I am so stoked! I feel inspired, sparked, empowered to go out after all my dreams. My dreams consist of being an entrepreneur and a writer. Now, I know I can do it. All thanks to the How-To Festival put on by the Louisville Free Public Library. It was five hours packed with viable information for me; to encourage me to just do it! I spent four hours in classes and one hour exploring and going to lunch at Panera in the Highlands… I was craving some Broccoli Cheddar soup. The funny thing is… I really struggled to get out of bed this morning; we had rain that makes my bones lazy and thunder clashes that shook me out of bed last night. I forced myself to get up and go and was weary that I might feel awkward going alone or worse, be disappointed in the festival. I am so unbelievably thankful that I pushed myself out of the door this morning… and parking was ample for everyone.
The first class I attended was How to Start a Small Business. It was put on by Michael Ashcraft from the SBA. He discussed how to select a business name, write a business plan, consult an attorney, obtain an EIN, market research and where to go for help…. free help; from the library, SBA, SCORE, Women’s Business Center of Kentucky, etc. I met a fellow entrepreneur dreamer in the class who gave me the scoop on where to go. She said that SCORE was the place to go because it is 70 volunteers of successful business owners who are ALL women (at least the one here in Louisville). The visions of my Sewcial Club having a home in the Highlands danced in my head as the fabric’s texture fed into purring sewing machines with matching thread. I envision an imaginative place for creative people; artists, to bring their ideas to fabric. A home away from home. A nook of inspiration and freedom.
How To Sell Your Message was the second class I attended. This class was presented by Chris Poytner of the Mayor’s Office. He gave us tips on how to sell our message using traditional media, new media and social media. We got ten pertinent tips on how to go about doing this. He showed us great examples of how this works (Ellen DeGeneres “selfie” for Samsung) and how it can backfire (NY Police #myNYPD and McDonald’s #McDStories). Chris does the social media for our Mayor Greg Fischer and had great examples of witty, yet proper tweets. He showed us how the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green turned the tragedy of the sinkhole into a money maker after the video of the drone in the sinkhole went viral. They are keeping the sinkhole, leaving a corvette beyond repair and sealing it up with a glass floor. In this class, I got an opportunity to meet the Assistant Director of the Louisville Free Public Library, Lisa Sizemore. She told me that she had done a How-To also on how to travel the world on a budget. She had recently gone to England and Wales and the whole trip only cost her $1030.00. It was a great class with lots of laughs and lessons… like when the 76 year old new business owner thought the hashtag was just a pound key and Chris educated her by telling her to think of it like the card catalog, which left the Freshman in the class confused. The next class I took was How to Go From First Word to First Draft in Six Weeks with the spunky Cathy Fyock. She was rockin’ a big black and white button that coordinated with her graphic black and white top and necklace with black jacket. Her graying hair coiffed in a short pixie cut that seemed to open her face and let you know she was a vibrant vivacious woman. The pin said, “GOT BOOK? Write it in 6 weeks!” She was very honest and said that she hated writing, but she loved having a book. She likened it to love giving birth or love being a mom. She began writing to promote her business. We discussed what the benefits of writing a book are, reasons we have not written a book and focusing on our topic and thesis statement (like a 30 second commercial stating what the book is about) and key points of our books. She addressed the issue of our inner voice saying that we are not writers, or not good enough or whatever it says… she called it “The Bitch”. She suggested that we tell friends that we are working on a book and continue with “let me tell you about it.” Or as she has her coaching clients do, wear a pin that says, “Ask Me About My Book!” She said this will help us clarify our thesis. She also suggested that we read (or in my case reread) Stephen King’s On Writing. She warned us that we should NEVER edit as we go; neuroscience says we cannot multitask in that way… do two opposite things at once. She recommend that we write at least ten minutes a day and to find the best setting for us based on whether we are introverts or extroverts… extroverts feed off the energy of having other people around them. Hence, I love going to Highland Coffee to write; being among artisans gets my juices flowing. She also taught me something about me… I have felt that I had attention deficit (not medically diagnosed) of midlife women, but she says it is “productive procrastination.” Sounds about right. She has a new book out called On Your Mark: From First Word To First Draft In Six Weeks which can be found on Amazon. She can be found at www.cathyfyock.com, Twitter and Facebook.
How To Publish Your Book was the final class I took. Peggy DeKay was the speaker. She owns Darby Press and has a podcast called The Business of Writing Today as well as a newsletter. She taught us the lingo of the business such as Indie being an independent writer. She also reminded us that in Kentucky, we pronounce “niche” wrong; we use a hard “ch” instead of a soft “sh”… but Appalachia is with a hard “ch” too. She gave us recommendation as new self-publishers to use CreateSpace.com or IngramSparks.com. I learned that 25-35% of New York Times bestsellers are self-published. I never heard of the Espresso Book Machine; it can print and bind a book in three minutes fueling the POD (print on demand) revolution. She told us about Andrea Gardner’s youtube video starting with only 30 views, then she promoted it with social media and it got 14,000 views and then it went viral and is currently above 19 Million views. Then Louise Hay of Hay House contacted her and asked if she had a book… being business savvy, Andrea said she was working on one. After she self published her book, she became synonymous with transformation guru. Peggy also told of Kindle Millionaires, such as Amanda Hocking. Amanda was a 26 year old healthcare worker that wrote vampire fiction (which was not even a niche at the time). She submitted 800 book proposals to only be refused. She wanted to attend a seminar and did not have the $300 to attend, she decided to upload all her books to Kindle. She sold 450,000 in one month (that is clearing over $150,000 on 99 cent titles). I learned that nowadays an ebook can reach the global market in 12 hours and print can be on market in 48-72 hours through self publishing. There was so much information that I took from this class and still need to process in my mind.
After this class, I was thinking of taking another one, but then thought I should venture around and see what else was going on. I saw some singing in harmony, Bhangra (Bollywood) dancing, hip hop dancing, fencing drawing on the wall, and our Mayor meeting and greeting. I am so thankful for our city’s wonderful library system and look forward to next year’s How-To Festival.