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About the Episode

In this episode Rachel chats with children’s book author Charity Rios about the self-publishing process for children’s picture books!

GET CHARITY’S BOOK, My Heart’s Garden which helps kids overcome anxiety and fear through lyrical rhyme and whimsical illustrations ✅CLICK HERE 👉 https://amzn.to/3VoLEK9

About My Guest

Charity is a Jesus follower, Wife and Boy Mama to 4 of the wildest, and squishiest sets of dimpled cheeks. She is the author of the children’s picture book “My Heart’s Garden” and companion “My Heart’s Garden Workbook”, and a Children’s picture book coach. Most days you can find her top knottin’ it, totin’ potties and rollin’ in the mini. The power of the gospel is her melody and unleashing women and children from captives into warriors is her passion. She has a Masters in Higher Education and has been a Children’s Pastor, Church Planter and Teacher.

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Charity Rios: [00:00:00] I had dreams as a child of just writing books in some magical cabin with a lake. And that’s what I thought being an author would be like. And that’s not the reality of being an author in 2022. And so you do have to, you know, put on that business hat.

I mean, I listen to business podcast. I, you know, follow people online that are business people. I watch Shark Tank. What you fill yourself with will come out. And so if you are thinking about your book as a business, and you’re doing things to grow yourself in that way, you will start thinking about things differently.

 [Podcast Title Slide]

Rachel Fahrenbach: My guest today is Charity Rios, and I’m so excited to, have you here with us today Charity, because I think you’re going to shed a light on a topic that we all like, we all love children’s books, right? Like those are a staple in a family’s home.

I am so excited to hear your journey and what wisdom you have to share with other writers who wanna get their Christian children’s books [00:01:00] into the hands of a reader as well. And so, I’m so excited to have you here.

Why don’t you first just let us know a little bit more about you, about your family and your book that you have out.

Charity Rios: Awesome. Thanks Rachel. I’m excited to be here. Yeah. My name is Charity Rios and I have four boys, um, ages 8, 6, 4, and two. And I have an amazing husband. He’s an engineer, so he’s the left brain of our marriage.

I’m the right creative brain and. You know, I never know really what to say when people are like, what do you do in your free time? And I’m like, I just wish I had some, you know, so I, you know, I love taking naps. Um, love anytime I can just squeeze in a little alone time myself. So that’s me.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Now you have a book is My Heart’s Garden, right?

Yes. Your children’s book. And there’s a workbook too that you’ve published as well. And so how did you get to that point? Like how [00:02:00] did you get to the point where you’re like, I wanna write a kid’s book and I’m going to self-publish it and yeah. How did you get there? Because I mean, I read that you were a children’s pastor for a bit.

You’ve done church plants, you’ve done other things. So was the writing thing something you’ve always wanted to do, or is this like kind of a new thing that God has led you to?

Charity Rios: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve always. Thought that I would write books. I’m sure. I know most of the people listening to this are writers, and so you probably relate to being the person that’s always writing a story in your brain or having a conversation with someone and you’re like, Ooh, they would make a great character in a book, you know?

Just kind of narrating your life. That’s, I’ve always been that way. Um, but really I thought that I would be writing books for women like Christian Living, um, Christian inspirational type books. Okay. And that’s what I started off wanting to do and blogging, um, in more of that space. And then I had my own kids [00:03:00] and, um, was, was writing blogging sporadically as much as you can when you’re like pregnant and nursing and all the things

And one, one night I was up with my third son actually in the middle of the night nursing him. And I just started thinking about this, um, Christian spiritual practice that have been really impactful in my own life, and it’s just called tending your heart, and it’s just very simply learning how to recognize the lies of the enemy, how they’ve come into your life and planted weeds into the garden of your heart and how to uproot those lies. How to get rid of those weeds of lies and replace them with the seeds of truth of God’s word in God’s voice. And going through that process of tending your heart as an, as a young adult was really impactful for me in a part of my own healing journey.

Um, and so I just started thinking about how I wanted my boys to be able to learn how to do that. From a very, very young age, um, because I know like, you know, a [00:04:00] lot of people can probably relate to this. If you’ve gone through hard things in your life, you don’t want your kids to have those same struggles. And so I was like, I wonder how I could teach my kids to do that.

