The Janine Bolon Show with Yvonne Divita - 99 Authors Project, Season 3, Episode 12

The 99 Authors Project – Season 3 – Episode 12 with Yvonne DiVita

Yvonne DiVita

Yvonne comes from years of working in the print and publishing industry. In Windsor Media Enterprises, her first company (WME Books), she was a print-on-demand publisher. She worked hand in hand with business professionals coaching them as they composed their ideas into what we call “Book as Business Card”.  She worked with astonishingly talented women, and some remarkable men, telling the stories of who they are beyond the business or public face – and then published their work using print on demand technology.

That business introduced her to blogging. My first blog, Lipsticking, is still popular today with marketers and women looking for advice on being successful online. That led to pet blogging (which is a much longer story!) and, with her husband, Tom, my daughter, Chloe, and another pet blogger, Yvonne Co-founded an online influencer community called BlogPaws. For close to 10 years, BlogPaws was her whole life. The company hosted national blogging events and became a successful marketing company for pet products and services for some major pet brands, and some new start-ups.

In 2015, Yvonne  was honored with the award of Woman of the Year in “Women in the Pet Industry Network.” It’s an honor she cherishes and holds close to her heart, to this day.

Following BlogPaws, which became a part of a Fortune 500 company, Yvonne returned to her writing roots. Today, she works with smart, talented women and men helping them write books, tell stories, and transform lives; their lives and the lives of their readers.

Yvonne’s latest book, The HOW TO WRITE A BOOK Book, co-authored with her husband Tom, is a how-to comparing the writing of a book to the building of a house. 

Yvonne is working on How to Write a Book Book II focused on creative nonfiction storytelling.

Transcript of the Show

Bryan Hyde
Welcome to the Janine Bolon show, where we share tips from around the globe. As we guide practical people with their finances using money tips, increase their incomes through side businesses, and maintain their sanity by staying in their creative zone.

Janine Bolon
Hello and welcome to the show. You may or may not know that the Janine Bolon show is the syndicated program of four separate podcasts that were combined in October of 2021. My team and I merged all of these programs into one. And up until that point, we have been running four separate podcast called Three Minute Money Tips, The Thriving Solopreneur, The Writers Hour, Creative Conversations, and The Practical Mystic Show. Today, we will be highlighting one of 99 authors that we are interviewing over the course of this year to receive their guidance and their perspective on how you can get your message, your story or your memoir out into the world. Many of you have been told you should write a book about your life experience. Well, these 99 authors that I am interviewing over this next year, were prompted to write their stories and they did. Even every single one of them will tell you what got them going writing and then they will share with you what worked when selling their books, what most importantly, didn’t work and the things that they wish they had known before they became published authors. Today I am interviewing you Yvonne DiVita, who comes to us with years of working in print and publishing industry. She started off with Windsor Media Enterprises, which was her first company, and she was a print on demand publisher. She worked hand in hand with business professionals and coaching them on creating their particular book as a business card. That business introduced her to blogging her first blog Lip Sticking, is still popular today with people looking to being successful online. She was then lead to pet blogging with her husband Tom and her daughter Chloe, another pet blogger and they co founded an online influencer community called Blog Paws. For close to 10 years Blog Paws was her whole life, the company hosted national blogging events and became a successful marketing company for pet products and services for some of the major pet brands, and some of the new startups. In 2015, this was so cool. She was honored with the award of Woman of the Year in the Women in Pet Industry Network. So following Blog Paws, which became a part of a fortune 500 company, Yvonne returned to her writing roots, and today, she assists talented people in writing their books, telling their stories, and helping them transform the lives of their readers as well as their own lives. So, welcome to the show Yvonne.

Yvonne DiVita
Oh, Janine, I am so excited to be here. Thank you so much. This is really you know, this is after my own heart. This is a subject that I could talk about endlessly.

Janine Bolon
I know, right? It’s one of those things. It’s like anything I could do to help the next author’s life be a little bit easier. You know, that is what we’re here to talk about today. So, for starters, this is one of my favorite questions to ask, and that is, do you write under your full name?

Yvonne DiVita
Sort of, well, so my name Yvonne DiVita, I don’t know how funny I can get. DiVita is my married, ex-husband’s name, and people say why did you keep your married name when you got divorced, and I say it’s in case I ever get arrested. But the truth of the matter is, the children were young, people knew me as Yvonne DiVita. And as my entrepreneurship world grew, and I started writing, that’s the name I used, and it has become my brand. So I write under Yvonne DiVita. It’s me.

Janine Bolon
Right. You get me. I asked that because there is that moment when we are all writing where we have that moment of, do I want to put my name on the cover of this book? Do you remember that moment for yourself?

Yvonne DiVita
Well, you know, what I think is that it depends on the type of books. So, for my book, I wanted my name on the cover because I wanted people to recognize that this was something that I was passionate about. Yvonne DiVita was taking a stance and putting her foot down. And I have since thought, gee, I might like to dive into fiction someday, and I might use a pen name if I do that.

