Putting Passion Back Into Publishing
How Award-Winning Author and Entrepreneur Lisa Umina Started an International Company That Has Published Over 800 Titles
Invisible Stories Season 2 Episode 13 with Lisa Umina
In today’s episode of Invisible Stories, I speak with award-winning author and owner of HALO Publishing International, Lisa Umina. Lisa founded HALO Publishing to publish the voices of authors around the world. Lisa created The Milo and Lisa Show after writing her first children’s book, Milo Finds His Best Friend. Her third book, Milo and the Green Wagon won the national Christian Indie Publishing Award. Lisa traveled and performed with Milo and as a motivational speaker all over. Writing led to her full-time career as an international publisher.
Lisa blended a number of her different passions together (writing, speaking, comedy, and publishing) in order to create her business and brand. She shares her knowledge on the publishing industry, and how she helps authors to find their own voice and get it out into the world. Lisa and I chat about:
- Why it is so important for speakers to write a book and get it published as a resource for their audience.
- How the publishing industry has changed over the years, and why indie publishing and hybrid publishers are oftentimes a better alternative for authors.
- How social media has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for authors to market themselves and their books and brand.
Since 2002, Halo has helped many authors achieve their book publishing goals. Publishing a book with Halo means you’ll be guided through the entire process from choosing the best book publishing options to utilizing the most effective marketing tools. Halo authors retain all the rights to their book and control the decisions surrounding the publishing and marketing of it. Halo offices are located in the United States and Mexico. Halo’s Spanish Division Imprint, Hola Publishing is at the cutting edge of the field in Mexico as one of the few digital publishers. Halo has released over 2,000 titles including POD, offset, and digital formats that have received various national and international awards. Halo has been recognized by Ingram for their excellent social media outreach, consistently promoting their authors and books. Charity is also a priority for Halo, which contributes to both local and international organizations. In addition to monetary contributions, each year Halo donates books, clothing, and food to people in need.
- [00:02:35] Lisa: [00:02:35] That’s a good question. So medically stumbled into it. So I was doing standup comedy. I was working at the wall street journal and I was also singing. And what happened was during all those pieces of my life using my vocal chords, I developed cysts. When I had the, since I had surgery and through the surgery, I wasn’t allowed to talk afterwards. [00:02:59] So it was very humbling. [00:03:00] Can you imagine? And so I sat down and wrote at the time the title was Milo with a halo. I put it away. You know, we have this thing. Sometimes we have the lack of confidence or, well, it just means the world to me was a beautiful moment in my life where I had that intimacy time to write something that I thought was amazing. [00:03:25] And. Long, long story short, a gal came into my office and it said, Hey, we should get this printed. It’s a beautiful story. And, and went on to, to writing that first story. And we we’ve obviously changed the title and got a new illustrator involved, but that’s really what happened was I was in a moment where I couldn’t even say anything in here.
- [00:05:20] Jenn: [00:05:20] That is amazing. I feel like w w I feel like a takeaway for people who might be listening to this, because I feel like you blended, like you found, you found yourself stagnant in what you were doing, and then blended a number of different passions together and created one thing that actually fueled the A completely new direction for your life. That is such an awesome thing.
- [00:10:57] Lisa: [00:10:57] Absolutely. I think [00:11:00] every chapter could be a lesson, could be a workshop. Could be zoom conference or, or even on your YouTube channel, just something, something of that chapter to give something out. Right. And so just if you’re wanting to speak, cause that’s important because if you don’t want to speak, then you gotta find other venues and you know, that. [00:11:21] To market you in your book. But for me, I think it’s the author, PS, the book. So if you have a, if you are a professional speaker and you don’t have a book, shame on you, you’re wasting. I mean, you’re, we’re losing so much money because only so much they can only gather so much in a conference. Right. So the takeaway is the book.
