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037: Yvonne DiVita – Bleeding on the Page & Pulling Stories Out of People

Yvonne DiVita is an author, book coach, author advisor, and overall book whisperer. She loves helping women especially share their stories and speak louder than ever before.

Today, Yvonne joins the show to share how she helps entrepreneurs and successful business professionals enhance their brand, generate leads & market their business by writing a book. Jonathan and Yvonne touch on the evolution of the publishing industry, the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus print on demand, and the process of pulling stories out of people.

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Key Takeaways

01:10 – Jonathan takes a moment to read a five-star review and encourages listeners to leave their own reviews

01:51 – Jonathan introduces today’s guest, Yvonne DiVita, who joins the show to share early financial lessons she learned from her mother and the value of building a neighborhood out of your network

10:23 – Yvonne’s passion for writing and what led to Nurturing Big Ideas

18:38 – The evolution of the publishing industry

25:00 – Benefits from going the traditional publisher route versus print on demand

29:52 – Pulling stories out of people and the value Yvonne provides to her clients

34:43 – Identifying authors to work with

39:09 – Ways to turn your book into revenue

41:07 – The importance of your message and Yvonne’s latest projects

45:21 – The last thing Yvonne changed her mind about and one thing she would like others to know about her

Tweetable Quotes

“A lot of what had to happen in the home fell on my shoulders. So, I lost a lot of my childhood because I was busy cleaning, cooking, and taking care of my brother and sister.” (07:10) (Yvonne)

“I think that when we open our minds to that idea of having a network that is extended, and building a neighborhood of people through that network, it becomes a really powerful and wonderful thing.” (09:44) (Yvonne)

“A lot of authors and writers, while they graduated sixth grade and can put a paragraph together, they don’t understand where to put the power words. They don’t understand that maybe this particular word doesn’t work for their audience. They’re still writing from the mindset of, ‘This is my book.’ And at Nurturing Big ideas we say, ‘Yes, it’s your book, but it’s for the reader. You’re not writing it so you can publish it and put it on your bookshelf. You’re writing it because you want other people to buy it, read it, and do something. You don’t just want them to read it.’” (20:20) (Yvonne)

“Nobody wants to read a report. Let’s tell some stories. So, they’ll tell a story and I will go back to them and say, ‘I love this story. However, how were you really feeling that day?’ And, in the end, I say, ‘You have to bleed on the page.’ If you don’t bleed on the page – if you’re not crying the same way that your audience is bleeding and crying – then when they get to your book they won’t take you seriously.” (31:41) (Yvonne)

“Women are especially trying to start new businesses. More women than men are starting new businesses all the time and they want to look to other women. But the vast majority of business books out there are written by men.” (42:46) (Yvonne)

Guest Resources

Yvonne’s Website

Yvonne’s LinkedIn

Yvonne’s YouTube Channel

Nurturing Big ideas Facebook

Nurturing Big Ideas Twitter

Nurturing Big Ideas LinkedIn

Yvonne’s Books:

How to Write a Book

Dickless Marketing

Mindful Money Resources

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Episode Transcription

Jonathan DeYoe: Hello. Welcome back to the Mindful Money podcast. I want to let everyone know that the, uh, Mindful Money podcast has received a little bit of positive commentary in the last couple of weeks, for which I’m deeply appreciative. I want to share read for you one of our five star reviews before we introduce and get started with our guest today. So here’s what she says. Money is a topic that needs to be front of mind for all of us. Jonathan digs deep and uncovers some of the challenges that everyday humans have managing money and understanding how it can be both a powerful tool in our toolbox for living a healthy and happy existence. Highly recommend it. So thank you for the kind words. As you’re listening, if you enjoy the podcast, please let us know by leaving us a review. It really does help us out with the algorithms. And on this episode of the Mindful Money podcast, I’m chatting with Yvonne DiVita who I think is fair to say is a, uh, book publishing diva. She wrote the book how to write a book with her partner, Tom Collins. Yvonne is a book coach, developmental editor, and author advisor. She and Tom work together to help writers, speakers, business people, and other busy professionals get their books out of their brains and onto the page. She loves helping women, especially, speak louder than ever possible before. Many of our listeners know that we talk about three paths to wealth. We have a, uh, free white paper that can describe all three paths for those that are interested? One of the paths is this expert path. It’s the one that I’m on. But the question is, how does somebody take their expertise and turn that into the perception of expertise in the marketplace? And I believe a book is a pretty good way to do that. Of course, I may be biased. I’m working with my publisher on my second book, so, Yvonne, welcome to the Mindful Money podcast.

