Annika Spalding – Award Winning Author & Writing Coach
Book launch on Saturday 26th August – “What’s Your Story?”
I am delighted to introduce you to the admired author Annika Spalding, as my first author interview on The Feminine Code. We met through the Black British Bloggers community and developed an instant rapport in a matter of hours (I feel like I have known Annika for years).
Now, I am here interviewing Annika, ahead of her big event this week, the book launch and signing for “What’s Your Story?”
What inspired you to write this book?
Well, I was initially inspired to create an online writing course, something that could be accessible by people all over the world. I planned it for months and spent time putting it together, but something didn’t feel right. In January, I decided to turn it into a book instead and that is how “What’s Your Story?” came together. I wanted to help people open up the gates to their creativity.
How do you manage to keep writing books? Do you ever run out of ideas as this is your 6th book?
I love this question! I have lots of ideas and I love writing, so somehow it just happens. Not all of my books were planned, they began as short stories or poetry until I decided to bring it together and develop it.
What age or when did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
As a child, I really enjoyed reading stories, particularly Enid Blyton books. As soon as I could, I began writing stories of my own. I always had a vivid imagination and that, along with my desire to write, has never left me.
I would say I have taken writing more seriously in the last few years. I discovered I could share my writing with an online audience and I haven’t stopped since.
When did you decide that you wanted to become a writing/book coach?
As I was creating the content for my latest book, I felt excited about the idea of helping people overcome their confidence to write their books. The process of putting this book together really cemented that idea. In reality, I have held my own events for aspiring writers and had many a conversation for newbies with questions I could answer, so becoming a Writing Coach has felt like a natural progression.
How do you manage the marketing leading up to a book launch, do you have help or do it all on your own?
In all honesty, I am a one-woman-team right now. I have always done everything myself, however in the future I know I will hire someone to takeover for me. The only thing that is different about this book is that I had someone else design the cover and take my promo photos. In terms of social media, I analyse my accounts so that I know when and what to post. I usually use Buffer to schedule posts so I don’t have to post constantly. However, it does help to be online and ready to interact with your followers, especially when you have something amazing to promote.
Being a self-published author takes a lot of work on the marketing and book tours etc. Please can you give the readers some quick tips to get started with marketing their books?
Get to know your audience. Social media analytics can be accessed on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for free, and this will tell you when your followers are most active. This is helpful because then you can plan your posts.
Network with other writers. Word of mouth is a great promotional tool so it helps to really work on building your relationships with your online community, especially with other writers.
Don’t be afraid to do live videos. I was wary of Facebook Live at first, but I love it now! I love being able to connect with my audience, answer their questions and speak on a topic that was most likely prompted by them. Do live videos to show your personality, knowledge and expertise. Do them often.
What have you learnt about yourself since becoming a writer?
I have learned that I am very determined and skilful in getting myself heard. I didn’t know how to do that before but through writing I have become confident enough to speak.
What is the genre you write about?
I don’t really have a genre that I stick to, all my books are different. A few years ago I would have liked to stay in the Women’s Fiction genre, whereas now my focus is more personal development and inspirational. I am still figuring it out.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Write as if nobody will ever lay eyes on it. Then edit.
What do you hope your rave readers receive from reading your books?
I hope they feel connected to my words and feel a sense of release, as though the sentences they are reading were written for them. I hope they feel inspired and moved, perhaps enough to encourage them to document their own life. Really and truly, if something I wrote made someone feel something, that for me is success. To invoke emotion through written words is a skill.
Tell us about your award(s) you have won or been nominated for and how this may of brought you opportunities?
In October 2016, I won Author of Colour at BEXLive, which acknowledges the achievements in the black community. I have also won a Star Award from The Extraordinary Lady Speaks conference in 2016. I have been nominated for other awards but I chose to withdraw. None of what I am doing is so I can win awards, it does not motivate me. I do, however, recognise that other people value such recognition so I accepted the two awards mentioned with grace. I think adding “award-winning author” has certainly helped me to get noticed as people are intrigued by that. And ultimately, you need an audience of impressed people to support you as an author.
What is your current and next project that you are working on?
I am focusing on my latest book and encouraging people to purchase it and work through it. I am planning an all-day writing workshop in October called Write With Me. The details of this will be announced at my book launch and shared in my mailing list and on social media after.
As well as the above, I return to university to complete my final year of a Creative and Professional Writing degree in September, so that will be my primary focus until I graduate.
Thanking Annika so much for such a great blog interview. I wish her much success with the book launch and signing on Saturday. I will be doing a book review of “What’s Your Story?” in the coming weeks so watch this space 🙂
If you would like to connect with Annika, you can find her on social media links below:-