Meet writer and author Laurie Wright, who writes books whilst teaching others how to publish books with the main goal in mind of selling to.
Laurie’s books are designed to help boost a child’s mental health, which is a subject that she is personally passionate about. Laurie actively speaks on the subject of children’s mental health to a wide variety of people ranging from parents, day careers, to teachers. We caught up with Laurie to see where her journey has taken her and where she intends to go and why she believes its important to let children get absolutely wild.
Hey Laurie, can you introduce yourself to us?
I am a mom of three, a wife of one, a children’s author, and a business strategist for authors.
Can you take us through your journey as to how you arrived to where you are now?
I’ll attempt the short version, I was a kindergarten teacher for ten years, during which time I wrote the first draft of my first book. I didn’t know what to do next, so I put it away and then life happened!
I got married, had three kids and then encountered the all too common ‘mom challenge’ of finding myself again, after dedicating myself to raising the kids. I remembered the book I had written, did some research and took my first online course, and decided to publish it myself. I continued taking courses, learning everything that I could about publishing and marketing, and within six months my sales started to climb.
My instincts to educate others are strong! Last year I did a TEDx talk about helping our kids to get less busy, I have presented at multiple Teacher Conventions and in schools, and now I offer online services to help other authors market their books more successfully.
What is a typical 24 hours like for you?
My kids are 3, 6 and 10, so much of my schedule is set by their activities. They all crawl in bed with me each morning until someone is hungry enough to brave getting out of the covers. I feed the kids, and try to exercise in the mornings, with varying degrees of success.
During the school year, I work at home from 9-3, then focus on the kids for the next five hours, and more often than not I go back and do a few more hours at the computer in the evening. In the summer months we have a much looser schedule!
You write books and teach others how to publish their books, did you always have a passion to work within the publishing industry?
Honestly, I didn’t. I never considered myself a writer, I am not the person with a cupboard full of journals filled with stories at home. What I had was an idea to help kids, to boost their emotional resilience and to help combat the crisis I believe we are in.
The success that I’ve had with publishing is what motivated me to help others do the same. A teacher’s gotta teach!
How would you say your books are designed to help boost a child’s mental health?
The books all focus on one mantra each. One positive thought is repeated over and over until it becomes stuck in a child’s brain and becomes their self-talk. Negative self-talk is at the root of most mental suffering, so preemptively combatting that is the intention behind the books.
You also speak on the subject of children’s mental health to parents, daycare providers and teachers, how are you helping them to apply some important factors you teach to their everyday parental skills?
I give them words to use when they speak to their children, or the children in their care. I try to explain the importance of positive self-talk, independance, and the need to build a child’s sense of self-efficacy.
The resources I create require very little work to implement and use, and I give lots of real-world examples so that caregivers can clearly see how they can use the resources every day.
Do you have a team behind you?
Not yet! The day will likely come when I need help, but for now I manage on my own.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
I plan to continue on writing, publishing and mentoring other authors. My kids are young, so I look forward to attending many more school assemblies and volunteering.
How are you planning to expand as an author?
I will be completing an early chapter book series this summer, it’s based on my own kids getting magically transformed into fantastic creatures – loosely based, that is. I also hope to try writing adult novels, likely cozy mysteries as that is what I enjoy reading.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally as a an author?
I second guess everything! I write a page and then I sit back and wonder about the potential impact the words could have on a child. Since I am attempting to improve the emotional health of children, rather than just tell a lovely story, I am never fully satisfied. Lately I take to Facebook, and I ask parents on my FB page (@lauriewrightauthor) what they think about scenarios or wording, and that has been quite helpful.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
When I was first rediscovering myself, after having children, I found a fabulous lady online called The Mojo Mama. She shared practical, useful tricks to get my life organised and under control, and encouraged me to set goals and then meet them. It’s really because of her that I took the chance to publish my first book.
In the world of writing, a man named Brian Meeks spent a ton of time teaching a group of authors to love data and taught us advertising for our books. I credit my book sales to him!
