Thursday, 7 July 2016

Guest Post: Author Calista Lynn on How Technology Gave Me a Career

Today on the blog we have Calista Lynne, author of WE AWAKEN from Harmony Ink Press.


Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.

But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resum
e her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.

And now for the post!

Thank God I’m a Millennial
How Technology Gave Me a Career
by Calista Lynne

            When life give you lemons, you don’t start complaining about how back in the day we got on perfectly well without lemons and lemons are just making children stupid. No. You make lemonade. The internet is lemons to the max. Everything we want to know is available to us and with enough clicking, we can learn just about anything. If I hadn’t bought a crappy laptop three years ago, I wouldn’t be a published author right now. Every single writing job I’ve gotten has been through the internet, and when I’ve been commissioned to write on something I know nothing about (Canadian music festivals for pre-teenage girls), there are thousands of resources I can learn from and credit.
            Let me begin with the odd way I found my publisher. Several years ago I entered a contest for young adults who wrote LGBTQ stories. It was floating around on Tumblr and seemed like something I could manage.
I lost.
The winner was going to get published in a nice little anthology and I had already prepared how I would tell my friends and family that I was a legitimate, published author. When the rejection came I didn’t feel sad, instead I got angry. My retaliation was to go and write an entire novel aimed specifically at that publisher. They loved it. A year later I  embarked on the editing process and it was all because I coincidentally saw one Tumblr post.
            Speaking of coincidental Tumblr posts, I found my presumed career path (front of house theatre management and writing novels on the side) because I just stumbled across a call for stewards at the Shakespeare’s Globe one day. But that’s a completely different matter.
            While writing my first novel, I knew I wanted it to feature asexual characters, but wasn’t an expert on asexuality. Google came to the rescue, and with a bit of reading and posting on various forms of social media, I was put in touch with proud asexuals who were more than happy to help me write accurately and positively. In an age before technology, I would have been lucky to even find someone out about their lack of sexual attraction. I used a similar method of posting all over social media and generally begging people who seemed amenable in order to find beta readers. People want to help; people like to read. I found some lovely ladies who were more than happy to read an early version of the novel and help me shape up.
            Amanda Palmer, a fantastic musician and writer, encourages artists to do something she calls “taking the donuts”. You have to overcome fear and learn to ask people to help you, be it with the writing itself or marketing, because they will. She says the reason why we don’t reach out and ask questions or for assistance is because “it comes back to that same old issue: we just can’t see what we do as important enough to merit the help”. Recently I have been trying to follow her advice by reaching out to individuals on social media. I message asexual blogs and they’re generally more than happy to promo me. The only reason I have been able to market my novel the bit I have is because other people from the business have seen my attempts and stepped up to give me fantastic advice. If you can’t tweet, find someone who can and ask for help, and then go tweet everyone of interest. People generally want to see success and are willing to put in a small amount of effort, which helps artists a lot.
            Through social media and the internet it is so easy to get word out about anything. Who needs billboards when Tumblr book photography goes viral? I see nothing wrong with embracing technology as the blessing it is and using it to it’s fullest extent. That doesn’t make me less of an artist. It makes me capable of using my resources.

Calista Lynne grew up on the American East Coast and is currently studying in London. She is having difficulty adjusting to the lack of Oxford commas across the pond and writes because it always seemed to make more sense than mathematics. Look for her near the caffeinated beverages.

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