“Have the confidence to get it down.”
Meet author Becky Cummings!
As a teacher, Becky felt kids were not getting everything they needed to know for true success in the classroom setting.
So she decided to do something about it!
Some of Becky’s wisdom is to just focus on one step at a time.. if you look too far ahead you will most likely get overwhelmed and scatter your energy. Set a small weekly goal to make progress with writing the book and stick to it. Don’t stress about all the other details… a finished book is key!
Find Becky on Instagram! On Facebook! On Her website!
Introduction: 00:00 Welcome to the Wrighter’s Way Podcast where we celebrate writers who have completed their books and inspire writers who haven’t. Join Laurie and her guests as they talk about writing, books, and life in between chapters.
Laurie: 00:17 Hi everybody. It’s Laurie from the Wrighter’s Way here with author Becky. Hi Becky.
Becky: 00:23 Hi Laurie!
Laurie: 00:24 How are you?
Becky: 00:25 I’m doing great, thank you. How are you?
Laurie: 00:28 I’m okay. I feel great. I just have a bad voice today, so apologies to anybody who’s listening and not watching. Watch with the subtitles on or the. What’s it called? The captioning instead of listening to my voice today. Okay. So people who are watching can see Becky’s gorgeous book cover. It’s just beautiful. So I can’t wait to talk to you about it, but let’s start with who you are. Tell us about you.
Becky: 00:57 Sure, sure. Well, right now at the moment I’m an author, but if you asked me about six months ago, I had my own tutoring company and I was running a business tutoring kids K through 12 and I also was teaching Zumba classes, so my life looked a lot different back then. And before that I was actually in a classroom, that I was a teacher for fourth and fifth graders.
Laurie: 01:23 Oh!
Becky: 01:23 Yeah. Being an author is pretty new for me and I’m excited to jump into this new chapter in my life.
Laurie: 01:31 Do you still have the tutoring business? I like it.
Becky: 01:35 No, no, actually I decided that when I was going to step into this role as an author that I really had to use my time wisely and put all my energy into that because it’s certainly …it’s had to have your energy spread out in all these different paths.
Laurie: 01:52 It’s true. It’s true. It’s the curse of the creative person who has so many ideas. Right. And has to narrow them. So, did, are you one of these people who’s always wanted to be an author or were you just inspired by a particular idea?
Becky: 02:07 Well, when I was in the classroom, I started kind of dabbling in this idea. I felt that there were certain things that I wanted to teach my kids, but I didn’t necessarily have the time or perhaps wasn’t always allowed to kind of go so far into such as like nutrition or just like health and making friends and, and there’s just so much I wanted to share. So I kept, started taking notes about topics that I would teach kids and it became this sort of collection of everything, you know, you want to know but you won’t really learn in school. And I was trying to get it published traditionally back then, but I wound up becoming pregnant and being like full into mom land where you know…
Laurie: 02:54 Mom land (laughter).
Becky: 02:56 Everything was gone for, for the time being.
Laurie: 02:59 Yes.
Becky: 03:00 Yep.
Laurie: 03:00 Where motivation goes to death. For anything such as that. Okay. So this book in particular where you would, is this book, the results of those things that you were keeping track of in the classroom?
Becky: 03:16 Yeah. So many of the ideas came from what I felt that kids really needed in order to be healthy and happy. And as I, you know, it’s been almost a decade since the idea started. So obviously I’ve changed a lot myself and I’ve learned so much and watching my own child and just added a bunch of things that I really felt kids could use nowadays to be successful. And so the book was a spiritual piece that wasn’t really initially in my idea, but because of some life changes that I had, I felt that was a really important component to add as I kind of rewrote part of the book.
Laurie: 03:53 Right. And how long did the process take? So I mean, you were writing down the ideas years ago. Redoing, so, when you sat down to like really, you know, write the book and not just jot down ideas. How long did that take?
Becky: 04:09 Well, I never actually wound up using any of my original writing. It was more, I guess you can call it, like my brainstorming phase. But, I started it or late January and I finished the book early June.
