Meet Sandy Brannan

women in business series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Today I am honored to introduce to you a very special person in our lives. I first met Sandy Brannan when she was my daughter Gracie’s 6th grade English teacher. She will forever be remembered in our house as being the teacher of the class where Gracie had her first seizure. She is such a caring person and she still is to this day one of Gracie’s favorite teachers. But she is not going to be talking about teaching on this series. She is going to talk about being a published author. Y’all her books are so amazing, but they should come with a warning label or at least a box of tissues. I can’t wait for you to get to know her. But before I introduce you to her, I wanted to remind you that you can find all of the incredible women featured here on this page.

Meet Sandy Brannan in the Women in Business Series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

Tell me a little bit about you.

Hi! I’m Sandy Brannan. I’m an English teacher who spends my spare time, when I’m not writing books, reading to my grandchildren. I have taught for twenty-four years. One of my greatest joys is sharing the love of reading and encouraging creative writing with my students.

Tell me about your business.

I published my first book, Becoming Invisible, in September 2019. Last month, February 2020, I published my second book, So Much Stays Hidden. I sell my books on Amazon in both paperback and ebook version as well as at events I attend or through the mail.

What struggles have you faced in your business? 

The struggle I have faced is marketing my books. Writing is a work of my heart, but I also absolutely want to share my stories with others. I realized early on that I would need to be proactive in order to get the word out to the public about my books, so I had to figure out how to best do that.

Meet Sandy Brannan in the Women in Business Series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

How have you overcome those struggles?

I have had to be willing to sell myself, in a sense, which is not always comfortable. I have made an effort to create avenues to allow readers to get to know me as I display my writing. For example, I have started a Facebook Author page @sandybrannanauthor as well as an Author Page on Amazon. I also have a professional website. One of the first steps I took involved contacting my local public library. I was able to learn how to get my books into circulation, and it was quite the thrill to walk in one day and see my book on display. I also have been able to speak and share my books at two local library events. Through this connection with the public library, I was able to write a guest blog post for Literacy Connections. I had to be willing to reach out to others in order to make all of this happen. Writing is solitary, but no one will know about my books unless I tell them.

Who were your mentors growing up? 

Reading as well as writing creatively as a child were both key to what I am now doing decades later. My mom was definitely my first mentor. She took me to the public library, always had books in our home, encouraged me to visit the Book Mobile when it drove into our neighborhood, and always made sure I had money in my pocket for the Book Fair at school. She was also a poet and shared her work with me which encouraged me to write too. Another important mentor was my fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Oates. She made creative writing a reward she offered to our class when we finished our work. Her approach caused these writing exercises to seem like fun even though I now know she was sneaking a lot of learning in as well. I still have some of the stories I wrote in her class. 

If you were to give advice to a woman going into the field you are in what would it be?

Write the story you have in your heart. Don’t focus on word counts, trying to fit into a certain mold, or even the possibility of selling your books. Just write. You will end up writing the book you love, and maybe others will read it and love it too. You will eventually have to be strategic with marketing and think about things like a target audience. But, even then, don’t allow yourself to be close-minded. My first book, Becoming Invisible, is a book about mothers and daughters. The obvious target audience is women, and I have heard from a lot of women who have read it. I have also been delighted to hear from teenage boys who enjoyed it as well as an elderly man who told me it made him remember his own mother. Let your readers surprise you.

Have you found that being a woman in your field is harder or easier? Tell me about the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman. 

I don’t think gender plays a role in writing. I personally have seen no evidence to there being advantages or disadvantages because of being a woman. I think people want to read a good story. They want the story to entertain them while also helping them reflect on themselves and life in general.

Have you ever had to overcome a hostile work environment? 

Not at all. Writing is a solitary existence at first. Then you reveal your writing through a book which is a way of inviting others into your world. I have received questions from readers about the plot (Why did you let that happen to that character?) or about the backstories (Why don’t you let us know more about that character?) I love these questions because they tell me my stories have become real to my readers. I am on both Amazon and Goodreads which means I get reviews from readers online as well.

Meet Sandy Brannan in the Women in Business Series from North Carolina Lifestyle Blogger Adventures of Frugal Mom

What made you decide on your chosen field?

I started writing a short story a few years ago. My son, who is also an author, kept telling me to just finish it. I was having such a hard time turning my idea into a story that I honestly felt like just giving up. But he kept at me. So, I finally finished it just to show it to him. And he loved it. This inspired me and made me think maybe I really could write. I wrote Becoming Invisible next and the prologue to So Much Stays Hidden. I put both away for about nine months before I pulled them out to see if I still liked them. I did. I finished my first book and published it before immediately pouring myself into my second one. I am currently working on my third book. I don’t believe I would have written any of my books if I had not written that first short story.  

Anything else you would care to share

I think writing is a wonderful opportunity to express myself, but that is not enough. I believe both of my stories allow me to share my faith as a Christian. The stories show a path to forgiveness and redemption in our everyday lives. I hope everyone who reads my books will be pointed toward kindness, find peace with others as well as ourselves, and understand true peace only comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

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