The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 61 – The Hurdles Facing Women Authors with Alexa Bigwarfe

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Do women authors face unique challenges?

Autumn and special guest, Alexa Bigwarfe, delve into this topic as well as ways to support women authors.

Alexa is a USA Today bestselling author, runs Write, Publish, Sell and is the organizer of the Women in Publishing Summit.

This episode has tips not just for women, but for anyone who is busy or feels too overwhelmed to tackle dreams such as writing.

Check out the Women in Publishing Summit which runs from March 2 - 8. Registration starts at FREE! Check it out at https://womeninpublishingsummit.com/.

Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.

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Read the full transcript below.

(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).

Narrator (0s): You're listening to the amwritingfantasy podcast. In today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need in literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing join to best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them. Now onto the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.

Autumn (29s): Hello, I'm autumn and this is episode 61 of the amwritingfantasy podcast and the women have taken over today. Yes, for is a way, and so today we instead have author and organizer Alexa Bigwarfe and she is joining me for a discussion on the hurdles facing women authors. So hello Alexa welcome to the podcast.

Alexa (51s): Hi, thank you so much for having me. I'm so happy you could join us today. And actually right now I'm over in Vermont and it's a beautiful sunny day, so thank you for being inside and, uh, hanging out with me. Absolutely. Well, I'm in South Carolina where it's normally beautiful and sunny, but today it's overcast and gross, so

Autumn (1m 13s): that worked out for you then. It's great. Fantastic. And so I have a little introduction so that people can listening can get and feel of for who you are. And so we'll just get that out of the way till we can free up the discussion. So Alexa you are a wife, a mother of three, a dog owner, which I'm going to have to ask what kind of dog and an advocate for those without a voice. You are passionate about advocating for women's and children's rights and discusses these topics on your podcast, which is the same name as a series you've written lose the Cape.

So you're also a USA today bestselling author and you're an editor and publisher of lose the Cape anthology series sunshine after the storm, a survival guide for the grieving mother. Ditch the fear and just write it and many other books. And if all of that isn't enough, you also run and organize the women in publishing summit every year, which I took part last year and loved it and I can't wait to it for it to be this year. And you also run the write publish sell website, which is dedicated to helping authors.

So I don't know how you fit all of that. And really

Alexa (2m 22s): I don't sleep much is my standard answer on that one.

Autumn (2m 26s): I understand. I know when I first started writing and people asked how I found time to do it, I would look at them straight with a dead pan face and say, I'm a vampire, I'm gonna start using that one. That's a much better answer. Oh, you know, it throws them off. Like they were kind of like, are you serious?

Alexa (2m 44s): I love it. Well, you know, now that my three children are all in school for seven hours a day like it or six, seven hours, however long they're gone, um, it makes a big difference and I'm able to cram a lot more in. My husband swears that multi multitasking is impossible and that is just one of the many differences between men and women because I think women can run circles around men and doing multiple things at the same time.

Autumn (3m 10s): I highly agree, which is so like I said, it'd be so much fun for taking over the podcast today, we'll probably, you know, solve all the problems of the world. While all smell disgusting, you know. Right. That's right. That's right. Excellent. Well, I'm so happy to have you here and I have to say, so I'm a dog lover too. Um, my, I have a current terrier who is like a giant golden version of Toto. So what kind of dog do you have?

Alexa (3m 33s): Dog Mia is a, she's definitely a mix of a yellow lab and something else that could be picked could be bulldog, could be all kinds of combinations. She's a mutt. She was a rescue, so we don't know what she is fully, but she is truly the sweetest dog we've ever come across. And she's a gentle giant. We love her.

Autumn (3m 54s): Yeah, that's just, I absolutely adore dogs. And that was actually sort of how I ended up with my husband. He had the cutest dog. Oh my God. So I fell in love with a dog, kept the boys. It's worked out

Alexa (4m 6s): well. There you go. So there is some truth to be told to men getting puppies and taking them for walks in the park if they're looking to pick up chicks. Huh?

Autumn (4m 13s): Yeah. So we're already giving dating tips to anyone out there listening. Yes. If you are trying to get together with someone, a really cute dog or a wonder,

Alexa (4m 22s): well you know, being a writer can be such a life of solitude that maybe maybe we do need to throw out some tips for social interaction from time to time.

Autumn (4m 33s): That's like she probably, we could get away with a podcast of like writing or dating tips for writers because we're all introverts, so we're like, I know sometimes if my husband didn't be like, are we eating today? Are you doing anything other than taking your laptop somewhere of like, Oh you are here. I didn't know you were in the house.

