7 Questions With Author A.D. Smith
A.D. Smith is a humble new writer on the scene whose life was transformed in every way imaginable by a year as a working resident of Scotland. There she led a global team of seventy brand ambassadors in seventeen different countries, worked on merger and acquisition projects to the tunes of hundreds of millions of Euros and learned to be a minimalist pedestrian in a frigid, rainy, gorgeous mystic of a country.
She now runs The ADS Agency in Atlanta (a marketing and branding firm that remembers we’re all human) and wrote her first eBook this past fall for the business entitled “Authentic Marketing Magic” – a guide for entrepreneurs on how to DIY their own marketing and branding.
Learning of her passion to finally get her Scotland experience down on paper, a client of hers was responsible for challenging her to write her first excerpt for the novel on Jan. 1 of this year. Now at the end of January, she’s at the halfway mark of her writing goal and not stopping anytime soon. You can follow her journey at @ADSmithWrites on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where you’ll also find links to subscribe to her email list for the book.
In today’s interview, Andrea speaks about the scene from the perspective of the new writer, with all the ups and downs this entails. If you too are a member of the Writing Community, make sure you check out the Journey From Writing To Publishing and sign up to my Newsletter for the latest & greatest.
Esther Rabbit: What’s your own definition of an author / indie author?
An author is anyone who sets out and completes a journey of writing. Could be a book, a poem, an essay, etc. Ideally, for me, it’s a book. Indie authors mean you are an authorpreneur. 😊 You do it all yourself, though you may hire out help for things here and there (maybe Beta readers, editors, etc.). You write it yourself. You market it yourself. You publish it yourself. You are a business of one – making sure your work gets out there for the world to partake of.
Esther Rabbit: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Some mixture of both? This is my first “real” book as I call it, so, I hear it’s the most important to get it all out first. Write. The writing, I hear, is almost always the single most important thing. So I’m writing while also giving some thought to character development, plot, etc., but I’m hoping it gels for me along the way. So far it is! (Crosses fingers).
Esther Rabbit: How does a day in your author life look?
If it’s a writing day, it means I’m writing from the time I wake up until I decide to surface for lunch. I like tea in the morning. Writing is addictive, so I prefer it best when I can devote a good-sized four-hour morning or more to it at a time. Because I run a small business, I also have work to do most afternoons.
But if it’s a full writing day (which I’ve done one or two of those now), it means my afternoon and evening are consumed with it too. At some point, I break for food, drinks. Getting up to walk and stretch. I love a crisp winter walk by the river to clear my mind – I always come back with some new fresh, perspective.
Esther Rabbit: What were some major setbacks of this profession?
I just started! But for instance, in writing my first eBook, it was learning how to get the thing mobile-friendly for all kinds of reader apps and device-types. Ultimately, I ended up shipping it out to a designer in India to fix my own PDF for me.
I was a bit disheartened by having to do that – me wanting to do it all myself the first time – but all of it was an invaluable learning experience. You don’t know until you do!
Esther Rabbit: What’s your definition of the first draft?
I call it The Fugly First Draft. Fugly. Needs no extra explanations there. It is indeed fugly. But – you gotta get it out! Gotta start somewhere. It’s where all the initial ideas get dumped – almost like dumping out a lego set or puzzle box.
Then you start sorting and putting the pieces together gradually until the big picture starts to surface. Sometimes you’ll go in with one big picture in mind of the art you’ll create and then it shifts into something entirely different all together. But the point is, starting means you’re on that path to reveal that beautiful, magnificent David sculpture that already exists inside that clunky chunk of marble.
The Fugly First Draft is like that marble chunk. Unrefined. Massive. Sitting there in the workspace of your mind and eventually glaring back at you on your computer screen, it looks like a lot of work. Indeed, it is. And yet, I find comfort in the fact that it’s still inherently “perfect” – because your masterpiece already exists within. It is merely your job, as the sculptor, to masterfully reveal it.
Esther Rabbit: What are some of the myths around self publishing / traditional publishing?
I’m still learning this myself. But one of my very favorite ghostwriter friends says this (and I believe this wholeheartedly until proven otherwise): it is a choice between fame or money, but you can’t really have both.
Traditional publishing is a choice for fame (i.e. visibility, awareness, etc.). You get the marketing help. You get the pride of knowing your work will find its way onto a Barnes & Noble bookshelf, etc. Self-publishing means you keep the money. You might not get the visibility, but the same 500 books you sell as a self-publisher can mean 5-10K in your pocket, versus just a fraction of that from a traditional publishing route.
So, to me, it’s a question of asking yourself: what is this book for? Is it to boost your speaking career? Is it to establish credibility and authority for your personal brand? Is it simply because it’s the book you have to right – whether anyone else ends up liking it or not?
Is it a complete exercise in vanity – just to be able to call yourself an author and add it on to your growing list of notable titles (PhD, MBA, SME, etc.)? Everyone has a real reason for writing what they write – the external motivation they tell their friends and the internal motivation you tell yourself. If you’re honest with yourself about it, I think you’ll easily find which path is best of you.
Esther Rabbit: Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your journey?
I am still at the beginning. 😊 But I would say I should’ve been writing this when I was in Scotland to begin with. While I was there. Lucky for me, such a thing as social media exists – so I have a record of photos with captions and some scant (poorly and furiously written) blogging to look back on, so that’s helpful for my memoir. And if I wasn’t writing while I was there, I should have started immediately after I left.
However, such is life. You start when you start – but the point is that you both start and finish. So I’m speaking that into existence for myself now: finish. I started Jan. 1 with this book and I’m already halfway through now at the end of January. I’m an unstoppable writing machine!
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And if you’re a fan of Paranormal Romance, check out Lost in Amber:
“A new Interplanetary Alliance ambassador on an earthbound mission.
A handful of genetically altered humans to be rescued.
Meeting her changed everything.“