SPS 200: To The Girl Who Wants To Write Books About Her Faith with Grace Valentine

Posted on Mar 8, 2023

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Written by Chandler Bolt

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Chandler Bolt [00:00:04] Chandler Bolt here and joining me today is Grace Valentine. Grace is an author, blog blogger, a podcast host and a speaker. She’s the author of the book Is It Just Me and her upcoming book to the Girl Looking for More. Her readers love that. She’s so relatable. They say her fresh voice helps them navigate their own faith in life, which helps her fulfill her mission to show others that Christianity is an adventure worth living. So today we’re going to be talking about she’s launched multiple books successfully, including getting a book deal at the young age. And so we get a lot of different pieces that we can we can be talking about in this interview. And she’s got an upcoming book. So we kind of get a little bit of a behind the scenes of what she’s doing to last. This next book. Next book. Grace, welcome. Great to have you here.

Grace Valentine [00:00:52] I’m so excited to be here, Chandler! And this is such a cool resource that you have going on. And so I’m honored to be a part of it, even if it’s just this one little podcast. So I’m thankful for everyone listening and the ministry you have in this publishing industry.

Chandler Bolt [00:01:06] Thanks. Thanks. I appreciate it. So I guess, for starters, why books?

Grace Valentine [00:01:12] You know, honestly, three out.

Chandler Bolt [00:01:13] You got one more on the way.

Grace Valentine [00:01:14] Like, obviously I like it. Yeah. And it’s not just to make money at this point. I honestly. Gosh, I am so 26 forever listening. So I know I’m younger and my first book came out right after I graduated college and I got the publishing deal while I was in college. I started blogs and it did well and I honestly was so naive when I was young and I want to write a book. I was like, God called me to writing a book like It’s going to happen. And I, I think how naive I was really helped me and protected me that I didn’t look at the stats and think it couldn’t be me. You know, I just very much was like, Oh, I feel this in my heart is a desire and I feel like it’s for a good reason. And I love the quote. Be who you needed when you were younger. And that just really resonated with me. And I’m like, You know what? I want to write almost like the Survival Guide or something that helps younger woman, especially people in college, people in high school, even people recently post grad. And so that’s kind of why books and I’m like a girl who grew up on Taylor Swift, too. Like, I like words are powerful. Taylor Swift was my queen growing up. Still is and going to the big tour. And so I just really realized that storytelling is a beautiful gift and an art, and I can’t sing, so you’ll never hear a song from me. But I was like, How cool would it be to like for me? Also, religion in the Bible have been like a great tool for me that helped comforted me and been there for me in hard times. And so I was like, How could it be if I told a story of my own life? But really it’s a story in the Bible and it’s not going to be like Taylor Swift’s song ask, but it’d be opening my life up in a way that was still respecting, you know, boundaries and everything. But yeah, that was kind of my heart behind it a little bit.

Chandler Bolt [00:02:49] Cool. That’s awesome. I love that. So you’re clear? Clear on who you’re writing to, Clear on what the book’s about. I think that’s a really smart I love the structure of. All right, There’s a story from the Bible story of personal life, and it’s kind of making making Scripture more attainable. You talked about, you know, first book, I think you said first book at 22 or.

Grace Valentine [00:03:11] How it came out at 20. I signed my publishing deal. Gosh. And, you know, I thought so all the time. Like, I was like, I am so wise. I look back on like, why did they sign me? Thank you, guys. But I signed my first publishing deal when I was 21, so I was really young, You know, it came out when I was maybe 22, actually signing when I was 20. I want to say I actually signed it when I was 20 and it came out when I was 22. And so crazy to think about now.

Chandler Bolt [00:03:39] That’s nice. So how did you get a publishing deal at 20 years old?

