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Losing a sense of belonging can hit you hard when changing career or moving jobs.  Finding a new tribe, though, is exhilarating.

Yesterday, I went to a conference convened by the self-publishing expert and highly successful author Mark Dawson.  One of the speakers was Joanna Penn, another leading light in the self-publishing community. She had some brilliant slides. This was one of my favourites.

That one word – independent – sums up why many of the 1500 people who bought tickets to the event had chosen not to follow the traditional publishing route.  There were lots of folks in the room working hard to get out of conventional jobs by turning writing into a viable – and in some cases six-figure – income stream.

One of Joanna’s drivers was that, following redundancy, she had vowed never to be dependent on a single employer again. Now she has an impressive portfolio career which is inspiring for us all. 

No-one pretends earning a living as an author is easy.  Learning about book marketing has a steep learning curve. It takes time and money.

However, I met loads of delegates at different stages of their career who had one thing in common. They wanted to help others succeed. Being open about experiments that had not worked was particularly generous. 

As a newbie who has only just published their first book, there was no way I could return as much value as my fellow authors gave me at this meeting. But I’m hoping that, as I learn lessons myself, I will be able to contribute more to our collective consciousness. 

There’s one other fabulous thing about meeting writers from across a broad range of genres. It’s great fun. We are storytellers, after all. 

Photo © Nicola Rossi, 9th March 2020, Queen Elizabeth Hall,  London, UK.

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