Laurie: 04:24 Okay. So about six months?
Becky: 04:26 Right.
Laurie: 04:27 And the cover’s gorgeous. So let’s talk about that for a minute. So you wrote the book and then how did you find someone to do the cover or did you do it?
Becky: 04:36 Oh, I wish I could. I wish I could do covers like that. No. So I was really lucky that I went and stumbled upon this website called 99 Designs and it’s just a great tool for authors, anybody that needs marketing done. They do websites, they do logos and they do book covers. So I used that and kind of gave some of my ideas to the designers and what they do is they would submit these ideas and I would say yes, I like this or no, I don’t like that or I want more of this and I tweak it. And then you get about like about, well that’s why they call it 99 Designs. You get about a hundred different entries and you get to pick top choices and then they have another week to compete again and to tweak those designs further, then you pick your final design.
Laurie: 05:27 Cool. And then is it a set cost from the beginning or how does the, the cost work?
Becky: 05:33 Yeah. Well, there’s different levels, so they have like beginner designers, mid level designers and advanced designers, so depending on what you would like and who you want to work with, sets the cost so it can go from anywhere I think it’s maybe a couple hundred to over a thousand. And I think it’s more of a mid level. I think my cover was around 700 or so, which…
Laurie: 05:57 Okay.
Becky: 05:57 Yeah. Yeah.
Laurie: 05:59 As you go along it could be different costs depending on who you pick and that. That’s really cool. Jacqueline shared last week of Upwork, so that’s really neat to have people come on and talk about these different things that are available to check out. So I’ll put a link about 99 Designs because I’ve heard about that one. That’s a really neat way to do it. They’re all competing for your book…
Becky: 06:19 Yeah, it was really cool. Then you can invite like friends and family on Facebook or other social media to, to cast their votes and write their opinions.
Laurie: 06:27 Oh.
Becky: 06:29 Because it starts to get people, you know…hearing about your book.
Laurie: 06:32 Yeah. So it’s like pre marketing.
Becky: 06:35 Yes.
Laurie: 06:37 Very cool. Okay. So share a little bit, what have you learned about yourself during this process? Maybe?
Becky: 06:45 Hmmm. That’s a good question. Well, I definitely have a tendency to want to do everything as you kinda heard that I had, you know, I was running a few businesses and when I first started the book I was really good about just like focusing and staying on track and goin one step at a time just because I feel like I’m the kind of person that gets really overwhelmed and shut down if I have so much going on and you know, there’s just so many different steps to do. So that was something that I realized about myself that when I can kind of pull my energy into one direction and just go small steps, I was really, really successful and moving super fast versus the old way I worked, which was, you know, doing a little of this, doing a little of that and, and just being all over the place.
Laurie: 07:35 Okay. So you actually slowed down to go faster.
Becky: 07:40 Yeah.
Laurie: 07:40 Okay. And how did you feel before you decided to write the book and then was there a certain, like one incident or anything like that that was like, okay, fine. January I’m gonna sit down, I’m going to write the book.
Becky: 07:54 Yeah. Actually I went away on vacation with my husband and I always feel like when you’re away with no kids, your mind you can open back up and you can get creative again. Right? So at the same time my dad was very sick and in the hospital and there was just so much going on. I think spiritually for me at that time as I was questioning, you know, life and, and a lot of these big questions. And on the plane ride home I just said, you know, I got to do it, like I’m going to do it. And I opened up my phone to my notes and I sat there and I wrote down my entire table of contents on the plane ride home.
Laurie: 08:31 On your phone.
Becky: 08:32 On my phone. I had it outlined and I, you know, it was like all in here for years, but it just kinda came out. And then I just decided every single week I would dedicate my tuesdays and Thursday block of time, which is like my little moment of free time without kids to resting. And so I sat for four hours a week, which is not really that much. But the powers that be, that’s what I did to write the book every single week.
