Six years ago she started her own business. She travels, teaches at Athens State, has a horse farm and even cooks dinner for her family—when she’s home. Somewhere in between those moments, over the past year, this wife, mother and business owner managed to write a book. Epiphany is very proud to have been part of this new author’s journey. Here’s what she had to say about the experience:
ECS: What does it feel like to be called author?
C: You know, I don’t know that the title means as much to me as the fact that it’s done. I can’t tell you…even though we had it at the printer and were working on the ebook conversion, until it actually arrived—it wasn’t real. To be able to be called “author”, it’s important, but it’s a culmination of a year-and-a-half of work and a 30-year career. The biggest thing I can say is just this—satisfaction.
ECS: What was it like when your books arrived?
C: When the UPS truck pulled up, I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t sure of the exact delivery date. When I opened the box and pulled that first book out, it was really an “aha’ moment. It was really, “Oh my gosh it’s actually here! We did it!”
ECS:When people now come to you and say, “I want to write a book…”?
C: I’ll say, “Call Stephanie, I can’t help you. Call Stephanie.”
ECS: If someone tells you they want to write a book and asks you, “Where do you begin?”
C: I would tell them, to begin with their passion. What story do you want to tell the world? What do you want the world to know? It can be personal, business, spiritual—it doesn’t matter. Because it’s going to take that passion to be able to sustain you all through the process.
ECS: Why did you do this?
C: For one, I’m absolutely passionate about the people side of business. I really truly believe that if organizations create an organizational culture (OC), they can improve biz results. It’s not just soft and fluffy. Having spent 30 years of my career working in good and bad cultures, I can speak to that. Wanting to share that knowledge and help them build up their employees at all levels, is really the reason why I did it.
ECS: People ask us: “How long will it take and how much will it cost?” What would you say?
C: More than you think. Its an investment. That’s why it has to be part of your passion. If your sole goal in writing a book is to make money, you won’t have what it takes to sustain for the quality and through the turmoil of it. Now I have to say, I was very pleased, Epiphany did a good job helping me budget, understand the cost, and all of that, but as I got deeper into the process, I realized that I didn’t want to just throw something out there. So, I took more time specifically to be sure I had a quality product. If people are going to spend their hard earned money on it, I want it to be worth it, and be proud to see it on a bookshelf somewhere. I tried to strategically decide where was the best use of the money. I put more money into the graphic design, my new logo, the cover, and the editing. I wanted a quality product. I compromised in that I changed from a hardcover, which I truly wanted at first, and changed to a soft cover due to cost. In the end, I was able to keep the things that were non-negotiables. It’s kind of like building a house. You say, here’s my dream, and then you start shaving off to see what you can live without. With a book, you do the same thing.
ECS: What do you think are places an author simply shouldn’t cut corners? What are the non-negotiables?
C: Content and editing. I think you start with good content, but do not cut corners on good editing. You have thoughts and points in your head, but when you’re trying to bring that to an audience, who is not as knowledgeable on that topic as you are, sometimes it’s hard for you to understand why they don’t understand what you’re saying.
ECS: Why did you choose to work with Epiphany Creative Services?
C: Because they came highly recommended. I had seen their work, I had personal testimonials, and I felt comfortable that I could turn it over to them and trust them to walk me through the process. I knew I could trust them with the things I could never even think of or consider.
ECS: How did you choose your title?
C: Choosing the title was another “aha” moment. I don’t think I chose the title. I think the book and the process chose the title for me. It came out of the passion and our brainstorming sessions, when we really had our first “aha” moment. It was the day when we landed on the OC Equation. We started talking about those elements, and it kind of chose me. There was no master plan. I knew the book would be about culture, but when we first met I had no idea what the topic of the book was even going to be. It was the face to face meetings, and the questions that Stephanie asked, that pulled it out, and all of a sudden there was this epiphany, and that was it.
ECS: What were some of the titles you were considering?
C: I don’t even remember. Once we hit on the title, the rest just floated away.
ECS: How did you decide on your sub-title?
C: That was a meeting with Stephanie, and me and the designer and they were asking some really good questions about “What do you want a potential reader to know?” and “What did I want the value to be for them as a reader?” and, why would I want them to pick this book up.? I want people to see the significance of organizational culture that all leaders want. We want to be passionate about where we work. We want our potential to be appreciated. Once we landed on the reason, the rest was easy.
ECS: What was the cover process like?
C: For me it was easy. I had a phenomenal designer. And we met. He immediately connected with what I was trying to do. He sent me 5 samples. And out of that 5 samples— there it was. It was the easiest thing. He was an expert at what he does, he connected with me and the purpose of the book.
ECS: What was the hardest part of your journey?
C: Writing. How to take 30 years of knowledge and figure out what the “so what?” would be for the reader. There were things that were important to me, but when they were on paper, you could see them saying, “So what?”
Trying to run a business, be a mother and a wife and to figure out when I could find the time to write. I didn’t have the luxury of taking a week off and going away to write. That and the “so what” who cares.
ECS: How did you decide on your price?
C: We initially started a little high but then lowered the price. We also didn’t go out there with a book priced at $4.99. We didn’t want to cheapen the book, but we wanted to provide something that was a fair price in the market. A price to say there is value in this book, but low enough that it would not be a barrier to someone. I found that when I raised prices, I gained business. People tend to think you get what you pay for. If it’s that cheap, it can’t possibly be good.
ECS: What was the highlight of your journey?
C: Oh, my gosh, I guess there were two. The first one was when the epiphany came for the equation itself. That “aha” moment, when it all came together. Then the boxes when they arrived, pulling that book out and realizing it was real. I had a big grin on my face. I couldn’t help but smile. My husband was thrilled. He also was thrilled that he made the book. The whole time he didn’t think he was in it. I surprised him and dedicated it to him. He made me sign it, and then he took it with him to work.
ECS: Words of wisdom to those who want to write a book?
C: They would come from NIKE and it would be, “Just Do It”. Get off the sofa and just do it. It’s more than the book. Always, through this journey, Stephanie kept telling me that I had content, and I had a story. The business came along, the tagline, everything about my business got solidified through writing this book.
ECS: You have a speaking engagement coming up.
C: We knew we had this speaking date in February and had the initial draft of the book in place. But when I began creating the presentation for this speaking engagement, it was, “wow”. This is now my content. Usually you’re researching work by other people. This time, it’s my research, my graphics. My everything. That’s a little daunting.
ECS: Are you ready for book 2?
C: We’ll see. In about six months. [laughter] I have to earn some money to pay for this one. I did a refresh of my brand, did a new logo, a new website—there’s more than what came out of this than just a book. When you look at the culmination of everything, I am very pleased. I am very happy with the entire product.
We wish you nothing but the best, Cindy. Thank you for letting us be a part of this journey.
To contact Cindy, visit: www.HRSolutionsByDesign.com
Are you receiving the latest articles, updates and more from Epiphany to your inbox? If not, why not do so now…simply click here and sign up today!
Follow us on: