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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, November 8, 2015

5 More Delusions That Can Block a Writer's Success


We have some big changes coming to the blog

As a lot of you know, I like Blogger. It's user-friendly and it works just fine for most author-bloggers. (Although sometimes the Blogger elves make commenting tough for readers with blogs on other platforms. Tech wars can be brutal.)

But a freebie Blogspot blog isn't very safe when  you have a lot of traffic. And we have had as many as 105,000 hits a month this year. And this has made us a target for a major number of hackers and pirates. Google Alerts finds content from this site on dozens of blogs every week.

Then last month, I logged in and found our content gone. 

When I went to the "home" page, it was empty. A message said "this content is no longer available".

I went numb. I had no idea what to do. I went on Facebook and had a meltdown.

Serendipitously, a tech expert who has guested for us here saw my lament. Johnny Base of SEO Evolution, who wrote one of our most popular guest posts of 2013, left a comment on my desperate Facebook post telling me to phone him.

I did and he restored the blog within hours. Yeah. He's that good.

But he told me the content wasn't safe on a freebie Blogger blog now we were on the radar of pirates. He said I needed to move to WordPress and a self-hosted site.

Then I found all the content on a weird Portuguese site where the only content was this blog and the Bible, both in English. Yeah. I may seem to play God on this blog sometimes but I really never saw myself up there with the Almighty in the book department. After all, the Bible is the bestselling book of all time. Ha!

So I figured it was time to make the move. With Johnny's help we hope to launch the new blog on our new site with WordPress on November 22. There are bound to be glitches, but most of you should be able to find it with the old urls.

If you subscribe with MailChimp, you should get the blog in your inbox as usual. If you want to comment on the blog, just click on the header and it should take you to the new blog just the way it takes you to this one now..

But for our Blogger "followers" you may have to click through from the Blogger blog to the new one. Just one more step. I hope it will all go smoothly. We'll leave this blog up with a message and a link to click through to the new blog.

So next week you'll still find us herewith a great guest post from literary superstar Catherine Ryan Hyde, who's going to be talking about rejections and how we ALL get them. Yes. Even her iconic novel Pay it Forward was rejected...by her own agent.

But the following week, November 22nd, you should find the blog transformed into a WordPress blog on our own self-hosted site. I'll be talking about some of the biggest scams that are targeting new authors these daysand how to stay safe...Anne


5 More Delusions that can Block Writing Success

by Anne R. Allen


Last week I wrote about five delusions that can keep a new writer from professional success. I admit to succumbing to most of them myself at one time or another.

Writers need to be a little delusional to embark on a road that we know is fraught with obstacles. It's the only way we can keep our spirits up for the long haul. We shouldn't think of them as mistakes, but rather stages we need to go through. But the time comes when we have to let the delusions go or our careers will come to a dead halt.

The first five delusions I discussed in last week's post are:
  1. Expecting Instant Success
  2. Getting Stuck on the Query-go-Round
  3. Obsessing about Marketing
  4. Signing the First Contract You're Offered
  5. Chasing Trends
Here are five more:

6) Expecting Success to Find You


Lots of brilliant writers settle into a comfort zone after their first few successes and never try to climb to the next rung of the ladder. Often they secretly believe someone is going to "discover" them through a local writing contest or a small literary magazine. And yes, that has happened in a tiny percentage of careers, but it's not all that likely

If you enter and place in the same small contests every year and publish stories in the same handful of little magazines, you can feel pretty comfy. You don't get any of those depressing rejections and hey, you're a winner!

Unfortunately, nobody but the three judges of the contest and the twelve subscribers to the litzine are likely to see your work. The chances of Oprah coming through town the day your heart-rending vignette about the death of your pet gerbil gets published on the local paper are really kind of slim. (It's okay. We all have those fantasies.)

Other writers expect success even though they never quite manage to send their work anywhere. They'll read the same manuscript to a critique group for a decade or keep rewriting first chapters of books they never finish.

I've met people at writers' conferences who always bring the same chapter of the same book to the workshops, year after year, as if they expect some publisher to sit in the workshop, recognize greatness, and swoop them off and offer a contract. They pitch the book to every agent they meet, but never send them the manuscript because they can't figure out an ending.

Reality Check: Face your fears and accept that getting rejected is part of the process. You'll never get to "yes" until you've had a lot of "no's".

Look at the "opportunity alerts" at the bottom of this column. Submit to a new magazine. Enter a contest with higher stakes. Finish that novel!

7) Imagining that Writing Narrative Requires No Training


We've all met newbie writers who say stuff like: "Why should I have to study writing? I read all the time and I edit our One Direction fan club newsletter. I'm a great speller. So I can write a novel, no prob."

