Reach for the Stars with Cecilia Caballero

Cecilia Caballero

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You Can Find Her in the Night Sky

I enjoyed chatting with astronomer, teacher, educator and now writer – Cecilia Caballero. Ceci travels the globe to catch eclipses and spends new moons gazing up at the stars. She’s turned her love of the stars into a publishing house and turned her children’s bedtime stories into fabulous books! Cecilia has learned some things along the way and is happy to share, here with us.

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Cecilia Caballero

I laughed out loud at Ceci’s story of how her children corrected her when she retold her own stories wrong! That’s when she knew she had to do something with them. And there’s no time like a pandemic! I hope you enjoy getting to know Ceci as much as I did!

A Marketing Flop?

I paid some freelancers to help with marketing with zero ROI. Mistake! Who will market your book better than you? Marketing training and joining published author groups helps. I am learning so much from Laurie.

Cecilia Caballero

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Joining me for the first time?  Start at the beginning HERE

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Cecilia Caballero

Hello writers. Welcome today. Cecilia. I’m so happy to have you here. Thank you for coming on. Laurie, I’m so excited to be with you. You’re like my mentor and I look up to you. you’ve taught me so much, so thank you for having me. You’re welcome. Thanks for saying that. It always means a lot to say that, especially with the podcast, I feel like I’m just talking at my computer, so you never really sure how many people hear it.

[00:00:26]I loved reading your bio and everything you wrote to me – you are fULL of  interesting experiences. So let’s just start there, tell everybody, who you are and what you do. Okay. um, let me see educator for almost 20 years. I started as early as 2021 and, I love science – astronomy. That’s what I teach eighth grade.

[00:00:49] Physics, chemistry, astronomy. I’m an astronomer. So on my weekends, that’s what I do. You’ll find me in the night sky. I like to, so we go around the world to do that. Oh, wow! When my baby was born, the little one he’s eight now, I took a professor job instead that we had to have more flexible hours. Yeah. So that’s what we’re doing right now, 

[00:01:11] My first language is Spanish. I speak English. I speak French. So love going to Canada and Sydney are like Francophiles. We always go there for months at a time. Yeah, exactly what I do for a living. I’m an educator. I’ve been teaching almost 20 years and I do math and science.

[00:01:33] So I teach chemistry, astronomy, physics – astronomy, for me, it’s like my favorite thing. Cause that’s what I do. I’m an astronomer on my time off and for like almost 20 years to, you know wow. And so we, we have a telescope out here and, The favorite part is that my kids are going to do that as well.

[00:01:51] You know? So my, my kids’ names are astronomical names as well, and they know everything about the moon and the spaces and the planets and the exoplanets. And we actually love going. Um, eclipse chasing, you know, so. The next one actually is, December 21st in Rio in South America. But you know, the pandemic we worried about the pandemic and then the writing I’ve always written for my children because I’m a storyteller.

[00:02:19] Most of us are when they wouldn’t fall asleep I would just make up stories, make up stories, and then we’re in line. We driving along trip, make up a story and I thought. Like some more than others would ask me, Hey, repeat that story about that one. And I will say it again. “That’s not how you said it last time”, I made it up, I began writing them down for them.

[00:02:43] So when I say it again, and the first time and the same thing at school, when I make up stories for my students at school about like this. I know um, soB Oh, ‘Bacteria Spy, or like, I’ll make up a story about ‘the water cycle and the clouds come, or, um, erosion, like a little bird came to the, things like that. And when they like them, I write them over again.

[00:03:06] I have a whole bunch of them. It’s just What else am I going to do? So I I’ve been wanting to push them for a long time. And the school that I work with is an art Academy. And, we have a lot of artists there. So I asked him to help out with that. And then three years have passed by and we haven’t sent it.

[00:03:27] And I have a really good friend. Who’s actually an artist. And I asked him, Hey, can you do this with me? Or my best friend? Can you edit this for me? And we’ll do it. But it was just, you know, right. So I wanted to have their name on them, but it didn’t work out. And then one time, you know what, I’m just going to hire someone.

