Today we’re hearing from ambitious teen author and entrepreneur Coby Lee Davis who is keen to share her tips for managing a busy life balancing school, writing and microbusiness. She’s written and self-published two books, Halfway Through The Darkness and Dead Obsession, with supernatural elements and paranormal romance.
If your books were made a film, who would you want to play the main characters and why?
If one of my books where to be made a movie, I’d choose Dead Obsession, I have no preference to who I would like to act in it, as long as people from all nationalities, skin tones and sexual orientation are involved one way or another. That is what my book is about, people being different and struggling with these differences to fit in, and hopefully with that people will learn to accept and grow with one another while filming.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Plotting all the way, I love to have an outline and all the information in my hands. As much as I love that, I never end up following it all the way and normally end up putting a heap of unnecessary information and plot twists everywhere.
Does writing energise or exhaust you?
It depends, it’s like a scale perfectly even. When writing becomes a chore, it drains me and frustrates me which then reflects into my writing. However, when I’m in the ‘zone’ you can’t stop me from moving or talking, I get so high on the feeling of it.
How do you manage writing and your two microbusinesses as well as school?
You may or may not know, but I currently run two micro businesses on top of my high school work and social life. My first one is quite simple, it’s basically promoting and selling my books through social media and market stalls. The second is a lot more time consuming and is more hands-on, I run a small business where I recycle jars and propagate succulents and then push them together to create cute little gifts for people to give to friends and family. There is a lot of my free time taken up by this project. I manage all these things through time management, in the morning I wake at 5:30, walk and get ready for the day and then go and spend an hour or so outside with my plants. Then at night time after school I use the last of the daylight to do my plants again. A lot of time is spent with them, however when the sun goes down that’s when the real gold happens. A minimum hour of school work straight up and then an hour of entrepreneurial business planning. Then writing, I always write every day it helps with the creative flow and releases the stress of the day.
What resources have you found most helpful for your microbusinesses?
For my resources, I use Instagram as my main output of my products however I do set up market stalls whenever I can and sell both my products there, mainly focusing on my plants. With my market stalls, I make sure I make conversation with as many people I can, which is both terrifyingly cool, I encourage that you make one on one, face to face contact with your customers; not just online.
What struggles have you overcome and what would you do differently?
My biggest obstacle has been the lack of double checking my work. I get lazy and I don’t look over it enough times, this is with both my writing and my business planning. However I have come up with a solution, once I write something I leave it for an hour or two then re-read it, then give it to someone else to re-read and correct, before sending it off, one more look over. I understand how boring and time consuming this can be, but the end result is always hundred times better.
What one piece of practical advice would you give to other young writers?
My advice to young writers, which applies to every young person wanting to do something that’s considered an ‘adult job or ‘adult hobby’ is consistency and time management. It’s going to get hard or it’s already hard. Starting and continuing are one of the hardest part of any hobby or challenge you undertake, what you must remember is the ending product is worth it, keep fighting. You will fail, but you must remember to get straight back up again and keep going, it makes a far better success story than one that never finished. The ending is exhilarating and it will all be worth it.
At 12 years old Coby Lee Davis wrote her first book, Halfway Through the Darkness, then the following year when she was 14 wrote her first stand alone novel Dead Obsession, with over 50,000 words and self published it. Now at 15 she spends her time focusing on her 2 mircro businesses and completing high school work. One of the mircro businesses is promoting her books through social media and market stalls, and her other is propagating succulents and using recycled jars to sell them as gifts at markets.
Find Coby at:
Coby has also said she’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments. Additionally, she’s been kind enough to run a special offer for anyone who reads this article! Get 25% off Dead Obsession and 10% off Halfway Through The Darkness until the end of January!
Tomorrow Emma Dennin, author of the Contemporary YA Novel This Is Why, will be sharing her advice for crafting characters and their backstory.