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How to Refocus Your Author Business: AskALLi Advanced Self-Publishing Salon August 2018

In this month’s Advanced Self-Publishing Salon from the Alliance of Independent Authors, Orna Ross and Joanna Penn discuss how to refocus your author business.

Topics discussed this week include

  • ALLi is pulling together a video and document explaining facts and myths about working with Amazon.
  • Orna is engaged in a great experiment to treat her poetry as she would any work of fiction or nonfiction.
  • Joanna is reading “time slip fiction” and writing a book based on Ezekiel’s “Valley of the Dry Bones.”
  • It’s important, as creative entrepreneurs, to map out your time in advance.
  • The challenges of becoming a screenwriter.
  • Ask yourself what you want to be known as. What do you want them to say about you at your funeral?
  • What are the tasks you should outsource?
  • If you build your assets over time, success is inevitable.

And more!

If you haven’t already, we invite you to join our organization and become a self-publishing ally. You can do that at http://allianceindependentauthors.org.

How to Refocus Your Author Business: Listen to the AskALLi Advanced Self-Publishing Salon

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How to Refocus Your Author Business: Watch the AskALLi Advanced Self-Publishing Salon

How to Refocus Your Author Business: Read the Transcript

Joanna Penn: Welcome to the Alliance of Independent Authors’ Advanced Self-Publishing Salon, and this is our first time using this tech. So how are you doing Orna?

Orna Ross: I am glowing, because ladies don’t perspire or whatever.

Joanna Penn: We have a big show for you today. We are going to be talking about, the question of, too much to do, how to refocus your author business. And it is kind of funny because last month we talked about writing in multiple genres and this month we’re talking about pulling it right back. So Orna, before we get into the theme of today, let’s talk about some updates. We always start with some updates from ALLi and also from you. So tell us what’s been going on.

Orna Ross: We have been continuing our conversations with Amazon and lots of progress I think have been made there. And we have a, a video, which is explaining a lot of what has been happening and that has now been cleared by Amazon. It’s almost ready to go. We’re preparing a pdf which will have links to all the different changes on the platform, around reviews and updates, essentially filling us in on what’s going on. And while you may not love everything that’s going on, we don’t expect everybody to be overjoyed by everything. I’m hoping that every member will at least have full clarity now and understand why, for example, if reviews disappeared, why and what is likely to happen and to know how to, how to handle it and how to, how to approach things. And I also feel confident that we can kind of reassure people that there is a genuine interest on part of Amazon in solving these problems. They’re not oblivious to what’s going on by any means and they are reading on and you know, doing what they can, but being an enormous company and there, you know, their, their tech, their tools and there is fallout and why that can be extremely frustrating. And I guess asking for members, understanding as well and appreciation that, you know, things are getting better. So lots of time and energy going into that.

Joanna Penn: When will that be out? And when will people get that information?

Orna Ross: As soon as we get the PDF finalized, so what we want to do is release the video and the pdf at the same time because not a lot of use and just, you know, the chart as it were without the links that can actually fill people in. So things don’t move quickly around there. That’s one thing. So, but certainly within the next two weeks I think it will be safe to say we should have that.

Joanna Penn: That’s fantastic. And it’s funny because I’ve been going through a bit of this and we’ll we might come back to it or I’ve been moving some of my books from CreateSpace to KDP prints because it does seem, I mean, maybe you can comment on this too. It does seem like they slowly shutting things down. At CreateSpace we’ve seen the closure of the digital DVDs and CDs unit. They got rid of services and so I’ve started to move my stuff over and I’m getting all the kind of slightly threatening emails about do you own the copyright to this? Your account may be shut down, you know, really that they move up the scale pretty blooming fast with, but with my account, I’ve been on Amazon with the same account for years, 11 or 12 years. So if they could put flags on like good accounts, then you know, I should have a flag. But it’s interesting. I mean this type of thing, as you say, it’s a big company and I have actually felt that anger this week with these emails me? Seriously, you wanna you wanna have a go on this?