And I thought, oh, I wish there was a kids book, you know, because, that’s the best way to teach kids something, right? to open up conversations is to have a fun story. And so I literally was nursing my third son having kind of this conversation with myself and sort of God in the middle of the night and then all of a sudden this story just popped into my brain. Some of the lines that are in the book right now just came into my mind and it was kind of this sing songy rhythm. Um, and I was like, wow, this guy sounds like a kid’s book. And I was just like frantically typing notes on my phone. I was like, this seems very coherent for like 2:00 AM in the morning

Rachel Fahrenbach: It was all those nursing hormones. Right?

Charity Rios: Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, and so. That was the humble small beginnings. It was really just seeing a [00:05:00] need I had in my own family wondering if other families would want this type of a resource. And I know you asked how I ended up self-publishing and at first I was determined that I was going to traditionally publish it. And had even gone through the process of, um, you know, getting it out there to some agents. And then as I was in the midst of just waiting to hear back from different agents and different publishing houses, um, I was at my church actually for a missions conference, but this wasn’t the kind of missions conference where they’re just like, Hey everybody, you should like, leave your city and go overseas. I mean, they were like, sure, you, you might do that. But they were also like encouraging people like, Hey, what kind of impact can you have in the nations right now, um, with the passions and gifts that God has given you in your place of life? And I just really clearly felt like the Lord was speaking that I needed to self-publish my book so that I could get it translated into multiple languages easily.

Okay. Um, because, you know, as many [00:06:00] people know, You know, if you’re a traditionally published author, especially a first time traditionally published author, they’re not gonna be like, sure, let’s just translate your book into Russian. Why not? You know, usually it’s like the big names that get to do things like that.

And so that’s how I ended up, um, self-publishing it. And it’s actually now, um, in Ukrainian, so it’s okay. Oh wow. Being used with Ukrainian refugee children, um, right now as we speak. And so that’s a, I lovely testament to the power of self-publishing and of course power of God.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Wow. That is, that is very neat how that was such an intentional decision on your part to self-publish because you had a certain goal.

And I think that’s a really, um, important thing for most authors to hear that if you’re gonna go a self-publishing route, like make sure you know your why behind why you’re not gonna do the traditional route that you’re gonna go this self-publishing route. but the fact that they’re both very [00:07:00] legitimate routes. There are a lot of pros to the self-publishing route, and Yes. It affords you things that maybe you don’t get to do as a traditionally published first time author, especially of a children’s book. So once you decided to self-publish it, God said, Hey, I want you to do this because I have a specific goal in mind for your, your story. What was your next step? Like? How long did it take you? Was it difficult? Was it, you know, what? What was kind of the journey of that process?

Charity Rios: So this was in 2019. And so I really started learning a lot about self-publishing. Um, I was already listening to like the Self-Publishing Show podcast, um, at that time.

There’s a lot more resources now, but that was really one of the main places I was learning about it. Um, and then I did a lot of Googling and guessing, which, um, , I was not fun. Um, and. I, I, I do [00:08:00] some coaching now and I really like try to help people not have to Google and guess because everything took me so much longer than it needed to, but Right.

I really just didn’t know the answers or even where to go to find them. And so, um, let’s see, it was 2019 and then the book, um, released March of 2021. So it was a process. Finding the illustrator. Um, everything actually was, I started working with the illustrator in the midst of the pandemic. Everything had just shut down.

I was pregnant with my fourth son at the time.

Rachel Fahrenbach: So I was just a wonderful time to try to publish a book. Right.

Charity Rios: Yeah. It was just perfect timing. I was like, God, great. Cool. Um, I did some fundraising for it, um, to cover the cost. Had some people just generously donate because they believed in the message.

Really saw God move in some miraculous ways for the finances of. And then, so, you know, by the, when you hire an illustrator, it takes usually about [00:09:00] four months for the book to get done. Wow. I didn’t know that. Yeah. Yeah. For, you know, for a children’s picture book, because it’s a lot of illustrations and unless they’re using a lot of, um, computer generated images, so that makes sense.

She was doing, yeah. Doing everything like by hand, which is, it’s just beautiful if you look at it. Um, so that just, you know, takes longer. Yeah. Um, and so, That was just a journey of, of waiting for that and working through those different things. And um, then launched the book. And then of course, before the launch was like getting a launch team together and trying to hype it up big time.

