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Unapologetically Canadian
Unapologetically Canadian

Episode 10 · 2 years ago

Can you profit from writing like Lori Straus?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Lori Straus about how she's created a profitable business through both fiction and nonfiction writing. She's the author of the Between Worlds series, a historical modern mashup for 12-year-old girls and their moms. She's also a translator and copywriter for international brands in Germany and Canada. For the shownotes, refer to https://traceyarial.com/blog/Lori-Straus.

My name is Tracy Ariel and I am unapologetically Canadian. So today we are speaking with Lorrie strives. Lorry, How are you doing? I'm doing fine, Tracy. How are you? Not Too bad? So you are what I like to call a creative entrepreneur. What do you call yourself? A writer like it's simple, but you have two kinds of writing because you do book nonfiction and fiction. Can you talk a little bit about why you do those two types of writing and what it gives you? Absolutely so. The freelance writing was my first foray into, quote, being a writer and, quote, writing was a childhood dream of mine, but I thought that meant you had to write novels and you had to be published by publisher because back in the s that's the way it worked, right. But I never realized that that writing could also mean writing non fiction type things and writing marketing material and such. So I think, I think in two thousand ten, I don't even remember anymore. I was at least pregnant my first child, but I feel like they started be four, which would actually put back two thousand and eight. I don't remember anyways, and I finally started looking into at least writing magazine articles. I thought the very least I could write about dance and just kind of start there, because I danced myself for twenty years. Fifteen or so were in competition. So I had a decent background and I found a dance magazine that was published out of my city here and through, you know, through connections, I sort of knew the editor or the publishers, probably more accurate, and so I started writing for them and I got my first check at ten cents of word. I was so ecstatic. I felt like when own a writer and little women, which she gets her two dollars or ever is going, she runs through House quing. I'm a writer. So at that time I was still working full time at a company, to Tech Company, and Long Story Short, I just started looking for more writing opportunities within whatever company I was working for and I was at that Tech Company for I think four years. I finally finished a marketing where I worked for eight months before getting laid off and I did whatever whatever extra education I could continue education I could, just to start learning more about writing today, because certainly writing I love doing. Was Really attached to my ten year old self, which doesn't work when you in your thirty s were is so and then the novels that just sort of happened. Didn't just sort of happen. It was on the back of mind for a long time, but I'd stopped creative writing when I went to university. And a couple of years ago a an event came up and it was at the Schwab and club, it's a local German club and kitchener and all the people from this aspect of German culture, from the entire continent, not all, but many, were going to come to kitchener for a weekend to celebrate all together. And so like since Nati, some fluent from California, really all over the place, Chicago, I think too, anyways, and I thought, well, the idea I have for this book, that's the time to release it. And so it was like, oh shoot, I should start researching, I should write, and so then the book was, you know, put together, and it was you didn't say the name. Sorry, sorry, thank you. Of course, between Worlds, book one, book six is coming out shortly. So that was the first novel. There was a project in between. I was part of the I took part in the mentor program, sort mentorship program, with the Canadian senior artist resource network. So there was a small project in between, but in terms of thinking of it more commercially between worlds, the move is the first book that was that First Act of intentional step into fiction as an income stream right, right and and between world is. Is...

