Episode 064 – Allyson Machate is an author, book collaborator, book editor, book doctor, and ghostwriter.
- Allyson Machate is a dedicated book nerd with a mission to help serious authors create better books. She has a Masters degree in English and Creative Writing, and has worked in book publishing for Simon & Schuster. She has a freelance business as a book collaborator, book editor, book doctor, and ghostwriter – often working with publishers on projects that need help. She dissects these terms and how they can help writers make their work better. In today’s interview, Ally talks about book ideas, knowing your audience, becoming published, editing your work, selling your book, moving from writer to author, and more. She gives tough love advice on marketing your book. We talk about the muse and how we can help it work for us. And finally, she shares candid thoughts on investing in your writing, why it’s important, and how you can help yourself.
- Ally has coauthored, contributed to, or ghostwritten many books.
- The Way of the SEAL: Think Like An Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed by Mark Divine, with Ally as a contributor.
On Your Book Idea
- It can be dangerous to be too wedded to an idea. Ideas are living breathing things, and they change, especially in a book that can take months and years even to write.
Is My Book Idea Worth Doing?
- For nonfiction you have to be reading what other people are doing in your category because they’re your competition. Your target readers are aware of those books and you need to be aware of them too. Do you have something new to bring to the category? You have to find a way to bring out something fresh and different in your style and your voice so you can clearly express the idea. You have to ask why a reader would choose your book from all the others.
On Defining Your Audience
- Audience is all important. When your work is something you want to publish and share with the world, you have to take into account who your target audience is and who your buyer is. Knowing that information will help inform how you write your book. You need to know what kind of expectations your audience will have when they read your book. If you don’t know who your readers are, you won’t be able to find them and tell them about the book, nor will you know precisely how to pitch it to them. Knowing this information will help you effectively market your book once it’s finished.
On Editing Your Work
- It’s a mistake to think you can submit something raw and that they will offer you money for it. You have to get your manuscript to a certain level of professional quality before an agent or publisher will consider it. No matter how good you are at self editing or how objective you will be, you will never be as objective as a professional editor.
On Selling Your Book
- There’s a big difference between the process of writing a book and trying to sell it. You have to shift your thinking from being a creator to being a business person.
On Having a Successful Book
- Your platform is important. It’s never too early to start building an audience. Connect with key influencers, build a fan base, and be prepared to invest in learning and perfecting your craft.
On Moving from Writer to Author
- It takes commitment and discipline to become a published author. Having a writing routine can help you. Patience and objectivity are really key.
On Trying to Become Published
- Have patience and be really honest with yourself. Most books are rejected many times before being published. If you are sending something out and you know, at some level, that it could be better, you need to acknowledge that and work with that reality.
The Most Important Thing I Learned About Writing
- The only way to get better at writing is to keep doing it. You will not become a better writer unless you write a lot and write often. It’s only through making a lot of crap that you write something amazing.
My Most Difficult Challenge
- My most difficult challenge is my inner editor who wants everything to spring perfectly formed out of my mind, but that doesn’t happen – for any writer.
On Marketing Your Book
- In today’s publishing world, part of your job as an author is to market your book. You have to learn how to market your book. No matter what your publisher does, you have to be actively engaged in the marketing process.
The Best Advice on Writing I Ever Received
- To read widely and write daily. I highly recommend Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles because he talks about resistance – the enemy of the creative person.
My Best Advice for Struggling Writers
- You don’t have to do it alone. Join a critique group and writers’ communities. A face-to-face critique group can be a great help, especially if you are struggling.
My Favorite Book on Writing
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. A book about creativity.
How To Find Me
- Ally’s Ghostwriting website
- Ally’s Book Editing website
- Ally’s Facebook page
- Ally’s The Writer’s Ally Facebook page
- Ally’s Twitter page
- Ally’s Goodreads page
- Ally’s Google+ page
From My Perspective
- In the From My Perspective segment of the show, I talk about reasons to view the show notes for each podcast.
We’d Love to Hear Your Comments or Questions on this Podcast
We invite you to send us a comment or question on this episode. Please use the comment form at the bottom of this blog post to send us a message. Thank you.
Got a Minute? Rate the Podcast.
We hope this episode has inspired you and helped to ignite your writing. That’s our goal. If you have been helped by this interview, could you share your experience?
The best way to do that is to leave a rating and review at iTunes. You can also leave a rating and review in Stitcher. A one or two sentence review, along with a rating, will help others find the Writers & Authors on Fire podcast more easily, exposing the podcast to a wider audience. Your rating and review helps promote the podcast to new listeners, writers, and authors as they search for new podcasts to experience. Honest reviews are appreciated. Thank you for your support.
Want More of Writers & Authors on Fire?
A new Writers & Authors on Fire episode will be released every Tuesday morning. As our audience grows and we do more interviews, we hope to release two new episodes a week. That’s a great reason to subscribe now. You can subscribe at iTunes, Stitcher or your favorite podcast directory:
Because disclosures are necessary, each book link uses my Amazon affiliate code so I earn a small commission on whatever you purchase after clicking on the link. This helps fund the website and podcast. Thank you for your support.