July 7, 2012

Press ‘I’ for Independent: Bill Allen’s Made It Moment

Filed under: Declaration of Independents,Made It Moments — jenny @ 11:12 am

How To Slay A Dragon

Today we feature an author who’s with another interesting independent, the newer kid on the block, Belle Bridge Books. This one is definitely worth checking out if you think your work might be a good fit for a small press. And Bill Allen’s delightful book is worth checking out if you can relate to the tale of a scrawny middle school kid who’s always getting picked last, and finds out that the popular way is not always the way to go.

And who can’t relate to that?

Bill Allen is scheduled to be Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deal on Monday. A great time to discover his work!

Bill Allen

How did I know I’d made it?
I remember quite clearly: I have a near Made It Moment when a fellow conference attendee asks agent Elizabeth Pomada whether it was worth flying across the country to find new talent. She says yes, because she found me. I’m ecstatic.

This turns out to be just one of several near misses of my career. Years later I meet Debra Dixon (a.k.a. DD) at the 2010 SCWG conference in Melbourne, Florida. Bell Bridge Books (BBB) is considering handling a few YA titles, so DD asks to see a manuscript, even though they “have no interest in boy books.”

Obviously I hold little hope. Six months pass with no word. Then an email from DD. Someone’s finally reading my story and enjoying it–“a good sign.” I decide against reminding her they aren’t interested in boy books.

A week later, another email. DD’s on her way out of town but says when she returns she’ll mail out a contract. Everyone read my manuscript and is excited to work with me. An obvious Made It Moment, but I’ve been burned too many times to start celebrating just yet.

When I sign the contract I can’t help but focus on the clause that states BBB can back out if they find me difficult to work with. Every time I question a revision I worry the ax is about to fall. Finally How to Slay a Dragon is released. I feel . . . uncertain. Will anyone read it? It hits #1 in children’s fiction. I still have doubts.

Obviously I’m not good at defining success. How about this? My Made It Moment was when a fellow author thought I had accomplished enough that people would want to hear about my Made It Moment. My advice to authors waiting for theirs. Learn the craft, find your voice, and don’t give up until you make it. It will happen in time.

Bill Allen is the author of The Journals of Myrth, a three book fantasy series from Bell Bridge Books, and Orson Buggy’s Lessons for Losers, the first of a new non-fantasy series called The Bumpy Daze of Orson Buggy. While Bill claims to write humorous fiction “for kids age nine to ninety” he mostly strives to reach those reluctant readers in the crossover realm between middle-grade and YA.

A lot of authors do this quite successfully through the use of “gross” humor. Bill likes to go a different route, placing his characters in absurd situations and throwing in a lot of word play, witty humor and sarcastic dialog. In other words, humor you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy.


  1. A great interview, and an intriguing series of books! I will definitely take a look at this for my grandkids!

    Comment by Connie J Jasperson — July 7, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  2. Awesome interview! Thank you for sharing your story. Your book sounds awesome.

    Comment by Kellie — July 7, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

  3. What a great story, Bill. Sounds to me like you’ve ‘made it’ several times. Hope you keep on making it.

    Thanks for another wonderful ‘moment’ Jenny!

    Comment by mountainmama — July 7, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

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