They don't understand that writing narrative is an intricate, specialized craft that needs to be learned though lots of study, trial and error. Very few people can "just write" and produce a readable manuscript without feedback.

Don't be embarrassed if you recognize yourself here. I had this delusion, big time. I worked on a novel for years without showing a word to anybody. I thought I should finish it first, so I just kept going. I knew I could write fiction because I spent all my spare time reading it.

What I didn't realize is that simply reading a lot of novels doesn't teach you to write them any more than eating a lot of sandwiches teaches you to bake bread.

I didn't expect to be able to crochet a scarf or play the piano without some kind of instruction. So why did I think I could write a novel in a total vacuum?

At least I wised up after a few years. Some people spend decades flailing around writing badly rather than pay a few bucks for a workshop or a book on plotting or structure or joining a critique group.

Then there are the newbie writers who think they can hire an editor to magically turn a bunch of random pages into a coherent novel. Anybody who's worked as a freelance editor has had to deal with a few of these. It's amazing when you see the horror on their faces when it dawns on them that learning to write a novel or memoir involves more than just spilling your thoughts on a page.

Reality Check: Take a writing class or workshop and buy a few books on writing. Nathan Bransford has a good one called How to Write a Novel for only $4.99 and James Scott Bell's popular SuperStructure is only $2.99. Or try Dr. John Yeoman's How Did the Author Do That, also $4.99, which takes a novel and analyzes how all the parts work. (It's a fun novel to read, too!)  Or try classics like Save the Cat by Blake Snyder or How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N. Frey.

8) Living in the Last Millennium


Some writers' minds are so filled with images of Jacqueline Susann-style book-signing tours that they don't learn to do the things that successful authors do in the Internet age.

I know writers who treat online marketing as a fad to be ignored, so every year they launch a new paper book with a signing party at a local bookstore, announced by an ad in the hometown newspaper, or postcards sent to a local mailing list.

The same ten people come. Every year. Ten people who would have bought the book anyway. Nobody else has heard of these authors, because they don't have websites and consider themselves "above" social media.

You Google them and nothing comes up but the picture from the local paper when they helped raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

If they're with a traditional small or midsized press, they may have an ebook, but they don't know how to get online reviews or set up an Amazon author page, so their ebook ranks at about #7,891,000 in the Kindle store.

Or they self-publish with a vanity press and put tons of money into a hardcover novel that nobody can afford, "because that's how you get reviewed." (That was true 20 years ago. Not so now.)

Reality Check: Join the 21st century. It may seem scary, but if I can do it, anybody can. Take baby steps. Get a friend or relative to help you set up a simple website, fill out your Amazon author page and start commenting on blogs.

You've made a start by reading this. Frances CaballoMolly Greene, Chris Syme, and Kristen Lamb also give top-notch info on how to use social media on their blogs. Pick up Chis Syme's Smart Social Media For Authors, Molly's Blog it!, Kristen Lamb's Rise of the Machines or, umHow to be a Writer in the E-Age by yours truly and Amazon #1 author Catherine Ryan Hyde.

9) Insisting that Literature "Shouldn't" be a Business


I meet a lot of writers who seem to think the writing life is a perpetual high school English class where there are gold stars for everybody. They are offended when publishers and agents are "mercenary" or "only out for money" or won't work with them just because they're belligerent and unpleasant. ("What about free speech?!")

Newsflash: people don't run businesses in order to lose money. Not everybody can live off the Bank of Dad forever.

And the right to "free speech" says you won't be arrested for saying nasty things in public (unless of course it can be proved to be libelous.) What it doesn't say there will be absolutely no consequences for saying those things.

A business partnership is like a marriage. The parties have to be compatible. Nobody has a "right" to an agent or publisher anymore than anybody has a "right" to a spouse.

Do note: I don't want to put down people with private incomes who prefer to write as amateurs. Some of our greatest writers and poets did not write for money (Emily Dickinson comes to mind). Writing can be a fantastic, fulfilling hobby.

But if you want to make a living as a writer, you have to learn how the business works. And act like a grown-up.

You wouldn't try to open a restaurant if you'd never worked in one, but most new writers are as naive as I was about learning about the business they're trying to enter.

Reality check: Give up the magical fairy god-agent fantasy. If you want to go the agent route, read the archives of Jane Friedman's blog, or Nathan Bransford's, subscribe to (free) Publisher's Lunch and follow a few agents on Twitter. BookEnds Literary Agency has revived their blog recently, and Janet Reid still dispenses great information on her blog.

If you'd rather work with a small press, check out Poets and Writers or Authors Publish Magazine, which has a FREE newsletter that lists small presses that don't require agents.