[00:03:44] Okay. Yeah, Upwork for me was amazing. Everyone should get at, um, they have freelancers and as soon as I hired them within two weeks, I was done with the book. Goodness. And so was that during the pandemic – it’s fairly recently done. Yeah, well, depending who you choose. So my, my first illustrator, is Margarita she’s in Japan. And I wanted someone that was anime style, cause the big guys and stuff and yeah, she was within two minutes.

[00:04:20] She was just fantastic. Yeah. Oh my goodness. She’s amazing. She’s talented when you have talent, it comes naturally, you know? Yep. Yep. So for me writing stories, I could do it, you know, editing is the hardest part, but making up the story is the fun part. And then we did a month of a month total because we wanted to, can you add the, change, your hair here?

[00:04:45] Can you add this color? But I mean, they actually. Wow. And within a month we were ready to publish and it’s just amazing. So the second book, we did it with her as well. And because you’re in your mic style, the films that I like it was just flowing. So do your friends at school, do they feel like, Oh shoot, I should have done.

[00:05:03] I know I did the tell me that, you know, and then yeah, you are a serious going to school on Friday and one of my teachers, but see what is taking me longer? Then three weeks for a month because I, you know, every once in a while, it’s exciting to do this. I was a kid.

[00:05:32] Sorry. I keep interrupting you. I’m sorry.

[00:05:37]I have three hours. Yep. And some more done already is just now thinking the launch date and with all kinds I make, I feel like the first book, because the last few independent mic. Yeah. It was more difficult. So I went to virtual tours and even though I’m a teacher and it’s hot. Yeah. Oh, a little shy, you know, and it’s difficult and easy.

[00:06:04] Yeah. I hear that because I taught kindergarten so I can talk to any number of

[00:06:12] artwork on my wall from my five-year-old. Well, that’s fantastic. What are your kids’ names that you said are inspired by the stars? Oh, beautiful. Yeah, so he, he actually in an economy club and he talks to the people. he gives classes on telescope, you know, fine. He gives classes. How old is he? He’s eight.

[00:06:39] Oh my goodness. Wow. Yeah. And then my daughter is 11. and she also like, they, they pilot programs for like we did over the summer, the UC Berkeley, the front of me with program and they were piloting this telescope. That’s all over the world. And sometimes we can’t see the stars because it’s daytime or it’s foggy or snowing or whatever, but this method it’s remote.

[00:07:02] So that’s coping. So you book the time you pick what you want to see the image for you, and then we’ll bring it back to us. It could be like an, I don’t know, like Australia, you know, have the image. Now we get to like, Manipulate it so that they could be clear and then we posted it. And then, so they’re teaching that class, you know how to do that because they were the pilots children.

[00:07:22] Right. But where did you want to work? So we are, wow. That is so cool. Okay. So we’ll talk about the books again. I feel like my kids would be all over that, but, yeah, we, we actually have a, Young astronomer program and it’s worldwide. So, Oh, well you should send me the link. If you didn’t already, we can share people as thank you.

[00:07:46] Okay. So what is, what are some big lessons you learned doing your books? Um, the marketing, you know, I know that’s home at the beginning. You have a platform first. Yeah. And, um, I went to Facebook or I didn’t, you know, or Instagram, because I figured it’s very like, you know, I didn’t want to do that. Um, but that’s how it is now.

[00:08:11] So social media was imperatives to, to do that. So in may I started my Instagram account looking okay.

[00:08:23] Yeah. And then August. Um, so that, that was that and it’s wow. It is time consuming, you know, but it’s nice to connect to the people. And at that point, when you make a business, uh, people start spamming you, Hey,

[00:08:38] it’s okay to review. And I’m like, and when you’re new, you don’t know always how people do it. I didn’t know that, you know, and then I’m like, well, let’s try it. And sure enough, I spent the money. A little girl and no results. I mean, they, they were, do they charge me for it, Amazon results? You know, it was that for our review or was that for

[00:09:01] okay, well, luckily was only $3. Yeah. Is that somebody saying I’m a teacher and I’ll review your book and you just pay me a lot of, a lot of people in our self published Indy, you know, children’s author world, because it comes up in groups sometimes, you know, did anybody else get this message and how is it going?

[00:09:22] And I think, um, I think a few people did it. I never heard anything. Um, like really positive, but it’s good to know that you should be honest and being paid to do that, you know? Well, and that is Amazon’s terms and conditions, right. That, uh, you’re not supposed to pay for reviews. Um, but I mean, they’re offering, and often at the beginning, often they would word it like for a donation, like for our domain.

