of the Week section below. 

Talking with her has sent me reminiscing about my first aspirations as a writerwhen simply finishing a short story and sending it to a magazine was cause for major celebration. We were all beginners as fiction writers, even though two members of the group were professional journalists. 

What Kristiana reminded me of is that our critique group was supportive and always felt safe. I don't know if I would have had the courage to embark on this 35 year writing journey if my fledgling muse hadn't been nurtured in such a safe nest. 

And just as I finally got the courage to leave the nest and start publishing my stories, Kristiana recently decided to leave what felt like the comfort of traditional publishing and venture out on her own into the wild world of indie publishing. 

Here is the story of how Kristiana and I first met, and how she finally made that step to become a hybrid author...Anne

Stepping Away from the "Security" of Traditional Publishing

by Kristiana Gregory

We called ourselves the Lost Writers of the Purple Prose.

I had just landed my dream job on the Telegram-Tribune, a daily in San Luis Obispo, California. This newsroom in 1980 was a cacophony of typewriters, ringing phones, and the chuggiddy-chug of a teletype machine. My assignment? Obituaries. It might sound macabre for a thirty-year-old, but I loved crafting these short stories, as I called them, and tried to make them interesting. Sometimes I interviewed family members to learn more about their loved ones so each obit could reflect a little warmth.

It was a dream job because at long last, I earned my paycheck as a reporter.

My assignments also included weather and weddings. Soon, though, I felt wiggly. My eyes glazed to describe yet another sun-drenched day or a taffeta veil crowned with daisies. Oh, to jazz things up a bit!

Enter a creative writing group.

I'm not sure how or where we found each other, but our gaggle bonded immediately over a shared passion: writing our own stuff that we hoped to get published. Poems, vignettes, cat episodes, sad tales about lost love, anything to fill a couple pages that we could read aloud as we sloshed wine and stories late into the night. At work I had been intimidated by the managing editor, John Marrs, but when he joined us in a friend's living room, I learned he was like the rest of us:

Writers trying to put words together.

Maybe it was the abundance of wine, but we oozed compliments. No criticism. I recall lots of laughs and flattery amid a haze of smoke from nicotine fiends: yours truly and Anne R. Allen. Yes, that Anne R. Allen who has graciously invited me to today's blog.

She and I last saw each other thirty-three years ago at my wedding in Harmony, California. A framed photo on our wall shows family and friends on a beautiful May afternoon standing under a eucalyptus tree. Anne is there, smiling, in a purple skirt. I think she knew it was one of my favorite colors.

Years passed, paths diverged. Letters and Christmas cards dwindled until even we writers lost contact.

Meanwhile, my path found wings with motherhood. I realized how much I loved kids and since I loved telling stories, writing for them became a new dream.

Fast forward.

I was extremely fortunate that Scholastic, Harcourt, and Holiday House published my children's books. It was a perfect job because I could work from home and enjoy my boys. And hearing from young readers continues to be a highlight. They ask about my dogs and tell me about theirs, and when they confide how a particular story has comforted them I think, "I'm the luckiest author in the world."

But by my 30th book, the letters "OP" began appearing on royalty statements: Out-of-Print. I felt crushed, especially because kids and parents continued to write glowing letters for my mysteries and historical adventures. Copies in stores were hard to find and many on-line vendors inexplicably priced the books way over a teacher's budget, making class sets prohibitive.

So when I learned about Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and CreateSpace, I felt ecstatic. Here was a chance to reach readers once again, and to offer books for a reasonable price. Buoyed by this fresh opportunity, I began asking my publishers to revert the rights.

This took years of being turned down, asking again, waiting, and more waiting. Finally, as soon as a reversion letter would arrive, one by one and sometimes with its e-file, my family and I got to work. We uploaded, scanned or re-typed each book then my artist son, Cody Rutty, created new covers and added dozens of wonderful line drawings.

