This week, we are featuring two amazing friends of mine who have taken the leap from blogger to author. On Monday, we interviewed Shannon and today I’m proud to welcome my friend Stefanie here to the blog.
Stefanie owns The Broke and Beautiful Life blog and is an accomplished actor, writer, blogger, speaker, and now author. Like most of my online and now real life friends, she dabbles in everything and is a true inspiration and entrepreneur.
Stefanie took the time to sit down and answer some questions about what it was like to write a book and advice for bloggers who are looking to do the same. As I said on Monday, writing a book is a dream that many people have but few accomplish. Stefanie is here to explain the process and give advice on how to make it all happen.
Hey Stefanie! First, tell us a little bit about your book, also called The Broke and Beautiful Life. Why did you decide on that title and what types of topics does the book feature?
The Broke and Beautiful Life is all about maximizing your money to live rich and beautifully regardless of how limited your budget and income is.
My goal in writing this book was to reach out to a new audience- millennials, freelancers and artists- and get them excited about their money and talking about all the possibilities that are available to them once they master the financial fundamentals.
I know there are many ways to write a book, from finding your own agent to self-publishing. However, your editors came to you, right? What steps did you take to make sure the company was legitimate and that their offer was appropriate?
After the publishers approached me I did a lot of research on the publishing industry and the benefits of using a traditional publisher vs self-publishing. I also researched some of my publisher’s other authors and reached out to them to ask about their experience with the publisher. At the end of the day, I think I knew that I probably wasn’t going to go through with writing a book any time soon on my own, so I might as well seize this opportunity and make it happen.
How was writing a book different from writing several blog posts a week?
This was actually the most difficult thing for me to navigate. While my blogs are essentially 500-1,000 word thought bubbles, a book needs a logical arc and a cohesive message. I spent a lot of time thinking about a structure that would make sense while best serving the overall “broke and beautiful” mission, which more than anything, is to inspire.
In writing about personal finance it’s really easy to get caught up in the nitty gritty of explanations and information, but I kept reminding myself, that isn’t the goal- at least not for this book. This book is about getting the reader motivated enough to take immediate action and follow up with more in depth research on their own.
What were some of the challenges and pitfalls you experienced during the writing process?
Staying on task. I wrote my book over the summer which was a major challenge. There are far too many temptations and distractions when the sun is calling. I remember being down on the Jersey shore a week before my deadline and having to constantly excuse myself from my friends at the beach to go sit in the hotel room and edit.
How did you balance creating a book with blogging, juggling several writing clients, and oh yeah, being in a Broadway play this past holiday season!?
No sleep. Just kidding. But honestly, finding balance both when writing and now marketing the book has been very difficult, especially with so many other projects. I wish I could say I’ve figured out how to juggle it all, but that would be totally dishonest. If it weren’t for hard deadlines, I don’t know that I’d get anything done.
What advice would you give someone who wants to write a book? Do you think bloggers are better suited for it because they already have the audience or worse suited because they’re used to writing shorter posts.
I think it depends on your goals. For me, building The Broke and Beautiful Life is about fulfilling a larger mission to bring the conversation of money and financial literacy to people who might not get it otherwise. Writing a book gave me a platform to better serve and continue that mission.
If your goal is just to make money or develop passive income streams, I think there are other ways to do it that won’t require quite so much time and effort, and will probably provide a better return on investment.
What steps are you taking to market your book? Have some marketing efforts been more successful than others?
I don’t know that I can speak to which marketing efforts have been the most successful just yet, but here’s what I’ve done thus far. I’ve appeared on lots of radio shows and podcasts. I also had a book launch party where I got tons of fabulous photos of people with my book. Finally, I created a hashtag campaign around the book launch which has been a lot of fun. People will tweet or Facebook a picture of themselves with holding the book with the hashtag #breakingbroke. I’ve gotten submissions from Vegas to Belize. It’s the perfect way to keep the conversation going in a way that really coincides with the overall broke and beautiful mission of getting excited about what money mastery affords you.
Would you ever write a second book now that you’ve been through the process once?
Not any time in the near future. I certainly won’t discount it as a possibility, I just have so many other projects I’m working on right now.
If and when I write my second book, I want to make sure I’m adding new value. Because my writing is so driven by personal experience, I need to rack up a few more experiences before diving into a new story. (Fingers crossed I go from broke to rich in the next few years and can share that journey as the follow up).
Do you have any promotional events coming up that you’d like to share with our readers?
For any tri-state area readers, I’m going to be giving a talk at the library in Greenwich, Connecticut this April as part of the their “money week”. I also have a bunch of radio interviews lined up which you can find posted on my site, stefanieoconnell.com. Finally, the #breakingbroke campaign is always in action. Feel free to send me your best shot!
Where can we find out more about you, your book, and any future endeavors you might take on?
Stefanieoconnell.com is the landing page for all my latest news and events, from my work in theater to my latest speaking engagements to the most up to date book and blog news. The Broke and Beautiful Life book is available on Amazon in kindle and paperback and the blog is always being updated with new content. You can also follow on twitter, facebook, pinterest, and instagram!
Awesome! Thanks so much for your time Stefanie! Readers, do you have any questions for Stefanie about her journey to becoming an author?