Or pick up a solid book on self-publishing like Jessica Bell's Self-Publish Your Book and go indie. Lots of very successful writers have.

10) Not Reading (especially in your genre)


This is a biggie. I'm amazed at people who claim to want to be writers, but when you ask them what they're reading they go totally blank.

Or they’ll mention a bestseller of a decade ago as the last book they read. Or they say they read nothing but classics—which you strongly suspect they haven't read since college. Or they say they don't read because "there's nothing good out there."

It's awfully hard to write a novel today's readers are going to like if you haven't read anything published since On the Road. And it's impossible to write something contemporary Romance/Mystery/Thriller readers will enjoy if you don't read (and love) those genres.

Stephen King said, "Read, read, read. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write."

Reality Check: Make time for reading every day. Especially new books in your genre. Consider it part of your writing routine. If you'd rather watch "Dancing with the Stars" or play a videogame, ask yourself why you want to be a writer. Are you following some delusion? Or your Mom's? Would you rather be designing videogames or fabulous dance costumes?

Guess what? There's nothing wrong with that.

And it probably pays better.

Writing is the most wonderful profession in the world if it's what you love. But there are no shortcuts and the pay is pretty lousy for all but a handful of superstars. If you'd rather be doing something else, let go of the delusions.

Life's too short to be doing something you don't love. Follow your bliss, wherever it takes you.


What about you, scriveners? Can you think of any more delusions we should warn people about? What delusions held you back when you were starting out? 


BOOK OF THE WEEK


9 Months on Amazon's Humor Bestseller list!
Now only $3.99

The first three books in the hilarious Camilla series for 99c each!

GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY #1 in the series: Camilla meets a bogus agent, a hot cop and a ghostly killer at a California Writer's Conference. SHERWOOD LTD #2 Camilla runs into a gang of outlaws at an unorthodox UK publishing house near the real Sherwood Forest. and THE BEST REVENGE #3, the prequel, which takes Camilla and Plantagenet back to the "greed is good" 1980s, when Camilla is accused of killing a pastel-wearing, coked-up TV star.






The Camilla Randall Mysteries Box set is available at all the AmazonsKoboiTunes,SmashwordsInkteraNOOK, and Scribd.

If you've been thinking of taking a look at my loopy, but oh-so-polite sleuth's misadventures with murder, mayhem and Mr.Wrong, here's a chance to read the first three cheap.

"The Best Revenge, Ghost Writers in the Sky and Sherwood Limited are hysterical. Anne Allen will keep you laughing throughout, but in the meantime she dabbles her fingers in some topics worth some serious thought: sexism, weightism, lechery, murder, duplicity, homelessness & poverty to name a few. If you love to laugh, you'll like these three books. If you love to think, ponder AND laugh, be ready to fall in love"... C.S. Perryess aka the Wordmonger


OPPORTUNITY ALERTS


Amazon's Little A Poetry Contest.  A Biggie. This is a brand new thing. The contest will be judged by poets Cornelius Eady, Jericho Brown and Kimiko Hahn. The winner will receive $5,000 in prize money and a publishing contract featuring a $2,000 advance with Little A, Amazon Publishing’s literary imprint. Poets who have published no more than one book of poetry can submit their full-length collections for consideration to LittleAPoetry@amazon.com. Deadline Dec 20th 2015

The Poisoned Pencil: New YA publisher open to submissions! The well-known mystery publisher The Poisoned Pen now has a YA imprint. They accept unagented manuscripts and offer an advance of $1000. Submit through their website submissions manager. Response time is 4-6 weeks.

Open call for the Independent Women Anthology: short stories (flash fiction included), poetry, essays, artwork, or any other woman and/or feminist-centered creative work. 10,000 word max. All genres but explicit erotica. $100 per short story, $50 for flash, poetry, and photography/artwork. All profits will be donated to the Pixel Project Charity to end Violence Against Women. Deadline January 31, 2016 with a goal of publication on International Women's Day, March 8, 2016.

Win $$$ and BEER!! SCHLAFLY BEER MICRO-BREW MICRO-FICTION CONTEST  $10-$20 ENTRY FEE. Fee includes a subscription to River Styx literary magazine or one issue depending on amount of entry fee paid. Submit up to three stories of 500 words or less each. All stories will be considered for publication. $1,500 first prize plus one case of micro-brewed Schlafly Beer. Deadline January 1, 2016. 

