October 26, 2020

Episode 1: The Author’s Journey

[The Author Switch Classic]

In this first episode of The Author Switch, I explain what the podcast is all about. Then, I walk you through the five phases of the Author’s Journey. It is my hope that by hearing this framework, you’ll realize that you are not alone and that there are not only steps you can take to move forward as an author, but there are people who can help you and support you along the way. To help illustrate each phase, I share a story from my Author’s Journey.

Episode 1 Authors Journey

Episode 1: The Author’s Journey

by Carma Spence | The Author Switch Classic


In this first episode, host Carma walks listeners through the five phases of the Author’s Journey. She shares her own Author’s Journey story, from when she first saw her name in print at four years old while on a trip to Mombasa Beach to her first attempts at writing novels in high school, through her first published book when in her 40s. In subsequent episodes, Carma will feature interviews with authors, mini-seminars on specific writing topics, and answer questions from listeners.

Recap & Takeaways

The Author’s Journey has five phases:

  • The Call to the Author’s Adventure: When authors hear their call to write a book.
  • The Quest: When they start taking action and overcoming their reluctance to write their book.
  • The Hero’s Journey: Where authors face challenges and obstacles in their writing and publishing process.
  • The Return: Where authors learn to balance writing and marketing.
  • The Legacy: Where authors focus on their impact and contribution to the world.

Transcript for Episode 1: The Author’s Journey

NOTE: Due to some ad libbing, this may not be an exact transcript.

Hello! And welcome to the very first episode of The Author Switch, a podcast dedicated to helping aspiring and new authors turn on The Author Switch to success in their mind.

I’m your host Carma Spence. I’m an award-winning and bestselling author. I’ve published five books so far and have contributed to many more. I’ve been on my Author’s Journey since I first heard the call at the tender age of four, but I didn’t publish my first book until I was in my 40s! It is my hope that this podcast will help shorten your journey.

So many people dream of becoming an author but then never realize that dream. Others publish a book only to see it fade into obscurity.

That’s where The Author Switch comes in. Every fourth Wednesday of the month, I will be sharing author journeys that will inspire you, as well as practical tips and advice that will help you activate your Authors Switch. If you’ve always wanted to be an author, have toyed with the idea, or are a frustrated author languishing in obscurity, this podcast is for you.

Some episodes will feature interviews with authors and those who work with authors sharing their stories and wisdom about writing, publishing, and marketing books. Other episodes will be like mini-seminars, in which I’ll dive into a single topic about the writing process, publishing options, or the myriad ways you can market a book. And finally, some episodes will feature my answers to questions from listeners like you.

If you’d like to submit a question, go to the Submit a Question page for details on how to get your text, audio or video question on the show.

That’s enough about me and show, let’s get down to some information you can use. In this episode, I’m going to walk you through the five phases of the Author’s Journey. It is my hope that my hearing this framework, you’ll realize that you are not alone and that there are not only steps you can take to move forward, but people who can help you and support you along the way. To help illustrate each phase, I’ll share a story from my Author’s Journey from when was going through that phase.

So let’s get started.

The first phase of the Author’s Journey is when you hear your call to the Author’s Adventure.

At some point in every author’s life, they hear the call to write a book.

What triggers this moment is different for every author. Some hear it at a young age, others in retirement, and yet others somewhere in between.

Sometimes the call is faint. You know you want to write a book, but you don’t know what it will be about. Sometimes the call is loud and clear: Write your book about THIS.

Regardless, all authors hear the call.

And many resist it. They take days, weeks, years, even decades before they act upon that call. That’s OK … as long as you eventually act on it and not go to your grave with a book still unwritten.

I first heard my call when I was four years old. I was just learning to read and write. We were living in Kenya at the time because my father taught at the local college. My family took a trip to Mombasa Beach. My father took a stick and wrote a word in the sand.

“What does that word say, Carma?” he asked.

I looked at it and started to pronounce the letters. Kaaa – arrr – maa. Carma! The word was my name and it was also a revelation. From that moment I knew I was on a quest to see my name in print. It took me a while to get there though.

I have dyslexia, so spelling was a big obstacle I had to face. And I often lost hope. But I was fortunate enough to find allies on my Quest.

That’s Phase Two: The Quest.

Once you decide to take action to write your book, there are myriad things that can go through your mind:

  • How do I start?
  • How do I finish?
  • How do I get from start to finish?
  • What do I do once the book is done?

These are simplifications of the questions that go through any aspiring author’s mind, but I know you get the picture.

Here is where you overcome your reluctance to write your book. You may do research, reading books, magazines and information you find on the net. You may test out potential mentors, attending webinars, online challenges and even scheduling conversations with those you might want to work with to complete your book.

