While earning her bachelor’s degree in cinema from Denison University, Jennifer Irwin wrote a screenplay that led to her acceptance into an arts program in New York City. Years later, after her painful divorce, she began writing again to aid in her emotional healing. She used the basis of that screenplay to write her debut novel, A Dress the Color of the Sky, which was published in 2018. The book has won seven awards and has been optioned for a feature film. Jennifer has signed with a literary agent in New York who is now pitching the sequel, A Dress the Color of the Moon, to publishers.
In what ways do you empower other women to succeed in business?
“I dedicated my book to all the women chasing a dream. I actively support other indie-published authors with every aspect of their writing and publishing journey. My debut novel also aligns with the #metoo movement. I did a great deal of research before writing the book because I wanted to write about the addiction/recovery process in a realistic way. I enjoy helping with the healing of other women who are victims of sexual assault and childhood trauma by sharing my story during interviews, book club meetings, on social media and through private messages.”
What challenges are specific to your industry?
“As an indie-published author, it has been challenging to penetrate the reader market all on my own. I have built a solid reader fan base through social media, which has been my main marketing platform. I had to learn how to create my brand, market, run promotions and giveaways, and all-around hustle. The book market is saturated, so trying to stand out in the crowd has been quite challenging. I accept every single opportunity that comes along where I can discuss my book and writing process.”
Has motherhood made you a better entrepreneur?
“I have three grown sons who have been pivotal to my success as a writer. After losing everything in my divorce, I had to pick myself up and keep going for my kids. They taught me all about the importance of the side hustle!”
Tell us about your support system.
“My boyfriend, Charlie Hargraves, has been incredibly supportive. He critiqued my manuscripts, encouraged me to keep going when I felt like giving up and, as my attorney, helped me with all the contracts writers have to deal with. My support system also includes my readers and friends who have posted amazing photos of my book and written magnificent reviews. It really does take a village.”