Yvonne DiVita : Thank you. I’m so happy to be here, Jonathan. And you’re right. I mean, having a book immediately, let me tell you, immediately sets you up.

Jonathan DeYoe: As an first, you know, before we get into some of the meat of, uh, publishing, where do you call home? Where are you connecting from now?

Yvonne DiVita : I’m in Binghamton, New York. For people who don’t know, that’s a little bit north of New York City, and it’s considered upstate New York. And I don’t know why, because I grew up in Rochester, which to me is really upstate New York, because that’s near buffalo and, uh, Toronto. But who knows? Who names these things? I don’t know, but Binghamton is where I’m from.

Jonathan DeYoe: So entire life in New York or move around, or do you take a break and go someplace else in the middle of the country?

Yvonne DiVita : Tom and I, my husband left Rochester 15 years ago now and moved to Colorado, and we spent ten years in Colorado, and I loved it. I really love Colorado. I miss Colorado. But we went there to be with our granddaughter, who was just like, I think, seven years old at the time. And, you know, Jonathan, Golly Gee, didn’t she just grow up and decide to come to New York City in the meantime, the other kids started having children also. And, uh, so we moved back to New York, and my other daughter now lives next door with my two grandchildren.

Jonathan DeYoe: Oh, sweet. That’s great. So the family is all together again?

Yvonne DiVita : Pretty much. Tom’s kids. One son is in California with two grandchildren. So we went there this summer to see them, which was fabulous. And then I have a son, and he has a daughter in, so. And the interesting thing is our families, our immediate families, his family, his brother, and, um, I have a big extended family, my sisters and all their kids and grandkids and great nieces and nephews. They all live within a few minutes of our house.

Jonathan DeYoe: We know that one of the pillars of happiness is relationships. So it sounds like you’re pretty blessed in that.

Yvonne DiVita : Absolutely.

Jonathan DeYoe: What did you learn about money or entrepreneurship when you were growing up?

Yvonne DiVita : It’s interesting. So I was taught to save. My mother was a big saver. She also, though, had her own business. And this is interesting because she bought the corner grocery store. So I was about eleven or twelve when she did this. And if I was in 51, 62 or so, and it was unheard of back then for a woman to become her own boss, to start her own small business. So she actually did have to have my stepfather go sign the papers along with her. The bank wouldn’t just turn it over to her. It was like, well, you’re a woman, we don’t know if we trust you. However, she made a very big success of it. So I was introduced to this entrepreneurship idea. Um, very young, I worked in the store. I will be very open and authentic. I didn’t like working in the store. It was not something I cared to do. I was not good at math, and they didn’t have cash registers back then that added things up for you. So I used to drag my brother with me and say, you do the math and I’ll take care of the money and everything, but I didn’t like it. But I realize now when I look back that I learned stuff I probably wouldn’t otherwise because I went with her to the public market to get a lot of the groceries and supplies that we sold. She used to make deli sandwiches for the people in the building across the street. It was a Kodak building at the time, and they would come on their lunch hour and she would make lunches for them. So I did learn a lot. I didn’t realize I was absorbing it, but I did.

Jonathan DeYoe: So how do those, you know, the fact that your mom, there’s a couple of different threads to pull on there that I think are interesting one, and you’ve already kind of touched on this, the fact that your mom was a woman in the 19, late 50s, early 60s, purchasing a, uh, thing, and that was required that her husband come down with her to sign the papers, which is an interesting commentary on our history. The same time, I’m curious about some of the lessons you might have learned working in the store and seeing, I think probably you haven’t said this, but probably how hard your mom had to work.

Yvonne DiVita : I don’t think I recognize how hard she had to work because she was there so much. A lot of what had to happen in the home fell on my shoulders. So I lost a lot of my childhood because I was busy cleaning and cooking and taking care of my brother and sister. But what I think I learned, especially working there, was customer service, because we got to know everybody. It was the corner grocery store. People would come in they didn’t just come in and purchase something. They had to stand there and chat. You had to talk to them about their life, their family, what was happening with the kids or whatever. You got to know people. And it was, I think, a really valuable way for me to recognize that this wasn’t just a business per se. It wasn’t like going downtown and going to Macy’s to buy something. This was literally a neighborhood, a neighborhood of people. And I today, Jonathan, talk a lot about the fact that I think if we look to our neighborhood first when we’re doing business for ourselves, then we’re going to be more successful because all of the neighbors that we know and the people we know, they know other people. And so then you can expand what you’re doing if you start within the neighborhood first. And I was kind of forced into that because I was pretty shy. I didn’t like being in front of people. But it became more valuable and easier as time went on. And I found that I did like talking to the neighbors.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. Do you think that modern business is different because your neighbors could be in China? I mean, your neighbors, because the Internet, the world is flat now. Everyone can reach everyone else. Do you think that changes that dynamic at all? Or does it enhance it?

