Sharon Chase Hoseley, a retired Kindergarten teacher, writes and directs children’s plays and creates curriculum for classrooms and camps. Her meditation book, “Jesus, Lord of My Seasons, Hard Places,” was published in November 2014. In 2016, “A Bridge Named Susan” was one of the top three finalists in the Oregon Cascade Writing contest. Sharon lives on the edge of Idaho and enjoys reinventing her life by walking through open doors of opportunity.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
When I retired from 33 years of teaching kindergarten, I didn’t intend to start a new career. I wanted to be free to write, paint, do scratch art, travel… all the things I didn’t have time to do when working. I joined a writing group and enthusiastically began to put on paper all the stories my mom had told me about her life. After two years I was encouraged to edit and publish. (Groan – that’s not the fun part of writing). I stuck with it, polished, rewrote and two years later produced an exciting book that still moves me when I read it.
Tell us about your business.
I have written, directed and produced 12 dramas for performance by kindergarten through sixth grade students.
In 2014 I self published a book of free verse short stories called “Jesus, Lord of My Seasons – Hard Places”. This short devotional book can be ordered from me personally by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m a novice at pushing my product to the public. I’m fortunate to have a publishing company that has done much of that for me with my book “A Bridge Named Susan”. I’m available for book signings in the Pacific Northwest. I also have a workshop for teens on writing a memoir for serious writers at the Junior High or High School level. My book can be accessed on Amazon, Barnes and Nobel and Xlibris.com.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
I will not be running any promos until October 2017 where I will be giving away a book to celebrate an anniversary.
- I was in the top 3 finalists for the Cascade Writing Contest.
- I have been nominated by my publishing company for participation in the Eric Hoffer Awards in January 2018.
- I volunteer for many causes and received the Washington State School Retirees, Stan McNaugton Outreach Award, the 2017 Asotin County Youth Commission Adult Excellence Award and the U.S. House of Representatives Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.
The greatest reward of all is the difference I see in the lives of children who are in my dramas and the view of life of those who have read my books.
Where is your business based?
My business is based wherever I am – isn’t that the great thing about the digital age?
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I bit the bullet and invested money to have my book professionally done and promoted. The publishing industry is in the midst of changes. Readers, today, have many choices and resources. If I published, I wanted to do it right. As in any business, you must be willing to trust those who are strong in the areas where you are weak. I was amazed at how quickly it happened.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Book signings and Facebook have been my two most successful outreach platforms. I started in my home area; this is where the story of Susan was lived out. Family, friends and those who knew her would have enjoyed the story of her first 30 years. It’s great to have lived in this area most of my life and have hundreds of supporters. Word of mouth is now moving the book out into other locations. Getting it to the areas outside the sphere of my influence has been the job of Lindsey Gobel my publicist at Lavidge. That’s something I could never have done on my own.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Curbing my excitement has been a challenge. I don’t want to be one of those people whose conversations are always centered around what is happening with my writing. It’s not about me – it’s about how we’re all in life together and Susan’s story gives hope in all the hard places we face.
How did you overcome these challenges?
If someone brings it up, I will chatter for a bit about it and the unreal experience of people actually liking my work, but I’m learning not to wear it out and turn the conversation around to the other person.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I don’t feel I’ve gone through any difficult times with this process. I have walked through open doors and said “no” to some things that seemed excessive. As I said at the beginning, I never intended to start another career so all that has happened is amazing.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I don’t consider books as being competitive. The reader is, who the reader is. They either enjoy the book style and story or they don’t. There are many genres and styles of writing. Generally if a person loves a book, they will tell a friend who also likes that type of story. That’s the beauty of writing. The writer is, who the writer is.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Relax and enjoy the ride. Know that you’ve done your best. A book has a slow start, gathers speed with time and will last a life-time for readers.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Make sure you enjoy what you doing. If you are successful, you’ll live in this life-frame for a long time. Your energy is compounded by the pleasure you take in your accomplishments.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
When writing, I love being alone, having uninterrupted quiet, working in the garden and thinking. You are not a writer until the story possesses you. I often wake at 2:00am with words rumbling in my head that I must get up and write. After being published, I delight in the people contact and sharing my excitement about the story.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I love reading the Message version of the Bible. This is one of my favorite writings from Galatians 5:26 “We must not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original”. Also Galatians 6:5 “Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life”.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Of course, I want the readership to spread. I think the story has a truth about how we ought to live—persistence, strong character and trust. I know that I must have patience and let word of mouth do its work, but I want to use different avenues of media as much as possible.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I will keep the book before readers in as many arenas as possible knowing that it’s an ongoing process and time is a tool.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.