I was recently prompted by TheLadders to share my thoughts on writing careers — which is truly an honor, really — and I wanted to take my opportunity to share my own writing story with those who are thinking about jumping into this crazy universe.
I’d love to go out on a limb and tell you about how I’ve loved books since I was out of the womb and about my Creative Writing degree or Masters in English — that always seemed like such an admirable thing to me — but that’s just not what happened. I was not a reader as a child. Books were not encouraged or even given to me in my childhood home, and it would not be a lie to say that the first full-length novel I ever read (without being forced to in school) was when I was sixteen years old.
It was Intensity by Dean Koontz. Halfway through the book I lost it in some parking lot, and didn’t find the time or the sanity to pick it back up until sometime in my early twenties. I did, and it is, to date, one of my absolute favorites. I went on to read nearly every Dean Koontz book I could get my hands on — some amazing, some awful — until I got bored and moved on. In two or three years I read hundreds and hundreds of books, from suspense eventually to the YA and paranormal romance genres, until, again, I got bored. I was convinced that there was an adult paranormal romance novel out there for me that had that genuine YA feel, but I never found it.
So I wrote one.
It would turn out that I was pretty good at the writing thing, as I kept at it novel after novel. I was twenty-five when I published my first book, having zero qualifications or education to do so — my education was in computer programming like the core nerd that I am — but I loved it, and that passion bled onto the page every time I sat down. It took a few years for doors to open, when I signed a publishing contract with Booktrope last year, but, since then, the opportunities have snowballed so intensely that I have hardly been able to keep up. Due to my education and experience in the industry — my information systems background has a focus on project management — I was asked to lead the project management team on Booktrope’s Gravity Imprint. Before that, I wrote an essay for Stigma Fighters, and I am now the VP of their executive board. I also write for Psychology Today, and have had a few pieces published in Across the Margin. I also manage over fifteen authors in Booktrope’s system. This is all a lot to handle on top of the day job I already have, but I do love it. One of these days I will take the plunge into the publishing industry full time, but until then, I will continue working my ass off for the greater good of my one true passion, which is the written word.
As with any industry, the key to ‘making it’ is establishing connections. You can write all day and it will produce little to nothing if you don’t know anyone. There is a marketing aspect that gets your work known and out into the world, but it’s really just about making friends, and if you can do that, with a solid passion for what you do, success will come. I live and bleed writing because I love it, and I would encourage anyone to never give up on what they love. Doing it for a living is really just a really amazing perk.
A Bestselling Author, NPO VP, and Psychology Today Blogger from Burbank, California, Allie Burke writes books she can’t find in the bookstore. Having been recognized as writing a “kickass book that defies the genre it’s in”, Allie writes with a prose that has been labeled poetic and ethereal.
Her life is a beautiful disaster, flowered with the harrowing existence of inherited eccentricity, a murderous family history, a faithful literature addiction, and the intricate darkness of true love. These are the enchanting experiences that inspire Allie’s fairytales.
From some coffee shop in Los Angeles, she is working on her next novel.
Visit Allie at http://wordsbyallieburke.com