About the Episode
When it comes to getting her books in front of readers, today’s guest is a pro at thinking outside the box and seizing opportunities as they come.
Topics covered in this episode:
- The Role of Faith and Inspiration in Writing
- Importance of Professional Editing
- Matching Cover to Genre
- Including Minority Characters in a Novel
- Diverse Representation in the Christian Fiction Industry
- Podcast Interviews & Other Marketing Strategies
GET SARA’S BOOK ✅CLICK HERE👉 https://amzn.to/3PhLK5D
About My Guest
It could be said that award-wining author Nicole Thomas was born with a book in her hand. Reading has always been her favorite pastime, whether a physical copy or an eBook, she is never far from a current read. That love led to her creating a world where anything is possible with enough faith.
Grab Nicole’s book
Click for Transcript
Nicole: [00:00:00] But it wasn’t staying true to the story. I just had to stay true to what I was given. When I did that, it just flowed.
Rachel: We need to just write the story and write it as we’re being given it. But at the end of the day, we are cultivating a piece of art for somebody to enjoy and we have to be true to that art form.
Well, welcome back to the podcast today. I welcome Nicole Patrice Thomas to join me. Nicole has published a number of books, not just her fiction. Which we will be talking mostly about today, but also a children’s book, some poetry, a couple of journals. So you’ve got quite a collection going on here so far, which is exciting because I believe you’ve self-published all of it, right?
Nicole: Yes, I did.
Rachel: Okay. So it’s gonna be an interesting conversation I think that we’re gonna get into today. I think you have experience that others of us don’t have. You’ve gone down this self-publishing route and couple full different formats and you’ve been in this publishing industry a little bit longer than some of us.
And so I [00:01:00] think we’re gonna learn a lot from you today and I appreciate you being here.
Nicole: Of course. Thanks for having me.
Rachel: So before we dive too much into all the questions I have for you, cuz I have quite a few, I wanted to just give you a quick second to just give us a brief introduction of who you are, and what you write.
Nicole: Oh, my name, like, Rachel said is Nicole Patrice Thomas and I write Christian Fantasy. I also write children’s picture books. I started writing poetry when I was a teenager, so I do have a small compilation of poetry that is out of, I call it a pocket poetry book cuz it’s about that big and I put in your back pocket and then a journal as well.
It’s really, it’s blank pages with some inspirational quotes on the pages. Just, you know, there for people who need a little judgment free zone to write.
Rachel: Mm. Oh, I love that. A judgment free zone to write. I think we all could use that.
Nicole: Yeah. Yeah.
Rachel: I just wanna make sure people can find your books on Amazon, right?
Nicole: Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Target, Walmart. It’s [00:02:00] on a couple of different platforms. Ebook, paperback and hardback.
Rachel: Awesome. All right, so right now I wanna jump into this question of just like, how did you even get to this point where you started self-publishing these books?
Nicole: Yeah. So , I started writing poetry when I was a little kid, and my whole life, I always hear people say, oh, you should write a book. You should put these poems in a book. You’re so good. This, that, and the third. And I’m just like, yeah, okay, I’ll do that. I’ll do that. But it was really never on my heart to write a book.
Nicole: Just never saw myself doing it. And then in 2019, I kind of hit a wall in my personal life, my professional life, and I was just kind of floating. Aimlessly didn’t know what I was doing, my career. I loved what I was doing, but I had capped out.
There was no more room for me to be promoted anymore unless my general manager retired and he wasn’t planning on doing that. So it was either, you know, find a new job that really wasn’t gonna offer me the same things that I had really I needed at that time, or just stay and stick it out. So [00:03:00] in January of 2020, my pastor, who also happens to move my father, I’m a pk.
Rachel: Oh, cool.
Nicole: He preached a message on, I’m being ready to move when God says move. And so I went to the office that Sunday. I said, I’m ready to move. I was like, so you’re gonna have to tell me which way to go, because I am kind of stagnant right now and I don’t like this feeling of being purposeless.
Nicole: And, that same week. Two o’clock in the morning woke me up and I literally heard the voice of this woman. I saw her running through the forest pregnant. I heard her heavy breathing, the fear in her voice, and I started writing what I saw.
Nicole: And so I wrote nonstop for 30 days, and that was book one in this series.
