Steer Your Writing Career

Monday, July 05, 2021


I spent probably two years listening to various podcasts and dreaming of what my own podcast would look like. When the pandemic forced us all to slow down and stay at home, I developed a plan to create a true crime podcast, using my creative and marketing skills plus all the great information I had picked up from consuming the medium. That podcast now receives at least 500 downloads per episode within a week of going live and the numbers only continue to grow. 

In today’s world, creatives don’t need permission to put our work out into the world—we only need the savvy to market it and spread the word. Because of this, I think I’ve finally come to the realization that I don’t need permission from anyone to release my other creative projects. I’ve written three novels—two are young adult and the other is middle grade fiction. I am outlining an idea for a thriller/suspense novel. One YA novel is very close to being ready for publication—it’s been professionally edited a few different times and had beta readers. 

While I haven’t seen interest from any agents, I no longer feel the need to wait for that interest. I’m a successful writer and editor in my mid-40s who believes she has something to offer readers. For example, a few years ago I wrote short story called “Monster in the Woods.” I workshopped the story and submitted it to a few different contests and literary journals. I couldn’t find it a home. Then this past October, I got the idea to produce it as a bonus episode of my podcast, “Missing in the Carolinas,” because the story was based on a real-life murder that occurred in Oklahoma. I narrated the story, used spooky music, had my daughter help me voice one of the characters and now the episode has received more than 1,000 downloads. If I hadn’t produced it, the story would still be sitting on my hard drive. I am proud that it entertained so many people in audio form. 

I’ve helped spread the word of plenty of indie authors over the years who produced solid books but couldn’t attract the attention of traditional agents and publishers. Does that mean their work didn’t deserve to be read? No way. Why have I won writing awards for both non-fiction and fiction and produced 28 episodes of a true crime podcast but don’t’ have any of my books published? Is it because I don’t deserve it? I don’t think so. 

My plan is to take the book that is in the best shape, a young adult novel titled “Between,” and use a crowdsourcing platform to raise enough money so I can hybrid publish. That model currently appeals to me as the best of both words, and in the meantime, I can continue working on other manuscripts that need more work and plug away at the podcast (while continuing to work my day job to support these creative endeavors). Have you self-published or used a hybrid publishing model? What are your thoughts on taking creative control of your own writing projects? 

Have you ever taken control of your own creative work? I'd love to hear your experiences!

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and magazine editor who also produces the true crime podcast, Missing in the Carolinas. Learn more at


Margaret Y. Buapim-West said...

Truly inspiring! Thank You.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Oh Renee, you KNOW I'm all for it!! I believe 100% in taking creative control of your own projects. Time is short. Current technology is simple and allows us to get our work out there. If a writer has the drive to do it herself, I don't see why she has to wait for a gatekeeper to say yes. She can take the lion's share of the revenue. And especially for a debut, I think it's better to go with a small press, self pub, or hybrid and prove yourself in the field first than to go big and if it doesn't do well, then never get a chance again.

I love your podcast and its success is inspirational. :) I'm glad you're going to focus on publishing Between! Two WOW articles to look at:
How to Finance Your Self-Publishing Efforts Through Crowdsourcing
How I Built a Platform of 100 Crowdfunding Supporters in 45 Days

Theresa Boedeker said...

Congrats on getting your stuff out and pursuing your dreams. We don't need to wait to be traditionally published anymore or wait for the permission of a big company to publish our work. We have so many options now.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--Your podcast makes even people who don't listen to podcasts love your podcaast. With all the things you've learned and taught yourself and created--you're a rock star!

Since I was not a beta reader, I say: hurry up. Get it published! I cannot wait. ;)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

There are so many possibilities. It seems ridiculous to consider only one. So excited to see what happens next.

Renee Roberson said...

Thanks for the support everyone!

Ang--Those articles contained a lot of helpful info. So far Kickstarter seems like the best bet for what I'm looking to do, and it will create a firm deadline so I don't have time to chicken out when requesting people back the project.

Theresa--Every day I see writers choosing their own path to publication. I love the idea of hybrid because it seems like the best of both worlds.

Sioux--Thanks for your kind words and I'm glad I convinced you to give the podcast a listen! My plan now is to do one more round of editing and get this crowdfunding campaign ramped up.

Sue--You all have to make sure to hold me accountable to this and give me a kick in the butt when I need it!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Wishing you great success as you pursue your dreams Renee.

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