Grace Valentine [00:03:43] Yeah, I you know, I really don’t know. I used to work for some websites that were like that would do funny pieces for them. This is before, like God Soft in My Heart. And then I suddenly started writing my own blog and it was doing really well. And I used some of the funny pieces brought to my blog, but then add some more spiritual pieces. And I did some of those Christian pieces on those blogs, and then suddenly other websites started to reach out like thought catalog, which they’d be like, Can we take out the Bible verse? And I was a firm believer, and I will allow anyone to take out a Bible verse if that’s going to set it, because maybe they’ll come on my blog and I’ll see Scripture like I’m all for like the idea of, you know, what a cool opportunity to be, that I’ll respect their platform and what they want to do and maybe make it a little different. And so then like for every mom, like mom blogs and they would always ask me to contribute. And I remember there was the original website I was working for asked for more, like they want to own my writing. They were like, This is so great, we’ll pay you more, but we want to own it. And in my head I was like, I think God very much made it clear. He was like, What if you write this in a book like you don’t want to give away your writing now? And I was like, You know, you’re right. And then I just my friend, I was with her yesterday, actually, who’s known me since I was saying I want to write a book when I was like 1918. I bought books on Amazon saying how to write a book like traditionally publish. I bought a book of like 101 literary agents, and I just emailed them all like, very eager, and one randomly thought I was worth it. I had like my blog views, and at that point it was 2 million, but I didn’t have a crazy social media following. But I think I just knew, you know, let me talk about what I do have. And I there’s some things I don’t have, but like, I don’t have a famous family. I never was on a reality show, never cried about a boy on TV like, you know, I didn’t have any of those things. And that’s okay. I just talked about what I did, having to give things that God had given me. And even using the same thing, like people said I was too young to do it, and some publishers and some agents didn’t want me because I was too young. And I remember feeling, you know, their loss, like I think my age can almost help me in some ways because they can see me as a friend, you know, they can see me as a big sister, not as someone older. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But just like when you’re older, you have wisdom to bring like there’s something that you have that the young people don’t. And so I think I just very much elevated myself when talking to them with a lot of confidence about the things they did have and that even the weaknesses they saw were things that God was going to use for his strength. And so like my agent disqualify me because that only made me more relatable to some of them, even though it did disqualify some publishers. And so that was very much the trick in the process.

Chandler Bolt [00:06:07] Mm hmm. That’s great. And I think the thing that that I don’t want people to gloss over is reading the books and reaching out to 100 literary agents. And these people didn’t just find you. You put in the work to get the book in front of people. I think that’s really awesome. Grace, You talked about, okay, writing for different blogs and stuff and saying, Hey, can we take out that Bible verse, that sort of thing? When it came to your book, did you struggle with like, Hey, how, how much of my faith should I put in the book? Should I go? Like, was that ever an issue? And what are your what’s your take on that? Because I know for a lot of people that like that’s a that’s a tricky, tricky thing. It’s like, all right, do I write an overtly faith based book? Was like, very clear. This is the book about my faith Christianity. Do I do a hybrid? Do I kind of try to sneak it in there? Like what? How did you settle on what was best for you?

Grace Valentine [00:06:58] Yeah, you know what? I think it really depends on seasons, and I’m very thankful that most of my followers are not the typical church girls. Like right now I speak a lot and those are my main followers. And I go to a lot of houses like I’ve been to churches and I’ve spoken at youth groups, but like I would go to like Bama, sorry, Old Ro and show up and I have some speaking gigs coming up around the time this comes out. And it’s such a cool opportunity, I think, because it’s not where they ever expected to meet Jesus, probably in a sweaty house, like they probably didn’t expect that. But I love that I can use my relate ability and I don’t just immediately start, say, repent you crazy authority girls. But I as a former sorority girl, I will relate to them like share a story and then talk about scripture. And so in my first book, actually God wasn’t mentioned on the title at all, and that was purposeful. It’s called Am I Not Embracing the Truth About Who You Are? And that book did very well, and it’s now even translated into Dutch, which I don’t know why Dutch I don’t know if it’s because I’m blond headed and they’re like, Oh, she’s one of those, you know. But I mean, I was very excited about that. That was purposeful because I feel like I relate. I grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana, or like the suburbs. I relate to a lot of the people who aren’t as much like Bible Belt like or or people who are confident in reading Scripture. I don’t want them to think it’s going to be boring. And so I’m a firm believer that I’m a firm believer that it is so good to always have arms that are open wide to people from all different walks. But that doesn’t mean you need to negate something that you feel called you. My third book was called What They Think, and it says Nine Women in the Bible who can help you live life boldly. That but I purposely decided because this isn’t the big sister of all the other books. This is for the girls who are ready to dig deep into a certain kind of study. And so I think it just depends on the book and remembering that your first book won’t be your last. If you feel like you’re called to be an author, like there’ll be plenty of times you write a Bible study to write that. But sometimes also the first book you do, right, you have to think of that one like, Who is your person? I, I play a game when I write and I’m like, like, obviously I like to write to high schoolers post-grad college, but who is like my main target? And I’m like, her name is Mary Kate. She is from, you know, south like south Mississippi or she’s from Tennessee. She didn’t grow up going to church. Maybe she went to VBS growing up, but she stopped going to church. Her parents are divorced. She started drinking when she was 16 and like, dated a guy like, you know, I try to think of, like, who she would be and what would she look at on the bookshelves and pick up, you know, what would Mary take? And this is it based off a real person. This is based off who my niche in my target demographic is. And so I’m actually me like have Mary Kate’s friends who older or younger find it feel like that’s my heart behind it. So I do think who would she? But then by my third book, I was like, I hope Mary Kate’s ready for something a little more scripture based like, so this is the next the next thing. And so that’s my heart. But I think it’s so important that everyone just pray about it and think of who they are. If your person is like already going to church but feeling dry in their faith, they might want more scripture, like they might want more Bible throughout it because they’re tired of just hearing. John 316 But if you are also trying to reach someone who has. Never walked into church. They’re probably not ready to hear about the tabernacle or like, you know, Old Testament. Things like that might scare them. And so just discern who that one in that niche is and think about what they would want.