My family loves this idea of custom designing a book for children, to make it friendly and nice to hold. We hope the illustrations invite reluctant readers to give it a try.

So far we've resurrected sixteen titles, four more are in the works and I've published two new mysteries.

It was a bit of a catch-your-breath moment, stepping away from the security of traditional publishers. I miss my editors, their camaraderie, and their wisdom. The teamwork was so valuable and such fun. I miss spotting my titles in a bookstore, but having creative control is exhilarating. Hoping to make the paperbacks affordable, I price them as low as CreateSpace permits.

My book sales tick upward every week, like a little snowball gathering weight. It's a modest sum, but the real reward has been hearing from readers. The best support has been parents and teachers who have written Amazon reviews and emails, saying how delighted they are to find my books again.

This new freedom also inspired me to write my memoir, Longhand: One Writer's Journey, something I may not have undertaken if my only avenue had been traditional publishing. The submission process alone would have taken months and I wanted to tell my story now.

The most common question readers ask is, "Where do you get your ideas?" so herein lie the answers. I've jotted memories from writing for the Los Angeles Times and Scholastic, the world's largest children's book publisher: the rejections, heartbreaks, joys, and beloved editors. I hope these behind-the-scenes of book writing, which cover the era from traditional publishing to KDP, might inspire writers starting out and those who love the magic of words.

In the final pages of Longhand, I hyperlinked my rescued titles to Amazon, so Kindle readers can click for a "Look Inside."

It feels terrific to have this instant connection to my audience.

Now looking back three decades at the Lost Writers of the Purple Prose, I think, wow, those friendships and ponderings and reading aloud from our scratchings formed an incubator. We felt safe.

Thanks to social media, I'm happy to learn that at least three of us kept writing and did get published. Our passion survived. And Anne and I quit smoking!

As you know, she hosts this blog and has authored many comic novels. John Marrs writes a political column for Port O Call Publishing ("No Apology. No Apostrophe.") in Port Angeles, Washington, and still writes poetry.

"We had some great evenings in that group," he said in a recent email.

Anne said, "We were always supportive of each other. I remember how even John the professional editor would soften his critiques with phrases like 'I've always heard you shouldn't...' or 'I had a professor who said...' I will always be grateful for the encouragement I got from that amazing group of writers."

Member Lucinda Eileen said, "we were full of good humor, and that, as in any relationship, is the glue that holds us together. There was also something about the male/female mix that was unlike any mixed group I have ever been in before or since. Maybe it was respect for each other, with egos not getting in the way of our hearing what the others were saying. So, humor and respect, not to mention loads of talent, kept us going, even beyond the actual life of the group. I am very grateful to have been a part of it and to have reconnected with you."

We had no idea what the future held—who does?but we knew one thing for sure: We liked to put words together.

It was a grand beginning.

Kristiana Gregory has published 30 children's books with Scholastic, Harcourt and Holiday House, and has now ventured into self-publishing with her memoir Longhand: One Writer's Journey. Her award-winning novels include Jenny of the Tetons, which earned the SCBWI Golden Kite Award. Set in 1876, it tells the story of the Shoshone Indian and her fur-trapper husband, Beaver Dick Leigh. Jenny Lake and Leigh Lake in Wyoming are named after this couple. Nugget: The Wildest, Most Heartbreakin'est Mining Town in the West is a mystery set in an Idaho mining camp of 1866. Formerly titled My Darlin' Clementine, it was Idaho's choice for the 2010 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Library of Congress.

What about you, Scriveners? We'd love for you to share memories of your own first writing group or class. Was it supportive? Did you keep in touch? Do you see hybrid publishing in your future? Do you have any questions for Kristiana about her trad-pub or indie experiences? 


