Episode 310: Gina DeVee on Finding Gratitude When Your Book Comes Out a Terrible TimeMay 06, 2020
To call Gina DeVee a queen is an understatement.
No, Gina is the QUEEN of Queens everywhere.
Her journey from struggling psychotherapist (who lived at home with her parents) to globetrotting entrepreneur has led her to found her multi-million dollar women’s empowerment company, Divine Living. She has dedicated her career to helping clients connect spiritually, start businesses, create wealth and live life to the fullest.
When her book, The Audacity to Be Queen, was released in early March, it meant canceling—er, postponing—a planned world book tour and learning new launch tools...namely doing TV appearances from her living room, taking over friends' Instagram stories feeds and essentially looking for the gifts that are a part of every unexpected (and expected) experience.
As she points out, book releases NEVER go as planned but you also never know when a book is going to hit (her client Jen Sincero's book You Are a Badass was out for years before it became a bestseller). All of this is to say that her advice is as useful for an author whose book comes out at a more convenient time as it is for those who are launching now. This one has plenty of specific advice, including why it's a good idea to include a companion course in your book.
Speaking of...to get Gina's free book companion course, click here.
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Anna: 00:00 So I do think it's important to start off with this point that we were so psychically aligned that I said, I wrote down, I'm going to reach out to Gina about doing my podcast and then you reached out to me. So I must say from the moment I met you, you are just one of the most delightful warm people I have ever met.
Gina: 00:24 Aw, thank you so much Anna. That's such a joy to hear because the feeling was very mutual obviously.
Anna: 00:30 Yeah. We fell in love a little bit at Soho house of all places, so, so, okay. And that night we talked about your book. You were very much in the writing stage, and then it came out, I think it was March 9th, March 3rd and I believe it was March 13th that we were told to stay in our homes. So tell me what that experience was like, what plans you had that you had to change.
Gina: 01:01 Sure. So I've waited 20 years to write and publish my first book that was published March 3rd of 2020, and it had a global book tour planned. It started in New York, then went off to Miami and then it was going all throughout the US, Australia, UK, Europe, etcetera. And then Middle East, like I was like, I had it planned. And at first I was in complete denial and thought everyone was being a hypochondriac because, you know, at first it was just like, as the news would start to get leaked out. It was like, just people that have a low immune system. I'm like, well, I don't, I'm good. You know? And then we, you know, we started to all be educated together as a globe on what this was about and the responsibility that we all had to stay at home. And, you know, so much of the premise of my book is, it's happening for you, not to you. It was not my intention to have to practice what I preach quite so soon. But I really, you know, so I was literally, I was in Miami, I had an event March 9th and 10th, and then I got on a plane to get back to LA to then be quarantined. And from that, from that date, everything got, I'm not going to use the word canceled because I think words are important. It is postponed because I have every intention of resuming once it's safe to do so.
02:23 And I really had to have the mindset, like I felt this like cloud of sadness coming at me. Like it was this exterior entity that was about to overtake me. And I just, I thought, you know, my book is called the Audacity to be Clean. So it's like, well, I have a queen opportunity to make a queenly decision here and I can choose to be sad. I can choose to be miserable. I can choose to be a victim or can choose to be a queen. And really what does it look like to be a queen when like the biggest dream of my life look like? It just got canceled. And so I had this exercise in my book that says I'm thrilled this is happening because dot, dot, dot, and it's intended to be used on like the darkest, most horrible circumstances. So I got to use my own exercise, and I was like, okay. So rather than she's in sadness, I'm like, okay, I'm thrilled this is happening because I'm like, okay, I'm thrilled my book came out during the global pandemic because. And I was like, well, okay, I can start doing podcasts, and do a virtual book tour. Like that part of the tour had actually not been planned cause I was so heavily focused on in-person. Okay, I'm thrilled this is happening because like, well, I don't just want people to buy the book so you know, I make a bunch of money or get a bestseller status.