Yvonne DiVita : I think it’s different. I think you have to look at it from the perspective that in order to build your network in your neighborhood, you do have to find people who think like you do. So like minded people who gather together. I really like the way the Internet has brought me in contact with people from the UK. I have clients in Australia, I’ve worked with clients in Canada. And what happens is you stop seeing geography as a problem, you stop seeing differences, cultural differences as a problem, and you begin to see them as learning experiences. And I think that’s the real big benefit for me. I think that when we open our minds to that idea of having a network that is extended and building a neighborhood of people through that network, it becomes a really powerful and wonderful thing because you get to talk to people who tell you stories that are just like, wow, I would never have heard that unless I had met you.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, I like the metaphor of the neighborhood. Even though it’s an Internet relationship and they could be in a different country far away, it’s still sort of how you treat your neighbors is what.

Yvonne DiVita : Mhm.

Jonathan DeYoe: Comes to the bottom line. So before we look at the current work, which you’re looking on now, what did you do before nurturing big ideas? What led to nurturing big ideas?

Yvonne DiVita : Okay, so I have been writing since second grade. I wrote stories in second grade and drew pictures, and they had to call my mother in and say, you need to talk to her because she’s not doing any of her other work. She’s only writing stories and writing pictures and telling stories. And so apparently I did buck down and do my work because I graduated second grade. But I also wrote in high school. So I wrote stories in high school, and I had a following. I had a small group of people and friends that would say, when’s the next story? Write another story. This was great. Write another one. And I was always the person. People came when they had a problem with english homework or whatever. Go talk to Yvonne. And so writing and communicating through stories has been part of what I’ve been since I can remember. And so I grew up like everybody else. And unfortunately, I didn’t go to school for writing as I had wanted to do. It wasn’t possible at the time, but I got married, I had kids, and I went back to school. And so I really felt so at home back studying journalism, studying writing, creative writing and all of that. And I wrote for the local paper, and I, uh, moved on then to, like many people, got a divorce. All right, we’ll just pass over that part. And what happened after that? I did, uh, that, yeah. So what happened after that is the kids were all in school at that point. My one daughter was almost graduating high school, and I had to find something to do. I had to find something to help support my kids. My ex husband was not inclined to do very much. And so I took all these jobs. I got one job, and then I got another job. And I tried to get jobs where they would let me write. Nobody would let me write. They would hire me because, oh, my gosh, we love your writing background. Then they wouldn’t let me write. So I finally gave up. I said, I’m going to become my own boss. I’m tired of this. I’m tired of other people telling me that they want me to write, and then they don’t. And so I started my own business writing web content for websites. This was in 2004.

Jonathan DeYoe: So is this lipsticking?

