Today we’re going to interview Alison Bliss, a recently published author. The intent is to highlight a successful publication path to aspiring authors, who might be looking to take a similar route. Armed with creativity and dedication, authors are finding success in today’s changing market.
Ryan: First of all, I’d like to thank you for your time, Alison. Your book, Rules of Protection, launched today, which means you could have invested your time in many different areas.
Alison: Hi, Ryan! Thank you for having me.
Ryan: Well, let’s dive right in. What led you to start writing in the first place?
Alison: I’ve always been an avid romance reader. It wasn’t until I read a book series that ended in such a way that lit a fire under me. I wasn’t happy. After complaining about it for a week straight, my sister (who was completely fed up with my gripes) dared me to write a different ending to the story. Being the youngest of five girls, I’d never turned down a dare in my life. But instead of writing a different ending to the book I’d read, I did her one better. I wrote my own. Basically, I sat down to write in January 2010 and just never stopped.
Ryan: What experiences in your life have led up to this point?
Alison: I never knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. That was a bit of a surprise. I was the girl in 9th grade who asked to be removed from journalism class because I hated writing. Yep, you heard that right. I said it. I hated writing. But what I didn’t realize at the time was that I didn’t hate writing so much as I hated writing what other people wanted me to write. Huge difference.
Ryan: How did you find your agent and/or publisher?
Alison: I found my agent through an online writing contest called Pitchwars. After placing as a finalist, I had three offers of representation and walked away with my dream agent. Here’s the thing though. That same dream agent had already rejected my manuscript four months prior. I think it’s important for other writers to know that. Everyone gets rejections, and those rejections don’t always mean that you’re a bad writer or that your manuscript doesn’t have merit. Sometimes, agents base their decisions on the market and what they think they can sell at the time. So, don’t throw in the towel based on a few lousy rejections.
Ryan: What is your process for writing (time of day, place, habits, etc.)?
Alison: My process is that I don’t really have a process. I am a wife and mother of two kids with pets that need to be cared for and a household to run. So, I write in between paying bills, running my kids to the doctor, cooking dinner, or anything else that needs done. Sometimes, I’m up early writing, and sometimes I’m writing until 4am. As for where, I find a quiet place away from the constant distractions of a busy household. I’ve been known to hole up at a small desk in the garage with my laptop if necessary.
Ryan: What do you do when you get stuck in your writing?
Alison: Keep writing! Even if it’s on a different story for a day or two. Write whatever you want. As long as it keeps the creativity flowing, don’t stop. When I get stuck, I catch myself procrastinating and telling myself that I have a hundred other things I should be doing. Don’t fall into this hole. It’s hard to dig yourself out. Instead, give yourself permission to write badly and keep going.
Ryan: If any, what is your least favorite part of the writing process?
Alison: I don’t really have a least favorite part. I think each manuscript offers its own unique set of challenges. Some will flow easily and pour from your fingertips, while some require a lot of hard decisions and rewriting. It’s part of the job though. We’ve all struggled with our writing at one time or another . . . in one way or another. I would think you were absurd (and I’d be really jealous) if you said you wrote a manuscript with no issues whatsoever.
Ryan: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Alison: In this industry, you will find a lot of closed doors, rejections, and heartache. Know this. Expect this. Get over it, and move past it. Because no one will care more about your manuscript than you will. As I said earlier, my agent rejected my manuscript four months before offering me rep. Agents aren’t always right. Publishers aren’t always right. Only you can decide what’s best for your work.
Ryan: How do you feel about traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?
Alison: As you can see, I am with Entangled Publishing. I chose to pursue an agent and publisher because I wanted the experience that came along with them. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right decision for everyone. Some self-published authors I know are perfectly content with the path they’ve chosen. As it should be. But I don’t think you have to choose between them anymore. Hybrid authors are certainly becoming a popular thing nowadays. So you can absolutely have one foot in traditional publishing and the other in self-publishing. Who says you have to choose?
Ryan: I appreciate your time to join us.
Alison: Thank you so much for allowing me to make an appearance on your blog, Ryan! I really enjoyed the questions and love that you’re helping so many aspiring authors. Keep up the great work!
Readers, you can check out Alison’s book, Rules of Protection, at Amazon.
Image courtesy of Sebastien Wiertz via Flickr, Creative Commons