Buy it at Amazon

In this heartwarming memoir, Kristiana expands her story-telling and love of the written word, using excerpts from her prolific letters and journals kept since childhood: "I've jotted a few memories from writing for the Los Angeles Times and also Scholastic, the world's largest children's book publisher: the rejections, heartbreak, joys, and beloved editors. My privileged career has been intertwined with motherhood, the richest adventure of all. The most common question readers ask is, 'Where do you get your ideas?' so herein lie the answers. I hope these behind-the-scenes of book writing might inspire writers starting out and those who love the magic of words."


Golden Quill Awards Writing Contest: Flash, Poetry, and Short fiction categories. Entry fee $20 for stories and poetry, $15 for flash fiction. The theme is TRANSFORMATION. Deadline July 15.

Glamour Magazine Essay contest.  FREE! Theme: "My Real Life Story". Prize is $5,000 and possible publication in Glamour Magazine for personal essays by women, between 2,500-3,500 words. Enter online or by mail. Open to US residents aged 18+.Deadline July 15th

MARK TWAIN HUMOR CONTEST  Entry fees: $12 Young Author or $22 Adult. 7,000 words (or fewer) of any original work of humor writing. Submissions must be in English. Submissions are not required to be in the style of Mark Twain or about Mark Twain. 1st Prize: $1,000 (Adult), $600 (Young Author). Other cash prizes! Deadline July 10, 2015

Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest. Entry fee $10. Your story should in some way touch upon the publication's mission: Celebrating America — past, present, and future. Think Norman Rockwell. No profanity or graphic sex. Any genre. No previously published stories, but they can have appeared on your blog. Between 1,500 and 5,000 words. Deadline July 1, 2015

Big Beautiful Wellness Creative Writing Contest. NO FEE Poems up to 30 lines Fiction or Nonfic between 1000 and 2000 words. $100 first prize. Theme: Body-positive living. Looking for inspirational, positive stories. Deadline July 1.

Writer's Village International Short Fiction Contest Prizes totalling $3200! And every entrant gets a critique. (which makes this a great deal.) Any genre of fiction up to 3000 words. Entry fee $24. Deadline June 30th.

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Blogger Anne Gallagher said...

Wow, that's fantastic that you guys met again after so many years! And I'm glad you have your rights reverted. It's so incredibly sad when I can't find books I enjoyed when I was a kid, to give to my daughter. I'm always scouring used book stores and church thrift sales.

And yes, I have to agree. I think hybrids are going to become the norm in the near future.

June 14, 2015 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger Anne Gallagher said...

And I can't believe I'm first to comment.

June 14, 2015 at 10:11 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Anne--You beat Alex! I hope he's okay. He always comments the second the post goes live.I have no idea how he does that. He has magical blogging powers.

June 14, 2015 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 14, 2015 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Wm. L. Hahn said...

All units be on the lookout for a suspiciously-pleasant and prolific author, wanted for failure to report on his court-mandated Sunday blog schedule. Is likely unarmed and extremely cooperative... but exercise caution or else he'll, um, write something.

Kristiana, thanks so much for a heartwarming look at how it can all work out, even many moons later. I too am intensely grateful for my beta-reader/critique group which has contributed immensely to the quality of my work. I'm there for them whenever they draft, as they have been for me. And it's very important, as you said, to have a good chemistry. The mix of genders and genres is probably better, in my view, than having e.g. all romance authors in the same decade of life.

My group has been all online- what a kick it would be to hit it big with my tales, and then sponsor an in-person get-together!

June 14, 2015 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger Linda Maye Adams said...

A lot of avenues open up when you're willing to do try different things. Most people see hybrids as the traditionally published writers branching out to indie, but it also can be indie writers who also submit to pro-rate magazines and anthologies. A lot of writers treat it as either/or instead of seeing the possibilities. An acceptance at a pro-rate magazine would mean a lot of promotion for any indie writer as readers look for more work by that writer.