Um, which I know we’ll talk to a little bit more about in the marketing, but trying to hype it up and get the word out there. Um, and then I would say I spent about a year really, um, promoting and marketing the book pretty hardcore. Yeah. So, It’s a long, it’s a long process. .

Rachel Fahrenbach: So you had mentioned that there were costs, you had mentioned that there was cost involved.

And so what were some of those costs? [00:10:00] You know, cuz we’re, we’re talking about the business of Christian fiction, right? And mm-hmm. . So we kind of need to understand that there’s things like costs that come along with publishing, right? You know, not even just in self-publishing, but in traditional publishing as well.

But what were the costs that you encountered with publishing the children’s book?

Charity Rios: The main cost is the cost of an illustrator, and so generally that’s gonna be between 3000 and $10,000. And then I hired a graphic designer, um, to place the words and pictures. So that’s the layout. The layout. Yeah. Okay.

Sometimes it’s called a book. Uh, sometimes you’ll hear it referred to as a book designer. Mm-hmm. really, it’s a graphic designer that’s doing that. Um, and so then there was also the cost of like buying an I S P N and different things like that. That’s pretty, pretty minimal. And so the bulk of the cost is, paying the illustrator.

 Some children’s picture book authors, their self-published will, um, buy books in bulk ahead [00:11:00] of time. And so then that would be a, a large cost as well. For this one, I did print on demand through Amazon K D P and through Ingram Sparks because I had a Four month old baby and three other young boys.

And I was like, I cannot handle being the ordering distribution center. I’m gonna fulfillment that. Yes. I was like, I just can’t. Um, and so I focused on really more getting the word out about the book. Um, but this, I have another children’s book that’s I’m just in the beginning phases of working on, and that one I’ll do a bulk order and become the distributor because you can get a little bit higher of a profit margin.

Um, and if we’re talking about the business side, and then also because it’s not print on demand, the quality is gonna be a little bit higher. Um, that’s true.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Especially for like a children’s book that’s illustrated and Right, right. You wanna have that quality high.

Charity Rios: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And so, You know, there’s, there’s pros and cons of kind of each route you did.

For me, it was the [00:12:00] right decision for our family in that time of our life. But, you know, for moving forward, I’ll probably do the bulk printing and, um, if people are curious, a lot of people raise the funds up front on a Kickstarter. Um, and that’s what I’ll be doing this time. The time, like I mentioned, I did a lot of Googling and guessing and had no idea what I was doing.

And like, I literally didn’t even know that you could run a Kickstarter for a children’s book. And so I sold t-shirts. Like I, yeah. Made t-shirts

Rachel Fahrenbach: you liked fundraised.

Charity Rios: I’ve fund-raised, like I’ve sold t-shirts. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing it that way. Right. Um, but that, you know, a lot of children’s picture book authors that are self-published, they do have to raise those funds, um, upfront.

But the advantages is that your profit margin, um, is a lot higher than if you’re in a traditional publishing deal. And so you. I would say that I am more profitable already than probably most traditionally published picture book authors, um, because they’ll struggle to make back [00:13:00] their advance cuz you’re getting like 50 cents to a dollar on a book.

Right. But with children’s, sometimes 30 cents on a book with children’s books, and so you really have and with potential to make more profit.

Rachel Fahrenbach: With the illustrator, are you splitting the royalty with them or did you pay them a flat fee? Paid for the use of their artwork.

And then So you’re not splitting anything with them now?

Charity Rios: Right? Right. No, I did not split anything with them. And I get asked this question a lot, what you should do. It sounds better upfront to be like, Hey, let’s just split royalties because then you don’t have to pay the illustrator upfront. But I, from a business standpoint, I think that that gets really messy.

Um, you know, I wouldn’t wanna be like having to, 20 years from now, I hope people are still buying my book. Oh yeah. And I wouldn’t have be having to like track down my illustrator. Make sure she gets the check. And um, I think it’s just better to do just a clean business deal. And, um, I also think it’s just better if one person is, I like to say you’re kind of the CEO of this book project.