03:48 I want people to consume my book. I wrote it for people to actually read it. It's like when do people have more time to read then when they are required to say at home. Like, okay, this is good. I'm thrilled this is happening because you know, I had, I was going to be flying all over the United States and internationally to do media and now I'm literally, I'm doing morning show, after morning show and talk show and all the things from the comfort of my own home. Like all the media went virtual. So I'm like, this is like, this is awesome actually. So I called my publicist, I'm like, what's going on with Vegas, Chicago, DC because I am here with my coffee. So you know, when you really take a look at what are the opportunities that we have access to for our book launch? It's immense. Other things like so many of my friends have their own followings in groups. I've been doing IG lives, takeovers, speaking to other people's mastermind groups that none of that was planned and I'm having a blast doing so.
Anna David: 04:50 Right. Yeah. I mean, I do think, and then it can, the book can discover a new audience can discover the book once the tour does happen.
Gina: 05:01 Absolutely. Absolutely. It's like, you know, to get your book out in the world, all of it needs to happen anyways. So what does it matter what order it comes in? You know, some people consume podcasts, some people go to in person events, other people are watching the media. So, you know, it was just an unplanned order as now I've come to see it, and there's nothing to be sad about.
Anna David: 05:23 And one could certainly argue that your message is all the more important as a result of what's happened.
Gina: 05:30 Absolutely. Absolutely. People are panicked. They're in crisis, they need positive programming. Something else that I recommend for anyone else launched a book. I didn't have this planned. So I had a companion course planned to go along with my book that I was going to sell for purchase. I'm an entrepreneur. And so when all this happened, I really got how much people were needing leadership and needed something positive to hold onto. And it was actually my husband's idea. He said, you know, we've got this Audacity to be Queen Companion Course. What if we just give it to the community for free? And we like, literally were like ready to launch and all we did was just take the shopping cart buttons off and it was, it has been such a like, I mean, I like free stuff too, but like apparently my people really like, like there's been such a like, Oh by God, thank you, this is amazing. And so we've got thousands of women in this program and Facebook group, like from around the world that are just like super high vibing together and are like super ambassadors for the book. Like I would plan that in the future to do a companion course for free because of just how meaningful it has been to the community. And just, you know, you know, Goodwill, like I'm not keeping track, but these women, they're reading the book, they're Instagramming it, they're telling their people about it. And so it was just such a genuine act of Goodwill, but it's, you know, it's a, the universe has eyes and I know more people are buying the book as a result. So the free companion course was a stroke of genius on my husband's behalf.
Anna David: 07:09 And what are some other strokes of genius that either you or he or someone else came up with? What are your launch tips, whether once in the midst of a global pandemic or not?
Gina: 07:23 That is a great question. So, for me, and you know, launching a book is probably like birthing a child, sorry, mothers to compare my book to your human. But for me that's very much what it was and you're going to hear what I'm about to say all the time and, but I didn't follow it anyways. My whole point is your experience could be completely different. Everyone's, I think birthing process is different. I had a lot of people around me in a whole bunch of different varieties. That I thought knew better. They were industry professionals from a whole variety of different camps that said they were going to do things and I should do things this way or not do this and that and all the rest. And you know, I'm a very experienced business woman marketer. I know how to launch, I know events, but somehow because this was a book, I let myself believe more than I should have. And that's my own work to do on this. That these people knew better. That because I was a new author, that these people know quote unquote how it's done. That they knew better, that I should follow their lead, turned my power over and not do certain things that I would have had in the pipeline and works.