Alexa (4m 50s): Exactly. I did the same thing though with my three children. It's generally not a good thing. So we have a rule that when I'm working they're only allowed to come bother me if one of them is bleeding or, or really like truly needs my help. It can't be an argument over which television Joe they can watch. So

Autumn (5m 9s): yeah, I saw a reverse am blog article once, which I wish I could find it again. If anyone is listening and knows of this one, it was a family's interpretation of a mother's writing, a writer, mother's hand signals, and you know, she would hold up the one finger which to her about one minute and the family is like, okay, give her five. If she holds up two fingers, it's like give her 10 not two minutes. And if she gives you a full stop, it means do not fricking bothering me right now. She is on a roll. Go leave the house and come back into.

That is so true. It's just like there's what we think we got going on and then there's what the rest of the world realizes. We really mean when we say no, not now. Oh my gosh. So yes, if anyone knows of it, please send it to me. I've lost the link and it just cracked me up whenever I read it. It was fantastic. But anyway, so I'm so excited to have you here and I love that you're a USA today bestselling author. You have so much information and so many things that you're doing, but how did you start out?

When were you, when were you a newbie and how did you start writing

Alexa (6m 16s): well, it's kind of a sad story, so I'm sorry to bring anybody down here. Um, I actually, I wanted this, so the first part, it's not so sad. I've wanted to write since I was a little girl. I mean I started writing my name all over my grandparents couches and walls as soon as I could hold a pen, right. Which, uh, they were not very happy. But um, um, so I I self, I self illustrated and wrote my first book at the age of six called my unicorn. My mother threw it away at some point in time, so tears, no, but I always wanted to write and I'm one of those kids who if you go back and look through my stuff from like middle school and high school, like I have stories upon stories that I started but never quite finished.

I have like index cards of, of I, I one of those title people. So I would just daydream titles for day is, you know, cause I had like 700 titles of books and stories, you know. But um, somewhere along the line, uh, my dad was the mill in the military. We moved overseas. I totally fell in love with am overseas stuff and I wound up majoring in international studies and then eventually I went into the air force. Um, so I was doing, I was in air force intelligence officer and I did for for a decade.

I did technical writing and briefs and really, uh, really honed my writing, my writing and speaking skills through that career. And then writing um, some counter terrorism, uh, briefings and things like that for the state of South Carolina after I left the military. It's a very interesting career. Very, very interesting. I loved what I did. Um, like I said, 10 years total time working for the air force and for the state of South Carolina and doing really, really cool things and writing a lot of emergency plans and all this kind of stuff, grant writing, all of that dry boring stuff.

But it trained me very well in technical writing and am I decided to, it was, it was hard working in counter terrorism and by that point in time we had two small children. So I decided to stay at home and um, be a stay at home mom because I thought that would be easier. Um, it was not, we decided to have our third child cause my husband and I are both the third of four children and we were like, we can't stop before we get to number three obviously.

Um, and when we, I went in for my first ultrasound and they found out that there were two. So we had number three and 4:00 AM together. But a long, long story short, um, the babies were identical twins. They had, they suffered from a syndrome called twin to twin transfusion syndrome, which is very, very deadly if not treated. It was very scary and we thought both babies were going to die. We went through a lot of, lot of stuff, a lot of hospitalizations and they were born 10 weeks early.

And, um, Caris, my surviving twin was one pound 10 ounces and she spent, yeah, she was a little bitty. She lo fighter, she spent three months in the NICU and her sister, Catherine, um, just had entirely too many, uh, issues. And she only stayed with us for two days before she was, it was very sad. So in that time frame, there's obviously a lot of stuff going on. And I started blogging as a way to deal with grief and anger and just shock and awareness to tell other people about this syndrome that I felt my doctors were so poorly educated on.

And, you know, all these things. So I took the blogging and, um, really found a space and place for not only helping other grieving mothers, but for helping people who didn't know how to deal with grieving mothers. Like what might be the most common search term is still to this day, eight years later, uh, what do I say to someone who's just lost a baby? So I started writing on those topics and um, and I decided that I wanted to do more. By that point in time, I had am really gotten into a big community of other bloggers and writers on grief.