Orna Ross: I think an awful lot of the problems are arising out of the language and the communication. Ironically, for a company that’s around books now, having said that though, you do have to send threatening take down those around copywriter every single day. So, people who were working on always legal is always just seems to be by definition are antagonistic and you know, I can’t think of the exact word, but yeah, I, I think a softening of the language would definitely be appropriate. It’s nothing to do with you. I think that’s the main message to give to authors. If you are acting in good faith as an author, you actually have absolutely nothing to worry about, but yeah, it is. there is no need for, for things to express the way they are expressed sometimes, and I think we should see a change in that, but I mean concentrating on the more substantive issues at the moment, which I think is, is more important and then finessing the language will happen I imagine.

Joanna Penn: Yeah. And what about you this month? What is your sort of personal update?

Orna Ross: Yeah, I’ve been switching everything over onto Velums, starting with poetry and I’m concentrating on. We’ll talk a little bit about the, the refocusing, the part of my refocusing has been, a concentration on poetry over the last little while. So I’m getting a lot of publishing of nonfiction but on the writing front and, and also then just tidying up poetry of always treated it differently in my mind. And so now I’m engaged on this great experiment to treat it exactly as I would a nonfiction book or a fiction book and just see what happens. So the start of that was essentially, I had never even set up a funnel specifically for poetry, and have never done ads. Never done so I’m going to do all of that. Just treat it as we would an ordinary book and just see what possible results are because in theory I micro-niche no matter how small with a global audience, it shouldn’t, you know, it still should sale, so it’ll be interesting to see because I’m always just relied on our organic sales and existing followers and all of that. So they’ve all been balanced, which is so satisfying, pretty satisfying experience. And now I’m turning onto fiction and excitingly infection found out a short while ago. my micro genre, which I think is becoming more and more important for fiction writers too, to know that small category. And if we have time, maybe we talk about the importance of all of that. And then they also faults and everything. But apparently there’s such thing called time slip fiction, which is two timeframes in a novel. And I’ve had a great time now because I’m reading all these books in that and finding they are exactly the books I love to read and write. So that’s been great. I’m planning, the new series based around that are still just very much in the planning stage because I’ve lots nonfiction to finish first. So that’s me.

Joanna Penn: I think. And it’s interesting because you and I have talked about the Instagram poets. So there’s definitely no reason why you can’t sell poetry using the same types of marketing. And also, now the ads, you know, you can do with print books. you know, we’ve seen comments in the ALLi forum about people actually doing well with ads with print books. So that’s exciting. so me, I am very excited because last month I was in that horrible finishing energy of all the different formats of how to write nonfiction.

And now I am, I am squarely back into fiction and 25,000 words into “Valley Of Dry Bones”, which is my next arcane thriller I’ve actually wanted. And those of you with, I have a theology degree, there’s a new with a religious background will know the valley of dry bones from Ezekiel. And I’ve always loved that story, whatever you would want to call it.

And so now I’m, I’m excited to write about it, bringing in New Orleans and Voodoo and all kinds of stuff. So that’s fun. And what else am I doing? Yeah. As I said, I’m moving over a lot of books to KDP prints and that and like, I think you mentioned last time and it stuck in my head, I need to be a better publisher and say that is. I was like, oh, there’s all these little things like getting on Google play. I’ve been saying it for like two years, still haven’t done it and I’m checking things off on my list of publishing.

And then the other thing that happened this month, we’re going to briefly touch on is I just posted my full year’s report on book sales and I’ve talked about it on my podcast and on the blog. So, I was just briefly going to mention, and I know again, you, you’re going to love this because we’ve been talking about it for years. Both a semi print revenue split has doubled in the last year from 10 percent of my revenue to 21 percent of my book sales revenue is print and audio has also doubled from four percent to eight percent. So, I’m taking down my dependence on eBooks, which is fascinating. You were the one who pushed me into doing IngramSpark and you know, about 18 months ago now. And that has definitely been part of it as well as doing the different formats, like the large print workbooks, that type of thing. okay. So the other thing that came out of my annual review was what I need to change because, even though, and it’s funny because you know it’s always balancing contentment and happiness with how you feel things need to change and I am very, very aware of how incredibly lucky I am to be doing this as a career, but equally I still need to keep creatively challenging myself and moving forward and living the creative life I wanna live. I mean, that’s part of our responsibility. So I’m. Oh wait. Oh, before we move into the topic, is there any news you want to cover?

