Posts Tagged ‘Anne R. Allen’
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Guess what, Preciouses?
I’ve got a crazy-cool treat for us today! We get the very fabulous (and fun) blogging goddess Anne R. Allen guest posting! Right here. Right now. And afterward? Way down there at the bottom of the page, we have a short, silly interview with Anne in which I, um, *cough, cough* might ask who’d win in a light saber death match between her and Catherine Ryan Hyde. *GRIN*
I’ve known Anne for a number of years now, and not only is she incredibly sweet, she’s super funny. We first met via her blog when I’d stalk her posts to read all about how the blogging / writing / social media world would not actually bite my face off and that perhaps I really should dip my feet into it. Shortly after, we met in person at a local writers’ meeting hosted by the SLO Nightwriters (which we’re both members of). Then last year, I had the privilege of introducing Anne in one of the workshops at the Central Coast Writers’ Conference.
And this year? Well, this year Anne’s the Central Coast Writers’ Conference 2012 Success Story. (I’d like to claim it had something to do with my awesome introduction last year, but I’d be lying. Dang-it.)
Anne is both an author and blogger, and her blog is one of the most highly respected in the writing community. Among Anne’s strengths is her ability to help writers navigate the often choppy waters of publishing and social media in this new e-book, e-reader, e-publishing era. She does so by bringing a sense of stability that’s laced with humor to the table, encouraging writers to find what works best for them and then do so in a way that reaches the best audience for them. Whether that’s traditional or self-publishing, twittering or facebooking, Nathan Bransford or no-Nathan Bransford.
Oh wait. Nevermind that last one. Nathan is a must for everyone. ;0)
So, a few months ago when Anne and I were tossing around the idea of her guest posting for me, I was grateful she agreed to it. Yes, it’s a little off my book blogging path, but I think readers and writers alike are affected by the e-revolution, and since her new book How to be a Writer in the E-age and Keep Your E-sanity, coauthored with Catherine Ryan Hyde (of Pay It Forward and about a bazillion other books) just came out, I figured it’d be helpful to have her share some of her thoughts with us.
Hence, without further ado, I give you Anne R. Allen.
The Best Time Ever to be a Writer—or a Reader!
This may seem a terrifying time for book-lovers. Everything in the publishing industry is in upheaval. Bookstores are closing all around us. Publishers and online retailers are battling each other in the courts.
The rules keep changing. “Experts” don’t agree on anything. Us/them, either/or arguments of self-publishers vs. traditional publishers can be toxic. What you read one week is out of date the next.
Change can be very scary. It’s like trying to go about normal business in the middle of an earthquake. There’s nothing solid to hang onto.
But you know what’s scarier than change?
Before the electronic revolution, publishing was a calcifying industry. New writers were finding it tougher and tougher to break in. Successful career authors were dropped if they couldn’t produce annual blockbusters in spite of no marketing budget. The antiquated system of returns—which makes every bookstore a consignment shop—means publishers have been wasting a huge amount of money shipping books back and forth to warehouses and eventually pulping them.
The ebook is changing everything. So is social media.
You’ll hear a lot of people, especially of my generation (Boomers) rant with doom and gloom about how the ebook and Facebook are killing real books.
But they’re not. Nobody needs to be afraid of the electronic revolution. More people are reading now than ever before. It’s not destroying our literature with a “tsunami of self-published crap.”
There is certainly a lot of not-ready-for-its-close-up writing out there right now. But you don’t have to read it. Every book on Amazon has a “look inside” feature, so all you have to do is take a peek. Amateur writing usually announces itself in the first five pages.
But the self-publishing revolution is helping us all grow in new directions. I love this joke from social media guru Kristen Lamb: “Great, thanks to that Gutenberg jerk, everyone can be published.”
Just as Johannes Gutenberg took power from the ruling priestly caste and gave it to the people—who could then read the Bible and find out for themselves what it said—ebooks are taking power from the ruling publishing caste and letting the people decide for themselves what they want to read.
This means more power is now in the hands of readers and writers than any time in history. Thanks to ebooks and social media marketing, writers can now go directly to readers with fresh, innovative ideas and stories.
If they want to.
Here’s the thing: the revolution doesn’t mean everybody has to self-publish. But the self-publishing option changes the playing field for everybody.
Your life is being changed for the better by the electronic revolution right now—
- Even if you’ve never touched a Kindle—and you don’t intend to until they pry the world’s last moldering paperback from your cold, dead hands.
- Even if you’d rather endure waterboarding during a tax audit than try to make sense of a Twitter stream.
- Even if your idea of hell is being pleasant on a daily basis to a bunch of strangers on the Internet.
- Even if you stopped keeping up with technology when your last VCR went to that Great Techno-dump in the Sky.
