» 9 Famous Authors Who Didn’t Get Published Until Their Fifties (Or Older)

I actually do hear a lot of people complain that they’re too old to begin a writing career. But the fact of the matter is, you’re never too old to do anything career wise unless you’re dead or have developed a form of amnestic disorder/dementia.

Considering I’ve read about and met people in their 50s and 60s going to medical school, sitting down to write every day isn’t a challenge by comparison.

So don’t get discouraged. You have a chance to write and get published. Now, you can even choose to go indie and publish on your own with a platform like Pronoun. There’s really no excuse for not sitting down in front of the keyboard.

Even if you have arthritis, you can use a speech-to-text program to aid you in your endeavors.

Below are nine examples of authors who weren’t published till they hit the big 5-0 or later. Write a lot, improve your craft, and don’t give up.

Source: » 9 Famous Authors Who Didn’t Get Published Until Their Fifties (Or Older)

I’ll be back with The Psych Writer soon, going back to tackling personality disorders and how to write them well.

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» 5 Things You Need to Know as an Indie Author

This week, I’m taking the time off to take care of things around my household. But I don’t want to leave you hanging!

Recently, I came across an article called 5 Things You Need to Know as an Indie Author. I really like Authors Publish. Their online periodical actually offers helpful advice for people who want to get published, either traditionally or independently.

This article actually gives tips for those of you who want to self-publish, and how not to do it stupidly. Unfortunately, there is a lot of trash just thrown up by indie authors, and it’s hard to wade through the riff-raff to get to the gems. Not everyone is James P. MacDonald or Cali Usher. Authors like Jim and Cali offer up a great product for the price, and they’re both indie authors.

So if you’d like to be more like them (or me, ha ha), take those five tips to heart. You can be a legitimate indie author, but if you don’t produce quality and market it right, your work will get forgotten.

What to Write When You Don’t Know What to Write

This week, I’m taking a break from The Psych Writer to discuss writing.

Writing is my bread and butter. I have some posts I’ve written about writer’s block, and facing the terror of the blank page. In fact, I’ve written about the blank page twice, at least. But writer’s block still seems to be one of the biggest complaints I’ve seen among young writers or writers who are just starting out.

Recently, I got this in the form of a question. “What am I supposed to write when I don’t know what to write?”

Since I am trained as a therapist, I tend to want to pick apart problems and either reframe them or otherwise deconstruct them in order to help.

So when you don’t know what to write, it could be for a variety of reasons.

  • You may be afraid of failing and not completing a project.
  • You may be afraid of succeeding and not knowing what to do next.
  • You may think your writing will never be good enough, so part of you feels it’s not even worth starting.

There are obviously many more reasons for keeping that page blank, but for this post, let’s just focus on these three. If you have one or two you’d like me to address, please shoot me a message on Facebook if you’d like, and I’ll address them in future posts.

  1. You’re afraid of failing and not completing a project.
    It happens. I have a few manuscripts I’ve abandoned about 3/4 of the way through because the idea wasn’t panning out, I couldn’t write the characters in a way that satisfied me, or a variety of other reasons. It happens to everyone. Think of your favorite writer, living or dead, and I could almost guarantee you they have abandoned and unfinished work.

    The best way to get around this is the “fuck it” philosophy. Say to yourself that you’re going to start a project and if it doesn’t pan out, fuck it. Start over, change direction, whatever. You can also just keep going even if you know it sucks, because the first draft of everything sucks. So go until you’re finished. Write until there’s no story left. You can revise it later.

  2. You may be afraid of succeeding and not knowing what to do next.
    This is one I’ve heard a few times now, so it’s not terribly uncommon. In this case, you’re fortune-telling. Can you really see the future and know you’ll be devoid of further ideas? Well, so what? One book that’s finished beats the hell out of one half-finished story that never got off the ground. Preventing yourself from succeeding because of what might be next cheats you out of the satisfaction of a finished project.
  3. You may think your writing will never be good enough, so part of you feels it’s not even worth starting.
    There’s one thing I’ve learned, and I’ve said it above–the first draft of everything is a steaming pile of crap. Some of it has potential, but every first draft needs to be reworked. You will learn to kill your darling manuscript with a hatchet at first, then come back with fine, surgical editing tools to improve it. Tell the part of you that tells you it’s not worth starting to shut up,  because that part of you cannot know what it feels like to finish a project. You have to get to the end to know what that’s like.