Orna Ross: I think we’ll concentrate on the topic this week because it almost your, your sales figures are the news this week or this month. because I think it’s really important. I mean there’s, there are various things going on in the community. Maybe we would catch up on them next, next month, but I think this topic that we’re looking at is one that I’m seeing as a hugely important thing for the community at the moment. Particular moment. So let’s just go into that and if there’s times to news at the end we can add them in.

Joanna Penn: Okay. All right then. So basically the end point of my review is that I worked at that out. The reason I’m not moving forward in my author career financially as well as creatively really is because I’m trying to do too much. And so, you know, we’ve talked before that I moved into helping, you know, Co-writing with my mom on the sweet romance under Penny Appleton. I started screenwriting in the last year. I do all the other things that I do, you know, I speak, I do all of that stuff. And I basically, when I reviewed my figures, it really hit me that I cannot do everything. I just can’t do everything and something has to give. And the main thing that I kind of hit was, you know, I’m, I’m feeling kind of angry and resentful about doing things that I should be happy about. So that’s the kind of focus I guess is we can do everything as independent authors, but should we do it all? and what really hit me before I hand it back to you is Steven Pressfield in turning pro, which is a book that really helps me refocus as you know, as time goes past and there’s a quote it says when we turn pro everything becomes simple. And I was looking at this quote going, but this is not simple. Why is everything so hard? This is just, no, this is not my life is not simple. And then, and then I realized that I had to simplify it myself. So why do you think this is a common issue?

Orna Ross: I think because we’re in a playground and it’s so exciting and there are so many different things that we could be doing. That’s one part of it and, and so many things that we would want to do as creatives and secondly that we tried to do it all at once, probably and we don’t fully understand enough that you know about pace and sequencing and thirdly because I think we are, we need to wear three different hats. It’s a big ask. What we’re trying to do. It’s a big creative intention to make your living as a creative, doing something you love. do you know, working from a passion or a sense of purpose or both of those things and making money from that. It’s a big ask. And so, it’s a big stretch for a lot of us. and we don’t necessarily, we get everything all mixed up. We don’t understand that as, as sort of creative entrepreneurs of any kind as indie authors are, that we’re wearing three different hats and that we have to kind of map a month, a map per year and map are weak map our day to take account of that and to know which of the hats we’re wearing at a particular time. Otherwise we can get very overwhelmed. when we get overwhelmed rather than kind of let something go. We take in something new and I think this is almost universal. And then you go through that overwhelmed kind of phase where you feel like you’re in a washing machine and then you realize, okay, I can’t do everything. I’m going to have to let go. Just let go, let go of something I love. Let go of something that I really liked doing and we find that very hard as creatives, we find it much easier to do something else and kind of fool ourselves and pretend that we’re coming back to something. I mean I’m, I’m speaking completely from an experienced physician here.

I have been here and, and I think then it’s all, it’s kind of ongoing and then on top of all of that everything is changing at the same time. So it’s just really keeping track and, and staying in touch with that creative side. I would differ from Pressfield. I differ from Pressfield a lot. I agree with a lot and I differ a lot and I think it’s staying creative that keeps your focus in the right place. I think it’s going deep enough. I think when you, you know, if, if by turning pro we mean focus on the commercial. I think that yes we need to do that. Of course we need to balance it, but fundamentally staying attuned to that unique thing. That is our thing that we love the most and trusting that.

So that’s another thing that happens is that rather than trusting our own thing, we think, okay, I’ll just go over here and make some money at that and then I come back to the thing that I really love doing and we split our focus that way. And it’s very understandable because it’s actually, it’s hard to stay true to the core, but I think in the long run you save yourself a lot of time if you do that.

