Behind The Scenes with Beth Rodgers
Behind the Scenes of Indie Publishing
At YABC we work closely with a lot of Indie authors. Some are best sellers and some are just starting out, and many more fall in the middle of that spectrum. Today we are excited to introduce you to Beth Rodgers, Author of Freshman Fourteen. She brings us a peek into some of the lesser known duties of an independant author.
Welcome Beth Rodgers!
It's really kind of thrilling. That feeling that you're doing what you've always wanted to do. That you've reached the pinnacle of some kind of goal. But there is always more to reach for. There is always more to do. I learned this over the last several years as I published my first two books. Now that I'm working on the third in the series—and also taking time to put together a children's picture book with an illustrator friend, which has been a longstanding wish of mine—I'm coming to see that there are so many different aspects to writing that go beyond putting words on a page and seeing them coalesce into something that others also have the desire to read.
There are three aspects of indie publishing—and really, publishing in general—that aren’t as obvious as you might think, but are hugely important to the process of producing a book. These are, in no particular order, the power of social media, the importance of networking, and figuring out how to leverage your abilities in diverse and creative ways.
1.) Social media is a big one. Anyone who is focused on publishing their book—whether independently or traditionally—needs to understand that social media holds a certain value that cannot be achieved anywhere else. It possesses the ability to reach masses of people that you would otherwise have no contact with, and, as a result, no influence over. There are tons of sites that can be used for social media purposes, but the two I want to focus on are Twitter and Facebook. You can also certainly check out more information about Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Tumblr, etc. These are all worthy in their own right. However, everyone has one or two of these sites that stand out to them as being more focused on furthering their goals. Twitter and Facebook do this for me.
For the longest time, I was mainly a Facebook user. I didn't understand or really want to understand Twitter. Then, I went to a writing conference a couple of months ago and attended a workshop about how to use social media to build your author platform. Since that day, I have posted on Twitter an average of once every day and started using hashtags that supplement whatever it is I'm talking about in the post. I share quotes that I like, news about what's going on in my day, details about other authors' books that I really like, links to book reviews I've written, and so much more. Even if people don't click the little heart that shows they like my posts, and even if they don't comment on them, I am, in at least some small way, leaving my virtual handprint out there. My numbers have gone up ever so slightly day by day, and I have about 80 more followers than I did when I started using Twitter more regularly. Little by little, I'm making my mark. The same is true of Facebook. However, I don't find Facebook as easy to reach the masses as I once did. Not everyone sees my posts on Facebook, and those who do are more likely people I know. Twitter affords me more of a reach to other authors, readers, publishers, and anyone who happens to like a hashtag I decide to use.
2.) This all leads into the importance of networking. Had I not gone to that conference back in April, I would not have met the woman who taught me about the power of social media. Talking to other authors and sharing not only our troubles, but our successes, can be truly enlightening. Too many people are in a competition with each other. They think that if they give away their secrets that are bringing them success, somehow it will diminish their own. This is anything but true. Creativity should spark creativity, and authors should spark other authors' drive and excitement about pushing forward and never giving up. So, attend workshops that are in your area. Take advantage of free and/or paid webinars when you get emails about them. Go to the websites of authors you can't get enough of and read their biographies, book descriptions, reviews, and anything else that you see. Show yourself that you are not alone on this journey that you are taking. And most of all, think about how good you would feel if people contacted you to let you know how much they like your books. Then, remember that every author (or at least the vast majority) feels the same way. Contact those authors you love and share why you love them. You might just get a response back, as I have from some of my favorite authors. There is nothing more invigorating than that.
3.) Finally, leverage your writing and reading abilities in diverse ways. Write reviews of what you read and share those through social media, on your blog, and anywhere else you see fit. Contact local schools and libraries about doing writing presentations about topics on which you feel you have the most expertise. Not only will you get to share your love of writing with others, but you may find you have a calling in public speaking. I have spent the last year and a half doing these presentations all around my home state of Michigan, and I am very much looking forward to all those presentations still to come. It's also worthwhile to work with other people's writing. If you have a talent for proofreading, or providing developmental or line editing services, put yourself out there and find clients. By reading other people's works, you will not only be helping other authors with their craft, but also honing your own. I have been doing this for years and am always eager to find new jobs. It's fun to read while at the same time doing something—editing in any form—that helps both me and my client at the same time.
No matter what stage of the writing life you are in, know that you are not alone. Everyone has been there at one point or another. Even J.K. Rowling, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and any other famous author you can think of. It's so easy to feel alone, but when you take the time to engage with others, whether online or in person, and you throw yourself head first into the greatness that is writing and reading, you won't be sorry. You'll just be happy that your passion is more than justified—it is nothing but your truth.
Author of Freshman Fourteen
YABC Staff Reviewer
Meet Freshman Fourteen (book 1)
Navigating the halls of Kipperton High should be easy for someone like Margot Maples. She's smart, sweet, and ready to start fresh. But with her best friend moved away, she's stuck wondering just how to fit in. Making her transition more difficult is Max, who always knows how to push her buttons, Walter, her geeky suitor, Cassie, the girl who seemingly has it all, and Peter, her first true crush. So, life doesn't go just the way she hopes.
Full of teen drama and theater, Beth Rodgers' foray into young adult literature captures the uncertainty of freshman year in the new novel, Freshman Fourteen.
If you are in the market for books about romance and the everyday annoyances that plague a teenage girl, look no further. It is a YA fiction book that will keep you riveted.
So, join Margot on a journey through the beginning of ninth grade – a time when your reputation is determined by the most trivial of matters, including where you eat, how many friends you have, and – most notably – who you kiss.