Welcome to Episode 39 of the she is extraordinary podcast. Today is your day. If you have ever thought about writing a book, because I’m interviewing the beautiful, amazing super sweet, super smart, Jody Costa, she is the chief executive officer of to Penny publishing, which is an emerging author partnership Company. I mean, you are going to be so excited about getting that book idea off the shelf and actually start putting pen to paper. In the context of this interview, Judy shares kind of what the process looks like in writing a book, how she and her team helped to make that process. I don’t know about easy but easier, right. We know that writing a book is not a small task, but she and her team are masters at making it absolutely doable and Jody will share to friends opportunities coming up this summer one, a free webinar called five steps to getting beyond chapter one, which I think sounds awesome. I’m going to be attending that that’s coming up on June 4. And then she also has several writers workshops, actual opportunities to again, come together with a team of other authors to help each other to encourage each other and follow, you know, a set schedule to actually begin to get your story written. You’re going to see that Jodi’s heart is completely for her clients. She loves what she’s doing. And her favorite part of her role is coming alongside authors like you to bring your dream book to life. So grab your paper and pen ladies, as always, you’re going to want to take notes and let me know after you listen to this, let me know what your book will be about. Because I’m writing mine, and I would love to know who was writing alongside with me.
All right, enjoy. Hey there beautiful. Welcome to the sheet is extraordinary podcast, a call to women everywhere to dream again to
boldly in faith pursue your God given passion and live the abundant life you were meant to live. I’m your host Judy Weber. I’m an entrepreneur, Christian business coach, lawyer, speaker and beach loving mom of six boys. I’m on a mission to help women like you realize your awesomeness to spur you want to greatness in both life and business. It’s time to make a big impact on the world. Because whether you know it or not, sister, you are extraordinary. Alright ladies, welcome to this episode of The she is extraordinary podcast. I’m sitting here with my friend Jodi Costa, Jodi.
So hey, thank you. So for inviting me and your platform is amazing. elevating women to the power and faith of God. Thank you so much for having me. Oh God, it is such a blessing to have you here. Now ladies, I want to tell you what Jodi’s kind of how we met. I have always wanted to write a book. And I think I’m not alone in that. I mean, a lot of my friends kind of say, Oh, yeah, and I kiddingly say I got about four or five or 10 or 20 bucks kind of floating in my brain. And I don’t know by God’s grace, I met God works with any publishing so because it is such a hot, like on my bucket list. I said, Hey, Jodi, I’d love to bring you on and tell the ladies what it’s all about. Can we really publish a book and what are the steps to get there? But before we dive into that, me, I would love it Jody, if you could share your backstory with our listeners.
I’d be happy to, um, it’s a little bit of a bumpy ride. Well, the long story is way too long. So I will just jump to the fact that I started losing my hearing while working at a church. And I started freaking out just a little bit wondering what I was going to do, because the majority of my work was in front of a crowd of people, group, group leader training and so forth. So I helped my associate at church publish a couple of books. And before he knew it, there was a line of people saying, Can you do that for me also. And it was mostly like most things that are great. It was a God thing. It was an answer to prayer, because I didn’t know what I was going to do to earn a living, to feel useful to use the skills and gifts that God gave me and to Penny publishing is God’s one of God’s biggest gifts to me.
Wow, that is so neat. And one of our we have a mutual friend whose daughter actually got her book published through to Penny publishing. So I just love how God is so in the details, that we have that connection that just blew me away when I realized that. So, um, alright, let’s chat about the history of to Penny publishing. Like how did how did y’all get started?
Right? So, um, my boss came to me and he had some curriculum, he wanted to get put into three ring binders for a class he was about to teach. And I was kind of reading through it. And I said, Dude, this is not three ring binder stuff. This is gold. I said, if you want to speak from, you know, a little bit more authority like this book has, why don’t we print it? So, bunny trail, I landed on how to self publish, and once Tom heard that his eyes lit up, he knows you are kidding me. That’s on my bucket list. I’ve always wanted to be a published author. And so we figured it out together. And it wasn’t easy. Trying to figure out the best way to go, we looked at other self publishing opportunities with other agencies, traditional publishing, hybrid, the whole thing. And we just didn’t find something that kind of really fit our needs and what we were looking to do with our book. So we started our own company. On the first day, we opened our, you know, virtual doors we had for paying clients. So that was on day one. And now that was about a little over a year ago, and we have helped so many get their book across the finish line. We’ve currently got 19 authors we’re working with and signing two more agreements next week. So we are growing we are being blessed and we are honoring God by helping people get good words into the hands People were that’s so neat.
