Have good people on your team — I had a co-writer who helped me build my book out and finish my book. It was like having a guardian angel keep me on track and inspire me. I also had an incredible publisher who was a visionary, who helped me build a brand around it. Writing a book doesn’t mean you have to do it on your own. Have a team and editors. There will be punctuation and grammar mistakes you’ll overlook because you’ll be so encapsulated by the book.
As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicole Rodrigues.
Nicole Rodrigues is a powerhouse founder of two companies, NRPR Group and the Young Dreamers Foundation, as well as the host of the YouTube show, Beverly Hills Boss, and Author of Beverly Hills Boss the book. She has more than 19+ years of experience in PR, social media and digital marketing. She’s the creator and personality behind PRactical Guide to Publicity, an award-winning video series aimed at helping CEOs, CMOs and others understand the true benefits of utilizing PR and digital marketing.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?
Becoming an author and pursuing a career in PR were both natural paths for me because of the leadership skills I learned as a kid. I’m the oldest of 9 kids and leadership always came naturally to me because I was always helping my mom with my siblings. My friends trusted me, so I was part of the student council in school. I used to say if my intuition leads me in the right direction for getting through the ups and downs of growing through childhood and succeeding against all odds, I’m going to ultimately create a guide for others to learn from. So when I’m an adult, I want to ensure I’m a well functioning adult and inspire people who feel the same way I felt when I was younger. When my friends had a bad day, they’d do things that weren’t the best for them, which translated into bad behavior and sometimes remedy and alcohol. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to pay attention and dedicate my story to the betterment of others. This was always my vision.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
It is difficult to point to one story. Overall, the most interesting thing that has happened to me is that I have been able to meet and/or work with a variety of amazing leaders and celebrities such as Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, Donald Trump, Gavin Newsom, Lionel Richie, Alex Rodriguez, Ray J and so many more. I did not expect that I would get to meet these people in my role as PR professional and not every PR person does receive this type of access. For it to happen to me is a nod to the fact that clients trust me, value my insight, and invite me to attend these meetings.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming an author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?
My biggest obstacle was understanding not only about how to write a book, but how it gets published. Before you write a book, you need a plan and I didn’t know that for the longest time. Once I had a roadmap and book proposal, I had the skeleton of my book. A friend of mine became a published author and I asked her about how she made it happen. She said she wrote a proposal to share with publishers, so before you write your book, you can show it to them and know if someone will be willing to publish it. I put together 2 sample chapters, did market research, outlined what chapters I wanted. I also worked with a great friend who helped me tighten up the proposal. By the time it was done, I had a concrete idea and after I found a publisher to propose it to, she called me the next morning saying she wanted to publish it.
I would say that aspiring writers should plan ahead. Don’t think that you have to jump right in and start at chapter one. This whole thing is a process and understand why you’re writing and what will come out of it. The best way to do this is a proposal and plan. Having someone who has done this before will help guide you, help you waste less time and make fewer mistakes. Once you have the structure, you can keep filling things in.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
It’s been exciting to continue building my brand and learn how to do this in a pandemic. We started a video series, but couldn’t continue because of COVID. Finding ways to continue to market my book has been a fun process. I’m also starting to work on book two! I’m starting the proposal now and am working to have it published by the summer of 2022.
Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?
A really interesting part of my book is that at the age of 15, I had a certain level of hindsight about what I wanted to create in my life. One day in English class I was with my best friend and it was very clear to me that people operate in different mindsets. His mindset is you live where you grew up and will stay there forever. My mindset was to create my own future and where I want to go and that I have the power to do it. You have the people who look at opportunity and others who think about life being set up for you. From the age of 15 and still to this day, my mindset hasn’t changed. I see an obstacle and there are ways to overcome it and get things done. I always tell people that they have the power to put their future in their hands, but not everyone believes me. This trend of not letting anything or anyone stop me from reaching what I feel in my heart has never changed.
What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?
I want readers to connect to themselves and their own journeys, while reading through mine. I want them to celebrate their obstacles and be motivated and inspired to overcome anything that is currently standing in the way of their dreams! If you get past the obstacles, you’ll be thrown more, but you’ll know you can overcome them.
Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need to Know to Become a Great Author”? Please share a story or example for each.
- Understand the message/messages you want to come across — You need to know what your overarching theme and message will be, so that others will truly understand it. If you don’t know it, no one else will
- Create a great plan/proposal to make that happen. Understand how it’ll come across to others
- Don’t think of a book as an end game. It can become a brand — my book, Beverly Hills Boss, is about this story and a brand which includes an Instagram page, Facebook group and email. If you want people to buy your book, you need to market your brand. Starting and getting the book done is just the beginning.
- Know that this is a process — You don’t write your book overnight, sometimes it even takes longer than one year. You can start, change and update what you’ve already written. Don’t give up and believe in yourself.
- Have good people on your team — I had a co-writer who helped me build my book out and finish my book. It was like having a guardian angel keep me on track and inspire me. I also had an incredible publisher who was a visionary, who helped me build a brand around it. Writing a book doesn’t mean you have to do it on your own. Have a team and editors. There will be punctuation and grammar mistakes you’ll overlook because you’ll be so encapsulated by the book.
What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?
Complete dedication to always improving my writing. I’m not a perfect writer, but I’m a lot better than I used to be. I’m committed to being a forever student of writing and I still work on getting better. I remain dedicated and always open to other writers, and I keep these people close to me. I try to learn from them as best as I can. Being a thoughtful writer is important. I don’t think you can ever master writing completely without constant practice. It’s a forever thing to keep learning about the changing rules of writing. One time I sat and wrote for 13 hours straight for my book. If my writing was terrible, these 13 hours would’ve been much longer to finish my book.
Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?
I’m inspired by multiple books which have helped me learn and navigate life. I read the Purpose Driven Life when I was 23. This had a huge impact on my mental state at the time. You don’t realize how hard it is until you get past it. Also, The Power of Now and The Alchemist. These books about personal journey and perseverance helped me get through hard times. Because of this, I was motivated to give back in my own way. Before I wrote my book, I wanted a book like it. Something easily digestible that would help me structure creating a business. I wanted people to see that it can be easier than you think it is, while also being a very impactful figure in someone’s life. It made me appreciate every stepping stone I took to get to where I am today. You don’t know until everything is together, what your hardships were for. When you want to build a company, it’s because you want to solve a problem and create something. I wanted to create a firm where people felt seen, no matter what level, where people could value the work of PR. My journey started way before I opened the doors of my company. When you become an entrepreneur, it’s important to pay homage and every step along the way should be appreciated. I have ex-bosses and clients who I now work with or are clients. These relationships are important.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!