Rachel: Oh, I love that testimony because I think sometimes we can get kind of caught up in like the craft of writing or the business of writing. And for those of us who are Christians, like there is a spiritual side of stewarding creation and stewarding creating. [00:04:00] And I think that sometimes we, we forget to invite God into the creative process.
We try to do it all on our own strength. So I love the fact that you’re like, You gotta show up, you gotta help me out. And he did.
Nicole: And through the whole process. Cause I mean, you know, as a writer we all get writer’s block. And when I started writing book two in the series, I hit writer’s block a lot. People had read the first book and they were like is this person gonna fall in love with this person? Is this gonna be this happening? So I tried to kind of cater to some of that stuff.
But it wasn’t staying true to the story. And so then I would have to stop, say, okay, God, where’s this character going? What’s gonna happen? And it was only when I did that, that I would get the next couple of chapters. And so there really is no romance in the books. It’s not there, but I just had to stay true to what I was given.
When I did that, it just flowed. And the whole series was done in a little over a year and it’s good.
Rachel: How many books are in the series?
Nicole: It’s three books. Yeah, it’s three books in a series. And then the, I did an omnibus. At the end. [00:05:00] So it has all three books in one plus two bonus short stories.
Oh. Because I had some readers asking, you know, well how did this character get to this point?
Nicole: And it turned out that the main character of the series wasn’t the main character. It, it turned out another character completely stole the show. So I did two backstory for two characters that kind of took over with the life of their own.
Rachel: I love that. In the book, putting Head Wilson by Mark Twain, he talked, there’s the whole book, but at the very end he puts in this like author’s note and he talks about his characters taking over the story. And I remember reading that as a kid and being like, oh my gosh, this happens to other people too.
It feels a little weird to talk about it to other people who don’t understand it, but those of us who write novels, it, it totally makes sense.
So January, 2020, you got this idea. And then the pandemic happened right afterwards. Did you just kind of like buckle down and go this route, or did you have to like navigate that? Like what did you do?
Nicole: I wasn’t furloughed [00:06:00] until about June of 2020. My boss, he was amazing. Like he knew I was writing a book. I didn’t hide it. So I’m sitting at my desk and I wrote it in Google Docs. So I’m sitting at my desk on my phone and I’m typing the story. Cause I worked at the airport, nobody was flying. Nothing was happening.
Rachel: You really didn’t have anything to do.
Nicole: No, nothing at all. So this series set out to be my silver lighting.
Rachel: Did you, did you say you were writing, like writing it on your phone?
Nicole: Yeah, I wrote the whole first book in Google Docs on my phone.
Rachel: On like swiping, text –
Nicole: Typing. Yeah.
Rachel: That’s dedication. I will say. Cause I barely can do social media posts on my phone. I can just type so much faster on my computer. So I can’t even imagine. But I’m sure you didn’t have the ability to just have your computer there.
Nicole: Exactly. And he was a big supporter of it. He bought one of the first copies and it just worked out. So 2020, I had nothing else to do. So I wrote all three books, [00:07:00] in that first year.
Rachel: Oh, you just did ’em all at one time.
Nicole: Right, back to back.
Rachel: So did you write ’em all first and then go about publishing it?
Nicole: So I wrote ’em all first. I published the first book in 30 days and being a new author, I didn’t think I have to get this professionally edited. I have to get a professional cover. I was just so excited that I just went right and found K D P. Got my copyright, my idn, and I just put it out into the world. And it got ripped apart.
Rachel: Oh. Oh my gosh. Oh-
Nicole: It really did. And sadly, that first review, if you go on Amazon and you look up the reviews it’s like a five paragraph review. And forever there. So I took it down. I hired a professional editor. I got a pre design cover. But the site when you buy the cover, they remove it so nobody else can use it.
Rachel: Did you use 99 design?
Nicole: Book cover zone it’s awesome. I, I love my cover now. Like the first cover I had was [00:08:00] great. A lot of people did like it. But it wasn’t genre specific enough. So I redid it and I put it back out after a month or so it’s doing so much better. It’s won several awards. The last one was just last year, New York for New York State, it won the Indie Author Award. So it’s, it’s doing really good.
Rachel: Congratulations. So do you think that first criticism was warranted? Or do you think it was a disconnect from the cover and the story?