My first critique group was a disaster. Another writer and I formed it, using members from a regional writing organization which since went into Chapter 11. The writing organization was more focused on non-fiction (it's Washington, DC!), so all we got were beginners doing novels for the first time and NF best selling writers who thought they could they could hit it big with a novel. The NF writers would write three chapters, proclaim it was hard and disappear. The beginners would praise the words of the book and ignore the bigger problem that it didn't have a story. One member kept prodding everyone to tell him what the "story question" was. Ironically, he had 70K of words for a novel, but no actual story, though he bragged that agent wanted to see it once he got it finished. He finally blew up one day, told us he didn't care if he got it published; he was writing it to get back at his government day job.

One early group member came in with a book accepted, and it was published, but last I heard, he had a deadline looming and hadn't started book two. I think he dropped the ball on that because he's had no new books. I doubt if the other writers stayed with writing. The other founder writer is still trying to produce another book after seven years, and I've gone indie.

June 14, 2015 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Phyllis Humphrey said...

I agree. We'll all be hybrid some day. I've always had a critique group wherever I've lived and they are invaluable. I was first published trad (not in as well-known houses as Kristiana, but quite good) and when Amazon came along and I realized I had my rights back from two books with Kensington, I self-published. Besides six more self-published books, I chose trad for my Titanic novel and when Avalon Books sold to Amazon, SOUTHERN STAR became a Montlake Romance. Plus I've just signed a contract for two cozy mysteries, but put my Sherlock Holmes novellas on KDP by myself. Thanks Anne and Kristiana.

June 14, 2015 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 14, 2015 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Wm. L. Hahn, it's good to hear you, too, have a great reader/critique group. It's touching to see how friendships develop, even online. Yes, wouldn't an in-person celebration be a blast!

June 14, 2015 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Hello Anne and Anne ! I hope you're both having a nice weekend. It's great to know we writers aren't alone.

June 14, 2015 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger mindprinter said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 14, 2015 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger mindprinter said...

Okay, trying again. I hate the auto correct. It's always way off the mark.
Here's what I tried to say: Anne and Kristiana, this is a wonderful story, very heartfelt and encouraging and full of hope for all of us. Loved every paragraph. Paul

June 14, 2015 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger Katarina West said...

Fascinating post, Anne - and thank you Kristiana, I loved to hear about your journey! But if all or most of us will be hybrid authors in the future, where does that leave agents?

June 14, 2015 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Katarina--That's all explained in agent Laurie McLean's post I link to above. She helps her authors self-publish as well as making deals for them with the Big Five. Catherine Ryan Hyde has an agent, too. So do Joe Konrath, Barry Eisler, and Hugh Howey. All the big "indie" authors have representation..Savvy agents understand both types of publishing and they can make a huge difference in an author's career. But you have to get the right agent.

June 14, 2015 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Linda, I'm sorry to hear that your first critique group was a disaster. It sounds as though you've kept writing though.

June 14, 2015 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Phyllis, congratulations on signing a contract for your two cozy mysteries. You seem to be balancing trad and KDP quite successfully.

June 14, 2015 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Paul, thank you. I'm so happy to know Anne's and my story have encouraged you and given you hope. Don't give up!

June 14, 2015 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 14, 2015 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Katarina, Anne's comment says it well.

June 14, 2015 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger Emma Adams said...

Great post! I can definitely see many authors going hybrid in future, traditional or indie. Traditional published authors can self-publish a manuscript if it doesn't sell or if it's out of their usual genre/category, while self-published authors might go different routes with different genres. I'm with a small press for one series and indie publishing another, and I plan to go back to the traditional route eventually with my middle-grade books. There are a lot more options open to writers these days, and you can write the book you're passionate about without committing to the query process.

June 14, 2015 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

... and I've been having trouble with posts 'sticking', so that's why there're so many "deletes"

June 14, 2015 at 2:39 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Thanks Emma! You're so right, we have a lot more options now which gives us room for writing the stories we're passionate about.