The Writer Short Story Contest judged by Literary star Colum McCann
. You can have your work read by the acclaimed author of Let the Great World Spin$25 entry fee. Write a 2,000-word short story responding to one or both of the quotes below by Mr. McCann: "There is always room for at least two truths." or "With all respects to heaven, I like it here." Deadline December 6th 2015

TETHERED BY LETTERS' FALL 2015 LITERARY CONTEST ENTRY FEES: $7-$15 Currently accepting submissions for short stories (1,000 to 7,500 words, open genre), flash fiction (55, 250, or 500 words), and poetry (maximum of three pages per poem). All winners will be published in F(r)iction. All finalists will receive free professional edits and be considered for later publication. The prizes are $500 short story $150 flash fiction, and $150 for poetry. Multiple entries accepted. International submissions welcome. Deadline December 1.

HAMLIN GARLAND AWARD FOR THE SHORT STORY $20 ENTRY FEE. $2,000 and publication to the top unpublished story on any theme. One story per entry, multiple entries acceptable. Maximum 7,000 words. All entrants will be considered for publication. Deadline December 1, 2015.

The Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Contest. $10 fee Unpublished fiction. 1500 words or less. Simultaneous submissions ARE welcome. All entries will be considered for publication in Fiction Southeast. (a prestigious journal that has published people like Joyce Carol Oates) Winner gets $200 and publication. Deadline: Dec. 1st

Writers' Village International Short Fiction Award winter 2015. Cash prizes totaling $3200.Ten further Highly Commended entrants will have their stories acknowledged at the site and gain a free entry in the next round. Entry fee $24 INCLUDES A PROFESSIONAL CRITIQUE. Any genre of prose fiction may be submitted up to 3000 words, except plays and poetry. Entries are welcomed worldwide. Multiple entries are permitted. Deadline: November 30th.

The 16th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. $20 Fee. 1500 words. $3,000 prize, plus publication in Writer’s Digest and a paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference. Deadline: November 16, 2015

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69 Comments:

Blogger D.G. Hudson said...

Of course,I'm sure most of us will follow over to whatever address you park your blog at, Anne. There's always something to learn here. Good luck with the virtual move!

November 8, 2015 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

D.G.--Thanks! I hope it won't be too difficult. As if to reinforce the need for the move, Blogger seems to be eating most of the comments this morning. I'm hoping this will go through!

November 8, 2015 at 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor said...

I recently discovered your website and have been enjoying catching up on your previous blog posts. Lots of great inspiration and advice! I've been particularly enjoying your posts on blogging from the perspective of an author, which is quite different than the usual types of blogs that I read.

I started a blog a few years ago about our travel adventures on our sailboat and I enjoyed it so much that I thought I might try my hand at writing a proper novel as part of NaNoWriMo. I knew it would be challenging, but I didn't realize quite how challenging it would be. I'm an avid reader and I naively thought that this would help me with my writing. I just had an aha moment reading this blog post - it's so true that "eating a lot of sandwiches doesn't teach you to bake bread." I found it to be a great insight - thanks so much for sharing.

November 8, 2015 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Ellen--Welcome! And thanks for commenting. Blogger seems to be blocking a lot of commenters today. I hope to put out an ebook with all that blogging info sometime in 2016.

Don't let me discourage you from NaNoWriMo! We learn by doing and after you get that stuff on the page, you can learn to edit it and that will be a fantastic course in writing right there. The problem is when writers do NaNo year after year and never learn the editing part.

November 8, 2015 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger Linda Maye Adams said...

Another delusion: That you only need to write one book. I know everyone thinks that their one book will be a best seller and they can quit work, but the ones who make money are the ones with lots of books. It's the best marketing tool because a reader who enjoys your book will come for me if it's there.

November 8, 2015 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Anne—Yes, yes, yes! Separate fantasy (Instant Success! Magic Mastery Of Craft!) from reality (Rejection! Slow Go! Delayed Rewards!) and you will be on your way. :-)

November 8, 2015 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Linda--Yes! That needs to be #11. I should have thought of that. It's one of the most common delusions there is! I'll be devoting a whole blogpost to this soon. People write one book and then promote it to death instead of writing another...and another. Most writers have to publish at least 5 before they start to see financial success.

Thanks for your addition!

November 8, 2015 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Fortunately none of those delusions hit me. Not needing social media? If I had to do it all with appearances like book signings and stuff, I never would've made it. (Actually, I would've completely stopped writing just so I didn't have to do any of that.)
Bummer you have to make the move. I can't imagine moving now and losing all of my followers. But I will definitely follow to the new site.

November 8, 2015 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Ruth--I'm glad the Blogger elves didn't eat your comment again. It's really annoying when you can't comment on your own blog. Grrrr.

You're right. We need the fantasies of instant success, but we have to keep them separate from the reality of delayed rewards.

