So you want to write a book? by Cheri Allan

Deal Me In cover kindleIt’s true. The moment you publish a book, you become an expert on writing. I know this, because it happened to me. Now that my book babies are out in the world, I’ve had numerous people share with me their literary aspirations.

This, of course, is deeply flattering. Me! An expert! But while I do have some tips for aspiring authors, it does feel a bit as if I’ve just successfully popped open the spout on a box of wine and now people are coming out of the woodwork asking for my advice on choosing the best vintage and talking about woodsy notes and ‘finish.’ Um, I opened a box of wine. It seems both a good thing (wine!) and surprisingly mundane (I know other wine drinkers. Some of them even use corkscrews!) But while I know I have a lot more to learn, let’s assume that writing seven novels and publishing four gives me some level of insight into the subject.

So you want to write a book? Excellent! Go for it! But, really, just go for it. If you wait for the optimal time, the muse to strike, the perfect starting point, you won’t write the book. Because, like taking up running, you won’t run a marathon right out of the gate, and you’re unlikely to write the next bestseller the moment pen hits paper. It takes time. Training. Actually doing the thing you want to do and figuring out how to do it better and more efficiently. So do it. No one else will want to write your story more than you. And the only thing getting in your way is…

You. That’s right. You will probably be your own biggest obstacle. You will, having never run a marathon/written a bestseller/opened boxed wine before, doubt yourself. What if you do it wrong? (Likely.) What if you look silly out there? (Highly likely.) Your fears and doubts are your own worst enemies, and you won’t ever start until your fear of never having tried grows bigger than your fear of looking foolish.

Speaking of looking foolish. Here’s the bald truth. Your first attempts? They will, more than likely, be cringe-worthy. It’s okay. Except for a few brilliant exceptions, everyone’s first attempts are cringe-worthy. Do we expect to play Mozart flawlessly the first time we pick up the violin? Of course not. Then why do we set unrealistic expectations for our first attempts at writing an actual book? This is a skill like anything else. You might be able to write clever turns of phrase, but unless you understand how to put those pieces together into the larger whole, you have some work ahead of you.

Accept the crap. Embrace the worst garbage you can’t make your cursor swallow fast enough, because those words are the clay from which you will sculpt your finished book. Every author everywhere goes through revisions. It is a part of the process. I equate it to choosing the perfect outfit. Think of writing as mixing and matching different words like shoes and scarves and blouses until everything is just right. Your manuscript isn’t ready for the bid day of publication until you’ve given it that same head-to-toe scrutiny. And if you’re not sure the leopard print is too wild for your audience or that red accent piece works? Phone a friend.

Surround yourself with those who will tell you when you look flawless and also when you have spinach in your teeth. (Gently and discreetly so that you don’t sob into your pillow that you are never. Going. To smile. Again.) Writing takes time and is fraught with obstacles. Make the journey easier by finding a writing or other support group (RWA! NaNoWriMo!) that cheers you on in your efforts but also helps you grow. Be prepared to be challenged. Welcome the opportunity to get even better. Resolve not to grow defensive.

And, most importantly, know why you want to write before you even start. Do you want to support your family with your writing? Do you want to write a family memoir? What’s the goal and who is your audience? Be clear. Be specific. Do a little research. Ask questions! Once you’ve sorted it out, commit your goals and reasons to paper and post them in a prominent place to encourage you when you begin to doubt yourself or your efforts.

Why do I write? I write because I want to make it my career to make people happy and hopeful. Knowing this makes it easier to brave the internet trolls, the hell of designing a Facebook ad and struggling through more than one muddy middle. That said, this is what my happy ending looks like: more hopeful, humorous romances like DEAL ME IN.

What does your happy ending look like? What’s stopping you? Or, more importantly, what keeps you moving forward?


If only they’d been dealt an easier hand…

Grace McIntyre never planned to lose her virginity in a seedy motel to the hottie with the eagle tattoo, but she knew Jeff Dayton was The One–until a heart-wrenching goodbye proved he wasn’t. But staying behind in small town Sugar Falls, NH, doesn’t mean Grace hasn’t moved on. She’s a business owner and member of the Civic Pride committee–a responsible adult no longer given to impulsively showing all her cards.

Jeff Dayton left Sugar Falls determined to make something of his life. But after three tours of duty, this Army veteran no longer dreams of faraway places. He’s a small town cop now, keeping the lid on his past and his eccentric family so his sister can win a seat in the state senate. Jeff’s tattoos are covered, his rock-n-roll father is under wraps, and everything is aces… Except his feelings for the free-spirited Grace are anything but contained.


Grace and Jeff have managed to dance around their rocky past since Jeff returned to town. But when they’re thrown together to plan the Harvest Festival, their attraction sparks to life, igniting both old passions and burning regrets. It’s time to let go of the past and search for the strength to begin anew. Because half the fun of the game of love is winning… and the other half is deciding to play.


Bet on a sure thing with this poignant, humorous journey to love—get your copy of Deal Me In today!


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Cheri Allan author pic 9-2015
Cheri Allan is an Amazon Romantic Comedy bestselling author of hopeful, humorous contemporary romances. She lives in a charming fixer-upper in rural New Hampshire with her husband, two children, two dogs, five cats and an excessive amount of optimism (and pet hair.) Her ‘Betting on Romance’ novels have been nominated for both the Carolyn Readers Choice Award and the Golden Quill. Betting on romance… because every woman deserves to get lucky.


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