And so I reached out to a bunch of people that I knew who, who were, who were doing things, either they were setting up organizations to support grieving families where they were blogging about it or they were doing all these different things. And I invited, um, I think it's 34 of us total. So I reached out to all these people and ask them to be a part of this project that I wanted to do, which was a book called sunshine after the storm, a survival guide for the grieving mother. And it's basically like, Oh yeah, it was. So, it was a really healing project for me.

So part of my mission across the years has been using writing as a tool to heal and how no matter what genre, whether it's a children's book or a nonfiction book or even a fiction book, like there's so many ways that you can use your writing to work through things in your own life to heal to all of those things. So, yeah. So I became an accidental publisher basically because, you know, I just, I fell in love with the process and wanted to learn everything I could possibly learn about publishing.

And then we started the lose the Cape series, which is our guide for am for moms. Cause I was still raising children. So we did that and like, so now I've got more books coming out and people are coming to me, what are you doing? How are you doing this? I want to write a book. How do I do it? Yeah. So right. Publish sell was born.

Autumn (11m 44s): That is amazing. So yes, I mean basically from almost before you started putting the words that became your published novel on paper, you've been helping other on their journey from the get go. Right?

Alexa (11m 55s): Yeah. So, so yeah, through the, through the blogging and then through am basically kind of, so some people who were also writing on grief came to me first. And this is when I realized that that there was an opportunity for me to really help a lot of other people is because they came to me and they were like, Hey, I don't know how to get my book a formatted and I don't know how to do this and I don't know how to do that. So it started off with me just kind of helping out my friends in the green area who wanted to write and publish books too. And then, you know, word caught on. I started realizing that I, well, first of all being a stay at home mom, but just never quite worked out for me.

I, I wanted to be doing more like constantly. So I knew I didn't want to leave my kids though I still wanted that flexibility of being able to be home with them. And so I was looking for opportunities and at this time, like this is when like digital, the digital world was just blowing up. I mean, so all this stuff is happening, eBooks coming out, you know, all these, all these big transitions. So I was able to start looking at maybe I could be a blogger and make money through blogging. Maybe I could do this, maybe I could do that.

And so I just built my business from the ground up, doing a lot of different things. And, and um, eventually as I was working with these different writers, I realized that I didn't want to just help them prepare their book for publication. Like I wanted to be a publisher. So I took on that role and we have am, Kat, biggie press and purple butterfly press and Chrysalis press, which are nonfiction, basically hybrid press, a children's book, hybrid press. And then Chrysalis is our traditional publishing house.

But we have, we had a slow down, we took on way too much, way too fast. So we have stopped submissions for all of those for a while because now I'm focusing on the women and publishing summit

Autumn (13m 43s): I know, I can't wait til we talk about that, but before we do, I want to, so what do you think I get into, what do you think are the differences between a woman author and our account? Our male counterparts because I know I've definitely seen some differences and it's interesting. It's so it's kinda fun to open up that conversation and maybe some guys will get some perspective into, you know, helping their struggling female partners who want to be writers too. There's so many different

Alexa (14m 9s): is across the board from the way that we tackle our projects to our mindset issues. Like when guys in general, this is all generalizations of course, but generally speaking, when a dude decides he's going to do something, he sits down and he does it. If a guy decides I'm gonna write a vampire paranormal, romance, Blab, blah, blah, shape shifter, you know, whatever. Throughout all your, I'm not a fantasy writer, so I do

Autumn (14m 37s): you're doing really good. This might make these next book.

Alexa (14m 42s): I decided I'm going to sit down and write it. Generally speaking, I'm not saying that they don't have fears and challenges in that, but they sit down and they do it. Whereas a woman were like, well, do I know enough? I don't have an MFA. I've never taken a writing class. Can I do this or are people gonna laugh at me? What are they going to do? Like who am I? Like all these things just start going through our minds as women. So we have issues from there, you know, just in terms of can I do this, will I do this? But then I mean there's like a thousand other things women whether you're a mother or not, women tend to be the ones who take on the roles of caretakers, caregivers, planners, organizers.

So we're doing all the things in our lives. We're the ones who generally speaking, again, nobody threw rotten tomatoes at me. And you know what, there is a shift going on like my husband now is a stay at home dad, so I can't, you know, stay at home dads slash he works part time in my business now. But um, but, but you know, so, so I know that men are doing all these things as well. But generally speaking, like we just, we approach things differently. We have different things that hold us back. We have different things that hold us back in the world.