Chandler Bolt [00:10:13] That’s great. That’s really great. How do you do that? Like, how did you get so clear on Mary Kay and any tips for people who are struggling with like I want, right, everyone. Like this book is going to help everyone. Like, how did you get clear and how can we get clear on exactly who they’re writing to?

Grace Valentine [00:10:31] Yeah. Honestly, it was trial and error. Like, I started seeing, like, what my gifting were, because actually, I you know, I think a lot of people when I first started, I was like, I can relate to everyone, like the young girls, all girls. Everyone would come to my page and feel seen. And then I started to just like, write more niche things. And that’s what my following grew on social media to. I’d be like, But, you know, I should realizing I’ve in this already, Rush. Not as many people have in the industry. It’s around August. I know what girls are feeling because I’ve been there putting on lipstick in an outfit, running around the house, trying to look cute and being so anxious. I never be like, I’m going to do something for the girl going to Shawty Rash. And that blew up. That was one of the things that really blew me up. And I think it’s because there was nothing else where it was something I could relate to. And at that point I’m like, You know what? I have a heart for girls who are similar to me. Like I looked at my own story and thought, What can I relate to? And so that is very much, I think, how it started when I created that plan was like Mary Kate. Like, you know, this is what she’s going through. This is her belief. And so I think it’s also when you look at your own life and those little things that you grew up as missionaries kid, you know, maybe you should try to create curriculum for them when they’re feeling like there’s no one who understands, like you grew up in foster care. Like, is there any right now material for people in foster care, you know, trying to think of those things first and then letting God expand it after and letting it also expand to see, you know, there’s also going to be other things that you may not have gone through that you have a heart for. And so I first would try to write for everyone and I would do broad titles or a broad post on my blog or everything. But when I really started to think like, man, like I care about the overwhelmed college student who stressed about a final like, what can I write for them? That is what I was able to blow up. And so I think there’s a quote that says, You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. And I think with writing that’s so important, like you can you could do anything, like you could write for little kids and do a fun like Miss Rachel, like the YouTube, but Christian version, whatever it is. But you can’t do that and appeal to the moms because you won’t be good at both. And so try to find out who you feel like is your main purpose in letting God expand on that.

Chandler Bolt [00:12:42] MM That’s so great. Such great advice. And I think that’s an area that a lot of authors struggle is getting clear on that one person that you’re writing to. So this is funny, You’re talking about the process that we, we talk about all the time. It’s the four piece of a best bestselling book person Pain, Promise, Price and this person thing. And I love how how how clearly you articulated that. It’s like one person and it’s very specific. And so I think that’s a great takeaway for people who are listening to this, writing their book. I want to continue I’m sorry.

Grace Valentine [00:13:16] I want to get that again person in. What’s the promise, Right? That genius. Oh, my God, That’s it. That’s what I did. But you actually put it in alliteration. I heard about this.

Chandler Bolt [00:13:29] But I think a funny thing about books is, is they force you to create concepts and frameworks where we had always kind of talked about that. But when I was writing this is the second edition of my book or one of my books, and I was like, All right, there needs to be a framework where people just remember that that gets to memorable, right? And so the person is, who’s the one person that you’re writing to? And I always recommend like it’s a person that you actually know in your life and then you write them. What’s the pain that they have that they know? That was the promise that you’re making through this book. And then the price point is pretty, pretty straightforward depending on the book and genre and all that stuff, right? And so I love that you articulated that and you did that so clearly. And I can imagine that’s how you know, and part of the reason you were able to get able to get a book deal at such a young age. I want to backtrack into that a little bit. Did you did you do a one book deal? And then it did so well and they said, hey, we want to sign you for more books. Was it a multi book deal from the start? How did that work?

