We are happy to welcome Adam to the team as Author Success Coach. The program is currently in beta, but more details are to come.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your background?
My full name is Adam Friday Woods. I am an author, speaker, co-founder of YouthLeadershipBuilders.com (currently in beta), and now an Author Success Coach at PublishDrive. I’m from Northern California, about 80 miles outside of San Francisco. I have been married for almost 16 years and have 4 children.
I have always been a people person, so it makes sense that I went into sales and marketing early on. Later, I went into management and have been a Sales Manager, Territory Manager, and most recently a General Manager.
Why publishing? How did you end up at PublishDrive?
I studied business in college, however; I also took many literature and writing classes during this time and my love for writing evolved. After many years of hobby writing, I began writing stories to my children. In 2016, I wrote a kids’ fable in verse. After I had the story edited, I knew I should get it published. So I began the process by connecting with an illustrator, and started navigating the self-publishing world.
During this process, I shared my book with several people. I connected with a motivational speaker and he encouraged me to create a keynote speech on the message of the book, and to begin doing speaking gigs on the topic. So I did just that, and have been doing inspirational speaking for the last few years. My message is mainly targeted to youth, ranging from elementary school to high school ages, but I do speak to corporations and other organizations as well. (More info here.)
The self-publishing journey has its challenges. Navigating the different platforms and options can be time consuming, learning new concepts can be difficult, and choosing the right options can be stressful. Authors will run into many problems along the way, but after you go through the process, it becomes quite rewarding. Hence, I began looking for a more rewarding full time career within the industry. I wanted to help authors navigate the self-publishing’s turbulent waters. This is how I came to find PublishDrive.
What has your publishing journey been like?
There is a ton of information out there on publishing, which is great for writers so they can get their works published. However, because there is so much information, it can often times be quite overwhelming. When I started the process I definitely felt overwhelmed, because I wasn’t sure on where to start. After gathering a lot of information, I had to decide on whether I should go the traditional publishing or self-publishing routes. I started down the traditional route, trying to find publishers that would accept outside submissions. I was also trying to find literary agents. After many outside submissions, query letters and several rejections, I knew that I needed to find a better way. It is such a difficult time trying to go down the traditional path to publishing, that I quickly learned that the self-publishing route would be a much better fit for me.
What is your genre?
I currently have the eBook for my children’s story, Conquer Your Dragons, available, with the print edition being released soon. I have another kids’ story coming out during the holiday season called, Smarty Marty and the Christmas Party. In the fall, I hope to release a young readers series called, Adventures of the Surfing Ninja, and hopefully by next spring a book called, Ordinarily Great, that we will be for adults in the self-help/motivational genre.
I have been focusing on writing children’s stories lately because I have been gearing these stories towards my own children. This phase of life has been quite fun and rewarding, creating these tales for my kids to enjoy. However, I do write outside of the young readers genre as well. I have a young adult adventure that I am writing for my older children. I have written screenplays and have a graphic novel that I started many years ago, which I hope to finish one day.
What was your biggest challenge?
When it comes to the writing process, it can be hard to find the best times to actually sit down and write, especially when the business and demands of each day come calling. I have found what works best for me is to schedule and set a time that is consistent and regular when I’ll be able to focus solely on writing. For me, I like to get up an hour earlier than I normally would and focus that time on writing. Everyone in my house is asleep at that hour and the demands of business and life haven’t yet started, so I find the uninterrupted solitude quite refreshing and incredibly productive. I also squeeze in times to write during the day as time allows, but I always feel like I am accomplishing something when I take at least that one-hour each morning to write.
What does your new position entail?
I am excited about my new position as an Author Success Coach. My job is to make the self-publishing journey a little easier for the authors, and help them become as successful as possible. Parts of my duties include growing the user base and helping our current users to use the full potential of the platform as well.
Going down the publishing route, whether traditional or self-publishing, can be confusing and very overwhelming, especially for new authors. When I was going through the process for the first time, I wasn’t sure exactly where to start. As I began my research, the information was so overwhelming, coming from so many various sources, and sometimes even contradictory, that I didn’t exactly know how to navigate the publishing world. However, through a lot of effort, and trial and error I managed to figure it all out.
At the time, I had wished there was once single source of information that I could turn to tell me exactly which steps to take, when to take them, and to find the answers to all of my questions. As an Author Success Coach at PublishDrive, my goal is to have all the answers those authors need in one place and to make these answers easy to find.
What are some of the challenges of being an Author Success Coach?
There are a few challenges in this position as Author Success Coach. First, being able to personally reach out to all of the authors will be challenging. I wish I could talk to each one individually and walk them through the process, but with so many on the platform, that will not be possible. However, there will be tools on the platform that will help each author through the publishing journey and help him or her promote their work. We will give him or her the knowledge they need to get their story out there.
Second, revealing to the aspiring author the truth and reality of the publishing process is challenging. As writers, we all have this dream or fantasy that we will simply write a great story and then someone else will take that book to the masses. In this dream all we have to do is come up with a good story, do some interviews and readings, and attend some book signings; then we are going to sell millions of books and become very wealthy, and all then we just get to write the rest of the time. The reality, however, is much different. The publishing, the marketing, and promoting of the book fall on our own shoulders. It is a tough process.
At PublishDrive we are making this easier by giving the author knowledge and tools, but ultimately each individual author has to treat their book as a business. Even though the process can be difficult, it also becomes very rewarding.
Three things you look forward to in the following months.
There are a few things that I look forward to in the coming months. First, I am recording many step-by-step videos to walk the self-publishing authors through the publishing process. The videos will be helpful and answer many questions. Each video will cover a topic that is crucial for the authors to know and understand. There will also be links to articles and blogs to add to the topic. The videos will be put on our website and on our Youtube channel. I believe the authors will love these and find them valuable.
Next, will we be hosting many more Meet-Ups, both in person and online. Many of these sessions will be topic based, but some of them will be brainstorming get-togethers where the authors can get feedback and advice on questions or plans they may have. Ultimately, we are creating a large networking group for authors where best practices and pro tips can be shared amongst each other, to help all of us become more successful. These will be great opportunities to network with each other and to find support.
Third, I am also excited to start hosting a podcast dedicated to the self-publishing author. There will be a number of topics discussed, along with a range of different interviews. It will be funny, make you laugh, but also informative. In the podcast we will be able to highlight best practices, great stories, author successes, and more in-depth explanations on industry trends, and many new features that we are releasing at PublishDrive to help authors sell more books.
In addition to this, we will be offering one-on-one author success coaching meetings for authors. This program will be available for both new and seasoned authors. These sessions will allow the author to ask questions regarding their specific situations and what it will take to get them to the next level.
You are most excited about…
Finally, I’m most excited about getting to know all of the authors. Recently, we hosted a Meet-Up in New York City, and we had an amazing time getting to know local authors. Getting to know the authors will be the best part about this position.