08:41 And then when launch day came, that stuff was not in place. And so out of respect to the people in the industry, I'm going to let the specifics remain nameless and faceless for the moment. But I think the concept really is take complete responsibility and complete charge of your own book launch. Do not think that anyone else knows better. I will tell you that the publishing industry is amazing. It is in so many ways, is so behind in every aspect of marketing. It is mind boggling. And I love my publisher. I've had a great experience with my publisher. This is just the industry in general. It is amazing how disorganized, how uncommunicative. And I'm not here to say this in a negative way. I want to really frame this in the positive that you don't have to think that there's all this stuff in this like well oiled machine that totally knows what it's doing. It doesn't. That was not my experience and it's pretty much been the experience of everyone I've talked to. So it's just a lesson to yourself that you have a book to birth in the world and you get to make this whatever you desire to be. So get creative, get out of the box. There is not one way to do this. There's not a right way to do this and no one is going to protect your baby or care about your baby more than you. So you better take full responsibility.
Anna David: 10:09 Yeah. Amen. And, you know, I did six books with Harper Collins where it was just banging my head against the wall thinking this time will be different. And whenever you're thinking this time will be different, you're in trouble. But it is terribly bizarre. I think it's a combination of a lot of things. I think a lot of people get into publishing for love of words and they are radically underpaid. And I do think as a woman who understands what it's like to step into making the amount of money you deserve, you know, however much you love words, you are not going to be when you are scraping by in New York on $30,000 a year, you are probably not going to have that energy to put into, you know, your passion projects, whatever they are. And it doesn't, publishing doesn't do a lot of research. It is really, it is really shocking at the, you know, and really what the publishing industry does is it waits to see what books will hit and then it puts all its energy and resources behind it.
Gina: 11:07 Totally, totally. And all the promises of we're going to do this and zero of them happened. But just even like the disorganization, like here's like a happy sort of eye roll. I found out that my book was in Walmart, Canada because some, a follower of someone else's book, who was next to mine. I took a picture and said, I'm so happy for my friend so-and-so. And it happened to tag me. And that's how I found out. And so I call my people and I was like, ah, Hey, is this? Oh, by the way, it was before the pub date also in store. I was like, is this true? Is this like, you know, a duplicate from India? Like why, what's going on here? So, you know, it's another fund. I'm in a thousand w target stores. So super excited about that. Like, anyways, all of this to say, you know, create great relationships, be a professional be in charge of everything that you can be in charge of and you have to surrender the things that just are out of your hands from information to marketing to publicity, etcetera.
Anna David: 12:22 Yeah. And what we were talking about before I pressed record was how even if there is not a global pandemic going on, something usually, it's like a webinar or something happens that's not good that you're not expecting and you could say everything goes wrong. You know, I told you my first book, my publisher was fired in the biggest scandal to ever publishing and her division was torn apart. And you know, people talk about that their books were orphaned because the editor went to another house, which happens all the time. And it's like, I always say it's like I was orphaned and then the orphanage was burned to the ground. So, it's, you know, in terms of, you know, quote unquote pivot when things go wrong. What have you experienced that you think any person launching a book could use?
Gina: 13:12 So, yeah, I mean I had a client tell me she got a cancer diagnosis right before her book came out. I know other women are like literally giving birth. Like they didn't know that they got pregnant while they were in their book writing process. I know others who've had their marriage fall apart, like, you know, when they're about to make their biggest debut. So you know, I just come from a spiritual inclination and I just cannot, I don't believe that anything bad is happening to us. I think that for whatever each of our soul's journey is on that it is all happening for us, not to us. That probably there is whatever message in your book you're writing about, you are going to get the opportunity to walk that talk. That was my experience. Like this was going to what I kind of thought I had done the work, you know, like in the past 20 years I got the lessons and now I'm writing the book. And like, not that I thought I was like, you know, an enlightened Jedi master, but I wasn't realizing that I was going to have to dig deep into my guts and practice clean hood from such a core level so quickly. And so, and I know other people that have written money books like a bunch of money stuff would come up right when they've written their books. So I think it's probably, be careful what you're writing about because that is going to be what you're likely going to need to walk your talk on, which isn't bad. It's about, I think it's just about developing this more, deepen in us more. And you know, there's a meaning for everything that we're going through.
