Interview with Author and Author Coach – Rebecca Hamilton
"Rebecca Hamilton is a New York Times bestselling author who moved her writing career to the slow lane to focus on her family and on helping other authors build their careers. Over the last four years, she has helped hundreds of authors move from part time hobby writing to full time career writing. We try to know more about her and her work with this interview. Happy Reading!"
1. In which year did you write your first book?
I wrote my first book right after my 3rd child was born, so that would be 2008.
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
I wrote the book in 6 weeks, but because I didn't know what I was doing, it took me 3 years to rewrite, revise, and edit it.
3. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I only write very part time now (one day a week) because I'm usually helping other authors with their career. My basic flow is:
- Develop the series in a way I know will sell.
- Plot the Series Arc and then plot book 1
- Write the book, using the same pre-writing planning sessions I teach in my courses
- Send out for editing and then proofreading.
- Select a good publication date that I know will be profitable
- Load my files and get all my planning in order, start collecting reviews, etc.
- Then I work on the next book!
4. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That there's a lot of equations involved in making it profitable, but that the right techniques work every time.
5. What do you think makes a good story?
A story readers want told in a way that makes it so they can't put your book down.
6. Your success is inspiring to budding authors. Can you tell a little bit about how you started? and what hurdles you faced?
When I first started writing, I took a ton of courses, read countless books, hired a bunch of professed experts in fiction writing and book marketing, and often felt like everything I WAS provided barely skimmed the surface. I received support, sure, but I wasn’t given all the necessary tools. I quickly realized the problem. Everyone was teaching me skills, but no one was teaching me how to use these skills effectively and synergistically to create an actual income writing fiction. They gave me all the pieces to a puzzle with no way to assemble it. After spending thousands of dollars, I was abandoned with heaps of information, and left to hunt down the gaps in my knowledge all on my own.
It took years of trial and error, but I finally figured out what all those other courses were missing. They weren’t teaching how to create an author career. Crafting a sentence is one skill, but developing a book as a product to sell is another entirely. And it impacts literally every single step of producing a book, from the conception of your idea...all the way up until you launch that book and sell it to your first customer...and beyond. That’s why I created this course. So other authors wouldn’t be left floundering with incomplete, insufficient trainings that give them skills without every single step to apply them.
Before I wrote my first book, I thought it would be easy. Once you reach the word count goal you’re all done, right? But once I started, I discovered a lot more than slinging words onto a page is necessary to create a book to capture readers. Honestly, just the information on writing alone overwhelmed me, and that didn’t even touch on things like social media, marketing, and advertising. I felt like I needed a degree, complete with years of study, just to make this writing life possible. I let the doubts settle in. Maybe I couldn’t do this? It became too much very quickly.
At the time, I confessed this crazy dream to a friend who encouraged me to go for it. “What you don’t know, you can learn,” she told me. Of course, with the internet, online classes, resources at my fingertips, I decided to dive in. Learn everything about writing a book, from start to finish, one thing at a time. I began with my own writing, even saved up to have Sol Stein, a well-known authors and publisher in the industry, critique my work. Once I felt comfortable with putting words on the page, I started the hunt for an agent or publisher - and eventually, learned about self publishing. But as many self-published author’s know, without the help of a publisher, once the writing ends, you’ve only just begun. Of course, by that point, I realized I’d started in the wrong order. I thought you write first, then market. Once I realized it was the other way around, I got my shift. But even so, at least the experience taught me that skills can be learned. And with a great teacher, you can learn them faster and easier without costly mistakes wasting your precious time and money.
And to be honest, money was a HUGE struggle. I started my adult life homeless and I lived at a poverty level income for over a decade. Perhaps the HARDEST part of turning my author career successful was stopping making excuses about money. I knew what I needed to do and I believed I could make money doing it, so I found wants to invest. (took on babysitting gigs, did slice the pie and swag bucks, did virtual assistant work, saved money from tax returns, etc.) It wasn't cheap, but it was worth it.
7. When did you decide that you wanted to help other authors? What inspired you to do so?
Pretty much as soon as I saw I could get results for myself, I started trying to help other authors. And as I got results for them, too, I helped more and more.
8. How do you come with the idea of Six Figure Author Coach?
It was just the next natural evolution of what I was doing. Before I started that website, I had already created dozens of six figure author careers. I just decided to take my trainings off Facebook and move them onto a website, and the name was just based on the results. In fact, everything we do is based on results. I rely on being able to show people royalty before and after to show them that I can help them.
9. What is the most helpful course for an author? What's your suggestion?
Definitely Publishing Mastermind. Every authors who doesn't start there always tells me they wish they had. Start there whether you're brand new or already making six figures. You will learn things that will make you more money than you invest to take the course. After that, Advertising for Authors is a great next step. Our courses are set up so authors who aren't ready to dive in can take lots of small, low-cost courses to get some momentum, but if they want to get everything we have to author for the cheaper total cost, it would be Publishing Mastermind (for getting to six figures), then Advertising for Authors (to get to six figures faster or multiple six figures), then Advanced Social Media for Authors, then a New Series Launch Mentorship, and then a Career Level mentorship (to get as high as $500k+ a year... and we're currently working on pushing some authors to seven figures!).
