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About the Episode

In this episode Rachel chats with traditionally published, multi-book novelist Laura Thomas about the fiction publishing journey.

GET LAURA’S NEWEST BOOK, The Christmas Cabin, a romantic suspense story ✅CLICK HERE 👉 https://amzn.to/3vT3zNI

About My Guest

A published Christian author, Laura writes heartwarming encouragement for your soul and is a hope*writers certified writing coach. Laura’s Christian romantic suspense books are published by Anaiah Press: The Glass Bottom Boat, The Lighthouse Baby, and The Orphan Beach novels, and The Christmas Cabin, a Christmas novella. She also has a Christian teen fiction trilogy, marriage book, and middle-grade short novel published by Dancing With Bear Publishing, as well as several anthology books, devotionals, articles, Sunday school lessons, and stories published in magazines and online. She is represented for future romantic suspense novels by her literary agent at Credo Communications. Laura is a book-loving chocoholic mom and gigi, and is married to her high school sweetheart. Originally from the UK, they live in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, as audacious empty-nesters.

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Laura Thomas: [00:00:00] It is hard. It is hard to balance it all. And how much do you share and how much do you keep private? I think it’s a really individual thing. Mm-hmm. some people are happy just to lay it all out there and, and, and just be totally open and vulnerable and telling them everything from the minute you get up to the minute you go to bed and, mm-hmm. what your secrets are and everything . There’s others who are just kind of, you know what? You don’t need to know this. So I think having boundaries setting your own personal boundaries is a really good idea.

[Title Slide]

Rachel Fahrenbach: Well, today I have my friend Laura Thomas here with me. Laura has written so many novels. She is a wealth of information. She is a talented writer. I’m so excited to hear what she has to share with us about her writing, Journey, her experience with the publishing industry, and any advice she has for beginning writers, aspiring writers, or even those writers who are in the trenches along with her having published a couple of books.

So [00:01:00] I am so grateful that you have joined us today. Laura. Thank you so much.

Laura Thomas: Oh, my absolute pleasure to be here. Thank you, Rachel.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Before we dive into the nitty gritty details about the publishing industry, why don’t you just tell us a few, um, you know, just a few things about us. Where do you live? You know?

Sure. What are you currently, you know, is this your full-time gig? Is it? It is, yes. Oh, is it? So tell us, tell us all the things.

Laura Thomas: Okay. All the things. Well, how long do you have, um, ,

Rachel Fahrenbach: at least some of the things. .

Laura Thomas: Okay. Some of the things. Um, I live in British Columbia, Canada, um, and I am originally from the uk, which you might be able to tell.

Um, and we, I’ve actually lived here for half of my life now officially. Okay. So, uh, this is home for sure. Um, I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for, oh gosh. 34 and a half years. Um, congratulations. We started dating him when I was 14, so we’ve been together forever.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Oh my goodness. At that point you’ve [00:02:00] been together long, much longer than you weren’t Oh my goodness. Lovely.

Laura Thomas: I know. It’s so long , but it’s all good. Um, and we’re empty nesters, so we have three grown children, um, who have all flown the coop, and we had two Bulldogs, a Frenchie, and in English . Um, they, they’re my writing buddies. Um, and yeah, I’m, I’m fortunate enough to be doing this, um, every day when I get up.

So it’s, it’s a joy and a privilege. I was a late bloomer. I’m sure we’ll get into talking about my writing journey and a little bit. Um, but yeah, that’s pretty much me.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Awesome. You just recently had a novel re ugh, recently and released are two words to say, right, right next to each other. Very hard , but you just had a novel release, right?

Laura Thomas: Yes. It was like two weeks ago. Yes. Yes.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Two weeks ago. Congratulations. Thank you. Thank you so much. And what is the title of that novel?

Laura Thomas: It’s actually a Christmas novella, my first novella, which was very exciting. And it’s called the Christmas Cabin, and it’s part of my [00:03:00] romantic suspense series.

And it’s actually based right here in British Columbia. Uh, because we do the best winters. We, we have lovely white Christmases. And, um, this is the first time I’ve actually written about, uh, here my, my, my, my stay-at-home place. We’re recess. So, yeah, so

Rachel Fahrenbach: I’m originally, I’m originally from Chicago. I live in Houston now.

Ah, yeah. And so last year was, we moved here a year ago, this time, a year ago. And so right before Christmas and to go with a Christmas without snow was so hard. Oh, it was so hard. So when you say like, the lovely white Christmas, I’m like, oh, I,

you’ll have to read my novella, Rachel.

Oh, for sure.

I’m putting it down right now. It’ll take you right back. You see, I was just type, I was just writing. I’m like five and novella. So I’ll definitely link to it in the show notes too, so that others can get it as well. So, um, so let’s get into this. Like how did you, how many novels have you, um, published now?

Laura Thomas: Oh goodness. Well, this is, uh, book [00:04:00] number nine. Um, so, um, quite varied. Uh, Christian Romantic Suspense is my current genre. Um, and so I have three novels, and then this is a novella mm-hmm. in that particular genre. Three Christian teen fiction, uh, novels. And, um, then we go a little bit random, uh, , middle grade short, novel, uh, historical fiction, and also a non-fiction marriage book.

So I’m kind of, I’m definitely multi-genre that’s say that yes, .

Rachel Fahrenbach: And so do you consider yourself a fiction writer? Or how do you like classify yourself because, oh gosh, you have nonfiction, you have all these different genres. Like how do you consider yourself, you just say, I’m a writer.

Laura Thomas: That’s the easiest, that’s the easiest way to say it, honestly, because I also write, uh, devotions and I write Sunday school curriculum.

[00:05:00] Um, I do do a, a fair bit of dabbling in the non-fiction world, but honestly, mostly fiction is my, is my jam. Yeah.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Yeah. Um, I think that’s almost like a misconception about writers and especially fiction writers. Most people think like, oh, if you’re a fiction writer, you write one particular genre and like, that’s your jam.

But I think it’s actually no more true that most writers who are, who write fiction also write non-fiction pieces, and they also tend to deviate a little bit in their genres from story to story. Some don’t. Yeah. But there are some that do.

Laura Thomas: Yeah, I sometimes I’ll, I’ll be honest, sometimes I think to myself, it would be a whole lot easier if I was just on one track with one audience doing one simple thing, but this is just the way I am. It’s just, I, I really believe that this is just the way, um, as a Christian, this is the way God has just been leading me all over the place. Mm-hmm. . And I’ve just been like in for the ride going, all right, here we go. This is the next [00:06:00] thing.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Did you always wanna be a writer or did you, you said you were a late bloomer, so can you tell us a little bit about that process, that journey?

Laura Thomas: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Um, so, um, when I was a child, when I was very young, I was, uh, a little bookworm and I had this secret dream to be an author one day, and I actually wanted to be Beatrix Potter. Specifically. Um, and that was, I, that was just my thing, but I honestly didn’t think it was, uh, achievable on any level at all.

And so as I got older, um, I buried that dream. I literally didn’t tell a single solitary person. Um, and then I got into my teens and I just got distracted with, well, my husband, I guess now . Um, and, and with church and with dance and with a whole bunch of other things. And the whole writing thing, just kind of, it just really went deep, buried beneath everything else.

Had my kids emigrated, did all the things, [00:07:00] um, homeschooled my kids for 13 years. Okay. And still did, still, it was really buried until one night my husband took me out for coffee. And, um, we were having a conversation about, Big dreams. And what is your next dream? You know, one of those , one of those conversations,

Rachel Fahrenbach: one of those, I always, I always have those conversations with my husband when we were in the car, like on a long car trip. And it’s like he’s trapped. Poor guy.