Anna David: 14:46 Yes. So it's like the tip is welcome the lesson that will inevitably come about your book topic because, you know, fighting it is only going to make you miserable.
Gina: 15:00 100%. But my friend Jensen Shero who wrote, like she, I remember she was really challenged. Like she had to become her own bad-ass during her, the first launch. So I do think it's very tied to your message.
Anna David: 15:14 Well, and okay, so about Jen, you know, and she did dedicate, You Are a Bad Ass to you. Correct.
Gina: 15:20 The second book, You Are a Bad Ass at Making Money. Yes.
Anna David: 15:22 You are a Bad Ass at Making Money. And you know, in You Are a Bad Ass, which I, how did they copies? Isn't that sold now like 50 million? Do you know?
Gina: 15:34 I don't know. I do know that at the time of our conversation, she's been on the bestseller list for four years. She just celebrated her four year university that much I know.
Anna David: 15:43 And so, you know, she is a very great example at just like Elizabeth Gilbert of somebody who it was not her first book. She was not an overnight sensation. And this book hit and it hit like crazy. What advice did she give you?
Gina: 16:03 I don't know that it was advice per se. I mean, she's given me lots of great advice over just my own, the publishing process. I think that, you know, when I didn't understand like the different timelines, like what draft and this and then there's copy of it in the line that let you know some of that whole negotiation. She was just a real beautiful support to me there. I think one of the things that, and watching her journey, I think it took about three years for Bad Ass, the first book to hit the bestseller list. And so I did take a lot of comfort and you know, like everybody wants to pop out as a New York times number one bestseller in their first week and the whole thing. And when I realized that wasn't going to be happening for me, you know, I was just really able to exhale because I think that some of the old rules of publishing that if you don't hit it in your first week, you're not going to hit. It clearly isn't true. And Jen has been just such an amazing example of that, Oh, here's the piece of advice she did give me on this.
17:05 She said, the reason why she believes bad-ass other than it being a great book has taken off to the way to the leagues that did was because it was through word of mouth referral. She calls it the yellow snowball. And she said, and I remember when I was writing it, I was like, I need more time to refine my jokes. And she's like, you know, Gina, you know, fight for an extension or whatever because she said that's what's going to make the difference between people reading your book and liking it or telling their friends, you've got to get this book. And so you know, I can feel where mine is similar, like where it's a bit of a slow burn that will turn into a blaze cause it's like to the groups and communities, it's gotten out there. It's like there's like, Oh my gosh, I read it in two days. It's changed my life, you know? And then they're starting to tell their friends. I've seen it on Instagram. So it was very comforting that like, because it didn't make bestseller status in the first week doesn't mean it's not coming.
Anna David: 18:08 Yeah. I mean I do think people get very focused on the launch and get very focused on getting on the New York Times list and it has changed so much. It's so, it's about the life of the book. It's not about the week of the launch. You know, what I think is also really interesting about you and your book is, you know, this whole marketing notion of the riches are in the niches. You know, your audience, you are not concerned with men reading this book. You are very clear on who your audience is. And I know that the two things I have seen over and over again or what you just said, books, books hit because of word of mouth. All the books that I have read in the past, however long are either written by somebody I know, or follow or somebody I trust told me. And that is how you hit. I always used to say you know, you have a hit book when people, when non-readers are reading your book because they feel dumb at a cocktail party not knowing what your book is, it's true, it's true. But the other way and the way you do that is you conquer a niche or a niche and they are your conference. And then you have a whole group of many you's, going out and, and being your advocates. So, let's talk about that. You know, you discovered who your audience was by 20 years of serving that audience, Correct?
Gina: 19:43 Correct.
Anna David: 19:44 What do you have to say about really honing in on who your audience is when you write a book?