Now, you and I’ve already chatted about the specifics, but to those who are really like, like that they’re excited about this episode. And they’re like, Oh my gosh, I put that dream on the show. But now I’m excited to bring it, you know, get it off that shelf. Can you tell us kind of the real life picture of what it’s like to write a book because I know you’re writing a book now, right? Do you want to do want to talk a little bit about that too?
Well, I figured since I’m a book publisher, it’d be really super neat if I actually had a book also. So um, I kind of had an idea in mind of what I wanted to write about. And I ended up writing about something that was a very vulnerable little spot in my life for me, which is my hearing loss, my disability. And so it is hard. It is a difficult process to dig deep and find things that are interesting about your life situations or if you’re writing fiction to dig even deeper, and pull those story pieces together to create entertainment.
And so I am actually writing my book and finding out what a challenge it can be. And following all the phases that we’ve already set forth for all of our authors to go through. So it’s really interesting for me to walk the walk that I’m telling our authors to do the first, the first of our process is discovery. If you have a book on your heart, and you want it to get it to get into your hands, the first step is discovering who what and why. We will be happy to chat with you find out what your book idea is, and the best way we can support you.
We get authors from all stages, whether it’s those little post it notes flying around in your head, or whether you have a full blown manuscript ready for edit. We work with authors of All stages. After that discovery, we move into defining your target audience and your ambassadors and set you up for success book success, because just because you write a book, and those of you who own a store just because you turn the on sign, the open sign on, doesn’t mean they’re going to start coming. So we want to set you up in the best possible light. And we move from defining your target audience into developing your story. We have author coaches, that walk you through three phases of writing your book, writing your story, it includes editorial review, you get proofreading, you get a cover, you get interior design, which by the way, makes us unique to Penny publishing believes that the inside of your book should look as interesting as the outside of your book, because where are you most of the time, after you pick up the book, you’re in the book.
So we had a fantastic time. team that is the fourth step of our process is designing your cover your interior ordering proofs, and all that fun stuff. Which by the way, I just want to say to you, Judy, once you get your book written, once you order the proofs, and you check your mailbox absolutely every day, you you finally get it. You’re going to race into the house, rip it open, and you’re going to hold it like you just gave birth to a brand new baby. It is the most fantastic thing flip through and see all the words that you wrote the ones that came into your mind that came into your heart inspired by God inspired by life. And it’s it’s a fantastic feeling at that particular moment. just gets better from there. Wow. Yeah, the last stage of our process includes distribution. So to Penny publishing takes care of their the fine details that I’m not really fond of. have, you know the Excel spreadsheet of life? I sbn codes and and setting up accounts and so forth like that. That’s why I surround myself with a team of people who really find passion and purpose in that. So those are the five steps in the process. And it’s working. It’s working very well.
Yeah. I mean, it’s just so exciting. And actually, you know, obviously, ladies listening, I’m writing a book, and I will be signing with to Penny publishing. And I’m really excited because I love the idea of an author coach. And so I think that’s kind of unique. I mean, I do have a couple of friends who have used quote, conventional publishing houses. And I know that’s a whole different thing. And from what I understand, and I don’t know much from what I heard, not everything Buddy can get that gig, you know, and there’s a lot of stuff that goes along with that. But this is a lot more I love that it’s a smaller company, you hold our hand, and that you can take someone that really doesn’t know what they’re doing, like me and and kind of guide me through that process so, so I don’t think I’m alone when I want to ask just a little bit more deeper on the coach like, what, what can I expect? Like what if I just have this idea? And I haven’t written anything? Is that like, still doable?