Nicole: It was a little bit of both. It was a disconnect from the cover to the story because the cover was very dark and ominous. And while the story does have, you know, it’s good versus evil, it’s not that dark. Then, there was some grammatical errors and then it was little things like, I got the part of the sword, the name wrong things like that. So it’s partially warranted, partially nitpicking, but everybody has their own opinion.
Rachel: That’s true. So I wanna circle back to the moment where you decided to self-publish. And like you said, you were so excited. Did it ever cross your mind to [00:09:00] try to get it traditionally published?
Nicole: Never. Not once.
Rachel: Why not?
Nicole: It didn’t occur to me and as, as much as I tried to think about, you know, why didn’t I, it literally never occurred to me. When I looked up publishing, K D P was the most common platform to publish through. For me, it was the natural route to take. And then years later I did try to query one of the kids’ books I did try to query and all that. And it’s a long process and there’s no guarantee. While that’s great for some people, I just wanna write, you know.
Rachel: You just wanna write, you just wanna get it down there. Get it out there for the world. So you published the first book and then the other two books. Did you publish them pretty quickly after that, after you redid that book and relaunched it? Did the other two come out pretty quickly?
Nicole: Yeah. They all came out within like six months of each other.
Rachel: And you’ve won awards and it’s been very well received. That’s amazing. I love the fact that you just trusted your gut and you just went the route that you wanted to and just went with it and you just were [00:10:00] so excited to share the story. I just, I love that. I love that about this conversation.
So I do wanna pivot a little bit because I think that we need to have a conversation about the publishing industry and the books that we’re publishing, especially in the Christian market where we don’t really have a wide representation of diversity, of minority groups.
And so I wanted to get your take on that. What experience do you have with that? Any observations you have? Do you include minority characters in your writing? I would love to hear your thoughts about that.
Nicole: Yeah. With the first book. I honestly, again, didn’t think about it.
I just wrote the characters, so I didn’t place much emphasis on physical descriptions and that was brought to my attention. Readers did say that it was hard for them to picture the characters because there isn’t much more description other than hair color or eye color or things like that.
In the second book, I was more specific about some of the characters. So the shaman he is black. He’s got [00:11:00] stark white locks. In the third book, I introduced a lot more characters. So you have characters with like scaly skin, you have characters with fangs and just like different attributes that they were gifted as part of the magical system in the world that they live in. But I didn’t go into writing thinking all my characters need to be black. All my characters have to have some type of disability or representation or anything like that. I just wrote the story.
The characters were the characters. They were who they were. I think the message was more important than what they looked like. And the series is based off of Joshua 1:9 “be strong and courageous,” and you’ll see that throughout the whole story. Whether it’s a mom paraphrasing it to her kids, or just in different places. It’s constantly repeated. For me it was more important the message than the characters.
Rachel: I think it goes back to what you were saying earlier when you’re like, when you started to try to tweak the book to fit what people were asking you about. It kind of lost its, its power behind it. So I do think there’s a level of that, that we [00:12:00] need to just write the story and write it as we’re being given it. I do think that’s really important. I mean, we have to keep our reader in mind when we’re thinking about our story because they’re gonna wanna read it.
But at the end of the day, we are cultivating a piece of art for somebody to enjoy and we have to be true to that art form. And so I think that’s really why it’s what you said there. When you look at what’s being published in the Christian market, do you see that there’s a lack of diversity or are you thinking that it’s not necessarily a problem?
Nicole: Honestly, there is a lack of diversity and the majority of the books that I read are biblical fiction and most of them are gonna be set in the Middle East and Israel, and you’re gonna have very light skinned people on the cover.
And you may have some darker people portrayed in the book, but they aren’t going to be main characters. Biblically that may not be historically accurate. But that’s what’s out there. In the fiction world in general[00:13:00] I grew up reading like CS Lewis, those types of books.
So again, not much diversity, but the message was there. I think there’s a trend where it’s going towards more inclusion and more diversity. I don’t know how long it’ll take to be fully immersive in that but slowly it’s working on there. Like I go through my Instagram feed and I look at the authors that I’m following, and there’s more of us coming. Mainly in the children’s book field though.
Rachel: Oh, interesting.
Nicole: Young adults I think it’s gonna be a little slower to reach market strength, but the kids picture books, there’s a strong, strong diversity movement going on.
Rachel: And why do you think that is?
