In the early months of 2020, I was a directionless writer. I had come to a point where I knew I was good and I could accomplish being a published author. I just didn’t know how. There was no step by step plan. Everyone I asked for advice was too busy for me, and I knew I needed a mentor or some kind of program that was a step further than anything else that was offered at the time.
That’s when I heard about the Author Conservatory, though at the time it was just called Author. As one of the founding members of this program, I’ve been through every change and I’ve watched it grow and blossom into what it is now. And it’s something extremely special.
A conservatory dedicated towards raising a new generation of authors who are business savvy and story sound. A generation of artists who no longer starve because they know what their work is worth and how to reach people with it.
I started Author after one of the hardest years of my life, thinking that 2020 would be my year. As we all know, it wasn’t anyone’s year, and two weeks after I joined the program, I lost my job and ended up staying at home without leaving for the next eight months. But I wasn’t alone, and instead of the isolation and social dryness everyone else complains about, I was so blessed to have a whole community of authors, plus Brett and Kara invested in me and my work.
But now you’re wondering . . .
What is author like?
Author is a dual track three-year course. The first track centers around story telling, craft, and actual writing, where you’ll dive into the roots of plot and structure, learning every last thing you can about having a strong, well-rounded story that will impact your readers for years to come. The second track is business, where you’ll learn how to appreciate your own value and how to create and maintain a pop-up business.
Author isn’t only about the lessons you’ll learn, it’s about the community you’ll join, complete with sprints, movie nights, game nights, book clubs, and more. You’ll find young (and some older!) people who are just as nerdy and invested in the literature world as you are. It’s honestly amazing to see how you can find people all around the world who enjoy the same thing you do, and a great place to create relationships and bounds you’ll have for a long time to come.
Who started the Author Conservatory?
Brett Harris and Kara Swanson are the co-owners of the Author Conservatory. What started as a vision to help young authors has blossomed into a vision to help authors in general create quality works in order to impact the publishing world. Brett Harris is the New York Best Seller author of Do Hard Things, and Kara Swanson is the award winning author of Dust, Shadow, and The Girl Who Could See. But they aren’t the only ones who are apart of this conservatory! Authors like Mary Weber, Sara Ella, Joanne Bischof, and Nadine Brandes all invest in the students, while Steve Laube (agent) and Katie Phillips (editor) each have different roles in the program. Andrew Peterson has even visited before!
What is the Author conservatory like in your life?
When I started the conservatory, I was a high school student, but now I work full-time. When I was in school, Author easily took 15-20 hours of my life. But now as I work full-time, it mostly depends on what stage of the process I’m in. Right now I just finished drafting, and I’m in the second year of Author, so I’m getting ready to jump into editing a novella and working on writing some concepts. Because of this, I’ve spent roughly 10 hours this week on Author.
Brett has done an amazing job making sure that the Author program can fit all different people in all different areas of life. Obviously the more you prioritize Author, the more results you’ll see. But Author is also very understanding about the different seasons of your life.
Would you encourage young writers to join?
Author is a college alternative program. So while I think almost all writers should eventually invest in Author, I do need to caution that Author requires personal maturity. There’s critique, there’s stress, and there’s a lot of investment. I’ve had three times where I’ve thought about quitting, either due to personal life struggles, or just the stress that comes with “never having the right story.” Writing isn’t easy, and while I can testify that Author makes it easier in the long run, there’s still that uphill climb that takes a lot of energy and endurance. I’ve ended multiple critique calls crying, as have most of the students I know. It’s hard to see what you love critiqued, and even harder to be told that sometimes where you wanted the story to head isn’t the best direction to take it. But you have to have the wisdom to realize that in order to grow you must be trimmed, and the instructors are very gracious in their tree trimming. 😉
Now for the good stuff!
The Author Conservatory is hosting a giveaway, and it includes a book from my business, Painted Prose Designs!
All of these prizes are from Author student’s businesses, so even if you don’t end up winning, you can go check out the shops. Information about the giveaway is on the Author Conservatory Instagram. You can find it here.
In summary, Author is a wonderful opportunity for Authors to get their leg into the door and to learn needed skills that go along with writing. Now you don’t have to learn by trial and error, you’ll have mentors and coaches to help you for the next three years of your writing career.
For me, they haven’t only helped my writing life, they’ve helped my spiritual life, and my mental health. I’m so thankful for their influence and input in my life. ❤