Joanna Penn: Yeah, I don’t think. I don’t think price fields, but he doesn’t. Turning pro is not about commercialism the book at all. It’s actually about not commercialism. it’s actually about when you, leave the shadow career for your true calling you. He uses that turning pro as more you decide on your path and you are professional and that you, you have a professional attitude towards it, which is, this is what I do. So just to be clear, I am very happy to be giving up Penny Appleton with my mom and my mom is actually going to come on my podcast and a couple of weeks because I know we had about an eight-hour meeting and people who work with their family. I mean you do honor, I mean, you know, Phillips in the business, Jonathan’s in my business, those of us who worked with loved ones that are so many amazing aspects and there are so many difficult aspects of it, but this was a big deal with my mom, but I feel after three books she, she is moving forward with her own writing and I am just thrilled to get rid of Penny Appleton. So that was really good. But the screen writing, I’m still kind of sad about it but I feel like screenwriting is, it’s a whole other career. It really is. And it’s not just the writing, like, like being an author as a screenwriter. You also have to do marketing. You have to market it, you have to pitch, you have to do all these thing and I just can’t do both. So as much as I want to do that, I am letting that go. I know you are still writing a script as well. what are some of the things that you’re going to give up?

Orna Ross: Yeah, I’m writing a script, but I think our motivations were a little bit different. I started script writing as a way of cutting through an immense amount of research for a particular project because I just fell in love with all these real people and I was trying to squash them into a novel, but it was all over the place. And so writing it as a script kind of got me focused and gave me a, a thread to work through and I think I will always kind of a map as a story, as a script from now on. And then not. I don’t know why thinking about it in visual form just seems to kind of contain me better. So if anything comes up, my son works and Phil and if anything was to come of it of course, but I’m not actually doing it thinking, oh, now I’m becoming a screen writer. It’s just, it’s just, a tool really for me.

So, yeah, what I have done, a lot of my refocusing has been around, the go creative stuff. So I have been writing the, the series as we know for a very long time. And then I was kind of thinking about how to, it needs like any, a nonfiction book. It’s, it needs more than just the book and the nature of this topic in particular. Creativity. It’s very experiential so you can read about it intellectually, but it doesn’t actually do you a whole lot of good. It has to be experienced. And so awhile back a good way back. I started this club which was very small and just for people who were close followers, and who had been around for some of them for years before I was even online. And I had set it up to do all sorts of services and things. And so no, that’s gone, that cannot be, not, so that’s like you’re saying a screenwriter, is a whole other career that will be a whole other business, you know, I’m director of the alliance of independent authors, that’s my day job, that’s my full time day job as is. And my writing, which is also and publishing, which is also a full time job. So you know, that’s enough. So, I am keeping it, but I’m setting it up now to be much more self-service. So it will be for people who can kind of stay motivated themselves. It will still help them guide much more than a book would. But once it’s set up from my side, it’s like a book in that it will be self-functioning. It’s not like ally a full service organization. So I’m a little bit sad about that. I think if I was 20 years younger I would have hired a team and you know, done something with it, but I’m not going to do it. I’d rather be writing poetry. Yeah. So that’s, that’s my, my,

Joanna Penn: That’s a couple of examples. Yeah, there. So let’s talk about you, the listeners and the process that you can go through and we both talked about things were a bit sad about and also happy about in terms of refocusing. So we’re not saying this is an easy process, but I think it’s a process that has to happen. So, step one, make a list of everything you’re doing, and this was my first thing and actually doing the annual report for me on the blog and the blog is partly, accountability for me to you the convenience. so by doing that, by forcing myself through that and putting it out in public and it was super painful, but it helped me because I wrote a list of everything that I kind of done in the last year in terms of book sales. So that is step one, empty your mind and include everything else. So of course, I had to write down on my list the publishing tasks, the marketing tasks, the podcast, the YouTube channel, speaking, all social media, all those things. And we’ve also talked before about outsourcing to teams. And the wonderful. Alexandra is on, it’s on today as well. She’s my secret weapon, but Orna. What, you also had another tip for this first step?

