We had the good fortune of connecting with B Alan Bourgeois and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi B Alan, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
In the early stages of the Print on Demand and Self-Publishing revolution, it was clear that Indie authors like myself were in need of help to better understand how to market themselves and their books. At the same time, like myself, most authors did not have million-dollar budgets to promote their book, let alone a budget at all. Through this experience and the experience of publishing books for other authors over five years, I knew that something had to change to help authors succeed and to be noticed. In 2011, I created the Texas Authors Association which added the Indie Beacon organization in 2018 and then merged them to go international as the Authors Marketing International, LLC. An author owned, membership-based businesses with the sole purpose of educating author on marketing, and supporting them through events, programs, and educational services so they can succeed just like those that have traditional publishing contracts with the big 4 publishing companies.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a child at the age of 11, 12, I knew that writing was a fun and creative way of telling a story. At that time, my mother told me that I had to focus on my studies to be able to earn a good income, which writing books, was not a guarantee that would happen. She was an avid reader, going through a paperback every day. Her love of books is what started me on the road to writing. With a lack of encouragement, I put it away until I turned 29. At that time, I was challenged to write a short story about something that happened to me. I took up the challenge and wrote $200 Alan, which got published and set me off on my writing career once again. With many short stories until 1997 when something happened that pissed me off so much, I had to write about it and change the narrative to how people saw and understood a minority. The majority of my first book only took me six weeks to write. It took me four years to finish the last chapter and get it published. The fear of what people would think about my first book is the reason it took four years. A lesson in itself, that once I got past the fear, I was able to finish it. There was still a lot for me to understand about writing a book, or even a story that I regret not having learned before writing the book. Taking a creative writing class, or multiple classes would have been beneficial, but it is not the reason not to write what is in your heart. I’ve since learned over the years that there are a lot of groups and organizations that are there to help you through the process, and even after the book is published. The lessons I learned in the beginning stages of the Self-Publishing world led me to help other authors. During five years, I was able to help get 60 books published for authors in India, the USA, Canada, and many other places. It was during this time, that I began to realize publishing a book was easy compared to marketing it. That one aspect of the publishing world was the hardest to understand and afford. While I was faced with something new for Indie authors, it didn’t stop me from learning the in and outs of marketing for authors and then sharing that information. My career in helping authors kicked off at the lowest time of my life. I was homeless and financially destroyed. I was eager to make sure other authors did not suffer the way I did. During my five years of homelessness, I created five organizations and businesses that were designed to help indie authors, first in Texas, but ultimately around the world. All my income went into those businesses and the authors they served. I don’t regret being homeless as it also gave me motivation and understanding that I may not have accumulated if I wasn’t suffering in some way. Ten years later, the businesses are helping authors worldwide and are open to more growth as the industry is still changing every year. I stay on top of the changes and share the information with those that want to succeed as an indie author. My success is not measured in what I earn, but in how the indie authors can grow and reach the success that they desire. When COVID19 hit, I was able to help the authors even more as I scaled back my living expenses to be able to be prepared for the financial storm that was coming. So far, a year into it, we are still alive and helping authors through our variety of programs and events. I have become an Author Advocate warning authors about companies that are designed to rip them off and calling out old industry programs that are not favorable or discriminate against indie authors. I have been able to write eight books in a variety of genres and eager to write more when time permits. My voice is in no way quiet, as there is still much to say while opening minds to other thoughts and concepts that help the world grow in many ways.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Austin, Texas, which is located in Central Texas. While the city has its own beauty of lakes and green trails, the location provides visitors an opportunity to see the hill country, the grasslands, and much more. The day trips abound with great cities, museums, and green trails. Great food and shopping are of course available, but for me is not on the top of my list.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
All the struggling authors in the world. Their stories are worth telling and sharing.