That’s because you now have choices that never existed before. And new choices are opening up all the time as the industry processes new ideas. Whatever path you take, you have the choice to turn around and try a different one.
- If you try traditional publishing and get offered a rotten contract—you can walk away.
- If you self-publish and then St. Martin’s comes calling with a seven figure deal—you can jump on it.
- If you publish with a small press, you can still work at getting an agent who might make you a super author-friendly deal with one of the new Amazon imprints.
Everything is possible.
You can choose to self-publish. Or not.
You can choose to read self-published books. Or not.
You can choose to blog/Tweet/Facebook. Or not.
Don’t let anybody push you onto one path or the other. Everybody has a different tolerance for technology. You can mix and match as you wish. I’ve read that Twitter god Neil Gaiman writes his first draft with a #2 pencil. I know successful Kindle authors who swear by their manual typewriters. Try things out, take your time, and make your own choices.
Remember it’s people who are most insecure in their own choices who will seek to control yours.
Totally good stuff, right? Right.
And…if I can get a DRUMROLL please…..
I give you
A Short Interview with Anne R. Allen ;0)
(1) First question — do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what?
Anne: I don’t listen to music when I’m actually writing, but I often listen to it when I’m working on plot and thinking through ideas before I put them on paper. Then, it’s usually classical music or acoustic folk. I love Mozart for putting my thoughts in order. I listen to old Leonard Cohen when I’m trying to get into a male point of view.
Mary: Nice :0). And I rarely listen to music during the actual writing either. I suspect it’s because, as writers, that’s when we’re creating word music of our own.
(2) Rumor has it you spent twenty-five years acting and directing in theater. Do you have a favorite production or role you participated in?
Anne: I used to say I specialized in “witches, b**ches and moms.” I never went for the lead–I was always more interested in the supporting roles. (It’s the same way when I watch TV or film. I’m always more interested in the supporting characters than the “hero”–who can get a little boring.) I think my favorite role ever was Vera Charles in Auntie Mame. The character was based on the notorious Hollywood “vamp” Theda Bara. I had so much fun with that one. Got to wear great costumes, too. I also loved playing Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest–whom I played several times.
Mary: Hahaha! Those sound like awesomely fun over-the-top roles. And The Importance of Being Earnest is one of my all-time favorite comedies.
(3) Okay, so as you know, we’re kind of obsessed with eating around here, and I always have to ask this in an interview: Can you share with us your top three favorite foods?
Anne: Artichokes, lobster, and dark Belgian chocolate. Yeah. I have expensive tastes.
Mary: Oh, I FULLY approve. And, uh, when can I come over for dinner?
(4) Last question. And I’m certain it’s the question everyone’s been secretly dying to know. You and Catherine Ryan Hyde have been friends for years. So tell us truthfully, who would win in a Star Wars worthy light saber death match—you or Catherine?
Anne: Catherine, in about a second and a half. I have no combat skills whatsoever. She’s very fit and I’m a couch potato.
Mary: See? This is why you make me laugh, Anne. Thanks for visiting with us today. :0)
Anne R. Allen is a blogger, humorist, and the author of five comic mysteries that debuted in 2011: Food of Love, The Gatsby Game, Ghostwriters in the Sky, Sherwood, Ltd. and The Best Revenge. She’s also the co-author of the writer’s guide How to be a Writer in the E-Age…And Keep Your E-Sanity (MWiDP June 2012), written with Pay it Forward author Catherine Ryan Hyde. She lives on the Central Coast of California where she teaches blogging and social media. Her blog, “Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris: Writing about Writing. Mostly” was a finalist in the American Publishers Association/Goodreads IBB Awards for Best Publishing Industry Blog. NYT Bestseller and former Big Six editor Ruth Harris joined the blog in 2011.
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
Officially, I have written eloquently TYPED LOUDLY from this little blogosphere space for exactly two years. I love it more today than when I first started. I love the books more. I love writing more (which is hard to imagine). And much of this is due to you, my Preciouses. Your comments, insight, and opinions have encouraged me to grow as a book reader, writer, and all-around weirder-than-your-grandmother’s-toupee-wearing-cat-type-person.
Basically, what I’m saying is that if I’d never started this blog, and you’d never visited this blog and encouraged me to keep frolicking around on it, I never would’ve made such lovely new friends, nor talked about books so frequently with old ones.
I also never would have:
Helped save billions (rough estimate) of marriages by posting a Rabid Fan Girl Status test and providing a list of Twilight Support Groups. That’s not to mention all the lonely guys I coached on how to get girls with my Twilight Dating Savvy advice.