Orna Ross: Yeah, just in terms of we can categorize, I think uninsured in terms of the task that we’re doing and then I think it’s useful to break them into three categories. So as the great entrepreneurs we are doing what I call it crafter tasks, which for a writer obviously it’s writing the books essentially and then we have a creative director task which is, you know, the pub, a lot of the publishing tasks but also the processes that get the book written. So it knots around processes and things and then the, what I call the entrepreneurial task, which is about expanding your business, reaching out, you know, pitching to other people. making partnerships and all that kind of stuff. So I think it’s useful to think of the three when we’re categorizing our tasks. We’re very good at remembering the craft tasks, you know, getting the book written, getting it, but maybe you know, setting up some arts or something. But the overall picture, I think it’s useful to think to break it into those three.

Joanna Penn: Yeah. Okay. So once you’ve got your big list, the second. So that’s like getting rid of all the stress because when you’re, when you’re overwhelmed and stressed and you feel like it’s, the list will never end. So once you’ve got it all out your head, then you need to take a deep breath and step back and step away from it. So, this is the, instead of working in your business, you need to work on your business and be the CEO and try and like get out of your own head in a way. And this is where you have to think, what do you want to achieve in the next five to 10 years? What do you want to be known as? And another, another good question. And it is when someone says, oh, what do you do? What comes to your, what comes up? So I say I’m an author. And then if they say, oh, what do you write? I say, I write thrillers. So that’s how I define myself. I actually say I’m an author and I write thrillers, so why am I not spending the largest chunk of my time on the thing that I self-define as? yeah, that’s a big, big question. But that is, so that’s the next step is what do you want to be known as and where do you want to be in five to 10 years? Because how you do your day is how you do your life basically. So Orna back to you. You have some tips.

Orna Ross: Yeah. Well, the funeral exercise I think supplements that idea. So, you know, at the end of it all, when somebody, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re not atrophy, and when you’re dead, you’re in a casket, What are they saying you know, what would you want them to be saying about how you lived and what you did. So it’s what you did. Absolutely. But also how you did it. And, and again, you know, we’re here, right in that as you say, the, the, the, this is the creative director task. This is your, you call it the CEO. This overview of what you’re about, you can save yourself so much time by actually getting this one right you by not taking up those things that you have to let go later and it’s well worth putting in some deep time into this, so doing some free writing around it, meditating if that’s your thing and I think it’s important. The deeper you go on this actually, the more time you spend on this exercise, the more time you’ll save overall.

Joanna Penn: Yeah, and it’s, it’s a, it’s a difficult one and you do have to obviously balance. making a living with your creative side, but in this case you are really like what is, what do I want to achieve? And it’s such a big question. And then also what do you love doing and what do you hate doing? And again, we’ve talked about outsourcing. Are there things that you could outsource that you could find other people to help you with? And of course, this is a reason why so many big-name indies sometimes move into having an agent or even a publisher again, because they weigh up the pros and cons and as we’ve seen, you know, some people are moving back that way or going with Amazon publishing, which is a traditional publisher in order to take advantage of some of those processes. So that’s a really interesting question too. What do you like and also what is your kind of a unique aspect. So again, writing poetry, writing fiction, writing books, that’s the unique bit about you and everybody that that can’t be outsourced. That I never understand why people outsource the writing of books. Isn’t that why we’re here?

Orna Ross: Yeah for us, it is for, for people who are actually passion driven writers, you know, for all those, they actually love maybe running a teams of writers and they don’t necessarily love the first part, but they might actually like the editing and pulling that stuff together. So it does depend on what you love. And I think, you know, we don’t think enough again about this and I think we’re, again, communities only getting to the point of having enough confidence to really think about this. So the obvious thing to do if you want some help if and if you have the offer, is to take a, a trade publisher and that can be very useful or to have an agent or a manager or something. And I thought that is the time, tried and tested method. The way things are now, I think it’s much more useful to really break your tasks down into what you love. So for you it’s absolutely, as you say, it’s the writing, but for James Patterson, it probably isn’t. It’s something else. And to break down there are seven stages to the publishing process. Which ones do you like? Which ones do you not outsource?

Joanna Penn: Happening? Live video.

