My mother met Kate Waite last year and first told me about her inspirational story which resulted in her writing the book Beauty Unfolding which was published by Morgan James last year. Personally, I’ve been reading the book and have found a lot of nuggets of wisdom. My interview below with Kate covers her process, being published, and her desire to help others.
Jennifer Bowen: How did you come about writing Beauty Unfolding? Can you tell us about it?
Kate Waite: In 2008, I hit one of the lowest points in my life. It was as though my entire world came crashing down, leaving me shattered and broken. At the time I could not imagine ever finding happiness again. Yet, in one of my darkest moments, I had an epiphany. There had to be something good to come after all of my suffering. I didn’t know how or what it would be, but I knew that God must have much bigger plans for me. Two years later, not only was I finally able to move past my grief and despair, but I had discovered more happiness and joy than I could ever have imagined possible. This is when I realized I had the ability to help others move past their pain and heartaches too. As daunting as it was, I knew I had to write a book. If I could help just one person to find joy again, it would be worth all of the hard work that goes into.
JB: What was your process to get it published?
KW: When I first began writing, I thought the only way my book was going tot get published was by self-publishing. As a first time, unknown author, I thought it would be near impossible to get a publisher.
However, once I set my intention and began to seriously start writing, the universe showed up and began guiding me to find the tools I needed to get it accomplished.
First, I discovered a month long webinar, on getting your book published. It included various guests who offered their expertise on writing and publishing a transformational book. It was an incredible resource to guide me from my writing process all the way through to getting my book published.
After the webinar was over, there was an opportunity to enter a contest to get my manuscript published, along with other great prizes to help market your book. I decided to do it, because it forced me to set a date to get my first 10 pages written. In addition, I was given a template for writing a book proposal to submit to publishers. This in and of itself was worth it to me, so I decided to write with no expectations. It was not about the contest, but rather incentive to get serious about my writing.
Much to my surprise, I was chosen as a top award recipient for the contest and recognized by a highly regarded literary agent, for my submission. He offered me the opportunity to publish through his company as an e book. If it did well, he would then shop it to some of the big publishing houses.
Although I was thrilled and honored for the opportunity, I decided to pass. However, this was the push, which gave me the courage, to write a book proposal. I submitted it to a publisher in New York, Morgan James. They are not a traditional publisher. They are considered hybrid publishers, because they blend both aspects of traditional and self-publishing together.
About a month after I submitted my proposal to Morgan James, I was offered a publishing deal. I decided to go with them.
JB: Tell us about your writing process. How often and when do you write? Are you in a writers group?
KW: To be completely transparent… before I began my book, I had not done any real writing in years. I didn’t blog, submit articles for publication, or belong to a writer’s group. As you might imagine, this only made it that much more intimidating to get started!
When I began writing Beauty Unfolding, the first thing I did was to make an outline of chapters and titles. Then I dove in and just started writing. After a few weeks, I realized that my manuscript was awful! I was missing the whole reason I was writing the book- to help other people. It was never meant to be a memoir, or a story about me. My sole purpose for writing a book was to help transform the lives of others, who were struggling to find beauty or joy in their lives.
I knew I had to regroup and focus solely on how my book was going to serve my reader. Once I got very clear on that, it all began to flow much more effortlessly. I was able to take snippets of my life, and share lessons I learned, in a way that would empower my readers.
Another important part of my process was to make the commitment to show up and write daily. Without a doubt, this was easier some days over others. The point is that you hold yourself accountable to reach goals and deadlines to finish. My book ended up taking about six months to actually write, once I got serious and made the commitment to write- even on the days that it was emotionally brutal to do so. I think in hindsight, that is when I wrote some of my best work. Allowing your self to be stretched out of your comfort zone presents a great opportunity for real, raw emotion to come forth.
JB: Besides what your publisher did to promote the book, what was your involvement?
KW: Unfortunately, unless you are lucky enough to sign with a big traditional, publishing house, there is no outside help, to promote your book. That responsibility lies solely in the author’s hands. There is a saying that writing the book is 5% of the work…95% is marketing it. Believe it, it is true!
I had spent a great deal of time learning all of the ways to market and promote my book. I have had some great successes. Yet, in other areas I missed the mark. My book became a best seller a few days before it launched. That was extremely rewarding. Social media became my best friend. I especially took advantage of Facebook. One of the best ways you can promote yourself is through Facebook ads. I am fortunate to have a daughter who does PR. She was able to get me numerous book signings.
During the time my book was released, I had to face some serious health issues with two people I love very much. It became very difficult for me to focus and find the energy to go out and promote my book. Initially, I was extremely frustrated with myself. It was nearly impossible for me to feel motivated while my attention was being pulled elsewhere.
I realized that it was ok to step back and give myself the necessary break I needed. I knew I could always come back to marketing my book, when things settled down. It is a marathon, not a sprint. You are in it for the long haul. Marketing is an ongoing process that you need to give a lot of attention to if you want your book to do well over time.
JB: I see you’ve developed a free magazine to accompany the book. Can you tell us about it and your process in its development?
KW: One of the most important jobs authors will have is to build a list. In case you aren’t familiar with a list, it is a loyal tribe of followers who are most likely to buy your products and services.
To my build my list, I wanted to find a way to create an awesome gift that I could share with my tribe…so I decided to create a digital online magazine, called Bloom & Flourish- the art of living beautifully. Bloom & Flourish was created to bring people from all around the world together with the shared desire of supporting one another to live their most beautiful lives. I wanted it to be a global voice. It became a collaboration of writers, who share their experiences and wisdom to inspire and empower others.
Although I had no prior experience in the publishing industry, I decided I was going to give it a try. I found an amazing company, called Magloft to use as a platform.
To say that it is a lot of work is an understatement! I am a one -woman show, other than my writer’s contribution. I love the creative process and the positive response it has received, but it is incredibly time consuming. Right now, I am uncertain if I will continue to publish it down the road.
JB: Which social media platforms are you on, and how are you using them to engage your audience?
KW: As I mentioned earlier, Facebook is a very valuable social media tool, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. I also am big into Instagram, since I am a very visual person. Although I have a twitter account, I am not active on it. It is just not my thing. However, Periscope is the hot new way to broaden your reach. It allows you to stream video live and interact directly with your audience.
JB: What surprised you the most about getting your book published?
KW: There were a few unexpected surprises, but the biggest one was hearing how my book was able to really touch upon the universal feelings we all share. When I wrote my book, I saw my audience being predominantly women. Although, I know it resonates well with many women, I couldn’t believe the response I was getting from men. I think that is what touches me most about this journey…knowing that as a writer I could share my experiences in a way in which are relatable because of the human emotions that we all experience at one time or another. For me, that is the greatest compliment I could ever have- touching another person’s soul.
JB: Any last advice to authors out there?
KW: The best advice I can give any writer is first is to let go of fear. Believe in your voice, and share what really matters to you. Don’t let your inner critic sabotage you from going after your dream to write a book. Just do it and commit to it. Lastly…the best advice I can give is to allow yourself to be as vulnerable as you possibly can, when you write. Being authentic comes easily to me, but really pealing back to show my most vulnerable side was brutal. Yet, the most difficult chapters I wrote, ended up being the best of my work and most appreciated from my readers. Leave everything you have on the page and you will be amazed at the magic you are able to create!
To follow Kate and purchase her book, check out the links below.
To purchase on Amazon:
Website Link: http://bloomflourish.com
Magazine link: http://www.beautifulnewbeginnings.com/new-cover-page-1/
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Jennifer Bowen, QueenBee (more fun than CEO) of BookHive Corp.