...that? Can you describe a little bit about the story? Absolutely it's about two teen girls. Julianna who lives today in kitchener. So kitchen's my hometown. I live in Waterloo. You don't know there's a border unless you see a sign. And she has just moved to kitchener from Calgary with her parents. Her grandfather is in the early stage of dementia and all there's other extended family around. They're too busy to be able to look after him as much as he needs it now, and so Julianna and her parents move in with him and she finds in his basement and old book of drawings that belonged to his mother, Elizabeth, that she had completed when she was fourteen years old. And so the books alternate between Julianna's life today in Canada and Elizabeth's life in Eastern Europe after World War One. Oh my Gosh, how wonderful. Thank you. Is it based on any? Two stories inspired by not so much based on like. I don't. I don't count them as historical fiction because half of each book takes place in Modern Day Canada and I just feel historical fiction you expect the entire book to take place in a period of history. But Elizabeth is inspired by a great grandmother of mine. Her name was catalina, or Catherine, if you will, Catherine, and she had I've always got to count back because when you start getting all the great great whatever, you start losing track of people. So I just call a catherine. She was my great grandmother. So her grandmother, her name was Elizabeth, and Elizabeth the character, her personality, is inspired by Catherine, who I guess was a good, Feisty Elizabeth. The characters turn up be a little calmer, but still someone speaks her mind even when she's not supposed to. And but her name came from this great great great grandmother named Elizabeth, whom my great grandmother spoken quite fondly of in a postcard to my mum. And, as I did more geology. Yeah, it was. It's cool. It's a whole things, really cool actually. And, as I did more family research. I new you for a long time, but my mom's Dad's side we hadn't. I didn't know too much about because we don't know whose biological father is. So so that when you're doing standard geneology it's hard to locate somebody when you don't know biological father is. So, anyways, long story short, I found these postcards in my grandmother's closet, a bunch of old photos and then these post cards in there. In here my grandmother Catherine. She talks about her grandmother Elizabeth. And so as I did geneology, you, you've done geneology yourself. To Tracy, you know how the data so stark. Right, someone died, someone was born, I died, born, married, right, and so I found. I finally found the patriarchal line. And and then so this woman, she had given birth to sixteen children and for survived adulthood only for and then, what makes it even sadder, it was the German culture that I stem from. I'm sure the collegures have had similar practices. In the past. It was common that you would name children after people in your family. It's way of honoring your family, right, and often that included, of course, naming children after the mother as well as the father, and then godparents and grandparents won't have you. But the mother was also certainly Bona fied, so choice for being named after anyways. So this woman had, was it three daughters or for each one named Elizabeth. None survived into adulthood, but they would do is if a child died, then usually the next child of that same sex was given that child name. So a name wasn't, in my opinion, wasn't viewed as something individual. It was viewed as honoring your family. Yeah, well, we have that too. I actually have okay, okay, both on the males and females, like, okay, if a younger, you know,...

...there were a younger child died and then another child got that same name, okay, okay, so it's yeah, so it seems like it's very good. It's been common and least historically so, and I just like that's I don't know like that. That has got a painful I mean I think you live in a time where children die. I presume you developed some sort of want to call emotional immunity to it, because otherwise, like your entire side would fall apart. Right. That being said, sixteen births for to turn to adults and three or four that you name after yourself. None survived. That's got to take a toll on you somehow. So that's where. So that's why this series. It's again it's not based on true stories, but I love it's inspired by and I've had to hire researchers in eastern Europe to help me because my German only goes so far with once you go beyond World War Two historically you're suddenly getting into material that might be Hungarian, a Romanian and I can't read those languages. So I research what I can. It's fiction, so I do make up some things as I need to, but I stay as close to historical fact as I can. Right. Okay, wow, yeah, it's coming up a couple weeks. WHO This? This iteration of the series is for ages twelve and up, but readers have been everyone from parents reading to their preteen daughters so far that I know of. Also, there's a I think a ten year old boy at my kids school who loves the series and I note there are women in their s who are reading it as well. So it's huge age range, but I write with the twelve year old in mind, because when I started the series I wanted to write for twelve year old me who, in my teens, had a hard time finding anymore anything else to read because I had I wanted sort of gene little style topics to deal with, but my reading level was increasing, right, so I wanted something a little more complex reading level. Wise I couldn't find it. And so after a few years of Reading Nancy drew and Star Trek, I stopped fiction reading for a long time. So I couldn't find it. And so the series is meant to sort of act as that bridge that I start going into PTSD in soldiers in world one of one character who's dealing with what they called Shell shock at the time, you know, and I'll bring that back into the present day. Julianna is trying to figure out why her mom keeps avoiding, you know, her grandfather. So the MOM's father, because she has a teenager, doesn't understand how how a grown child suddenly sees they're ailing and deteriorating parent. Right. She doesn't get that. So I deal with a lot different topics, but I've I've had people say, is it suple for an eight year old and I've recently learned that there are parents who have kids as young as eight who wants something more complex to read but don't have the maturity to deal with stuff that's really written for like's a fourteen year olds. So the the language is relatively easy, but I do deal with some pretty deep topics, but trying to keep it at age appropriate, which also then enjoyable for adults too. Can you give me a little bit background on, like how you've sold it? Are you on Cobo writing life and all that with what? How do you sell your work? A lot of it, honestly, right now, is in person. So yeah, actually, which is not a good way to make money, I tell you that much. But the hardest part when you're starting out is a visibility and the heart. I I'm a copywriter by day, basically, and so in theory you should think I should be on the market my own stuff, but the problem with being the creator of what I'm trying to market I see every single detail and even though I know what the crux of the story is and I know why I wrote the series I like, I know those basic questions any copyright would ask a new client, at the same time I see areas where it might appeal to people as well. Julianne as a dancer, so it would appeal to dancers, hopefully right. And with PTSD there's a whole mental health aspect in there. That veteran gets bullied quite...