Like the, if you, every once in a while I see the article come up about how many women had to um, use mail pen names because that's the only way they could sell sell books, you know, so, so there are not only internal things that stop us from moving forward. There are still very definite external things happening in our world that, that keep women from having the same level of success. And I'm not one of those, you know, door bang feminists, like men need to die, all that kind of stuff that you see that you see some people on the far extreme side.

But I what I do, but I do see, I do see some challenges that women have to face and especially marginalized voices, women of color, women in any type of super minority type thing. You know, there, there's a lot of challenges still out there. So you know, it

Autumn (16m 45s): no. Yeah, I totally agree. Cause I know like I think my F the first question I often hear when female authors asking themselves is when can I find the time? Because I agree. It seems like every woman author I know is even myself, I don't have kids. We decided not to a long time ago before we even got together, so it worked out. But it's still, I'm the primary cook, you know, I tend to do the primary organizational things that he does the primary and be like maintenance things and he's putting them in. But you're right, it's like, I'm going to go and I'm going to go do this now and then it'll be done and then I'm going to go and do this now.

And for me it's like, well, I've got to juggle this. I gotta deal with this. I've got to get this done today at blah, blah, blah. You know, it's like I have 16 balls in the air and I'm like, can I throw out the 17th if it's a pedo of size? But it means, I'm sorry. No, go ahead. Yeah. Do it's exhau. It's, I really think we struggle with trying to hold it all together and carve out that time for ourselves. It's

Alexa (17m 41s): very unusual, um, from the men that I see in my life again. So I'm just using my little am snapshot of the world here. It's very to see a guy when I see them want to do something to stop and think, now, wait a minute, what am I going to get the laundry done and when am I going to get food and do I have a menu plan and do I have, you know, no. They're like, okay, I'm going to join the hockey team and I'm going to go play hockey or I'm going to write a book or I'm gonna, you know, learn how to play the guitar or go hang out with friends or go, you know, that's they, they just, they do.

And some women just do two and it's a L it's a thing that I'm having to teach myself actually, is that it's, if I have to focus on whatever it is, that is my priority and if it is my priority, then I have to be willing to let other things slide. It's okay if we eat leftovers for two days in a row. My kids don't think so, but I'm okay feeding them. It's okay to order from time to time. It's okay to let them watch movies as well. I write on a Saturday afternoon, you know, so,

Autumn (18m 45s): Oh, I love that. No, I, I totally agree and I think that's we. I love your lose. Lose the Cape series. I hadn't seen it until I was looking up stuff, but it's so true. We all think we have to do it all. We have to do it and I've learned even in my life to be much more advocating too. I think that's one thing. Guys are really good at saying, I am doing this and they stayed at, they go and do it and if they don't get something done or if someone else has to pick up the Slack wherever the chips fall, they just go and do it and women. We tend to be like, how can I fit that in where if it's something we're passionate about, sometimes you just have to say, I am doing this and you're either going to have to help or it is not going to happen because I am doing this and it's so scary.

Sometimes we'd switch with you in a relationship where you're the one who tends to pick up the other half of everything. But yeah, sometimes you just have to do it. And even am I've hit 45 now and I'm still learning.

Alexa (19m 39s): Okay. That's really funny. If you've been in a relationship with somebody for a long time when you're like, Nope, I'm not doing that anymore. Sorry. You've got to do the grocery shopping. You've got, you know, it's funny, as we shift roles a little bit now, this is a recent change for us. So we are still very much in the figuring it all out phase of him being the primary house person and you know, it's still in my nature to like stop work. It's like look at the clock and be like, Oh my gosh, it's six o'clock we have to eat dinner and I somebody, somebody's got to cook it.

So it must be me. So you know, I've had to stop and say, you know what, he knows where the food is, you know, and tell him like, Hey, it's six o'clock I'm not ready to stop yet. I have deadlines, I need you to make dinner. And you know, we're getting better at it. But it is, yeah, it's a, it's a challenge.

Autumn (20m 28s): It is. I mean, I've been with my husband, we've known each other 20 years this year and we've been married 18 and so agreed. We've, I mean for any relationship to last that long, it goes through a lot of changes. There's a saying that may you have, um, I think it's one merit, one spouse in many marriages, in other words, stay with the same person, but your marriage shifts and changes and it's a, it's a wonderful terminology saying, you know what? Nothing is ever the same. Everything keeps changing. You're both going to change. And yes, I've seen that.

