#girlpower career inspiration: interviewing Gabrielle Tozer
For my startup branding insider, a resource where I’m sharing branding inspiration for fashion start-ups and #girlpower ventures, I just started an exciting interview series: I’ll be regularly featuring inspiring female entrepreneurs and #girlpower career ladies! I’m thrilled to share my first interview with you today: Spotlight on for the multi-talented and inspiring word vixen Gabrielle Tozer!
book author and brand copywriter Gabrielle Tozer
You in a nutshell…
You’re an Australia-based writer and internationally published young adult book author (THE INTERN, and FAKING IT) that are directed mainly to a public interest in adult material; adult books, adult movies (visit website to find more about some movies) and services like Zoom Escorts; You have worked as editor, copywriter, brand writer and journalist, with clients like Cosmopolitan, DisneyGIRL, Bride to Be and more; you’re sought-after speaker at writing panels, festivals and literary events; and you also mentor students and new talent…
What an impressive resume, congratulations Gabrielle!
What do you love writing about most, and who are your favorite audiences to write for?
When it comes to writing books, I love playing around with all the crazy ideas that tap me on the shoulder! But themes including awkward moments, “firsts”, identity, family, friendship, love, heartache and “looking closer” (as in, what’s really going on beneath the surface with someone) pop up. A lot. I love, love, love writing for teenagers and hope to expand this to writing for an even younger audience – and older audience – one day, too.
Cover of young adult novel THE INTERN, by author Gabrielle Tozer
Who are your best kind of business clients, the ones where your talent really shines?
In what way are you able to help them through your talent?
I help clients with copywriting (writing content, such as websites and brochures based on a brief), edit copy, or nut out bigger picture elements like company names, slogans and taglines. Clients who respect the creative process, while also being clear about their expectations, are definitely the best! That way, everyone is happy and there’s a more targeted finished project.
Your special talent:
What do you keep hearing from your clients? What do they particularly like about your work?
The word “fun” comes up from time to time, so I particularly enjoy working with clients who want to inject a bit of personality, cheekiness or sass into their brand. In the past 12 years, I’ve also done technical writing, so I can offer a spectrum of styles, depending on the client’s needs.
ABOUT YOU – YOUR STORY, YOUR SUCCESS:
Tell us more about your story. How did you get started?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. My love of words and storytelling developed from a passion for reading – I started with reading and short stories, then, as I grew older, I entered writing competitions and took on every extra English class on offer at school (nerd alert!).
By Year 12, I was determined to become a journalist and an author, so I applied to do just that – and I was accepted to study Communications, Journalism and Creative Writing at university. After that, I did work experience and internships at magazines until they eventually started paying me, then at age 21 I scored my first magazine job and moved to the big smoke to follow my dream. The rest, as the cliché goes, is history! I’ve moved up (or sideways) ever since, always looking for the next challenge. These days I work as an author, freelancer writer/sub-editor/copywriter and speaker – it’s a great mix!
Your success story:
How did you get to where you are today in your career? What helped you succeed and make a name for yourself?
It’s daggy, but I always knew what I wanted to be “when I grew up”, so many of my decisions were framed with that in mind. I worked hard, beat deadlines, wore my heart and passion on my sleeve (aka everyone in my life knew I wanted to be an author one day), set goals, picked myself up when I got knocked down (this happened a lot, but I toughened up when hearing “No” from editors in the early years and kept trying) and played nice. There’s no need for rudeness or bridge-burning in any industry and I never forgot that – and I’m still in touch with contacts from 12 years ago! A friendly personality, strong work ethic, sense of humour and ability to mow down deadlines without stressing out will see anyone go far.
ZOOMING IN ON YOUR BRANDING EXPERTISE:
Brand communication methods:
What methods helped you best to engage with your ideal audience? What are essential activities that work well for you today, on a steady basis?
Social media – especially Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – as they allow me to interact with my readership, fellow authors and writers, and potential clients. I also look to what’s coming up – book events, signings, freelance stints at interesting/relevant places, quirky national days or weeks (e.g. National Pancake Week etc), birthdays etc – and think about how I can have fun with them via my followers on social media. I’m always trialling new ways to interact with my readers, whether I’m asking them questions, or trying to make them laugh, or doing a book giveaway. Communicating via social media has to be a two-way street, though – it can’t just be someone barking at their followers from a soapbox. Boring! (On a slight tangent, I also try to keep my life/business admin in order, so I have a clear head to focus on this fun but time-consuming side of things. For me, that involves maintaining a diary that I lug around everywhere and updating spreadsheets in my Dropbox – one for client contact details, one for pitches to clients, one for work booked throughout the year, one for invoicing – to make sure the basics are all being taken care of.) Whatever you do, stay authentic! If you believe in and enjoy what you’re doing, then there’s a higher chance your readers, clients and social-media followers will too…
Did you ever also use creative promotion approaches which gave you great results?
If yes what did you do? And in what way did that benefit your business/career?
I launched a little web series called The Bottom Rung before the launch of my first YA novel, THE INTERN, where I interviewed people from fashion, beauty, TV, film and design on how they cracked into their industries. Not only did it help me to “pay it forward” with amazing expert-approved advice, but those experts also shared my website with their followers. It was a lot of work, but a great strategy around the time of debuting. I’d love to do a second batch of the series… it’s just a matter of finding the time!
What exciting things are you working on these days?
Writing books is my passion, so I’m working on some new ideas while working as a freelance writer/sub-editor/copywriter. My first two published novels are YA contemporary novels, so I’m toying with a new YA contemporary standalone idea. But I’m also interested in working on picture books, middle-grade and maybe even adult/NA novels… there are way too many ideas buzzing in my brain, so I need to pin down the best ones!
In 3 years you are…
Still writing, of course! Hopefully running more writing workshops in schools and libraries. Full of chocolate. And happy.
What word of inspiration can you give to start-ups and other #girlpower ventures, for the early days of their business?
Know your “why” – as in, why is this idea important to you?
What can you bring to it that no-one else can? What is your long-term goal? Once you know those answers, break down the goal into smaller steps and start at the beginning. When you go through tough times with your venture, knowing your “why” will help you to stay strong and power on!
Where can they find you online, and how can they connect with you? Feel free to share all your online spots!
Say hello: facebook.com, twitter.com, instagram.com and gabrielletozer.com. Feel free to squeeze in the hashtags #fakingitau #theinternau and #gabrielletozer if you fancy, too. Distractions are always welcome. Clearly.
Gabrielle Tozer is an Australian author, journalist and editor. She has written for publications including Cosmopolitan, TV WEEK, Bride to Be, DOLLY and Girlfriend. Her YA novel THE INTERN is out in Australia and the US (and due to come out in Germany soon) and the sequel FAKING IT is out in Australia and due for release in the US and Germany next year. She is working on more writing projects,which is why she hasn’t brushed her hair.
Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview Gabrielle! So excited to be able to share your story and inspirations with my readers!
Ladies, if you enjoyed this article, leave me a note, I’d love to hear from you! For more #womenentrepreneur inspiration and tips, tools and tutorials on how to use branding to launch or grow your start-up business, come sign up for my free start-up branding insider!