...frequently in his village and stuff like that. You know he's pushing thirty, right, so this isn't book teenage bully in High School. anyways. So marketing has been difficult for me. I published wide. I use Amazon as it uses me or and no more. And so I I'm on Amazon Cobra writing life. I use ingram spark for most of my print distribution except for Amazonius KATP for print on Amazon. You just earn more per book that way. I use draft digital for these as my aggregator for the smaller, smaller ebook platforms and not some not so small. I tried uploading apple directly once and I kept going in circles and I gave up and draft a digital goes directed apple. So they do that as well and look. Yeah, and then marketing wise, I've got facebook going. I'm finally getting the hang of marketing facebook, crowd twitter. I'm using more for professional connections, but I hope to build that up to readers as well with time. Instagram I'm just building up to readers to and then linkedin. I use for my freelance writing, but I will occasionally put up an announcement of a boo is coming out, for example, because that is part of my writing business overall. So right, and so I guess now we can switch to the non fiction side of your life. You have an active copywriting business and, as you said, it sort of gets fed into buy your fiction. You know, you probably get more credibility because you're doing fiction work as well. I've had, actually had one client. They were it is a good friend of mine, like our kids are friends at school, but we know each other for several years and it was only last year, was earlier this year, when I forget that, she approached me because they need a creative writer for a project. So yeah, so certainly is helping that way and if anything, even if I haven't done specific type of project, I can say look, I read a novel on a hundred, Fifty, hundred, seventy hours. I can put it and I meet my own deadlines. You know, when I say is going to release, it's going to be released. So it does help that way too. Yeah. So what kind of writing do you do as a copywriter? Your favorite project I do? Yeah, I do mostly be to be so business to business as opposed to business to consumer. I've written for a range of clients. I had a three year contract with a local roadhouse theater, so that was challenging because everything that comes in is a different voice, different audience, you know, different background. Like I was always real learning, so that was really challenging. I do writing for tech companies as well. I've done some social media coordination, you know. So favorite projects? Nothing really jumps to mine. I find with the freelancing you certainly look for a projects you enjoy, but I also look more for clients I enjoy working with, because with fiction you don't work with anybody except you're very small editorial team as you need them, but with clients you're often, or hopefully frequently, in contact with them. So you know, if you can talk about the the kind of thing that you've done, like what? What? What kind of writing to you like the best? In then in the non fiction side, I actually enjoy blog posts for other people, not myself. For myself to get too tied up and what do I really want to do with this, and I get stuck in the strategy aspect that when the blog post is assigned to me, I can't question any of that makes it easier and and it's but I like blog posts that are a bit meteor not not as in a rock coming out of the sky, but one that has more meat to it. So, for example, I had to do one I guess there had been a study last year, I think, that had come out of University of Toronto, about how car emissions are no longer...