Definitely as we've grown from our twenties to our thirties and now we're the hitting our forties. And it is just interesting to see the dynamics change in me learning to be much more of an advocate and him learning to he's, I still think guys, sometimes they cannot, if you do not tell them by the way this needs to be done, they don't really figure it out. But maybe that's just all the guys I go with my life. He's like, okay, the thing sitting in the front in the middle of the room. Yes, there's some general truth to that, but I do feel, so I started reading with fantasy.

Um, it was definitely, you know, it is my genre, it's what I'm passionate about. But I always felt very fortunate because the first author I picked up was ed McCaffrey. So a woman. My next favorite was Mercedes Lackey. My favorite book was written by Terry Wendling and I've always loved Margaret Weis. This is like from the day I started reading fantasy and fell in love with it. I've had these Paragon women's, I didn't start with, um, Tolkin or you know, all the guys I started with the women and I've always, I didn't realize it at the time as a young girl, I always joked that my mother never believed in women's lib and I think she just didn't know what to do with me.

When I started getting my boys, she's kinda like, I don't know where you came from. She wanted a, a daughter would have kids and stay near home and a son who would go off and conquer the world. And she got a son that stayed home and had kids and a daughter who wanted to go off and conquer the world. So she got what she wanted just in the wrong genders. And I'm fine with that. And she's learning. But it's always, I've always seen all these very wonderful Ursula Kayla Gwyn. I mean all these wonderful, I can ramble off all these women named, but you're right.

So many genres women authors have either hidden, their names are using, sit at pseudonyms or initials. And I do still see that with the young authors I work with. Uh, it's becoming more rare, which is really exciting. But even like, I think two years ago I had someone say, you know, I don't want, I don't want my first name, you know, Joanna or something. I want to use my initials cause I don't want them to know I'm a woman. I was like, wow, that's still out there.

Alexa (23m 11s): And, um, the, I I pretty sure, no, I'm just pulling this out of nowhere like most people do with statistics, but, um, I'm fairly certain it was still as late as 2018, maybe even the 2019 report that showed that book sales by either, um, male names or books by men. We're outperforming books by women authors like tremendously. So

Autumn (23m 36s): it would not surprise me any of that. But I know I've seen it with

Alexa (23m 43s): Apple years. I don't know if that has shifted, um, since since the me too movement really. I mean a lot of things have really, really taken a different turn since then. And that was a very, very well-timed, uh, movement to happen actually because it happened right as I was getting ready to launch my first womeninpublishingsummit three years ago. So that's amazing. I was like, sweet. The rest of the world is on the same page as me.

Autumn (24m 13s): That's right. We were ready for something specific, a space for women to be able to help each other. And I think for so if we're as long as week, stay away from undermining each other when you, but authors are so good at not looking at other authors as competition. And I think women authors can be so helpful and supportive of each other even more so than you know, many other areas in places I've been in, other things I've done and seen super true.

Alexa (24m 39s): And the fiction side, like I have seen fiction authors really band together really well. I love to see the authors cross-promote each other. I mean, I think everybody's smart enough to know that you ha that it works with people in your own genre. Like it's hard to cross promote someone who's writing something that your audience doesn't want to read. But, um, I think I, I've seen some really great partnerships on the fiction side. I think the w the nonfiction side is still a little bit different and I think it's because I want to say something that's probably, I'm, I'm glad you have a fiction audience, so hopefully there's not a lot of nonfiction.

Autumn (25m 14s): So there'll be kind, everyone be kind NonFiction's

Alexa (25m 17s): aren't like that. Okay. The word I will choose to use is a day in and day out authors like fiction writers. This is what you want to do every day, all day, all the time. You write your books, you read your books and all this kind of stuff. But a lot of nonfiction authors, unless they're in a series like unless they do autobiographies of all the presidents or something like that, where it is truly their thing, like a nonfiction author often has a, a particular subject that they focus on and they write books as part of a bigger thing, right?

Like I was writing my lose the Cape books as part of a bigger community for mothers. Um, I was writing my S my grief books as part of a bigger thing. Like I didn't come on thinking I'm going to write a 25 part series on, you know, grieving weathers. So, so I think what I see sometimes is that not, not, uh, not that they don't want to help each other, but they don't, they haven't been raised to realize that they're not competition raised in their genre, if you know what I mean.