Yvonne DiVita : This is lipsticking. Uh, yeah, we’re getting to lipsticking. Lipsticking was created out of the book I wrote. So I said, someone said to me, I know you want to write a book. What would it be about? And I said, well, I would like to write a book about marketing to women who shop online. 2004. I said, women are being ignored. All of the marketing online is going towards men. However, women make 80% of the decisions in the household. They buy the groceries, they buy the socks, they buy the underwear, they influence the car purchases. So I wanted to write a book to pull people out of the old Dick and Jane world of the 20th century. I said, dick and Jane are all grown up now, and Jane has a purse and she has money. And I gave it a rather provocative title. Jonathan. I called it dickless marketing. And the subtitle was smart marketing to women online. And it got me a lot of attention. However, I had a terrible experience with the print on demand company that I had hired. I paid them a lot of money and they did a poor job. And I said to Tom at the time, I had met Tom by then, and I had said, I can do better than this. I want to be my own publisher. I don’t want authors to have to go through this. This is just unacceptable. So he and I started exploring how to start a publishing company. And one of the things back then, it was before Amazon took over the print on demand world. One of the things you needed was a printer. So we found a printer, a local printer, and went to go interview him and see if he was set up to be able to do print on demand and fusion. And lo and behold, while we’re sitting in his waiting room, is it my book? On the wall, on the bookshelf behind my head. And when he comes in, I said, this is my book. And he said, oh, yeah, we print that here. That was all it took. I started my company. It was called Windsor Media Enterprises. I started my blog, lipsticking, which was about marketing to women online. And I basically started working with authors so that they would have a good experience writing their book and getting published. And so I’m going to fast forward a little bit, because while I was doing that, I was asked to speak at a conference, and I met the interactive marketing director of Nestle Perina. And my blog was doing so well, and I knew the women’s market very well. And I said to him, more women than men have pets, and there are a lot of women bloggers, so you should have a blog. And he said, I can’t do it. The, uh, lawyers won’t let us blog. I said, well, will they let me blog? I’ll blog for you. He said, well, okay, you blog, and we’ll sponsor your blog. So I did that. I started a pet blog. I met another pet blogger who was a public relations professional, and she called me and said, we should do something together because I love that Parina is sponsoring your blog. And we started a company called Blog Pause. Caroline, Tom, myself, and my daughter Chloe, and Jonathan, we decided to have a conference, invite all the pet bloggers, because we knew there were hundreds and hundreds of them. Caroline was connected to quite a few of them, and I had some of the pundits of the day, the smart people in the social media world, in the blogging community, say, you can’t do it that way. You have to build your community, and then you have your conference. And I said, nope, I’m having my conference, and then I’ll build my community. And we had a check from a sponsor in our hand before we even had a bank account. So blog pause took off and became so successful. Our conferences were so well received. They were all pet friendly. Everybody brought their pets. We didn’t have any dragons or any horses or any cows, but we did have every other kind of pet you can think of, including one year, we had a capabera, and it got so busy, I had to let the publishing business go. I turned over all the files to all the authors and said, this is your work. You own it. I don’t own it. And I gave it all back to them, and we did blog pause. Well, blog pause was subsequently acquired by a bigger company, and that company was acquired by Petsmart, and it didn’t go far after that, and we don’t need to get into all of that. It was a bit of a disappointment. But Tom and I decided, you know, why don’t we go back to doing books? Because we really love it. I mean, during blog posts, I was the one who taught the bloggers how to write. I brought in all the speakers. I handled the awards program that we had. We used to give the big checks away to local shelters. So that was part of what we did. The money from registration, some of that went toward local, uh, rescue and shelters. Our keynotes would come in for free, speak for free, and we would donate on their behalf to their shelter or rescue. Yeah. And it was great. So when it kind of wind it down, we decided that we would get back into books, and that’s where nurturing big ideas comes in. I said, that’s what I want to do. I want to help people nurture big ideas by writing books.

Jonathan DeYoe: If you have a number at the tip of your tongue, how many books have you been involved in?

Yvonne DiVita : Somebody asked me that the other day, 2030, maybe 40. I mean, uh, it isn’t a lot, because we work so closely with each individual author, and especially right now, I only take five or six people a year.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right.

Yvonne DiVita : It’s just what I do because I pour everything into each author’s book.

Jonathan DeYoe: Can you touch on? I mean, there’s been enormous. Amazon obviously, is the, uh, sort of leading the charge on these changes, but, uh, there’s been a lot of changes in the publishing world, a lot of consolidation. There’s not as many publishers anymore. There’s a lot of know doing their own publishing, self publishing, hybrid publishing. Can you just kind of touch on the industry itself and how you’re working within it?

Yvonne DiVita : Yeah, here’s the truth. The big five are still there. Okay? You have Penguin House and Macmillan and blah, blah, blah. And within all of the big five there are smaller imprints and people don’t understand this. So you could be published by Scholastic, which is a smaller imprint of one of the big five. And people think that’s a separate publishing company. It’s not. It’s part of one of the big five. So there’s that. So there’s a lot of different small publishing houses that are part of the big publishing traditional publishing world. Then you have hybrid publishers. Hybrid publishers. You pay them a fee and they do your editing. They will create your cover design. They will do, um, page layout. People don’t understand that either. The interior of your book has a page layout to it. It’s a design, folks. And so they will do that for this fee. And then they might put out a press release when the book is launched. And then there are, uh, coaches like myself. So nurturing big ideas does all the things hybrid publishing do, but we actually work page by page, word by word with the author. We teach them how to write better. We make sure that the message is being carried through the book. The through line. We teach them about the through line. So a lot of authors and a lot of writers, while they know, and they graduated 6th grade, that’s what I like to say. Oh, I’m so glad you graduated 6th grade. They could put a paragraph together, but they don’t understand where to put the power words. They don’t understand that maybe this particular word really doesn’t work for their audience. They’re still writing from the mindset of this is my book. And at nurturing big ideas, we say, yes, it’s your book, but it’s for the reader. You’re not writing it so you can publish it and put it on your bookshelf. You’re writing it because you want other people to buy it, read it, and do something that you want them to do, something you don’t just want them to read it. And so we work with our authors on all of that, but we also work with them, um, on marketing, teaching them how to build a platform, teaching them how to do social media. Many of them don’t have websites or if they have a website, we teach them how to build a page specifically devoted to the book. And then we produce the book, all of the internal page layout. Tom does the book covers, and we work again, this is all done very closely with the author. We don’t say, okay, here’s the page layout. We don’t. Tom gives them three different designs. He gives them several different designs. We work with the author on what their branding is, what their message is. What does the book mean? Why is the book being written? What are the readers going to do? Again, what do they want them to do? How do we get them to do that thing they want them to do? Where’s the call to action? And then we get it uploaded onto Amazon Kindle and create their description and their author page. And basically then we launch the book with them.