November 8, 2015 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Alex--There you are! I always worry when you're not the first commenter. :-) I'm with you. I think one of the reasons I stayed stuck for so long is I was terrified of the booksignings and public appearances. I went on one book tour in England when my first book was published there and it was so heartbreaking. I'd have two or three sales in spite of lots of publicity from my publisher. I do not miss those bad old days.

I'm hoping our followers will be able to come over with one click. Thanks for being one of them.

November 8, 2015 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Hi Anne,
May the change in digital venue be good for you.
In terms of all these five delusions, the one that curdles my cheese the most is #10. It astounds me how many people say to me, "I have to put all my time into my writing; I have no time to read other people's books." I think the most civil, yet still honest, response is, "Oy gevalt!"

November 8, 2015 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

CS--Oy gevalt is right. (I just got in touch with my inner Wordmonger and looked up the origins of that phrase. While it now means something like "good grief" it used to mean "help, I'm under attack!' (gevalt means "violence" or something like that.) So yes, writers who don't read make me feel a little bit under attack. They always want you to read their books, but they would never bother with reading yours or anybody else's.

Which of course, disinclines me to ever read their stuff.

November 8, 2015 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Wm. L. Hahn said...

Hi Anne, You're one of the few things that crowds its way into my Sunday afternoons (besides football!). I'd be desolate without your blog (another great one today). Make sure you mention it on FB et al when the switch happens so I can laboriously put the right bookmark in place.

November 8, 2015 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Maria D'Marco said...

Loved all the points -- as well as the Reality Checks! It's easy to nod my head in sage agreement as I read through, but there's nothing like a good bonk in the noggin with a reality stick.

Protecting your blog is an intelligent and pro-active step to take -- and immediately prompted the thought: send her some coin to defray the cost! Where's the 'save Anne's blog from pirates' donation button?

November 8, 2015 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Meg Wolfe said...

Hi Anne--great points, along with the potential #11, that we need to write more than one book. I'll be publishing my third this month, and am working on a novella for my series that can be used for marketing purposes. Then on to plotting the fourth novel, getting ready to hit the ground running after the holidays. With each book, "success someday" seems a little bit more likely, especially since the ten delusions you listed are getting shot down one by one by one. But one takeaway from all of this: "getting real" isn't discouraging at all!

November 8, 2015 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Will--I'm honored that you interrupt football to read my blog! I hope it will be easy to find us. I will definitely let people know on FB!

November 8, 2015 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Maria--The late great Miss Snark used to call that "being hit in the head with a clue stick".

You are so kind to suggest a donation button. I hope we won't have to resort to that. But we will add some advertising. I'm vetting all of it and it should be classy and tout products writers actually need like office furniture, books, and/or chocolate. :-)

November 8, 2015 at 1:34 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Meg--"Success someday" does come. Although these days they say we have to hit book #5 before that happens. Statistically anyway. So major congrats on three books plus a novella. With another in the works, you're almost there!

I'm so glad you're not finding these discouraging. I thought most writers would find them fun because we can see how far we've come from our delusional days.

November 8, 2015 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

The first half of your past made me sad. Not that your moving, but that you went though such a horrible experience.

The second half made me giggle.

November 8, 2015 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Karen Jones Gowen said...

Smart move changing over to WordPress! I look forward to seeing your shiny new website. These delusions are awesome, just like last week's. #8 is my favorite this week. Be on social media if for no other reason than to get immersed in how the publishing world works today.

November 8, 2015 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Debby Gies said...

Thanks for the heads up Anne. All that hacking stuff is frightening. I don't think you have to worry about your followers losing you. :) I'm signed up already so I expect to continue receiving your excellent posts! :)

November 8, 2015 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Southpaw--It has been a tough six months. Bad health plus hackers and all manner of home-owning catastrophes. But it sure makes you grateful for what you still have! I'm so happy to have our loyal readers.

It's fun to look back at delusions we may have believed at one time or another and realize how far we've come, isn't it?

November 8, 2015 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger Melodie Campbell said...

Oh Wow! This one was a doozie. This line, in particular, I am going to quote you on:
"If you'd rather watch "Dancing with the Stars" or play a videogame, ask yourself why you want to be a writer. Are you following some delusion?"
Okay, two lines, before someone corrects me
Thanks again, Anne, for your excellent advice. Even some of us old timers can stand to be reminded.

November 8, 2015 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Karen--Thanks! I don't want to dis Blogger. It worked great for us for five years. We're just suffering from our own success. :-)

If social media weren't so important for writers these days, I'd probably be one of those Luddites who thinks Twitter is just about what you had for lunch. But the truth is social media is an amazing learning tool.I learn something new on social media every day.