Absolutely, absolutely. With your author coach, he or she is going to sit with you via zoom. And kind of go over your ideas and talk them out and I and it’s a been our experience that once you say them out loud, and you’re trying to pitch a book to another human being the reality of where your book will actually go kind of reveals itself. And then we, if you have stuff to build on, they, the coach will walk you through all of that and help you organize your thoughts, outline, get your table of contents and your first two chapters written. That’s the big part is just getting those three things done.
Yeah, I bet I bet that whole thing of getting started is maybe the biggest hurdle of all just kind of trusting that look. You know, if God says that we can do this, even with just like this idea and desire in our hearts, then I’m going to believe you God can help turn that idea. And my you know, as you say, I love that. You know, the post it notes floating around in my brain. That’s really cool.
Yeah, it’s really cool for those of you who actually have a story, but you don’t either have the time or you don’t have the confidence in your writing skills. We have ghost writers. That will write your story for you, which also has phases you meet with them. You share your ideas, they interview you, and walk you through a four phase process as well. And that’s what I that’s another thing about our company and our coaches in our, the way we work, everything’s transparent. You’re never going to sit at home saying, oh, gosh, I haven’t heard from my publisher. I wonder what’s happening. You will you create your very first session with your author coach, a production timeline that you create together. I mean, based on your availability and what’s possible by us as the publishers, what we recommend, and you’ll, you’ll come up with a production timeline. Everybody knows what everybody’s doing at any given time. And that’s with whether you’re producing an audible or you’re producing, you’re working with our ghostwriter. You’re working in the best seller arena. just writing a book, whatever it is, you’ll know where you’re at in the process.
Okay, this is interesting. Now I’m burning down questions here as you’re talking so, so what is like a realistic timeframe? Or does it so vary that you really can’t say,
It really does vary because we do go by what’s available with the author. But our timeline, we can get you across the finish line in about 120 days, 150 days. That’s, that’s what’s possible on our end, to move you through the different phases of writing, editing, designing your cover designing the interior submitting, so there’s timeframes in that, but we can slow it way down. If the idea in your mind is not clear, or if your work schedule does not allow That, that fast of a pace. We’ve, we actually have four or five different authors right now that have been working on their manuscripts for well over a year. And that’s absolutely fine with us. We’re here for them and help them when they get to milestones whenever those milestones appear.
Excellent. That is so good. that’s reassuring. And so I worked down the word accountability. So if I would tell my coach, I’m busy, but kick my butt, because I want to get this done and in production and distributed by the end of the year is that that’s pretty much that kind of flexibility and accountability.
We do have flexibility. We do have accountability, but we are not going to be your writing police. We have different things set in line, we will reach out to you. We will encourage you but we realized life situations happen and you’re like, Oh no, this isn’t just an excuse. This is really a big deal going on right now. And I do have to press the pause button. So you’re the only one, you’re the author. You’re really the only one that can believe your own excuses, or if you can actually plow through. So yes, we are there with pom poms and cartwheels to encourage you to keep moving forward, even if you have to slow down your pace.
Oh, wow, this is so exciting. Okay, so how about, like when I think of writing a book, and I just pictured that moment that you described when I have this book in my hot little hands, and what comes next, like for me, you know, getting it on Amazon and in stores. What does that look like? And then another question is, do we do like a book launch? Oh, oh, I hope.
So. Once you get the proof in the mail, you look through it and you drill and you cry and you tell everybody in the whole world and also sorts of fun emotions and we get it fine tuned, and we get it launched. And it does go through Amazon, we have a couple of different options for different publishing circumstances. But we mainly use Amazon because who doesn’t use Amazon. That’s where your buyers are. So now once you do that you can schedule a book launch. You can schedule a book signing celebration. It can be online, it can be on zoom, you can do it in person, hopefully soon. And yes, we really encourage you to set up a celebration. And that really kind of sets your platform, puts it in motion and gets other people excited for your successes.
Right, right. Well, I understand one of the options you have is like the best seller package, like yes, we know there’s no guarantees, but there is a methodology I guess right to become To a best seller.
Yes, there’s a we that is what everybody purchases. So far we have a couple of all a cart clients that have purchased a smaller packages, not the best seller, but that is our most common. And we do offer coaching and book campaign for your book to become a number one bestseller in anywheres, from one to 10 categories on Amazon.