Jonathan DeYoe: Do you have any idea? I just want to add a few statistics, questions. Do you know how many books are published every year? Just any idea. It’s got to be millions, right? Hundreds of thousands?

Yvonne DiVita : Hundreds of thousands. Okay. Hundreds of thousands published every year. And that includes all of publishing that I just talked about, not just the big five. And I will tell you that the average author in any one of these categories I just talked about, the average author sells 250 books.

Jonathan DeYoe: Whoa. I was going to ask that question. As a percentage, how many go through traditional publishing versus hybrid or self publishing?

Yvonne DiVita : Is it 50 at this point? No, I don’t have stats on that. But I can tell you this, it’s harder now to get into traditional publishing than it was in the past. In the past, they would take unsolicited manuscripts because they would hire college kids to come in and read them. They don’t really do that anymore. You have to have an agent, you have to have a book proposal. And the book proposal can run 45 to 60 pages because you have to tell the publisher how you’re going to sell the book. Because I want everyone to know, your publisher is not going to sell your book for you unless you’re among the top one 10th of 1% of people in the world that we see. Those are the people who get the book tours. Those are the people you see on tv. You are not those people. So your publisher, and even with hybrid publishing, it’s up to you to market and sell the book. And that’s why we work with our authors, to help them build the platform as they write and understand the things that they need to do to market the book. And then we also want, because most of the books I work on are nonfiction business books, we want them to understand the different things they can do with the book, because the book is not ever going to make them money. They have to make money by building workshops, webinars, masterminds, communities and things like that.

Jonathan DeYoe: How many books sell 100,000 copies?

Yvonne DiVita : I don’t have a number for that, but not very many.

Jonathan DeYoe: Not very many? No. Yeah, I think my book has sold 9000 copies. It didn’t earn out its first advance, but it’s still selling. Fingers crossed.

Yvonne DiVita : Well, and that’s the big key, is when you go traditional route, whatever advance you get, if you don’t sell out the advance, the publisher is not going to do another book or another printing of the current book. You have to sell out the advance. And so advances can be anywhere from 1000 to 5000. The general number would be between one and 3000. So if you got more than that, you’re good.

Jonathan DeYoe: So what’s the draw then for somebody to go to a traditional publisher? If the traditional publisher is not going to do the marketing, not going to sell the book for you, why would somebody do that? Speaking as somebody who has done it?

Yvonne DiVita : Yeah. Two things I can tell you. The one thing we haven’t touched on yet is the traditional publisher generally owns at least the print copyright of the book. So if that publisher, for whatever reason, decides this book isn’t doing what I want, I don’t really want to carry this anymore. Then the book goes into the remainder bin or it gets ground up into pulp and the author is left out because the publisher owns the copyright. Now publishers can negotiate audio ebook international rights, but you have to be a really good negotiator for that, because the publisher doesn’t want to give those away. So why do people go to traditional publishers? They have the mistaken belief that uh, the reader cares. And no reader has ever picked up a book to see who published it before they bought it, ever, in the history of publishing. So if you produce a quality book, and we do, we tell people our books will stand on a bookshelf next to anything on assignment and Schuster and you can’t tell the difference. Then the average reader doesn’t care. They just want a good book.

Jonathan DeYoe: I think that’s the, at the end of the day, that’s why I chose traditional publishing and an agent and did the whole book proposal, and it’s a bit of a slug, but I didn’t trust my ability to create a quality book without the scaffolding, uh, of a traditional publisher.

