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Off Topic Thursday: Side Hustle

27 Aug

With all the stresses of buying a home, I’ve become more interested in a side hustle to earn a little extra money on the side. Without kids, I don’t have a lot going on in the evenings now that my tri training is not a priority and with most social engagements canceled. It would be nice to have a little extra money, I’m just not sure where to turn to find it.

In normal circumstances, I’d probably look at picking up a retail job twice a week but with COIVD raging, I don’t feel safe doing that. I’ve enjoyed working retail when I was younger and I think it could be a fun, low-stress way to make a little extra. I loved my job at an ice cream parlor when I was in high school and I could see myself doing that. Just maybe not now, when I’m spending entire days in my house so I don’t have to interact with people.

I’ve always considered doing resume critiques. I work in recruiting so I see a lot of resumes and I always wished I could say a few things to people to help them improve their resumes. I looked at a few other people who do this service online and the specifics turned me off to it a bit. Their prices are nice and high, but they’re doing unlimited re-writes and 24-hour turnaround. I’m not sure I could comply with that level of service if I’m doing this as a second job. I might try a word-of-mouth service for now because I don’t have the time to make this a full-time gig and be able to compete with those professionals.

I’ve looked into transcription a bit and I think that’s a path I might follow. I’ve got to finish reading the style guide and take an ‘entrance test’ but this seems like a good side gig for me. The clips I’d transcribe are short and I could fit in one or two a night and longer times on the weekend. After a long training session, it might be nice to sit down and still feel productive. I could see fitting this in around other things when COVID starts to lift. The nice thing is that there’s no minimum so I can stop if there’s something big going on in my life and pick up if I don’t have a lot going on.

The most obvious answer seemed to be monetizing this blog. I spent a good chunk of time every week writing content and responding to my readers. I wondered if there was a way I could make a little money from the work I’m already putting in. I became an Amazon affiliate, but that’s paid a whopping $1.50 and I have to reach $10 before I’d even see that money so I doubt I become rich off of it. If any of my readers have found a way to monetize their blog, I’d love to hear your stories. I’m not looking to quit my day job, but I’d like to pay for dinner once a month with the money.

Any other thoughts on good side hustles during COVID? How have you been able to keep a little side money coming in while locked down?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

 

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Book Club Reflection: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

6 Aug

Our book club met over Zoom again and this time we were able to discuss The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. We got a little background about Richardson to start us off, finding out that she’d grown up in a bad orphanage situation in Kentucky and struggled with homelessness for a time. There was a lot of disease and poverty in the book. Characters suffered from hunger, infections, and Pellagra (a disease none of us had heard of).

I wasn’t the only one who listened to the audiobook and some said they found the narrator to sound very authentic and liked her a lot. I’m inclined to agree.

Many of us didn’t know about the blue people of Kentucky. Some thought it was science fiction at first and most of us ended up Googling it. The way the people reacted to Cussy’s family showed how evil some people can be. We wondered how much of that evil is human nature and how much of it is taught prejudice. In the case of some characters, it seemed a taught behavior (Harriot) whereas others seemed mildly curious about something so unusual (the doctor). We wondered how much Angeline’s husband knew he was a blue. I thought he knew, but others thought he was an unknowing carrier. Angeline didn’t know she carried it. We were a bit surprised that her husband hung himself. With his anger, we thought he’d hurt the baby. But we were glad he didn’t.

There were some great historical aspects of this book that we enjoyed. The scrapbooks were a great community project for the dispersed people to participate in. It let the neighbors learn different ways of doing something or learn a new skill while they were spread out. It seemed a bit odd to us that so many people didn’t want to take WPA jobs, but we also understood the pride involved in not taking government handouts. I’m involved in hiring and I’ve talked to a lot of people struggling with taking government assistance with the COVID fallout because of pride.

