You have been invited.... Paris
Umm yes please.
When I first got the invite to Next Chapter Writer's retreat Paris I immediately said yes, of course I am so there. OH and Im bringing hubby! I have worked with Janet Wallace,creator of Utopiacon and founder of Social deviants many times before, and I knew what will be waiting for me in return was worth it's weight in gold - so to speak.
The retreat offered an exclusive intensive branding experience, a book signing and photo-shoots with my favorite photographer Regina Wamba, (also my cover designer for the broken novels).
The other authors included members of my utopiacon family from Nashville, the con you guys see me attend every year in the USA.
Many of you have reached out to me and asked, why am I paying so much for events, con's and book signings if I'm not making it back in sales? Is it really worth it?
Simple answer: You need to think like an investor in all aspects. I'm getting more than just book sales, I am expanding my wings in many of my author hats. LIFE IS ABOUT EXPERIENCING ALL YOU CAN - just do it.
Was my experience all I had hoped?
Getting to NCWRpairs was scary. I'm used to events that are busy and crowded - safe. Too busy for anyone, including myself to be someone outside of the author mask. I flourish as an actress.
At my recent South African launch of my pen name (Bailey Quinn) I was asked by the media - tell us about Paris, what were your fears going in.
yeah I was put on the spot, big time... see my wtf face here:
What I wanted to say:
As writers we tend to hide behind our writings in a way, behind a desk - and when we come out as a public figure in a crowd it's easy to play a part. At NCWRParis it was an intense workshop with few people and the only way to get the best out of the teachings was to come out as an honest person - expose your core. And I am always scared of being judged as my author persona has a reputation to uphold!
NCWRParis was all about branding and how to translate that into visuals.
So yes, some would say - but we know who you - are why need a brand?
Well some might see me, recognize my name. But like most, even after 4 years of the business of authoring, I felt lost. I need a base to work from and something to work toward.
So let's get intense, put yourself out there let us explore the core of what makes you you
I took my five core reasons for being a writer, took five core reasons for what I want to be as a brand/ a writer/
WHY why would people connect with you? WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY.
Yeah even narrowing down my core values was a mission - there is so much I want to say. Then I started to think about the photoshoot we still had to undertake and why I chose a damn evening gown??
Well that was me- I love life and yes I will be a princess if I wanted to - but what did that say about me. If the dress was my leap out of my comfort zone... what was I saying/thinking when I decided on an evening dress as an author shoot?
Choose 5 keywords I want to convey
I love the feeling of being inspired, I want to share this feeling and inspire other’s.
I live deep, I see and feel things with meaning, purpose and get swept away by the passion I have for life and everything in it.
Putting myself out there. Challenging myself. Taking risks, is the only way I learn me. Not being afraid of failing, or getting hurt, and although I can’t handle the bad feelings associated with failing or getting hurt… I need it in order to grow.
Standing out when I feel like hiding. Being happy all the time when there is so much sadness.
Being rejected by others is no longer a bad thing.
Because life is beautiful. The good and the bad are all opportunities to see the beautiful.
There is no place in today’s times for negative. Positive brings positive.
I want to live by life knowing I sacrificed to be where I am, I struggled, I explored, I hurt and I felt things, make mistakes, was an idiot at times... and because I lived passionately others will see it's possible and they too will love life, with fear - because living in fear means you finally living!!
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
As Janet Wallace (founder of NCWR) has said to me many times over. There is no such thing as you cant! If you want it, nothing should stop you.
So here am I am a princess see there's photograhic evidence <<<<< I work hard and have had many glamorous moments - because I make those moments.
Believes in happily ever afters. I did not become an award winning, globe trotting author who is also founder of SAIR writer's events, Co-founder of Fire Quill Publishing and founder of Help build a library project because I said no I can't do it.
I said screw you life - I will do it!
“Attending #NCWRParis I learned many things on making my voice stand out - by using it – how to make it visible & long lasting. I learned finding a visual for what I am trying to convey to the world can be found in my core values as a person. What I stand for, and don’t. My voice on life, the world, love and individuality. I’ve learned the best way to narrow down me into a single visual - by actually putting a picture to my mood/emotional self , and outlook. Like Madonna who has many looks – I have one umbrella where all of this fits in. This is me finding my brand... Thank you #NcwrParis”
Has my visibility increased? Yes
Am I more confident? Yes
Has my brand evolved? Yes!
Is it worth it... yes I will carry NCWRParis with me forever!! it's feeling, it's lessons, and it's core has left me stronger, more driven and more willing.