Janine Bolon
I thank you so much for answering that question, because frequently I have authors tell me all kinds of background stories. And one of the things that I’ve noticed has been that most of the nonfiction authors pick their own name, because it is a part of their branding, it’s what they want to be known for doing. But it’s fascinating to me that when you move into the fictional world, that’s where the pen names start popping up, and I always thought that was a little bit humorous. So, out of curiosity, did you have a marketing background before you started writing?

Yvonne DiVita
No, I did not, so, what I knew was sales. So, when I went into becoming an entrepreneur, I was helping sell myself to other online businesses because I was a web content writer at that time. So, I figured I knew sales, sales and marketing, but they couldn’t be any different. What I perceived when I was writing my book was that in the online world in 2005, people were not marketing to women, and that was what my book was about. It was about marketing to women who shop online. And so, I did have a little bit of help, I had someone who helped me at least with the title and to teach me a little bit about the concept of marketing, so that I could write the book and be credible. And so, Janine, I have to tell people, because everyone gets a big laugh about it. The book was about Dick and Jane, and pulling people out of the Dick and Jane world of the 1950s, and teaching them marketing in the 21st century, and I called the book Dickless Marketing.

Janine Bolon
I love that. You kind of have to do that, right? You have to get that hook in there, and that’s a perfect way to do that.

Yvonne DiVita
Yes, and that was my first foray into marketing, and when I started to see, hey, this is something here, this marketing stuff.

Janine Bolon
So, what most surprised you about the book marketing process?

Yvonne DiVita
The amount of time that it takes. Now, like many people in the very beginning, I thought, well, this will be easy. I know I can talk, and I have this website and this blog called Lipsticking, everybody loves it, this is going to be a piece of cake. But it really does take a focus, and it does take time, you can’t just do it willy nilly. You can’t just think that because five hundred people know me, that’s okay, I don’t have to do anything else. So, I was really surprised at the amount of time it took.

Janine Bolon
And what would you change, if you started marketing your book today?

Yvonne DiVita
I would change the focus that I had in the sense that I would have a focus. I would not just think, again, that a book can help sell itself by you just going… I was speaking at local networking groups and places like that, which is what I recommend all the time. But, I would actually sit down and have a focus and a strategy and say, okay, what are my goals? And what do I want to achieve here? And then if I can’t do the things that need to happen, who do I know that can? Or how do I find someone else who can?

Janine Bolon
Makes a lot of sense. And this is one of the questions that I know a lot of people want to hear the answer to? What worked best for you? I mean, how did you sell the most books?

Yvonne DiVita
I got out there in front of people, I really did. Luckily, it was via the internet at that time, but I did a lot of local. So, I’m big on getting in front of people locally, because guess what, all those local people know someone in your region and the regional people know someone in the national. So, once you get out there and actually make an effort to get in front of local business groups, networking groups, places where you can speak and talk about the topic of the book, you don’t sell the book, you don’t talk about the book, you talk about why you wrote it and what it’s supposed to do, then you get done, you get what you need done.

Janine Bolon
I had something similar, you and I were writing about the same time, and I had to go to local radio stations, and then I would run down the street to the local bookstore and give them my books. And inevitably, there were people that would walk through the door. Now true, this is 2005 to 2009, and the internet is not what it is today. So, but that is true. I did sell the most books, I sold seven thousand copies by doing that in one year. And that was just running the radio station. So, I totally agree with what you said about that.

Yvonne DiVita
People need to know that seven thousand is a lot of books, because Janine, the average author today sells 280 books.

Janine Bolon
Oh, wow. Okay, thank you for that data point. I appreciate it. So, this is my favorite story to talk about on myself is, what process did you try that was an epic failure in selling your books?

Yvonne DiVita
Gee, that’s a hard one, but I’ll tell you the process that I tried was just doing it via a newsletter that I had. I thought, gee, I’ve got all these people on my newsletter, surely this is all I have to do. And I’m going to put this out and talk about my book. And again, I talked about my book instead of talking about what the book was about, and how it was going to help people. I spent too much time on talking about the book to my newsletter.

Janine Bolon
Wow, okay. That’s a good point though a lot of people will make that mistake. So, you’ve saved people a lot of time already by that answer. Now, what story do you like to tell about yourself, that gets the most laughs from your target audience?

Yvonne DiVita
Oh, gee, I guess when I think about it, the story that gets the most laughs is the one that I told you a little earlier about being a Yvonne DiVita. People look at me, and they… I’m recognized across the web because of blog posts and other things that I’ve done, and they don’t know that DiVita is my ex husband’s name. And I tell people all the time that the reason I kept it was because in case I ever get arrested. Yeah, and it’s the name I put on everything, and it’s the name that I’m actually proud of now, because my children are DiVitas, and that means a lot to me. And I still though, like to tell that story because people laugh.