...really the big polluter as far as vehicle pollution goes. It's actually all the transport trucks, and they had measured this by using the for a one as their area, I suppose, and so I had to look in that topic a bit more, and that also coincided with Ontario Premier Doug Ford's decision to cancel I feel it was called. It was a program that the previous conservatives had implemented whereby use vehicles had to go through a certain inspection to make sure that they were environmentally clean enough to be driven on the road, so that they weren't contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, and Doug Ford. I don't know how it is over your neck of the woods, but in Ontario we call a mini trump. So he's not liked and unfortunately this blog post forced me to agree with one decision he made, Rit was to cancel that program it hurts to have to admit that I agreed with one thing he's done, but that's the kind of stuff that I like because and the reason why I had to agree with them was a it was his previous government who put that program in the first place. Be The liberals in the middle. The I think, was the Otter General, had said this program has passes due date. And See, it was because the cars that are now, even really old used cars now, were produced under much string much more stringent environmental standards. So the nowhere near as polluting as cars are built like the S, for example, the s even so. And then for car dealerships it was just taking up space in their mechanic bays. They can actually bring in, you know, hopefully more money by having more space open for repair jobs and stuff. Instead, these required inspections had to be done. So it's disclaimer there, as my family has a car dealership, so there's a bit of bias that opinion. But yeah, but anyway, so that was really enjoyable with that blog post. I mean it took me five or six hours to research and, you know, get all together, but that was kind of cool. Like I like writing stuff. I go oh, you know where challenges me a bit. So I don't get those too often. Because your presupposed ideas were wiped out by your research. Yes, right, and there's nothing more grounding than realizing you were wrong. Wow. And so you said that you live in the Kitchener Waterloo area. Is are most of your clients in that area to or do you work worldwide? I work actually worldwide. One of my best clients is in Germany and I've been working with them now, I think, I don't know, five years or something like that. But that came from a connection from that tech company I worked for. So when I start at that Tech Company we're talking, I think we're going back what ten years now? I got laid off from there in two thousand and thirteen, so I think I started there in two thousand and nine. anyways, that's when I learned about Linkedin as a social media platform for professionals, because I had I had a front end job so client facing job and clients one we're whining to connect. My facebook page on like no sort my facebook account. Bossa told me about Linkedin, built up my profile there and then I realized it was a great way. So long as I was at such a large company, I should start connecting with anybody I've been working with. And so through that network that was very heavy, heavily based on that one tech company, one woman who had moved on to this company. She and I were following each other on facebookcause we've done a little bit of work, or I done a little bit of work for her when she was at that at our tech company, and then she made the connection form with that company and it was fantastic. And there it's a translation and localization company. So I get to, you know, do research on how the brain changes when it has to work in a foreign language or, you know, just things. I mean a translation company is trying to get people to realize that there's they're more languages out the reside English right, and that is my world view, that the more languages we have, yes, it's more difficult to sometimes understand...

...each other, but in trying to figure out what each one is trying to say, you also get closer to each other. You you could, because that's a that's a challenge that the relationship has to go through. And so company like that is like heaven for me because I get to, you know, help broadcast that message, but in a very businesslike way, of course, you know, talking about return investment, higher performance from your employees or stuff like that. So and now we are lingual than do you speak German? I do you speak turn yeah. So are your books also in other languages? Not Right now, because I self published and and so I foot all the costs for that myself. I have a graphics designer, I have two editors, one who helped me at the beginning, so I call her my consulting editor, and then one who helps as a detailed reviewer and then as a copy edit, but not a proof free to have to leave the proof freed to me, because budget is long gone by then. And so to translate with these books, I love to put them into German. I would feel comfortable doing the first draft myself. I would certainly experiment with machine translation. I know Joanna Penn was talked about how fantastic machine translation is and then she got like lambasted by people who did not agree with her, but my books are. There's some authors where you machine translation isn't going to do anything at all right now. I'm not one of those authors that it can help me with that first draft because because then you reading go that is so not natural sounding. That's not what I want to say. Like you're not stuck on basic questions of what version of the I want, because German has deal sixteen of them. It's I've got that draft and I can say that does not sound natural. It's not what I want to say. Like it's all that initial draft is done. I feel comfortable giving that first pass where I know what I'm trying to say, but I'd still need a German editor to go through it and make sure that it sounds natural to them. And on top of that, because I'm dealing with this German community in Eastern Europe, they had their own dialect and my grandparents spoke these dialect they're there. There's a range of these dialects. So I need, I would need like a literary translator to help me give that dialect, give that community its flavor through the dialect, but without looking making the sound like you know Hicks, like right, and you don't want to make fun of them. Yeah, right, like, yeah, they they want it and want them to sound real, and I want I would want their dialect to be preserved a bit. I don't speak at myself. I have some written out, you know, like reports or poems written in this dialects of their ways, that we can pick some of those words up and use them or something and know what it would be. So I would need to work with someone to do that and that's time and money. And first I need to make a bit more money with these novels before I can start branching out into German. But I think they would work. Canada's quite popular in German and it's a my timings off, though, because Canada is the guest country at the Frankfurt Book Fair this year. So I know it's excited, it is, but I'll have nothing to do with that because I'm behind a bit. But at some point you've got to just sort of let things go and take your own path, right. So yeah, well, and the thing is you've got, because you've got a series as well, you have an opportunity to get people to read the entire thing. So do you give the first one away? Do you do some sort of promotion? How do you get people to continue reading the series? I'm experimenting with that right now. So I've done ninety nine cent promotions. They haven't really done much for me. That being said, I wonder if those kinds of promotions benefit from, you know, a lot of awareness advertising. So My ten dollars here, twenty dollars there might not have been enough to keep things going, to get attention. I also last year had to read do all my book covers and that was four books that...

...had to Reado last year, which was not a welcome expense. Yeah, I remember that nightmare. That was a nightmare. That being said, I'm very, very happy with WHO I've chosen and she's out invent sorry, not Vancouver, Victoria, Naimo. Sorry, victory, yea Naim of Vancouver Island. And I'm Oh, so I brought it back and you're hap new covers thing. Oh yeah, yeah, they all. They all had to be done because my old the right, was not my old one, my previous designer, she had changed how she wanted to run her business and the way she had proposed that to me did not strike me as quite frankly professional. So I chose to not continue with her. But that meant and so I assumed, because as a freelance writer, when I write something for clients, copyright goes to that like that's just to me an assumption, right, I don't make I know, magazines and newspapers that's a different ball game, but we're writing for clients, corporations, copper, it goes to them, and I even have that my contract right now. So I made mistake of assuming that was the case with my previous one. She said it wasn't, and I didn't want to be in a position of an on new graphics designer and asking them to copy her style or be having to license the work. That's what my previous wanted offered me and I just thought no. And you know, I thought, well, if I'm going to Redo it, I might as well just do it right, and because I want to work with a graphics designer who feels fulfilled doing these books, like that's what you're hoping for, right, and what artists can feel fulfilled copying someone else's style? You know that they're not like copy graphics designers, right, you know? Yeah, so, and she's running her own business for a reason, and yet she does corporate work. So she could do it. But the way the previous designer work was very different and I found out later she was or as we're sorting this all out, she was pulling everything from everything from unsplashed. So I've no clue who else was using, you know, that soul copy of one person, that's will image of one character and stuff. So and for most part we don't use people anymore because it just got we do historical novels, at least partly historical. To get I'm not going to find stock photography with the exact dress and Harris Style and stuff that these people were. Impossible. So, but that being set for the sixth cover, because I dedicate it to this ancestra and Elizabeth, it fit topic wise that I have an old picture of her with one of her daughters, and so that's on the cover of this one. So I'm a will fit those things in here and there as it suits, I hope, commercially, the whole series. But it yeah, that was last year. That was a headache, but it's much smoother now, for sure. So and now are you doing? Are you distributing them audio versions as well, not right now. I looked into that and it was probably going to cost me another one hundred or so to do, and that was including a very kind volunteer offer from a friend of mine who volunteered to do the engineering for free. But by time you pay artists what you would like to pay them, you know you're looking at hundred. And I need the ebooks to take off first before I start looking at audio books for this series, because of the series. Once you've done one, you got to keep going right and the money is just not there right now. So and I could do it myself, but then that's my time. I would only do that if I did some voice training to help me sound better and more appropriate for audiobooks. But then again you're looking at trying to build a mini sound booth somewhere so they don't sound so echoy or hollow, trying to do it when the kids are at school. But that's my prime time for freelance writing, because that's when clients and get ahold of me. Like it. Right now it's not in the books. Maybe next year. Well, it's I mean it's still now. We didn't ask about the the the biggest failure. But yeah, that took me a while to figure out because, you know, I talked about failure naturally or sort of...

...socially. But you know, your question was the most challenging, like, oh, those are the ones I try and behind it. But no, I it took me a bit to figure it out because I've overcome it now. So it's so even forgotten about it until I thought about it. There was we're in two thousand and twenty, I think twenty, sort of two thousand and eighteen going to two thousand and twenty nine, sorry, two thousand and twenty nine, two thousand and eighteen going into two thousand and nineteen. I had this bizarre spree of three new clients who fired me within like a few weeks, or like six weeks, kind of thing. And Right, yeah, and that's we start to go what is wrong with me, because I have other clients, like the one in Germany, who are very happy with what I do. What on Earth is going on here? And so, you know, like they would tell me what they want, I would do it and they say no, we don't want that, want this, so I would do it. No, we don't want that, want this, and and you know, it was just frustrating to say the least, and because you given what they want and then they say no, they don't want that. And so, to get me through it, actually hired a business consultant, someone locally, because I want to work somebody kind of know right, especially the business. There are so many business consultants. You need somebody who stands out and whom you could trust, and so I went with a woman named lowest rats locally, and she and I sat down and she helped me find all the holes that I had in my business, because, as what was also happening at about the same time as my husband had surgery and he was supposed to back at work in about three weeks and he returned six months. It was brutal. And you only returned because he had to, because his short term insurance had run out. And I think partly he is going stir crazy as well. He's an extrappert. He loves working with people. I'm an introvert, so if we stay in this, say, house, too long, you know, I think we can drive each other that sometimes. anyways, it was just like my my business did not tank, that's too extreme, but certainly my self confidence tanked because my business was not meant to support the family. I wasn't there yet. I wanted to be there someday where, if something happened, I had enough income coming in that I could support the family, even if only for a few months, just to get us over a hump, but I was not there yet. And so so you have this situation where I'm trying to so I took on any client I could, as long as they were in the country, pretty much, because sometimes get phone calls from Peru. No thanks, right anyways. And so what end up happening is I wasn't putting these clients through an appropriate vetting process. They had come one I had met while he was giving a presentation and so but then he was doing work for a client of his and he wanted to help with some content creation. So we never really had a good what are you looking for type discussion, or if we did have it, then I wasn't bringing my all to it right. And then the other ones. Yes, you have that initial how's it going? How do you operate? How do you work? Kind of discussion. But I didn't look at it from the standpoint of do I want this client? I looked at it from the standpoint of you know, how do I get this job and still be honest? Obviously, but I was in I was in job interview mode, not business building mode, and those are two different modes mentally speaking. So Lois helped me figure that out. And then over the course of a year I'd get the odd inquiry and I would send them and ask these questions. You know, do you have a marketing plan or what exactly hoping that I do? There's a common misconception with copywriting that it means I can also look after their marketing strategy, and often small business owners don't understand that. I don't do strategy. I can do content strategy, but that's...

...still comes after the overall marketing strategy has been written down and disseminated to the team. Right. So, you know, when they say we want to increase sales on facebook, it's my question is to whom? How? You know? What have you done so far? Like I need all this data. And it turned out very quickly that they wanted me in this case to do their whole marketing strategy for social media. I don't do that. So instead actually referred him to my business consult and he's signed on with her, and so she's helping him figure those things out and then if he needs a writer, he knows. He'll know when he needs an actual writer, not someone who, because she writes, you must be able to do these other things too. So that was yeah, learning. That was huge. And I'd said no to a couple of clients, potential clients, over time just because I had those questions in place and I had cleaned up my business from that. So that's how that worked out. Oh that's cool. How do you discover new clients and bring them on? Actually, for the past years so it's been mostly referral or they found me, which is a nice position to be in. That being said, I just had to you know, I'm finishing up with one client because it's high time that they take what they've hired me to do and take it in house, and I'm not the right person for the job anymore, and so now I actually have to actively go out and find a replacement client, because it was a good income I was getting from them and it was very, very fulfilling work. I was just the wrong person for the job moving forward. So I've so I met with Lois again and we've met a few times this year. I stayed on with her and I was going through to a funk with the freelancing a bit and I wasn't sure if that was a funk because you know, you know you go through life transition. You're in a funk because you know you have to go through transition and life will be good. Or was it a funk because something has to change and it can change and then it gets resparked? And we just actually met a couple days ago and I realized what kind of clients I want to look for it now. So I'll be creating a new web page on my website and there will be a menu item that takes people in that market directly to that spot. And so once I've got that up and running, then I'll go to my network and say hey, you know, look for new clients. I'm opening up this air of my business. Here's a background, his or I think I can help and if you have any if you know of anybody, feel free to pass this on or put me in touch with them. Sort of idea. So it will be an active networking effort in that case. Well, that sounds like a lot of excitement. Exciting. Yes, and work, work, it is difficult thing, holy wow. So, yeah, that's a an interesting way of going about it. It's like, I mean lucky that you've had this coach to be able to help you figure all this stuff. It's I know you were saying that. You know, part of the reason that we want to do this podcast is to talk about creative entrepreneurs and advice, and my first one thing I would advise people is like to not get trapped in that, if it's not free, I'm not using it, mentality that you can easily get trapped into when you start your own business. You know, business consultants are not cheap but any stretch. When look at their our rates, you know, your eyes pop out like in the old lune tunes commercial or lunetunes cartoons, right your feet do this run underneath you because you want to run from that priced egg. But at the same time you talk with them for an hour. They go, you're doing this wrong, do this, do this. Then you're like, Oh, okay, I've just save myself ten hours of work, which is twice, you know, the amount of money they're charging me right now, right, and hopefully that will bring in more money afterwards. So, whereas I could have gone through numerous self help books and trying to find my calling all that kind of stuff, or I can meet Louis...