Laura Thomas: Absolutely. Captive audience. Yeah. Well, this is my, we have the opposite problem. I’m usually the wall who kind of doesn’t open up so much. Mm-hmm. . And my husband’s the one who does the digging. So, uh, he, he asked the question and I thought, gosh, he’s known me for so long.

I, I, I’m gonna have to fess up on this secret dream . Mm-hmm. . So, um, I said, well, you know, I, I’d like to write a book one day. And he was just like, flummox. He said, what I, where did this come from? So, you know, I said, it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do, but I [00:08:00] thought maybe once we are retired and have time, Homeschooling my three kids.

Mm-hmm. and busy volunteering, doing other stuff. Um, I think probably homeschooling my kids actually rekindled it a little bit, just literally reading to them, you know? Yes. You know? Mm-hmm. .

Rachel Fahrenbach: Yes, I know.

Laura Thomas: Those books. Yeah. And just, just kind of taking me back to my own childhood and thinking, I wonder if I could ever write a book of my own.

Rachel Fahrenbach: So can, so can I just interrupt you and ask this quick question? Why did you, cuz you had made the statement that you thought that it was like an unachievable thing mm-hmm. like that you weren’t able to do it. What, what did, what was the reasoning behind that thought? Like, why did you think you couldn’t be a writer?

Laura Thomas: Yeah, that’s a really good question because it’s not like I had a teacher or a parent who turned around and said, you suck at writing. Right? Like, that didn’t happen . But I, I am, um, well, I’d said I’m a wall, you know, I didn’t share this information with anybody. Um, that’s why now, [00:09:00] as an author going into schools, because like with my, some of my younger audience books has been such an important thing for me because I’m like, Hey guys, I wrote a book.

You can do it too. Mm. This is so doable. Mm-hmm. because I, I never met an actual author. Like I said, Beatrix Potter was my hero. I mean, I thought it was just so pie in the sky. Oh. Um, and so it just,

Rachel Fahrenbach: so it was more like a, a self, like your, Like it was a limitation you put on yourself almost.

Laura Thomas: Absolutely. Okay. I can’t blame anybody else. It’s not like anybody turned around and said, you, you’ll never make it. Mm-hmm. , uh, I just never had the courage, um, or, or to do it until my husband turned around that night over my caramel macchiato and said, , if you wanna do this badly enough, you’ll make time to do it. Oh, wow.

And I will support you. And I was like, oh, oh no. And

Rachel Fahrenbach: like, you can’t, you can’t avoid it at that point, right?

Laura Thomas: Like, oh no. Oh no. Uh, the butterflies started [00:10:00] in the stomach and I’m like, okay, I think I can do this. And literally the next day I, cause I wanted to be a children’s author still. Okay. Um, I applied to the Institute of Children’s Literature, who is, I still thoroughly recommend, and I got accepted into one of their courses.

I went into banking age 16, I knew nothing about writing or where to begin

Rachel Fahrenbach: because the, the school system’s a little bit different in England. Right? Like, you kind of get into a trade at 16.

Laura Thomas: It was back in, back in the old days when I, when I was in school. Yes. Yes. So, um, so literally my, I literally was a 16 year old playing grownup as a banker.

Like, yeah. Uh, so, so I knew nothing about where to begin. I knew what I, I knew I loved to read and I knew what I wanted to, to read and, but I didn’t know the nuts and bolts of how do I start writing Mm. Especially for children. Cause I knew that would be a whole thing. Right. So that’s, that’s literally where it began.

And so I would’ve been in my mid thirties at this point. Okay. So [00:11:00] 20, 25 years, literally, I kept it a secret.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Wow. That’s amazing. But I love how God, just, first of all, that he brought your husband into your life. Second of all that he brought in a partner into your life that knew how to dig deep and get that answer right.

Yeah. And then third of all that, he’s like, Laura, I created you to do this thing. You’re not gonna get away from it. You know? I know. Yeah. And he, yeah. Yeah. That’s so neat.

Laura Thomas: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I do look back on all those years cuz people do ask, you know, do you wish you’d gone straight into university and done creative writing or mm-hmm. or all the rest of it. But I’m like, you know what, I have no regrets because I have a, I have so much life experience Yeah. Before I picked up my pen. Yeah. Um, and I, I really think that not one of those things that I’ve done has been, has been wasted. I’ve been able to use it in my writing in very weird and wonderful ways.

Um, and uh, yeah. So yeah, I just think it [00:12:00] was God’s timing. Yeah. And, uh, I’ve just been sort of, uh, following his lead from that point really.

Rachel Fahrenbach: that is so neat. And such a cool, just a cool story. Thank you for sharing that with us. So once you revealed that you had the secret desire and you started to learn the craft of it, um, kind of how long did it take you before you felt ready to pitch something?

Did you pitch a children’s book first? Did you kind of, what, what happened after you made that decision?

Laura Thomas: Yeah, uh, so. , I learned how to, my first thing I learned how to do was to write for, um, sort of picture book audiences. Uh, so that was kind of the, the, the type of writing that I learned, first of all. So, um, my first things published were actually for children’s magazines, short stories in children’s magazines.

And honestly, if there are any children’s aspiring authors, uh, listening, I would still recommend going that route, first of all, because that’s interesting. A, it gives you [00:13:00] something to put on your, on your resume when you’re sending it out, you know? Yes. It’s like I’ve been published in Yes. And you can, and also it’s, um, it’s just a, a, it’s just, it’s just very encouraging to know that people out there, it’s hard to get a book published.

Yes. Magazines are almost like a stepping stone, I feel. Yes. Um, and if people are willing to even pay you to have something in a magazine, it’s just, it’s a, it’s very exciting, encouraging way to begin.

Rachel Fahrenbach: That’s a good piece of advice right there, because it is a hard, it is hard to get published, even harder to get published as a children’s author.

Yeah. Mm-hmm. . And it is nice to have that little bit of, um, um, just a sense of accomplishment. , you know, that small, you know, they talk about that first small step. Like taking a first small step is a lot easier than trying to get to that first big step, you know? And that you absolutely have more. You, you’ll continue the progression, you’ll continue progressing towards that.

If you start with the small step, it’s just having that one [00:14:00] little win just makes it a whole lot easier to go on to the next thing.

Laura Thomas: Yeah, totally. Totally. Um, so that’s kind of how I, how I began. And then, uh, as one of, I took another course with them and I chose a short story that I had already written for teens and made that into a novel.

Okay. That was kind of part of the course. So by the end, this is all, you have to remember, this is me writing in the little tiny weeny cracks of time that I had while homeschooling and doing all the things. Mm-hmm. So this was very much half an hour here, half an hour there. Nothing here. Like,

Rachel Fahrenbach: but you know what I love about this is that your husband said, If this is important to you, you will make time.

And you made the time. And I think, oh, I know, I think it’s really easy for us, especially those of us who are moms, to be like, well, my kids are young. This is a dream I have, but this isn’t the right season. And there are some times where it’s not the right season. Yeah. But most of the time I think we’re, we’re the ones making the excuse.

It’s not really the [00:15:00] season, you know, it might be fear. Yeah. It might just be, you know, we don’t think it’s a dream worth pursuing. And so we make the, the excuses and we say, oh, it’s not the right timing. My kids are a little, or my kids are still at home. Um, and you’re saying, and like your husband said, no, if this is something that you value, this is something, this is a dream you wanna chase, we’re gonna make the time.