Grace Valentine [00:14:30] Yeah, it was a one book deal. They’re like, Let’s give this girl one shot. I was lucky to get that shot. And I remember, you know what’s interesting too? I always joke I had almost the same amount of preorders that I did when I my following grew and for later books because I just was full on, like, I’m going to give this My all and everyone around me supported me. So I, I think there’s something so beautiful about that, that first chance you get and going. So focusing on that message and not giving up, I don’t think you’re oversaturated. You’re like bogus bully. Like, give it your. And that’s the book that’s published in Dutch. Now, you know, and I publish a lot more books with more following, but that book that I did in my college house with seven girls like that is one that is able to keep going. And so and the other ones have done well. But I think that’s like the beautiful thing of all. But yeah, just a one book deal. And then I think they had a second book option, so they technically were willing to talk about one, but they weren’t, they weren’t banking on it, that’s for sure.

Chandler Bolt [00:15:27] And they did the first one just sell so well, That’s why they want to do it.

Grace Valentine [00:15:31] I mean, I you know, I sometimes I talk like I do a lot of this stuff, but I’m still learning the terminology. But I do think it like their predictions. Like in six months it outdid their predictions, which is a big deal. Granted, their predictions weren’t that crazy. I think I was like, I think naturally you write your first book like I can make the New York Times. Like, I know it, I guess. And I was like, Oh, my predictions were down They go, You’re actually doing really well. I’m like, Oh, really? Like, you know, I was like, I was disappointed, but okay, like, it took me a while, you know, I was working a full time job. I was struggling in post-grad. I was struggling with bills like and I think anyone in the book world knows it doesn’t neatly just pay you like crazy. If anything like you’re you’re still juggling. Now speaking has become a great resource for me to do alongside my book. But I waited another year and a half, if not more, till I even submitted another book deal when they they were asking for it. They’re like, Have you thought about these? And E And it’s cool because I think I need that time to wait for my next message. I needed to like, grow in a lot of area areas. And naturally now I look back on my first book, I’m like, Oh, do I cringe a little bit? Like it’s so cool that God use that to lead me to like now way more, you know? And recently, like the Diva book I’m releasing soon, that was a two book deal with Thomas Nelson and it only had two book tops that was like I was like guaranteed two books. Like you made it. So I’m hoping in the future that my next deal will be more like four books is what I’m. Yeah.

Chandler Bolt [00:16:58] And the two book deal is that two devotionals? Is that the what will they think? And then to the girl looking for more or was.

Grace Valentine [00:17:04] It all they think was certainly not devotional but it was more about that it was a trade book but it was they knew it was going to be more Bible for me than normal. And that was the purpose in my devotional, is I look at it like almost like all three. My first books were question titles and that was purpose. And I’m like, what will they think was kind of closing it out? So first was A-minus. I, like most young girls, need to realize that they’re not because of Christ, not from the world. Then is it just me? Like, are you alone in this? And then that was the answer’s no. Like there’s a God with you. And it’s also people who need your story. And the last one was what will they think in the whole idea of that was as a woman living life bold and not caring what people think. Like if you ask what will they think before you write a book, you know you’re going to miss out. I even on my first book, it was one chapter. I was like, Well, I don’t want my grandma to read it, so I’m going to write a different. And then I asked my publisher last minute. I was like, Can you can I go back and change it? And they were so nice because I was still new and they let me change it. But right before it was published and they’re like, Yeah, we agree. I wish you would’ve told me earlier, but, but so the idea of like, if you care, people think you’re going to miss out on like living your purpose. And so that was the closure of this and this new devotionals to the girl looking for more. I look at it as like almost just like Everyday Walk and based off my Instagram, like the many books like To the Girl are going to change the girl feeling overwhelmed too. The girl ready to shine bright like whatever it may be. It’s supposed to be like a daily thing that they put in to want to that and have all those questions answered. And it kind of talks about it all.

Chandler Bolt [00:18:29] Yeah, that’s cool. And it’s kind of fun having this whole thing come. Was my mentor an advisor for self-publishing dot com is Michael Hyatt who used to run Thomas Nelson. Yeah, Yeah.

