E2A 072: Multi-Title Author by 16: Claudia and Sonia Marta Talk Manuscripts, Book Marketing and More 

 April 16, 2024

By  Scott A. MacMillan

In this episode of The Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, your host Scott MacMillan welcomes Claudia Marta and Sonia Marta, a mother-daughter team excelling in marketing and authorship, respectively. Claudia brings decades of marketing expertise, while Sonia, at just 16, is an accomplished author with multiple books to her credit. They delve into Sonia's journey as a writer, from her childhood love for literature to her award-winning book "The Rapping Astronaut." Claudia shares insights into their collaborative publishing experience and the successful marketing strategies employed for the 2022 Grammar Factory title "From Source to Sold."

The discussion highlights the importance of consistent effort and engagement in both writing and book promotion. The duo’s upcoming Pen to Paper Writing and Personal Branding Retreat aims to inspire aspiring authors and entrepreneurs, emphasizing the power of personal branding and community building. Listeners gain valuable insights into the creative process, the publishing industry, and the journey from entrepreneurship to authorship in this insightful episode


Claudia Marta
With over two decades of industry experience, Claudia is a senior marketing executive renowned for her extensive expertise in strategic brand development and positioning, distribution, account management, PR, and CSR. She has held key roles in leading advertising agencies for McCann, D’Arcy, and MullenLowe, collaborating with a diverse clientele spanning telecom, luxury brands, FMCG, finance, and insurance across multiple regions within European and US markets.
Claudia has coordinated the successful Tinmar rebranding campaign, which received the prestigious Graphis Platinum award. She is associated with Alcott Global and was vital in organizing the successful launch of the book From Source to Sold, swiftly attaining the status of a #1 Amazon Bestseller worldwide within a week (October 4-7, 2022). Her expertise has also contributed to a young author's launch of her debut novel internationally (Oblivion, Sara Podgoreanu, launched in 2023), along with Sonia Marta’s continuous support for her editorial projects.

Sonia Marta
A changemaker and an award-winning author, Sonia Marta wrote and self-published her first poetry collection, Oracol (2018), hitting the shelves at the age of 10. Next came her most acclaimed story by teachers and the international community, The Rapping Astronaut (2020), an award-winning children's book, along with Bucharest City Tour, a Trip with Sonia (2020). In 2023, Marta co-authored Women Leading the Way (2023), a collection of stories of successful women launched at the London Book Fair (LBF23').
Sonia Marta's projects kickstarted her journey as a role model, travelling all over the globe to speak to over 3,500 children, students, and parents about the importance of self-improvement and the importance of education.
Her mission, inspiring the youth to follow their dreams, brought about her recognition at the Women Changing the World Awards Gala (2023), where she won Silver in the category Young Women Changing the World. Marta's podcast, Storywise - The Podcast, is a children's show featuring extracts of her work read by VO artists worldwide, portraying a fraction of the support she's received.


Pen to Paper Retreat: soniamarta.com/retreat


Email: claudia.marta@criticalthinking.ro

Instagram: instagram.com/claudia_marta1

Facebook: facebook.com/claudia.g.marta/

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/claudiamarta/


Instagram: instagram.com/soniamartaauthor

Facebook: facebook.com/SoniaMartaAuthor

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/sonia-marta-6324462b1/



LinkedIn (@scottmacmillan): linkedin.com/in/scottmacmillan
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Medium (@scottamacmillan): scottamacmillan.medium.com

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Episode Transcript

Please note: The transcript is produced by a third-party company from an audio recording and may include transcription errors.

Scott MacMillan

You're listening to the Entrepreneur to Author podcast.


Welcome to the Entrepreneur to Author podcast, the podcast that brings you practical strategies for building authority and growing your business. And now, here's your host, Scott MacMillan.


My guests today are Claudia Marta and Sonia Marta, an impressive mother-daughter team making waves in multiple areas of publishing. Claudia is a senior marketing executive renowned for her extensive expertise in strategic brand development and positioning, distribution, account management, PR, and CSR. And her daughter Sonia, at the age of only 16, is already an award-winning author and changemaker who has four books to her name and won silver at the Women Changing the World Awards in 2023.

And I'm thrilled to bring them onto the Entrepreneur to Author Podcast.

I shared a little bit about you in the intro, but it would be really helpful for our listeners if you could provide a little bit more detail about yourself and Claudia, maybe we'll start with you and then Sonia after that. Sure.

Claudia Marta:

First, thank you for having us and I'm really happy to reconnect this way with you. I'm Claudia Marta and I've been working since 98 in advertising, marketing, in advertising agencies, in multinational companies, and as well in entrepreneurial businesses. And since two years, I'm with Alcott Global, an executive search company, where I have contributed with my expertise.