June 14, 2015 at 2:41 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Paul--It looks as if Blogger is being cranky with everybody today. I apologize for its bad manners. Can't wait for your next WWII novella!

June 14, 2015 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm here! I just got back from vacation.
That was quite a journey and amazing you began it together.
With eBooks, books never go 'out of print' now, and it's a really different animal. What authors faced then compared to what we face now is so different. Doubt I'll ever go indie, but nice to know that option is there.

June 14, 2015 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Florence Cronin said...

Anne, this is yet another example of talent that wins out. Thanks for having Kristiana as your guest ... to inform and inspire and best of all ... to entertain. It's so much like ... when everything old is new again :)

Kristiana ... kudos for reinventing yourself in this modern e-era and especially for your author page on Amazon. It's a joy to read your blog posts !!!

June 14, 2015 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Florence, that's very kind of you. Thank you!

June 14, 2015 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger Madilyn Quinn said...

Wow, what an incredible writing journey!! I haven't been in any critique groups unless you count two creative writing classes..

June 14, 2015 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Brava! We all find our ways, & Kristiana's way sounds as though it's been quite fulfilling thus far & will continue to head in that direction.

June 14, 2015 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Madilyn, I think creative writing classes count a lot! I know people who started in a class then when the semester ended, kept meeting together in a coffee shop.

June 14, 2015 at 4:48 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

CS, the path certainly feels rocky at times but, you're right, it's been quite fulfilling.

June 14, 2015 at 4:50 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Kristiana, thanks for this insightful post! I'm with two trad Canadian publishers, but they sure don't take everything I want to write. And I'm painfully aware that the sales of my last book determines my destiny with them, and all the awards in the world aren't going to help that. Thank you for showing us that going Indie doesn't have to be scary. I'm sure I'll be hybrid before long.

June 14, 2015 at 7:29 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Melodie, I wish you all the best as you consider going Indie. There's an exhilaration knowing you're not dependent on previous sales or awards.

June 14, 2015 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Alex--Whew! We were all worried. We forget even blog ninjas get to go on vacation. :-) I hope it was a great time. Welcome back!

June 14, 2015 at 8:30 PM  
Blogger Karen Jones Gowen said...

This is so interesting. Kristiana's personal journey as a writer captures the recent history of writing and publishing in a nutshell! And how fortunate for both of you to have had the experience of such a supportive writer's group.

June 15, 2015 at 4:50 AM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Thank you Karen. Yes, I feel so fortunate to have reconnected with Anne. It's comforting that she and I can share these memories of support. As it turns out, our fun little group was a foundation for our writing and being able to get published.

June 15, 2015 at 6:43 AM  
Blogger Bernardo Montes de Oca said...

"In the publishing business, you're only as valuable as your last book's sales figures."

In a lot of businesses it is, and this article is making a parallel connection between how the way we do business is evolving and writing itself. Spot on. In the end, if we want to make it as writers, then it's evolution and only the fittest survive. In this case, the fittest are those that make most of the tools that are given.

In Costa Rica, (obviously a micro-market, compared to others) Self Publishing is very common, the agent is non-existent and publishers are much stiffer than in other countries because the market is very small, therefore the business itself is very dynamic.

I used to be wary of self-publishing, now I embrace it. However, I still respect it greatly and don't want to dive head-first into it .


June 15, 2015 at 7:53 AM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Bernardo, thank you for your comment and description of Costa Rica's market. How fascinating that the agent is non-existent. Best of luck to you and your writing.

June 15, 2015 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger dolorah said...

Its scary to build that readership, and then go it alone. The journey appears well worth the anxiety though. Having a supportive writers group is a bonus. Nice when all the journey's connect.

June 15, 2015 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Dolorah, you're right it's scary, even with a support group rooting you on. Social media has helped old friends and their journeys connect.

June 15, 2015 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Kelly Byrne said...