Gina: 19:52 You know, this is one of the pieces that probably almost took the most courage for me because you know, I don't know, there was something that felt different about putting words on a page that can't get edited. Like I'm used to online internet marketing and I was like, ah, I put this out there and if I don't, I'll take it down or delete, you know, like it felt more like, I had to really commit to the words I was putting on the page. That was number one. And then two is, I know about niching down online, but for some reason I wanted to go more broad with my book and I saw how it just watered it down. And I think that for me, and this was just my own personal edge, for me to really write about what I wanted to write about and give the examples that lit me up, they were so niche and so specific. I mean I wrote and the stories, personal stories I share. Like I shared a story about like a $20,000 shopping spree that I went on in the isle of Capri and I was like, and then I was like, Gina you got to delete, not put the number in, you're going to have the mommy bloggers hating you. You're like, you know, like people are going to like just chastise you for that. And then I was like, but I thought about my former self, and like the former me would have been so lit up to even know that was possible.
21:17 And like to have some woman writing about it would've changed my life. So I had to really take my own personal risks. And then interestingly enough, of course, you know, it's like when it's shared the most vulnerable stuff, like is it like what you think is the most vulnerable? It's like what everyone else just falls in love with you for so much more, whether it's their thing or not. And then like, what am I getting the most DMs about? Like women who like telling her about the $20,000 Capri story. So, you know, I would say that we, you know, the generalists have been done. We don't live in the age of generalists anymore and, everybody wants to stand out with their writing. And the more specific you are, and the more you know yourself and your audience, and the more risks you take in that direction, I think the more, I don't think you'll be more successful, very likely. But at least you'll be more interesting, which is the way to become more successful.
Anna David: 22:14 Well, and on that note, because I would say the majority of writers do not do not come from a place of abundance. And I relate to your journey, you know, even in the introduction to your book, you write about struggling financially for many years and kind of knowing in your heart that that wasn't who you were. I know for me, I accepted that I was a writer and that I really wouldn't make money and that that was good. That was noble, that was honorable. And I, you know, I basically kind of feel like the equivalent of the lawyer who has the midlife crisis and is like, I really want to be a writer. I was the writer who had the midlife crisis and said, there's nothing wrong with making money. I want to use the my talent with words in a different way. So what would you say to writers who say, well, you know, I really want to be a writer, but there's no way to make money with that.
Gina: 23:11 I mean, I plan on making a lot of money with this book. It's not why I wrote the book, but I have seen too many of examples of very talented women just like me, that I chose to not put myself in a different category on, you know, Jen's made a lot of money with her book. Gabby Bernstein has made a lot of money with her book. Marie Forleo, you know, these are all colleagues and friends of mine and whether you're listening, you're like, well, they're not friends of mine. They're human beings just like you. And trust me, I knew these, I knew them all when they started. Like I knew them all and they're all people just like me and you that wanted something more and had a bigger dream for their life and really care about making a difference in other people's lives and didn't go into it saying they weren't going to make money with it. And so I don't know how much money my book is going to make or when it is but I'm putting very strong intention and I'm taking very strong action on doing everything that I know to do to turn mine into like the white and gold snowball. Like so I'm not doing this with like, you know, I'm glad I got the message out into the world.
Anna David: 24:36 And would you say a way to do that? And I mean I'm constantly right. This is what my whole business is based on is that your book brings you business, make your book aligned with your business. If you are an entrepreneur because that is a more guaranteed way to bring in financial rewards than just book sales.
Gina: 24:56 You know, I'm open to all of it. I, you know, like my conversation with the universe is like, yes, let people who read my book, who go online to be in my programs, purchase my programs. I specifically plan on making a lot of money with the book as well. Cause I have a firm belief that anything that we desire, if it's been done and it's humanly possible and if it's that strong of a desire for us, it can absolutely happen. Like Jen and Gabby and Marie. Like, it's not about comparison as much as it, it's like they're examples that you can make a lot of money on book sales and get other great opportunities as a result of having a book out in the world from media to Oprah to otherwise. So I'm taking a stand for the and saying yes, thank you. And yes please to it all.