I learned a lot to launch a successful book, From Source to Sold. And this is actually something that made us work together, which I'm really happy we did so. This is about me.


Wonderful. Wonderful. Sonia, how about you?

Sonia Marta:

Well, nice to meet you and also thank you for having me on your podcast.

It's a pleasure to be here. I'm not your exactly typical 16 year old since I've actually published four books at my age, which is, you know, something quite extraordinary. And I would consider myself as a person that loves literature and loves, you know, just reading.

And I'm actually at International British School of Bucharest for around 13 years now, which is why I think I really have a passion to write in English and just to keep myself interested in a lot of wide broad topics. I've actually also won the Young Women Changing the World Award this April, actually in 2023. And that really just opened my mind to a world that I never really thought I could achieve since my whole career in writing started off as something fun and seeing the amount of impact that I've had on children now scaled this whole thing to something so much bigger.

I sometimes, you know, stumble upon how really excited I am about the whole thing myself. So that should cover up some pretty basic stuff about me.


That's excellent. I really appreciate that. And it really is impressive how much you've accomplished on the writing and authorship side at such a young age. And I'd love if you could share a little bit more about your experience with writing.

I'm most familiar with your book, The Rapping Astronaut, but feel free to kind of talk about that or other books or multiple ones. But, you know, where did you come up with the idea for that book? And I'm most interested in understanding how you found the task of writing itself.


Well, for the task of writing itself, I think I'm not your average writer that will reply with something along the lines of staring at the blinking cursor is the most daunting task and actually getting started is difficult for me.

Really, what gets me started is the amount of inspiration that I have from everyday things like movies and books. I've actually just finished The House Made by Frida McFadden this morning, actually, which I'm really hyped about. It was an amazing read.

And my writing journey actually started from the inspiration about how much literature I was exposed to as a child, since my mother would always bring back stories and she would always read me a good night story before going to bed, which I think really influenced how much of an impact I am having myself on the topic. And The Rapping Astronaut is actually also the book that I'm most proud of because it was my first project in English that I worked on. And I think the inspiration really just came from the teachers at my school, at IBSB, since I was involved in the creative writing club.

And so really from that point, from my teachers and also from the collection of David Williams that I have very proud and dear to me in my bookshelf, actually is what sparked up the inspiration for The Rapping Astronaut. And really, from that point on, I just woke up one day with the idea and I just poured my thoughts onto paper, regardless, not thinking about trying to perfect it or trying to make it sound really good. So really, it just came from reading and my teachers' help.


Oh, that's wonderful. I love hearing that influence or the experience of the influences that you've had. You know, my son is six and he's already talking about how he is really keen to write a book someday. So I think he'll look to you as inspiration for that.


That's really great to hear.


Yeah, yeah.

Claudia, I want to get to you and talk a little bit about From Source to Sold. But before we do that, Sonia, could you talk a little bit about the publishing process for your book? How did you publish your book and what was that experience like?


Sure. So for The Rapping Astronaut, I was actually old enough to finally get involved into the actual publishing process, which was something that, you know, really was a game changer in terms of how much passion I had for my work.

And that is really why that is actually because of my time as I spent introducing with the illustrator and we worked on the storyboard. And that was probably my most favorite part of the publishing process about, you know, because I was even now looking back, I was pretty determined and I surely knew what I wanted for my book to look like. So also playing around with fonts and changing everything in the graphic design department and talking with the publishing house and feeling the different types of paper and how the illustrate and how the illustrations would look on the page really was something about the publishing process that I really enjoyed since I got to finally see how it goes from the first draft to editing to the storyboard and then finally to the publishing process.

So for me, those were some of the most memorable moments. Yeah, that's exciting. I find that a really interesting part of the publishing is that tactile experience of the paper and the colors and how it all comes to life in physical form.


Claudia, you and I met, as you mentioned, when we worked together on From Source to Sold. Would you share a little bit about that project? Obviously, it's a very different project from The Rapping Astronaut, but what is the book about? What were the goals that you had for it and how has it done since we published it back in 2022?


Yeah, I will start with a fun thing. So when I applied for my position in Alcott Global, one of the key things they wanted to see was how I would market a book.

And I had the experience of my project with Sonia, so I went very detailed into the process of doing a book and little I knew that actually they were really engaged in the idea of launching a successful project. And this is how I joined Alcott Global, because of the projects I worked with Sonia in the past and because of my passions for books and to have this growth mindset and to learn and do as much as possible into this kind of publishing world, let's say, where I had a small experience. So with this in mind, in the first month when I joined Alcott Global, Radu Palamariu, which is the author of Source to Sold and managing director of the company, had already a series of interviews with the leaders in the book.