Laurie: 09:00 Good for you. And how did you feel throughout that process? Like right? Did you always have faith that was going to be great? Or…
Becky: 09:07 I felt good because I was really focused and there was a few times where I started to get like my old self where I would start like, you know, looking ahead at marketing and I just kept being. It was almost like I had, you know, Spirit helping me saying just stop and go one step at a time. Like you could do this. And I felt good. I felt like every week I was just inspired by my son stories. He’d come home from school and it was like, oh, that’s the chapter I got to write this week. And it would fit into my outlet. You know, I would just pray on it and meditate on a topic that I felt like I needed to write about and I would get the ideas to share.
Laurie: 09:46 And how do you feel now? It’s done. It’s been done for a few months.
Becky: 09:49 I feel good. It’s almost like a relief. It’s like giving birth, I think. Oh, but you know, I guess it’s the whole animal of learning the marketing piece and that is, it’s intense too. It’s a learning curve. So it’s even though it’s out and you feel relief, it’s like, okay, now I got to get it into people’s hands because that’s the most important part. You can write the greatest book in the world, but if you don’t have people reading it. It’s not gonna do you any good.
Laurie: 10:19 Yes, it’s true. And the last statistic I heard was I think a thousand bucks being published a day on Amazon?
Becky: 10:26 I’m not sure…
Laurie: 10:27 You’re selling them online and on Amazon you have to make sure they get seen. Right? The visibility is so important. Yeah. Okay. So do you have advice to give to people going through the process, maybe sitting on a plane with a phone deciding if I should do this or if I should not do this?
Becky: 10:45 Yeah. So I think for me what worked really well was just having confidence that it is going to come together at the end and not needing to know exactly how and having to map it out with just being okay with taking it one step at a time. And now, and I, and in my book I mentioned this too, is that you want to journey to the top of a mountain. You don’t have to know exactly how to get there. You just have to take one step in the right direction and make that step happen and then continue and eventually you will get to where you have to go. And so for anyone out there that’s writing and they may look at, you know, all the different stuff and go, oh my gosh, it’s so overwhelming. It’s super overwhelming. But if they can just take it one step at a time and you know, use Youtube, use the Facebook writers groups for information just to help them along until they master that next step. And then they’ll look and they’ll eventually find what they need to do next. So take it slow. And then the other piece I think that’s really important is expect to look at writing a book like retirement investing.
Laurie: 11:54 Right?
Becky: 11:54 So for all my friends that like, you know, Oh, you’re an author, you’re going to be crushing it. And I’m like, oh, I don’t, that’s not what I’m hearing on Facebook or you know, I think people get this kind of warped reality of being an author. It’s a lot of work and time and energy and it’s a compounding effect. So you really have to invest your time and your energy consistently and be okay with, you know, maybe in the beginning not making money, just investing in yourself and in your brand and in your books and know that if you’re consistent and you’re doing all the things you need to do, it’s going to build eventually. And, and, you know, be worth it for sure.
Laurie: 12:34 When you retire. If you’re an author, you never have to retire, right? You can just work for forever. I met a 79 year old writer last week at a conference, which was pretty cool. Very cool. Can write forever. I don’t know if you want to market forever, right?
Becky: 12:53 I mean, I love that idea that you know, you’re doing something you love and then you’re putting it out there and once you kind of figure it out, the more books you write, the more powerful it becomes because you start to have people see one title and they’ll see another title and it’s like a compounding effect. So …
Laurie: 13:07 Do you have plans for more books?
Becky: 13:10 I do, yes.
Laurie: 13:11 Okay. So are you waiting until a certain time or waiting until it feels right or…
Becky: 13:17 I’ve already started writing them. I’d have to again work going back to my…
Laurie: 13:22 Four hours a week. Yes.
Becky: 13:26 Yes. When I can fit it in. But I’d like to stick with the Magic of Me theme. I want to do a book that is for younger children and reach that age group. And I also would like to do a book for Moms so that those were my two areas that I’d like to do.
Laurie: 13:41 So this book is for about nine to 12?
Becky: 13:45 About that eight to 12 range. But definitely I’ve had like six year olds come up to me and tell me they’ve loved the books. So I think it can go a little younger and I think you know, a little higher.