[00:09:51] So then they worded a little bit, but, but you’re right. People come out of the woodwork. Yeah. Even emails. Yeah. Emails. Okay. Let’s review. You want to get more followers,

[00:10:05] but I learned that because I, and it’s funny cause I heard you saying. What was his podcast out before he picked the money? And actually last night I canceled my Google ads. Yeah. I forgot I had done it, you know, every time, you know, and I’m okay. Well, I wasn’t seeing the refills cause I haven’t seen sales from the Google ads.

[00:10:25] I don’t see any drive to the website from Google apps. Yeah. I saw my, um, Credit card statement. And I’m like, what a hundred? And it’s like, okay, let me, let me look up to that. So yesterday I went on cause I I’m busy writing books and teaching your parents. And so I finally last night at three in the morning allowed in and I actually have my thing, cancel it, you know?

[00:10:52] Oh, yeah. So I went in and I canceled it. I put pots in the campaign. I spent almost 500 bucks. Well, and they get you, they offer a credit, right? When you first sign up, they say, well, here’s your $150 credit. And you say, Oh, the last

[00:11:07] yes. And I forgot about it. So every time, you know, and I, then I will say, I find your books and another book illustration. Yeah. Yeah. You know, some hard lessons, but good lessons, I guess. Yes. And I’m hoping everyone who was here then don’t do that. I mean, you know, I think ultimately word of mouth is the one that works most.

[00:11:34] Yeah. Once people start reading it and enjoying it and telling their friends and yeah. So, um, your book, I reviewed it. You remember, I asked you pretty much and you said yes, and it’s great and it’s free and it’s nice. Um, I don’t have an audience yet when I think, you know, I think I could have 3000 followers on Facebook.

[00:11:56] Well, that’s good. But then no, well, yeah, they’re followers, but then I would have been learning more and more from authors, not just from, you know, other people. I think you’d have the best advice if you’re not authentic a hundred percent with you, like he’s gonna look at it and just assume, you know, they like, like, like.

[00:12:16] Right, right. But they don’t engage and that’s sort of, the important part is people will actually pay attention and engage. And yeah, I like what you’ve wrote. I asked a question sort of in the form about what advice you would give and you had really good advice. Do you remember what you wrote?

[00:12:34] It was find other authors, like you said, at the same level as you and have like a, like a work group together. Yeah. And then actually that’s what we did now. Yeah. So that way you don’t feel like I remember at the beginning when I was starting, I felt lesser because the word I was thinking, people have probably five books, you know, they were so it resonated for like, uh, intimate about asking questions then because they’re like pros and I’m a beginner.

[00:13:05] But it’s not like that. I mean, once you begin to give you the, you know, stuff like that. And so I began by asking for groups that the beginning of writers or first-time writers, or first book writers, and then together, we grew, you know, like marketing and that’s when I found a lot like, Oh, I should have gone to this group before.

[00:13:25] And I would just like fight it, you know? And then when they give you the actual publishing companies, Um, that was at the beginning. And, um, you know, they ask that it’s different the way they ask you to do stuff and the way you want to do things for them. So I did that path and then I was like, wait, uh, and then, um, luckily the publisher was amazing.

[00:13:48] Um, she is, um, Kimberly Martin from Tara publishing and, uh, she knew what I’m going through and stuff and the whole pandemic. And she, um, was still honest and truthful to me and say, you know what? Um, Amazing her woman. She told me, Hey, I know I’m a publisher, but if I were you, I will publish. It will be cheaper.

[00:14:11] It’ll be, if you told me, you know, and I owe her, I owe her, I owe her because, um, I was gonna go down that path and you know, the NAD publishers, they charge you like 6,000 or something too. Pay them. And I was like, wait, why would I benefit from it? Both when you pay me, what is this? And no, to keep your rights, you know?

[00:14:31] And I was like, Oh wow. It was just so amazing that I met her. Yeah. Cause you don’t usually have to, once I would have been paying the public school, other things, I think they charge you 6,000 per like what, why would I pay 6,000? So that money I invested, I’m making the business. Then he taught me, he led me to okay, go to the city, you know, whatever, do this to this.

