Monday, August 6, 2012

Because You Asked

(This post came directly out of a comment from Twitter user @darkoverorg*)

Advice first.  History later.

You wanna write?  Then write.  Seems basic, right?  But it's not.  I meet so many people who 'talk' about writing, but don't actually sit down and put pen to paper, ink to quill, fingers to typewriter keys, brain to computer.

My friend and fellow writer and 'maker of things', Doug Petrie, once said something to me that really stuck.  He was talking about filmmaking, but to me, it applies to any creative endeavor.

Now I'm paraphrasing here, but the thrust of what he said is this:

When you make a film you become someone who made something and cease to be someone who 'talks' about making something.
It's a clearly defined line. 

Even if what you make is crap, it doesn't matter. YOU MADE IT!!  That's the beginning of your career as a maker of things: writer, filmmaker, artist, crafter, actor, singer, dancer, mime, musician...all of these start with the urge to make something and then continue with the 'action' of indulging that urge.

You wanna write, go write.

So you're writing - first step accomplished - how do you get it out to the world, so you can be praised and ridiculed (usually at the same time) by the mass of men?

It's easy and not easy.

Easy first.


1. Fan Fiction

Fifty Shades of Grey, people!!  I've said it before and I'll say it again (with back-up now that the FSG books are major league famous): Write what you love, put it on the internet and share it with all the other people who love what you love.  'Nuf said.

2. Blog

Write a blog.  Write about your life.  Include fiction/non-fiction pieces you are working on. (I've done it on this blog.)  See: John Scalzi & Pamela Ribon - they give good blog and are shining examples of what I'm taking about

3. Publish Yourself, Yourself

People do it every day and some of them make a hell of a lot more money on their books than I do.

Now the Hard Stuff:


1. Get An Agent

Go online, get agency info and send a whole hell of a lot of query letters out into the universe.  Make your query letter interesting.  Someone might actually bite - and if they do then it's worth all the effort.  The agent is your entree into the publishing world.  Without them, it is very hard to get stuff read by editors.

2. Writer's Conferences

Go to them.  Go to the ones where they have editors and agents you can pitch to.  It's a shot in the dark - but like querying for agents, if someone bites then it's worth the money and effort.

This ends the ADVICE portion of our blog post.

Now on to the HISTORY portion of our blog.

How did I get published...?  It's a cheating story.  I took the twenty plus years of struggle and rejection I've endured as an actor and credited it toward the publishing world. 

And I had a leg up because of a little show called BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.

So I don't recommend attempting my journey.  It's a way longer way than you want to traverse in order to get your writing out there.  See the ADVICE section and use that bit as your guide, or, as I like to say:



(take a bow)


*Just FYI. 



  1. Thanks for the kick in the ass, Amber.

    1. I kick in the ass is what most of us need. I know I do.

  2. Thank you Amber. That was a fast post :) It is great work. Can I ask you to expand a little bit on the "history" part ? You are cheating again, you know ? You skipped the "writing" part directly to "publishing" ehehe I mean, how was it for you to move from acting into writing ? Did you go first for the comic books, the novels, or did you do short stories ?

    (this is @darkoverorg from twitter and yes, my accounts have different names everywhere).

  3. Excellent blog, excellent advice. I feel as though I have been giving this advice and trying to explain the force or need of my own creative endeavors to others for years. As I wrote in a short blog a few weeks ago, "I am a creator, a creator is who I am." I have many friends who say they want to do something creative or to 'leave their mark on the world', well truth is if you only talk about it and never do anything then you never will. There is great personal risk in creating, but the satisfaction of creating something even if it never 'sells' far outways the risk of doing nothing.

  4. Every word (well except perhaps for the word "mime") is so true. I've got a ton of crap I should be making yet I don't. I talk crap. Just don't make it. Yet. I will. Maybe.

  5. Joe aka AmberAddictAugust 6, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Great advice Amber! I am one of those people who has talked about writing rather having the nerve to try and write my idea down and put it out there. I'm not saying that my idea will good enough but I should at least try. I have already written an article for a local football newsletter so it's a start. Who knows one day I might be able to say I make stuff. PS @darkoverorg idea was great

  6. Tara was one of my most favorite characters in Buffy. You were awesome Amber!

  7. Know of any good writing coaches in the SFV? Actually not asking for myself. Asking for a very dear & talented friend who is looking for one (but kind of frozen in grief at the moment... just lost both her mom & grandmother within 30 days of each other). She's brilliant, and I know it would help jumpstart her to work with someone. Any referrals would be welcome. Doesn't have to be local.

  8. The only things about writing that I'm not enjoying are a) when I have to incorporate SEO keywords, backlinks and alt text for biz marketing purposes (no fun for the artist in me)... and b) I seriously need some good background music. I can't have anything with English, Spanish, Italian, Hindi or Arabic languages in it because I start to pick up phrases and then my mind goes off into learning mode instead of writing mode. Any suggestions? Nothing sleepy please... no more baroque or Enya.

  9. Excellent advice for any aspiring writer, myself included, to take to heart. Thank you! I'm a fan (if you couldn't guess from my name) and it means a lot to read such advice from you. I recently discovered your books and look forward to reading them!


  10. I could not agree more with this. After 3+ years of my daily blog, later TODAY, my first, self-published book goes on sale...950 damn it for yourself, nobody else!

  11. I type way Too slowly to "write" .(& with my "nerve condition" I seldom get to do much drawing anymore....Took about 6 Years of Art school)...)
    I have however compiled over 20 years of Research...Ready to be written into a book ,...
    Ancient Demonology....Mostly done before I had use of computer.... So we are talking hundreds of books ...periodicals ( old Scientific American...National Geographic ...and Many other sources,,,,
    So I Do Not write ...and I guess all my research dies with me.... oh well...
    ....Dr. Theda...

  12. Friend and mentor Bill Spooner, songwriter for the late lamented 70's/80's band The Tubes, once told me, "There are two kinds of songwriters in the world. There are ones who write every day. And there are ones who drive cabs."

  13. Isaac Asimov's advice always included, "And don't quit your day job."