Grace Valentine [00:18:42] Oh my gosh. I’m sorry. That just gave me chills. I’m sure you are. You can tell him if you ever talk to him. I was like, in college, in my house, like looking at Michael Hyatt’s resources for how to get published, like, and I can’t ever meet him, like, so. And that’s how it all started. People listening to this, like, it starts with research. Like people ask me how I got published, like I researched, I figured it out like I was 19, but I was a little too eager and I just poured material into myself so I knew what to do.

Chandler Bolt [00:19:09] That’s cool. That’s cool. I just talked to him yesterday. I’ll talk to him in two weeks. I’ll let him know.

Grace Valentine [00:19:14] Yeah, I’m here because of him.

Chandler Bolt [00:19:16] That’s fine. That’s fun. Full circle. Now, you just casually mentioned this on in our talk just now and then I see it in your Instagram bio is the author of many books and real books, and you use that term many books. Are these like self-published small books or no, how do you call many books?

Grace Valentine [00:19:36] I so when I when I was trying to work on my social media, I think naturally and even publishers will be like, you should do what this person’s doing. And I would try to do what certain authors were doing it. It wouldn’t fit. So I tried the whole like laughing in the one pics that a lot of women authors do was not my thing did not work long. Captions are not my thing. Then I tried to do like. And I love Bob Gotham, his biggest fan. They actually like the one liners. Also not my thing and I finally just a. Honestly, it was like I tried to write down a piece of paper. What do I enjoy writing? Like, what can I do on social media that’s different and still keeps my brand and who I believe I am as a writer? And so I joked about why I love writing books, but like I knew all the mini books and I kind of started two years ago doing swipe to read things for girls. And that’s kind of what my devotional all it is. And so it might be like for the college girl over this week for the high school girls sick of it or the one when college sucks. I read this for the post-grad struggling to fit in and find a job or the one who hates their job. And then I’ll be like a little divo. And that’s kind of. And so I’ve called it mini books just because I’m like. I like books. Like writing many things on social media. And it kind of also I use that term purposefully and they all know it’s called mini books when I go speak. But that way they’re reminded that I have real books. And so hopefully, like, it’s like it puts the word book in their head that really isn’t it? So I’m hoping that also creates like the well, like your mini books, maybe I’ll like her real books. And so.

Chandler Bolt [00:20:57] That is the.

Grace Valentine [00:20:58] Strategy.

Chandler Bolt [00:20:58] And smart. I love that. That’s awesome.

Grace Valentine [00:21:02] Because they look at me as a social media writer. They may forget I’m an author. They’ll be like, She’s an influencer. I don’t want to ever take ads on Instagram. Like, I don’t want to be an influencer. That is my nightmare. Like, I don’t have any Amazon lists, but I want to be an author, so I have to do something on my social media and that connects to being an author.

Chandler Bolt [00:21:18] That’s cool. That’s cool. I like this. I see why you’re so relatable. Grace Yeah, I like the anti it’s kind of a fun play on like anti influencer. This is this is the way that I’m going to do it. And I think a lot of people relate to that. I want to I want to do both, but I also want to cue in on C, as you mentioned, speaking after the first book. And hey, you know, I think a lot of people know this. The book’s not going to make you rich, but it could. We always say it’s like this key that opens the door to Narnia Is this world of opportunities that exist for published authors in that place is magical. One of those things speaking right. So did you start getting speaking gigs after your first book? Did that pick up after multiple? Like how is that the main revenue stream today? Like, how does that work with the speaking in the books?