When you sit down to the keyboard, or sit with a pen and paper, block out the future. Block out expectations. Block out everything but you and that page, and tell it your passions, your fears, your world.

Get writing.


I am Anne Hogue-Boucher, and I write books. You can read them here.

Pleasant Publishing with Pronoun

Ugh, even that title sounds like an advert. But I promise it’s really not. I’m receiving no compensation from Pronoun for writing this. I just wanted to share my experience for all of the indie writers out there who are looking for a platform to get their work out for public consumption.

Back in October, in time for Halloween, I published Now Entering Silver Hollow. Well, we published it (my spouse and I).

The first time I was in print, Red Rattle Books took care of everything for me. They did my editing, proofing, publishing, and marketing. In that sense, traditional publishing is lovely. But the downside is that you have to do a lot of your own marketing, too, and you will see less of a cut for the work you put out. Your ROI is much more slim.

Then, I published Exit 1042 using Kindle Direct Publishing. It was simple enough. Just follow the steps and get your book out. This process was simple. The only added difficulties were that I had to do my own editing, proofing, publishing, and marketing. Okay, fine. At least I get a slightly larger piece of the pie I spent all my time slaving over, so that works for me. The downside of that is the distribution isn’t wide. It’s on Amazon Kindle and that’s that. So people who own/use/want to access through Nook, Kobo, Google Play, or iBooks are screwed if they want to read your things, because Amazon held onto it exclusively.

That’s okay, of course, because I agreed to it and thought it would be helpful because I was new to self-publishing and had no idea there was a way to publish on all platforms all at once.

Then, along comes Pronoun.

I had no clue what it was, but I was doing an article about the astounding ProWritingAid app when I had to write about publishing platforms. That’s when I found Pronoun and fell in love.

It’s a clean, easy-to-use publishing platform that lets you publish on multiple avenues. If you’re not lucky enough to have a professional editor or otherwise excellent editor look at your work before you publish it, they can connect you to their services. Yeah. They also have amazing book cover artists that will help you with your book’s cover art. Granted that part isn’t free, but you as a writer understand that artists and craftspeople deserve to be compensated for their work.

But everything else on Pronoun is free. You publish, you get your royalties when people buy. That’s it. No magic.

So I started out and discovered that when Pronoun became difficult and unwieldy, it wasn’t a part of the platform that was giving me problems–it was my own errors. Fortunately those were easy to clear up. A bit of formatting here, a touch of what the hell am I doing there, and voila, problems solved.

I had great support throughout the process. I found one issue where I ran into a brick wall and needed help. For some reason, my print ISBN wasn’t pulling through with Amazon, so while Pronoun was telling Amazon they were the same book on different platforms, Amazon was having a derp moment and not believing it.

I contacted Pronoun, thinking they were probably insanely busy and wouldn’t be able to get back to me in a hurry, so I’d have to suffer with the issue for a few days. Not so. A friendly Author Happiness Advocate (yes, that’s their title) named Elissa Bernstein got back to me in less than 16-hours and was pretty much the most incredible person I could work with. She was friendly, personable, and went out of her way to make it a painless experience. She reached out to Amazon who graciously fixed the problem and in less than 24 hours from the time my issue started, it was resolved. I know Amazon also has great customer service (I know this through experience), but I really didn’t think they’d hop-to when Pronoun came knocking.

Don’t know why I thought that but I’m glad I was wrong.

So much gratitude to Elissa for that, and for answering all of my off-the-wall questions about publishing. I’ve promised myself not to pester her with philosophical/unrelated queries, but I bet her answers would be phenomenal.

Here’s the GTTP (get to the point) version: If you’re going to do your own publishing, use Pronoun for your eBooks and CreateSpace for print. You won’t want to run screaming from the house and throw yourself off a cliff that way.


Anne writes books. She likes to write. Write. Anne. Write. You can follow her around on Facebook and Twitter, even at the same time, probably.