Orna Ross: Goodbye to outsource. When you take a trade publisher, you don’t get a choice of what bits you outsource. You get a lot or not. Same with an agent. We’re doing some very specific things for you and that’s great. If the things you want done but as indies actually there might be some parts of that that you really liked. So, for example, one of the reasons I won’t be taking a trade publisher at any time soon is because I actually love the design working with the designer directly. I like certain parts of the marketing’s that I wouldn’t want to let go to somebody else. So by isolating out the tasks, I actually think by just doing the bits you love and by thinking of yourself as a business, if you can just like an ordinary business mode when setting up every business that starts has to get some help and some support. Nobody does everything themselves and I would argue having now watched across the board stuff, there isn’t. Nobody is capable of writing and publishing, we’ll all the various functions from start to finish and running an indie author business. You do need help and you need to think about that in terms of your budget when you’re starting off and as you go through. And I think, again, you will save a lot of time and a lot of heartache if you actually work at, I love this, I don’t love that I’m going to outsource that part, I’m going to do, I need this task done and I’m going to get somebody to do that while I go off and do the bit that I am uniquely good at.

Joanna Penn: Yeah. And just, for people watching, listening, go back and listen to the episode we did on building teams because it was, it’s also important to eliminate tasks. So, because you don’t actually need a lot of the stuff that we think we need so eliminate before you outsource. But just to return to our refocusing topic here. So then the next point, once you have the tasks on your list is how can you reorganize your time so that you focus on your number one priority. And this comes down to saying no a lot and this is something that I keep coming back to. I struggle tremendously with saying no and I need to get over that. And one of the exercises I’ve been, I now have written down, this is what I do, this is what I don’t do. and it’s really hard for me to even say out loud something like I do not speak as Joanna Penn, that is a new thing like live and, you know, Orna. I’ve been moving towards this for a while. but I increased

Orna Ross: First time I heard that sentence just like that though. You haven’t actually made it that simple and stark before.

Joanna Penn: It’s the first time I’ve said it out loud. I think I look at me, stroking my throat. There’s a lot of things going on there as I’m speaking, but this is what you need. This is so hard for me because for the last 10 years I have spoken professionally as a paid speaker as Joanna Penn. I do have several more things this year that are already booked and paid for. So those are Anna Neincan at Bookbaby and I will be at events like, London book fair, but I want to speak as JF Penn. I want to speak as my fiction self so I’m not giving up speaking, but I want to do a different kind of speaking, as a different persona. And the thing is until you get rid one thing, you can’t make space for something else. So that is, that’s kind of the next thing. and so how do you make more space? So, speaking is one thing, but for fiction for example, what I’ve added in is it, so why go to the cafe and write, but I only now, right? Jf Penn. so for the next 18 months I’ve committed to Jf Penn only in terms of books. I will still do Joanna Penn podcasting and stuff, but my books will be JF Penn the next 18 months and every writing session will be that. And that has made a huge difference in my happiness and also to my word count in the last week. What about you? Well, what are your sort of refocusing tips on planning?

Orna Ross: Yeah, well, I mean the goal creative series is a about a lot of this stuff. It’s, it’s. But I spent a long time working out as sort of a mapping method that I think works for creatives because I think a lot of the time scheduling tools that arrived there are not necessarily at that grade for creations mainly because a lot of them are business focused on their profit first and they don’t take enough account of the craft or tasks that we need to do and how central that is for us. So, the biggest thing I think is to translate those tasks. I think we’re pretty good. Anybody who’s putting books out is doing something right. I think it’s important to say that it’s really the hardest bit is to write and publish a book and get it out there. But a lot of people have long to do lists. It’s converting that task list into time is where I’m getting real about that. And again, I’m speaking very much from the experience here and I think it’s something that I see a lot of creators, you know, in our head, we can do it all in our heads. It will be done in a much shorter time than it actually takes to deliver. Now you’re much better at time scheduling than the average. Indeed most of us have. It’s sort of a fuzzy notion.

