A Look Inside Romance with Austen Rachlis, Episode #10

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Austen Rachlis is a writer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. She recently directed and produced the documentary Naughty Books, which highlighted the ups and downs experienced by self-published authors in the romance genre. Austen is a regular writer for Wondery podcasts American Innovations and Business Wars. She joins me on this episode to talk about her documentary, how the self-publishing industry has changed the publishing industry, and how it has empowered women. Join us for a truly fascinating episode of Mitlin Money Mindset™ — you will not want to miss it!

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • How Austen came to film a documentary on the self-published romance industry. [2:15]
  • What surprised Austen the most about making the documentary. [4:35]
  • How Amazon has changed the self-publishing space. [5:38]
  • How this space has empowered Women. [8:10]
  • Why as a self-published author, you are the CEO of your own company. [9:50]
  • Misconceptions about self-publishing and the romance publishing industry. [11:40]
  • Austen’s advice to aspiring authors considering self-publishing. [15:00]

The Naughty Mafia Convention births a viable idea

Austen has been fascinated by the story of women who found themselves in dire straits, where they were borrowing money to pay for groceries to making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in the self-publishing industry. She realized this could be something she could build a documentary around. She saw it as the classic American narrative, but it also had many branches around it — changes in the publishing industry, questions about women and sexuality, and the empowerment of women to name a few. She saw that these branches could be tied back to the original idea to form a concrete basis for a great documentary. The final piece of the puzzle was Austen’s discovery of the Naughty Mafia Convention in Las Vegas — a gathering of 100 self-published romance authors, all on the New York Times Bestseller List. She knew if she could get a crew together and get to this convention, she had a viable idea. Check this episode out to hear the whole story of Austen’s project from birth to completion!

Surprising changes

What surprised Austen the most was the length of time it actually took to produce this documentary. She said she was a bit naive when she first started down this path and believed she would be able to complete the project within two years. She learned in the process of making her documentary that most take an average of five years to produce. However, it took her SEVEN years to produce Naughty Books. She also said she started out thinking the documentary was going to focus more on these author’s lives before they self-published and where they were today, but instead, it almost immediately became about something else. Listen to this episode to hear all of the surprises and challenges that Austen encountered!

Empowering Women

Austen spoke on the way the self-publishing space has been able to empower women. Many times, professional publishers acted as gatekeepers and said no to these aspiring authors in the past. When Amazon introduced Kindle, they paved the way for self-publishing to take off — the barriers were removed. It put control into these women’s hands. They were able to find that consumer — that reader — they knew was out there. These women were able to do something they loved and put it directly into their readers’ hands. Any time you can change your circumstances in such a positive way, and put control in your own hands — essentially change your life — is very empowering.

 Resources Mentioned

Connect with Austen Rachlis

  • Austen Rachlis is a writer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. Her novel Hacker Mom was a launch title for Amazon’s Kindle Serial initiative. She co-wrote the short film Loop Planes, which was jointly funded and produced by Killer Films and Massify.com. It premiered at SXSW and went on to screen at over 50 festivals worldwide, including Tribeca, The Hamptons Film Festival, and the Rhode Island International Film Festival, where it won the Alternative Spirit Award. She directed and produced the documentary Naughty Books, which is distributed by 1091 Pictures. She is a regular writer for the Wondery podcasts American Innovations and Business Wars. Austen holds a BA from Hampshire College and an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts.

Guests on the Mitlin Money Mindset Show are not affiliated with CWM, LLC, and opinions expressed herein may not be representative CWM, LLC. CWM, LLC is not responsible for the guest’s content linked on this site.

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