Monday, November 11, 2019

An Interview with Author and ePublisher Nicole Akers on the Writing Life

In June 2007 I created this blog called Ennyman's Territory for the purpose of learning about blogging. Little did I know that 12 years later it would become a way of life of sorts. When I learned last year that Ev Williams, the co-creator of Blogger who was later instrumental in the creation of Twitter, had now founded a new platform for writers and readers called Medium, I was more than intrigued.

There were many aspects of Medium that I especially liked. Foremost was the elegance of the "look" of the pages, plus the ease of use. It was populated by a community of writers and readers from the four corners of the world, and it was possible to receive financial remuneration for one's efforts. For me personally, the feature I especially liked was that I could import content from my other blogs and website without having it hurt SEO.

I've met a many interesting people through Medium over the past 18 months. One of these is Nicole Akers, a writer who also manages a publication she created on Medium called Publishous.

EN: How did you come to take an interest in writing?

Akers' first book.
Nicole Akers: I took an interest in writing in fourth grade. My Creative Writing teacher, Janet DiSilvestro, was influential in my writing path. She encouraged us to be different. I remember her standing Robert Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled” and kind of adopted it as a motto for life, to be different. Little did I know then how different I would be.

Janet DiSilvestro has been extremely influential in my life. As she stood (standing) there in front of class orating Robert Frost's poem, I can remember everything about her, down to her feet close together and the bow on her black shoes. She encouraged us to be different in our lives and in our writing. If we followed the road less traveled, it would make all the difference. I've made that my motto for life, to stand out by being different. Actually, my husband and I are very different from the rest of our family, much to their chagrin.

We never know when we will be deeply touched by something or someone, but Janet touched me deeply and continues to do so. She drove from Ohio to Indiana for my first book signing, a self-published book of poems called Crossroads.

EN: What kinds of writing do you do?

NA: I write mainly non-fiction, on the topics of self-help and parenting. An interesting shift, since I graduated from college at Indiana State University as an English major, with Journalism and Creative Writing minors. I hope the well-rounded schooling serves well as a foundation for multiple ranges of techniques.

EN: Do you make a living as a writer or is it something that is a moonlighting occupation?

NA: Writing is close to becoming a full-time income for me. It developed as a hobby but became a dedicated passion when my husband took a one-year sabbatical. It was time to make the thing I enjoyed also pay the bills.

Stats show how Publishous has gained traction on Medium.
EN: How long were you on Medium before you started Publishous? And what prompted you to start a publication? Did the publication precede Medium or is it an off-shoot from your Medium activity?

NA: The progression on Medium for me is interesting because Medium is the platform where I did not want to be. I drug my feet, with heels dug in, before literally being drug onto the platform by writer friends. At first I thought it was just another platform, and I need another platform--said no writer, ever. (joke). I started writing on Medium to get my writing noticed in other places and was only there about 6 months or so before starting the publication. The publication grew quickly and had strong traction before Medium opened the option for writers to make money by publishing the writing on the platform. Timing, as they say, is perfect, and I feel I am in the place I am supposed to be in the time I am meant to be here.

Publishous is almost two years old, as of the first week of December we will be 2. In that short time, we've achieved a lot and continue exponential growth. I'm making some additions this weekend. We have three full-time columnists and ambitious goals to meet by year-end. By the time your piece is published, we should have 22,000 following the pub and I've included a pic of recent stats, showing more than 400,000 unique visitors in 30 days. It is much closer to 425,000 now.

EN: Where would you like your writing to take you in five or ten years? Do you have a path?

NA: Yes, I have a path. I think a writer who doesn’t have a path needs to develop a plan, at least with a six months to one year outlook and a 3-5 year general forecast.

Next for me, includes speaking. I’ve found Toastmasters and there’s something exciting and exhilarating about speaking. I’m honing the skills and soon will be looking for speaking opportunities. The broader outlook also includes podcasting and a publishing house. Publishous (Publish-us) has also been called Publish House from day 1. We joke about this often. We don’t care how you say our name, just that you write and read with us.

Related Links
Publishous and

A number of Medium and Publishous writers have been meeting on Twitter from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. using a tool called PubChat. To participate use #PubChat to join the conversation between writers about writing.
To learn how, read What the Heck is a Twitter Chat?

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