So, couple of, of things that are very useful is that an optimal amount of time to sit down and work is 90 minutes in terms of deep work in terms of deep creative work and just focusing 90 minutes is there is a study that shows that that is in terms of getting into the creative zone and getting those deeper brainwaves moving and getting into flow that 90 minutes is optimal. Going over that is, is diminishing returns. So the mapping method that I do is based around that and one session a day or three sessions a day. But the whole point, I don’t think it matters whether it’s 20 minutes, an hour and a half, you might say, I am grateful for two hours. Somebody else might say an hour and I’m done. It isn’t so much about the time as the fact that it is timed. So you start at this time, you stop at that time. And you keep going in between and you keep, you just don’t let yourself stop and you make sure you turn for yourself. It’s, it’s about showing up and I think if you plot your month then and if you look at your three hats that you must wear and if you make sure that you are covering off those the balance bonds the core activity of the crafting and the entrepreneurial activity of reaching out and doing your social media and expanding, you know, your followers and you’re keeping an eye on your processes. building assets over time. I think success is inevitable. It’s just a matter of staying with it and not getting distracted as you go?

Joanna Penn: I think that’s really important point there. Success is inevitable if you keep going in the same direction for a long time, but the difficulty then comes have I been trying to climb all these different walls and that’s how I get. It’s like I spent 13 years with my ladder up the wrong wall when I was in implementing accounts payable as a consultant and then, you know, you ended up doing things that potentially you end up being up a wrong wall again. So You have to keep going, okay, what, which, which wall and my climbing, what ladder do I need to watch? And I can’t have ladders on every single different wall because I have to come down and then climb up the other one and then come down. And climb up the other one that I think I might be stretching the metaphor, but hopefully.

Orna Ross: I get it completely. And you’re absolutely right. And then on the other side of that is that you can balance different things. It doesn’t mean you only have to do one thing and it’s always, isn’t it about that fine balance? It’s, it’s a challenge. So for me, part of refocusing was deciding with a goal creation stuff. Again, in wanting to support people was about doing more video and not writing, you know. So, I didn’t want another writing task on top of more writing but doing it as video and doing a different aspect of it, which was about creative flow, and everything was very satisfying for me, kept me accountable, pinned me down, and also, I helped others. So you can balance different parts of yourself, but you do need to choose and be selective, I suppose, in terms of getting that fine balance, right? It’s about trying a little and then resurrecting and trying something else and correct again and not getting strayed too far from the core mission, if you know what that is, I guess.

Joanna Penn: Yeah. So just as a recap, if you are feeling overwhelmed then try this exercise which both of us have been going through and of course I predict we will have this conversation again, I do not think this is it for out. we are so refocused now forever. We’re just going to be so, I guess that that probably rounds it up, but then I guess the main thing is you probably have to let go of something to let the thing you really want to do. Take the fore. That’s probably my learnings and of course because I post my figures at the end of every tax year, I have to do this again next year, so we can have that conversation again and see if it has worked, which will be interesting for sure. So Orna we’ll be back next month. Is there anything that you want to mention before we head off?

Orna Ross: Nope. I think that’s it. we will focus maybe next month a little bit more on the news and if anybody has any topic that’s the only other thing I would like to say if there’s any topic you would particularly like us to focus on in these advanced sessions this is our advanced. We have a beginner salon for people who are just starting off or self-publishers, but this is actually the advanced salon. We don’t really cover writing craft or anything here. It’s very much about you know, running a successful indie author business. So if there’s any aspect of that you would particularly like us to cover in the. In the coming months we’ll be planning out the schedule of, of, of themes and topics. So let us know what to what you fancy hearing us talk for half an hour.

Joanna Penn: Thank you to everybody for listening today. Thank you Orna and we’ll be back next month with another advance salon. So happy writing, happy publishing. Until next time.

Orna Ross: Thanks everyone. Bye

About the Hosts

Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author, as well as writing non-fiction for authors. She is also a professional speaker and entrepreneur, voted as one of The Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013. She spent 13 years as a business IT consultant in large corporations across the globe before becoming a full-time author-entrepreneur in September 2011. For more information about Joanna, visit her website: http://thecreativepenn.com

Orna Ross launched the Alliance of Independent Authors at the London Book Fair in 2012. Her work for ALLi has seen her named as one of The Bookseller’s “100 top people in publishing”. She also publishes poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and is greatly excited by the democratising, empowering potential of author-publishing. For more information about Orna, visit her website: http://www.ornaross.com

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