Kristin Bentley is a USA Today bestselling author and the founder & CEO of Elisely Publishing, a boutique traditional publishing house that launches changemakers with bold and uninhibited stories into bestselling authors. She has been in the writing industry for over 20 years. Her background includes experience as a journalist, recognition as the award-winning Editor-in-Chief of the National Infantry Association’s official magazine, a creative executive for a startup that provided services to companies such as Hilton and US Foods, and the creative director behind the creation and launch of six successful global publications—one distributed to nominees of the 2021 Oscars & Grammys.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I began making up stories as a toddler, and as I grew older my creativity grew with me. In high school I began to dabble in everything from poetry to short stories to nonfiction articles. During my senior year in high school I entered two of my poems in a school contest. One won and the other was published in the school yearbook. This was when I knew that I had to pursue my dreams of writing and went on to join my university’s newspaper and literary magazine staff. From there everything took off.
Tell us something about your organization. What is it about and how is it helpful for people?
I launched Elisely Publishing in 2020 with the premise that we were going to revolutionize the traditional publishing industry.
More than half of Americans say they want to write a book, however, only 24 percent actually begin writing and only 8 percent complete their manuscripts. Most struggle with writer’s block because they struggle with maintaining inspiration and focus, others become consumed by perfectionism, and others find the time commitment becomes overwhelming.
From here, even fewer Americans go on to publish their books, with a small fraction of those being picked up by a traditional publisher. For most, publishing seems incredibly complicated. Regardless of how you choose to publish your book, there is always an investment required of you. Whether it’s to hire an editor to self-publisher, pay your production costs to publish through a hybrid publisher, or hire a literary agent to pitch you to a traditional publisher.
So, we decided to change this dynamic to make publishing a book possible. We guide our authors from ideas to published books through the services we offer to support them as they write their best books. When they complete our masterclass, they have a completed fully edited and formatted manuscript and book cover that they can then submit to us for publication or self-publish. For those whose manuscripts we accept, we then create a fully book launch campaign with podcast interviews and book signings. We give our authors all the tools they need to publish their best book with the most success as possible.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
Elisely Publishing launched three weeks before my state was put into quarantine. I had just left an executive position that gave me the flexibility to work remotely, so I did have a moment of pure panic. I was terrified that I had just made a huge mistake. And there was no going back.
It was as though I had just jumped off a cliff into the great unknown, but soon after that initial panic I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. The right people seemed to find me right away, I found myself completely immersed in serving my community. I really learned in by listening to how their own fear was showing up as they wrote their manuscripts and determining what additional support I needed to provide.
That first year was really about meeting the needs of my community and pivoting when necessary. Whereas, the second was about growth and networking.
These last two years as a whole have directed me both personally and professionally in such impactful ways that I have grown so much. I consciously make an effort to continue to put myself into uncomfortable situations, ones that require me to stretch and grow as an entrepreneur, wife, mother and woman. And each time I find myself overcoming my fears of self-doubt and judgment a little more every day. When we are able to uncover the ways we self-sabotage, our success becomes limitless.
What has been the response of the consumers towards your venture?
After working with us, our authors become bestselling authors, have been featured in major media, and win awards. They tell us that working with us has changed their lives in every way. The best award and acknowledgement we could ever receive is seeing our authors go from feeling limited by their stories to embracing that they are who they are because of their story. It is what makes them strong and inspirational. That is true empowerment.
How has your life changed because of your venture?
Every day I feel full of passion and energy for the work that I do. It provides an outlet for my never-ending creativity and desire to serve by providing a platform for others to feel heard. There is nothing worse than feeling that you have been silenced. That your voice and story doesn’t matter. My purpose is to give those who were silenced back their voice. Because when we find the courage to speak up and share our stories, we give other women the courage to do the same. Life is about community.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
My world vision is a place where all women are heard. Where no voice is silenced. Where no one feels alone and powerless. We are here on this earth to connect and support one another, regardless of where we come from. Underneath it all, we are the same. Our heart beats the same, our tears roll down our face the same, and our laughter fills us with the same joy. I see a world where we simply listen to one another and hold each other’s hand.
Give a motivational message for the audience/women who are reading this.
Your voice and story matters. And when you stand in the power of that story, you inspire others to be just as courageous to do the same.