Discover Stephen Bentley: It’s his turn now…

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago, I was interviewed by the wonderful Stephen Bentley. You can find it here: Discover Anne Hogue-Boucher: Author Spotlight – Stephen Bentley

So now I’d like to chat with you a little bit about Stephen and just how cool he is. I mean, he’s mega-cool. He’s cool with extra cool.

He wrote a book about the events where he was an undercover cop for Operation Julie. If you’re in the UK, then you probably already know that’s a huge deal. It radically changed the way drug busts operated there, essentially setting the standard for future operations.

I think the tale is so thrilling because it’s true, and Stephen is unflinching in his assessments–of himself, his colleagues, and those he was set to watch. Undercover: Operation Julie – The Inside Story tells us a lot about the action but doesn’t come across as cheesy. You don’t feel like you’ve been dropped into an episode of Starsky & Hutch (yes, I’m dating myself with that reference, shut up).

If you haven’t read my interview with Stephen, head on over and take a gander, and while you’re at it, head on over and grab a copy of Undercover: Operation Julie. Then, why not head on over to my Author’s Page and see what I’ve got cooking?

I’m still waiting to hear from a few more of you about The Psych Writer, and I’ll be back with that in just a couple weeks. Currently I’m working hard on NaNoWriMo, tackling a Weird West tale this time. I’ll tell you more about that later.

See you next week, and keep reading.

 

 

Who is a writer? Jen Jones on the Full-Time Writer

When I recently read an article by Jen Jones called Writing Is My Job, her voice resonated with me. As a full-time writer and editor, I know those struggles. Of people belittling and demeaning your work because you don’t have a standard 9-to-5.

Well, for the holidays, I took a temp job in October for three months so I could make extra money. So currently I do this second job, come home, write, sleep, and start over all over again the next day. For me, it’s a second job that might last six months instead of three, but we’ll see. My writing comes first.

For those of you who are writers, I just wanted to let you know that it’s okay to consider your current 9-to-5 as your second job. Because that’s what it is. You may not make enough to quit the second job and devote full-time to writing, or you may not be able to stretch the budget to get used to being paid quarterly.

It doesn’t matter. Your reasons are private and what you make is no one’s business.

And for those of you who don’t write and look down on those who do say they’re writers, sit your judgmental asses on the side for a second and listen up: if someone tells you they’re a writer, don’t make your first question “are you published?” It may seem like an innocent enough question and seem like you’re just inquiring where to buy their work, but to a writer who is struggling to publish or finish a manuscript, it can be a painful question. Plus I know some people do it to be dinks and belittle the person’s profession or make them feel small. That’s not any of my readers, though, I’m sure.

Just because they aren’t published yet doesn’t make them any less of a writer. I’ve published 5200 articles–all of them ghost-written. I’ve published a short story in an anthology, and I’ve published a one-shot short story on Amazon. I have a full composite novel coming out just in time for Halloween. Yes, I’m a writer. Even before I published my first short story.

Be nice to us indie authors. We’re just here to tell stories and be entertaining.

So what do you ask, then? A better question is, “what are you working on?” Okay, while it’s a grammatically incorrect question, it gives the writer a chance to tell you about their newest project or something they have already published. It increases your likelihood that you won’t be killed off in their next chapter, too. So side benefit.

“What are you working on?” is the question that a writer asks another writer, unless we’re being dicks on purpose. Sometimes I’ll ask, “where are you at with publishing?” because I want to be helpful. It’s a different question than “are you published” because I don’t presuppose that you have to be published to be a writer. It also gives the other writer a chance to brag about their new deal with Random House, or tell me they’re braving the waters of self-publishing and are in need of an editor.

Whether you’re a full-time writer or you have a second job to support your writing career, if you work hard day in and day out writing on your manuscript and you know what it means when I say the phrase “elevator pitch” without using Google, then congratulations, you’re a writer.


My name is Anne, and I write stuff. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I also answer questions on Quora.

On DMCA & Writer Fury

In case you didn’t know, the DMCA is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. For a good definition and in-depth look, you can read the Wikipedia page, but here is how they sum it up:

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United Statescopyrightlaw that implements two 1996 treaties of theWorld Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works.