Yvonne DiVita : Well, now, let me ask you this. One of the things I hear from my friends who use traditional publishers is I have a friend who hated the title of his book, but he couldn’t do anything because the publisher chose the title. I have a friend whose name was misspelled on her book, but 5000 copies had been printed, and the publisher said, I can’t do anything. If you sell out, uh, your advance, we’ll print some more. With the correction, maybe not. Whereas with print on demand, a any errors are fixed if there were glaring errors, and sometimes there are, they get fixed right away. And with hybrid and working with us, the author owns everything. We don’t own any copyright. We help them make sure they buy their isbns and make sure they file their copyright and everything. And once again, all you have to do is create that fan base and that platform, and you have to do it anyway. If you’re going with a traditional publisher, unless you’re Tony Robbins, and not very many of us are Tony Robbins. Why not take charge of the project? Why not be your own boss? And again, if we look at most business books as something that the author is writing to enhance business and build, you know, yeah, it sounds good. You can say, I got a contract with Simon and Schuster, and everybody’s like, yay, great. And we’re all clapping our hands, and they don’t know in the background that Simon and Schuster is telling you, I don’t like chapter four. Take it out.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right. There was a little bit of that. At the end of the day, I have a very small publisher that, uh, I worked pretty closely with, and they were pretty nice. And I think they were right about some of the title stuff that they sort of forced on me. But at the end of the day, it’s a great book. It was a great experience. So is there like, a type of book or a type of author that should go traditional versus self publishing or.

Yvonne DiVita : No. Um, if someone comes to me and they really want to do the traditional publishing route, I give them as much information and support as I can. I do not help them write a book proposal. I’m sorry. They will have to find someone else. I do not help them find an agent. But those are the things that you have to do, and I make sure they understand that. And if they’re determined to do that, that’s fine. It can take a year to two years then, um, before the book is published. So if you have that much time to waste and you want to do that, knowing that you won’t own the copyright, then I have no problem with that. But I do recommend they at least explore and understand what their self publishing options are and what it might mean to the reason that they’re writing the book. So when I wrote my book, it was about the Internet. I didn’t want to wait two years for a publisher to publish it. It had to be done. It had to be out in six months. So that’s why I chose print on demand.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. That, I think, is the universal truth. Publishing through the traditional houses takes years. You can’t get it done. Three months, six months. I know it’s not as simple as this, but my process was have an idea, whole bunch of scattered writing, apply a structure, complete a manuscript, edit for a long time, then layout, design, publishing, and marketing. Is that kind of the process that you follow, just step by step? And then where do you add the most value? I think that the idea that your book is your credibility, your book defines your credibility in the marketplace. But you also already have to have a platform to sell the book. So there’s like a chicken and egg thing that are happening. So can you just kind of explore that a little bit?

Yvonne DiVita : Sure. Okay. So here’s what I said earlier when we first started, that the minute you write the book and tell people you have a published book, they don’t care. Again, they’re not asking who published it. Oh, I wrote a book. You immediately become smarter than them. You immediately have more credibility. You immediately become an expert. You could have written the most awful book on the planet. But until they see the book, just hearing you talk about it elevates you. Okay. And what we do and the way that we work is that we are focused on excellence. We are focused on making the book, which is a product, the best product it can be. So that involves exactly what you said, a lot of writing, a lot of editing, a lot of back and forth. In my developmental editing role, one of the things I try to do is pull stories out of people. I have worked with numerous authors who have written what I call a report. So they send me this manuscript, and it’s a very nice report. And I say, nobody wants to read a report. Let’s tell some stories. So they’ll tell a story, and I will go back to them and say, I love this story. However, how are you really feeling that day? And in the end, I say, you have to bleed on the page, because if you don’t bleed on the page, if you’re crying the same way that your audience and your readers are bleeding and crying, then when they get your book, they won’t take you seriously. So I work on that very carefully and very closely. And again, I’m very focused on power words and making sure, uh, people remember the first and the end of sentences and paragraphs. So people that I work with will write something. And the big part is in the middle. I’m like, no, we’re putting that at the end. We want them to remember that. If you leave that in the middle, nobody will remember that you said that. So we work on that. And then my husband does again the page layout and interior design. And that involves looking at a whole lot of other books that the author wants to emulate. Let’s look at other books in the same category, the same genre. Let’s look at the branding. Let’s look at your branding. Let’s look what’s going to work. What’s the best font? Should it just be the title on the COVID and the author’s name? Should there be an image? What should there be? So we go through that process to make sure that it’s going to be, again, that stellar, wonderful product. And while that’s happening, about midway through, we start talking about, okay, we need to find some beta readers. This is the start of your platform. So who do you know when everybody’s like, I don’t know anybody I know? Well, my mother will read it. Okay, your mother’s not good enough. So we make them come up with names and we help them understand how to connect with people on social media. You can’t go on social media and broadcast. I’m writing a book. I can’t wait for you to see it. I hope you buy it. No, this is not how you connect with people on social media. So we teach them how to do that. We often create 3d images of the book and we help them share. So we’re working with them to get the beta readers who will provide the testimonials that will go inside the COVID and on the website and on the web page and give them talking points. We talk to them about being on podcasts. We talk to them about other speaking gigs they could get. We have resources we share. One of the big things I’m pretty proud of is I have a list of places to send your book to get awards. One of my authors just won two awards for his book, and that’s how we support them. We want them to be able to get in front of people and be proud of this thing that they did. And then we also want them to learn how to build the community that’s going to build and increase business for them.