Nicole: Well, honestly, I think adults are so set in our ways. Not to say we’re a lost cause, but the next generation is gonna be easier to influence. You’re just seeing a lot more books. The kids’ books that I wrote, it’s about a little brown skin girl on the cover. You’re seeing more and more of those and it’s [00:14:00] beautiful.
And it’s not just black kids that you see in the cover, though, it’s Asian, it’s South Pacific, it’s disabled, it’s just right across the spectrum.
Rachel: So I have noticed that there are a few smaller publishers that are trying to step into those spaces that are publishing specific minority based literature or minority writers.
They’re trying to support them in publishing them. Do you think that that’s a helpful move or do you think that it’s kind of hindering the growth overall of the publishing industry? Like should we be hoping that the big publishers are doing that, or do we need these smaller publishers to kind of make a movement happen?
Nicole: We need all of it. If you have enough little people you’ll have a big group it just takes individual raindrops to make a storm. So you just need enough of the little ones and they can influence change for the big ones or just make them look bad enough that they [00:15:00] have no choice but to do it.
Rachel: That’s true . Do you think it’s harder for an author that is from a minority group to get represented by literary agent or a publisher. Do you think that it’s a harder route for them to go through?
Nicole: I do.
Rachel: And why do you think that is?
Nicole: I just think it’s systemic. It’s just been in ingrained that lighter skin characters do better in the market. Like I said, I was pitching. I have a children’s book that’s I’m having illustrated myself. I’m gonna self-publish it. It kept getting rejected. My children’s book is called The Flower Girl. And if you go on Amazon and you look up flower girl books, they’re all blonde hair, blue eyes. I’m like, well, obviously there’s a market for this. It’s not getting picked up. When I post about it, I get such a overwhelmingly good response from people of color about it. Story, I was in the hospital with pre-term labor. I just had my son last year, the nurse who took care of me chatting, talking about what we did. I told her about the book. She had already bought the [00:16:00] book.
Rachel: Oh wow!
Nicole: She had already bought it because the little girl on the cover looked like her niece who was at a wedding and she wanted to give it to her. Sadly, it’s not about a wedding, and so that’s when I started doing my research and find out there’s a gap here. And while there are books about weddings that were published years ago, currently it’s gonna, be very hard to find one that’s featuring a brown character. And so I wrote it, but, like I said, I, it just keeps getting rejected. It’s a good story, but we don’t have it fit for it in our company right now. Or it’s nice, but it’s just not right for me. I’m like, okay. Fine.
Rachel: And my guess is they’re coming at from a business decision of, we only have, I mean, it’s hard to get kids books published because they’re, they’re more costly to produce because they’re color. They’re full color. And so the every page costs the publisher more. I don’t think people always know the like until you get into it.
Especially when you start going the self-publishing route, you start to know all these little nuanced things. Then you’re like, oh, well that kind of makes sense now. But like with children’s books, [00:17:00] every page out of that children’s book is so expensive for them to print that it’s really hard.
Even though there’s a high demand for children’s books, it’s really hard for them to recoup that cost. So they’re gonna make the decision to only publish a few a year to begin with. And like, let’s be honest, Christian publishers don’t publish much children’s literature to begin with.
Nicole: They really don’t.
Rachel: It’s more of the ABA market that has the children’s literature in it, or children’s picture books in it. And so you have that already like already scaled down, right? We’re Christian in the Christian publishing industry, we’re not gonna publish that many. And then you get to the individual publisher and they’re like, well, maybe I’ll do like one or two titles.
And then they’re gonna go into, well, if we’re gonna publish something, it’s gonna be, it’s gonna fit a certain mold that we know is gonna sell. And we know it’s gonna probably be something really, really spiritual. Right. And it’s gonna probably be something that just appeals to an assumption, I think it’s a poor assumption. It’s that just because a child with brown [00:18:00] skin is on the cover is not gonna appeal to the masses. That is such a, like you said, a systemic racist thought process that has like just infiltrated. And unfortunately is something that people are trying to combat against.
And it’s just a, it’s a long road.
Nicole: It’s an uphill battle. Yeah.
Rachel: Yeah. What advice would you have to a person of color who is thinking about getting into the publishing industry? Would you steer them away from traditional publishing or would you say, Hey, put your hat in the ring and try it because we need just the constant going up and pitching?