And you made the time.

Laura Thomas: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s amazing just how much you can achieve even, you know, it might take years. Yeah, of course. Mm-hmm. , but, um, you know, you don’t have to be a full-time writer to get the work done. Mm-hmm. Um, so, so yeah, by, by it took me, Hmm. I haven’t got the dates in front of me a few years.

Let’s say several years, maybe three. Three, oh no, no. Yeah. A couple of years for each course I would say. So probably about two years for one course and then two years for another. Just, you know, gradually doing it bit by bit, learning a lot. And then by the end of [00:16:00] the second one, I had a manuscript ready to roll, and they taught me how to do a cover letter and then just kind of released me and said submit . So I’m like, excellent.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Yes. That was my experience with college. It was like, here’s how to write a novel. Okay, see you later. And you’re like, wait, wait, what am I supposed to do? How do I get it published?

Laura Thomas: I know. All I knew was to Google Christian Publishing houses. Mm-hmm.

Rachel Fahrenbach: So that’s, oh yeah, that would be another suggestion.

They’re like, oh, get that, like that, that guide the marketplace guide and then just look people up. And I’m like, oh. Oh, okay.

Laura Thomas: Although don’t despise that because the, oh no. Market guides, that’s, that got me into a lot of magazines actually. Yeah, there’s a magazine one, so ,

Rachel Fahrenbach: but that’s the first step. It’s like the first step, right?

It’s like, look it up, find somebody to pitch to, but then to know like how to do the whole proposal, how to picture, pitch yourself, how to position yourself, how to like anticipate their needs so that you can meet it. You know? Like that’s [00:17:00] a whole thing. It’s a

Laura Thomas: whole thing. ,

Rachel Fahrenbach: sorry, go ahead. Continue.

Laura Thomas: That’s okay.

I’m just kind of telling you like the whole thing, whole story here. So, um, so yeah, in the meantime I was still doing, you know, like these little stories in, uh, magazines, still thinking I want to be a picture book author. Mm-hmm. , please. But I do have now this manuscript for, um, team girls. Um, it got rejected and rejected.

I’m rejected. Um, It does. Um, and then suddenly it got accepted. Okay. On a November evening in 2011, we just came back from vacation in Seattle. I remember it very clearly, just checking my email. And there was an acceptance from a publisher saying we would love to publish this novel. And I just screamed. So 2012 was the first

Rachel Fahrenbach: book, 20. So did you have a, did you have a literary agent or were you queering people?

Laura Thomas: I didn’t know what a literary agent was. Okay. Okay. I honestly, I [00:18:00] really, I kid you not, I knew nothing. Mm-hmm. , all I knew was what the stuff that I, the nuts and bolts craft of writing for children and teens, I guess , right.

Um, a cover letter. Mm-hmm. , that is all I knew, so Right. Okay. So I was, I was very green, very green going in.

Rachel Fahrenbach: So did you pitch to like the you know, all the Christian publishers we know of, like, you know, did you pitch to them first?

Laura Thomas: You know what? I think the ones that accepted unagented did. Cause I’m obviously, they’re the big, the big. Big money daddy ones that only do the, the agent. Right.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Because at that point in 2011, most of them had gone to, you need an agent by that point. Yeah. Yeah, that’s true.

Laura Thomas: Yeah. So, so it was just going through, I literally had a list.

So it was just going through the smaller, uh, Christian publishers, uh, who were willing to take a little peek . Okay. Okay. And that’s kind of how it happened.

Rachel Fahrenbach: And, and that’s how it kind of has [00:19:00] to happen. Like you just have to be dedicated to keep asking over and over again and not worrying too much about the, I mean, you kind of said it, you’re like, it got rejected and rejected like it does, you know, like that happens in this industry.

Yeah. Still happens. Yes. , you still have to just keep, you have to kind of get over the sting of it and keep going at it, right? Mm-hmm. , absolutely. So it got accepted on this beautiful November day , and then it was released a year later.

Laura Thomas: Uh, not even, it was April. So this, uh, this publisher is, uh, Dancing with Bear Publishing.

At the time it was like, it was only maybe a couple of years old, I think. Okay. It was very, it was a little baby one. Okay. Um, but I, I call her my fairy godmother because she just kind of like waved magic wand and everything. For me. I was just, it made all the difference in the world. Yes. So she was the one who sort of said, you need to have a website.

So I’m [00:20:00] like, oh, are you? Like, I honestly, I knew nothing really, and, and, and maybe a blog and I was like, blog? Oh my God. So I, yeah, it was, it was a very steep learning curve. Mm. And that was pretty much as far as it went, um, sort of teaching me the ropes. Other than that, it was, uh, here you go, girl. Get out there

Rachel Fahrenbach: Now were they really, like, did they do marketing for you or was that something you kind of had to do on your own and you had to learn how to.

Laura Thomas: Um, I don’t think there was very much at all. Um, in the way of marketing. We’re going back 10 years now. .

Rachel Fahrenbach: I mean, it was a different world. It was a different world.

Yes. 2011, it wasn’t quite the same. Yeah online marketing as we know it today. No, it’s mostly like wasn’t book stores and things like that.

Laura Thomas: It was, and being a smaller book, uh, publisher and also I’m in Canada mm-hmm. There in the States. Mm-hmm. . Yeah, that’s true. So, um, I had to, it was, it was, it was kind [00:21:00] of cool actually.

Looking back, I sort. Sort of miss the old days a little bit in that, um, I had to literally pay for my shipping to get all the physical copies up here. Um, and then I would go out and go to schools and, um, I was in a couple of different programs where I would go to a school and they would buy a copy for everyone in the class and do book signings at bookstores and very hands on tactile kindas

Rachel Fahrenbach: Grassroots kinda. Yes, yes. Very much on boots on the ground marketing. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Laura Thomas: E e books were not so much.

Rachel Fahrenbach: They were, they were just starting. Yeah. Because I remember I graduated in 2006 is when I graduated. Okay. And I interned with a publisher right after that. And it was just when Sony had released the e-reader and there was conversations in amongst the editors about this e-book thing and if it was gonna like, What it was gonna do to the publishing.

Like if this was like the real like water cooler talk [00:22:00] Yeah. Was about the e-reader . That’s so cool. It was just starting to pick up really by that point. Yeah. So you, you kind of were, yeah. You got in right at the beginning of what became the craziness that is today with Yeah online marketing and, um, the decline of the bookstore and things like that.

Mm-hmm. . So had the, had the, so you got in with that first one. Yeah. And then you published a few more with them, correct?

Laura Thomas: I did. Yeah. So honestly, um, once I published that book and held it in my hand and, and started being able to sell it, I was like, well, there we are then, yeah, I’m done.

Rachel Fahrenbach: you’ve accomplished your dream.

Laura Thomas: Yes. Yeah. It was my dream to publish a book. It wasn’t a picture book, but it was a book. So I was like, great. Okay. Um, I’ll carry on with life then. And then she actually approached me and said, , do you have a sequel in you? Okay. And I was like, oh, do [00:23:00] I? Yes I do. And it was, it was about, um, these sort of, these three girls.

And so I’m like, I absolutely do. There was one girl that wasn’t very nice, and there’s a reason why she wasn’t very nice and I wanna tell her story. Oh, wow. So thus, uh, so we had tears to dancing. That was the first one. So Tears of a Princess came about the following year. Okay. And then she was like, bring it on.

