‘When I Learned to Treat My Writing Career as a Business, That’s When I Became More Productive’

Shelia Goss is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen books. She writes Christian fiction, suspense, women’s fiction, and young adult fiction. She discusses marketing and her approach to productivity.

Shelia-GossWL: You’ve had success in many ways as a writer — as a self-published author who landed book deals, as an author who has reached bestseller lists, as an author who has gained a loyal following, as a blogger with a longstanding blog. What has been the “secret” to your success?

Goss: There’s no secret. It’s a combination of things: faith, hard work, and determination. This business is not for the faint at heart. The key is to never give up, even when faced with obstacles or rejections.

WL: Was landing on bestseller lists part of what you were shooting for or was that a surprise to you? Please explain your answer.

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Champion Wrestler Robles, Born With One Leg, Is ‘Unstoppable’

Born with one leg, Anthony Robles became an elite athlete and accomplished an amazing feat: He became the 2011 NCAA National Wrestling Champion! The former Arizona State University athlete has won many other honors and awards, including the 2011 NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award. He was a 2012 inductee into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Now a speaker, Robles has written a recently published book that talks about how he chose to become Unstoppable.

NUP_145508_0465.JPGWL: Why did you choose to share your story in your recently released book, Unstoppable?

Robles: I wanted to share my story with others because I believe we all face challenges. My life was never perfect and I had plenty of obstacles but through it all I was able to make it out on top. I am hoping that by reading my story, people can walk away with a sense of hope and a recharged belief that anything is possible.

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Bruce Holland Rogers Successfully Sells Short Stories

Award-winning writer Bruce Holland Rogers has done what many short story writers aspire to do — make money selling short stories. Rogers has lived in Europe and the U.S., sharing his creative works with fans all over the world, including the U.S., the Netherlands, India, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, and China. His honors include the 2012 Micro Award, two World Fantasy awards, two Nebula awards, and an Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination. Here, he talks about how he turned his creative ability into income.

Bruce-Holland-RogersWL: You’ve lived in London and now Oregon but have fans all over the world. How did you get fans in far-flung places?

Rogers: Part of that was through conventional publishing, having my work appear in magazines and books as translations. But I find that the most effective audience building is personal, that readers often take the strongest interest in writers they have actually met, so traveling to literary festivals and conferences has also had a great impact.

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Award-Winning Author Stacy-Deanne Gives Advice for Landing Book Deals, Building Fan Base

Stacy-Deanne writes crime fiction, mysteries, and suspense. Her work includes Everlasting, Melody, and Giving Up the Ghost. She is profiled in the NAACP-nominated 2006 book, Literary Divas: The Top 100+ African-American Women in Writing. Giving Up the Ghost is a 2011 African-American Literary Award nominated novel and a 2012 Top 20 Black Expressions Bestseller.  The Season of Sin is a 2012 African-American Literary Award nominated novel.

WL: You started in the literary industry as a 19-year-old in 1997. How has publishing changed since then and what has that change meant for your career?

Stacy-Deanne: Wow. It’s amazing to look back because everything is so different. Back in 1997 we didn’t have half as many options to get our work out there. You had the Big 6 and a few small presses and if you couldn’t get accepted by either you had to self-publish. We didn’t have e-publishers or self-publishing on Kindle. You also had to have book distribution. Everyone fought to get with the Big 6 because that was the only way you had a chance to be in stores. Now smaller presses can get their books in stores as well as bookstores aren’t the force they used to be. I could write a book on how much things have changed.

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Six-Figure Writer Carol Tice Uses Social Media, Skype to Connect With Clients

Carol Tice is a freelance writer and blogger whose work has appeared in Entrepreneur magazine, the Seattle Times, Forbes.com, and more. She is featured on the cover of the 2013 Writer’s Market. Tice shares her writing experiences on her blog, via social media, and in her writing community.

WL:  What was the hardest part of building a successful blog?

Tice: Definitely the tech mountain. I am NOT a technical person! Every night, after my kids went to bed, from 8-midnight or later, I’d be upstairs going, “OK, I’ve GOT to learn Camtasia tonight so I can make a video.” Or how to code a widget. Or learn to use a new plug-in. Or whatever. There was a lot to learn.

