Ruth Harris and I are a couple of publishing industry veterans working to help newer writers create their best possible work and launch it successfully into the marketplace—whether you’re going indie or taking the traditional route.
We especially want to help writers avoid the pitfalls of this ever-more complex business, where unfortunately, a lot more people are making money from authors than for us.
We like to say, “We made the mistakes, so you don’t have to!”
I started this blog back in 2009 with a vague idea of continuing the “In Her Own Write” columns I had written for Inkwell Newswatch, the e-zine of the Freelance Writing Organization—International. Inkwell had folded earlier that year and I had unpublished posts I wanted to share.
At the same time, the publisher of my first two novels had gone under and I was bloodying my knuckles on the doors of agents and publishers as well as exploring the possibilities that were opening up in this new age of social media and digital publishing.
The blog gave me a platform for sharing the exciting things I was learning about the shifting publishing industry paradigm and the expanding opportunities sparked by the “Kindle Revolution.”
The blogosphere pretty much ignored me until I landed a guest spot on then-literary agent Nathan Bransford’s blog in January 2010 with a piece urging writers to keep going in spite of all those soul-crushing rejections. My humorous piece You May Be a Bestseller on Tralfamadore got me into search engines and the blog started to take off.
I started getting mentions from Jane Friedman, then publisher of Writer’s Digest Books, in her weekly “Best Tweets for Writers” round-up. She was the first major blogger to recognize this blog and she gave me a big boost. Thanks, Jane!
In July of 2011, when I was about to launch five titles with two different publishers, (plus I had pieces in three anthologies that needed promoting at the same time) I talked NYT million-seller and former Big Five (then Big Six) editor Ruth Harris into joining the blog as a permanent monthly contributor.
Ruth saved my bacon by taking some of the pressure off as well as bringing a lifetime of insider experience to the blog.
We were totally jazzed in 2013 when Writer’s Digest named us to their Best 101 Websites for Writers and uber-reviewer Big Al at Indies Unlimited named us to his Ten Blogs and Websites Every Indie Author Should Know.
The blog has continued to grow and collect awards. In 2015, our views soared to 100,000 hits per month. Recently literary superstar Anne Rice called me a “straight shooter” and shared a number of our posts with her million-plus Facebook fans.
We’ve also attracted a parade of amazing guest bloggers, from superstars like actor Terence Stamp, Edgar-winner Lawrence Block and journalist Porter Anderson to Fuse Literary Agency founder Laurie McLean and top writing bloggers like Jami Gold and Molly Greene. Even Nathan Bransford stopped by in 2014, completing the circle that began when I guest posted for him four years earlier.
One of my literary idols, Pay it Forward author Catherine Ryan Hyde not only guest posted for us several times, but she asked me to collaborate with her on a guidebook for writers, which became How to Be a Writer in the E-Age: A Self-Help Guide. It debuted with MWiDP in 2012 and we self-published a new, expanded edition in 2014.
Two years ago I added the “Opportunity Alerts” feature to the blog where I list contests, calls for submissions, and other opportunities for writers of all genres. I strongly urge book authors to keep writing short pieces and submit them to contests, anthologies and magazines. Those wins can raise spirits and SEO, look great in a query, and can even bring in some nice money.
I’m proud to have done all this with a “slow blog.” We only post once a week—on Sundays around 10 AM, Pacific Time—and we encourage other authors to do the same. We don’t feel creative writers should take any more precious time away from their works-in-progress than necessary. (Although I do feel that writing for a blog can be creative, too.)
You can subscribe to our weekly posts via MailChimp and get the complete blog in your email inbox every Sunday at noon Pacific Time.
We hope you’ll click through to comment and join in our community of writers of every level of skill, from old pros who are publishing their back lists to newbies who are just starting to get their ideas written down. It’s amazing how much there is to learn from our fascinating commenters.
Whether you’re planning on an indie career or hoping to land an agent and a traditional publishing contract, Ruth and I will always aim to give you the insights and pointers you need to succeed and stay safe.
If you’ve enjoyed reading a few posts here, do subscribe via MailChimp and get a notice of the new blogpost every Sunday in your inbox. (Nothing else!)
About Anne R. Allen
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.”
You can read more about her books at her book blog, Anne R. Allen’s Books.
About Ruth Harris
Ruth is a 1,000,000 copy New York Times bestselling author, Romantic Times award winner, editor, publisher, and news junkie.
Her emotional, entertaining women’s fiction and critically praised novels have sold millions of copies in hard cover, paperback and ebook editions, been translated into 19 languages, sold in 30 countries, and were prominent selections of leading book clubs including the Literary Guild and the Book Of The Month Club.
Ruth lives in Manhattan with her husband Michael Harris, co-author of her bestselling thrillers Brainwashed and Hooked.
You can read more about Ruth and Michael’s books at Ruth Harris’s Blog.