So Tears, fears, and Fame was the third book in the series.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Oh, I love those titles. Those are awesome titles.

Thank

Laura Thomas: you . It was so much fun writing them. Uh, I, I mean, when I think back to when I first wrote the short story, When I was doing my course, I had a teenage daughter, and there was very little in the way of Christian fiction out there.

Um, which really, that was kind of the catalyst of why I even went that route. Mm-hmm. . Um, but it was, it was a really fun genre to write. I had to get my, my teen head back on.

So that was the, the series and [00:24:00] also with that publisher, um, uh, I, there was the, the short, um, middle grade novel. She knew that I’d written a story again in that course. That great, fantastic course that I did.

It was, again, another short story which I made into a longer, um mm-hmm. Story for middle grade. So she wanted to, uh, do that. And then my, my daughter actually got married while I was with that publisher mm-hmm. . And so I actually approached her and just said, listen, I’m writing a letter to my daughter to, for her, just to kind of read on her wedding day, and it’s really getting long.

Do you think there’s any point in having like, maybe like a little book? Um, and so she was like, Hmm, lemme think I can’t see anything out there from the perspective of a mother of a bride, so let’s do it. So it’s just short. It’s just like 10 short chapters.

Rachel Fahrenbach: It’s like you got, you got like the, you won the lottery with that publisher, she seemed to be like she was in your court. Huh? She was there. Right? I know.

Laura Thomas: Yeah. I will always be, I will always be [00:25:00] grateful

Rachel Fahrenbach: when you say she was your fairy godmother. She really was. Honestly.

Laura Thomas: Honestly. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. For sure. Uh, yeah. So that was, that was that publisher. Um, and I’m obviously still with them, with those books as well.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Obviously it was a smaller PE shirt on, obviously they were kind of more brand new. Did they offer you in advance or did they, was it the um, just royalty based?

Laura Thomas: Just royalty based, yeah. Okay. Yeah. Okay. And. Yeah. That, and as I said, I was so, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as an advance Right. When I went in.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Which advances are just getting those royalties up front. Right.

Laura Thomas: Like that’s really all basically is. Yeah. And I, yeah. So it wasn’t, it wasn’t a deal breaker at all for me.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Right. So, um, so you still have a relationship with them and you’re still, are you still earning royalties off of those books that you published with them? Yes. Wow. Yeah. That’s impressive. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, that’s really cool. Now, you, obviously, you went with another publisher for the books that you have now mm-hmm.

Cause your next set, your, the rest of your books are with a, the same [00:26:00] publisher, right? That’s right. Yeah. Okay. So you switched to this next publisher. What was the kind of the business decision behind that switch? Because obviously you had a good relationship with the relat, with the publisher you were at, you still do.

So what was the business decision behind making that move? Yeah,

Laura Thomas: that’s a really good question. Um, I believe I was at a writing conference in Seattle, actually. Um, and something just really stood out to me that, um, one of the, the keynote speakers said about, um, putting all your eggs in one basket, , as it were. Um, and I think, uh, there’s, I mean, small publishers and, and large publishers, there’s pros and cons with both, of course. Mm-hmm. , um, with smaller publishers, there’s, I guess there’s that fear of what if suddenly something happens and they just close down, which I know large ones can too, but Right. For a small one, it’s always a bit more of a, it’s a bigger risk possibility, [00:27:00] right?

Yeah, it is a bigger risk. Um, and as I had five books at this point with, with this publisher, um, I just thought it would be smart to just start looking around and see if I couldn’t get another publisher as well. Um, especially because I was now looking at a fresh genre. So true. Yeah. It was, it was like, Hmm, wouldn’t do me any harm.

And my husband’s a businessman, so he’s always kind of there going, you should try again with a bigger publisher and general, all the rest of it. So, um, Yeah. So that, that is basically why there was, there’s absolutely no hard feelings, no bad blood, no nothing. It just felt, especially with a new genre, that it would be, um, a good idea to maybe try and see if there was another publisher out there that would be interested.

And so , so the Glass Bottom boat is the first of my Christian romantic suspense novels,

Rachel Fahrenbach: which is such a deviation from what you were writing.

Laura Thomas: Oh, well, yes, [00:28:00] yes, yes and yes and no. Ok. I have to say my last, uh, just to explain my last, um, Christian teen fiction book, which was Tears, fears, and Fame, I found myself accidentally kind of falling into a bit of a suspenseful storyline with that one.

Yeah. Uh, compared to the other two. And I loved it. I was like, Ooh, this is really fun.

Rachel Fahrenbach: You’re like, I like the intriguing.

Laura Thomas: I do like the intrigue and I naturally always gravitated towards, um, you know, Terry Blackstock and D Henderson mm-hmm. and all these great, uh, romantic suspense authors just for my reading pleasure.

Right. So that got me thinking. I wonder if I could write for grownups, you know, like Yeah. Like tr see if, if, if this might be even doable. Yes. Um, so how it actually all started was, um, a vacation in Jamaica where I got my idea for the glass bottom boat. It’s kind of a whole [00:29:00] long story in itself. and I ca I came home and started writing the manuscript and then, um, the Love Inspired Harlequin Line. Mm-hmm. , they were doing like a pitch, a pitch thing, which I thought, Ooh, that sounds fun. Mm-hmm. . So I pitched my half written manuscript and they really liked it and said, finish the manuscript and sent it to us by the summer. So I was like, Ooh, oh, here we go. I got a deadline now. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I got that finished, sent it in, and they were like, eh, actually no.

We’ll, we’ll pass. So I was like, oh. But then I was like, oh, I’ve got a manuscript. Yeah, here we

go.

Laura Thomas: At that point, so I stopped as well. Right. Yeah, absolutely. So I started sending it out, um, and it was being rejected. Um, and I was doing a whole bunch of other things at the same time. So it was, it was just one of the, one of the things I had going on in life.

And

Rachel Fahrenbach: did you have like a regular, like, okay, this week send out a query letter this week, send out like, were you doing that kind of thing?

Laura Thomas: Oh, or, [00:30:00] yeah. I remember my first rejection that I had for a magazine article back in when I first began, and I literally teared up and was like, so how do they not love my writing?

I took it so personally by this point. Now, years later, I’m just like, oh, really? Okay, here we go. Let’s learn from this. If they give me any feedback, usually not. Right? Yeah. Right. Like it’s a, it’s a nugget, a golden nugget if they give you feedback. Yeah. And I’m the first one to jump on it and try and do something about it.

True. Um, but more often than not, it’s either no reply or a not at this time. Right. So, so you just keep going. It’s okay. Um, and I got myself an agent. Okay. At this point. You

Rachel Fahrenbach: did? At this point, yeah. Okay. So you pitched, they said no, and then you went and got an agent

Laura Thomas: yeah, I went to, um, a conference and got an agent and he was like, oh, well I’ll, I’ll take this and let’s, let’s, let’s find a [00:31:00] home for it.

So I was, yay. Finally, I’ve heard about these literary agents, , I’ve got, I’ve gone. So, um, that, that was a very long, drawn out process. It took almost a year to get signed up with him officially. Um, and then it was, um, another year of quite sporadic communication. Um, and then in the end it was a phone call of, yeah, I’ve had it for a year and a half and, sorry, it’s just, I’m gonna have to pass.

So I was gutted. Yeah. Cause he’d also suggested that I write another novel in the series, so I just finished that and was just sent it to him, so, oh man. I gave, okay, Rachel, so this is mi, this is Laura the wall. So I get off that phone call. I cried. I gave myself 10 minutes. Cause I’m not a crier. I gave myself 10 minutes.

