Author Spotlight: Austin L. Church
by Dennis Field on February 14, 2017
I’m happy to announce that today The Pipe releases its first Author Spotlight and I could not be more excited. Getting to know the authors and the stories behind the books that I’m highlighting on The Pipe just feels natural to the goals I have for The Pipe and I hope you agree.
To kick things off, we have Austin L. Church the author of “Earn What You’re Worth: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Your Rates & Reverse-Engineering Your Desired Lifestyle.” Enjoy!
Tell me about yourself. Where do you call home? What do you do for a living? Why do you do it?
Currently I’m residing in Knoxville, Tennessee as a writer, consultant, and entrepreneur.
I started my career as a poet, and then I discovered what the rest of the world already knew: You can’t make a living as a poet, at least not for forty years. So I got a job as a copywriter and account executive at a marketing firm.
After getting laid off six months later, I was forcibly pushed out of the nest. I started freelancing in April 2009 and have been making it up as I go ever since!
These days, my bread-and-butter is content marketing retainers with tech and SaaS companies or others who want more customers but are typically not good at creating awesome content consistently.
I’ve also got a startup called Closeup.fm. The goal for Closeup.fm is to help influencers, content creators, and boutique brands use messaging apps to build a more sustainable business.
Tell me about your book. What is it about? Why did you write it?
Back in the fall of 2015, I was ramping up my consulting work again. I had been making passive income from a portfolio of mobile apps, but after I sold the portfolio, I obviously needed to replace the “lost” income.
The only problem was, I had let my client base get stale, and my wife and I had a second child, and I had a lot more expertise and experience, and our family’s financial goals had changed. In other words, my rates were out of date. I knew I needed to raise them, but when I looked around, trying to find a smart model or framework I could use, I couldn’t find anything.
All the freelance rate calculators and so forth had these glaring omissions. They didn’t account for taxes or vacation time or the most obvious fact of all: No freelancer bills forty hours week after week. Earn What You’re Worth was born out of that need for a framework not riddled with holes and bad logic. I had to invent my own.
What are your goals for the book?
My goal for it is simple. I want to get it into the hands of as many freelancers, creatives, and consultants as possible. I meet dozens of them who are working very hard but never get ahead and are confused on why that is. They don’t realize that they started with the wrong framework and the wrong goals. You won’t hit Mars if you’re aiming for the moon.
Have you ever written or self-published a book before? Why did you choose to do so for this book?
Yes, I like self-publishing because I maintain complete creative control. I’m sure I’ll go the traditional publishing route one of these days, but I wanted to get EWYW out as quickly as possible. This felt like the best solution.
What steps did you take in writing your book?
I began by writing an outline. I wrote one section at a time. I turned those sections into freestanding blog posts (or not). Once I completed the first draft of the manuscript, I sent it off to my editor.
Once edited, I passed the final draft off to my designer who had already mocked up the layout and the design for the book. The process was fairly straightforward.
If I had it to do all over again, I’d do a proper launch. But at the time, I was busy with client work, so I pushed it out the door and got back to work.
What were some of the tools you used when writing your book?
I use Ulysses for first drafts. I use GSuite to collaborate with my editor and designer. I believe my designer used the Adobe Creative Suite for part of the book and maybe a little Sketch too. That’s about it.
What are some of the methods you used to promote the book? What has worked? What has not worked as well as you would have hoped?
Honestly, I didn’t do much promotion. I know what to do. I’ve launched self-published books in the past and have seen good sales numbers come from that. But I didn’t do much this time. My goal was to finish, first and foremost, and then to re-launch at a later date when I could give the launch necessary time and attention.
What was your biggest struggle when writing this book? How did you overcome it?
My biggest struggle when writing this book was balancing the time spent drafting the manuscript and managing the design process with the time required to pursue and fulfill client work.
I don’t have any special advice for striking that balance except that to put your own projects first. I do my own writing in the morning. This scratches the creative itch, and it also forces me to work as efficiently as possible on client projects with the time remaining.
What have been your proudest moments throughout this process so far?
I love getting emails from people who tell me how much the book has helped them.
What do you hope your readers takeaway after reading your book?
I want readers to either walk away with the confidence that they are charging what they should be to achieve their desired lifestyle or to walk away with clarity and new numbers that will get them where they want to go as a freelancer.
What’s the single piece of advice that you’d give to someone else getting ready to write and self-publish a book? What did you learn from this process?
Give yourself permission to work on the book for a minimum of only fifteen minutes each day. If you write longer than that, great. But if you don’t, you can still rest assured that you will finish eventually. Fifteen minutes a day is sustainable for anyone.
What’s next for you and your book?
Selling it. Perhaps publishing it on iBooks. Turning it into a course. Helping more people.
What book(s) or blogs are you currently reading?
Currently I’ve been reading Grant Cardone’s The 10x Rule; re-reading pieces of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers; reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series; reading the minor prophets in the Old Testament; listening to Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Podcast and one of Neil Patel’s as well.
Thank you Austin for the time! Where can readers find you online?
I hope you enjoyed our first Author Spotlight! If you have any questions for Austin or myself, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you’d like to be considered for an interview, please email me here. I’d love to chat with you!