And we just met. I remember sitting on the grass in Zurich and thinking how to make this project and where to start to have a global success and to impact the supply chain community with our work, because we really found value in the content that we had in the book. So now a couple of years later, yeah, from pitching, looking online for publishing houses, trying to identify what solutions from self-publishing to pitching to traditional publishers, we ended up working with you.

And we and what I did was to try to identify those things that would have an impact and would make our voice heard. So Radu already had a series of podcasts. This is how his idea came for the book.

And having these podcasts, we had a community. We have a big community in social media, especially on LinkedIn. And then we came up with the sprinkles, let's say, to have a super for the launch day to have outdoor in Times Square on the NASDAQ building, which was something celebrated by all the leaders which are present in the book.

And then, of course, Radu and Knut Alicke, which is also co-author, he's a partner in McKinsey in the book. They had literally trips across continents to companies or to industry events to share more about the book, its content. And in the background, I was in touch with industry, let's say, journalists, either podcasts hosts in the industry, either journalists.

So to try to spread the word about it. And we had an amazing engagement. I think that more than 10,000 engagements on LinkedIn and posts about the book.

So it is actually that kind of phenomenon that we envisioned when we had just the idea of, OK, let's launch it.


Yeah, yeah. And I have to say, as the publisher, I've been incredibly impressed at the quality of the effort that you put behind the marketing.

And it really, really did pay off. It's been incredibly successful, not just in terms of its impact in the industry, but also in terms of actual sales of the book. And obviously, there was a lot of effort that went into the launch.

But what we've seen, the way it's showing through the numbers month after month is that momentum has continued.


Right. It still does incredibly well month after month.


It was published back in, I believe, is October right of 2022. We're here in April of twenty twenty four and it's still doing really, really well month to month. What what are you doing now? Are there things that you're continuing to do now on the marketing front that is supporting that sustained success? Or was it the effort that you put in up front around launch that set it up for success or a combination of both? I would say it's a combination of both, because every month we have a plan how to address the book and what to do for the book to communicate, addressing, let's say, initiatives that are related to grassroots initiatives, talks, keynotes, events where we think it's appropriate to have it.


So, yeah, face to face, I think it's still a thing. And when you have the book there, it's it's magic. Then also I'm looking every month for the PR initiatives.

What can we do with whom to collaborate and which are the podcast hosts out there? So every month there is something happening. And we continued with the same kind of energy and effort behind as for the launch every single month. What happens is that everyone usually puts a lot of effort in the first month and expects to have a million pieces sold.

And then seeing that you don't achieve a million, you start to decrease your effort. But I think that the constant effort every month, it's still the key to success. I would make a parenthesis here because I just listened to a talk in the weekend in terms of how to reach, let's say, the objective of having a bestseller.

And the author, which was in this podcast, Hugh Howey, bestselling author of Wool and Beacon 23, he said that he worked for 10 years, launching two books every year, thinking that statistically out of 10, one should be a bestseller. And it happened for him that at the end reached this success. And once he released a bestseller, actually, he managed to have an increase in sales for the previous books that were published in the previous years.

So when we talk about consistency, I think it's not the overnight success takes 10 years sometimes. And this is important to understand.


That's a really good point.

And, you know, you hear that that same thing talked about in a bunch of different disciplines, right? You hear about sports stars, right, who are all of a sudden they come on the scene and everybody thinks, where did they come from? But they've been putting in the effort year after year, decade after decade. And that overnight success takes a long time to build. Now, you're both working together now on a retreat, right, that's happening later this year.

I'd love if you could share a little bit more about that. Sure, we are very hyped about it.


Of course, it came as an idea talking with Sonia and seeing the impact of the event where we've been last year in April.

I think that what we, myself and what Sonia did with her journey to schools, kindergartens and seeing how children relate to a child author, it's something that we can further leverage. And I would let Sonia talk a bit more because it's actually her initiative to do something like this.


Thank you.

So, yeah, the Pen to Paper writing and personal branding retreat is happening this July. It's actually been official. So I'm really, really hyped about it as we just secured our spots and our plane tickets.

I think it was last night. Am I right? Yeah. So it was it's really starting to happen and come true.

And I'm really so excited because actually the idea of it came sort of ambiguously to me. I like to build on upon something that my mom said about that it actually spread up in the April Women Changing the World Awards. Actually, from a conversation from Oprah's all-time favorite guest, Tererai Trent, and I saw that she was working on these retreats to bringing a lot of successful women and helping them, their voices be heard.