Then I was like, all right, next, what do I do with this manuscript? [00:32:00] I’ve now got two. So two weeks later I pitched on, um, one of the Twitter pitches. Oh yeah, I heard about that. And I landed, I landed a three book deal with Anaiah Press. Within two Without, without the literary agent. Without an agent. Yes. Yes.

Rachel Fahrenbach: So do you have one right now?

Laura Thomas: OK . So now I do for my next series,

Rachel Fahrenbach: yes. . Okay. Okay. But you got the three book deal. Is is the trilogy I’m assuming. Right. Uh, this’s. Yes

Laura Thomas: it is. They’re all in the same series. It’s a Flight to Freedom series. They are standalone, so they can be read, just pluck one out and it makes perfect sense.

Right. But they are a series. Okay. Um, and so yeah, so there we go. That was kind of like bit of a whiplash, but uh

Rachel Fahrenbach: Right. How long did it take for those to come out? Were they pretty quick or did it take a bit in between each?

Laura Thomas: No, Rachel, let me tell you, after it taking six years from when I first wrote Glass Bottom Boat to it actually being published, those three [00:33:00] books all came out within the space of 12 months.

My God. So, yeah. Which for the record, I don’t recommend . Yeah, no, that’s a lot for an author of Sanity. Yes. I don’t recommend, I, at one point, I mean, they were great because at one point, um, the first book had launched. I was in the last round of edits for the second one, writing the third one, and I, I, I did write to them and just, I’m, cuz I’m very deadline driven.

I will get every deadline in. Mm-hmm. , like, I’m very, very, do very much like that. But I had to write to them and. I think the message, which was something like, help and just like least have just that extra couple of months just, just to get the, the, the other way. And they were great. They did. That’s good.

But they were all still Yeah, within 12 months. It was crazy.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Wow. So then at that point, did you get your, did you try to get a litter agent? Is that kind of, I guess I’m just kinda like, wait, so how, why did you go with a literary agent then, if you like, up until this [00:34:00] point, all your book deals you had gotten on your own

Laura Thomas: I know I’m such a weird story.

Rachel Fahrenbach: you, you, you kinda a little backwards from the tip of, but did, did you find like, so what was the driving Yeah. Decision bef behind getting a literary agent.

Laura Thomas: Okay. So here. Oh yeah. So, uh, Anaiah Press Press is awesome. They are e-book first, which is mm-hmm. , which is fine. So they, they, they focus more on the ebook.

They’re all, they are paper book as well, paperback as well. Um, but their focus is more e-book first. Um, and so I’m, you know, everything’s great with them. And like this novella that just came out two weeks ago, that’s with them too. All good, all great. Uh, however, I wanted, I went to England, uh, to stay with family a couple of years ago and had this idea for a new series.

It’s based in the English countryside, uh, okay. Christian Romantic suspense. It’s the same genre. Um, and [00:35:00] again, it’s my, I do listen to my husband because as you know, he’s very wise. Yeah. And so, again, he’s like, Laura, you really should try and get with a bigger publisher for this one. Yes. Like, come on, you’ve got some books under your belt now.

Mm-hmm. . Um, so I, I was like, okay, I’m not in a, it’s not like I’m. In a desperate hurry. I’ve learned to be pa Well, no, I haven’t learned to be patient. That sounds such a lie. I’m so impatient. . You just

Rachel Fahrenbach: got with us. You were like, you’re like, okay, I’m gonna say no, I’m not. I’m just gonna be . I, let’s be real. I am not patient.

I love it. I love it so much because I think we can kind of be like, okay, we’re, we’re gonna be very like, you know, we know we gotta be patient. We know we gotta be, you know, the process. Slow growth is good growth. You know, we’re like all about that, right? Like we hear all these buzzwords, but in our souls , we have these stories that we want to tell and it takes so long sometimes to get them into the hands of the reader and it’s kinda [00:36:00] annoying, frustrating process, right?

Yes. Six years it took from the time you crafted Uhhuh, the glass bottom to the point in time where it was in somebody’s hands. That’s a long time. It’s, and I think it’s, I think it is okay for us writers to say like that Hurts and it’s frustrating. Yeah. And it can be very annoying as a, as an artist to have this piece of art that nobody is getting to experience.

Yeah. Thank you, . You’re welcome. I appreciate you being honest about it, so thank you.

Laura Thomas: Well, yeah, I have to be honest, I have to be honest. I, I, I suppose what I should have said was, I have learned that I, I need to have patience. Mm-hmm. . Yes. Is

Rachel Fahrenbach: that better? Yes. It makes sense though. It makes sense. Yes. So you’ve gotten, you’ve, you’ve learned that that patience is a part of it.

Yes. A part of the process and big part. But you’ve had this trip to the UK and it kind of [00:37:00] rekindled this, um, yeah. Desire for maybe a bit bigger of a publisher. And so Yeah. At that point you decided you’re going to get an literary agent. Yeah. So that they can pitch, because why not? Yeah. And then they can pitch to bigger publishers on your behalf.

Yeah. Basically. Yeah. And now you, you have books under your belt. You have a f a following, I’m assuming you have an email list that is growing. You’ve been working on that, like this is marketing stuff that you’ve been doing. You’ve been in this for a while now. So how, are you still finding it’s a challenge to get in front of those bigger publishers?

Or are they more likely to like, give you a little bit more time of day because you have all of that behind you?

Laura Thomas: I don’t know. I don’t know. Okay. I don’t know what, I don’t know how much difference it makes. I think at the end of the day, it’s the story. Mm. I really do. You know? Um, [00:38:00] I ha like my, my current agent who’s amazing, um, a lot of it is timing, you know, which is, which is actually a, as an author, it’s the hardest thing in the world because the number of times I’ve been told.

Really like the story just too close to something we’ve just published. Yeah, yeah. You know, it’s, it’s just like, ugh. Cuz there’s, that’s like, that’s outta your hands.

Rachel Fahrenbach: It really is. It’s, and there’s, and there’s getting to be less and less spots available too.

Laura Thomas: Well, that’s another thing. Yeah. Yeah. There’s one of the big publishers, um, that was, that was their, their comeback with this book as well.

It was nice. Like, I really like this, but I’ve not got a spot until next summer. Yeah. So if you’re still looking, so maybe we will still be looking, you know? Yeah. Um, and I’m okay with that. Um, in the meantime, like you just, you know, the agent just goes through the list of, of everybody who’s a good fit and who they have relationships with.

And, um, I, there is [00:39:00] a measure of comfort having an agent, cuz for me it’s like, I almost do an exhale and just say, okay, over to you, right.

Rachel Fahrenbach: You, you go do the hard work. Right? Like you just, yeah. Yeah. And I assume that there’s a little level of like, um, shielding you from the rejections. Like you know that they aren’t taking you on, but to not have to open up the email yourself. To have somebody else who maybe gets the email first.

Laura Thomas: Yeah. And she’ll, she’ll just send me like three a time going. Yeah. Yeah. So unfortunately ,

Rachel Fahrenbach: I don’t want it. Ok. Yeah. Yeah. , there’s, you know, and it’s, it’s always a, a toss up, like, Whether or not, you know, the whole question about literary agents, like the reality is if you wanna be in the traditional publishing space, you have to kind of have a literary agent to get in front of those bigger publishers.

