Skip to main content

Dallie Ago: Write Like Nobody Will Read Your Work

Author Dallie Ago explores what it means as a writer to spend time on a project you're really passionate about and how writers can hook an audience by being honest in their work.

Dallie Ago is the author of Theia Mania and editor of Bushwick Nightz. Her work has appeared in PANK, Luna Luna Magazine, At Large Magazine, Bushwick Daily, BUST, xoJane, and more. Her writing and art have been profiled in Bedford+Bowery, Gothamist, and Hyperallergic, among others. She currently lives in London.


In this post, Ago explores what it means as a writer to spend time on a project you're really passionate about, how writers can hook an audience by being honest in their work, and more!


Build Your Novel Scene by Scene

If you want to learn how to write a story, but aren’t quite ready yet to hunker down and write 10,000 words or so a week, this is the course for you. 

Click to continue.

Name: Dallie Ago
Literary agent: Natalie Kimber (The Rights Factory)
Book title: Lesser Journeys
Publisher: PRAVUM
Release date: August 2020
Genre: Women’s Up-market Fiction
Previous titles: Bushwick Nightz (editor) and Theia Mania (author)
Elevator pitch for the book: After witnessing the muse for her novels become a father with another woman, Dallie Ago, a published author and high-powered Architectural Engineer, attempts to conclude if her life is best lived becoming a mother, or living a story as dramatic as those in her books.


IndieBound | Bookshop | Amazon
[WD uses affiliate links.]

What prompted you to write this book?

When I was six, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes which made me aware of my impermanence. I know that sounds bleak, but it’s not. The awareness granted me this desire to take chances and explore, as well as question the legacies we decide to live behind, and how they may be formed by society.

After moving to London, I was traveling a lot for work as well, intersecting with different cultures. I decided to tie these experiences together into a work of fiction that explores our motives as humans.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? 

When I was traveling, I started by taking notes on things I saw and conversations I had with strangers. Once I had a lot of the smaller scenes and vignettes plotted out, I began to fill in the gaps. I was writing between 10-20 hours a week. The overall manuscript took less than four months, but the editing took nearly a year. Everything changed once I hired Jennifer Obidike to help with developmental edits. She highlighted where I overwrote and helped me streamline the plot. I think we did three rounds!

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

I’m currently represented by an agency based in Toronto that’s been great about sharing the publishing process with me. The more I discussed what sorts of offers and timelines were standard with my agent, the more discouraged I became with leaving the fate of my book in someone else’s hands. COVID hit, and all the risk-taking I had become accustomed to as a chronically ill person compounded. I decided to not only own my life, but help open doors for others, and co-founded a press with two other women (Camille Johnston, who co-founded a cyber-security organization, and Jennifer Obidike—who I loved so much as the editor of the book). Definitely not the traditional route, but it worked for me.

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book? 

The biggest surprise was when I finished writing Lesser Journeys and was confident it could see commercial success due to its accessibility, humor, and pace, but accepted that may never have it. The reality made me ask, even if this Lesser Journeys never hit bookshelves, did I waste my time? I was surprised that the answer was no. I had fun doing it, and I learned about myself in the process. No matter what happens, I’ll never regret the effort put into this book.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

I hope they laugh. And if I’ve won them over with that, I hope they feel less alone in this debacle we have as humans who switch between living in the moment and struggling with the fact that we can only choose one path in life.


If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Write like nobody will ever read your work. Chances are, they won’t, but that will allow you to be more honest in your work, which will make them want to.

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

Short story writing can be a gateway to writing your novel—but they’re also fun and worthy stories in their own right. Here, author Dallas Woodburn shares 5 ways to use short stories to grow as a writer.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Physician, cartoonist, and author Shirlene Obuobi discusses the writerly advice that led to writing her new coming-of-age novel, On Rotation.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Kimo Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the kimo.

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

Tattoos and their artists can reveal interesting details about your characters and offer historical context. Here, author June Gervais shares 8 things writers should know about tattoos.

Tyler Moss | Reporting Through Lens of Social Justice

Writing Through the Lens of Social Justice

WD Editor-at-Large Tyler Moss makes the case for reporting on issues of social justice in freelance writing—no matter the topic in this article from the July/August 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave clues for people to find them.

Sharon Maas: On Books Finding the Right Time

Sharon Maas: On Books Finding the Right Time

Author Sharon Maas discusses the 20-year process of writing and publishing her new historical fiction novel, The Girl from Jonestown.

6 Steps to Becoming a Good Literary Citizen

6 Steps to Becoming a Good Literary Citizen

While the writing process may be an independent venture, the literary community at large is full of writers who need and want your support as much as you need and want theirs. Here, author Aileen Weintraub shares 6 steps in becoming a good literary citizen.