Nicole: Mm-hmm. Definitely. When anybody asks me about I never say don’t go traditional. I just say consider all options because there’s so many routes that you could take. There’s traditional, there’s hybrid self-publishing, you can do any of those as long as they’re reputable.
Rachel: Even within traditional, there’s different like levels . You’ve got like the big five, but then you have your smaller presses , indie publishers that are fitting more of different niches.[00:19:00]
Nicole: So you just, you have to do your research. You have to figure out what feels right to you. If you’re gonna go traditional or for those small publishers, make sure you’re following the pitch days. So you can get into the Twitter pitch wars and really open yourself up. Learn from people, get those free critiques when they’re offered. You have to really focus and be sure that’s what you wanna do. And then at the same time, if it doesn’t work out, cuz you could be waiting a year, two years, however long to get that one yes, decide if you wanna self-publish it yourself, and then what goes into that.
I want to do a course eventually on what it takes to self-publish. So I wrote everything that I’ve done over the last three years. I wrote it all down. I just tell them, do your research, find out which market is best for you, which direction is best for you, and then go wide at a hundred percent.
Rachel: That is very wise advice that you just gave us there.
I think that people need to hear that. You have to weigh all your options and pick the best one. They’re all valid. Valid routes. You [00:20:00] just need to pick which works best for you, your story and the reader that you’re trying to serve. I’m curious, you’re like, I documented it, I did every, like, I put it all down what I’ve done and then we’re one day I’m gonna be teaching this to people.
What are some of the things that you did as far as marketing goes that helped you sell your books?
Nicole: I do best face-to-face as far as marketing go. I think that us indie authors, we are gonna sell them most books face-to-face. But before you can get to face-to-face, you have to network so social media is really important.
Before I started writing I was such an introvert. I did not wanna be in crowds. I didn’t wanna talk to strangers, I didn’t wanna do anything.
Rachel: I think you’re the majority of writers.
Nicole: Right? Exactly. We wanna be alone with a pen and a book, like that’s it. But the pandemic gave me an opportunity to come out of my comfort zone without really coming out of my comfort zone.
So everything now was online and so you build up your social media platforms. That [00:21:00] really helped me. I was able to meet so many people who gave me tips and tricks and introduced me to other people who were able to help me further along my craft. So, network, network, network is important. And then depending on what type of book they’re writing, find out where your readers are.
So, children’s Book, you wanna connect with schools and educators and you wanna connect with libraries and even doctor’s offices sometimes, depending on what you’re writing. Wherever there are children, that’s where you wanna be. Adult fiction, my Christian fantasy series, I approached, again, educators, but also churches, church bookstores, independent bookstores. So you, you wanna find your reader and go where they are.
Rachel: That’s good advice. When you’re saying getting in front of people, are you talking about like in-person events or are you talking about like things like this where you’re just now in front of a new audience?
Nicole: This is how I started. Podcast interviews, going live on Instagram. I did so many that first year just trying to get out there, just talking to people. I had [00:22:00] no idea really what I was doing, but you talk to people and you learn as you go. This is a great way to stick your toes into that marketing.
It doesn’t take a whole lot, just good lighting, good internet, and another person to talk to that’s how you start.
Rachel: Yeah. Do you have any advice for somebody who is trying to pitch themselves to be on a podcast or Instagram live with somebody? Is there any advice you would have for them with how to even get that interaction?
Nicole: You have to start small first. So if I see somebody that they have a large podcast or they go live a lot, then I’m going to watch their Instagram page. I’m gonna comment and interact on it there and make sure that their content is similar to my content, their message is similar to mine so that I know we’ll have something to talk about.
Then eventually that connection is made and you can either, ” Hey, do you wanna go live today? Can we do something together?” You send out that question first.
Rachel: Are you doing that contact just through your dms or an email [00:23:00] or?
Nicole: I mainly it’s dms. That’s how I do it. There’s a person behind each profile.
Rachel: Did you do any other marketing besides getting in front of people? Did you run ads? Did you do something totally outside of the box?
Nicole: I wasted a lot of money on ads. Facebook, Instagram ads, Amazon ads. Brian Cohen has like a whole Amazon course. I did that a couple of times and while I learned a lot, I still ended up losing a lot of money and I’m like, I don’t have money to be just tossing to the wind like that.
So, ads didn’t really work out for me. Now I have maybe two or three ads running that I just leave and it’s only for the kids’ books cause that’s what’s doing well.