You have to. They’re the gatekeepers. They really are. Yeah. And um, you can go with smaller [00:40:00] publishers and they don’t have those same kind of requirements. But I was looking at, just the other day, I was looking at a blog post that somebody said like, oh, here’s, I think it was like a list of 10. Here’s 10 Christian publishers.

You don’t need a literary agent to submit to. And I was like, Hmm, I wonder how many of these still don’t require a literary agent. And out of those 10, only one would still let you submit without a literary agent. And I was like, I wonder how old this long? And it was like only a couple year old bog post.

So like the reality is that it is getting harder and harder to submit to any kind of publisher without a literary agent. So, um, if you want to go that route, you have to kind of play that game. And I hate to say it like that, but it is, it’s kind of like you have to kind of go down that process. You have to take on a literary agent, but they do bring a level of expertise and a level of knowledge and Oh, sure.

They kind of take that hit for you with the ongoing, like repetitive, putting yourself out there and getting the rejection. Yeah. They kind of take that on for [00:41:00] you, so you’re not having to feel that. So if that’s like your personality mm-hmm. , or if that’s what you want, then that’s you, that’s a good thing for you to have is to have that literary agent.

And so, um, you just kinda have to know what your goals are with publishing. You have to understand what your business decisions are. Like, you know, it’s a business decision. You and your husband are like, okay, we’re gonna try for a bigger publisher. We have this underneath our belts. Like, let’s go for the bigger publisher.

We need a literary agent to help us do that. And so it’s a calculated decision. It’s not a. , oh, I need this because I need it to validate, be validated as a writer. It’s like, no, I need this because I wanna accomplish something. And so I think people need to understand that, that that’s how they’re, they, they need to really approach this relationship with a literary agent. It’s the partnership that helps you advance your writing goals.

Laura Thomas: Yeah. Dreams. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. The the good guys. We, we, we want them. We want them and all, even, um, like the, the, the nuts and bolts of [00:42:00] doing the, a really good proposal. They know what a publisher is looking for. They really do. Right. You know, and, and they can tweak, they can tweak that with you. And, um, they can be really helpful with that side of it too.

Rachel Fahrenbach: And I think it’s good to know too, that if you’re a writer who maybe you don’t want to share the profits with somebody, then don’t go the traditional publishing route because you’re gonna need a literary agent. Oh, yeah. You know what I mean?

Yeah. So I think it’s good to know that and understand that so that you can make a good calculated decision for yourself. So, So as far as, so you have this literary agent, obviously they’re, you guys are pitching, so that’s awesome. Yeah. I can’t wait to hear what comes out of that and who I know who picks up your next , your next novel.

I am excited to hear that. But you currently have, um, these novels that are out with Anaiah Press and you, I’m just kind of curious like what level, like your first publisher didn’t really afford too much publishing help or marketing help, but it, like we talked about, it was kind of a different [00:43:00] time, but now that you’re in the season where we rely heavily on online marketing, we rely heavily on social media and email list and all the things, does your publisher help you with any of that?

Do you get support in that way from. Um, or at least direction .

Laura Thomas: Yeah, yeah, yeah. A little, a little. Mm-hmm. . Um, again, that’s, that’s something which I, I’m very much, if you tell me to do something, I will do it. Mm-hmm. , like, I’m, I am just, I’m a rule follower very much and I’m just like, if you give me 10 things to do to market my book, I’m gonna do every single one of them. Right. Right. But I just need someone to tell me,

Rachel Fahrenbach: I feel like they were very similar in that way. I, I’m like, gimme the checklist and I’ll make it happen.

Laura Thomas: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I’m not afraid of the hard work and I’m not afraid to, to get out there. Um, so again, yeah. , I would like to have more of, I, I would love like a [00:44:00] marketing person in a publishing house who would be just like, okay, Laura, this is what we’re gonna do.

This is the plan. Babababababa. Mm-hmm. and I would be all over it. Right. Uh, that to me sounds like dreamy , right? Yes. Rather than, uh, sort of be, I’m pretty much left to my own devices, to be honest. Mm-hmm. , um, they’re, they, they certainly, um, they’ll do things like, they’ll put, um, the ebook on as a special so many times a year or whatever, which is great.

Yeah. Because then we can just promote and that kind of a thing. Um, but I think, uh, so much of it is down to the author now, and I was even looking at an email from them, uh, that I had earlier this year, and they were like to every, to all the authors saying, you guys like the, your readers wanna follow you.

Not, not us, you know, not the pub. They’re not That’s true. Like, readers don’t wanna follow. Yeah, the publisher show.

Rachel Fahrenbach: That’s very interesting cuz I, yeah. You know, I remember going into a Christian bookstore and being like, oh, [00:45:00] okay, if I want this particular kind of genre, I’m gonna go look for the, this publisher.

Right. Or if I’m at a library, I’m scanning the, the spines looking for the publisher’s name. Right. Cause I know what kind of thing to expect from them, but that’s not how it really is anymore. The people wanna know the author, they wanna get to know them, they wanna know everything about them. They wanna,

Laura Thomas: you can be on that email list. Yes, you can. You can know what they’re reading. You can know what they did last month where they went on vacation. Yeah. Like you can know everything ,

Rachel Fahrenbach: which is such a switch. And I think sometimes it’s really hard for writers who, um, especially writers who are more introverted. I think you and I are more extroverted individuals, even though you said you kind of have a wall. And so,

Laura Thomas: well, I’m, I’m, I’m actually a weird, bubbly introvert. Okay. So I am like, I’m loving this. Yeah. And I can do this for hours. Um, But like I know we both went to a conference, writing conference recently and I loved every minute of it. But let me tell you, I got home and I [00:46:00] needed like a week on my own seeing nobody to fill myself back up again.

Rachel Fahrenbach: just so you know, I did too and I would consider myself more of an extrovert than introvert, but there was good to know. Okay. I think what was unique about that conference is that we knew a lot of people there and like that doesn’t always happen at a lot conference. That’s a lot of schmoozing. A lot, a lot of relationship.

Like talking to people, seeing each other. Uh, yeah, it was lovely. Yeah. Which is great, but it is hard and that is something to know about. Yeah. That’s for anybody listening who is more introverted, you know, that is something that conferences like you kind of conferences are a really great to make connections and to get in front of agents and editors, but they are exhausting.

Mm-hmm. . And so just know that if you’re going to a writing conference soon and you are an introvert to kind of plan for a couple days afterwards to kind of have some downtime , because it, it is a lot. Yes. You are on and it is, you, you, you’re on because you’re presenting yourself as like, I’m an author, I want to make these connections.

I’m [00:47:00] networking. And so there is a level of like, you just have to anticipate that you’re gonna kind of have a crash afterwards. Yeah. Yeah. So absolutely. A little bit of word advice there. So, now, so we have been talking about the marketing side of things. We’ve talked about, like what kind of, um, what kind of support your publisher has or has not given to you.

And it sounds like you kind of had to. Take on a lot of ownership of that. And I was starting to say that, you know, as a writer, it’s, it’s hard to sometimes be in this like social media, online marketing space because especially if you’re more introverted, you know, we have these worlds that we’re crafting and we are really comfortable living inside those worlds, right?

And we’re really comfortable inviting people into those worlds. But to, to have to share our personal lives or to share ourselves. It’s sometimes hard to say like, okay, my work doesn’t define me. I’m still, [00:48:00] I still have value as a person. My work doesn’t define me, but you want to follow me as a person. And so there’s something validating that, but not, and it’s like this weird tension that we have to kind of be in this space where we’re presenting ourselves to the public and promoting ourselves, but also promoting our work, and it’s hard to navigate that. How has it been for you to navigate all of that? Have you learned some tricks along the way? What kind of advice can you offer us? .