November 8, 2015 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Debby--Thanks, It was pretty scary. Five years worth of work...gone. I felt as if I was back there in 2010, out of print and losing hope. I hope you're right that people will follow. Subscribers shouldn't have anything change!

November 8, 2015 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger Sue Coletta said...

Moving my site to self-hosted was an absolute nightmare (for a few days), but I did it alone. Yeah. I'm stubborn that way, and it often bites me in the pocketbook, too. I'm sure you'll make the move like a pro. How exciting. I can't wait to see the new duds.

November 8, 2015 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Melodie--We were all there once, weren't we? This brings up the kind of reverse-nostalgia we feel when we see old photo albums and say, "I can't believe I wore my hair like THAT!" We've come a long way, baby.

So many people want to identify themselves as "writers", but whenever you ask what they've been doing, they say they have no time to write and then launch into a monologue about the TV shows they've been watching.

November 8, 2015 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Sue--Sorry to hear that. It is scary. If I tried to do this myself, I'm sure I'd have a complete breakdown. I have terrible tech anxiety. I wouldn't have tried it without an experienced tech guy onboard. There will probably still be glitches. That's one thing you can count on with tech :-) But I'll have help.

November 8, 2015 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger Tara Sparling said...

Really looking forward to seeing the new blog, Anne. It'll be interesting to see if it results in lots more engagement, as I must confess the hoops Blogger makes me jump through puts me off commenting most weeks. As for this week's advice - stellar as always. The not reading thing is so prevalent. If I didn't read, I'd never think.

November 8, 2015 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Tara--I'm hoping more people will be able to comment. I think Blogger has made it more difficult for WordPress bloggers to comment on Blogger blogs recently. They tried to get us all to link our blogs to Google Plus, so people could only comment on a blog via Google Plus. Most of us didn't do that. So they seem to have used more insidious means. Obviously they did it to get more people to join Google Plus, but it's not working. Nobody wants to blog where people can't comment.

"If I didn't read, I'd never think". I like that! It's probably true of most people. Reading stimulates thought more than almost anything else.

November 8, 2015 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger Christine Ahern said...

Good luck with the move! Change...always so scary. But, you have got this blog thing down. And, I agree--read, read, read!

November 8, 2015 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Deb Atwood said...

I'm so sad about your terrible moment. How scary is that? But glad you had a kind friend to come to your rescue. I hope you enjoy your new home. I bought my own wordpress blog, too, but I've heard pirates come to self-hosted sites as well. Best of luck with the move!

November 8, 2015 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Christine--Change IS scary. Even if it's for the better. Thanks!

November 8, 2015 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Deb--I know a self-hosted site isn't completely safe. But at least you have a fighting chance. Plus having a tech savvy partner on board will help us figure out what to do if something goes wrong. Thanks!

November 8, 2015 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Here's a comment that came via email from Susan Troccolo

"I am sorry you had these Blogger troubles. Good news that a techie come into your life just at the right time! Not cool to be found on some weird Portuguese site, for Pete's sake.

I myself use a self-hosted WordPress site and love it.

As a longtime reader of your blog, I appreciated this post because it is so essential that each of us, especially self-published authors such as myself, understand clearly how long the process can take. By that I mean, the process of building a readership for our books. The reason for writing to you is that I was just interviewed by a Story Circle Book Review editor (reviewing books "by, for, and about women), and she wanted me to speak clearly to a certain topic: why I chose self-publishing over traditional publishing, having some experience with both.

In addition, there is a link to a short video on the same page where the big question for me ended up being about "getting a handle on social media so it doesn't chew up your writing life." That is the part that has drawn the greatest number of comments from viewers.

I've made certain decisions with my book and this review applauded me for producing a self-published book which is a "model for how self-publishing can be, but often isn't."

http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org/interviews/troccolo.shtml

November 8, 2015 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Susan--We support indies and we try to give equal time to indie pubbed authors and trad pubbed.

Ruth Harris is now entirely self-pubbed even though she started with the Big 5 (with many books on the NYT bestseller list as well as working as an editor for them).

Next week we have a post from iconic author Catherine Ryan Hyde, who was a NYT bestselling author with "Pay it Forward" and numerous other titles, then went indie, then landed in the best spot in publishing today, Amazon imprints. Now she makes more in a month than she made with the Big 5 in a year.

Congrats on your own indie success!

November 8, 2015 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Susie@life-change-compost.com said...

Hello there, thank you for posting my comment, I really appreciate it. Unfortunately, I don't think it's hyperlinked--I couldn't get it to go to the page. Is that possible?