Rachel: That’s a good business principle, if something’s not bringing you a return on your investment, you need to pivot and move on.
Nicole: And then you’ll be surprised because I really thought the English version of my kids’ book will do the best and it’s the Spanish version. Which is very interesting to me.
Rachel: So for that Spanish version, do you speak Spanish? Were you able to write it or did you have to have it [00:24:00] translated?
Nicole: I had it translated.
Rachel: Did you hire somebody? Did you have a friend? How did that happen?
Nicole: I had a friend through my church. She’s a, a native spanish speaker, and she was so excited when I talked to her about it, she was just like, oh, yes, yes, yes, yes.
And then she just, she ran with the idea and she was like, oh, you should do this. So she has so many ideas that she wants to do with me, somewhere down the line, we’ll do more work. So she translated the story for me and it’s doing so well. I, like I said, I was very surprised.
Rachel: That’s really cool. And I think there’s something valuable to pull out of that moment that you just shared for our listeners, is to ask friends for help. People are talented and people wanna assist you. Sometimes I think we get up in our heads that it has to be professional or I feel awkward asking somebody to help me out on something. And it’s like, no, people love you. They wanna support you, and if they can be a part of it, it’s fun for them and you’ll be surprised how many people now, I don’t know if you compensated her, but I do know that a lot of people are willing [00:25:00] to do stuff for you for free.
And then you can just gift something to them . I know you’re willing to do this for free, but I value your time, so let me compensate you for it. You’ll be surprised how many people just wanna help you.
Nicole: And people are resources, so use those resources.
Rachel: So is this your full-time job? Is this your full-time thing?
Nicole: I wish it was. Right now it is simply because I’m unemployed. I’m looking for a job so I’m just taking advantage of this time again. And writing more.
Rachel: So you do need something to kind of supplement your income at the moment. There’s only really two ways to scale a business. You either have to, if you have a lower ticket priced item, which as novelist, that’s what we have, right? We have these low ticket products. We have to sell more, right? That’s how you grow.
And it’s really hard to do when you’re a smaller author trying to get your name out in the world and you don’t have that big recognition yet. And so it’s just, it’s hard to make it sustainable. I’m still trying [00:26:00] to crack the code on that cuz I’m like, there’s gotta be something we can do.
Nicole: We have to be able to figure out how to do wholesale. We need those bulk orders. That’s what I’m working on right now.
Rachel: Okay. So do you mind sharing a little bit about that?
Nicole: Yeah. So you’ll notice on my website, it says that I’m a minority, woman owned business, MWBE. And what that means is that I am certified in the state of New York. So you’ll find a lot of, like big corporations are trying to, along with this trend of working with minority businesses, they wanna focus on contracts for those. So like the school system, they may specifically want to award a contract to one of those businesses for a product that they make. Books isn’t high, unfortunately, on that list yet. So you’ll find caterers or anybody who does like construction, those type of things. They are specifically looking for those minority run businesses. So I got certified because you can never have too many opportunities.
I don’t wanna miss an opportunity. This was a free [00:27:00] certification. So it, it doesn’t cost me anything to do.
Rachel: That’s a really valuable tidbit there. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I’m talking to the listener now. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you pursue it, give yourself options. Keep the door open on different things.
Nicole: Exactly. Another way is I’m looking at charter schools. To become a vendor with the charter schools. Again it’s a free application. Doesn’t guarantee a sale, but it puts me in the room. I wanna sell my books to schools.
The Children book has an activity book that goes with it with reading comprehension, coloring, letter tracing, science and art. So it’s a full curriculum and the teachers can add on in their classroom. That’s what I wanna do for like pre-K to third grade.
Rachel: That’s really good. I like how you’re thinking, you’re thinking like an entrepreneur. You’re not thinking, I know this is gonna sound really judgy. You’re not thinking like a writer, you’re thinking like an entrepreneur. The thing with writers we tend to do is we get caught up in our heads in our world, right? In our story world. And we love our world and we don’t wanna exit our [00:28:00] world to think about it in this bigger picture of how am I gonna make money off of this thing? Because unless you’re having the money come in, you can’t really continue. A book sale equals the fact that you’ve impacted somebody, right?
And if you’re not making those book sales, you’re not getting that impact that you really want. And you need the income to continue making that book. You know, it’s a cyclical thing. So I love that fact that you’re like, let me think outside the box. Let me think about what I can do and what I can do to take it beyond just publishing a novel and take it to the next level. That’s really wise.