Laurie: 13:56 Okay. And you also did a journal.
Becky: 13:59 Yes.
Laurie: 14:00 So was that a plan right from the beginning or did that come about after?
Becky: 14:04 No, that was like in the last hour pretty much I realized that, you know what, I really could, could pull this off and do a second book with kids are getting the Kindle version, they’re not having that opportunity to have those beautiful journal pages that I’ve included in the paperback book. So I figured that if they got the Kindle version and they didn’t want to get the full paper back, they could do just the, the journal part or if parents have multiple children and they want to do it as a read aloud. Just for different reasons or some people don’t like to write in their books. So this just gives options to have like a separate thing, a book for just the writing component.
Laurie: 14:47 I think that’s terrific. That was really a great idea. And then when you see them, Amazon and they’re side by side and they’re both so beautiful. Good for you. So tacky question. How many dollar signs have you made? And you kinda just said not so many, but you, have a really cool what you wrote to me. You’ve already sent the kids?
Becky: 15:13 Yes.
Laurie: 15:13 So yeah, tell me about that.
Becky: 15:15 I’m very blessed and you know, I knew that initially this was going to be an investment and I have a very strong belief in giving back. So I think I don’t even know exactly what I made. I know I’ve sold 400 books about. Okay. I probably made about $1,200 or so and I partnered up with this woman in Uganda, her name is Esther and I used some of those funds to send the kids to school there and her orphanage.
Laurie: 15:46 That is great. Good for you. So you’re only a few months from having published, you’ve just kind of recouped your costs, it sounds like you’re already sending kids to school. Like…
Becky: 15:58 I got a lot more to go before I recoup my costs but that’s okay.
Laurie: 16:02 Oh do you?
Becky: 16:03 A little more to go.
Laurie: 16:03 Oh okay sorry.
Becky: 16:03 I had to get the book formatted too and that, you know, that was another piece that I didn’t do on my own. So that is an additional cost.
Laurie: 16:12 And did you use 99 Designs for that?
Becky: 16:14 I used the Upwork. Is it Upwork?
Laurie: 16:17 Yep. Yeah.
Becky: 16:18 Oh, okay. Well that’s good to know. So you haven’t even recouped your cost and you’re already sending kids to school.
Becky: 16:28 Yeah I gotta give first.
Laurie: 16:28 Oh, I love, I love to hear that. Okay. So I think we’re about done. Do you have one last thing to or share a piece of advice or Rah Rah for people like get out and do it?
Becky: 16:40 I just think that, you know, this is, I think my book’s a really great holiday present, so if you’re looking for a great book for the holidays to give to your Kiddos, I know corny book plug, but hey, you know, we gotta do it gotta recoup the cost.
Laurie: 16:57 Yeah. Gotta send the kids to school.
Becky: 16:59 It’s perfect just to inspire kids and uplift them and I think we need more of that. I mean a lot of our books now a days are based on fear and some topics that are I don’t always think are so appropriate, you know, you have parents that are maybe not realizing the contents of the book, so I think you have to kind of preview what you’re sharing with your kids and remember that you want to inspire them and uplift them and give them stuff that just makes them feel good about themselves.
Laurie: 17:27 Yes. I love that. Everybody needs that. I look forward to seeing your next two books as well.
Becky: 17:34 Thank you. Yes.
Laurie: 17:35 Okay. Thanks for chatting with me today and best of luck to you and I’ll share. Do you want to just quickly share your website and your Facebook page? But I’ll put it in the links as well.
Becky: 17:44 That would be great. So my website is authorbcummings.com. And my Facebook page is author Becky Cummings.
Laurie: 17:53 Okay, super. So everybody, go find Becky. Get those Christmas books. Okay. Thanks Becky.
Becky: 17:59 Have a good day.
Laurie: 18:00 You too.
Outro: 18:02 You’ve been listening to the Wrighter’s Way Podcast. For show notes, links to guests information, and to learn more about the Wrighter’s Way check out Lauriewrighter.com. Until next week, enjoy this chapter of your life.