We were surprised that Cussy’s father married her to her first husband. Her father seems to be so caring and fond of her, yet he seems to turn a blind eye to such a poor match. We figured that he probably knew he was sick and wanted her to be married to someone who could care for her before he died but still felt he was a bit too quick. It seemed odd that he turned Jackson down six times after that much desperation to marry her the first time. We also wondered about the inconsistency of her being able to marry. Her marriage to Jackson is illegal, but she could marry Frasier? Maybe the law changed, but we figured the most likely answer is that no one cared enough to report it the first time.

The women in town were unnaturally cruel to her. The scene where she took her medicine to appear white and was still so strongly rejected was especially difficult to read. She was pretty and smart and the women felt threatened by her if they couldn’t put her down and make her feel like an underdog. The people on her route were much more polite and open-minded. We wondered if they were honestly better people and more open-minded, or if their reliance on Cussy helped them forgive her skill color.

Cussy’s relationship with the doctor was very confusing. Many disliked him because he was an opportunist. He certainly knew he had an upper hand on Cussy and blackmailed her to get her to submit to his experiments. He treated her like she was sick and that she wouldn’t be well unless she was white. He’d been after her mother, too, trying to get samples and cure their blue skin. At the same time, he was grateful to Cussy for giving him something to publish that he gave her pills and food whenever he could. He was just looking for a way to make himself famous.

I expressed my frustration with the end and a few people agreed with me. The wrap-up seemed a bit hurried and less authentic than the rest of the book. It was a story with a lot of heartbreak and hard-won joy and the ending was just a little too neat and happy to jive with the rest of the story.

We’ll be meeting again next week for our next book, Old Baggage by Lissa Evans. I hope I finish the book. Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Off Topic Thursday: Buying a House

30 Jul

I took a week off earlier this month, something I’ve only done before if I was traveling. But I needed it. I’ve been very stressed in my personal life and my weekends weren’t a time to relax like they normally are. They were spent looking at houses.

My husband and I decided about a year ago that this would be the time we bought a house. Our lease on our apartment ends at the end of October so we started looking in June and started looking at houses two weeks ago. In our area, there are not many houses and there are a lot of buyers so the process moved a lot faster than I would have liked. We looked at over 20 houses in a week and by Sunday night, we had an offer accepted on our new home! The inspection is over and our mortgage is being processed. We’ll close at the end of August and should take possession at the beginning of October.

This process has been extremely stressful for me. I tend to freak out over money and this exacerbated that more than I thought it would. I kept worrying we wouldn’t have the money for closing costs or the inspection or a million other things. It would keep me up at night. I stopped buying anything that wasn’t critical just to save a few dollars. I think I was driving my husband crazy. I had a few sleepless nights wishing I had studied something different in college so our income would be higher and we could afford a bigger home.

I’m still struggling with this, but I’m also getting excited. We’re figuring out where bookshelves go and if we can get our recliner into the basement by ourselves. I’m finding running routes and bike paths. I’m ready for somewhere else to feel like home. We hope this is our forever house and we’re excited to get into it.

This is our porch in front of our house on our street. I know we’ll grow it into the home we want. I just need to get over my anxiety and enjoy where life has taken us.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Club Reflection: These Women by Ivy Pochoda

27 Jul

I’m back! I took a week off due to some craziness in life, but it’s given me a chance to read more and get excited about blogging again. I’m glad to be with you all again.

Our book club had another successful Zoom meeting to talk about our latest book, These Women by Ivy Pochoda. We learned a lot about the author that I wouldn’t have guessed. Her other novels are more gritty crime novels, which wasn’t too much of a surprise. I was a bit surprised to hear she’d been a collegiate squash player and very successful. She was also working with Kobe Bryant before his death on a YA series called Epoca. She uses the pseudonym Ivy Claire for these books. The first was released in November 2019.

Pochoda lives in LA and has been there since 2009 but she wasn’t raised there. Her portrayal of the city felt very real to us like she’s been there even longer. A lot of the description reminded us of Detroit; a city run down and trying to revive itself but having a hard time of it.

Pochoda’s women are empowered and have the ability to change their futures and the outcomes of what they do. We never get inside the male killer’s head. He’s not the focus of the stories. One reader figured out the killer quickly since he was the only man in the book and she figured it had to be a man. It seems obvious to me now, but I didn’t see that at the time. The time jumps threw off a few readers who were reading digitally or on audio for the first time and weren’t used to the new formats.

It was very timely of this book to include BLM protests. You have to think Pochoda knew to include these before they became front-page news. She was tuned in to what was happening and put them in her book, making it feel like she could tell the future. The book felt less escapist than crime novels normally do because it felt so real and connected to the headlines we’re reading now.

Pochoda created some very memorable characters. Feelia’s section was raw and had a lot of course language in it. Those of us who listened to it enjoyed it more. Her language was coarse, but she was describing some beautiful things. Most of us liked Essie. She had some great quirks, like her gum chewing. We’d love to see her as the detective in more books. Her backstory felt a little rushed so more books would give us more into her character. We wanted to know more about the car accident since it didn’t seem fleshed out enough. We also wanted to know more about her former partner, Debbie. That seemed like a good story, too. All of the narrators ere the victims of something; Dorian of her murdered daughter, Jujubee of murder, Marella of a broken home life, Anneke of a bad marriage. Essie needed to be the victim of something, so maybe that misunderstanding is what made her compelling in this book.

Most of us felt Dorian was the least compelling of the narrators. It didn’t help that she started the story. We weren’t sure why we were hearing her story because it didn’t seem to connect to the larger narrative until much further into the story. She might have been more sympathetic if she’d been second or third. We started to care more about the characters as the chapters went on. They became deeper. Juliana is a dancer, but she wants to be an artist like Morella. Morella is an artist, but she’s having an identity crisis and ends up using someone else’s photos in her show. A few said they cared about Morella less at the end of her section. I think she lost the intrigue she had when she was nude and covered in blue paint.

Women are viewed as sexual beings in Western culture and those in power are disrespected and brought low so they can be objectified and seen as sexual beings. They’re not listened to; Dorian keeps the dead birds to show people so she can be believed. Feelia reports her stalker for years without anyone taking her seriously. Anneke, unfortunately, buys into this view of women as sexual beings. She says that the women are at fault for their deaths, causing the killer to want them and kill them. She blames them for what happens.

We’ve got at least one more virtual meeting in us before we can meet again. We’ll see how soon that comes about. Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Taking it Easy

16 Jul

I try not to take days off from the blog. I try to post for you all Monday through Thursday. With COVID, it’s been a bit harder to find things to post about! I’m reading as fast as I can, but I still struggle to come up with enough posts for the week.

This week, I’m going to take today off rather than give you a lame post. I could have stayed up late last night to write something, but none of us want to read that.

Are there posts you would like to read from me? Any topics I could cover, or bookish news I could reflect on? It would be great to give you what you want to read, so let me know.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Libraries Re-Opening

7 Jul

Today is supposed to be a writing check-in post. However, I haven’t written in the past month and this would be the third month in a row where I post about how I haven’t been writing and it’s starting to feel old. I’m trying to think about how I want to re-set my goals for this year after they were disrupted by COVID but until I figure that out, I’m not going to drag you through the mud with me.

So, I’ll focus on something else. My library is starting to reopen!

I’m sure most readers here were more than a little disappointed by the closing of libraries when COVID struck. Our library closed its doors but did an amazing job of keeping their digital offerings running. I utilized Hoopla, CloudLibrary, and Libby to keep listening to audiobooks and read ebooks throughout COVID. My book clubs moved to Zoom and we kept meeting. It was wonderful to keep enjoying library services, but I miss going to the library. Well, things are starting to change. Slowly.

We began curbside pick up yesterday. You can place a hold online and then once your book is ready for pick up, you visit the library and they’ll bring your hold out to you. There are some movies I’ve been wanting to wash and I’ll soon want to borrow some physical books as well so I’m really looking forward to using these options. I think it’s even more critical for parents of young children who need some books for learning or entertainment! I was always in the library over the summer; it’s the best time for reading!

I’m super curious how other libraries have been able to reopen so please tell me! How have you been able to access library resources? Have you been able to get material from your library? I’ll be really jealous if anyone is still able to visit their library in person, so let me know.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Happy Independence Day!

6 Jul

To my US readers, Happy (Belated) 4th of July! I spent the weekend with friends and thusly did very little reading and blogging so I’m going to take today as Independence Day Observed and take a break from blogging in order to get caught up for the week. I’ll return tomorrow.

Happy reading!

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Book Club Reflection: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

29 Jun

I think it’s safe to assume my book clubs will continue to meet online until the fall. I can’t say I mind. I like being in my athletic shorts and having a beer. And finishing dinner five minutes before it starts. We were able to attract a lot of new members this month, too. I’m not sure if it’s because the book was available easily online, people are bored, or this was an interesting book to more people, but I didn’t mind. As with my last group, we also had to find some COVID connection. This time, it was how Charlie’s brother’s PTSD seemed to jump to her as if it were a virus that could be transmitted. But we had a lot more to say about Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network than that.

There were a lot of great characters for us to discuss in this one. Eve was a group favorite and we spent a lot of time on how she changed from 1915 to 1947. We talked about two things that seemed to change her. The first was her relationship with Rene and the intimacy she engaged in with him. She seemed to start feeling strongly about herself and what she was doing when she enjoyed their intimate forays. She wanted to hate it because of who Rene was, but she found pleasure at times. What he did to her hands brought out her bitterness toward him. The second event was when she thought she’d betrayed Lily. She saw herself as a failure and couldn’t realize that she might be guiltless. Her job really changed who she was at heart. One member brought up how glossed over her abortion decision was, but felt that it changed how she saw her job and her commitment to it.

Rose’s story was hard for a lot of us to process. We thought it wouldn’t end well but were still wishing for a happy fairy tale ending. We hadn’t heard of the massacre. Besides Finn’s story of the gypsy girl, the survivor’s story was the most haunting moment of the book. One member had done more research and found that there was an elderly survivor in the town who stayed and she had the same name as the character in the book. History shows that there was a woman in the church with a baby who was killed in a similar fashion to Rose. It’s even more horrible when you know it’s true.

Lily was also a historical figure. She was often overlooked during the war because she was a short woman and wasn’t suspected of doing any spying. We were split on if we thought woman would be as effective as spies in modern times. On one side, women are more involved in military activities and are seen as more likely to engage in risky activities. Still, they are a bit more conspicuous than men, but the difference is much smaller than it was 100 years ago.

Rene was hard to read about. He was evil and cruel, seeming to have no respect for human life. One reader felt he was so moralless as to be almost unrealistic. Others felt that there were, unfortunately, people like him in the world. Even worse, we still have people like this in our world. We saw a parallel between his moral hardening between WWI and WWII parallelled with the German its change. We debated if Rene should have faced legal justice, or if the vigilante justice Eve inflicted was right. We weren’t sure that the public would have had the stomach for it at the time after the Nurenberg Trials had been carried out. He was a man of violence and a violent end seems appropriate for him. It was even more appropriate that the statue of Boudelaire was used.

Finn was a welcome character in this book. He was also damaged by war and was very non-judgemental of Eve and Charlie for how the war had affected them. He was parallelled well with Captain Cameron. Eve’s affection for Cameron and Charlie’s affection for Finn were both rooted in mutual trauma but blossomed into something beautiful.