Grace Valentine [00:22:09] Well, also, so the best thing about me is I’ve learned I’ve always had multiple streams of income. So part of me is I still will randomly babysit like I’m 26 years old, so my friends are having babies. I’m like, you know, I’m not better than a Venmo $100 coming in, you know, like I still read to myself to teach. And it also, like, helps me. I like, do it once every two months because I get to see high school kids and what they’re thinking of. And that keeps me aware. But speaking is how I make the most revenue besides those two things and what helps keep the bills. After my first book, I’d get some request and I honestly knew nothing about it. So I was like, Do, yeah, I’ll go anywhere. Like. Like, what’s your fee? And like, am I like, I didn’t really know. And then I was working at a church at the time, so weekends were hard and I was a girls minister. And that also gave me good practice where I was able to practice on people locally, like for free. And I think that’s made me a better speaker and I like got to go to this thing in Nashville called Score, which helped me develop my speaking because my church sent me there. Really cool thing. I highly recommend it. Help me learn more about basically like what I’m talking about. But finally I think I would do some. And then after my second book, it picked up a lot more. And as my social media grew and as I also started thinking about my niche like and I, I been able to get more speaking gigs. So when I started just focusing also on the college girl now groups, No, Grace is good with College Girl, so we’ll send her to this college ministry. We’ll send her. I got a sorority houses and they pay me, you know. And how cool is it that a secular organization is paying this Christian Yahoo! Like, did you come out? And I still do like youth groups, youth ministries, women’s ministries, all that or even colleges sometimes will pay me just to talk about social media tips. And then I’ll like I’ll sneak cool opportunities. I just think that was kind of always that kind of just developed naturally. But the one big thing that has helped me and as it became more than I could handle and I’m really bad negotiating, that’s why I love having an agent. Like I will just sell myself short sometimes because I want to say yes. But one of my friends started answering and it’s like people I’m like, She’s my manager. Like, it’s really just my friend. I’ve noticed in school, Jessica, she makes 10% of my speaking gig fee. She negotiates it so she can help. I understand because sometimes it’s like, if it’s a big sorority, I’m going to want to say yes no matter what, because that what other better marketing for a diva book than sitting at a sorority house there? Very cool girls who might end up posting it. Like, that’d be great. I want to see it. Also, I have to respect myself as a speaker and as a business woman and as someone new in the industry and as a babysitter. Like you know that I need the money too, and it can’t be free. And so she deals with that. She negotiates for me and then she gets 10%. And I think that has been such a great system we have and it’s someone I trust. And I think sometimes in the field it’s so easy to start thinking like your first hire has to be someone so qualified because you don’t know everything. And I’m like, It just has to be someone you trust. Like Haley is someone that I trust to answer my emails. Like, she’s got my back. She will. She knows my heart. She knows my ministry. She can learn everything else we can we can be together. But knowing that the person answering and talking to these people is someone who knows me as a friend first and as a child of God, that means more to me.

Chandler Bolt [00:25:15] I love that concept. I mean, it sounds like a crazy new concept, but even just having someone that, you know, in your life, being your age, it to kind of jump over that free line going from I speak for free to it and it just makes it easier to get paid for those speaking gigs and they need to take you seriously.

Grace Valentine [00:25:35] You know, it’s like, Oh, Hayley, you know, and like Little US is like I’m like, based on like, okay, that sounds good, you know.

Chandler Bolt [00:25:42] Like a little bit of.

Grace Valentine [00:25:43] A fake. It’s kind of mentality.

Chandler Bolt [00:25:45] So but when I think it’s smart to incentivize them based on speaking fees that are but because then they’re incentivized and they make more money, the more you speak and the more money you make from your speaking gigs. So it’s it’s a win win all around. I like that structure.

Grace Valentine [00:26:01] You say one thing to you about speaking post pictures of you speaking, then I’ll get 20 requests. I would say it’s so easy to like think like I don’t want to post and tag and organization, but when I post and say I’m going somewhere, then other people, we can go, Why can’t you go here? And so whatever. If you get one speaking gig, if it is for free, and if you’re starting off, post the crap out of it, like show people that you’re doing it. So this is a new revenue thing. This is a new thing that they can use you for. And also that could benefit their club, their church, their group, their ministry, their work meeting like this could benefit them. And so that has been a big help for me too, is just posting it.

Chandler Bolt [00:26:36] And is really, really smart. I love that. And one episode that might be helpful for you in your speaking is I did an episode with Carlos Whittaker. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him. Yes, I heard.

Grace Valentine [00:26:46] I heard him speak at like this. Q Ideas, which is like a Christian creative retreat. And he spoke very.

Chandler Bolt [00:26:51] Yeah. So he has a really interesting process and it’s interview on this, on this show of turning speaking gigs into books sold and so like that just got my brain thinking with all these celebrities that you’re speaking at or other, it’s like, okay, how can you build in book sales? Now obviously you can negotiate them into the speaking contract at a lower lower, although of my fee, but you got to get a book for everyone as part of this or something like that. But then he had just a really interesting process on how to get okay, if you’re speaking to a big audience, how do you get 50% of the room to buy a book and then turn that into kind of just book revenue, but also just by reality for the book? I want to talk about the new book. So you’ve got the upcoming book is Still a Girl Looking for More a devotional. I was writing in launching a devotional different from your other books, or is it different?