Jonathan DeYoe: You’re working with lots of different people. You said four or five a year. Now, are there any indicators when you’re talking to a potential author that you know what? This person’s not the right person to write a book or they’re not going to finish? How do you pick the authors you work with?

Yvonne DiVita : So, two things. One, if you come to me and you say, my book is going to be a bestseller, it’s going to outsell every other book on the planet. And it is just the most perfect book and idea in the planet. No one’s ever, ever come up with this. I will say, wow, that is really amazing. You must be so excited. Here, let me refer you to someone else. I am not going to work with you. I don’t say that. I gently tell them that, well, maybe you need to explore that a little more and I can refer you to. I do refer people because there are companies that will just take the idea and put it into a book. And there you go. The other client that, uh, might come to me that, as you say, isn’t quite ready, is often unfamiliar with what it needs to happen. So the biggest thing is that it might take six to twelve months or longer if you’re coming to me and you don’t have a completed manuscript to start with. If we’re starting from page one and you haven’t written anything, that’s a big project. And when we get to the COVID design and the interior page layout and the marketing and all this stuff happening together, and you have to be part of that and it is a little overwhelming. But then once the book is ready, we have to send for a print proof from Amazon. That can take two weeks or three, depending if you’re in another country. And then we have to go through the print copy because I’m here to say that few books are completed the first time around without errors in them. So you get your print copy and you go through when you find the typos and the misplaced commas and anything else that you can find. And this is where some of the beta readers come in handy. And then you send, uh, the corrected manuscript back to Amazon and if necessary, you get a second print proof, because again, you don’t want the book going out with errors. You want to at least have tried to catch them all. I’ll tell you something, Jonathan. I’m a big reader, so I read two or three books a week, and I am appalled in the last couple of years at the number of errors I’m finding in traditionally published books. And I mean glaring errors, not just a misplaced comma. And so I tell people all the time, if we haven’t caught 100%, we’ve only caught 99%. Anytime you find something or someone else finds something, then we can correct it and upload it again and have whatever goes forward out be corrected, which doesn’t happen in traditional publishing. So when I find people who aren’t ready or prepared for that, I often say to them, why don’t you write a little bit, get your head together, and then come back to me in a few months, and then we can talk? Because it’s a big project. I’m not one of those people who tells you how to write a book in three months. I’m not one of those companies where, and they’re out there where they will ghost write your book in 30 days. And for me, this is me, those are not your book, because what you’ve done is you’ve been interviewed, and then they’ve written a book, and I’m like, that’s not your book.

Jonathan DeYoe: That’s not your book.

Yvonne DiVita : I’ll bet there aren’t enough stories in there from you to engage the reader to make the book. And what I’m thinking is, they’re putting out a report.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yes. The personal stories make a huge difference. So we started talking about, um, and I think you already mentioned this a little bit, that the book is not going to make you money. Right? The book, you may sell you $2 a book or whatever. You may sell 500 books, and it’s not going to make any money. So the authors you work with from their platforms, what are some of the ways that they turn the book into a revenue? This is a podcast about money. So, what are the ways that people turn the book into revenue or to income?

Yvonne DiVita : All right, so, first of all, you must be ready to develop workshops, webinars, mastermind groups. You must start looking for paid speaking gigs as an author with a message, and, uh, you give the book away in the back of the room, or you sell it in the back of the room. It depends on what the offer. Sometimes the place, the event will buy the book for you and give it away to all the attendees, or they let you sell it in the back of the room. When you have workshops and webinars, you include the book. And so the price of the webinar includes the cost of shipping the book to anybody. Basically, the author needs to look at their business and what the book is going to do to enhance their business. So a lot of books have. So a book I’m working on right now that we’re doing a launch on Black Friday, as a matter of fact, had so much great content. The author had worked with another publisher and had not gotten a very good result. So they came to us and we redid the book. We did the COVID over, we did the inside over, and there was so much material on the inside. I said to him, let’s pull some of that out and have the readers go to your website to get it. So now they’ve got supporting materials, and there’s opportunity for this book to possibly be included in, um, community college marketing classes. And so those are the things that we look at. Where else can the author use the book to generate an income?

Jonathan DeYoe: Got it. Let’s pretend for a second that somebody comes to you and they have a book idea. Uh, think, hey, this is a good idea. We can actually definitely work on this. What’s, like, the first thing that they should focus on to help them be successful in both the writing process and then sort of the business development process afterwards?

