Monica Y. Mateo is the author of, The Cancer Warrior, which will be available on Amazon.com April 2017. She was diagnosed at the age of 23 with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma ALK+. She received chemotherapy along with radiation and went into remission April 6, 2009. Read our interview with the lovely Monica below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I’ve attempted for years to write my memoir; but would end up reliving the experience causing nightmares and panic attacks. However, when I had my son in April 2015, I had a spark of inspiration. He was my motivation and inspiration in completing my memoir, The Cancer Warrior. I want to leave him with a legacy and hope that he is proud of who I’ve become after my battle with cancer.
Tell us about your business.
The Cancer Warrior is a courageous, yet gut-wrenching memoir of a rebellious cancer survivor’s journey from victim to warrior. It will be available for purchase on Amazon.com in April 2017. The Cancer Warrior has evolved into more than a memoir – it’s a movement. It’s a way of life and that is why I created, The Chic Warriors Movement. It is a chic way to handle the chaos of life. It is a way to overcome hardships and trauma like a true warrior. It is understanding that life can be challenging, but with the right attitude – can be magnificent. It is the journey to health and healing.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Yes, I am having a Cover Reveal Party starting January 6 through January 20, 2017 on Instagram. The rules are simple: I will post my book cover on my Instagram @monicaymateo_writer January 6, 2017. To participate followers can like my photo and share it on their Instagram account. They can screenshot or use the repost app. Also, they need to write a short caption on what being a warrior means to them. Next they use the hashtag #onewinwarrior and tag me in the post. I will be giving away a Vintage Works candle, which is hand poured and vegan! Since I love giving away gifts, one lucky winner will receive a secret add-on.
I recently landed a contract with House Yoga located in Kenilworth, NJ. My memoir takes place at an Ashram, so a yoga studio distributing my memoir is like a dream come true. The owner, Christa Lapinig, believes in empowerment and the success of her students. I’ve been attending House Yoga for over a year and the teachers are truly inspiring. It’s more than handstands – they push you to believe in yourself. I started out unable to even hold a downward dog. Now, I can complete 108 sun salutations and rock my headstands!
Where is your business based?
My memoir, The Cancer Warrior, will be available on Amazon.com and House Yoga, which is located in Kenilworth, NJ.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I started with creating my own website and began blogging in order to build my platform. Afterwards, I signed up for social media sites in order to engage with the community.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Social media has been a huge help in raising awareness about my memoir. I am a yoga addict at heart so being able to share my poses with my Instagram community allowed awareness for my memoir to flourish on its own. I interact with influencers in my community and want my memoir, The Cancer Warrior, to be an inspiration to those affected by cancer. Cancer is something many people face either personally or with someone they know. I want others to feel connected to my memoir and understand what it takes to be a warrior.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
I learned everything from the ground up. I have no experience with marketing, however, have grown to love it. Being an indie author can be a challenge because people assume the book won’t be quality. I want to prove them wrong and demonstrate that indie authors are vital in the book industry. Another challenge has been to manage my full-time job, family, and writing. It’s not easy finding balance especially with having a toddler. My fiancé works the night shift and it’s important for me to give my son the time and attention he deserves.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I sat down with a big cup of coffee and taught myself about the trade. I studied what mainstream authors and brands were doing to market themselves. I read books about how to properly market myself and my brand. However, we all have our limits of expertise and that’s when I would ask for help. I called other entrepreneurs and asked questions about how they built their brand. I soaked in as much knowledge from people who started from the bottom. It’s important to have support especially in this field. As for finding balance in my life – I do my best. I write when my son is down for naps or asleep for the night. I understand that what I want to achieve is important. I have the right to make time for my goals without feeling guilty.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
My family, friends, and yoga. It’s easy to look over your work and think to yourself, “why do I think my story is so important?” I decided to no longer listen to those negative little voices in my head and surround myself with positive people. Yoga has also been crucial in helping me stay motivated. Yoga has taught me to accept who I am and embrace my true self.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I am in the business of writing and we are all family. I want to empower writers and help others achieve success. If my book reaches the top – it will open doors to other indie writers. We sometimes think abundance is limited and it’s not – there is abundance for everyone who wants it. There is no need to compete, only empower.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
It’s going to get lonely sometimes because people are not going to understand exactly what you’re doing. My family and friends are extremely supportive of my work, but it’s hard to understand all the details of what I have to do in order to market my memoir. I think other entrepreneurs understand that level of loneliness. So it’s important to have a support system with people who are in the same field of work.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Your website and social media presence are more important than you think. Make sure you have a clean website and great photos. Also, make sure every photo you take highlights the brand accurately. I also recommend connecting with others in your field in order to build from one another. My last piece of advice – empower others when you are steady in your business. Encourage, motivate, and guide those who are starting out.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Instagram has been a huge tool in my success. I’ve made connections with other entrepreneurs and promoting my memoir has been fun and exciting.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
A great article that I’ve recently read is, ” A 12-Month Strategic Plan for Marketing Your Book before Release” by James A. Rose on www.livewritethrive.com. It’s a great way to organize myself before the release of my memoir in April.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently trying to set up book signings and consignment contracts with bookstores.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
The next few months are going to be a roller-coaster, but a fantastic one. I have to finalize my memoir for print and continue collaborating with other businesses for my book signing tour and consignment opportunities. I will also be creating a shirt and other fun products that represent The Cancer Warrior’s mission.
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