Anna Featherstone and Her Writing Journey

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Raised in a family of 5 children, money was in short supply. To entertain the children, Anna’s father created a make-believe world and made up stories. He invited the kids to name an object or element and he would weave a story to include that element.

Combine that imagination with the discipline and skill involved in having a long-term penpal, and you have a ripe start for a budding writer.

Anna went on to manage hotels and resorts. To overcome the boredom of quiet evenings she signed up for a correspondence course to learn writing. The final assignment required students to submit a book proposal to a publisher.  It was an experience that led to a contract and Anna’s (and her husband’s) first published book.

Following on from her initial success, Anna gained mentorship from ScreenNSW to work on a documentary.

Then came a decision to own a farm. In that journey, Anna realised there were no books around on how to prepare children for the future world they would inhabit and so Honeycomb Kids was born. Sadly, it didn’t get selected by publishers so Anna decided to self-publish. It was later picked up by a U.S. distributor and also published in Turkey and Korea.

Anna Featherstone

Running a successful, sustainable farm growing edible trees and plants along with a focus on bees saw 12,000 visitors a year and hundreds of wwoofers. Anna spotted another book opportunity. Small Farm Success was designed to share how other small farmers could build a profitable business. (It has now been selected by TAFE as a required text). The book was structured through interviewing farmers around Australia – a conscious decision to help sales distribution.

Anna self-published Small Farm Success and knew as a niche topic it would sell and be easily marketed. She had also written a memoir, Honey Farm Dreaming, and realised it would be a harder book to market. What to do? Release them both at the same time and let the farming book pull the dreaming book along with it. That was a successful approach and often the two books sold together.

Lessons learned?

  • do writing courses and purpose-driven groups – two of Anna’s books came about as a consequence of being engaged with writing classes and groups. They make demands of you which you may not ask of yourself and they hold you accountable for your actions and results
  • self-publishing is hard because you are totally responsible for marketing and distribution of your book but you also retain the rights and can repackage that book any way you like’
  • think about your book structure and whether you can include content eg interviews that has a wider reach than your own area to help book sales
  • ideas are all around you. Anna’s books have come from her experiences and she has written and published books directly sourced from her life and knowledge. You just have to put it down on paper.
  • tip – note the categories Honey Farm Dreaming is listed under on Amazon. Hint: it’s not memoir.

If you want to learn how to write non-fiction in an engaging way, read Anna’s works. She is an excellent writer as well as marketer.

Here’s a sample from her farming book:

Small Farm Success

Check out Anna’s books here …

small farm success book

Note: Anna has also written under Anna M. Campbell

 

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