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Fighting Imposter Syndrome to Succeed as an Author
San Francisco Writers Conference San Francisco Writers Conference
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Francisco, CA
Wednesday, August 18, 2021


You may have seen Chris Collins interviewed recently on NPR, CBS News, NBC Boston, SiriusXM, KPFT Houston or News4Jax. Or perhaps you’ve read his book Mending Our Union: Healing Our Communities Through Courageous Conversations, lauded by former U.N. Ambassador Jack Danforth as “…an important addition to…the Ministry of Reconciliation. Given his book’s success, it might surprise you to hear that before attending SFWC in 2019, Chris felt stuck and overwhelmed.

“I had a manuscript I couldn’t wrap my arms around and didn’t know how to move forward with my writing. I had been struggling with imposter syndrome and was embarrassed to tell people that I was writing a book. I had heard that attending a writers’ conference was a valuable investment for first-time authors. When I Googled ‘writers conference’ and SFWC came up, it was two weeks away and the registration fee was more than I expected. My first thought was: I can’t pay that much in two weeks!”

Chris discussed it with his wife who encouraged him to attend SFWC. It was a life-changing decision.

“I had no context for what I was signing up for. SFWC was the first time I was ever in a space where I could be seen as a writer. Attending SFWC was a leap of faith that paid off.”

During the 15-minute Ask a Pro session that Chris scheduled with me, I laid out a plan to shape his manuscript and to market his book once published. 

“Hearing your good ideas and the confidence in your voice about my project was a huge confidence boost. It helped me leave the conference with the determination I needed to get my book done. You also gave me the knowledge about the industry I needed.”

Chris also attended the 2019 Writing for Change conference where we again met for an Ask a Pro session. After that, we chatted by phone and hammered out a plan to develop his manuscript. Then he hired me to be his writing coach.

“That plan gave me the confidence to keep writing. It wasn’t just me toiling alone on a manuscript anymore. You were advising me along the way.”

His manuscript was rich in research and theoretical frameworks. It needed stories with emotional depth to bring those key concepts to life. 

“The stories were not effectively communicating what I wanted to say. Your editing made them come alive. Now when people talk about the book, the first thing they talk about is how great the stories are. You took one of the weakest parts of my book and made it the strongest.”          

Mending Our Union teaches people how to have conversations that bridge divides—whether socioeconomic, racial, religious or political. With such a timely topic, Chris didn’t want to spend months seeking an agent. I recommended a well-respected small press that expressed immediate interest, but ultimately passed.

At that point, Chris began researching hybrid presses. One offered to publish his book for $30,000. Chris negotiated the fee to $20,000 and then told me about the deal, adding that this publisher gave 65 percent of the royalties to the author. I was aghast and urged him to contact Authority Publishing, a hybrid press run by Stephanie Chandler, CEO of the Nonfiction Author Association and an annual SFWC speaker. Stephanie charges a reasonable fee and 100 percent of the royalties go to the author. 

Authority Publishing released Mending Our Union in December 2020. After the presidential election, and again in the days following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the media needed someone who could offer tips for talking to family members who believe conspiracy theories. Chris became their go-to expert. 

Though originally taken aback by the cost to develop his skills and publish a manuscript, Chris says each investment he made was worthwhile. 

“I have the foundation for a credible writing career. And I learned to stop worrying about what I don’t know or think I need to know and instead focus on right now. If that’s also your struggle I can tell you, you will learn the rest when you need it.”


Joey Garcia Getting Local Media Attention as a Subject Matter Expert

Joey Garcia coaches writers and authors on effective strategies to boost their books and platforms. Her widely published essays, poetry, and short stories have received awards, including a Pushcart nomination. Joey is the author of When Your Heart Breaks, It’s Opening to Love and is the on-air Relationship Expert for Fox40-TV. She is also the founder of The Belize Writers Conference and the book publicity track coordinator for the San Francisco Writers Conference. www.joeygarcia.com

The San Francisco Writers Conference and the San Francisco Writing for Change conference are both produced by the San Francisco Writers Conference & San Francisco Writers Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. The SFWC Director is Laurie McLean.  For registration help, contact Richard Santos at registrations@sfwriters.org. For SFWC sponsorship opportunities, contact Carla King at Carla@carlaking.com
The SFWC website is: www.SFWriters.org

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Elisabeth Kauffman
Title: Director of Marketing
Group: San Francisco Writers Conference
Dateline: Oakley, CA United States
Direct Phone: 13103676215
Cell Phone: 13103676215
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