You are the head of it really. Right. [00:14:00] It’s a bus, it is a business. And so you really need to be the bottom line person that decides, yes, we’re gonna go forward this illustration. Yes, I approve this aspect of it. Um, and then of course, making the

Rachel Fahrenbach: ownership, kind of being the owner of the Right. Right. That actually brings me to my next question.

Like as a, as a, the way that you’re talking about it, you’re really positioned yourself as like an online entreprenuer in this. Mm-hmm, you know, business space of, yeah, christian fiction. And, um, it makes me wonder, like, is that a easy role for you to take on? Like, is does that come naturally to you or is that something that you’ve had to really like, step into and kind of put on that, that entrepreneur hat and be like, okay, that’s what I’m doing now.

Charity Rios: Yeah. Yeah. Um, I would say that I’ve had to grow into that. Yeah. And I’m sure just, I, I had dreams as a child of just writing books in some magical [00:15:00] cabin with a lake. And that’s what I thought being an author would be like. And that’s not the reality of being an author in 2022. And so you do have to, you know, put on that business hat.

I mean, I listen to business podcast. I, you know, follow people online that are business people. I watch Shark Tank. Um, you know, I like have just tried to like force myself in that world a little bit, um, to just try to help my brain start thinking that way. And I, I realize that, I mean, it sounds silly to be like, I watch Shark Tank, but like, you know, I realized as I follow, you know, business podcast Shark Tank, that I, it does affect how I think about things, you know?

Mm-hmm. and so it’s kind of, What you fill yourself with will come out. And so if you are thinking about, um, your book as a business, um, and you’re doing things to grow yourself in that way, that’s why I love your podcast so much, Rachel, and I think it’s so cool, um, is you will start thinking about things differently.

And so it was definitely like a [00:16:00] gradual process for me and I think for me, really had to pinpoint on, okay, I’m not gonna feel weird about selling my book because I’m actually helping people. Mm-hmm. . And so for me, when I realized like, it’s not weird or slimy or like awkward to talk about my book because it’s serving people, it’s helping parents, you know? Mm-hmm. , it’s helping them do something that I’m really passionate about. And so I know, you know, some fiction, you’re like, but it’s just a fun story, you know? Right. But it’s like, Hey, fun stories matter. Like I can’t even tell you how many times I’m like, I just wanna clean Christian romcom to just relax with, I mean, that’s like helping someone.

Filling a need in someone’s life for like refreshment and escape and imagination. Good storytelling. Oh, I just like love those things, you know? Right. Yeah. And so even if you’re like, I’m serving people by providing them a mental escape from the craziness of life, you know, [00:17:00] um, that is like real. So just, I encourage people just like.

Think about what kind of need am I helping people with? And then come at that when you are talking about your book on a podcast, when you’re talking about it on social media, when you’re selling it to your email list. And that has helped me not feel weird about it because I’m coming at it from a place of, I’m here to help people with my book.

And we all know as authors. Even if you make a great profit margin. Like, you’re still not making a bajillion dollars. No, you’re working so hard. You’re working so hard. And so don’t feel bad about asking somebody for $12.99 or $17.99, whatever it is, you know?

Rachel Fahrenbach: God does not want us to be starving artists on his behalf.

Charity Rios: Yes. Uh, I don’t, I do not believe that that is true. I don’t believe that it is true, and I don’t think that it has to be that way. I don’t think that that’s his heart.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Yeah. No, I don’t think that’s his heart either. Um, so do you have any marketing tip? I mean, that’s right [00:18:00] there. What you gave was gold. Like to think about it as serving, think about it as meeting a need.

Think about it as being like this thing that you’re offering that somebody can benefit from the way to position yourself and not feel slimy and not feel like. Selling all the time you’re serving. Yeah. Do you have any other marketing tips or any other tips for the children’s book writer who’s like, I want to do this.

but it’s a little overwhelming and it’s a little scary. Do you have any tips for them? Mm-hmm. ? Mm-hmm. ?

Charity Rios: Yeah. Absolutely. A couple things that were really helpful for me was, um, building community. Mm-hmm. . And so I did that online even way before I’ve launched a book. So if you’re like, even have a twinkle in your eye about writing a children’s book or any kind of, I just recommend right now try to find people online that are serving the same person.