- [00:13:00] Lisa: [00:13:01] Even more because I was, I think about it. I did my performance and I don’t have any backing of social media, you know, and social media is huge. Like we. [00:13:10] Years ago, we were just the author of Cleveland or just the author of Ohio. Right. You look at it now. We could be a global offer tomorrow. We sign off for proof. I mean, you’re out in other countries. You’ve never had an opportunity to be in with print on demand. So your message could be global. Where before we didn’t have these, this platform that we do today to really put out our message.
- [00:19:53] Lisa: That the author doesn’t actually need. And I feel like people like you, and I feel like we’re beacons in some ways to just [00:20:00] show people like here’s the path that you should be going down because then where we’re holding that space for them, we’re allowing them to have that emotional. Break down if you will, in regards to whatever it is, the writing. [00:20:12] And I don’t think a lot of publishers do that because they just care about the numbers. They just care about book sales. And that’s why I love so much to refer people to you when I don’t like, it’s not a good fit for me, but it’s a good fit for you because I know that they’re going to have that same experience with you, that they would with me. [00:20:26] And I feel like that’s such a rarity in this godforsaken space. [00:20:29] It is there’s, it’s like we have this incredible responsibility and shame on those people. They take advantage because really think about it. We’re here to create their legacy. That’s it. And so if you don’t have this passion, someone asked me yesterday, what separates you from this other publishing house? [00:20:47] And I said, you know, Oh, I’m going to tell you is what, who I am. I can only speak for myself, but I am the owner of the company. You’re talking to me. I’m also to work with the children’s author, but I care. I genuinely care about who we publish, [00:21:00] what we publish, because that’s important too. You know, we have very strong mission statement for a reason. [00:21:05] I don’t want to publish carpet and there is a lot of that out there too. And for me, I stay away from it. I think what’s put us on the global map is publishing authors that were scared. You know, talking about their autistic daughter or going through cancer and have her double mastectomy and wanting to have a voice to that because they have a new life, they have a new message and I get this bumps every time I pick up that phone, or I’m going to say call now, which I’m super happy about during the pen that I wouldn’t get that silver lining. [00:21:37] And I get to meet these authors all over the world face to face, and they get to see who I really am is not. Oh, I sound passionate. No, I really am passionate about what I do.
- [00:27:26] Lisa: [00:27:26] Well here with, with a traditional publisher, you have to be an analyst author. I mean, it’s sad, but Kim Kardashian can write a children’s book tomorrow and she’ll be on the best selling list. Is the story great. Probably not, but in the same token, it’s the who’s who, and so the traditional publishers, they already have her calendar planned out right. [00:27:45] Four or five years. So you think you’re going to get into that arena in the sun, the unsolicited manuscript right on the road, myself personally. And that hence why I started my own journey, but I was trusting. Everybody knows I was tired of the dead [00:28:00] ends. Or you even went to the BookExpo in New York, trying to find the agent find the whole thing, loved the show, went home disappointed, but then I thought, wait, I’m going to take this to my own hands and make something happen. [00:28:12] I can’t wait for somebody to tell me, Oh, it’s good. Or we’re going to do something with it. And you can clearly see by me being in the driver’s seat, making all the right decisions for me, owning all the rights. That’s another big one, right? I was able to set sail and do all these amazing things. And so with a big publishing house, like Simon and Schuster and Harper Collins, they’re not gonna listen to just the average, Joe, who has no following or social media, right. [00:28:37] Want the list author. And so you gotta ask yourself, how long are you willing to wait to start your career as an author? Because that, to me, that I wrote, cause everyone thinks it’s going to be the JK Rowling. And that to me was a lottery ticket for her. She was. Pick that up. How many? Probably we publish 10,000 books a day, or even more of each print on demand. [00:29:00] [00:28:59] So do the math. I mean, it is what it is. And so I think just having a good reality check with me, I tell them, take the call with me. I’m going to show you this. You can find it easily on the internet once I show you what to look for. Yeah. That’s it crystal.