As we wrap up, because we are running out of time which is really sad to me cuz I really enjoyed talking with you Nicole, but as we wrap up, I just was wondering if you had two things. Do you have a business or marketing tip for people who are self-publishing? And then second, do you just have any words of advice for somebody who’s new to this publishing world?
Nicole: Invest in yourself. Like you said, I see my writing as a business [00:29:00] and input output.
What you put in is exactly what you’re gonna get out. So if you don’t put a lot of time in it’s gonna show. You don’t have to put all your money in, but you wanna invest in quality stuff because it’s your brand, it’s gonna represent you. And when people see that they’re going to be seeing you and ultimately they’re going to be seeing in Christ that you wanna make sure that what you put out is a good reflection of both of those.
And then I would tell them to first just write, and worry about everything else later. I would say get the story out. And then focus on the business part of it afterwards. So you want to get your message out, you wanna put it down on paper, and once you can see it on paper, then you know you’ll have a better idea of where to go from there.
Rachel: So at what point do you think they should start worrying about the business side?
Nicole: I would say when you’re about halfway done and when you have a cover. Even before the book is done, start talking about it.
If you have a cover start posting about it [00:30:00] so people are aware so that they can build excitement with you. So that when it’s out, they’re like, oh, finally, finally, it’s here. It’s here. And you’ll have a party together.
Rachel: Yeah, exactly. So I believe what you’re saying is , if you get an idea, get it on paper, flush it out, start making it have life, but don’t wait too long into the process to start talking about it and start getting people.
Once you know that this is something you’re gonna wanna share with the world start sharing about it.
Nicole: Exactly. I have things that are half finished and I’ve talked about it, but because I know it’s not gonna be out anytime soon, I don’t really talk about it too much. But my next kids’ book, I talk about that more because I’m 100% certain that’s gonna be out fairly soon.
Rachel: There you have it. That is a lot. That’s a really great timeline to follow because I do know there’s people who are like, I don’t wanna think about this until I absolutely have to meaning the business, the marketing side of it.
And they [00:31:00] wait too long. They’re like, oh, I have a book for sale. And people are like, what? Where? Where did that come from? But then there’s the flip side where people are like, oh, I know I wanna write novels. And you’re like, okay, well do you have a novel idea? And they’re like, no. Well get yourself a novel idea first.
I believe people are writers even if they haven’t ever finished a book. But if you want a career as a writer, you gotta have a plan. That’s kind of what I think distinguishes those two.
Well, Nicole, I really have enjoyed talking to you. I keep looking at your covers on the back wall, and I’m like, I gotta go grab the first one. I’m intrigued now.
Can you let our listeners where they can find you, your website, your social, and can you state the titles of your books just so that they know what to go look for?
Nicole: Sure. So you can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. All at NicolePatriceT, same name on all platforms.
My website is NicolePatriceThomas.com. Make it real easy for people to find me. The books are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, basically wherever eBooks are [00:32:00] sold and hard covers, if you’re doing Wholesale Ingram Spark or Amazon. Also signed copies through my website. I do those as well.
The books are called Tales of Elhaanai. That’s the Christian Fantasy Series. It’s great for ages about 14 and up. Then the kids book is called The Flower Girl. It is a lesson on the importance of obedience and consequences. It is available in English and Spanish and has a corresponding activity book to go along with it.
And then for my people who just wanna write a little something or need a little writing space, I have a journal called Oasis. And it’s just a space for you to write and bring your hopes and dreams into. I also have an omnibus of the fantasy series.
Rachel: I love it. I love it so much. And I think that our listeners are gonna enjoy it too.
I know there’s some of our listeners are gonna immediately after listening to this, go look at your stuff. I love how you just shared your heart for just being true to the story, [00:33:00] serving your readers, doing it with excellence for the glory of God.
And I just think that that is the thing that we all need to aspire to. We all need to aspire to just be true to the craft of writing. Be true to the story. And do it for God’s glory and serve our reader. So I do appreciate you coming in and I just value your time and your experience and your journey and all the things, so thank you very much.
Nicole: Thank you, Rachel. It was great talking to you.
Rachel: And thank you for listening to today episode. Join us next week as we continue the conversation of 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.