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L is for Life.

The mysterious life of a writer is something everyone wonders about. Is it really like on TV? Author Anne R. Allen is here to answer that today.

Oh, the glamorous life of an author! Meeting with the intellectual and artistic elite in the cafés of Paris, dining with the rich and famous, the vacations on the Riviera, the wild champagne-fueled parties… and of course, running around solving murders like Richard Castle and Jessica Fletcher…

Not exactly.

I don’t know how those famous writers had time to get up to all those antics in the past (or even in fiction.)

But most writers today have no time to do any of that stuff.

Well, okay, my friend Catherine Ryan Hyde did fly off to Lapland in January to have an adventure driving a dogsled and seeing the northern lights. But that was just for a week. Mostly she works a lot of hours and has her adventures on paper.

Just like me.

My life is all about butt-in-chair in my office at 8 AM every morning (after exercise and a sensible breakfast.) I break for lunch and a walk at noon and work again from 2-5 and if I’m working on a deadline, probably back to work from 7-9. I try not to work past nine, or my brain is still generating ideas when I’m trying to sleep…not a good plan.

That’s seven days a week. Yes, I do take off time on weekends to be with other humans and sometimes go out and play. Catherine and I meet for Thai food at regular intervals and I get together with other writers in the local Sisters in Crime chapter and our local Nightwriters Club.

Of course there are always the medical appointments and investment decisions and cleaning and cooking and shopping and other things that people do to keep ourselves alive in this increasingly complex world.

But mostly I work. A lot of that work is marketing: social media, answering emails (endless emails: when you have a popular blog, everybody on the planet wants something from you.) Then there’s writing posts for my two blogs, answering comments, and composing guest blogposts.

And some authors put out newsletters too. I draw the line there. I hate getting newsletters, so I don’t inflict them on my readers. It’s just as easy to subscribe to a blog, and a blog draws new readers, too.

And don’t forget personal appearances. And bookstore events and other local sales opportunities. Plus presentations at writers’ conferences and other workshops, which require a lot of preparation.

Then there’s the desperate slog of trying to get reviews…no, I don’t even want to go there. I’ve recently seen the statistic that most writers get one review for every 1500 sales. Sounds about right. Ack!

And then, of course we’re pressured to put out at least two books a year. I know some writers who put out five or six.

But when I sit down to write, and characters and stories start to flow onto the page and the magic happens…then I realize it’s all worth it. It’s still one of the best jobs in the world.

Even without the Paris cafés.

Anne R. Allen is an award-winning blogger and the author of 12 books, including the bestselling Camilla Randall Mysteries. She’s also the co-author, with Catherine Ryan Hyde, of How to be a Writer in the E-Age. Her latest book is The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors.

 

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To make the writer’s life a little easier, check out Anne’s “The Author Blog” guide.

 

An easy-does-it guide to simple, low-tech blogging for authors who want to build a platform, but not let it take over their lives.

An author blog doesn’t have to follow the rules that monetized business blogs do. This book teaches the secrets that made Anne R. Allen a multi-award-winning blogger and one of the top author-bloggers in the industry.

And you’ll learn why having a successful author blog is easier than you think.

Here are some things you’ll learn in this book:

•How an author blog is different—and easier to maintain—than a business blog
•What authors should blog about at different stages of their careers
•Choosing the right blog topics for your genre and audience
•How one type of blogpost can build your platform quickly
•Basic SEO tips that don’t make your eyes glaze over with tech jargon
•How to write headers that will grab the attention of Web surfers
•How to keep your audience by learning the tricks of content writing
•Essential blog and social media etiquette rules
•What happens to your blog when you die?

 

Do you have any questions for Anne? How did you imagine the writer’s life? Did you think you’d be running around like Castle or Fletcher?

 

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