Nor would I have been allowed to talk about how sexy a seventy-eight-year-old man (Lord Peter Wimsey) is without coming across as totally creepy. Okay, maybe it was creepy, but that doesn’t diminish the impressiveness of having managed to wheedle the indomitable Lord Peter Wimsey into a blog post and three separate interviews. Yeah. That’s right. *discreet fist pump*
I also never would have:
Recovered the suppressed, childhood memory of consistently being elected for the part of Han Solo’s wookie, Chewbacca, (rather than Princess Leia) by my “childhood friends” (ahem, MMA fighter Tim Kennedy) during our Star Wars games. Although, on a side note, I’d like to think Tim may never have stumbled upon his true calling of Cooking with Tim had we not bullied prompted him into it on this blog, right Preciouses?
I also never would’ve discovered that Joanna Volpe and I share a mutual affection for all things Steampunk, which, consequently, led to my pursuing—and her giving—a helpful piece of writing feedback. Thanks to her for that.
And, of course, I never would’ve met Jay Asher (along with the wonderful JM and Isaiah) and discovered what an incredible writer he is, and even more so, what a sincerely kind friend. Thank you, Jay.
Nor would I have met Jonathan Maberry (Wolverine, zombies, and King of Plagues), or connected with Mary Pearson (The Adoration of Jenna Fox), Catherine Ryan Hyde (need we say more?), and Laurie McLean (agent savant), or become blog friends with Anne R. Allen (her books just released!), or had the pleasure of interviewing super-silly authors such as Chuck Sambuchino (who can best me at pop culture references on any given Twitter day), Carolyn Mackler (who can best Jay Asher at spork fencing), and Lauren DeStefano (who makes me wish I possessed half of her wit as well as her preying mantis, Sarsaparilla).
Last but not least, I never would’ve had the opportunity to dote on you with this:
a $25 Amazon gift card
Which I will send to one of you in celebration of your wonderfulness.
So this is how the gift card giveaway is going to work, okay, Preciouses?
(1) You must be a follower of this blog either through email or RSS (the cute icons at the top of the page—one orange, the other a white envelope), or Google Friend Connect or Facebook (those two icons on the right of this post that show all the pictures of happy faces and people’s cats). So if you’re not a follower yet, it’s about dang time you became one.
(2) Link to THIS PAGE one time via Twitter OR Facebook OR Google+ OR from your own blog, and then come back and leave a comment (on this page) saying which one you did. (For your convenience, you can use the stylish icons below or–if the FB one is being finicky–go ahead and copy this page’s URL and paste it to FB manually.) Your link and comment must be posted by 11:59 pm (PST) on Monday, January 2, 2012.
(3) I will take all the names from the comments (no matter how many times you comment or link, you only get counted once) and place them in a hat; then I’ll use my magical six-year-old child to randomly pull one as the winner.
(4) The winner will be announced next Wednesday, January 4th, 2012. After which, I’ll contact that individual and mail them their gift card.
(5) There you have it. Thank you for following me and my blog, and for loving books as much as I do, Preciouses. ;0) May the odds be ever in your favor.
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
Hello, bookish explorers! Last year (as you’ll recall), I stealthily returned from the Central Coast Writers’ Conference to give you my Nine (only slightly creepy) Reasons to Attend one of these babies. Today, I take you back there, this time behind the scenes, where we will brave the wilds of the conference together. I will be your guide, taking you up close and personal for a few brief encounters with some of the more intriguing things writers do in their natural habitat.
Our first stop on the tour is the Pride. A Pride is a group of writers (also referred to as a herd), related or not, who stick together for the common goals of stalking famous authors (without appearing overtly creepy—the creepy ones use the herd to blend in), saving seats behind said authors, and making Starbucks runs in between classes. In this photo, we have a Pride of yours truly alongside mother (Susan) and sister (Kati) at breakfast.
The next place we come to is the Author Brawl. This is where authors challenge each other to strange feats of mental prowess such as word games, prose twisters, and blog visibility while the rest of us surround them chanting the biggest words we know. In this pic, we’ve got the plucky challenger, New York Times bestselling author, Jay Asher, arm wrestling Anne R. Allen. Unfortunately for Jay, Anne is winning (though just barely) by the sheer force of mind over matter and her invention of the word “Snookibooks.”
Third stop on our tour is the Watering Hole where writers converge every chance they get to eat, refresh, and seek out savage sage advice from other more experienced authors and super cool agents. Here, you can see Susan, Kristen, myself, agent savant Laurie McLean, Kati, and Jay eating all of Ms. McLean’s french fries whilst discussing the finer points of Doc Marten shoes. Don’t be misled by the tame-looking smiles. This table was a riot of awesomeness.
Last, but not least, we come to the Moment of Humility. When, just as you’re leaving this wild and slightly-terrifying land, a bird craps on your boot and Jay is there to photograph it. Well, first he and Kati laughed. Like any good friends would.
What’s the mood noise of the moment? Guns N’ Roses: Welcome to the Jungle
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