Grace Valentine [00:27:49] So I thought I was going to be like, so good at it because that’s how my Instagram is and it’s based off my Instagram post. I was like, I, I got this in the bag and it was a lot more challenging than I thought because you do get a certain word count. You’re like, How do I engage? It’s like you’re doing all of the same process that they said was like, you know, telling a story, bringing scripture and everything in. But like with way less words and like 600 words. And so I even vowed to do 90 DB instead of 100 more because I wanted more words and each devotion. And that was a big decision that we talked with the publishers. But I mean, it was so rewarding, though, I felt, because it’s it’s going to be one of the things when I see girls reading that who read my books and who read my Instagram, but something that I feel like they can wake up before school or they can wake up before going to their job and they turn to a devotion. And each of the little like devotions, like to the girls struggles with this. Like it’s very point blank because I’m very A.D.D. and I’ve always thought people just want straight up to know what they’re talking about. Like they don’t. There’s sometimes we do too many metaphors. I think metaphor is a beautiful inside a chapter, but not for the titles of things like I think we we as writers are so creative that we forget that other people who are more like math, brain or just are so busy, they’re not trying to analyze this like an AP literature class. Like they just think straight up. And so it’s very straight up. And I, I don’t know, it was harder than I thought, but it’s been so fun as like, I’m preparing for preorders and one of my preorder incentives is I got my publisher to be on board that girls can win a trip for them and a friend to come to Universal and with me because I live in Orlando for the weekend, like an all expense paid trip and that’s been doing super well. So because they’re like cool creates the initiative. They know me now they like it’ll be a fun and it’s fun for me because I love Harry Potter world.

Chandler Bolt [00:29:32] So so so you feel like that’s been working well.

Grace Valentine [00:29:37] It’s.

Chandler Bolt [00:29:38] Moving preorders.

Grace Valentine [00:29:39] Obviously everyone knows probably listen to this if you have it I’m sure. And all your stuff, you talk about how important preorders are, I think. Yes. I think sometimes right now people are doing so many. Like you get this screensaver, you get this. And I think people are so kind of tired of that. They want an experience. They would rather just, I think, a giveaway of something better, like just knowing they get a chance. And I’ve also noticed when I’m honest with people just saying, hey, I really need your help because preorders basically determine like how many books are stock in each store. They’re like, Oh, I’ll do it. Like it’s easy. And when I’m speaking in person, I’ve say, Hey guys, if I’ve ever encouraged you a little bit on Instagram, pre-ordering it doesn’t even cost you anything today, cos Phoenicia, it ships. They’ve been way more willing to do it. So I think that having an experience, one on one, connecting with them and being honest about where you are as an author and how important it is, because I’m not at the point where if it comes to speaking and they pay me versus they buy books, I’m kind of I still got to pay my bills, you know, So I’m like, it’s hard for me to say no to the money, but when I go there, I always have an honest conversation. I go, Guys, I’m not someone who likes to push things down your throat, but this will be a good book that you will find benefit and it costs you less than $20, like most of your makeup costs way more than that, and it will help me a lot. It’s the simplest way. You don’t have to pay for anything on my Instagram. I don’t take ads to not bother you. This is the one thing. And that’s why I don’t take ads too, because I’m like, I’m advertising my book every day. Like, So why would I take ads and advertise other people’s products as much? Nothing. I’m taking some occasionally, but I’m already trying to give them the ad as my book.

Chandler Bolt [00:31:13] I love that. That’s great. And so give them a reason why they should preorder and then giveaways over the million bonuses or whatever else and used in the giveaway as a reason why as well. So if anyone’s listening is watching this immediately as it comes out, it’s for before the book is is live so you can preorder it and enter to win that trip to Universal to see the good looking for more to check it out how how does that process work. Do they go to your site like how do that how do people submit to enter to win and like, yeah, how are you using that word processing?

Grace Valentine [00:31:46] So that’s good. They go to Google for them. That’s in my bio at the Grace Valentine and they submit it and I’m going to do a random raffle like so if you prefer to five, I will love you. But like I don’t. Look, I’m not going to do that. The only way you get extra entry is if you’re on my launch team, which like at this point, my launch team is closed, but so everyone can only get up to two raffle tickets for that. And so it’ll just be like I’ll put in an online simulator to do that. But yeah, you can enter it by going to my bio at the Grace Valentine, clicking the link and they’ll say like enter in for the Universal.

Chandler Bolt [00:32:22] Cause you work on disability, you just you put it in an online simulator and that’s what creates a good way. So that’s smart. And so I guess the only way to get multiple would be to do single, single book purchases. It’s yeah, just like single book purchases in a single book.