If it’s like the Clean Christian Romcom people, if it’s the Christ, you know, in my [00:19:00] case, the Christian Children’s picture book writers or, um, moms that are serving in that space, um, I just began to connect with them and it’s really not scary. I, it’s like crazy how much people want to collaborate, right? They want to connect.

And so it’s not like I like had this massive following of people when I launched my book, but what I did was I tapped into the networks that other people already had, that other people that were already talking to the people that I wanted to talk to. And so I, it would’ve been easy for me to. I don’t have 10,000 followers on Instagram, so I can’t launch my book, but instead I was like, Hey, how could I reach 10,000 people on Instagram?

Well, what if I partner with this friend over here, you know, my online friend who is like making these awesome printables about prayer for kids? You know, like, right. What if I partner with her in a giveaway? What if we just say, Hey, let’s just share each other’s posts. I’ve done that in just little, you know, pods.

Like, Hey, let’s just [00:20:00] share each other’s post this week, or, mm-hmm. I’ll reach out to people. Hey, Advent’s coming up, can I share something about Advent that you have and I just say, show up and serve people that are already in your space. And people noticed that, you know, like mm-hmm. , when my book came out, they were like, Hey, I wanna help launch your book because Right, you were serving and sharing my stuff.

So be on other people’s launch teams. If you see that somebody makes a great post on Instagram in your space, share it in your stories and tag them. Just be like, I love what they said, or I’m excited about their new book that’s coming out. And when you do things like that and you build that like network of people, you will be like amazed at things that start to happen.

And my other suggestion is to pitch yourself to be a podcast guest. Mm-hmm. , I think especially for, I mean, I’m not in adult fiction realm, so I don’t know about that realm so much, but in the children’s Christian picture book realm, um, I pitched myself to be a podcast and I was on a lot of podcasts, and those were Christian parenting podcasts.

Most. Do you remember how many? [00:21:00] Do you remember how many you were on? I remember how many? I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe 30 ish.

Rachel Fahrenbach: I was gonna say not like, you’re not talking like do like five, you’re talking hit a high number of them. Right. Like get the more you a lot, the more you’re on, the bigger your exposure.

Charity Rios: So, you know, um, the cool thing if you specifically have a picture book is that you can send, um, people visuals, podcast host visuals mm-hmm.

And it’s really fast for them to read your book. Right. That’s because it’s like 700 words. And so I think that I had an advantage, I got maybe on some bigger podcasts than I honestly expected to. Oh. Um, I think I had a little bit of an advantage there, um, because it was like, oh, so cute. You know, like, oh, I have it.

I had some, I’ve never had a Christian picture book author, and so I didn’t just pitch myself to podcasts that were just about kids books. Okay. I pitched myself to the people that I really wanted to buy my [00:22:00] book, which was Christian parents that had a problem that I could solve.

Rachel Fahrenbach: And so that’s, that actually brings up a really interesting point, because often I hear authors who are writing towards children. You know the book itself is for a kid, right? But But the person who’s buying the book is not a kid. Exactly. And so it’s almost like they have two different audiences. And so what you’re saying is you thought really strategically about who’s already in front of the person buying the book. Not who is interested in a children’s book. Like, you know what I mean? Like you were really strategic in like getting in front of that person who was hitting buy on the other side of the, the computer. Not right, not a child.

Charity Rios: Right. Yeah.

Rachel Fahrenbach: You weren’t worried about like going in, like reading your book to kids.

You were more worried about getting in front of the parent.

Charity Rios: Exactly. Because that’s who’s gonna buy your book. So, um, when I talk to, you know, future children’s book writers, I say, who is the. , the primary adult that’s gonna buy your children’s picture book. [00:23:00] Is it teachers? Is it speech therapists? Is it counselors?

Is it children’s pastors? Is it grandparents? Who is that main adult buyer now? Where is that adult buyer hanging out? In my case, it was primarily parents, of course, you know, grandparents and children’s pastors were kind of also layers of that. Mm-hmm, but that was my primary target was parents of young children ages four to 10.

And I was like, what podcast are they listening to? Okay, I’m gonna pitch myself to those podcasts. Um, okay. Like, where are they hanging out online? You know, like I’m able been able to share my, um, book and just like random Facebook groups in my community I’m a part of. Um, I pitched myself to my local news.

