Naghilia is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WomLEAD. WomLEAD is…
Being an author today is very similar to establishing and running a business. Women authors are entrepreneurs and require the skills to manage not only the writing but the marketing, networking, and delivery of a complete package that is their book. I had the opportunity to chat with Christina June who is an accomplished author and school counselor. She has published two novels in the short span of two years and has another one coming up in 2019. It is interesting to delve into the mind of a successful woman author like Christina and understand the mental fortitude it takes to make it in the world of publishing. I have compiled a few thoughts from our conversation that will give you insight into Christina the author as well as Christina, the person.
Christina, could you tell me what the passion that drove you to write was?
I think I was always a writer right from my childhood days. As my day job as a school counselor writing recommendations progressed, I began to feel like writing something more creative. I had never been brave enough to enter the National Novel Writing Month that’s hosts a month-long event to encourage writers to write 50,000 by the end of the month and interact with other writers as well on their website. I did it in 2012, and won and never looked back!
Are your two published books and the one coming up connected?
Yes, these three books are a series of companions. The first book, ‘It started with goodbye’ is a young adult contemporary novel that is loosely based on Cinderella. The next book ‘Everywhere you want to be’ is about the stepsister who makes an appearance in my first novel. My third upcoming book ‘No place like here’ centers around an estranged best friend who was also introduced in the first novel itself. However, all three books can be read individually as well.Did you publish your books yourself or did a company release them for you? And how hard was the process?
I published both of my first two books with Blink publishers. Publishing is about patience and understanding that things are subjective, with luck and timing playing an important role. Finding the right fit with people is essential. I probably faced 200 rejections along the way. And my second book took 14 months to get published, which is the average time it takes to publish. Some people sell their book in a week, but that is unusual. My genre is young adult fiction which is very popular, and that made my job easier.
What would you say to someone who was trying to do what you did as an author?
Christina – I think one of the most beneficial things I did was observe the publishing process. I followed a lot of editors and agents on social media such as Twitter and learned from them. Writing cannot be accomplished in a vacuum, and you need other writers and trusted professionals to guide you and check your research and writing.
You studied psychology so what is the connection between writing books and your work as a school counselor?
I think the connection is that I like to study and help people. I help kids navigate through their life, and the ‘teen’ voice feels natural for me. And that is what I do in my books as well!
Do you think writing a book was similar to starting a business or more of a personal thing for you?
I think that writing was a personally developed career for me, but many of the writers I know and I don’t have a business orientation. But many aspects of publishing are business-oriented, especially when the book is written and requires careful consideration. If you wish to become a successful author, you will need to think about and be aware of business decisions that will promote or reduce the sales of the book. Writers who work with publishing companies have agents who are their advocates and figure out the royalties and the business end of writing a book. However, if you are self-published, you are your advocate, and it is imperative to understand the ropes of money management and marketing.
As my talk with Christina came to an end, my belief in authors as business owners was cemented. I also began to understand that writing is a combination of passion, perseverance, representation of the audience, and importantly, business acumen too. Christina says that when she engaged her book agent was the moment that she felt liked she had made it as an author and that someone believed in her. Women authors are paving the way for other women leaders by sharing their struggle just like Christina did with me today. In her words, become an author because you love it and have a story to tell, and the rest will follow!
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Naghilia is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of WomLEAD. WomLEAD is a print and digital leadership Magazine that made its debut in 2017. We are the first magazine to celebrate women who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their professional endeavors and have been recognized as “Women Leaders ”. So, with women in mind, Naghilia brings you the best of education trends.