About Astra Niedra:
Astra is a facilitator and teacher of Voice Dialogue and the Psychology of Selves, a unique approach to personal growth that involves working with the parts, or inner selves, of the psyche.
She writes about using this empowering and life-changing work in day-to-day life, focusing on relationships and parenting.
What inspires you to write?
The desire to share the things I've learnt through my own quest to answer the big life questions. I had studied all kinds of philosophies (I have a Philosophy degree ) and approaches to self-healing, and when I discovered the work of Dr Hal Stone and Dr Sidra Stone (known as Voice Dialogue) it was a life-changing for me.
Learning that my thoughts, feelings and, more generally, way of being in the world was due to the configuration of inner selves in my psyche allowed me to deeply understand myself and why I was thinking, feeling and expressing myself the way I was.
As I started to do this work and see the results in my own life I wanted to share it with others. So although Hal and Sidra had published books and other educational materials, I started to write an email newsletter (before blogs existed) with a tips and tricks section and examples of using Voice Dialogue in daily life. My subscriber base quickly grew and I then started writing my books.
My first book The Perfect Relationship was inspired by wanting to make my relationship with my then partner and now husband work.
My book Enlightenment Through Motherhood was inspired by my three daughters, who have been the greatest teachers for me.
For a number of years now I've been working on a completely different kind of book, a story based on my grandmother's WWII love letters. My mother discovered these after she passed away.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
There have been so many favourites over the decades, both fiction and non-fiction.
Tell us about your writing process.
I can be a great procrastinator. But I discovered that if I have two writing projects on the go, one serves as the procrastination subject (object?) for the other.
Each of my writing projects has come about differently. For The Perfect Relationship I did a kind of brain dump of everything I thought should be in the book. And then I went over what I had written and organised it. It quite naturally fell into a 10-step format. So I turned the steps into chapter headings and then fleshed out the chapter content.
Enlightenment Through Motherhood poured out of me a few weeks after I'd birthed my third child. I sat at my computer with the baby at my breast and wrote. The birth, pregnancy and our family's recent attempt at a holiday a month before the baby was due were still raw. Of course I edited and revised the manuscript but its essence has remained.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just do it. Write. You can always delete, edit, rewrite. Write all kinds of things. Practice with blog posts, emails, letters to school teachers, complaints to council, author profiles!
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I self-published my non-fiction books because publisher friends told me that a publisher would only offer a deal if I had a large public profile. And that even with a deal I'd have to do the same amount of promotion as I'd have to with self-publishing, all unpaid.
So I thought if I was going to spend the time and effort in building my profile and with promoting, I may as well take a bigger cut of the profits by self-publishing.
With my love letters book, I sent my first draft to a few agents and have secured an agent for it. She sent it to three publishers, all of whom want it but with a rewrite focusing on different areas. I'm still deciding on whether to rewrite and give a particular publisher what they want or to do a second draft and self-publish because I know what's involved with self-publishing.
I'd advise new authors to research the whole publishing process before deciding on what to do. Being an author is a business if you want to make money from your books. So, like any business, you need to know what you are doing to a large extent before embarking on it and investing your money and time.
Consider also if there is a market for your books. And if there is a market, how big is it, is it already well-served, and can your books add something.
Also, much of being an author involves self-promotion. The more I promote, the more books I sell. I haven't been comfortable with this in the past and am still learning to embrace this reality. When I first started I thought that the right readers would simply find my work.
Every time I take a break from promoting, such as writing my newsletter or guest posting on someone's blog (having children was a big one!), book sales plummeted.
So unless you're going to write full-time, continue to promote your work consistently, and keep producing new work that people will buy, being an author is really a hobby. That might sound negative but it's the reality any genuine publisher will confirm.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Probably more people will self-publish and become increasingly professional in how they do it. But there'll also be more people entering the industry to take advantage of authors who are prepared to pay for publishing services, assuming that once they have the finished product it will somehow sell on its own.
What genres do you write?: Self-help, family and relationships, personal growth, non-fiction
What formats are your books in?: eBook
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.