Many thanks, Susan

November 8, 2015 at 10:03 PM  
Blogger Krystina K said...

As always you share so much excellent advice. Thank you for your generosity. I love your blog.

November 9, 2015 at 1:11 AM  
Blogger Oran Doyle said...

Thanks for the blog post Anne. As a writer getting going and as a writer finding just finding my feet on social media and blogs and online, I always find your blog really useful. Less than two months now on twitter and reading blogs, I can't imagine being without them. Cheers.

November 9, 2015 at 2:08 AM  
Blogger G. B. Miller said...

I've always found WordPress to be just a tad wonky from time to time, but will follow you over just the same. Just signed up to get e-mail updates, so we're all set there.

As for your post, I don't think I've suffered through any of those. My delusions were confined to the first post. Realty check is the norm for me right now, so once I can scrape up enough money to do what I need to do with my fourth, then we'll move along.

Amazon

November 9, 2015 at 4:30 AM  
Blogger Kessie said...

Haha, I've suffered all those delusions at one point or another. Fortunately I woke up. :-)

Blog hacking must be going around--I just moved my self-hosted Wordpress blog to a Wordpress.com blog, because I was getting hacked by bots about once a month. I'm buying the security package as soon as funds allow, because I just can't face being hacked again.

November 9, 2015 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Susie--Sorry. Blogger's spam blocker doesn't allow hyperlinks in comments, but people can cut and paste the url.

November 9, 2015 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Krystina--I'm glad you find it helpful! Thanks.

November 9, 2015 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Oran--I'm so glad to hear that. We're here to help newbies find their way. We made the mistakes so you don't have to!

November 9, 2015 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

G. B.--I hope I'll be able to figure out how to use Wordpress. Blogger is very intuitive, so I have been able to run the blog on my own. I hope I'll be able to do that on the new one soon. Best of luck with book #4!

November 9, 2015 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Kessie--So it's not just us? Actually that's kind of a relief. It's so devastating to be hacked. I think they just wanted to use our content to sell ads. I found videogame ads all over the fake site that stole our content. As if writers had any time to play video games! I hope your move went smoothly.

November 9, 2015 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Good luck with the move, Anne! It worked out great for me to switch to WP from Blogger...so much more secure. Hope it goes well for you!

November 9, 2015 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Elizabeth--Hi! Funny thing: A friend who's speaking at a writer's conference wanted to know about some good writing blogs I just told him your Twitterific round-ups are a must-read.

I'm so glad to hear your move was worth it. I remember when you made it. I also saw that you kept the old one up so people could find you, which is why I've insisted on keeping this one up as well.

November 9, 2015 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Donna Fasano said...

I'm sure you'll get the blog venue problem worked out. You have to...too many people hanker after the informative blog posts you share.

Oh, and you might not be God...but you ARE a goddess. :)

Donna Fasano
Author of Following His Heart
Join my Street Team: Prima Donnas

November 9, 2015 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Donna--Aw Shucks.Thanks a bunch. Especially since it comes from a mega-selling romance author.Thanks for visiting the blog! I hope the move will go smoothly.

November 9, 2015 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It's great to be popular but what a reflection on the world that it brings the attention of criminals. Laughed at your 'bank of Dad' comparison in the business of writing. We joke about Bank of Dad at our house with our grown children. About it being closed.

November 9, 2015 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger Jan M. Leotti said...

Great blog post, Anne. This list reminded me how surprised I was when I found out the truth about the writing life! You are right about the balance between delusion and truth. It's a delicate one, for sure! :) I'm happy you will be getting a new blog, but it is disturbing to read the reasons why. Wishing you more success in your new "home" and of course, I'll be following you there!

November 9, 2015 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Susan--It is scary to know somebody wants to steal your words. I guess that means they're valuable, but it is like somebody burglarizing your house. A personal violation that causes a lot of anxiety. Yeah, counting on the Bank of Dad is too easy for some people.

November 9, 2015 at 5:03 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Jan--I think everybody's a little delusional about the writing life! Especially people who don't actually write but think they will "someday." Thanks for the good wishes!

November 9, 2015 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger Nina Badzin said...

Oooh! I'm very excited to see the new site!

And these points (in the last post too) about delusions is so good!

November 10, 2015 at 4:56 AM  
Blogger Kessie said...

The bots would get in through old themes and plug ins, hijack the mailing bits, and send thousands of spam emails. My first notice of it would be my web host politely threatening to shut me down for spamming. Yeah, THATS a fun way to start the day. :-p

November 10, 2015 at 5:03 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Kessie--How positively awful! I haven't heard of that. A new horror to be wary of. Thanks for letting me know this stuff is going on.