And what’s special about that is, you know, there are a lot of writers, there are a lot of books going out there. And just being a published author in itself is a huge Feat. It’s a it’s a grand accomplishment to stand out amongst the other published authors if you have a best seller sticker on the front or back or inside of your book that even sets you apart that much more.
Mm hmm. Yeah. So that’s really exciting. And so So just thinking of, oh, when you talked about a book versus Audible, like, what is what does that really mean? Like I thought everybody, every book started as a book, and then the author might decide to read it and turn it into an audible. I don’t even know what that really is all about, as you described it perfectly. We have one client that’s just wrapping up her book is about to be published. We just uploaded it. And we’re waiting for the green light to say, yes, we do accept it, you’ve done it correctly. And your book is now available on Audible. So that was her choice. She really wanted to do that. And we offer that as well. We have an AI audio producer that we work with, and he also publishes a tom goodlet podcast, which is called the potential list as you can find that on iTunes and Listen to the quality that is produced.
Awesome. Wow, that’s so cool. Well, I learned today about your Writer’s Workshop that might have some openings in just a bit. So you tell us about that opportunity.
I yes, I selfishly started a Writer’s Workshop. Going through this writing process, I decided that what I need is accountability. I need some women that are smarter than me. I need some men that have some great ideas and tips and tools and software that I don’t know about. And so I started a Writers Workshop and I have a intimate team of five that attend. It’s a five week workshop is totally free. You don’t have to be a to Penny publishing author, you just have to be somewhere in the process of writing.
And it’s becoming something I look forward to and keeps me writing on a daily basis on the schedule that I see. For myself, so this summer, I’m going to be launching four more workshops. There are five weeks in length, you can take more than one if you want to. And so I’m going to be launching that information in my next newsletter that’s coming out at the end of this month.
That’s really awesome. So where would we go to connect with you so that we don’t miss these opportunities?
Yeah, and so you can find a find us at two Penny publishing COMM And then we’ve got a lot of action on Facebook. And we’re found under the same name to Penny publishing. And that’s where we’re going to also be hosting another live webinar that shares the five keys to get your book beyond chapter one. That’s going to be on June 4. So if you find us on Facebook and like us, you’ll be able to see all about that as well as if you want to sign up for the newsletter that comes out in it. offers discounts and different events and opportunities and writing encouragement and tips and tricks as well.
Wow, this is so cool. Now a question just came up in my own mind, okay. Like, okay. I was always like a good student. You know, I wrote briefs in as a lawyer, I was a trial lawyer, but sometimes I went up on appeal and I had to write these formal briefs. And my writing has changed significantly. I used to not be able to do a contraction. And now I actually write as I speak, and I say gonna Gio and na like, I like I write, like, I speak. And so, you know, it came up for me that some ladies listening may not may not really like may not have been great in English, but they have a beautiful story. You know what I mean? They may not be great with words, per se, but they have this wonderful story. So what would be your message to them?
One or two things,
hire our ghostwriter to write for you, you do want your message to come across in with the best possible light. The other option is surround yourself with some ambassadors, some people who like to write also some people who can give you some tips or tricks. I’ve been reading a book called Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. And it it’s very inspiring to read how she writes. Now, I can’t copy it. It’s not my style, but it is very inspiring and give some ideas on how to write and dig deep. I found my writing to be quite surface and literal and I thought, I’m boring myself to death. I’ve got to figure out how to write better. I mean, it was factual, interesting, but it wasn’t entertaining. It wasn’t drawing and it’s my story. So guessing so I just started.
The Writers Workshop has been Very helpful because I have to read my stuff out loud in a team of in a safe space of peers that will be honest with me and say, yeah, and that it wasn’t wrong, but it was boring. And it’s just scratching the surface of your emotions and looking at some different things. But we do have our editorial review process. Once you get your second chapter in, we’ll look at your table of contents, which will kind of give us an idea of where your book is going. But we want to see where your book is starting. So we’ll, we’ll take the first two chapters and we’ll tear it apart. And you shouldn’t be sad. You should be excited because every time we tear a manuscript apart, it’s because there’s a great story in there that has to be revealed. And we are putting nail polish and lipstick and hairspray on that story. And it is going to come out like a you know Miss America.
