Entrepreneur Friday – Sally Jenkins
Welcome to Entrepreneur Friday. This week we interview Sally Jenkins. Sally is an entrepreneur author, she writes, publishes and sells her own books and gives author talks. Grab a cuppa and enjoy.
Entprenereur Friday – Sally Jenkins
Tell us a bit about your business?
I am an author entrepreneur which means that I write, publish and sell my own books. I also sell the occasional short story or article to magazines and give author talks to libraries and local community groups. In addition, I offer services to help novice writers such as critiquing/reviewing work and formatting text-only books for publication on Kindle.
What inspired you to start it?
It’s been a gradual evolution from writing as a hobby, through writing short stories and articles for publication, creating e-collections of short stories to finally winning a competition with my first psychological thriller, Bedsit Three, and self-publishing it.
What is your career background?
I still work in IT three days a week. Unfortunately very few writers are able to make a living from their literary work alone.
What is your vision for your business?
To build up a greater body of literary work in different formats, (e-book, paperback, ‘box sets’ etc.) in order to generate a sustainable long term income and to top this up by helping others improve their writing skills and publish their work.
You’ve balanced being a successful business woman with raising a family. Any advice for other women?
My two daughters are now grown-up, giving me more time to devote to my business. When they were small writing was, by necessity, a hobby. If I’d tried to expand it then, as well as hold down a day job, I would’ve burned out! I admire all you women out there ‘having it all’!
How do you maintain a good work/life/family balance?
I always make time to exercise during the day. If I’m pushed for time it might just be a quick walk round the block at lunch time, otherwise I’ll go to the gym or for a swim.
What lessons have you learned along the way?
Always be generous to others because what comes around goes around. If you show kindness then kindness will find its way to you in some form.
What has surprised you about owning your own business?
The satisfaction of generating income without an employer as a middleman. My income per hour as a self-employed writer is lower than my salary from the ‘day’ job but gives me far more pride!
Who and what inspires you?
I’ve been particularly inspired by Joanna Penn who runs a multi-national profitable business based on writing and speaking engagements. I would love to duplicate her work ethic! She’s also a very nice person.
What obstacles have you had along the way?
The biggest obstacle a writer faces is rejection. There is not a writer on earth hasn’t experienced the soul-sapping despondency of rejection, be it from a publisher, agent or magazine. The secret is to grow a thick skin and remember a piece of work can be rejected for a multitude of reasons, not just because it’s of poor quality. The work may not fit a publisher’s list, the agent may not be taking on new writers or the magazine may have just published an article similar to the one you’ve submitted. Self-publishing removes the obstacle of rejection but means an author must introduce her own quality control measures, such as using beta readers and employing an editor.
What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started?
It’s OK to hate the first draft of your novel! The important thing is to get the story down in full as quickly as possible. Then you can go back and edit, polish, change and pretty it up.
Tell us your favourite tools that make your life easier (apps, websites, software etc)
I’d like to give a shout-out for Speakers’ Clubs up and down the UK. In order to promote myself as a writer I knew I’d have to overcome my fear of public speaking. I joined a Speakers’ Club and was able to practice speaking in a ‘safe’ environment and received feedback which enabled me to improve and gain confidence. Any entrepreneur who speaks at networking events or to groups of customers should consider Speakers’ Clubs. There are more details here and I believe the Toastmasters organization performs a similar function in many parts of the world.
What is your favourite quote?
I went on a one-day course run by Joanna Penn and one particular phrase that she used stuck in my head: Don’t wait to be picked.
Bio – Sally Jenkins
Sally Jenkins is an entrepreneur author. She writes, publishes and sells her own books and gives author talks. Her guide to publishing on Kindle, Kindle Direct Publishing for Absolute Beginners, is regularly in the UK Amazon top ten for its category. Bedsit Three, Sally’s first psychological thriller won the Ian Govan Award and was shortlisted for a Kobo competition.
Sally setup the First Impressions Critique Service to offer constructive feedback to novice writers on articles, short stories, blog posts and much else. She also formats text-only e-books for technophobes or those who are short of time.