Rachael Eckles Brings Thought-Provoking Literature Through Aphrodite Books

racheleckles pp

Sep. 25 2022, Published 4:57 p.m. ET

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The complexity of life is sometimes overwhelming, and finding relief is often a struggle. However, reading is one way for many people to escape the mundane routine of their lives and escape to a different reality. As an avid reader and book lover, Rachael Eckles has always enjoyed discovering new worlds of imagination and wonderment where anything can happen. As a writer, she enjoys creating thought-provoking works that offer her readers respite from life's ever-present stressors.

Rachael Eckles self-publishes her books through Aphrodite Books LLC, a company she established during the Covid-19 pandemic. When the world began lockdown in March 2020, Rachael finally had the time to explore her interests in writing and began to finish her first novel, Trading Secrets, which she had worked on for years. Like many people, Rachael thought the pandemic would only last for a month or two, so it was a race against time to finish her book and publish it by her anticipated release date of May 2020. However, she was grateful for the push. “Who knows when I would’ve felt like my manuscript was perfect enough to be read by others? Probably never. But sometimes life requires you to do things before you’re ready,I’ve never once looked back and wished I had done it differently.”

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For years, Rachael had vacillated between self-publishing and pursuing the more traditional route of finding an agent and publisher. “After some soul searching, I realized I wanted to retain control over the writing and the creative aspects like title and cover design. Candidly, I also wasn’t patient enough to wait two years or more to find an agent and a publisher.”While her background in law strengthened her writing, it didn’t teach her how to navigate the publishing world or social media, so she took a crash course in both. She possessed a strong entrepreneurial spirit and by acknowledging that, her goal to release her finished, but unpublished, book, revealed that she not only wanted to write books but also learn the business of selling them. “It’s refreshing to explore a new industry,” she says. “I learn something new every day.”

Rachael released her debut novel, Trading Secrets, a racy and glamorous Wall Street thriller and romantic suspense, through her LLC in May 2020, and its sequel, RiskyAssets, in June 2022. The third book in the series will be released in the summer of 2023, and she also has a how-to guide for healthy living for modern women in the works.

Rachael attests that self-publishing plays an important role in offering thousands of aspiring writers a platform to express their ideas to the world. “Self-publishing is a democratization of creativity, if you will, removing some of the gatekeepers who are historically reticent to gamble on fresh new voices. I’m grateful for the platforms that make this possible.” A far cry from what it used to be, she's pleased that authors do not need to go through lengthy query processes that put them at the mercy of agents and publishers. Nevertheless, there are still hurdles to overcome, requiring authors to be strategic and innovative.

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"Because it is so easy to self-publishing has become easier these days, the real challenge authors face is difficult breaking out of the flood of books to stand out as a quality read book," Rachael cautions. "It also can require a lot of capital upfront to be successful. Writers should weigh their options appropriately around self- and traditional publishing. It was important to me to have creative control, so it made sense to self-publish, but I also had to invest a lot of capital upfront in an editor, a cover designer, and help with social media.” Some authors may prefer the existing infrastructure and resources of the big publishing houses, so traditional publishing may be more appropriate for them. “The important thing is if you have a story inside of you burning to be told, you must get it into the world by any means necessary by investing in a professional editor, cover, website, and social media presence." However, Rachael believes the flood of new voices is exciting and is optimistic about the future of publishing. “There can never be too many books, and there is room for many paths to that end — indie publishing like Aphrodite Books and large publishing houses. The world will always appreciate good storytelling, so we should do what we can to pave the way for the future of literature and that the world continues to look out for well-vested writers.” In this light, Rachael recognizes the importance of leveraging social media platforms and devoting time to proper marketing.

Taking Aphrodite Books from an LLC with no structure to an established publishing company with two novels and two more forthcoming has been an eye-opening experience. "It helped me create a foundation for a lifelong love affair with writing books and make an impact while doing so," she shares. She’s achieved this by donating a portion of her proceeds to community development programs in Kenya, India, and Guatemala through The Village Cooperative, where she serves as a board member. “I’ve also found a way to marry writing with another of my passions —helping women and girls get the resources they need to build better lives.”


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