I’d like to welcome Amy Alessio, Teen Librarian extraordinaire, to Beat Book Babes. We collaborated on a couple of anthologies, Hearts & Daggers and Hot Crimes, Cool Chicks.
Sampling From the Buffet: Life as a Hybrid Author
Amy Alessio is a teen librarian who has been listening to teen advice for over seventeen years. She reviews adult and teen fiction for Booklist, Teenreads.com and Crimespree Magazine and has authored several professional librarian guides. Her first young adult mystery, Taking the High Ground, was published by 4rV Press in September. Her series of adult mystery short stories showcase her passion for vintage cookbooks and crafts, a topic she further unleashes on the public with her blog and live programs.
It’s an exciting time to be an author and a reader. One of my favorite things as a reader now is when an author e-publishes short pieces in between books, so I don’t have to wait a year or so before getting another installment. As a writer, I enjoy having the opportunity to write and self-publish shorter works.
I’ve been lucky to experience a hybrid writing career. I’ve been writing librarian books on topics like teen programming for about 10 years and continue to submit proposals for more of those. They keep me current in my profession, offer me a paycheck, and allow me more opportunities for teaching, which I enjoy.
I’ve been blogging about vintage cookbooks and crafts for almost eight years. Not only do I now have a forum to share my love of all things Jello or how to make ribbon barrettes, I’ve given over 200 presentations on those topics at local and national events. While it took a while to get used to wearing scratchy polyester, vintage things have become a brand for me.
After having two short stories in anthologies, I put them up on Amazon when I got the rights back. They are about an antiques store bookkeeper who loves vintage cookbooks, and all stories include recipes. I missed those characters, and created more stories just for online publication. Doing that allowed me to learn about that business as well as explain to my husband that I needed more cookbooks for research. My holiday story in the Alana O’Neill series, Felled by Fruitcake, continues to outsell the combined rest of the series and was a favorite to write during a NaNoWriMo a few years ago. My husband asked if I couldn’t just come up with another Christmas story. The Yule Cake Murder? We’ll see. In the meantime, I’ve published a Valentine’s one with a St. Patrick’s and a Halloween story due to be published next year.
My years with an agent landed me a contract with an independent publisher for my first young adult mystery, Taking the High Ground. That book features sixteen year old Joelle and her quest to clear her brother’s name of murder. She is embarrassed by her family’s Civil War reenacting hobby, though several scenes take place at those events. Learning about print book promotion has been another learning curve but learning to market my e-stories has helped in many ways.
Earlier this week I gave a talk on Steps to E-Book Success and the audience asked me which part of writing and publishing I like best from my different projects. Each path and step has given me knowledge which helps with the next project. The answer is all of it. How many people can say that about their career?