I didn’t really give DRM and DMCA a lot of thought until Wednesday, the 30th of March, when I found someone giving away my short story, Exit 1042. Ouch.

There are a few reasons I’m fairly annoyed by this, and I hope you, as the reader, will indulge me a bit while I discuss why this is a huge issue for writers.

  1. Many of us authors are not raking in millions of dollars off our books. We write because we enjoy it, but we also depend on that sale to help feed ourselves and our families. I don’t make a fortune off my work, though I wish I did, but I need to be able to contribute to my family. When you download from a torrent from a not-so well known author, you may very well be taking away my ability to pay my bills or feed my adorable companion animals.
  2. Small-time authors don’t have the vast resources to fight each infringement, which means a person who is illegally downloading a book is fucking over the little guy. Small publishers and self-publishers are usually struggling to put out entertaining stories and good, if not great, literature. I know that many people who torrent are anti-establishment, and I’m cool with that because I’m pretty damn unusual myself, but think about it: you cannot simultaneously claim to be fighting exploitation of the little guy when you yourself are ripping off the little guy. I’m on my own to get this matter settled. Help me out by not downloading my book for free when it’s for sale by the author or a small publishing company. Yes, often places like Amazon get a cut, but that’s because they’re giving us a platform for our voices. Please don’t make it about them. It’s about the little guy.
  3. It’s ninety-nine cents, for fuck’s sake. Pony up the dollar if you want to read it. Most of my work is and will be offered at affordable prices. Print books will have to be more expensive because a lot goes into it and if I want to feed myself and my family, I have to put a higher margin on it. A lot of small-time publishers and people who self-publish set their own prices in order to make the right amount of money so they can support themselves and their small business.
  4. It is not a victimless crime. For the reasons I’ve stated above, you can see the pitfalls of downloading illegally. While I can understand the desire to stick it to The Man, I’m not The Man. I promise. I’m just a 5’2″ tall (short) little writer trying to make ends meet.
  5. It’s a crappy thing to do. Come on, you’ve read the reasons why it’s not cool. It hurts writers, and it keeps me from publishing more work if I have to keep diverting my attention to chasing down DMCA violations. I’m far more interested in providing people with entertainment at a low cost. In the long run, that’s going to lead to driving up the prices because I can’t afford to lose my electricity.

So for these reasons, I implore people to buy from small publishers and self-published authors legitimately. Give us a chance to entertain you on a full stomach. We’re much better that way.

If you’ve downloaded my work for free, you can redeem yourself in my eyes by going to my author page and purchasing a copy. I will love you forever and forgive you for your transgression.

Thanks for taking the time to listen and thanks even more for understanding.


Anne Hogue-Boucher is the author of Exit 1042 and eats onion sandwiches for fun. You can follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook for funny and always fun posts. Want to read a free story? Here, read this one.

 

Facepalm Time: Stupid Things Authors Believe, Part 1

I found this article from Authors Publish (and encourage all writers to subscribe to their newsletter. In this article, Stupid Things Authors Believe, Part 1, Kurt Bubna tackles the idea that if it’s not ‘original,’ it should be scrapped.

I’d also like to add my two cents on the stupid things authors believe. There are plenty of them. But for this week, I will focus on the point of Bubna’s article.

Everything you write is a retelling of something else. Everything. Somewhere, some time, someone had the idea and put it out there. But that’s okay!

Why is it okay? Because you’ve never done it before. So you bring a unique perspective to it. Just be sure to bring that voice of yours to the table rather than imitating someone else’s.

Having trouble finding your voice? Keep a journal. Don’t think about what you want to put in there, and don’t think about making it interesting or artistic. Just get in there and start writing. Your voice will come out, and it will be unique.

To get started, grab a notebook and a pen. Sit down and write me a letter. Seriously. Tell me some things you want me to know. Send them to me via Facebook if you want. I promise I’ll read them, and I’ll even answer some of them if I have the time.

Don’t worry about not being original. Don’t worry about being the next Lovecraft or the next Stephen King or the next whatever. Just find your voice. Find what makes your perspective interesting. The rest will flow.

Now stop believing stupid things and get writing.