This was a timely post for me because I'm actually looking for another writing group right now. I did find one that was great here in LA a long time ago, but we just sort of dissolved and I haven't been able to find another as good. Crossing my fingers I will soon. I think it's very important to have supportive writers in your life to keep you a little sane and a lot crazy.

Thanks for the post, Anne and Kristiana. Best of luck with your memoir and all the books you've brought back to life on Amazon. :)

Btw - Anne, I've posted comments on and off for months now, but every time I hit publish, they disappear into the great beyond. Frustrating to say the least. I've tried everything (I know how to do) to fix whatever problem I'm having, changing between different sources to comment, but somehow this time things seem different, like it's actually going to go through, so fingers crossed for that too. Let's see shall we?

June 15, 2015 at 6:51 PM  
Blogger Kelly Byrne said...

Yay!!! It worked! :)

June 15, 2015 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Kristiana Gregory said...

Hi Kelly, I hope you find a fun, supportive writing group that inspires and encourages you. Thanks for your well wishes!

June 16, 2015 at 6:51 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Kelly--Sometimes that happens if you're not signed into Google or Wordpress (or whatever ID you use) BEFORE you write the comment. If you try signing in first, then writing the comment, that may work.

June 16, 2015 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Shah Wharton said...

A very absorbing post. I love that nothing ever has to go out of print these days. There's such a freedom in it. I tried to help a TP author to get her book on eReaders (her publisher didn't do this, and didn't have the rights to do so). But she's so scared of doing things alone, I fear evening with my help she won't do it. It's a huge leap for some, to be hybrid.


June 21, 2015 at 4:19 AM  
Blogger Roselyn Galacio said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 21, 2015 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Shah--Your friend isn't alone. I'm amazed at how many trad pubbed authors are afraid (and ignorant) of self-publishing. When I suggest a couple of inexpensive ebooks to teach them how to do it, I can see panic in their eyes. They have no idea there's a difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing. I wish they all had agents as savvy as Laurie McLean who could walk them through this stuff. If you can get her to look at some of the books by David Gaughran or Joanna Penn, that might help. Also my book How to be a Writer in the E-Age has lots of information that will show her self-publishing doesn't have to be scary. Eileen Goudge, former NYT bestseller, said my book helped a lot when she went indie.

June 21, 2015 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Here's a great comment from Lola Wilcox that came via email

"As a young M.A. candidate, wife and mother in Laramie, Wyoming I was invited by a group of local women writers to join them. They met every couple of weeks in each other's homes. Margaret Hill wrote young teen fiction, Rebecca Northen was a world expert on orchids, Vandi Moore wrote popular magazine articles, Esther Gay was a taxidermist/hunting guide and besides those kinds of articles wrote adult fiction. A very diverse, very published group. I was honored to be asked to join them.

I learned from them:
- support includes noticing you haven't brought something new for a time and offering to take the children for a couple of afternoons
- "When you get your 99th rejection slip for the same book - like I did before I sold my first in the series - then you can complain."
- if you write for a specific market, and it's rejected, wait a year and send it in again. The editors are a revolving door.
- Motivation: "But why does the character go up the stairs?" - not because it's convenient for your plot.
- Not every idea is an A idea.
1) Write up the ones that interest you, but spend your most productive, creative time on A ideas.
2) If it's a C idea don't bother to rewrite it to editor's suggestions because they most likely won't take it anyway in the end. Send it someplace else.
3) If it's an A idea go for it, but be very careful what you give up.

Thanks for your excellent work; I learn from it and from you.

And so on. These lovely women have all passed on now, but their heritage lives on in me and in the writing group I attend."

Lola Wilcox

June 23, 2015 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Lola--It sounds as if you really lucked out (the way Kristi and I did) with your first writers group.

"Be very careful what you give up" is such important advice. Thanks for that! Some editors want to change your piece to suit their editorial needs, not to make the piece better. Best to send it elsewhere!

June 23, 2015 at 5:17 PM  

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