So, um, it's not the case at all in the grieving mothers community. Like everybody is 100% supportive of each other. We share all each other's stuff. We do everything that we can. But in some other industries I think you see people get very nervous about competition and that's um, kind of another one of the things that we take on is letting people know that, um, the, you know, the expression with, with a rising tide, we all ships rise, you know, so it's, it's w if you're helping other women, if you're helping other people in your genre, if you're helping promote other, and the reason I came to form this opinion just to let you know, is that because I saw it in action, I reached out to my network and I said, I have an author that's publishing a book on X, Y, Z.

um, we would love for you to be part of her launch team and advanced reader team. And the, and the answer that we got back was, I can't do that. I have a book that's coming out. It's on a similar topic. The books were not similar at all. Like, I mean they were in the similar genre, but like in terms of the key takeaways of the book. Oh my gosh. Yeah. Yeah. So the key takeaways and everything were different enough that, and the audiences would have been different enough but yet enough the same to support each other, you know?

And it really, it really made me think that there's still a lot of people who don't maybe don't realize like how much better we do when we're helping each other. Um, so anyway, sorry, that was a long tangent. That really is, I just, I just want to put that out there to say that like they're really, it really, you made the comment that there is not a lot of competition in books and I really truly agree that there is not competition in books. And the reason I say that is because I'm a voracious reader and I know my reading habits and I right now am on a huge world war two bad-ass females kit.

Right? Right. Any stories of women who just did incredible crap in world war II is on my, I will read everything out there. I don't care if the storylines are similar, I don't care. Like I want to read it all. And I think that's how many readers are, would they, they want everything. Right. So by being able to share about other writers who write in similar, similar types of things, you're able to say, Hey, I don't have anything new for you, but if you like my stuff, you're going to love these books and keep them entertained until your next one comes out.

Right.

Autumn (28m 56s): All right. Uh, yeah. Especially, yeah, when books take you over a year sometimes to write if not longer, especially nonfiction, if you're researching can take you so long and yeah, it's better to support each other than, you know, pretend like no one else exists in everyone's waiting with baited breath just for your book. And even like no

Alexa (29m 19s): could be considered a very competitive, a cookbook for example. Like, if you've got two people rating vegan cookbooks, well I can tell you that I like a variety of recipes and I like a variety. Like I just, cause I buy one vegan cookbook doesn't mean I'll never buy another one again. You should see my cook.

Autumn (29m 37s): Exactly. It's ridiculous. Yeah. I, I think, uh, the internet and being able to Google recipes is become one of my favorite things about the writers. Your day may have come. No, but there's still something really nice about that big book with the big pictures that you can put on your counter and look at why you're, but anyway, we digress and you don't have to worry about them battery dying or getting like flour.

Alexa (30m 4s): Exactly. But, but back to the idea of like this, this community, um, the real reason behind the women and publishing summit was, um, I was like I told you once I decided I was doing this thing, I wanted to learn everything in the world that I could about publishing. So my writing summit is one of many summits that are out there that happen all the time for writers, publishers, authors, you know, marketing, book, marketing, all these things are happening all the time. So I'm, I'm attending as many of them as I can and learning from as many people, but I was noticing like on the panels and the presentations, one, there was very little female representation.

So for like, yeah, for like every five guys there was like one girl and then um, the number of minorities was almost nonexistent in some of the ones that I was looking at. So,

Autumn (30m 55s): and your pro, your, you know, I didn't really think about it, but yeah, you're right. I most of the ones I'm very, very, very white and very, um, at least the people, maybe the attendees are a lot of women out there, but you're right, a lot of the panels and stuff don't seem to always include. So I reached out

Alexa (31m 12s): do the one that I was attending at that particular time and I was like, Hey, where are the ladies? Was like, I follow a lot of women in the publishing world. And I know that there's some women doing some fantastic things with writing and publishing and book marketing and editing and I'm like, I don't see them in your thing. And he was just like, oops, we'll work on that for the future. It's been three years since then and I haven't really seen an increase, but that's okay because I filled the gap with my own annual all summit but women and people that identify as women.

Autumn (31m 48s): That is so wonderful. And so you started, this will be your third year coming up. Correct. And it's coming up just around the corner. So this, we're recording this early, but this'll be released at the end of February and the next summit is March. Then you can register for free,

Alexa (32m 4s): free at women and publishing, summit.com am

Autumn (32m 9s): and I'll have that in the show notes so people can follow the little things. A lot of fun.

