Updated: Oct 5
Welcome to our latest Author Success Story! This month we're chatting with former music educator and mom, Courtney Woodward.
Courtney Vowell Woodward is a wife, mom, former music educator, business owner, and author. After teaching music education in the classroom for 15 years, Courtney now hopes to share her passion for music through early children's literature. Her classroom not only focused on upper-level musical skills, but on family, fun, and inclusion — themes that you will also see reflected in her writing. Courtney hopes that music education will become an easily accessible, essential subject for students of all ages!
Website: courtneywoodward.com or
AHA: Hi Courtney! What inspired you to become an author?
Courtney: I thought of this idea of a story while I was teaching an orchestra class in what ended up being my last year as a classroom music teacher. I was honestly looking for things that I
could do that would allow me to stay at home and work. After I left teaching, I started a
Virtual Assistant business and about a year in, I remembered that I had this story I wrote.
Magically, I found Vicky and At Home Author via social media and it felt like the stars
aligned. She was a music teacher and a published author – it was a sign for me to go for
AHA: We're so glad you found us! At Home Author coaches people through both traditional and self-publishing. What made you choose to self-publish?
Courtney: Making it BIG in the author world was never really my goal. I wanted something that was my own, something my kids could be a part of and could create a legacy for them. Something that created passive income on top of what I was already doing. Something that could keep me in the music education world without having to be in the classroom. Having full rights over my stories was appealing and feels very empowering to know that I did it on my own.
AHA: Self-publishing is definitely empowering, but also a little overwhelming! Did you have any writing or publishing experience?
Courtney: None! That’s why At Home Author was crucial in the making of this book!
I bought the online course and had one-on-one virtual meetings with Vicky. I was diving
into a brand new world that I knew nothing about, and to cut the time, finding people who
have “been there, done that” was imperative to the success of my first book.
AHA: Having someone who knows the process to walk you through it really does save so much time. Speaking of which, how long did it take you to publish that first book?
Courtney: I started the process in September of 2021 and officially published March 1, 2022. Only
6 months! That included the draft, developmental edits, final edits, illustrations,
and publishing. Really amazing!
AHA: What a whirlwind! Overall, was the process harder or easier than you thought it would be?
Courtney: Both? The time frame in which I created my first book was quite the whirlwind. I didn’t know that in 6 months I could take a scribbled draft of a story on computer paper and turn it into a REAL book! So, the short time frame made it easy to make it all happen. It was harder just because I was walking into the unknown. So, the highs and lows were all new to me – At Home Author truly showed me the right path to walk.
AHA: When you first started, how did you measure success? Has that benchmark changed?
Courtney: Success at the beginning was the fact that I did it! I did something I never thought I
would do, and I made it happen. Now – success is measured by consistent sales (obviously) and the connections I have made throughout my marketing strategy. Feedback from music educators and parents has truly shown me that I did a good thing. I created a new resource for a music
classroom and have introduced simple music education in the home for the preschool and elementary age levels. That really feels good.
AHA: Is there anything you REALLY wish you would have known before you started?
Courtney: How much of an emotional rollercoaster the process can be. Like I said, I am not a writer, this is a new world for me. But knowing that I can still do it (even with my lack of experience) AND be successful is a mentality you need to have to keep pushing through.
Don’t let negative thoughts take over… keep going for your dreams no matter what age
or stage of life you are in!
AHA: That is so true! Let's talk marketing for a minute. Getting your book into the public eye is one of the biggest challenges of self-publishing. What's worked best for you?
Courtney: Amazon Ads, Instagram and GIFs. Social media is an amazing tool if you use it correctly. And having the added bonus of GIFs for my book, that others can use and share, was a win, win!
AHA: Everyone loves a cute GIF! Okay, last question. Let's say there's someone reading this interview who is just getting ready to start their self-publishing journey. What advice would you give them?
Courtney: If you are brand new to the author world – find a welcoming, knowledgeable community of people who have “been there, done that”. Going it alone can make the process much longer and even more frustrating – possibly causing you to not follow through with your dream at all. It’s OK to ask for help and there are SO MANY people out there willing to help. Take
their advice and use what’s right for you. ♥
Family Dynamics: Embrace Your Sound
Paperback: KDP, Hardcover: IngramSpark
POD or offset print run?
Print on Demand
softcover, hardcover, Kindle
Total Investment: (All amounts are rough estimates provided by the author and should not be considered 100% accurate or used as estimates for your own project. Do your own research!)
Between $7,000 & $8,000
(At Home Author guidance, Editing,
Illustrations, ISBN’s, etc.)
Total Number of Books Sold To Date:
Inspired by Courtney's story?
Ready to start your own publishing journey?
At Home Author is run by three veteran teachers-turned-authors who are here to help! Click the button below to book a FREE 15-minute consultation and we'll answer any questions you might have.
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