Introducing Myself

thebeginning

Hi. I’m Allison. I’m introducing myself. I’m a writer.

It’s an odd choice for the title of this blog and the intro because, well, I’ve been writing here for a while, and a few of you may know me. Also because this is actually my final post here on Writer Unboxed. But it’s also not so odd because this was the title of my very first post, written seven and a half years ago here on Writer Unboxed. Yes, after a very, very long time (ions in our industry), I’m hanging up my blogging hat. I’ve already done so on my website, and after much thought, I’m doing so here.

Why stop now?

Well, though it feels impossible, I’ve run out of things to say. These days, there are so many wise voices out there imparting excellent advice and experience that I trust that readers are in great hands. Since my first post here, I’ve written five books, published at three different houses, had four different editors, and ultimately, opted to self-publish. I’ve shared the roller-coaster and when I could, offered ways that readers could do as I had (or in a few cases, not do as I had!). But sometimes, as in all things in life, it’s best to know when it’s time to shut up and reflect, and I guess I’ve reached that point. That point where I’m ready to be a listener and apply this quiet space to my writing. I’d never have imagined it but the quiet space is comforting now: I gravitate less to Twitter, away from chatter and blogs and comment sections, totally content not to document every last thing. (When and why have we become a society who documents every last thing? As if we don’t document it, it didn’t actually happen.) To instead, save some of that for me. My characters. My writing. My home life.

Which is why I started this post with the same way that I started my very first post: introducing myself. [Read more…]

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About Allison Winn Scotch

Allison Winn Scotch is the author of four novels: The One That I Want, Time of My Life, and The Department of Lost and Found, and The Song Remains the Same. She lives in Los Angeles with her family, where she is at work on her new projects.

It Doesn’t Have to be Either/Or

photo by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
photo by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

I was sitting at my desk last Monday, working on my new manuscript (okay, kind-of working, kind-of surfing the internet) when Tweetdeck alerted me to the fact that Random House was offering my second novel, Time of My Life, at a promotional price of $1.99. I was as surprised as I was elated: namely, very. Surprised because I parted ways with Random House (amicably) when my imprint was shuttered (R.I.P. Shaye Areheart Books – I still love you!), and these days, they have no further obligation to boost any of my books. And elated for this very same reason: I’ll repeat – we had parted ways, and frankly, since then, I’ve gone indie. A move which doesn’t always endear you to your former colleagues at the Big Six. (I guess it’s the Big Five now?)

But their willingness to promote a backlist book of mine is one reason that I frequently ask myself, while reading the latest industry news or Twitter skirmishes between factions or Amazon-demonizing from just about everyone: why can’t we all just find a way to work together? I don’t mean to sound Pollyanna-ish, and I don’t mean to imply that, like, we should all return to our Montessori roots (though my mom was a Montessori teacher, and actually, maybe we should). But what I really mean to say is that I truly believe – having published four books at the big houses and one on my own – and having managed to maintain good relationships with many of my former editors or colleagues – is that these days, it doesn’t have to be an either/or. Or perhaps better said: it shouldn’t have to be an either/or. You shouldn’t have to be exclusively indie. You shouldn’t have to sneer at the traditionals and tell them they’re old dinosaurs. And you shouldn’t have to go traditional or bust. While I’m sure that some will (and can) argue with me, I honestly believe that flexibility and creative thinking on both sides could go a long way in changing the industry for the better. Here’s why and this is what I know: [Read more…]

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About Allison Winn Scotch

Allison Winn Scotch is the author of four novels: The One That I Want, Time of My Life, and The Department of Lost and Found, and The Song Remains the Same. She lives in Los Angeles with her family, where she is at work on her new projects.

But Is This a Book?

wubookgavelI recently got the writing itch again, the one where characters start to pop up in my brain uninvited, where themes and plots replace sleep, where my fingers felt antsy and wanted to tap at the keyboard once more. It had been about nine months since I’d wrapped The Theory of Opposites, and well, I guess it felt like time.

I’m not one of those writers who can juggle multiple manuscripts at once, and I’m also not the type of writer who can back into a book…meaning, I have to have an enormous lightening bolt of an idea before I feel that tug toward writing. I’ve written a book (just one) before when I didn’t feel that incredible urgency, that “aha” moment, and that book remains very firmly my least favorite of my work. Not coincidentally. Thus, when the writing itch started to worm its way into me, I waited and waited for the idea to come to me, and when I thought I had a pretty strong (albeit not earth-shaking) lightning bolt of an idea, I opened up Word and set out on my way. When I’m working on a manuscript, I insist that I write 1-2k words a day. And so, after a few weeks, I had fifty pages, and I sent them off to my agent for a read. I liked the pages, almost loved them, and she did too.