[00:14:51] Um, Yeah, she she’s interested in mental God put her in my path. Wow. That’s so neat. She taught me how to do everything. Um, yeah. And then, so we opened the business, um, went to the bank, got the, everything started. Yup. Now we’re here and he’s so excited. Yay. And you have already three books,

[00:15:15] right. But I’ve had them written. And so like the pandemic happens. You’ve wanted to do this for a few years. Was there a moment or a specific something that was like,

[00:15:29] are you sure you could edit it out in later? Okay. Oh, okay. Okay. Because if it’s too much. Okay. So my dad has passed away. Last year in August and, um, soon praying every day since then. Okay. Everyday for guidance. And for, you know, like I don’t actually want home net PTO can, could go back to school. What am I going to do?

[00:15:51] How am I going to get with the kids? I’m a single mom now divorced something like that. What am I going to do now? And I’ve been praying and it’s the whole experience of the Virgin, Mary and praying and praying and praying. And, uh, one day that’s high in the morning, the kids were in school. Um, I say, I don’t know where they were.

[00:16:06] The point of that was in my room, making my bed and I don’t know what happened. Seriously. The room got brighter. And I was in the moment, making them be praying. I’m a single mom. I get good together. I can’t go to work because he’s going to be at home with the kids, doing their academics. Um, professors make enough money.

[00:16:25] What am I going to? I was just like freaking out for like the patio. Right. And seeing that, and suddenly it got brighter and warmer. I don’t know. And I heard a voice over here in the Gold’s grandpa voice, like an adult voice. It wasn’t my dad, like if you speak only Spanish and the voice said, publish your books.

[00:16:50] I got chills in my body. I went online and that’s when I met Kimberly Martin. Oh, my goodness. Wow.

[00:17:02] That’s amazing. Well, for me it was, and I feel like, okay, I finally have my path, you know, cause I’ve always had this path, but you do.

[00:17:13] Of course. Yeah. Yeah. You got to live in the house. And right now with the pandemic, I feel like everybody’s home right now. Everybody’s got to have money right now. Why not? You know? And it was just like, everything came out. So. Divine is the word. Oh,

[00:17:31] but yeah, I met you, you know, like I go on before I go on the computer, I asked for God, God, please guide me whatever’s there. So it could be good or not. And, um, and then I opened it up and like, the people that I’ve met are like, Little angels in my path, you know, and I’m hoping to do that for other people.

[00:17:49] So in the publishing company is called balloon publishing house. That’s what I ask. I say, Hey guys, I’m here to help. I’m here for you to keep your rights. I don’t want money from you. I mean, you know, I, to want you, I want more for me personally, um, woman to hear be heard, you know? And, um, so are you publishing other people?

[00:18:10] Is that what you mean? Yeah. Have you done that already or is that just in the world by divine intervention? Yes. Um, wasn’t a fight with God for a long time. Okay. That’s the thing that’s like so weird. I was in the beginning, none when I was little, really I was going at convicts and everything. And then I went after a car accident and became what I am now, but I feel like I’m back to that Lake.

[00:18:41] I can’t describe it, but for a long time, go to school, finish your master’s to go, go get two jobs, two jobs, buy a house, get a car, you know, all there’s like, blah, blah, blah. And then the pandemic. And it’s just like the slowing down. And I’m really happy. I’m exhausted. And I’m scared in the morning sometimes, but I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.

[00:19:03] Since I was a kid when I was going to be, I know, I know anyway, because I was telling my friends about it. And are you, can you help me with what you say? Because you publish them again, I’ll give you the number and he goes, no, no, can you do it for me? I’m like, Oh no, cause it’s a lot of work. It, can you like, well, no, you can keep all your rights if you want.

[00:19:22] And then, you know, just now make, well, that’s the point you come into this. I don’t want to keep your rights. I want all the authors to save and keep the rule two for yourself. So he insisted like, okay, well, All right. Well, yeah, it’s actually coming out. It’s already done. Um, uh, buddy bear. By dr. Doug MLR.

[00:19:45] And it’s a story that he wrote over decade, right. And it’s a collection of stories. He’s a scientist as well. So, um, before we tell her naturally the teacher fifth grade teacher for a long time, uh, a pastor, uh, anyway, he’s amazing. And a phone number of course. And, um, Yes, they’re just beautiful stories and almost no editing required.