I love that. I love that. So what was the name of that book Bird by Bird?
It is called Bird by Bird. I do have to say. She says she’s a Christian. I believe she is. And she has a little language. So there’s a little thing in there. It’s not a lot. But she is a fantastic writer. Yes, she’s a fantastic writer. And she actually taught writing at universities, so she definitely knows what she’s doing.
Yeah, I definitely want to pick that up. Because as in most things, it’s like branding, and messaging there. And in marketing, it’s all about hitting that emotional nerve. Because I guess at the end of the day, you want the reader to either do something after reading it like being inspired, or to take some sort of action or to think differently or whatever it may be. So yeah, I totally get what you’re saying about going deep and being vulnerable. Which I think depending on the story and I have, I have a dozen stories or more, some could be definitely more difficult to, to go there, you know, because it’s so deep and it’s in ways traumatic like my first marriage was traumatic. So if I were to write about my relationships, my past relationships, that would be tough. But it used to be on I mean, yeah, I mean, if I go that route, it needs to be done. It needs to go it needs to hit a nerve.
Definitely, memories are held a very special place in today’s world, especially if you are able to capture not only your story, but relate it to your reader and finding who your reader is, is key to that. Otherwise, you’re just brain dumping heart dumping, emotion dumping onto paper, and you know, your reader needs to feel a connection needs to feel a Why am I reading her out? Well, it, it’s coming to that, wrapping it around to whether it becomes a devotional whether it becomes some type of superhero, the reader has to become involved and engaged. And they have to be the focus at some point, even if it’s your story is so good. I mean, everything is strategic, you know, everything has got to have a purpose and a plan behind it. So, I know we’re in good hands with you and your team Jody, so Well, before we go, I can’t believe times flying here. I always ask one last question. And that is this is called the she is extraordinary podcast. So I would love you to share with us an extraordinary lady in your life and what made her stand out?
Well, that is a great question. And I think it’s important because whenever you have a success or a celebration in your life, you should always look right next year. Who’s with you Who’s right behind you, pushing you towards that glory. And I want to thank you for just even asking that. And I hope that your listening audience will also reflect on who’s meant so much to them. And God has blessed me with so many, but I’m going to just go to my default answer, which is my mom. My mom’s a rock star. My mom is a superhero. She’s been through a lot and she is strong. She has a strong silence about her. She’s not wavering in her faith. I always know what she’s thinking because it’s not the easy way it’s the right way. And just having her by my side, sometimes pulling me and sometimes pushing me but she’s always there in some aspect of my life, and I appreciate her so much. She’s an excellent mother. She’s excellent wife. She is a good friend and leader, and she is sick. She’s a calm in the storm. So I take it my mom,
What a beautiful testimony to your mother. You got to make sure she listened. She’s gonna cry.
If one of my boys said that about me, I’d be like, where the where the tissue?
That’s great. Well, Jodi, thank you for coming. I have no doubt that there are women, like I said, who’ve had this idea of writing a book in the back of their mind, and now they’re going to rethink it. And I hope reach out to you because you and your team are amazing.
Thank you so much, God, it has been an honor to talk to you. And I’m so excited to see your book come to life. And to anyone else. I would be honored to chat with you and see if what you’re thinking that book on your heart is something that you want to pursue and see if we’re a good fit for one another.
Awesome, excellent. Thank you so much again to you all for listening beautiful. If you like this podcast, I would so appreciate it if you would subscribe and leave a review. In fact, snap a picture of your review before you hit submit. Post it inside my facebook group the place to thrive community and I will gift you with a one week trial absolutely free inside my best to thrive Academy where ambitious women of faith like you learn how to become thriving FEM printers.
Find out more about the academy by visiting my website at Judy hyphen Weber comm slash blessed hyphen, hyphen thrive. While you’re there, be sure to grab some truly extraordinary biz building resources and take my popular entrepreneurial style quiz and find out whether you’re a passionate visionary, a bold boss or a legacy leader. And while you’re there, you can find out other ways we might be able to work together. Remember New episodes of the she is extraordinary podcast dropped every Tuesday with occasional bonus episodes on Friday. Thanks again for listening and taking just a moment to leave a review. I love to hear from you. So let me know how I can support you and your business.