Anna David: 25:42 I love it. I love it. And you know, we have to get close to wrapping up, but in terms of it being a 20 year dream, why? Why did you want to write a book so badly?
Gina: 25:54 Well, that's interesting. So the book that I wanted, so Marianne Williamson was my mentor still is a friend and a mentor. But back in the day, I'm talking nineties, so I was obsessed with the story of queen Esther of Persia. That doesn't matter to of itself. But the point is, I was just starting my career and I was just starting it based around that body of work. And that's what I thought I wanted to write my book on. And I went to Mariana and I said, what do I need to do to write a book? She said, go talk about it for 10 years. I was like, well, it wasn't the advice I planned on, but okay. And I don't know if I talked about it for 10 years, but that was what, probably late nineties. By 2004 I left Michigan and moved to LA to quote unquote write my book on Queen Esther. And I got my little beach pad and Montecito, I was like super clear. Like, this is what I came here to do. And what I didn't know is that, so the story of Esther is very much the heroine's journey. And what I didn't know is that I would have to go through my own Esther experience to really be able to write about it with richness, depth, and substance. And that was 2004. Now we're talking about 2020. So it just became, what was the question? I actually forgot what were going to?
Anna David: 27:17 What was your, why did you have the dream of writing the book?
Gina: 27:20 Oh, so this was my, sorry, my first, I had a dream about writing about queen Esther and then by the time I became queen of my life, the book was a different book. And so my dream at the time that I wrote this book was to get the information that I have that people pay a lot in my programs for, to get it out to the masses. So that was the reason why I wrote this book.
Anna David: 27:50 And well, I think that's it on my probing you for the answers. Is there anything I've neglected to ask you or advice you would give to anybody out there who is writing a book who plans to launch a book? Anything else?
Gina: 28:09 Yeah, think big and really be your own number one best advocate all the way through from whether it's editorial decisions or you know, the, the actual content of your book to the launch, to the marketing, to your earnings is really think big. We live in a very big abundant world with unlimited possibility. And you know, if that message is inside of you, you know, I know the agony and ecstasy of writing now. It is not for the faint of heart. I didn't realize, my God, there's so many books out there like, you know, I'm a speaker. I, you know, I write a lot as an entrepreneur. Like I got this, it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my career and probably the, if I had to pick one thing that, the piece that I'm most proud of as well. So you're putting so much love, time, effort, life experience, dedication into this book. Like really be there for yourself and be the book's number one advocate from beginning to end through launch.
Anna David: 29:18 I love it. And if people want to find out, well they can get the book apparently at the Walmart in Canada, which is probably not the best place to go right at this moment. But what is that? They can go to your website and see lots of links of where to get it.
Gina: 29:33 If you go to divine/iving.com forward slash book is where you can get the book.
Anna David: 29:37 And if they want to find out more about you, they can to that same website, they can follow you on Instagram. Where else are you?
Gina: 29:44 Yes, yes. And if you want to study and see what I'm doing with my free companion course and you know, to model your own, you can go to divineliving.com/audacity. It's divine divineliving.com/audacity is a free companion course. And then there's lots of resources on my website at divineliving.com or you can follow me on Instagram at Gina [inaudible]. And actually I'm going to give you this, this last tip. You know, I followed a lot of people during their book launches on Instagram to see where they were speaking and what media they were doing and the different things. So if there's any way what I'm doing right now can be an example. Even if you're in the midst of writing your book and just like, just screenshot and save my stuff. Let it be an example to you about the types of things you can be doing where you can be getting the word out, what I'm doing, etcetera. So for, I mean, if you're my ideal client and you like my content, great, but if you're just looking even just to study the business model of what I'm doing, it may be very valuable to you.
Anna David: 30:46 Fantastic. Gina adore you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And listeners, I adore you too. Thank you so much for listening. I'll see you next week. Hear you next week. You'll hear me.