Alexa (32m 13s): What I decided to do with it was I was like, okay, so this is cool. We started out our conversation with talking about how women are different. So one of the things that's going to make this and that does make this thing different is that we talk about the things that make women different. Like we don't specifically say in an interview. So what makes you different as a woman writer,

Autumn (32m 32s): but we do, we talk about my process that

Alexa (32m 37s): are applicable to women and men. If you have men in your audience, they're still gonna learn a ton of information because the knowledge base is incredible, but we're not afraid to talk about things like, well how did you schedule it around having three children and this and that, or what was it like when you're, you know, if you're doing this and that or you know, what are the challenges, the mindset challenges that you deal with? Because we do have different mindset challenges and well, you know, marketing strategies that work better for, for women because we are afraid to just say I'm doing this and go for it or not all of us.

Again, you know, these are just common things that pop up are we talk about topics that are like really, really, really unique to women in most cases. Like trauma, sexual trauma, and, um, the, the need for our stories to be heard. And, um, and what it's like to be a minority minority or what is like to be a transgender am women yeah, I guess he is. He is now a man that are transgender, um, participant from the first year.

So, you know, we, we did deep, it all relates to publishing or relates to writing or do the things related to the production and publishing of a book. But from this, from the viewpoint of being, you know, the, the woman's viewpoint on things.

Autumn (34m 1s): It sounds, I know. And I know it's a wonderful summit and I, like I said, I was, uh, took part as a participant last year. This year I get to be on a panel and so excited. But yes, I love it. Writing tips. So that'll be fantastic. But it's just a, it's a wonderful dynamic and I agree. I love the fact that guys can attend. So like if there's a single father out there who's struggling to make everything juggle and also wants to write or has had past trauma because goodness knows between PTSD and there's so many things the me too movement is letting guys know that they can show this side of themselves as well.

So it is a very inclusive and welcoming summit where if you have questions that just everyone seems to gloss over and a lot of, Oh we just do it, you know, go get it done. So the next step just go to the next step. And they don't deal with the emotional hurdles that are underneath or between those steps. This is a great place to get those like answered it without being embarrassed. And I figured out how to juggle it all and keep going and still get up the next day and keep them away

Alexa (35m 3s): real. It's a very professional conference, but we get really real and um, you know, and some of them, some of them are just straight up teaching and knowledge and information and you're now going to find that touchy feely side to it because we want people to know, you know, this is how you market a book. This is how you build your email list. This is how you find an editor. This is how you make sure you're not getting screwed over by an editor. This is the important things. And so the way we've organized it is the five days we have day one is like the big picture stuff.

Why, if you're just thinking about writing a book am why you might want to do it. It's, it's more like inspiration and that the types of things that we were just talking about, those would, we definitely hit on a day one marginalized voices and how we feel and you know, all those types of things. We dig right into it. And then, um, or over the course of the next four days, we hit things like all the tools that you need. Not all of them obviously cause there's a bit Jillian Brazilian. But the main things like editing tips, editing, production tips, getting your book formatted, am how you distribute your book, all of these types of things.

We talk about marketing a lot, lots and lots and lots of great marketing stuff. Um, and then, uh, the day five this year, we've changed it up a little bit in day five is all about the business of being an author. So if you're struggling, yeah, if you're struggling with things like I don't think we have anybody talking about taxes this year. I may put my, uh, I may put the one from last year and as a replay just cause it was great information. But you know, just knowing these things, like now you're writing books with the hope to sell like you're a business owner.

Own it.

Autumn (36m 43s): Oh wait, stop wondering if you're truly an author and own your business and do it. That's a, that's a very good tip to anyone listening who has a book out there.

Alexa (36m 55s): Stinks. And, and, uh, you know, we want to write we have our passion, we're doing these things. And it stinks to have to sit and say, okay, now I have to go through all my receipts and log my expenses and you know, gather up my data and all this stuff. But there's some really, really, really important things that authors don't know that they need to know. Like if you are selling your book directly from your website, you better check in with your, your local state to find out if you have to have a retail license so that you don't get, cause yeah.

Cause I mean that they might cost 25 to $50 to get registered as a retail license, but if you get, they're cracking down harder and harder on digital stuff. So if you get fined for not doing things properly, it's going to be worse for you. You know? Um, and just as a side note, if anybody's panicking about it, if you just put links through to like Amazon or iBooks or anything like that, you're not the retailer. They are. So you don't have to worry about that kind of stuff. They collect taxes, they do all of that stuff. But if you actually have a Shopify store or a PayPal button and you are actually selling books directly from your website that you then, you know, distribute and all that kind of stuff, you do do need to check in and see what, what kind of protections you need to have, what kind of paperwork you need to have, all of that kind of stuff.

