Episode 82: On Writing Short Stories, Launch Strategies & Instagram Relationships with Sarah Hickner (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast)
Episode 82: Welcome to the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast! In each episode, you’ll hear inspirational stories from horse book authors including writing advice and marketing tips to help you write your own horse book. If you are an author, aspire to be an author, or simply love horse books, then you are in the right place!
In this week's episode, you'll meet Stories from the Barn Aisle Author Sarah Hickner. You'll learn ...
Watch Sarah Hickner's Interview on YouTube!
Or listen to the audio only version.
About Sarah Hickner
Sarah makes her author debut with Stories from the Barn Aisle. Always a storyteller and a bit of an adventurer, she finally decided to write her stories for the world to read.
As a kid, her favorite books were from the Thoroughbred series, and the books inspired her to leave her home state of Mississippi to gallop racehorses in Kentucky while in college.
Sarah is now settled down (which sounds more grown up than she feels) in Virginia with her husband, two kids, a horse, a dog, and a bearded dragon.
Sarah Hickner Interview Excerpt
Carly: You've just recently added author to your accomplishments. Tell us about your debut book.
Sarah: Being a horse-obsessed, big dreamer, I refused to wait until I was older or had more money to chase the experiences I read about in books. Because of this, my life with horses has been full of adventure, mistakes, and learning the hard way.
Stories from the Barn Aisle is my 30+ year old self telling some of those stories. I think of it as a letter of encouragement to all the other gritty horse lovers in the world, and a love letter to myself - I did those things, I made those mistakes, I learned, I had fun, and now I can see it all with grace and humor. I hope you can too!
Stories from the Barn Aisle includes these 5 short stories:
Dreams & Horsehair
Misty (not) of Chincoteague
It Tastes so Sweet
Northbound or Bust
Finding a Place
Carly: Talk to us about writing short stories. How do you approach writing them? Do you follow a structure for telling short stories?
Sarah: I just think of the story and let it simmer in my head. What I find is that the first draft is very much the first draft. I sit on it and don't look at it for like three days and then when I come back later I know what I need to work on. Giving it that space gives me more perspective.
Looking back at all my stories, they all had a similar rhythm of a story within the story. It gives a reader a sense of atmosphere, so when they get into the horse parts they know who I am and can feel the excitement. I add a little piece in the beginning to set that tone with something that they have felt before themselves.
The reason the bag of carrots made the cover was because I talked about the carrots banging against my leg when I walked out to the field in the first story. I felt like that was something that everyone in the world has probably experienced — walking with a bag of carrots bumping against your leg. It's little experiences that can bring a reader into the story. I worked really hard to show and not tell.
Carly: Did you do anything special to launch the book? How are you reaching your readers?
Sarah: I did two things, which worked together. I reached out to all of my horse friends. I also reached out to some people on Instagram. With those relationships, I made a launch team. My goal was to have 25 people in the launch team. The launch team were my early readers. They got my ARC and I asked them to post a review when the book was live on Amazon.
Also, I did a big Instagram giveaway. I made graphics. When the book went live, we all started posting those graphics on Instagram. The launch team were part of a different giveaway for helping me and then they were posting about another giveaway to get the word out.
(Psst ... Sarah shares even more on her launch strategy in the full interview.)
Carly: You worked with StreamHorseTV on a Stories from the Barn Aisle Youth Writing Contest. Talk to us about how you developed a relationship with StreamHorseTV.
Sarah: It's Instagram! I am meeting the coolest people and have grown my Instagram channel through participating in follow trains. I met two of the coolest people during a follow train. One of them was the mom of StreamHorseTV's owner. She's a strong christian and has an equine faith-based art business. She recommended I reach out to them. That's how I connected with StreamHorseTV. Since then, I've become a writer and a contributor for their blog.
Connect with Sarah Hickner
FREE short story: Three Horses and a Wedding!
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About Your Host & Author Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning author, horse owner, creativity coach, and the host of the Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast. She helps fellow writers start, grow, and expand their author careers. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
Carly's In the Reins equestrian romance book series was written with horse lovers in mind, no matter which discipline they ride. The horses are as vital to moving the story forward as the human characters are.
These books are perfect for poolside reading, taking to the beach, or settling down with after a day of horseback riding.
Books by Carly Kade
Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing about horses makes her spurs jingle!
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