On this episode of Book Journeys, Vice President for The Author Incubator, Jenn McRobbie, interviews Dana Ayers, author of Confessions of an Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated.
As a child, Dana had wanted to write a book and had written some stories, but as she said, “Life got in the way.” She started a blog while she was in graduate school as a way for her to procrastinate when it came to actually doing homework, and in that blog Dana wrote out just about everything she experienced in her life.
Dana’s interest in running began while she was at the White House, working for the Bush administration, and participated in a 5k run that had been set up by the President himself, who was an avid runner. Dana was somewhat pleased to find that she “didn’t die,” and that, coupled with a bit of peer interest, put her on the path of her participating in several endurance events, despite her being a casual, rather than a serious, runner. As it was, Dana not only blogged about her experiences while running but also posted some of these on Facebook, and it was the positive feedback she received with these that made her consider writing a book.
Dana’s start at writing Unlikely Runner was a rather confused one. She had decided to base the book on her blog, which included a lot of different topics, and after Angela Lauria suggested she focus on one she eventually picked on running – “eventually,” because she waffled often, thinking of writing a book on other things, such as her experiences being an adventurous thirtysomething woman or on traveling. Finding time was also a challenge, as Dana was a full-time consultant and part-time Navy reservist, and Dana admits that her social life took a hit, but she figured that that was worth the sacrifice if she would have a book out within three months’ time. Also, for Dana, it helped that there was a team that would help her write out her book.
Dana actually settled on the topic of running when considering the marketing angle of the book, as the Difference Process emphasizes this from the start. She knew that there were already several different established running groups already existing, whose members might be interested in her book, and while she had had some experience in marketing, the marketing effort needed for the book was something which she had to get used to, remarking that she, herself, didn’t have the time necessary to become an expert on social media platforms and that marketing on the latter meant feeding a “little greedy monster.”
Where the reception of her book is concerned, serious runners appreciate it because it talks about the love of running present within the running community, while some casual runners remarked that the book helped them feel that they were part of the running community as well as inspired them to prepare for their next race.
Listen to the Dana Ayers Interview on Book Journeys Radio
(Transcript) Dana Ayers – Book Journeys Author Interview – January 12, 2017
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