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Unpacking NYC

In case you missed it, I spent a long weekend in the Big Apple with my friend and colleague, Chynna. New York, New York did not disappoint. This was a work trip to attend the Indie Children’s Book Author Summit, but we made sure to have a little fun, too, and I learned a lot. And not just from the summit. So, take a minute to unpack with me.

Black woman in a green dress on a boat overlooking New York City
Alicia Kennedy, children's author, visiting New York City for the Indie Children's Book Author Summit 2022

The Indie Children’s Book Author Summit

The event was absolutely amazing! A lot of people in our children’s authors’ Facebook group were on the fence, saying that the Summit was too expensive; they were unsure if it would hold its value. Well, let me tell you–it was worth every penny.

When entering a field you know nothing about, it is crucial to surround yourself with as many people as you can who know something. They may not know everything, but knowing a little bit more than you know is impactful. Investing upfront to learn from someone a few steps ahead of you saves a lot of money doing things the wrong way on your own.

Writing is not a hobby for me. Writing books and diversifying the pages of all books is what I want to do with my life— what I am doing with my life. And thus far, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Costly ones. I’ve pivoted and pivoted and pivoted after realizing I was doing it wrong again.

Two Black women in Times Square, New York City
Authors Alicia Kennedy and Chynna Denny in Times Square, New York City

Being able to glean knowledge from a wholesale distributor of children’s books, a traditional publishing agent, and other indie authors who have sold hundreds of thousands of books was 100% worth the investment–the investment in myself, my dream, my team, and the vision God has given me. The ROI will be massive.

If you are an entrepreneur, no matter your skill set, do not be afraid to invest in yourself. Do your research. Figure out who’s knowledgeable. Figure out where they are going or what they’re doing. Then do it! That is the best way to learn.

Because, honestly, trial and error are so much more expensive. It will cost you a lot of money, time, and discouragement.

Black woman in an orange shirt overlooking New York City
Alicia Kennedy, children's author, visiting New York City in May 2022 for the Indie Children's Book Author Summit

Applying the Summit to Inspirus

So, now what? What does all that mean for Inspirus? Glad you asked. Well, to start, I am not launching the book I thought I would… again. Issa pivot! I will go ahead and give myself the title of Pivot Queen.

Taking in all of what the speakers poured into us at the Summit made me realize This Big, Beautiful World is not quite ready. BUT another one of my books that I thought would be book ten is more than ready! That is actually my favorite book I’ve written.

It also means that as an independent author, my goal right now is to grow my reach through social media, email marketing, and public relations — all the things that aren’t writing a book. I am deeply grateful I have an incredible team to help me in all these areas and grateful I have the means to have this team around me. If I had to do it on my own, I could not. It would not happen.

I am committed to learning what sells and finding my audience: parents, teachers, and organizations. And I am doing my best to get there by exploring different avenues and figuring out what this indie author journey looks like for me.

Two Black women in Times Square, New York City
Authors Chynna Denny and Alicia Kennedy in Times Square, New York City in May 2022

Make time to feel like a human being

Let me start with—this was 100% a work trip. Every bit of it was planned around Inspirus. But I also took time to live a little, enjoy it, and feel like me again. I have THREE whole kids, three of ‘em! My husband has been in Japan for nine months. I’m running a small business with five team members. It has been a lot of work to hold down. I don’t know when I’m going back to NYC, but I do know I left nothing behind. I took it all in.

Even when you’re on the grind, even when you’re chasing that dream, it’s so important to take that time – two days, an afternoon, or 30 minutes – to give yourself time to feel alive again, to feel all the pieces of your identity that are outside the scope of your dream. You are worth it and so is your dream.

This work trip was unbelievably worth it. There is so much value in investing in yourself, your dream, and your passion. Now, go grow!

A Black woman in an orange shirt against a wall of pink flowers
Alicia Kennedy, author of You Were Created and You Are Gifted, in New York City for the Indie Children's Book Author Summit 2022


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