We spoke with Sharon Neiss, creator of Day Ja View family organizer, and author of Me and My So-Called Friends. We found out how long it actually takes to write a book, the secret ingredient needed to be an entrepreneur, and which social media platform she’s avoiding.
Would you encourage your kids to follow your path and become entrepreneurs?
Cautiously. I don’t think it’s for everyone. I think you have to be a risk taker. Being an entrepreneur can be very exciting, liberating and profitable, but can also be very scary, disappointing and draining. I think if a project is researched well enough, has the right people behind it, and you have something strong to fall back on (don’t quit your day job), being an entrepreneur can be a positive and rewarding experience.
Being an author, I don’t see myself as an entrepreneur, just an author promoting my book. I don’t see it as risky at all. I thought of myself as an entrepreneur when I invented a family calendar called Day Ja View, the recurring events calendar.
What has entrepreneurship taught you?
From my short entrepreneurial life, I have learned how to ask the right questions and how to find the right people to work with. I am proud of myself that I took an idea from my head and made it into a tangible product, and improved it year after year. I have also worked with different people, such as the staff from The Time of Day Calendar Inc. who are the definition of class. I also had the opportunity to work with you, Lisa, which was priceless. (thank you, SN, I loved having the opportunity to support your good work!)
I am also aware that sometimes a project has to “rest” for awhile. You have to take a break from it – work on something else and then come back to it, which I did with my book, Me and My So-Called Friends. I started my book first, and then put it down because I wasn’t ready for the world to read it yet. Then I worked on Day Ja View for 8 years, and then I decided to put that down and publish my book. Who knows, I may pick up Day Ja View again, very soon…!
Why did you decide to write a book?
I was trained as a copywriter for the advertising industry. I stopped working in that field due to the stressful environment and the fact that I didn’t want to work full time after I started to have kids. One thing for sure, I did want to continue to write. I had a story brewing in my brain for a while and I had to get it out. Teen fiction is so much fun to write (and read!) and I thought that a book that would be funny, yet full of lessons would be very fulfilling to write and would be appreciated by so many. My story is about survival that will teach kids that no matter how bad it gets, you can find your resources – whatever and whomever they are, to get you through.
Me and My So Called Friends is a fictional story, but does it draw from any real life experiences?
You bet! It’s an amalgamation of what I experienced, what I saw and my imagination.
How long did it take you to write your book?
First draft: 9 months. Then.. after rewriting it MANY times, after having two more kids, a house renovation, the “I’m not ready for the world to read my thoughts” phase, after Day Ja View and life, in general, = 13 years after the moment I put my pen down.
How did you decide on a publisher?
Mine kinda fell in my lap. I was at a conference and the owner of the publishing company was running it. I needed to publish my book quickly (a friend booked me for a reading at Holy Blossom Temple two months after I just printed the book off of my printer and put it into a 3 ring binder) and she did.
Is it hard to promote and sell a book?
Yes, but not as hard as Day Ja View.
Do you like social media?
I use Facebook a lot. Twitter is too confusing for me! Sorry, Lisa. (that’s ok, social media takes practice!) I just find Facebook the easiest and most fun to engage in. I am proud to report that I (with the help of my son Adam) just created an Instagram page called @Brave.The.Waves. It’s a program, based on my book, that I am working on with JWRP (Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project). I am creating workshops with mental health professionals and teachers to teach teens Bravery, Kindness, and Honour. I have chosen Instagram for my social media platform for this project because my target market is grade 6 & 7’s and they are always on it! (love what you are doing and sharing!)
Connect with Sharon @Brave.The.Waves on Instagram!