Finding My Place in the Literary Alliance: A Fantasy Writer and Audience Marketing Professional’s Perspective

Joining Balance of Seven today is D Y Freeman, a new addition to our literary alliance:

At five years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I remember it clearly—sitting in Mrs. Steinmark’s first-grade class with an orange crayon in hand and a “Happy Halloween” coloring book front of me. We were each supposed to pick a page and write a description about what we saw. I wrote a story about peeking into a secret portal and meeting mummies, goblins, and vampires.

Like so many creatives, I’ve dreamt of becoming a world-famous author for most of my life. So much so that I went “off the beaten path” after high school and—against all reasonable advice—I declared myself a Literature major. (If I had a dollar for every time someone joked about how I had a very promising career ahead of me as a McDonald’s fry cook, I’d probably own the whole franchise by now!)

I got my first job while I was in university as a receptionist at a downtown law firm. I was terrible at it. So abysmally bad, in fact, that they fired me just three weeks after I started. I probably broke some kind of speed record. I do have to say, it was probably a wise move on their part. I really do make a lousy front desk rep—a fact my administrative assistants would come to poke fun at me about often.

After my failed attempt in the world of customer service, I found work as the “Arts and Entertainment” newspaper columnist for the school paper—at a whopping $6 an hour. That job lasted about a week; I got scared off when the editor-in-chief locked herself in her office and sobbed at the top of her lungs for three consecutive days.

I decided that the world of journalism just wasn’t for me.

The following week—almost on a whim—I decided to post an advertisement up in the University Center offering my services as an editor. And unbelievably, I actually got a few clients. Eventually I took my freelance editing experience to the next level and contracted with the university’s Writing Center, where I would spend the next two and a half years as a writing consultant.

It was there that I discovered I was good at helping other writers.

Really good at it.

I had a knack for working with the engineering students, and after graduating from university (with my Literature degree), I was hired on full-time as a technical editor at an engineering society. I worked with more than 300 committees on technical standards, reports, symposium papers, and guidebooks. I exceled to a point where I was hired on to become the manager of that division, working with a team of editors and administrative assistants in addition to the committees.

Together, my team and I helped more than 1,300 authors publish—many for the first time.

I eventually gravitated toward our company’s publishing unit, as an audience marketing professional. That’s where I’ve been for the past five years, and where I am today. Audience marketing for publications.

Throughout my journey, I have discovered I am both a writer AND . . . something else.

It has taken me 10+ years to figure out exactly what that “something else” is. Some days, I’m still not entirely sure what, exactly, I do, but what I can say with total confidence is this.

I am a publishing professional.

And I am your ally in this industry.

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