I just. Hey, I’m a local mom. I’m publishing a kid’s book. I wrote it during the pandemic and they did a story on me, you know? And so I just say, don’t underestimate your network. Mm-hmm. And a lot of times you’re like, oh, but I don’t have a network cuz I’m not Oprah. You know? Right. And it’s like but everybody does have a network.

I talked about my book to moms on the playground that I [00:24:00] met and they’re like, Hey, who are you? What are you up to? I was like, oh, I’m writing this children’s book. And you know what? Mom’s on the play they know other moms that I don’t know. Mm-hmm. They were on my launch team. They talked to other moms about my book, you know.

And so you’re a part of alumni groups for your university, you’re a part of your neighborhood, your city you’re a part of, probably Facebook groups for your city. Like just kind of think a little bit more out of the box of like, where could these people be hanging out? Then like They’re only on Instagram. Yeah, they might be on Instagram.

Like that’s where I kind of hang out because that’s where most moms are. I’m trying to connect with probably are is on Instagram. So that’s one channel. But you can also, you know, think a little bit more creatively. Is it a church group that they’re also hanging out in? Is it a lacrosse team that like would be really interested in your fiction book because there’s, it’s about a lacrosse team.

You know, just like things like that.

Rachel Fahrenbach: You’re broadening that idea of like platform that we all get kind of caught up in as writers we’re like, oh, I’ve gotta build my platform, I [00:25:00] gotta build. And we always think about our social media threads, you know? Mm-hmm. okay. My, our social media channels, and we’re like, okay, I need to work on my Instagram. I need to build it up. But what you’re saying is to, to not pigeonhole ourselves into those platform opportunities, right. But to really start to look, where am I at? Where is my reader and how can I bridge that? How can I connect us and what is the platform that I’m gonna use to connect us? And that might not be social media, it might be your right. Alumni, you know your group. Yeah.

Charity Rios: Right. Or that can just be one of the, you know, one of the areas that you’re reaching out to. That’s not just social media. Exactly. And that’s probably more willing to give you a little more attention. You know, like if I pitch myself to NBC News, they could care less. But my local news channel, they were like, oh, that, that is interesting.

You know? And so that. Who knows who bought my book from that story. I don’t know. You know, we can’t know. But it’s out there, you know, and Right. The other great thing about like podcast, you could get on podcast interviews for example, is that it’s evergreen content. Yes. It’s [00:26:00] always there. Yes. And so I think it’s a little bit overlooked in the, um, or undervalued in the fiction world.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Oh, I agree. 100%.

Charity Rios: Yeah. Yeah. And so I encourage you to, to go that route and, um, , make yourself a little pitch template that you use. Send it out there. Here’s a little secret. If it’s kind of a bigger podcaster, they usually will respond to Instagram dms just like leave, like send a little message to their story and then if they like, like your little message to their story, then they’ll probably see your actual message.

Does that make

Rachel Fahrenbach: That’s good advice. That’s good advice.

You mentioned that you’re a coach for those who want to write a children’s book. So, um, if somebody’s like, Hey, I wanna write a children’s book, but I feel totally like overwhelmed by the whole process, they can get in touch with you and you have a way to walk them through the whole thing.

Can you talk a little bit more about that coaching aspect of your, what you have to offer ?

Charity Rios: Absolutely, yes. Um, I’ve done some group [00:27:00] coaching, um, cohorts. I’m not doing a group cohort right now, but um, I do offer individual coaching. And so if you are interested in that, I have worked with people that are like at Square one where they’re like, I have an idea.

You know, like, and, and that’s it. Um, and I’ve worked with people that are like, I have my manuscript. Now what do I do? You know? Right. I’ve worked with a lot of people that are like, should I pursue traditional? Should I pursue self-publishing help? You know, help me walk through those pros and cons. What’s the best thing for me in my season of life, for my family, for my capacity?

And I’ve helped people walk through that and had several authors that have launched their books, which is awesome. I always fun feel like I’m the book Grandma is like, you know, it’s not my book baby, it’s my book Grand Baby. Um, and so I like get really proud and excited. So, and I love talking to people about like marketing and networking.

Um, that’s something that I feel like I’m good [00:28:00] at, really good at is like brainstorming with people, helping people see outside the box, helping people not feel so overwhelmed about the, um, you know, the Instagram or the social media aspect or, you know, really make a plan. Like, Hey, let’s figure out what podcast you could pitch yourself to.