[00:20:07] And, uh, the illustrator is, um, Ella Astra. Who’s doing my fourth book called potty quest. Cause you know,

[00:20:19] my girl, my baby was girl. Not lately. I mean, I was having trouble finding it. So I remember saying I’m gonna write a book for my girl. And I did. I wrote it through my own self, you know, like it just was just for me and her and her name was user of her. Cause I tried switching my own book, but it was like a year, you know what?

[00:20:42] This is? Oh, it’s hard. Yeah. So. Okay. Anyway, so that’s, if he’s doing that and I think, um, Oh also I remember one day praying God, whatever, how am I going to publish it? Somewhat shy person, help me help me. It was midnight and a Facebook message from a radio station.

[00:21:03] And I was praying all day. And it started on cheddar radio here in LA. And, uh, I kind of him like, Oh, Hey, yeah. You know, one time I thought hair salon, how are you? He has me hace book coming. I’m like, surely it’s going to be published in weeks. He goes, Oh, great. And they go, Hey, what do you think about, you know, making some, promoting the candidates interview you went live and

[00:21:30] I couldn’t explain it. I just think it’s God. And I know. Yeah. Isn’t that it’s all working, working well, and you’re happy and flowing. What would you say is your biggest challenge right now, right now, and it’s going to happen? Um, marketing. Like we said in marketing, I was trying to do with somebody else, you know?

[00:21:54] Cause I figured, okay. Coming to outsource the illustration and the editing and all that stuff, I might as well help somebody to the marketing as well. Right. Um, yeah, no, no, because they don’t care if I had as much. You know, the only time that when that case every night when it goes eat by pay, okay. I’m the only one that curriculum and book selling.

[00:22:11] Um, so I it’s, I’m the only one. And so I’m like the buddy bear one. I love that, man. He’s like my mentor when I was a teacher, he was my teacher when I was in my undergrad program, graduate program. And I really respect him and his wife and, uh, That’s mean, I’ll do it for free. You don’t have to pay me, I’ll do this.

[00:22:31] And they told me, yeah, but then how are you going to make money? Well, money will come when it’s ready, but right now I’m doing this because I had a message, you know, and I know it’s weird. Okay. Cancel it out if you want. I love that. And I think that will really resonate with people because I’m sure there’s a lot of other people like you that feel a calling and feel like there’s been some kind of divine intervention and that’s why they ended up.

[00:22:54] Publishing and that’s the whole mission and the whole passion. So first two books, three books are emotional, which is why it’s funny that you came into my life, um, because it’s about feelings and anxiety and fear and how to deal with, um, bullying, how to deal with, uh, neglect from friends at school, especially when you’re little kids, you know, how to deal with that.

[00:23:22] And then I came across you. I was like,

[00:23:29] get better. Yeah. I’m glad you did. Where can people find you? Um, well, my son, of course, my name is out there. I have my own website, um, by my awesome friend. She did it for me. Dot com. And then there’s a shop there and the shop will secure the publishing or book shop. And then in the book shop, you could either choose to go to Amazon again or through our own publishing there.

[00:24:00] And that’s great. And then there’s, um, Three books already. Four books up there. Cause the, because they’re already ready to go. They’re ready to pre-ordering. So I guess five books now. Well, congratulations. That’s really, I’m so happy for you and I’m glad that it worked out and well. I mean, it took a long time to get here, but you’re here now.

[00:24:23] I think the marketing is ongoing. Everyone. Sadly, but that’s just how it is. Right. So I’ll put all your links and stuff in the show notes. And, um, and just thank you for sharing your story with me and thank you for having me. And again, remember, you are amazing and please you are one of my guides in this context, so I’ll make it work for everybody else.

[00:24:49] I’m hoping to do that for others as well, you know? Yeah. Nice. Okay. Um, I’ll talk to you again. Alrighty.

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Laurie Wright

Laurie Wright

Teacher turned author, turned children's mental health advocate. Laurie has given a TEDx talk, gives workshops for parents, teachers, and children, and has published five books in the Mindful Mantras series, all to help combat the crisis kids are currently facing. Teachers can't stop the urge to teach! A course for creatives who want to write for kids is coming soon!
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