Laura Thomas: Ooh, golly. That’s, that’s a big question. Um, yeah, it is, it is hard. It is hard to balance it all. And how much do you share and how much do you keep private? Um, I think it’s a really individual thing. Mm-hmm. , uh, some people are happy just to lay it all out there and, and, and just be totally open and vulnerable and telling them everything from the minute you get up to the minute you go to bed and, mm-hmm.

what your [00:49:00] Secrets are and everything . Um, there’s others who are just kind of, you know what? You don’t need to know this. So I think having boundaries ha setting your own personal boundaries is a really good idea. Um, I know for me with my grown children, they’re all really private and so I don’t sort of talk about them.

However, I have a French bulldog and an English bulldog who love attention of any des Love it. Any description. And people who love to see pictures of them. People are always, I even, um, like my English bulldog was in the last novella and a couple of people have said that was like a, such a highlight as they read that.

Cause they knew that I had an English bulldog called Lil, and I put literally she same name English is in the book.

Rachel Fahrenbach: And, and so like a little Easter egg, it’s like that.

Laura Thomas: Yeah. Right. Yeah. So, um, so I think knowing your own boundaries, I mean, my faith is really important to me. So I, I don’t have a problem sharing about my faith, um, with my nonfiction, with my fiction, with whatever.

Mm-hmm. , [00:50:00] um, other people, maybe they’ve got other sort of boundaries in their, their other, if they’ve got another job or you’ve just gotta be sensitive and, and, and kind to yourself. Mm-hmm. and, and maybe even talking to your family and seeing what, um, you know, what’s appropriate, what’s not, what’s gonna be helpful because, you know, like you could know it’s all stuff about my husband and what he has for breakfast, but will it be helpful in any way?

Probably not.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Yeah. Will it help your experience, but knowing that Lily is your bulldog and that, so that they can notice her when she’s in the book, that is helpful. Yeah. Right. And I think too, like the, you know, something I, I have told people in the past is like, no. , if you know what your boundaries are as far as like what you’re gonna share on social media, it allows you to incorporate it into future projects you do.

Right? It helps you pro mm-hmm. position things. Mm-hmm. and that’s exactly what you did. You know, you have the set of what you’re willing to [00:51:00] share or willing to, to engage with your audience about, and then that actually made its way into your story and you knew that would be received well and would be something that makes the experience better for the reader.

So oftentimes people wanna pull apart the two things, the like craft of the novel that we’re building and then the promotion and the marketing side of things and social media. And, um, in my opinion, they can meld together and they can, they can kind of work together hand in hand. And so I don’t think we have to separate the two out. Um, but it is hard knowing how to do that well.

Laura Thomas: It is, I think at the end of the day, a lot of people, um, just like to see you as well, and yet you haven’t got to be like walking a tightrope or, or like, you know, doing anything spectacular. Mm-hmm. sometimes it’s just they like to see you, you know, going for a walk in the full leaves or Yeah.

Did they just, you know, or just what this is, this is what I’m reading right now, you know? Yeah. Um, and just people, I mean, we’re, we’re [00:52:00] bookish people. Mm-hmm. , obviously we have bookish followers. Mm-hmm. people love to know what you’re reading and like, wanna know your reviews on books. It doesn’t, it doesn’t have to be rocket science, like

Rachel Fahrenbach: So I noticed that your, so you have a YouTube channel where you do book reviews. I noticed that. I do. Yeah. And then you also, your lead magnet is, um, that if people sign up for your email list, you’ll send them a list of books. . Yeah. So I think that’s great that you’ve noticed that about your audience and that you’ve recognized like these are bookish people, they wanna know more about books and that you’re delivering that to them.

And so have you found that to be a good, um, way to get people on your email list? Is that working really well for you? Um, is there other things that you tried?

Laura Thomas: Yeah, like I, I’ve got a couple of other things as well. Um, when I, my first lead magnet when, when I first learned what a lead magnet was, um, that was

Rachel Fahrenbach: lead magnet, reader magnet, opt-in, my gosh, [00:53:00] know so many different names.

The thing people on your list. Yes, that’s the one. You know what funny story, funny story is that Yeah, like until I started understanding the importance of an email list, I would do everything, my power not to give people my email address to download. Like, you know, like I’d be like looking for something and be like, oh, here’s a, a parent, a principal.

And I’d be like, and then they would ask me for my email address and like, oh, forget. I’ll just go make it myself. And I would like not give people my email address, like ever. And then once I got into this world of publishing, I was like, oh my gosh, I feel so bad here. Let give you my email address. I’ll just opt out of your email list if I don’t find it helpful.

But here, let me give you, right? Yes. I don’t think people, it’s a thing and it’s, don’t think people such a big deal, right? Yeah. And people don’t realize how big of a deal. , they really don’t.

Laura Thomas: Oh, it’s huge. Mm-hmm. , it’s huge. It really is huge. Um, but yeah, my first one that I did is, um, [00:54:00] a 31 day devotional in Proverbs 31, because I was very much doing the devotional stuff.

Um, and that’s still, actually, that’s something you can, if you, if you, um, sign up, you can still choose to download that as well. That’s still up there. Okay. Um, and I’ve also got an empty nesters, um, specific P d F on, uh, keeping the marriage alive. So if you’re an empty nester, then that, they’re quite specific.

But generally I find that the reading one is like good for all, you know, it’s, I’ve got yes, a bunch of different genres on there. Uh, Christian, historical, like a bunch of different genres and it’s just, oh, that’s kinda handy if you, in case you want, what am I gonna read now I’ve got like, you know,

Rachel Fahrenbach: and you do, you kind of have a couple different genres and a couple different categories of books.

So that is helpful that you’re, that particularly magnet helps target. Yeah, those different readers. So with the lead magnets that are more specific to like the, um, marriage and stuff, do you have a funnel that directs them to the book? [00:55:00] Like if they,

Laura Thomas: Now that would be very smart . I, the only funnel, um, I’ve done is maybe when I’ve done a blog post pertaining to that mm-hmm. uh, like on on marriage or empty nesting or whatever, then I will use that particularly magnet.

Rachel Fahrenbach: So Laura, your homework is to go and create an email that gets triggered once they opt in with that particular lead magnet? Yes. To then send them an email that says, Hey, if you enjoyed this about keeping your emptiness alive, maybe you’ll enjoy the marriage book.

Laura Thomas: Yes, it, yeah, it, it, yeah, that’s true. It does. It will, it does take them just to my, to my newsletter. So they do sign up for my newsletter, so I do get them.

Rachel Fahrenbach: You get them, but now you need to promote them.

Laura Thomas: I do get them, yes. That’s true. I do.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Yes. Yes. And I say this, I say that like, I’m so great at this, but I have so many broken funnels on my own that I need to fix.

So . It is such a hard thing. There’s a lot track of it. Yeah, it is. [00:56:00] It is a lot.

Laura Thomas: And honestly, honestly, yeah, it just, just keeping the website up to date. Like just with all,

Rachel Fahrenbach: like, just posting I Instagram, oh, should I just do that? Just posting like, hey, oh crap, I haven’t posted in like, ugh, like four days. Maybe I should say something.

Laura Thomas: You know? You know, I know it’s a

Rachel Fahrenbach: juggling thing. Maybe is it is. It is a juggling thing. So have you found any tools or resources that were aren’t, that have been particularly helpful to you in either crafting or the juggling all the business things that you think every fiction writer should have at their disposal?

