Emily Brewin, author

Emily Brewin is a quiet achiever. Not only is she an accomplished English and Media secondary teacher, in the early mornings and late into the night she is an author. As a former colleague and longtime friend, I have watched Emily's rise with fascination, in admiration of her commitment to her goal - publication of her novel Hello, Goodbye in 2017.

Emily is fiercely determined, tenacious and incredibly patient. She penned her debut novel while raising two young children, working as a teacher, and studying writing. This is not a woman who does things by halves. Whether you're a freelancer, writer or reader, I know you'll be interested in Emily's processes and musings on her work. Enjoy!

Emily Brewin, author (Photo: Harriet Tarbuck)

Emily Brewin, author (Photo: Harriet Tarbuck)

In the work you do, how important are the right words?

In the published form, the words can make or break a novel. You may have a fantastic story, but if the words fail to bring it to life, it won’t keep readers reading. Saying that, I think the right words are less important in those initial drafts. First and second drafts for me are mainly about getting the story down, rather than crafting sentences. The end product is a bit of a dog’s breakfast but it gives me something to work with and to shape into something more palatable.

What gets you up in the morning?

Usually the alarm clock on my phone, which rings at an ungodly hour. I tend to write early in the morning or late at night when my children are in bed. Apart from that, I’m driven by a desire to create something that belongs just to me, that I can disappear into and take pride from. Writing is exhausting, thankless work at times, but there’s also no better feeling than seeing a story that’s lived in my head coming to life on the page.

What led you to your current career choice?

I am a secondary school teacher as well as an author. I went into teaching because I don’t think there is a greater gift to give than education. And, there’s a certain type of magic that happens when a young person becomes engaged in a topic or begins to see the world from a new perspective.

Writing is similar in that it has the power to transport us to another time and place. I love that it allows me to stand in a character’s shoes and to see through their eyes. I tend to write as a way of understanding people, issues and the world around me. I believe that fiction in particular encourages empathy, and that society as a whole could do with a bit more of that.

What are the most effective ways you market your book and, indeed, yourself?

Word of mouth is still one of the most effective ways to sell books, although a major literary prize never goes astray. I didn’t think seriously about the business side of writing until my first novel, Hello, Goodbye, was published and I witnessed the power of publicity. I’ve since learnt that social media is a great way to build a profile, although, it does take time and commitment to do properly.

How has the landscape of your industry changed since you began?

I think that people, especially young people, are much more media savvy. There is an expectation these days that authors will have and maintain a social media presence, which publishers can tap into to sell books.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to other writers/freelancers?

Talent will only get you so far. Determination, discipline and a willingness to learn from your mistakes is just as important, as is connecting with other writers. In terms of being an author, being able to survive on very little sleep so that you can write at either end of your day job is also a must.

To learn more about Emily and her debut novel Hello, Goodbye, visit her website.

For assistance with marketing your creative work, generating a social presence or other communications bits and pieces, holla at a copywriter!

 

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Book Review - Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur by Kate Toon

I first came along Kate Toon back in 2016 when I was still summoning up the courage to call myself a copywriter, despite already taking on clients. I was doing a lot of research to try and educate myself about the industry and current trends, when I discovered the gold nugget that is the ‘Hot Copy’ podcast. This podcast about all things copywriting is hosted by Kate and her partner-in-crime Belinda Weaver. I related instantly to these two because they are natural, no-frills presenters who speak honestly about the peaks and troughs of copywriting and freelance life.

Gradually over the months that followed, I continued to listen. I began to understand and relate to much of the content, and to take on board advice offered by the pair. I also started to tell people who asked what I did, I’m a copywriter. Eeep, scary! But, of course, nobody argued with me. Instead they wanted to know more about my work.

Flash forward to the middle of this year, with my business Instagram and website up and running, and my portfolio of work building. I even took the bold step of purchasing accounting software. No matter what I did though, I just didn’t quite feel like a small business owner, whatever that was supposed to feel or be like.

Enter Kate Toon again with her book Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur.

Kate has written a book about small business and freelance life that is unlike any other business book I’ve ever clapped my eyes on. She is brutally honest about what the process was like for her and how many ‘rules’ she broke along the way. Kate’s book is divided into chapters, each of which tackles a popular entrepreneurial myth. She responds to each in turn, blasting some out of the water and compromising where others are concerned. I found it so refreshing to hear about someone’s unconventional journey.

Kate’s style is wry and humorous at times, and she tells it likes she means it. Whilst I don’t relate to all aspects of her story - (Um, I don’t have three burgeoning business just yet! I also can’t work in my pyjamas because it just doesn't feel right) - I found it a real page-turner. Kate’s tone is natural, relatable, and definitely no-nonsense. One of the best pieces of advice she offers is to stop comparing yourself to other people and she has a great point. Since finishing the book, I’ve curbed my Insta-stalking, focusing on being me and doing my own thing, without worrying so much about what others think.

I would recommend this book to freelancers or small business owners, or even those with an inkling they might like to venture down this path. I finished the book feeling more positive and knowing there’s more than one way of achieving small business success.

To learn more about me and how I do business in my own way, click here.

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