Author | Trainer | Speaker | Certified Coach (Budgeting & College-Prep)
1. Tell us about your background and journey.
My name is Margo Thomas. I came to the United States at the age of 25 to attend college for the second time around. I had completed an Associate's degree five years before and realized that in order to do the work I wanted to do and to make the money I felt I should be making, I needed to go back to college to finish my degree. As the first in my family to attend college, I really didn't know what I was doing. I started junior college the fall after I graduated from high school. Like many students, I soon got caught up and just before my last semester I found out I was pregnant. Fast forward eight years later, I moved to Georgia to attend Valdosta State University with my five year old daughter. I was more mature, so the second time around was a little different. Ten years after graduating, my daughter was graduating from high school and transitioning to college. Even though I had attended college, I was still confused as to what I needed to do to help her. We bumped heads about it sometimes, but I allowed her to go through it her own way, with minimal guidance from me. If I had known then what I know now, she would have completed her degree without student loan debt.
2. When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
I knew I wanted to write something, but I did not know what to write and I did not know the mechanics. I joined a local author's group to listen and learn from authors, editors, publishers, etc. We decided on a group project where each author wrote a short story about a similar topic. That was where it all really started.
3. Do you write for a living, or do you have another career?
I am currently the Director of a mentoring program that helps prepare high school students who will be the first in their families to attend and hopefully graduate from college. I am also a speaker, trainer and certified coach. My specialties include college-prep and basic financial literacy
4. Who is your favorite author, and why?
My favorite author today is Melinda Michelle. She writes fiction books about spiritual warfare. She is an amazing storyteller, which draws you into the lives of her characters. You become fully vested, to the point where you are literally praying for these people while reading the books.
5. What inspires you?
My relationship with God is my biggest inspiration. I know that I am able to do what I do now because of my own journey. I enjoy sharing my experiences and what I have learned from them with others. If I had it my way, we would all be winning in some way or another. I am encouraged when my students call to say they are graduating from college because I know that they are one step closer to accomplishing their life-long goals, whatever they may be.
6. What does your typical day look like as an author?
Now that the books are written, I am usually promoting my books in some way. I am very active on social media, both on my own pages and in groups. I invest time engaging with others within the different groups.Since I work full-time and my author time is limited, I schedule as many posts as I can when I have the opportunity to do it.
7. What is the name of your book? What is it about? What inspired you to write it?
My first book, HELP! What I Tell Parents About Preparing Their Kids For College was written out of necessity. I was searching for a resource to help my parents understand how they could help prepare their students for college. Everything I found seemed too technical, so I decided to write a simple guide that answered the many questions I received over the years from parents who were frustrated and just needed to know how they could help their students get through this process. Last year, I decided to create the I Am College Bound College-prep Planner for high school students because too many students were waiting until their senior year to put the effort into college-prep. As a result, they were becoming overwhelmed because there were a lot of unfinished tasks to get done in so little time. This planner helps high school students (not just seniors) develop a sound strategy and allows them to document research of their careers, college majors, potential colleges, scholarships, test scores, community service hours, etc. During the pandemic, I also published a budgeting and financial planning workbook called, Get Your Financial House in Order. This workbook started out as a way to chronicle my family's debt-freedom journey, paying off over $50,000 in consumer debt and creating a 6-month emergency fund. I wrote it to share as a resource with my budget coaching clients, but later decided to share it with the masses.
** HELP! What I Tell Parents About Preparing Their Kids For College ** I Am College Bound: College-Prep Planner for High School Students ** Get Your House In Order: Budgeting & Finance Workbook ** When Fate Whispers
8. What piece of advice would you like to give to future aspiring writers?
Just start. If you do not have the skills you need, find other authors and ask questions. If there is not a local group in your area, join a few on social media. Develop your social media presence before your book is published. Share what you are doing with others. Start researching what is needed to publish and market your book. If you are going to take the self-publishing route, learn the details of doing that. Save money to hire an editor. Ask a few people to read your work when you are done (preferably before the professional editing stage, but after you have done your own editing). They can let you know if it makes sense to them. The biggest thing you should know is to not take these personally. I know it is going to be your baby and sometimes it is hard to take criticism, but use these as evaluations to make your product better. Lastly, find a support system, a small group of people who will encourage and push you along to make your dream of being an author a reality.
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