Janine Bolon
Yeah, it gives a giggle, and that’s one of the things that as authors, you know, you may not see yourself as very funny, but when you get out on the speaking circuit, when you notice that the one story that you tell is the one that people laugh at the most, keep saying that story, right? Keep sharing that story with people.

Yvonne DiVita
It makes you human. Right?

Janine Bolon
It really does. It really brings your audience with you. So what was the biggest change that you saw in yourself, when you started marketing your book?

Yvonne DiVita
The biggest change was in my ability to get out in front of people and speak. Because again, I had this perception that I wrote a book and the book could stand for itself, and you know, I wouldn’t have to sell it. But I was asked to speak, and when I accepted, how could I say no, when somebody asks you to come and speak about the topic, the topic that your book is about, and the topic is something I’m passionate about. So, I got up in front of people, and I learned how to speak, and by the way, in order to do that I attended Toastmasters.

Janine Bolon
Oh, I did too. That was exactly how I got my training Toastmasters. Very helpful. So if you don’t mind sharing with us, what are the top five tips that you would give authors today when it comes to selling their books?

Yvonne DiVita
Okay, number one, first and foremost, most important tip of all, is start marketing that book, as soon as you start writing that book. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, don’t be afraid to get pieces of it out in front of people. Number two, make sure your cover design is well done, and the way you do this is you share it, you share it. If you’re afraid, pick 10, 15, 20 beta people and share it with them. But I would share it on Facebook, let your Facebook followers see it, let them pick the cover that they like best. Number three, make sure you have a plan. So, what is your plan to market your book, and part of that plan is who is the book for. Janine, I don’t know about you, but I talk to people all the time who say to me, my book is for everyone. And I say, well isn’t that nice? I’m so happy for you. However, we’re going to kind of drill down there and figure out who the main group of people are, that this book is for, because they’re going to help you sell the book. Was that number three?

Janine Bolon
Yes.

Yvonne DiVita
Then, so, number four, make sure that the blurb that you have on your author Amazon page is well done. You need a hook in that very first sentence, if you don’t hook the reader in that very first sentence, they’re not going to read the rest of that blurb. And number five, make sure you’re on Amazon. A lot of people today are like, down on Amazon, they don’t want to go there. They don’t want to sell their book there. But I’ll tell you, Amazon’s the big gorilla in the room, and you have to be on Amazon. So, get yourself on Amazon. Get yourself a good author page, and make sure the blurb copy for your book is well done.

Janine Bolon
Thank you so much. And for those of you who may or may not know, Yvonne does a lot of work with authors, and so she knows what she’s talking about. I have actually referred people to her that wanted me to teach them how to write their book, and I was like, no, you want to be talking to somebody who this is their business. So, I just wanted to let you know a little bit about that. So, Yvonne, what is the one thing that you most misunderstood about being an author, when you look back on your early career?

Yvonne DiVita
I think I misunderstood how easy I thought it was. So, I wrote my first novel, Janine, in seventh grade and another novel when I was in high school. So, I had words flowing out of me all over the place. But then when I started looking at the passion of writing a book that was going to help other people get published, it wasn’t that easy, because I really had to say to myself, now you’re not serving your purposes, this isn’t a isn’t a fun little story, you’re telling people. You’re actually creating something that people can use and will use to get their books published. And it was a little bit harder than I expected it to be, not that it wasn’t fun, and we didn’t get it done. But it did take longer.

Janine Bolon
Right. Okay. And last question today, what is the primary thing, that was your biggest reward about being an author?

Yvonne DiVita
Meeting so many other people who are either writing or want to write a book. And you know, they say to me, wow, you know, you wrote a book. Immediately when you write a book, you become this bigger than life character in people’s worlds. And, the most joy I get is meeting people who say, can you help me write a book? And I say, yes, I can.

Janine Bolon
Wonderful. And then that’s it. Yvonne, has answered our 13 questions and has got more information in store for you. Not only about her latest work, but you can find her on our website. Yvonne, where can people go to learn more about what you do?

Yvonne DiVita
My website is www.nurturingbigideas.com, because that’s what I do. I don’t dictate things. I nurture you along the path to getting your book written, and produced, and up on Amazon. So, www.nurturingbigideas.com.

Janine Bolon
Well, thank you so much for your time today as our spotlighted author, Yvonne. And this is Janine Bolon signing off with you today and all of us here at the eight gates that produces the Janine Bolon show. We wish you a wonderful week and encourage you to get your message, your story, or your knowledge out into the world and make it a better place just like these authors are doing as they help new authors coming along behind them. We’ll see you again next week, and until then, keep sharing what you know with others, keep shining that light that is you and don’t forget to go out today and do something for yourself that’s just plain fun. We’ll see you next week.

Bryan Hyde
Thank you for listening to the Janine Bolon show. Be sure to subscribe to our show notes by going to www.theJanineBolonshow.com, where you’ll find additional resources as well as the opportunity to sign up to receive our program in your email each week. Be sure to visit our sponsor at www.the8gates.com.

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