...for an hour and boom, I no one doing next right. So yeah, that's exciting. So it gives you a bit of peace of mind for your for Your Business? Yeah, it does. It's I find one of the biggest change, is one of the recent biggest changes I've experienced, is when you pay for the right consultants to help. It takes that worry out of your work and then you can actually focus more on your work. So yeah, I hired marketing consultants to help me with my books and they help me sort of get everything together and give me the whole plan and I've now signed up for for a year long as worth of webinars and such by someone whose name appears to be highly respected in the indie industry, and he takes you through, like step by step, all the marketing stuff you have to do. So, whereas Zg communications had taken me through, you know, they looked at everything I did and said you're missing this, you're missing this, focus on this, go here, so I could finally bring that all in and stop panicking now at this other person with the webinars and stuff he offers. I can do that all with a guide in a sense, but without paying the hourly rate that a marketing company would be charging me to walk me through all of that themselves. Right. So you're going to be marketing your books quite heavily in the next year. I will, and I'm already experimenting with things now. But I mean last night, it's kind of funny, I spent two hours on a webinar about Amazon keywords and then bit on pricing and I woke up mid night panicking because like, oh my God, Amazon keywords are right and I'm starting to come up my head and if I got the right one. So it doesn't get rid of you don't lose all the worry, but you do, you know. But at the same time, if that happens to me, it's frustrating for it because it's cold and flu season and stresses what gets sick. But at the same time that wouldn't have happened if my brain didn't see all the ideas that can come out of that that I can now experiment with hopefully get ebook sales up, because once those get up, I mean when I see some of these these zone in the author saying, yeah, I was selling three books a day and that was enough. Like Oh, I got three books a day. I would die for the RAE books a day. All right, you know, but because that would be maybe roughly ten bucks a day end of the month, three hundred good. Yeah, so, right, exactly. So, but you know, see it like seeing all that. So now I have some things that I can actually experiment with and sit down, figure that out, do the experiment, run it for a couple weeks to see what happens. And that's where the worry comes out of it, because it's no longer is this even the right thing? It's okay, but all these ideas, I think these ideas here are the best ones to start with. If that doesn't work, I'll go to the next idea. If that doesn't work, the next one, but it's not where the idea is coming from. Right. So, yeah, but I could really usist. So yeah, so what part of the part of the podcast is also about looking at Canadian Ideenta? You know what the last question is. But just before we get to that with there anything else that you wanted to give in terms of advice for octopreters like that, I would say you have to keep learning, and it doesn't always have to be about your craft, certainly that too, but keep learning about marketing, business practices and stuff. I mean it can get frustrating because things seem to change really fast, but I mean honestly Tracy. If things didn't change, you know I be sitting here in hoop skirts right now or you know what wigs on, possible or from not part of that social echelon, then I don't know what would be wearing right now. But anyways, walking around and bare few. I don't know. It's just things change and things can get worse, but they can also improve. Any change involves both and in order to keep your business going, you have to stay on top of all of that as best as you can whilst still running your business. The other one I'd mentioned to was was you know, you have to out of the I. I'm not using it less it's free mentality because that's a...

