Hello all and welcome to an exciting new addition to the blog — Career Talk Tuesdays! As I’m drawing close to the end of my own education, I’ve found that there are so many people like me wondering what they can do with their English major or how they can get into the publishing industry or what it takes to get a book out into the world. If you’re wondering about the possibilities of your own future, take a look at these posts and talk to the wonderful people participating. This is going to be fun!
To pump us up in our inaugural post, please welcome Ann Livi Andrews to the blog!
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I’m Ann Livi Andrews, a self-published author writing under a pen name, and attempting to lead a new way of thinking in the self-publishing world. I have a Bachelor of Science in English Education but have never used it. Throughout my life I’ve held jobs at a library, a Wal-mart, a variety of law offices, a Taiwanese corporation, and even a private jet company. But being a stay at home mom slash self-published author is by far the highlight of my job experiences.
Not going to college wasn’t an option for me. At the time, I was excited. I applied to two colleges and got accepted into both of them. I chose one three hours from home because “I needed space.” There were four of us from my high school who ended up at the same university. Two of us had boyfriends back home and were constantly driving back and forth. After our freshman year, we all left. Three of us went to the same university for our sophomore year. After that year, I left and returned home to the university in my home town because I was determined to marry my high school sweetheart and that’s where he studied. And so I managed to finish my Bachelor of Science in Education in four years despite the fact that I attended three different universities during that time. I graduated with a inevitably doomed marriage and a degree that I had no intention of using.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in first grade and I started writing short stories. But when it came to college, I was told to ignore dreams and aspirations for realistic life expectations. “You’re too short to play volleyball in college” and “It’s too hard to become a writer” were pieces of advice that I heard all too often. They were interchangeably used with “Be an English teacher. You’re good at English.” So that’s what I did. And you know what? I was and am good at English. I can create amazing and beautiful lesson plans that follow as many of the educational standards as you want. But when it comes to standing up in front of condescending and attitude driven teenagers who are all mostly taller than me – I am terrified, anxiety ridden, and am overall lacking in confidence. The one school I would have taught at (the school I grew up in) offered me a job and I was told that I was ridiculous for considering teaching at a private school that wouldn’t even pay me minimum wage. That was 2006.
Now to make a huge jump.
In January of 2011, I met the man of my dreams – even though I wouldn’t realize it for another 4-6 weeks. As I caved to his stubborn (he prefers persistent) advances over the course of a 3 day RV Trade Show, I found myself walking around looking at RVs with him. We were bluntly honest with each other about who we were (I’m Christian, he’s undecided – I was straight laced, he was rebellious – We both had horrible ex-baggage, etc.) And so it came up that I wrote books despite a lack of agent and publisher interest. He said “I’d like to help you self-publish.”
Turns out that he was the nicest, most caring, and honest man I’ve ever met. Part of our adventure together has included self-publishing my books. While he started out helping me with marketing and social media, over the past year I’ve taken over the majority of that.
With Self-Publishing, I hold complete control over my work, my covers, my genre, and how I choose to market myself, which has been a wonderful experience. I also have the ability to experiment freely without an agent or publisher looking over my shoulder.
Does all this mean that my Bachelor of Science in Education was a waste? Not at all. I use many of the skills I learned to help me with my plot construction and editing process. Plus I have the degree to fall back on if need be. But I desperately wish that I had experimented with classes a little more. The closest I came to a creative writing class was creative nonfiction, and we had to include some aspect of truth within our writing.
My husband never finished his degree and while he would tell you that it hasn’t helped his resume, he still ended up with a Director of Marketing position that he loves. With the direction our country is heading in, I’m not sure that college degrees will hold much meaning in future generations.
My advice for anyone wanting to be an author—traditionally or self-publishing—is to maintain a Plan B, just in case you need extra funds. We have dreams for a reason. They force us to strive for a higher purpose, for a job that we’re passionate about, something to work towards. You should never give up on your dreams – even if you have to compromise with them slightly. But make sure you have a safety net in place to support yourself and your family. If dreams were easy to achieve, I don’t think they would mean as much to us as they do. Publishing my first short story on Amazon was an amazing feeling. As it is, I’m getting ready to revise and expand on the first story I ever published, but it was still a step in the right direction for me.
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Thank you SO much Ann for sharing your career, goals, and advice with us! I know that it’s helpful to me and that there are others who’ll love to see the path you’ve taken.
Want to check out Ann’s work for yourself? On July 4th, for one day only, have the chance to download her book–completely FREE!! This is an awesome opportunity to check out an amazing author. Come back and let me know what you think! I know many of my readers are YA fans so I think that The Two Lands: Return will be a perfect match for all of you!
Connect with Ann on social media:
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Are you interested in Career Talk Tuesday? Want to participate? Email me at caughtbetweenthepagesblog at gmail.com!