The women in this book had some strong friendships. Eve and Charlie started as enemies but grew to become very trusting and reliant on one another. Lily and Even started as friends and their friendship carried them through some hard times. These friendships were strong like family ties and the women passed no judgments for what had to be done. Charlie’s pregnancy and Eve’s abortion were never questioned on a moral level. These women were thrown together in very intense situations which can help strong relationships form. You understand someone and how they think quickly. They were also fighting the same enemies which gave them something to bond over quickly. Eve, Charlie, and Rose all had overbearing mothers as well. That may be generational, but it’s something that would have helped them bond, too.

This was a great discussion and I’m only sad that I read the book so long ago that I didn’t remember the details well. I’m looking forward to connecting with the group again soon. Maybe we can see each other again in the fall. Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Off Topic Thursday: When Your Big Race is Cancelled

25 Jun

I’ve had a Langston Hughes poem stuck in my head since last Thursday. It’s called Harlem and it’s short and sweet:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I got the email that USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships was canceled for 2020. My race was scheduled for August 8th and the city wouldn’t guarantee the event could go on as planned so USAT canceled. I’m still reeling a bit from what that means. In short, the event I’ve been training for 12 times a week since April 20th is no longer happening. I felt crushed and hopeless for a few days and I’m only now starting to gather my feet back under me and figure out where I go from here.

I still have four triathlons scheduled for this summer: one in mid-July, one in early August, one in mid-August, and one in early September. The first three are sprint distance (about an hour and twenty minutes) and the final one is an Olympic (just under 3 hours). They’re all smaller, local races. Nothing big like Nationals. So I’m honestly not as driven to train for them as hard. I was using this Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide which offers plans levels one (easy) to ten (intense) and had been at a level 8. In light of the smaller events, I’ve decided to drop back to a level 5. I should be able to make a strong showing at this lower level and it will give me more time for things I enjoy during this unusual lockdown period. I picked my plan up where I need to be for the later date and I’ll keep pressing forward. This plan is 9 workouts a week so I’ll be getting a lot of my time back!

I’m also considering a race I had written off before. I’ve done two 5K swims in the past and I adore them. There’s something about open water swimming that is so peaceful to me and I’m looking forward to the training involved for a distance event. With so many pools closed, lakes are almost the only option. Right now, there is supposed to be a 5K race on August 16th. If I start now, I should be able to be trained up for it by then. It might not be my best showing, but I’ll enjoy the journey.

At this point, they’re not offering refunds. I paid about $300 for the event. The only options are to defer to either 2021 or 2022. At this point, I’m thinking 2022. I wanted to back off of triathlon a bit after this year. My husband and I are looking to buy a house and I want to get more involved with swimming which means backing off the running and biking.

So what happens to a dream deferred? Right now, it’s sagging like a heavy load. The registration feels like a burden at this point and I’m almost dreading the training I’ll have to do to get back into this shape again. It hasn’t quite dried up, since it would still be fun to finish the race and compete in such a large competition. Maybe I’ll revisit this question later. I have until September to decide what to do. For now, I’m trying to retrain my focus and keep moving forward.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Interview with Author Veronica Kirin

22 Jun

I posted my review of Veronica Kirin’s Stories of Elders last week. As I mentioned, I know Kirin personally and am good friends with her brother. I asked her if she’d mind doing a brief virtual interview with me and she agreed. So I’m happy to present you with the following interview diving more into Kirin’s book and her experiences along with it. Enjoy!

S: What was the most surprising thing you heard during your interviews?
VK: I had just watched Interstellar before conducting the national interviews.  I was surprised to hear several elders describe scenes from the movie, except they were describing the dust bowl.  I didn’t know the power lines would interact with the dust and spark into the sky.  I didn’t know that the dust was so thick that it came into the house through any crack possible.  It was amazing to talk to Hal Royer and hear him say he still wipes out a glass before he fills it with water, 70 years later.  These conversions made clear my own ignorance about our history, despite being an anthropologist.  I want to note that each interview was approximately one hour long.  I couldn’t include the entire interview of each person in the book, and so I created a podcast for those who want to go deeper and hear more from the elders.  They can find it here:  https://storiesofelders.com/podcast-2/

S: How did you choose the topics to cover in the book?
VK: The chapter topics were those that came up the most often across interviews.  The goal of the book is to highlight the major areas of our culture and society altered by technology.  As an anthropologist I acknowledge my own ignorance on the topic, and looked to the experts I interviewed to highlight what was most changed.  That ultimately led to the areas of focus for the book.