So that's just one little tip there that's totally off the topic. But it's important. And this is something that I learned along the way and I was like that's really scary cause I'm telling people all the time to sell their books on their website to make more money and not have to worry about, you know, Amazon or whatever. And um, I might be getting them in trouble if they don't know the rest of the story.

Autumn (38m 35s): Do

Alexa (38m 36s): that's, I mean that's a huge nugget that I don't think anyone else has really ever been mentioning cause you're right, I've even heard like, you know, sell signed copies, do this on your website. But that's perfect because that's a little lovely little teaser tips. So if people want to go enjoy this summit that's the type of information you're going to find there. And that's why it's really fantastic to join this one because it is information that there might be other ones out there, but I think yours has a different feel and a different vibe and different topics that you might not hear in many other channels.

So it's really exciting. I'm looking out for each other, we're looking out for each other and we're making sure that we don't make mistakes that are costly.

Autumn (39m 16s): Yes. And I, again, I think that's what women are amazingly good at. We help each other out and make sure that, you know, we keep each other safe and supported and you know, we're also very welcoming. So for anyone else who's looking for support, we like to open our arms and you know, make sure they're doing okay too. Well, is there any other tips? Anything else you want to tell us about the conference? Like I said, I will put it in the show notes and it's coming up on March 2nd and you said registration is free on the website.

Alexa (39m 45s): We have am three tiers so you can register for free and you can come each day. You have to, you do have to register to receive the links, you'll get the links each day. Um, and we dropped like between five and eight videos every day that are available for 24 hours. And then they go away at 10:00 AM the next morning. And, um, if you, if you're like, I cannot sit in front of my computer all day long, every day, you could buy just those videos for $47 and watch them whenever you want. Or you can upgrade to am or we're calling the full conference pass.

And that includes all the videos. We have some workshops that are only available to the conference pass holders. We have a, um, a private community where we do additional workshops and training, not only the week of the summit, but throughout the entire year. Um, we've got bonuses from all the speakers and sponsors. So it's, it's really, if you, if you get that prior to the summit starting, so if you hear this at the end of February and register, it's on only $67, it's going to increase in price as time goes. But um, and it's just, it's another opportunity for us to take, um, what we have going on and to continue it between at the conference so that we're not just dishing out stuff that first week of March, but all the way through.

And by the way, the reason we chose the first week in March, March is women's history month. And the last day of the week of the first week of, of March is always international woman's day. So on the eighth we'll have Brooke Warner who is the CEO of, she writes press and she is the author of am right on sisters. And she does a lot of talking about this particular topic, like the, the challenges that females face in the publishing industry and why it's so important to share our stories and why it's so important to band together.

So she's going to be our closing keynote and I am pumped up about that.

Autumn (41m 33s): Great. Yeah. Awesome. I can't wait. So, yeah. Well fantastic. I am so happy that you joined me on here and we've got to talk about those. And I mean I could still think of topics that I think women face just, you know, I don't think we're so good at making sure we toot our own horn and tell people that, you know, like you're a USA today bestselling author. I don't think that was even first in your biography or so. It was kind of buried in there and I think that's typical of us. So, Hey, we all have things to we need to remember about ourselves, but thank you so much for joining us and I really appreciate the time and I count to see you're here.

Some of my listeners, uh, over at the conference and like I said, I will be participating in a panel for tips. So I'm looking forward to seeing something, make sure you use the link that, um, the item's going to send out cause that's a better link. For that's a better link. Alright. Sounds good. Yes, I will have that am posted up there on the show notes. Yes, I think that's right. You did send me one and yes. Disclaimer, we're always honest. I think that is an affiliate link. I want to be able to reward you for sending your community, so make sure you go through her affiliate link.

Well, thank you and I had even forgotten that we got those as speakers, but Hey, that's so cool. Thank you. Alright, well again, I can't wait to see everyone at the conference. I can't wait to see quote unquote see you at the conference. Alexa and thank you again. It's been a blast. Yes. Thank you for tuning in next week. Yes. For we'll be back and we'll have another exciting new episode and hope you will join us. Then

Narrator (43m 22s): if you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support the amwritingfantasy podcast. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join autumn and Yesper on patrion.com/amwritingfantasy for as little as a dollar a month. You'll get awesome rewards and keep the amwritingfantasy podcast going. Stay safe out there and see you next Monday.

80 episodes