And so I think especially as I evolved through my journey and went from something, a fun adventure to actually inspiring people, I think now I really want to show that it's possible and reinforce the actual power that, you know, as my mom said, consistency has and how always believing in your dreams can someone can actually turn that vision into a reality. And so the idea came up from the Crom Castle writing retreat in which I think it was Serenity Press that that hosted it and which actually David Williams took part at a gala, if I'm not mistaken. So seeing my passion for traveling and seeing that something like this actually happens, I thought, I mean, maybe let's just give it a try.

You know, I wanted to build my community and I wanted to scale up my the power that I had, not from only class to class, visiting schools and kindergartens, but actually having a full on retreat with a presentation and a more in-depth process of how to publish a book and about personal branding, really, because it's also about the work that you put in because today's world really functions on social media a lot more than it used to. So I think it's also about that importance. And so the Pen to Paper writing retreat is something for me very that I hold very dear because I want to bring about a community and help them connect and help them help inspire them to actually make them realize that what's holding them back is really just something, let's say temporary, that once you overcome it, really it becomes just a matter of action before it becomes a success.

So I really want to see their vision of how happy they are when they achieve what they want to do. So that's what I aim to strive to achieve in the Pen to Paper Writing Retreat


Oh, that's that's so exciting. And what we're going to do is we're going to put details about the retreat in the show notes so that it's very easy for people to get more information about that.

But I'm wondering if you could maybe preview a little bit, because there are a lot of people listening to this podcast that have probably considered writing a book, but for whatever reason, they haven't taken that step to actually sit down, write the manuscript and get their book published. What advice would you give to people in that situation?


I think a lot of people really want to start a book because when we talk about a book, we don't just mean fiction. There's also nonfiction, as your publishing company is.

So I think a book can hold so much power since it can vary all around different subjects. And I think the most important advice I could give to a person that's looking forward to publishing or getting their name out there and getting published is actually not starting, which is one of the most cliche advices people give, because I know that feeling, that daunting feeling about looking at the blinking cursor on the Word document. But I think something more important than just than really just starting is actually pretending that it's just you and the paper, because really it is in that moment as you're writing it and just putting a curtain onto the outside world, which really, I think, especially that I'm a young writer and I'm on social media a lot, I can't lie.

I think some of the hardest challenges I have to overcome is actually getting across that sort of barrier of being judged or criticized. So it's easy to get lost in that idea of, oh, so many people are going to read my work. But if we look at it from a different perspective, so many people are going to read your work and relate with it in ways that you possibly couldn't even have imagined when you wanted to start.

So I think just ignoring the outside world and zooming in and focusing on you and the paper and the story and the message that you want to send out onto the world is really the best advice I could give for someone looking forward to writing their book.

Well, that is really great advice. What's the best way for people to get in touch with you both to learn more about the work that you're doing and how you might help them in their journey?


For me, you can find me at SoniaMarta.com on my website, and I'm also on all social medias @SoniaMartaAuthor.

And my mom can tell more about herself.


I think that all the details that are needed are on the website, on Sonia's website.

And one more thing that I would like to add is that if we talk about who to join, I have the experience for this nonfiction book.

Sonia has the experience with children's book. We have another speaker which has experience with young adult and children's book. So I think it's important to understand that the book is for, I would see it for teachers.

There are so many teachers, English teachers that are willing to develop something for their little ones or with them. There are parents that, like yourself and myself, have children that are willing to put their thoughts and to create their own book. And I believe so much in having the experience of a real project as a child because it really gives wings in terms of confidence and this kind of opportunities we didn't see before Sonia starting her journey as an author.

With this, I think it's as well for professionals because professionals in any field, if it's marketing, supply chain, finance, if they want to succeed and to have a longer career, having their thoughts, their principles in a book is something that establish their brand as an expert in a specific field. So it's about kicking off this idea without considering if it's fiction, children's book, nonfiction.


Excellent. Excellent. Claudia, Sonia, thank you so much for joining us today. This was so interesting and I really appreciate you both and your generosity with your time and experience. Thank you again for being here.

Claudia & Sonia:

Thank you for having us on your podcast. Thank you.


As we wrap up this episode of Entrepreneur to Author, remember this, now is the time, time to write, time to publish, and time to grow. I'm Scott McMillan. Until next time.

Scott A. MacMillan

Scott A. MacMillan is a speaker, international best-selling author, entrepreneur, and the President and Executive Publisher at Grammar Factory Publishing. He and his team help expert entrepreneurs write and publish books that build their authority and grow their business.

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