November 10, 2015 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Nina--I remember when you made the move to a fancy WordPress site. I didn't see the need at the time. I sure do now! Thanks!

November 10, 2015 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Sasha A. Palmer said...

Good luck with the move, Anne. "It is hard to cast the skin," as the good old Kaa said, but something brand new and exciting awaits!

And not that you have any problems reaching your audience, but you might get quite a few new followers once you've switched to WordPress. Just seems to work that way.

So glad your blog's not lost :-)

November 11, 2015 at 7:01 AM  
Blogger Lissa Johnston said...

That's scary. I have my blog at Blogger also but it is somewhat dormant. I've considered making the change as you've done. I already own my domain name. So here's my question: what it it about the new setup that will prevent hackers and pirates from attacking the new site like they did at Blogger?

November 11, 2015 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Sasha--Thanks! I was much relieved, I can tell you. I hope we'll make up for lost followers by getting new ones on WordPress. Commenting should be easier, so that may bring in new people.

November 11, 2015 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Lissa--I wish I knew. This is why I've had to get tech help. All I know is that Blogger is supposedly very easy to hack and Google doesn't put much energy into Blogger in general.

But if you've got a dormant blog without a lot of followers, I don't know why anybody would hack it This is a high-traffic blog, which is why it became a target. I get dozens of requests a day from people who want to put their links on the blog or use it in some way because of our stats. It's on a lot of lists of top blogs so it's out there for scammers and hackers to see. I honestly think most Blogger blogs are perfectly safe.

November 11, 2015 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Lissa Johnston said...

You're right - I'm not concerned that anyone would hack my blog at this point. But I'm also thinking if I want to invest more time into blogging and have the goal of operating at your level, this is a good time to make a move.

November 12, 2015 at 5:45 AM  
Blogger Mar Preston said...

I'm delighted to find you and this topic. The new Bakersfield Sisters in Crime chapter is making its first decisions on blogging and this is very apt. Once again, delighted!

November 14, 2015 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Mar--Welcome! I'm always happy to help out fellow Sisters in Crime. There's a lot of info on blogging for authors in the "how to blog page" (menu in the sidebar.) We'll have an even better menu on the new site, with updated posts on blogging.

November 14, 2015 at 10:06 AM  
Anonymous valorie grace hallinan said...

I'm puzzled. I don't need or want to make a living as a writer. Certainly, there are books I'm writing and want to publish, but I hardly expect to make a living off of them, though of course I do hope there is some financial remuneration. But on the other hand, I do not consider myself an amateur. There are many fine literary writers who are not churning the books out by any means but taking a long time to write good novels or memoirs or nonfiction. They are not amateurs. So I just don't get your either/or statement.

November 15, 2015 at 4:59 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Valorie--Amateur is not a pejorative term. After all, Olympic athletes are amateurs. So if you're not writing for the marketplace, you can proudly call yourself an amateur. If you are Emily Dickinson writing poems in her garden, you are just as much a writer as J K Rowling writing in cafes in order to support her child. They are both valid paths for writers.

Most professional writers don't make their entire income from writing, but they are writing for the marketplace, rather than simply to please themselves, so they treat their writing as a business.

November 15, 2015 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Sherhonda Allen said...

Hi, Anne - I'm so glad I discovered you and you great advice. My problem is finding that I'm stuck because there are so many characters and plots churning around in my head it paralyzes me! I'm sure there must be a past blog from you I've missed that addresses this fright in my writer's life. Some plots are mystery, some are romance, some I haven't identified yet. It's difficult to focus. Lately, I've outlined the three most persistent plots/characters. Maybe I should give in to them and work on all three. I'm nuts, right?

November 15, 2015 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Sherhonda--Welcome to the blog! I don't know if I've dealt with the problem recently, but we all have it. Sylvia Plath talked about it in The Bell Jar. She used the metaphor of sitting in a tree surrounded by ripe fruit. There are so many, she doesn't know which one to pick. But as she tries to decide, the fruit starts to rot and fall to the ground. It's the Author's Nightmare.

The solution lies in pinpointing your own personal work patterns. Are you a multi-tasker? I have one author friend who likes to be working in three genres at once. I like to focus on one thing at a time. One week I'll write blogposts, another I'll work on my fiction WIP, another I'll work on nonfic.

Oh, and always keep a notebook. You can jot down those ideas for other work and then get back to the task at hand. Ruth likes to use the program Evernote. I use an actual real notebook. (And try not to lose it!)

As far as choosing a genre. ask yourself what you most like to read. Where do you most want to spend your time? (And remember romance and mystery combine nicely as romantic suspense.) Best of luck!

November 15, 2015 at 4:00 PM  

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