Grace Valentine [00:32:37] We all mess that up. But I don’t want to be like, what can you do is if you’re on my launch team. But other than that, I’m like, I don’t know how to add in the things. I don’t wanna be dishonest. I should do it.

Chandler Bolt [00:32:50] But believe it or not, if I sent you a copy of this book yet.

Grace Valentine [00:32:54] No, I want one though.

Chandler Bolt [00:32:55] Because I’ll send you copy afterwards. There’s cause there’s a whole chapter on the launch team, so I love that you’re doing that as well. And then tying it into this preorder giveaway. I think that’s super smart. Let’s see, last couple of questions I have is on the podcast. So you’ve got it looks like the I’m Tired podcast. Any similarities or crossovers between launching and growing a podcast versus launching and selling a book? You know.

Grace Valentine [00:33:21] Actually, I rebranded this summer and it’s now called Water Into Wine, and maybe my publisher has not really changed their thing, but I changed the rebrand on purpose because I think I created the I’m tired when it was before COVID, and I think it was like, Oh my gosh, I’m so quirky, I’m tired. Like, life’s so hard. Like I’m constantly exhausted. And I think after COVID, a lot of us like, reframe that, like, Oh, maybe that wasn’t good, but we were going, going, going in. So and also I felt like there was even a privilege aspect of that, of like, I’m tired and like, I can see my own privilege of being like a white girl, like, you know, like people a lot of people are going through a lot worse things, and I’m probably more exhausted about other bigger things than me. But I rebranded to Water into wine purposefully because I thought of I mean, didn’t make my wine my Mary Kate, the SCC saute girl type girl who’s probably drinking a little too much. And I’m like, I want her to see something and resonate with it. And I thought about like Barstool Sports is super popular right now with this generation. I always say like, well, my biggest competitor is Barstool Sports. They have so many like Woman podcast that are very raunchy and horrible, but Spotify will buy them for like $100 million. And so I was rebranding to be Christian, but also like more relatable. So that’s why I’m holding wine online. And that’s the purpose, is that a girl will see that and not feel bad if she went out to a sticky floor bar the weekend before listening to it. It’s not the typical Christian podcast. And so that was it. And we probably tried to it’s me, my friend Kelly. I also had a co-host because I do so much alone that it’s just been just as me as a friend. It’s better for my friend. And what’s cause Kelly comes there a way different background than me? She’s Haitian descent. Beautiful, amazing. She’s one of my best friends, but it also gives me someone else to learn from in that, and it makes it more of a conversation. So those are the two things that I thought as I rebranded. But when it comes to promoting it, I mean, there’s you can do better like crossing the brand, but I’ve tried to do similar titles that go well in my mini book, like there was when your overlook that did well. And so we did a podcast episode on that, but we did it more relatable tone. It’s not the same thing I’m going to do in a devotional online on Instagram. It’s going to be more storytelling, but I can look at what topics worked on there and replicate it there, but make it more personal because it’s a podcast where it’s my voice and so that’s kind of how I promote it.

Chandler Bolt [00:35:41] That’s super smart, that’s great, and I love the testing ground. It sounds like podcast episodes and the many books can be kind of the testing ground of content for what ultimately gets included in your traditionally published books.

Grace Valentine [00:35:53] Exactly. That’s exactly my thought process.

Chandler Bolt [00:35:56] That’s awesome. Well, Grace, this has been fun and very informative. Where can people go to preorder the book and to find out more about you and what you’re up to?

Grace Valentine [00:36:07] Yeah, they can either go to my Instagram at the Grace Valentine or they can go on my website. Debbie, Debbie, Debbie that Grace Valentine dot org. I’m not an organization. It was just cheaper that way I don’t think I like. There’s a big group of people in Yeah you could order to the girl looking for more and anywhere books are sold you should preorder it and enter my giveaway and enter the giveaway on my Instagram bio. And I have a retreat coming up too in May. So if anyone knows any college age girls sign are about to close at the time this comes out. And so you’d love for them to come be like college age or recent grad. It’s called Purpose Retreat. And that’s also all my Instagram, all the information.

Chandler Bolt [00:36:44] Awesome. Well, check out the book to the girl looking for more preorder you can enter to win. I mean, you’ve got to be on top of this episode and do it immediately. Otherwise you just buy a book and.

Grace Valentine [00:36:54] You not go to Harry Potter book, making.

Chandler Bolt [00:36:57] It your loss. Snake Bomber. All right. Hey, Grace has been awesome. Thank you so much.

Grace Valentine [00:37:03] Thank you.

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