What does that even look like to pitch yourself to podcast? What does it look like to make a media kit? Um, and there are a lot of different ways that you can get your kids’ book out there. I highlighted some ways that worked for me and some, there’s some different ways that I also talk about with authors that might work for them.

depending on even what city they live in and stage of life. So, um, I walk people through anywhere in the process. And, um, yeah, if you want to, if you’re interested in getting in touch with me, you can email me at info@charityrios.com and just say, Hey, I’m interested in coaching, or you can find me on Instagram.

I know Rachel will do all the. I

Rachel Fahrenbach: will, I’ll put them all in the description. Yeah, yeah. In the show notes. Yeah. I just wanted to make sure that you talked about that, that that is [00:29:00] something that you’re willing to help walk people through and because to know that there is somebody who’s already done it, who’s already done it successfully and is still doing it, and who can cut through all the Googling and all the, the overwhelm of like, what is this information?

How do I discern what’s a good thing for me to do? What maybe I don’t need to do? And how do I, you know, piece it all together, you know, all these different pieces of information. So, um, I wanted to make sure that they knew they, they have a resource in you. Um, before we, yeah, before we wrap up, but I also wanted to talk about your current, like, so you published your

your book, uh, your Heart’s Garden, and then you published a workbook, did you have plans to publish them both at the same time, or was that like you’d published the one and you’re like, oh, this needs a workbook to go with it. Was that like an intentional choice to do both or like, was that the plan all along or was that something that came out of it later?[00:30:00]

Charity Rios: I did publish them at the same time and I was hoping that they could be published at the same time because, um, I feel like the story is a great introduction to the concept of tending your heart. Um, um, but if you have kids that are maybe a little bit older or, actually, I’ve had adults tell me that they’ve used the workbook and it’s been very helpful for them.

Aw, so cool. Um, And so if you just wanna dig a little bit deeper into that, those concepts with your child, then that is what the workbook is for. And so, yeah, I thought it would be fun, um, to release them together. That was my hope and prayer. And, um, I delayed the release of my book, just a little book, little bit because the funding for the workbook was later in coming . Yeah. Um, it was provided for, but it was just later in coming and so I delayed the release of my picture book to make sure that the workbook was, um, ready. Yeah.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Oh, that’s, that’s, that’s very cool. That’s very cool that you, yeah. It was like you in, cuz you know, we had talked about that you actually have like two [00:31:00] audiences, the parent and then the child.

Mm-hmm. And so it’s almost like you provided. A product that fit both people in your audience, the child and the parent. So that’s really neat that how you strategically approach that project. What are you working on now if you’re able to tell us? Yeah, I saw, I saw your, I saw your reel where you’re like, pick which one you want.

You know, you think I should do so, did

Charity Rios: you? Well, when is, when is this gonna be released? .

Rachel Fahrenbach: It, it’s soon, like within the next month.

Charity Rios: Well, okay, well I’ll ju I’ll just tell you that right now I have two children’s manuscripts that are ready to go. One is, um, teaching kids a biblical view of money, and the other one is teaching kids.

That breath is a gift God gives us to help our bodies calm down. And so both of those manuscripts are ready to go. And I have actually done something that I’ve never done before and I actually don’t even know if. I’ve ever seen anyone else do this before. [00:32:00] Probably someone has, but I think it’s fun. I am letting my Instagram audience and my email audience vote on which picture book they want, because again, as we were talking about, for me personally, and I think for so many of us, if I produce a book, I want it to be something that’s helping people.

 I wanna be able to talk about it and be like, Hey, I talked to all these parents and they want this book. You know it. Right. It helps me have fire to do that year long marketing for it. Right. Um, and keep talking about, it’s that I know that people want this book, they want to buy this book. Of course that helps with book sales but then it also helps me feel like I really am serving people and, um, you know, helping parents in a really tangible way. And so, right. I don’t know when this will air, but maybe it will have been announced, which book I’m doing or maybe it won’t. But regardless

Rachel Fahrenbach: but you have both of them and you plan to publish both of them.

Yes. You just, at this moment, you’re trying to just have your audience [00:33:00] decide which one they want first.