Yvonne DiVita : The first thing they need to have is their through line, their message. What is the message to the reader, and what do you want the reader to do? That is the sum total of why the book is being written and why the book needs to be a good book, why the content needs to be useful, engaging, and storytelling. So what message are you sharing with the world, and how is this going to solve someone’s problem? It’s the same message that you use in your marketing. If you’re in business every single day, you’re solving someone’s, is it Max Factor who said, I don’t sell lipstick, I sell hope? That’s what you’re doing. You’re selling something that is, people want to learn. So I’ll tell you, Jonathan, right now, in the business world today, in society today, we know how many people have been laid off. We know how many people are out of jobs. I’ll tell you, a lot of those people want to start a business. They have either a hobby or something that they’ve done. They think that they can use to sell and that people will buy, and they don’t know how. They’re looking for you to tell them what they need to do. Where do they start? What do they focus on? What needs to happen? I tell women this all the time. Women are especially trying to start a new business. More women than men are starting new businesses all the time, and they want to look to other women. But the vast majority of business books out there are written by men.

Jonathan DeYoe: I’ve made a point of interviewing a lot of women who are entrepreneurs or who run incubators or those kinds of things. So I see that as well. I think it’s an important sort of demographic shift in the country. Just give us a quick, uh, insight into what you’re working on right now. What’s new in your world?

Yvonne DiVita : Well, the book I’m launching, um, on Black Friday is from a marketing genius. I’m so impressed with the storytelling ability he has with his knowledge, 30 years in radio and tv, and how he was able to write this book as something. He’s also a comedian, so there is a lot of humor in the book. It’s very engaging, but it taught me a lot. I mean, I’ve been in the business of marketing and selling and all that for 25 years now, and it taught me things I didn’t know. And so I’m very excited about launching his book on Black Friday. And I just signed a new young author, a girl, a woman who has a fantastic idea. I can’t really talk about it right now because we’re still working on those little details, but I’m really excited about it because she has the experience and the knowledge to write about this. And it’s very now. It’s very today. It’s very all about the things that we need to know in marketing and sales today. And that’s pretty darn exciting.

Jonathan DeYoe: It sounds pretty fantastic. You get to get into the lives of the people that you are working with, and it gets very personal. I’m imagining some of the authors you worked with have become very close friends. Is that a good characterization?

Yvonne DiVita : Yes, and I am their therapist. I do sometimes have to hold them and keep them from jumping off the cliff. As any author, they sometimes get discouraged or they’re like, I just couldn’t get this to work. I don’t know what to do next. And so we talk. So I generally work on, um, a bimonthly. So every two weeks, I work with my authors, depending on which author it is or whatever. But if there’s a time I need to meet with them, um, on an off week, then I meet with them on an off week. If I need to meet with them on a Saturday, I meet with them on a Saturday. And again, you’re not going to get there anyplace else.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right? So this has been great. I want to go back to personal again. Yvonne, if I might. What’s the last thing you changed your mind about?

Yvonne DiVita : The last thing I changed my mind about, I guess it would be how to fix my hair today.

Jonathan DeYoe: You get such a range of answers in that one. That’s a good one.

Yvonne DiVita : Yeah.

Jonathan DeYoe: And then sort of the last formal question I ask most guests. Is there anything that people don’t know about you, even if you’ve told them they don’t remember it, that you really want them to know about you?

Yvonne DiVita : Yeah. In 2015, when I was doing blog pause, the pet blogger influencer community program that we had, I was awarded woman of the year. And that’s, uh, something that I really treasure. I remember the night of the award ceremony, and there were, like, six, uh, or at least six other women that I was up against. And I remember sitting at the table at the dinner and the woman from the year before, that’s how they do it. She announces the new winner. And she had gone up. L’Oreal had gone up, and she was talking, and I was sitting there, and it got really quiet. And I’m looking around, and my daughter’s there, and, mom, they called your name. No way. They called my name. I said, but I didn’t write anything. It sounded like the oscars, right? I didn’t write anything, but it was such a really big honor. Uh, I like to tell that story because it could happen to anybody.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. Congratulations. That’s beautiful. Tell us how people can connect with you. Where do they find you?

Yvonne DiVita : They find me@nurturingbigideas.com. But if you really want to connect with me, find me on LinkedIn. Yvonne Devita on LinkedIn. I am very active on LinkedIn.

Jonathan DeYoe: I’ve seen you there. I know. Thank you very much, Yvonne, for coming on. I very much appreciate the time.

Yvonne DiVita : Thank you for having me. This was wonderful.

Jonathan DeYoe: I’m glad.

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