...scarcity mentality and I'm not advocating for spend thousands of dollars and stuff like that, because you don't want to run yourself into a financial hole either. But you got to look at Your Business as as a business. Whether you're crafting, drawing, painting, writing, playing music, doesn't that you still running a business. And if you think that a certain piece of software, it's going to cost you five hundred dollars, is actually the ticket to helping you, you know, improve things and spend the money right. So and get a bookkeeper. That's my last tip. Get a book keeper. You'd like your book keeper. I like my bookkeeper. Yes, yeah, I just had to switch because my preous bookkeeper. They're focusing more on people, on larger companies who want the full serce from book keeping up to tax preparation stuff. I'm not big enough for that, so I've got a new one. She's awesome. Get A bookkeeper, it's yeah, so that's my advice. That's good advice. And so then, in terms of your role as a Canadian, because that's the other thing that we were talking about a little bit before the interview, do you consider yourself a Canadian and, if so, what does that mean to you? I do. I think I have just the very basic definition because I was born here and raised here, and I don't mean that you half to be born here to be Canadian, but I to me, I just see it as a situation as opposed to a bloodline of any kind. So you know, I know my grandfather. I think what's still call me in German once in a while and I'm Canadian. I'm sorry, I'm Canadian, but I think for me I I love the vast size of our country. I'm still I've been in Europe a long time. I still get miffed when you know ten hours in the car you've gone through four countries. I like that as part of our countries mythology. I'm going to call it that, or maybe ethos might be better. We're not sure. Is Is this idea of sort of being fence sitters, because if your friends sitter, it means you can't decide and you can't decide because you see both sides of the fence and that can certainly be paralyzing for sure. But you know, I don't feel like I have to go out there and make a decision all the time just because that's been fit into me about what being Canadian means or anything like that. It's not part of our culture to be as forthright with opinions. I think sometimes we can be a bit more forthright with opinions. I think a lot comes from people respectfully sharing opinions in the right situations. But I think freak Canadian. Being Canadian means diversity, and I really don't mean that as a catch phrase or not saying it because it's trendy. Humans were not meant to be one kind. I mean at it's very basic. You know, a man and a woman to create a new life. Biologically speaking, you know past that you need these men and these women who are creating new lives to do that. With this one, I'm getting a philosophical now. Bas you can't have a small little community and keep producing children and not have something happened, because our genome requires diversity right in terms of functioning the people. If you put yourself out there and discuss different ideas, you come to different realizations, like I had do that blog post where I had to admit that my premier did something right. You get that through diversity. And yes, it's very comfortable able to sit down and talk with I'm going to call them your own people. People think like you and it's nice to be able to say something and everyone knows you're talking about. You'll explain anything. It's nice. Sure but it's also extremely boring, really fast, and I the one downside to being a writer, as you spend a lot of time at home and you're not out in the community as much anymore when you're working at Tech Company, you do come across different culture than it was refreshing and people are open about those, about their cultures and what...

...they like don't like, all that kind of stuff. It was very nice. I don't have that, so I missed that. So I like that diversity that Canadian that Canada brings with it because it's immigration country, you know, with our first nations as a foundation. Hopefully that's okay to say. I don't mean any insult by if that's the case, but yeah, I think that's that's in a nutshell, without doing the whole podcast on what it means to be making it is a challenging question. It's yeah, that's not necessarily clear and of course I'm in Quebec to, so that's why I have to ask if you actually do call yourself a Canadian. If people here if you tend to be quite reluctant about it sometimes, and I could kind of get that too, but like we have a bit of that. I'm going to call it cultural protection. Isn't going on. Is going off my grandfather's generation because they lived sort of like the mennonites. They had their own German enclaves and he all through eastern Europe and they're different subcultures in there, and so they kept these cultures going for like for some it was about three hundred years, two hundred years, others almost a millennium. That's how long they've been there and they kept the German going the whole time. They come here and proof it's gone in two generations. And there was a bit that will you should be because it's your you know your German and your this and you should be speaking German. So it was pushed. So certainly not on a provincial level as is in Quebec, but I I understand what's coming from. But, like I said, I was born here, I could serve myself Canadian and I was raised here. But again, that doesn't mean that those who were not born here and raised here are not Canadian. That's just why I define myself as Canadian. Yeah, well, it's your it's your definite, your definition. You can you can use that. It every like, I know, but I don't that can sound horrible. That to me, if you're at to me, someone's Canadian because they're to be a Canadians, a citizen. Who someoneh's citizen, who lives here. You've got your Permi citizen, not permanent. You got your citizenship, your Canadian like the rest, I could care less about. So, but for me, for me it's just where do you live and where do you have your citizenship? That's what what's going to come down to for me. So to me it depends on the day. Sometimes I think that if you want to be, if you want to be Canadian, you actually get to be too, because sometimes you can be like a state of mind. You know what it could be. And if I moved to, I don't know, Spain like which what I start calling myself German after a while, because it's Europe and you have to have some kind of ethnicity, and I don't know, Canadian is an ethnicity. I don't like. It isn't, you know, like so I don't know what I would do in a different context, but the context I'm in is this country or Germany, and either case I'm Canadian. So well, thank you. I really appreciate your time. It with great speaking with you well, thanks a lot, tracy, and thanks for inviting me be on the show. Thank you for listening to an apologetically Canadian. This episode was brought to you by aerial view courses. Are Courses are designed for people who are curious about creativity, growth and resilience. Fine Up Today.

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