S: You share some of your personal stories along with the Elders stories. Why did you choose to do this?
VK: Some have criticized me for this, but I had two major reasons to include myself in the journey.  The first was to create a relatable narrative to those who were undoubtedly curious about how I executed the project.  Even those that have read the book ask what it was like, how did I meet people, and how have I changed.  The publisher thought that including some of the journey in the book would help carry the reader from one narrative to the next and humanize the work that went into the creation of the book.  The second purpose of my narrative is to connect younger readers to the stories.  I wrote this book because I think understanding history is critical, especially as we live through a major paradigm shift, but I worried that Millennials and Gen Zeds wouldn’t be interested unless they heard themselves in the story as well.  My personal evolution throughout the journey bridges that gap.

S: Why do you think you were uniquely positioned to write this book?
VK: My degree is in anthropology, but I live my life as an entrepreneur.  It took every skill of an entrepreneur to build and execute on this project.  I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for the travel and publishing.  I had to network to find supporters as well as interviewees.  I also leveraged my network to find a publisher who could see the vision of the book and would help make it a reality.  My skills as a former website developer helped me create an online presence for the book and promote it years after its initial publish date.  The anthropologist is the visionary, the one who can see societal change and how critical this narrative will be to future generations, but the entrepreneur is the one who made it a reality.

S: What gave you the idea for using Kickstarter to raise funds to finish this project? What did those funds cover? How did you reward your donors?
VK: I didn’t personally have the cash to take time from my business (as a solo-preneur, time off doesn’t just cost money, it also costs income) to travel for the research for this book.  But I knew I had to go in person to meet the elders, as that is what was expected of an interview in their generation. Kickstarter would not only create the funds needed for the project, but also create a following.  It took an enormous amount of work, but it was a success and I’d do it again.  Donors received a range of rewards, from signed artwork quoting those interviews I’d already completed, to a signed copy of the hardcover book when it was published.

S: Can you please describe the publishing process you went through? Did you have a proposal or a completed book when you started looking to publish?
VK: I met my publisher on a podcast I co-host shortly after I had a completed manuscript draft.  They specialize in unique non-fiction, which is perfect for my work.  Shortly after the interview, the publisher flew to meet me at my home and discuss the project.  We signed a contract a week later.  This is not a conventional story, but it makes clear how critical my network as an entrepreneur was to the success of the book.

S: How did you decide to do an audiobook? Can you describe the recording process?
VK: My publisher demanded I create an audiobook.  They had the stats to back it up.  Audiobooks are very popular, and being able to offer that format has certainly boosted my sales.  I didn’t love the process of recording, but I had a great team.  I can’t recommend enough having both an audio engineer AND a reader to follow along as you record to ensure you don’t misread or mispronounce words.  What we hear in our minds is often different than what is on the page.  Having a reader made all the difference in the process.

S: Can you talk about your next project, Stories of COVID?
VK: Stories of COVID™ falls right in line with Stories of Elders, but instead of documenting a 50-year paradigm shift, I’m documenting a 5-month shift.  Furthermore, the interviews are worldwide, rather than focused on the United States.  I’ve interviewed 73 people since the end of March and, as you know, there’s no end in sight.  I look forward to writing this book.  It will be a challenge, but I already can see it forming.  Those that are curious about the stories I’m gathering can hear them on the podcast:  https://anchor.fm/stories-of-covid

 

Thanks again to Veronica for granting me this interview! It’s always interesting to learn more about writers, what inspires them, and their process. You can pick up a copy of her book on Amazon.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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