Laura Thomas: Well, Scrivener is a great tool, I would say for, well, for any writer. Mm-hmm. , but, um, specifically for fiction writers, I’ve, I came across that several years ago and was like, this looks a little scary, but I’m gonna give it a whirl. And I love it. Like, it’s, it’s so nice. I’m sure. I know. I’m not using it to, its

Rachel Fahrenbach: absolute Oh, no.

Full potential. It’s so robust. It’s so robust. Yeah. It really is. It really [00:57:00] is. And I’ll link to the show notes for those of you Yeah. Who wanna check out Scrivner. It is, it is a very, very good tool, but it is very robust. There are tutorials out there, so Google them.

Laura Thomas: And I think there’s even like a, I think there’s like a 30 day trial period to use it. Mm-hmm. as well, just to see if it’s,

Rachel Fahrenbach: and it’s not 30, at least it didn’t used to be 30 days. It used to be 30 times you open it. So when I first signed up for it. 30 separate days. Yeah. Yes. So you can, yeah, you can, you should be writing all the time. But if you’re like me who writes super sporadically, you can string it out.

Yeah, it’s probably shouldn’t be telling people how to get around the trial period, but there’s a way

Laura Thomas: Well, I feel like you probably would wanna buy it after you’ve used it for a few days Anyway. It’s,

Rachel Fahrenbach: it’s actually very inexpensive and it’s onetime fee, so it’s not a subscription. It, it’s, it’s a very affordable, it’s a great tool.

Laura Thomas: It’s worth every penny. It is. Yeah. Yeah. And for me, I’m very visual, so having like a literal picture of the, my character on the same [00:58:00] page while I’m writing about her Yeah. Is like huge. And then all your research, you can put everything all in one place is genius, I think. Mm-hmm. . Um, so s Scrivener has been really, really good.

Um, and then just for, um, it’s not a tool, but just for something that’s really helped me because, uh, many of us aren’t just one one trick ponies. , yeah. We’re not just like one genre of this is all we write all the time, um, is just making, I literally put a line through. every single day, Monday to Friday, right in the middle of the day.

And I have a block. So in the morning I’m gonna be doing maybe all my social media posts for the week or whatever it might be. And then, uh, for me, I’m creative in the afternoon, which is again, another one of my quirky things. But I’m just, once everything is all settled and I can sit down going, everything’s done, then I can get my creator creativity on.

So, and then in the afternoon I might be working on this novel. Um, okay. But just chunk chunking things up because, um, [00:59:00] I, like I say, I, I write Sunday school curriculum. I do devotions, I do as well as the novel stuff. Yeah. And I’m still, just so you know, that I haven’t landed at my full dream at the moment. I still want a picture book that published. Really? That is Full Dream.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Oh, wow. Yes.

Laura Thomas: Ok. I have, I have multiple mult, I keep taking normal courses and I have several, um, Manuscripts out there. I have had a, a, an agent, um, who stopped being an agent, but, um, she, she had my stuff for a year or so. So that’s still, I think it’s important to still have dreams.

I really do. Absolutely. Carrying my husband’s mantle with that and saying, yeah, like, just, you’ve always gotta have a dream. And, and so that’s still, that’s still mine, and I think it’s, that’s awesome. It’s fun to have something that’s still out there, that little carrot, you know? Yes. That’s dangling .

Rachel Fahrenbach: Yes. A, a goal to work towards.

I love the idea of how you’re blocking your days. Like that’s really, that’s really wise to do that. To know, [01:00:00] like at this point I’m putting on the entrepreneur hat and at this point I’m putting on the writer hat and being able to kind of designate those two days to help you mentally get into the right space for creativity. Mm-hmm. or for task management, like those are two different Yeah. Modes and being able to definitely visually kind of break up your day that way is really wise. Um, and then too, to know that you do better with creativity in the afternoons, like that’s, to know that about yourself I think is really helpful.

Like, when do you do the best work and how can we protect that time and make sure that it’s there for us when we need to write. That’s really good. So, as we wrap up, what kind of advice do you have for that first time author who is getting into this publishing industry, into this publishing world? Who has a story, they wanna share it with somebody? What advice do you have for them?

Laura Thomas: Oh my goodness. Um, well, as you, as you’ve heard from my story, n there’s, there’s no one right way of doing [01:01:00] this. Mm-hmm. . Um, I would say just keep writing and, uh, don’t be intimidated. There is, there’s, there’s so many, there’s so many different things to this other than just the writing of the book.

But don’t be intimidated. Get your story down. Mm. That I think is, is, is hugely important cuz we can get so distracted with everything else. Get your story down and, um, find even a crack of the day, uh, to, to get it. It doesn’t have to all be done in six months. If, if it takes you six years, it will be worth it in the end.

Mm-hmm. So just keep finding those little cracks of time to work on your story and keep, keep writing. And if, if it takes you in a different tangent, it’s okay. Yeah. Look at me. Yes.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Follow. Follow the story.

Laura Thomas: Honestly, honestly. And for you and for the, the listeners who, who are Christians as well, honestly, just pray, pray the dickens out of it, because I think [01:02:00] that has honestly kept me sane.

Um, just knowing that God’s timing is perfect. Mine is definitely not, even though I think it’s really good. Um, ultimately it’s God’s timing, um, that is, is perfect. Every single opportunity he gets, he, he reminds me that and it’s like, yeah, I have to just put it all before him and go, I do the, I’ll do the hard work. Mm-hmm Then it’s over to you.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Yes. I love that. We’re gonna show up, we’re gonna do the work, but we’re gonna put the outcome into his hands and into his timing. Yeah. Yes. I love it. Yeah. Well, thank you Laura, so much for joining us. I’ll make sure to link to all the stuff that you have for people, all the resources that you have to your books and all that.

Um, but where can people most likely engage with you? Is it Instagram, is it Facebook? Where can they follow you and support?

Laura Thomas: Oh yes. Well, everything is on my website, so that’s, um, Laura Thomas author.com. So I’m also a writing [01:03:00] coach, so I do my writer’s coaching. Yes, my blog, all my books and all my social links are all on the website.

Um, if you love social media, Instagram is probably my favorite if I’m gonna be honest. Yeah. And I’m at Laura C. Thomas. Uh, but yeah, come sign up for my newsletter and, and get some freebies and, and have a monthly, um, fun new, I love doing my newsletter. I used to hate it and I’ve learned to absolutely, uh, love doing it.

Um, and so yeah. Yeah, come, come join us. I’d love that.

Rachel Fahrenbach: Lovely. Well, thank you again for joining us and thank you just for sharing your journey, sharing how it. , it’s taken a windy path, but you’ve trusted God with the timing of it all. And I just think that’s a beautiful reminder to us as we get to work, that we need to trust him with the outcome and just to know that we can make smart business decisions and it’s okay to pivot and it’s okay to, um, to make different changes along the way, whether that’s to move to a new publisher, move to a new agent, [01:04:00] or to even pick up an agent, after having published without an agent , whatever the decision it needs to be.

Um, to be confident that we can make those decisions for ourselves and for our writing journey, I think is just a good reminder for each and every one of us. So thank you again for joining us. I really do appreciate it.

Laura Thomas: Oh, thanks so much for having me, Rachel .

Rachel Fahrenbach: You’re welcome. And thank you to listener for joining in with us today and meet back here next week as we continue this 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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