During this phase of the Author’s Journey, you cross the threshold from being a non-author to being an author. You start to embrace “Author” as part of your identity. You also take action:

  • You write an outline
  • You start writing chapters
  • You start exploring publishing options
  • You start working on your marketing plan

And at some point, you hit a wall and enter Phase Three. But before we go there, here’s a short commercial break.

Welcome back to The Author Switch with yours truly, Carma Spence. Before the break, I shared what this podcast is all about and then I walked you through the first two phases of The Author’s Journey. Before I move on to Phase Three, let me share my Phase Two story.

I started writing my first novel in high school. It’s crap. But maybe someday I’ll revisit it and find some treasure in the muck. From that point through college, I started several other novels. None of them are complete. I even took a correspondence course to help me complete my Vampire novel.

It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I finally finished and published a book. It’s called Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and has been selling at least one copy pretty much every month since I published it in 2007. And frankly, it’s not my best book. This was in the early days of self-publishing and I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m working on a second edition now. But the point is, I took action. I moved forward, and I became a published author. And you can too.

Now on to Phase Three: Vanquishing Mind Goblins

Franz Kafka once said, “Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.”

Whether you are writing a novel, a memoir, or a how-to book, you will encounter your innermost self and find something there you don’t like. These are your Mind Goblins. And you must face them and vanquish them or your book will never be written.

Common Mind Goblins that authors face are:

  • The Imposter Syndrome – Who am I to write a book?
  • The I’m Not Good Enough Monster – How can I possibly write a book worthy of readers?
  • And the No One Will Read This, So Why Bother Ghoul – There is no point to this futile exercise, I should give up now.

These Mind Goblins lie and if you buy into the lie, the world will be bereft of the gift you were meant to bring it.

Make sure you have support at this stage of your writing, if not a mentor, then at least a friend or loved one who believes in you and will help pull you up and out so that you can finish your book.

When I was in fourth grade, I went through one of my many “dark nights of the writer’s soul.” Because of my dyslexia, spelling was so hard. I thought if I couldn’t learn to spell correctly, then I should follow my dream of being a writer. But then one day my teacher pulled me aside after class and told me that I should pursue a career in writing. I was surprised. Sometimes I still am – I still have samples of my writing from the fourth grade and it is terrible. But her words have kept me going all these years. A few years back I tried to find her so I could thank her but was unable to locate valid contact information. Who knows, maybe someone listening knows her – her maiden name was Beverly Proud — and will let her know for me. My fingers are crossed.

OK, there are two more phases left and this episode is getting longer than I had anticipated. But you’ll forgive me if continue? Yes?

On to Phase Four: The Golden Fleece!

At this point, you have the first draft of your book. Time to celebrate! You’ve faced your Mind Goblins and defeated them enough to finish your book. Now you begin your road to resurrection.

During this phase, you do all the logistical work that will culminate in your book launching to the world. Your book is

  • Edited
  • Laid Out
  • Proofed

And then sent off to the printers! Soon, you receive a box containing your Golden Fleece — a physical copy of your book! Now you’re excited and ready to enter the final (sort of) Phase: Reaping Your Rewards.

In Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, on which this Author’s Journey is based, this final phase is called “Return with the Elixir.” You reap your reward when your book gets into the hands of readers and impacts their lives.

However, this is not an easy task. It is simple — market the heck out of your book — but not easy. There are so many ways you can market a book it can be mind-boggling. But don’t give up. If you want your book to succeed, you need to be in it for the long haul.

This means that you are always, in some way, marketing and promoting your book or books. This is what it takes to be a successful author. But the rewards are awesome. A few of them are:

  • Respect — Not everyone makes it to the end of the Author’s Journey, this is an impressive achievement
  • Income — through royalties, as well as related products and services
  • Celebrity — even if it is only in your home town

And there are so many more.

The question now becomes, “Is your journey over?” For some, one book is plenty. But for others, they’ve already heard the call of their next book.

So I ask you, where are you on your Author’s Journey? I love to hear your story! Go to authorswitch.com, find this episode, and leave a comment. And then return to listen to the next episode, which will feature an interview with Cayman Kelly, a multimedia professional, host, actor, radio personality, and leading voice-over artist who has just published his first book.

This is Carma Spence your guide to turning on your Author Switch, signing off.

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The Author Switch is a podcast dedicated to helping experts, entrepreneurs, and small business owners turn on The Author Switch — and keep it on — so that they can leverage the power of books to take their businesses to a whole new dimension. Learn more about the show and where it is available on its page.