Then…life got busy. I got inspired to start a kids’ book website (if you have kids who love to read…or even who don’t, swing by Parents Read Best – it’s a forum/site for parents to share book ideas with other parents — we are having a lot of fun with it), and that took up a lot of energy and time. I had a few semi-emergencies at home (all fine now); I had to fly unexpectedly back east for a few days; we had relatives visit, then more relatives visit…you get it. Basically, life got busy, and I lost track of my idea and my characters and my passion for the book. (Which I usually don’t allow for. I’m usually super-diligent about my writing when I’m in the thick of a book, so my break, in and of itself, was a little worrisome too.)

And now that I have the time to get back to it, I’m wondering if, indeed, I should. Should I pick this book back up? Or should I consider another germ of an idea that has planted roots in my brain over the past few weeks and started to crop up instead. [Read more…]

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About Allison Winn Scotch

Allison Winn Scotch is the author of four novels: The One That I Want, Time of My Life, and The Department of Lost and Found, and The Song Remains the Same. She lives in Los Angeles with her family, where she is at work on her new projects.

Plan B: Or What to Do When Things Go Wrong

WUarrowSo it couldn’t have been more fitting that this month at WU, we’re chatting about just what the heck to do when the publishing industry throws you a curveball. Because if you’ve read any of my past posts here, you know that I’ve been thrown a few curveballs myself as of late. Indeed, the last time I was here, I announced that after four books within the traditional system (I’ve been at HarperCollins, Random House and Penguin), I was opting to take the leap and go indie with my fifth book, THE THEORY OF OPPOSITES. So I know from curveballs. And that’s not even the first screwy pitch I’ve been thrown in my eight years of writing fiction. So today, I thought we would talk about Plan B. And what to do to come up with it, and how to implement it when the time has come to accept that Plan A just isn’t going to cut it, even if you desperately hoped it would.

In case you’re doubting that I’m an expert in Plan Bs, here’s a short run-down on my own publishing hiccups:

  • I wrote a book, my very first book, that got me representation but failed to sell to a publisher. After I wrote another book, said agent told me she thought it would do more harm than good to go out with it, as she didn’t think it would sell. She gave me a choice of revisiting the old ms, writing another one from scratch, or…walk away. I was heartbroken and devastated…for about 24 hours. Then I woke up and realized I was walking away. Plan B.
  • [Read more…]

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About Allison Winn Scotch

Allison Winn Scotch is the author of four novels: The One That I Want, Time of My Life, and The Department of Lost and Found, and The Song Remains the Same. She lives in Los Angeles with her family, where she is at work on her new projects.

A Brave New World: Let’s Do This

Book of natureMany, many moons ago, I wrote a post on Writer Unboxed, contemplating the pros and cons of going indie with my next book. I wasn’t just contemplating it online, I was contemplating it with my agent, with my husband, with myself. As someone who had come up in the “traditional” system – I started at HarperCollins, published my next two books at Random House (and would have happily stayed there forever had my imprint not folded and the entire team dismantled), and completed my run at Penguin – it was a difficult notion to swallow: could I do this on my own? Should I do this on my own? After a terribly discouraging experience with my fourth book, based not on the book (which I loved) or the reviews (which were the strongest of my career) but things totally outside of my control, I knew I had to change something. But how big of a change and what that change had to be was exhausting to consider…but too important not to. So I wrestled with it for a long, long time. And I nearly quit writing novels along the way.

Well…drumrolll…I made my decision shortly after posting here on Writer Unboxed. I went indie. And the book, THE THEORY OF OPPOSITES, is out  tomorrow! And I am so very, very, very thrilled at my decision. Making the choice to take this leap was the hardest part, everything else has been exhilarating. Revolutionary. Eye-opening. I can’t imagine I will ever go back.

One of my biggest concerns was: “Will people take me seriously?” I had worked for years building my reputation and establishing my readership; I didn’t want to erase this, well, “street cred,” by taking what some (many within the industry) consider to be a more amateurish route. Well, the answers came in quickly and resoundingly. Not only did people not hold it against me, many of them were and are intrigued by the decision. We sold audio rights, we sold large print rights, we just announced a mind-blowing film deal – Jennifer Garner is producing! Foreign rights are being negotiated as we speak. So far, I have seen no downside. In fact, rather than feeling like I am banging my head against the wall, frantic and worried that x, y, and z, aren’t happening in my pre-launch phase, I am not stressed at all. (Okay, maybe a little. To be stressed is human. :) But it’s not as if I’m staring at the ceiling in the wee hours of the night, agonizing over all of the things that are out of my control. The emails I’ve sent trying to get someone somewhere to fix something, to tweak something, to ask about co-op and sales and marketing and all of that.) Nope. With one day until the book is officially out into the world, I’m (almost) cool as a cucumber.

I’ve gotten a lot of emails from fellow writers who are intrigued and re-assessing their own stakes and situations and pros and cons. So here is what I’ve learned, and here’s what I’d tell anyone else who was or is considering leaving the traditional model behind.

[Read more…]

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About Allison Winn Scotch

Allison Winn Scotch is the author of four novels: The One That I Want, Time of My Life, and The Department of Lost and Found, and The Song Remains the Same. She lives in Los Angeles with her family, where she is at work on her new projects.