What outlets do use to market your own children’s books?
I only sell on Amazon and my website in North America. The rights have been purchased for complex Chinese and Korean, and they will be sold in stores there as well.
Which methods are you using to build your own network?
I have a love/hate relationship with social media, as do many other entrepreneurs I know. I use it off and on, and when I’m on I’m trying to have real conversations and connect with people. I stick to facebook and instagram, and I also have an email list.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions of being an author?
Most people still think that self-publishing isn’t ‘real’ publishing, and that writers who go that route aren’t good enough to be published traditionally. In fact, I believe that it’s the smarter writers who publish themselves, as they retain all the rights, the control and the royalties!
What would you like to see changed for millennials in the publishing world?
I would like to see more people in general take a chance! So many people I’ve worked with have terrific ideas and a deep yearning to be a published writer, but they let fears, doubts and excuses stop them. I hope that more people take a chance on themselves and go for it!
What is the best piece of advice you have received to date?
Done is better than perfect.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Every mistake brings the opportunity to learn and grow. I do my best to wallow over mistakes for very short periods of time, and then get back to work.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I try to limit work to the hours my kids aren’t home, so that I can focus on them when they are. (Notice I said ‘TRY’) I have weekly goals and household ‘To-Dos’, and I try to keep all the guilt-induced ‘should-dos’ to a minimum.
Truthfully, my life doesn’t feel very evenly balanced, but what needs to get done generally gets done, and whomever needs to talk or cuddle knows that I am available.
The highlight of your career so far?
It’s got to be when Amazon pre-ordered 8500 copies of ‘I Can Handle It’ in anticipation of the Christmas season!
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Two things: when a parent tells me how much of a difference my books have made to their child, and when an author reports back after we made changes, to say that their sales immediately went up!
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
I love Bushra Azhar, because she is brilliant, and persuades me so good. I quite enjoy Jasmine Star, for her social media savvy and her authenticity. In the publishing world, I am eternally grateful to Brian Meeks, for teaching me to make my books visible, and to the SPF Podcast guys, for sharing such valuable information freely every week.
How would you say you are intending to use your voice to educate others in the publishing industry?
I really hate it when other children’s authors say they have to quit writing because their books don’t sell. I would love to help boost visibility and sales for them, because it is truly life-changing. (hello, weekly cleaning service!)
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I can’t narrow it down!
I’m reading 3 or 4 books at the moment on writing and publishing, and my current fav articles are about kids getting outside to play more (there are loads).
What does your Podcast playlist look like?
Whenever I am driving with the kids, we listen to Adam James’ ‘The Storyteller’s Podcast – Kids Edition’. As soon as the kids step in the van they are already asking for it, and calling out which episode they want. He is funny for parents too, a truly talented storyteller, and I’ve actually asked him to narrate all of my books, he is that good. If you have kids older than three you should seriously go and listen right now, or maybe when you’re done reading this article.
When I’m alone, I go back and forth between educational podcasts (SPF Podcast, The Indie KidLit Podcast) and purely entertaining ones. ‘My Dad Wrote a Porno’ is the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while, and it’s guaranteed to have me laughing out loud at stop lights, for all the other drivers to wonder about!
How do you measure your own terms of success?
I started feeling successful when I got my first emails and messages from people who weren’t related to me, sharing stories about their children and how they were using the mantras from my book. By the way, I was once was tagged in a video of a 4 year old boy reading ‘I Matter’. He had memorised the book, and on each page when he came to words ‘I Matter’ he just beamed. It was so heartwarming!
I had a definite sense of success when my book sales started bringing in about five months worth of what my teaching salary had been, in one month! It took seeing it on paper, and translated into dollars, to really sink in that I had become a successful author.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
It means being honest with myself, always exploring and learning what it means to be me, and then sharing that everyday, with everyone I come in contact with.
Lastly, what is next for you?
I have a dream of creating a small publishing company. I’d love to put the knowledge I’ve gained to more use, to help make other writers’ dreams come true!