peeps: Alexandra Allred
Alexandra Allred made sports history when she won the first women’s bobsled U.S. Nationals in September 1994 and was named to the first U.S. women’s bobsled team. When the United States Olympic Committee made her Athlete of the Year, it began a lucrative sports career as a bobsledder, martial artist and professional football player.
III, an expert on prenatal fitness who was interested in how extreme exercise affects the placenta. At that point, very little data had been collected on the effects of sports training, plyometrics and heavy weight lifting, and Dr. Clapp was particularly interested in Alexandra. At the fifth month of her pregnancy, she was squatting 375 lbs. and was clocked running at 20mph! To this day, both the U.S. and International Olympic Committees use Alexandra’s training data as a safety guide for pregnant athletes. She also serves as a fitness/nutrition expert at Pregnancy.org.
No stranger to the media, she has appeared in national publications, news programs and syndicated radio; in 2002, PBS produced a documentary about her. She wrote two women’s sports books — Atta Girl! A Celebration of Women in Sports and Entering the Mother Zone (Wish Publishing) — and became an adventure writer for top magazines in the field like Sports Illustrated and Muscle & Fitness. She even played professional women’s football!
Today, she is now the author of over 20 books, a freelance writer and does public speaking on sports, nutrition, air quality and the world of writing and publishing. She lives in Texas with her family and a wide array of animals.
How Alexandra Got Started Self-Publishing
When she speaks to writers, she opens with this joke: “If you want to get published, first you have to become a pregnant bobsledder.” But she does explain, “I know I was extremely fortunate in that I had NO competition in that area. Trust me. There were no pregnant athletes out there squatting over 300 pounds. While I won’t lie about the physical work I had to put in to make the team, I know I eased into the publishing world. I even got to write a Dummies book because of my sports background. But when I wanted to try my hand at fiction, despite all my contacts, I couldn’t get the big publishing houses to even give me a look!”
As Alexandra began to look at ebooks, she saw the potential. “You know, as a writer, you are two things: an artist and a business person,” she says. “If you are willing to do the PR, the leg work, make the phone calls, send out letters seeking reviews, you can create a new audience.”
She self-published her first novel, Damaged Goods, and she ended up traveling to New York City to receive an IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Award) for it. While there, she was thrilled to get to meet the publishers who discovered and published E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey.
Today, Alexandra has new books under contract with The Writer’s Coffee Shop, but she also still self-publishes and plans on launching a children’s series this spring with CreateSpace on Amazon.com.
Self-Publishing Observations and Tips
- “The downside to self-publishing is bookstores are very slow to carry your book. But that’s okay! As I said before, once you self-publish, you are an artist and a business person. If you are willing to work hard, you will gain a larger audience.”
- “In this big, huge, wide world of modern technology, artists are no longer confined to traditional publishing and that is a fantastic thing! The Wizard of Oz was self-published and developed a following. Why can’t this be true of your own work?”
- “To anyone toying with the dream of publishing, I ask, ‘What’s holding you back?’ It’s easy and cheap.”
- “Make sure you have multiple readers/editors to make your manuscript clean. No errors. No snags in the plot or inaccuracies in characters. Let the only complaint about your book be that it cannot be found in the bookstores.”
- “Be willing to promote yourself. You do not have a large publishing house behind you, so be prepared to use social media outlets to promote and have fun.”
- “If you believe in your story, your product, you can never fail. Do not publish with the idea of making $$$. Publish because you love to tell stories and share. Anything after that is a true bonus!”