Meet Susan Colleen Browne, author and creative writing instructor. She has been writing, self-publishing and selling books for many years. She is full of information about every step of the process of being an author.
And you can find her at the upcoming Chanticleer Author Conference—CAC17—March 31st to April 2nd where she will be teaching Writing in Multiple Genres, High Touch Marketing in a Digital World, and Mindfulness for Writers.
As part of our spotlight series, we asked Susan our five questions to get her perspective on professional success.
1. When did you know what you really wanted to be?
When it comes to writing, I was a late bloomer. Before my early thirties, the only writing I’d ever done was college term papers—the mere idea of creative writing completely intimidated me. That is, until one spring day, when my then-husband brought home a new Apple II GS computer. Compelled by the thought of that hideously expensive Apple becoming nothing more than a really big desk decoration, I sat on my front step with a pen and yellow pad of notepaper, and began scribbling what was to become my first novel. A couple of pages later, I got a faint inkling of the power writing would have over me. But it wasn’t until I started pounding away on the Apple keyboard—using a program called GraphicWriter that regularly made the chapters I’d written completely disappear—did I discover I’d found my bliss: I wanted to be a novelist.
2. What was the biggest challenge you faced?
The first few years I was writing fiction, my biggest challenge, like most fledgling writers, was balancing writing time and energy with family commitments and the necessity of earning an income. These days, those challenges are ongoing—only I’ve added my commitment to running our little farm, and making time to create and promote my books too!
3. How do you define success?
Success for me changes all the time. Sometimes, I feel successful when I’ve finished a scene that really sings. Other times, it’s getting a favorable review or a compliment from a reader that shows she really “got” the story. And there are those rare days: success is my feeling of euphoria when I’ve completed a manuscript or a finalized a novel.
4. How long did it take to achieve your success?
“Achieving success” feels kind of nebulous—to me, it’s more of a process than a goal. Still, one of my most memorable experiences as an author was the April afternoon I walked into the Bellingham Public Library with the two, hot off the press copies of Little Farm in the Foothills they requested for purchase, and soon after, leaving with a check in my hand! Selling my first two books ever took place almost exactly 21 years after I began scribbling on that yellow tablet.
5. What is the best advice you have ever received?
My dad was a political scholar and author of a dozen academic books. He always told me that if I wanted to be a published author, I should write 4 hours a day. He managed to fit in his four hours almost every day for nearly forty years, pounding on his little Smith-Corona manual typewriter, while pursuing an academic career, being a devoted father of six children, and being an excellent golfer! I don’t always make four hours at the keyboard, but I do keep in mind that time-honored acronym: BICHOK (Butt-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard) is really all you need to find your success!
If you have not registered for CAC17 yet, what are you waiting for? Susan Colleen Browne and more fantastic speakers (including yourself possibly, if you register before the schedule is full) will be sharing their experience and knowledge about writing books, selling books, and everything to do with being a successful author.
Writing in Multiple Genres – Join authors Pamela Beason (YA, mystery, romantic suspense and non-fiction), and Susan Colleen Browne (women’s fiction, short stories, MG and memoir) to look at the ins and outs of writing in different genres. Pamela and Susan will discuss story development, juggling different writing projects, and how genre influences their marketing approaches. They’ll also share what they’ve learned in their multi-tasking writing lives!
High Touch Marketing in a Digital World – As technology migrates into more aspects of our lives, forging personal connections with readers is crucial to an author’s success. In this session, we’ll discuss high-touch approaches and incorporating them into your marketing efforts. We’ll explore authors’ communities and how you can enhance your book events. We’ll also brainstorm ways to bring more of a personal touch to online interactions and look at authors who have mastered high-touch outreach. You’ll leave with new ideas to boost your marketing and promotion!
Mindfulness for Writers – Is your writing time squeezed, your story stalled, or technology taking over your life? In this informal gathering, we’ll practice a few mindfulness exercises to help you tune into your self- awareness for your all around well-being. We’ll also look at tapping into your intuition to address your writing challenges, and share tips for creating more balance and focus in your writing life!