10. You are an author and also an entrepreneur. Time management is very crucial with the kind of work you're doing. How do you organize your work and manage your time efficiently?
It's not always as efficient as I would like, but time blocking is key. Here's a normal day for me:
Breakfast, get baby ready for day, discuss plans for day with husband. Meanwhile, oldest daughter helps get my second youngest ready for the day
My husband takes Oldest daughter and youngest two boys to run errands while I get some work done. My work is divided by day, so on Mondays I have certain clients and customer service tasks, on Tuesdays I have course updates and client check ins, on Wednesdays I do accounting and client check ins, etc. I only do a few mentorship check ins each day to make sure my mind is always fresh to give them my all. Fridays is ads day and Sundays are my own writing days.
Then we have launch. My oldest son helps with the second youngest son and my second oldest son helps with my youngest son. That's only for a short while until the nanny arrives.
Once the nanny arrives is when my husband, myself, and my oldest daughter go to the gym.
When we get back, I finish any work I wasn't able to do earlier in the day. Make sure kids are doing what they're supposed to do (listening to the nanny, getting schoolwork done as they are homeschooled, making sure they've showered, etc.)
Then dinner, get the youngest kids to bed, shower, and spend some time with my husband.
I'd really be lost without my husband, family, nanny, housecleaner, and the whole team of providers who work for me - but you also have to know this isn't where we started. In the beginning, it was just me, taking care of 3, then 4 kids by myself (now we have 6), while my husband worked 1 full time and 1 part time job. As my income from my books improved and as I started charging author for the time I was spending helping them, I became able to retire my husband so he could help support me. Then as things got better, we hired more help so that my husband could start his own businesses (he missed working). He does some of his work after lunch, or early in the morning before all of us wake up, or after we get back from the gym (while the nanny is still there).
I think the biggest take away is, in the beginning, things are slow because there's only so much time in the day. But you learn what really needs to be done, and as you start to do better, you can hire people to help with the tasks you're able to delegate (which also helps the people you hire!), which allows you to do more of what you can't delegate.
12. How do you balance your Personal and Professional life?
Um, not well! I struggled for a long time finding time for self care. Again, though, as I became able to delegate more tasks (like laundry, cleaning, etc), things got easier. In the beginning, though, there was no balance. My kids always come first, so some things in business had to be grown slowly and carefully. I definitely had a messy hour for a long time, and our laundry is still never fully done. But there were times were I felt I could live with the mess if it meant building a better future for my family.
13. One of the things many authors deal with is a writer block. It's easy to lose motivation and fall behind. How do you stay consistent? What do you do when you feel like you've hit a block?
This doesn't happen often since I use the techniques from the Publishing Mastermind that prevent it, but when it does, I use the "Writing Block Buster" from the publishing mastermind to overcome it. The key is really in knowing your craft and your business well enough to have systems in place that keep things running smooth. Brainstorming with friends and spouses can help too!
14. Many say to stick to one genre. As an author, is it necessary to stick to a genre they're comfortable with? What are your thoughts on experimenting with other genres?
Profit wise, it's easier to grow your income in one genre, but many authors write multiple genres (sometimes under different pen names). As for what's necessary, I think that depends. Necessary for what? Some say write what you know. Some say write what you're good at. Some say write what readers want. With the Publishing Mastermind, I try to teach authors how to do all three.
15. If the author wants to try some new genre there are any things they need to follow before starting? What's your suggestion?
Research and read in your genre. This is part of what we reach in the earlier lessons of the Publishing Mastermind. How to do this research and how to learn more about your genre if you don't have as much time as you'd like to read in it (though reading in it is still ideal).
16. Our next question is about author branding. An author well known for their work in a particular genre chooses to publish a different pen name for another genre. Is it necessary to keep the genre separate or is it a personal choice? What are the pros and cons of doing so in your opinion?
The easiest way is to do it all under one pen name, but the most profitable way is to keep separate brands for different genres. It's definitely a personal choice based on which of those things is more important to you. It can also take a long time to build up reader loyalty on a brand, so switching can feel like starting over. You also risk dividing your time. So you have to be careful how you go about it.
17. We have witnessed this trait among the authors, especially the best sellers. When one book succeeds, they tend to produce more books based on similar patterns. How often do you think an author has to change their plot style? How can you avoid being cliché?
Plot Style and Cliché are two different things. All successful stories from Disney to HBO use a similar plot style. I teach about that in my free webinar. Continuing to create more of what your readers love is just good business!
18. Any message for Budding Authors that help to motivate them?
It’s not about where you start. It’s about where you’re going. Once a person realizes that, nothing can stop them. It stops being about how they “can’t” do things and starts being about “how CAN I?” Make it happen!
Hope Rebecca's suggestion and advice help you all someway. If you wanted to know more about her courses and how she help authors, please visit her Facebook page. We tried some of Rebecca's courses and really they help a lot. You can start with her free course: The Road Map to Writing Success.
Also Rebecca mentioned one more course in her interview was: Publishing Mastermind Course (PMC). It's an amazing course and helped many authors. You can check the course here. There are small budget courses also she design for authors whose starting their journey. Visit below websites to know more about them.