Charity Rios: It’s just like, it’s like, it’s like choosing between your children. I was like, how can I really choose? I love both these stories, you know? I think they’re both awesome. I think there’s a need for them in the Christian Children’s picture book market.

I was like, I’m looking for books like this for my kids. I can’t really find what I’m looking for. Exactly. And so I was like, I just, I love them both. How can I decide? And I was like, Why doesn’t my amazing community help me decide? Yeah. You know, I wanna serve them the best I can, so, but both of them will eventually be published.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Yeah. I love it. I love it so much. I kind of did something similar with my the novel that I plan to publish soon. I let people decide which novel I was gonna write . So like, I kinda did the same thing that you did. That’s so it’s a little scary to put it out that you’re like, I’m willing to publish any of this, but you pick.

And now I’m like, oh, okay. . Okay. It’s fun. It’s fun though. It’s fun to kind of like get that input from. From your people and like, cuz you’re like, okay, I’m writing for somebody, I’m not just writing for the theoretical like idea. [00:34:00] Right. You know? Right. It’s a tangible, absolutely tangible progress at that point.

Charity Rios: And it’s, it’s, you know, like I was explaining it to my husband, he’s kind like, why are you doing this? Why don’t you just pick one? I was like, babe, like. This gets the hype up, you know, like it gets, it’s another like marketing strategy, right? Yes, exactly. Because people then feel invested in what you’re doing.

Mm-hmm. and they’re like, mm-hmm. I help pick that. You know? Exactly. Of course, I wanna be on the launch team. Of course I wanna buy the book. Like I’ve been a part of it from the beginning and people love feeling like there, there’s a personal connection. They’re really a part of something. So, You know, it sounds like you’ve done some things like that.

I’m trying to, you know, constantly brainstorm how I can bring people in, you know, make them feel a part of the process. And it’s not just like I’m like pretending they’re a part of the process or something like, no. Yes. Yeah. I like really love having them a part of the process. Cause everything gets real confusing in my brain.

So, I agree. I’m like, please tell me what to do.

Rachel Fahrenbach: That’s awesome. Well, we will be [00:35:00] looking forward to hearing which book gets coming out first and which one we can, um, can we get to read first? I’m looking forward to both of them. I actually voted on your thing and I was like, but I want to read both. But I really do appreciate you coming on and talking to us. And um, I will link to your book in the description so people can go by my heart’s garden or your heart’s garden. I thought it wronged

Charity Rios: in the I know it’s my heart’s garden. Yeah, my heart’s

Rachel Fahrenbach: garden. But you can go by my heart’s garden in the workbook.

And, um, I’ll link to that in the description and I’ll make sure to put all of Charity’s you know, social links and website and all those things in the show notes as well. But, we just thank you so much for being here with us and and just sharing your story, sharing your process, sharing a little bit of the marketing side of it, and a little bit of the the wisdom that you have. And I hope that if, if anybody who’s listening is like, yes, I wanna write a children’s book, they’ll get in contact with you because you are just a wealth of [00:36:00] information and you’ve done it so well. And with such integrity and authenticity and just real commitment to the craft of the story, as well as the business side, as, as well, you know, that you wanted to serve your reader. You’re not just putting out some product just to sell something, you’re actually doing it because you wanna help parents and you’re committed to providing a quality product that does that. And so I think that really comes through in the work that you do and the things that you, um, put out there for people.

And so thank you. Just thank you again for coming on and sharing that with us and sharing your story with us. I appreciate it.

Charity Rios: Oh, thanks Rachel. That’s really encouraging. I appreciate it. And I appreciate you giving this like this topic voice and helping fiction writers figure out what do I do, how do I get this book to people because it is overwhelming.

And so I like, wish I had had this podcast several years ago, would’ve been super helpful. So I appreciate you and all you’re doing. [00:37:00]

Rachel Fahrenbach: well, thank you very much. And for those of you who are listening, come back next week as we continue our conversation about the business of Christian fiction. bye.

 

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Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!

I help Christian fiction writers figure out how they can make an impact and an income from their storytelling while keeping rest a priority. 

You can learn more about how I’m in your corner here.

And you can learn more about my personal journey here.

One last thing, if you’re looking for a bit more rest in your life, be sure to check out the Rest & Reflect guided journal.

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