WL: Why did you add a writing community and how has that helped you to better serve writers?

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Author Patricia Neely-Dorsey Has Become An Advocate for Her State

Patricia Neely-Dorsey has used her books of poetry as a way to portray her home state of Mississippi in a positive light. While many books of poetry fail to gain an audience, Neely-Dorsey has leveraged her work into speaking engagements, workshops, and events where she is an advocate for her state.

WL: I read in one interview that you said the inspiration for the first poem that got this book going actually came to you one morning. Did the other poems come as easily? Please talk about your journey to publication.

Neely-Dorsey: The whole journey with the poems/books(s), up until now, has actually been quite unbelievable, even to me.

On Valentine’s Day  2007, I woke up out of my sleep with this poem just swirling around in my head. I really wasn’t sure, at first,  if it  was — possibly — a song I had been listening to before I went to bed  or if it might be lines from a poem or other material that I had been reading. I quickly realized that it was an original poem!  I immediately got up and scribbled it down. The rest, as they say, is history!

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Top Blogger Ollin Morales Says Writers Need to Blog

Ollin Morales is a fiction writer and professional blogger for hire. His blog, Courage to Create, has been featured on popular sites including The Huffington Post  and Colorlines.com, and was named one of the Top Ten Blogs for Writers two years in a row, by WritetoDone.

WL: Your blog feels especially timely due to today’s economic condition, as you address some of life’s toughest challenges. What are the types of posts that get the most responses?

Morales: The types of posts that get the most attention on my blog are the posts that deal with the psychological aspects of writing and life. So many people struggle with that negative inner voice in their head — the voice that I call the “inner saboteur.” The “inner saboteur” is this nasty part of us that is always trying to thwart our progress. It’s always trying to make us afraid to grow or try something new. It talks us out of taking risks, becoming vulnerable, or putting ourselves out there in a meaningful way.

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Elissa Gabrielle Is a Multi-Genre Author, Literary Entrepreneur

Elissa Gabrielle is an award-winning author whose publishing company has grown to an entity that publishes authors in several genres.

WL: Your writing career covers a variety of genres. How have you been able to market your work across genres to gain an audience?

Gabrielle: Great question. I simply offer my work to the public. My readers know how spiritual I am. They also understand that poetry was my first love. They get that I have a great style when it comes to writing romance and erotica. They trust me enough to deliver my best, whatever the subject matter is. My readers take me as I am. I give them me authentically, and they receive me authentically. In regard to marketing, that’s what I do. I offer all of me, authentically.

WL: What has been the best tool, strategy, or approach you’ve used to build an audience?

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Cyrus Webb Has Interviewed More Than 3,000 Authors, Musicians on His Radio Show | Writer’s Drive

Cyrus Webb has built a literary business based on his love of reading, words, and people. Here, he talks about the journey to building Conversations Media Group.

WL: You’ve built quite a profile in the literary industry. Was this what you envisioned when you set out?

Webb: Not at all! Going back to the beginning of the radio show in July 2003, I just wanted to spotlight local individuals that were doing something that wasn’t being recognized. It just grew thanks to the Internet and those outside of Mississippi started to take notice. The same with the book club. I wanted a place where men and women of all walks of life could come together and discuss books. The rest just happened due to the enthusiasm around it.

WL:  How did you turn your interest in reading and books into an actual business?

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J.F. Penn’s Writing Has Led to Big Book Sales, International Speaking Career | Writer’s Drive

We are excited to introduce a new feature here at Writer’s Living: Writer’s Drive. The aim is to give you helpful insight, tips, and inspiration straight from other writers — in their own words through an interview. The writers we will feature will be diverse, but they all have one thing in common: They have something to share with you to help you along the way to getting more income, satisfaction, and success in your writing career.

First up is J.F. Penn, action-adventure thriller author and blogger.

WL: You published your first book in 2008. What was the most unexpected part of that journey?

Penn: The most unexpected thing was how it changed my life. That first book was on career change, a non-fiction book written out of my own necessity to change my career. I would never have thought it would free me up creatively to write fiction and also prove the catalyst for my journey online as a blogger and then as a professional speaker.

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