We had the good fortune of connecting with Nadine Duncan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nadine, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
I think people outside the independent publishing industry assume that the onus is solely on the publisher to publicize their books. For large publishing companies, absolutely! But for smaller, independent companies, it is really all hands on deck. Writing a book is the easy part, but the hard part is getting people to read it!
What should our readers know about your business?
My business is a primarily a publishing company. I started the Traveling Black Women Network after writing and publishing my first travel guide–Diary of a Traveling Black Woman: A Guide to International Travel in 2015. I wrote this guide in response to the need for information on travel specifically curated for Black Women. Whenever I spoke of my travels, many of my friends and colleagues would ask the same battery of questions–How much did it cost? How do they treat Black people? How was the food? What can you do there? What about your hair? They seemed to view travel as a luxury reserved for a select view and not an attainable goal for themselves. They would then end the conversation by resolving to live vicariously through me.
I don’t really like the idea of my friends and colleagues being content with living vicariously through me. I wanted them to know that travel could be “a thing” for them too. As a result, I wrote a guide to inform Black Women on how to begin traveling internationally. Although blogs were on the rise at the time, I desired to reach beyond the digital platform and offer a good old-fashioned book that could be read anywhere as well as easily gifted to another person. I then decided to build a network that included a Facebook group where Black women could share ideas and experiences, an Instagram page where photos of Traveling Black Women are used to change the narrative on travel, and a Twitter page where I share travel deals and useful travel products.
Today, the network has grown to having a total of 8 different travel guides (Solo Travel, Study Abroad, Jamaica, Iceland, Trinidad, Dubai, and Morocco) that are written specifically for Black Women by Black Women.
There have been many challenges to building a business of this nature. Other than the expense of marketing, it is difficult managing a new venture while working full-time. As I try to build revenue through my business, I am still traditionally employed to pay my bills. With so many demands on my time, I have to be intentional about making the time to keep building my business. As a result, time has been one of my biggest obstacles.
My other struggles come from learning the business along the way–marketing, social media marketing, partnerships, contracts, etc. It can be extremely costly to hire a business consultant and social media seems oversaturated with big ticket “experts”, so I spend a lot of time on google, LinkedIn, and in the free sections of small business pages.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Because tastes and interests can be different, I’d recommend planning by category.
On a 7 day trip, I’d recommend:
A Tasting (Wine, Beer, Cheese)
A Cooking Class with local favorites
A day to explore
A day for adventure
A day to relax
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My unofficial personal photographer, Lauren Odom!