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Adrienne Austermann – Author

When your desire outweighs your fear…

I went to art school in New York and one of our assignments was to create a visual story with no words. I sketched a star falling into the ocean and became a star fish.

At that time my daughter was two. I wrote a story to go along with the visuals and envisioned collateral merchandising such as bedding and a pillow doll.

But then reality hit. My marriage fell apart and I decided to get a master’s degree to become a teacher. I began querying publishing companies. The trend at the time in book publishing was celebrity authors writing children’s books. It was hard to talk to someone unless you had a celebrity name. I was burned out trying to get published. I shelved my dream project. It was taking up too much of my time and my children came first.

What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream?

Twenty years later at a Meetup group I met someone in book publishing. Her husband was also was also in the business. I told her about my dream book project and she thought it was fantastic.

My daughter was now in college. I got a renewed inspiration to finally publish the book. The Sleepy Star was completed for her 22 birthday. There was limited promotion for it but it always received 100 percent positive comments and reviews. I had a full time job so I could not devote a lot of time to marketing.

What were the specific obstacles that you faced?

Time, technical knowledge and wondering if I can handle one more load of work after being stretched so thin. Will I have the energy and stamina to follow through with the book? Would my desire outweigh my need for sleep?

I am an artist not an illustrator. I could not find someone I could afford to illustrate it. I taught myself how to illustrate the book using [the software] InDesign.

What helped you get through them?

I was determined to do it for my daughter. Whenever a situation came up, I had to step back, relax with a glass of wine and step back in. I had to look at the situation objectively. What do I need to do to resolve this?

How did you feel when you finally accomplished your lifelong dream?

I can die now! Wow, if nothing else happens and no one else buys The Sleepy Star, I felt good about myself and have that full circle and now have closure because now my daughter has the story I’ve always wanted her to have.

What advice would you give to others who are contemplating finally living their dream?

When your desire outweighs your fear, you have nothing to lose.

Keep asking questions until you are happy with the answers. Even if you have to ask random people, reach out. Don’t be afraid. If you don’t get help, find a way to help yourself. If you don’t succeed, you won’t succeed unless you try…so you don’t have anything to lose.

To read more about Adrienne and her book journey, click here.


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