Perseverance paid off big time, as it helped me create many bestsellers. I was open-minded about trying new things as well as willing to fail.

As part of my series on the “5 Things You Need To Know To Write a Bestselling Book,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Ally Nathaniel.

Ally is a #1 bestselling author. She sold over 40,000 copies of her first book and topped Amazon for 16 weeks straight. Ally was also invited by Amazon to be a panelist and lead their social media campaign “Lunch with Authors.”

Ally helps spiritual women become leaders in their field by publishing a book so they can spread their light and help others. She delivers high-impact motivational and transformational techniques to help authors get their book done and make an impact.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

12 years ago I got a one-way ticket, packed a suitcase, grabbed my two babies and got on a plane to the US looking for a better future for my family.

I was 35, I was scared and confused, and my Visa didn’t allow me to work here. I left everything, and everyone I knew behind. I had to reinvent myself.

Reinventing myself meant that I had to decide which direction I wanted to go. Although I wanted to write a book, I had limitations– I had no social or professional network and I didn’t know who to ask for advice. So, I did what I usually do — I asked, “What will help me get to where I want to be,” during my morning meditation. While sitting there with my eyes closed, an answer came to me. “You should write the book. You have what it takes,” so I did.

Seven years later, after a long journey, I was living the American dream. Not only did I become a #1 best-selling author who sold over 40,000 copies and topped Amazon for 16 weeks, but I was able to launch my business where I helped others get their book done.

What was (so far) the most exhilarating or fulfilling experience you’ve had as an author?

Without a doubt, when a fan calls to tell you how much they loved your book and that they can’t wait for your next one. The fact that they’re excited to talk to you because you’re their inspiration is an amazing feeling.

What was the craziest, weirdest, wildest experience you’ve had as a bestselling author?

What a ride it was…

I was sitting on the bus back from a meeting in NYC when my cell phone rang. I hesitated to answer because I didn’t want to bother the passengers around me, but decided to pick it up anyway. I’m glad I did.

On the line was Amazon’s PR representative asking me if I would agree to join an authors’ panel in the city to share my experience as a best-selling author and be part of a video series –“Lunch with Authors.”

I remember that I stopped breathing for a second before calmly answered with “sure, I’d be honored to be a part of it.”

The night before the event, I was picked up from my NJ home in a limo that Amazon sent to meet with their crew in a restaurant, which they paid for — I sure did feel like a VIP.

If someone had told me just a few years back this would happen, I would giggle and say “I wish.”

What is the greatest part of being a successful, bestselling author? What is the worst (if anything) part?

The best part is that you get to touch lives. There’s nothing more fulfilling than getting emails and phone calls from people telling you that your book made a difference in their life. After all, that’s the reason for writing a book — to make someone else happy.

The worst part is probably the bad reviews, which make you cry when you read them. After a while, you understand this is part of the business and that it is OK if not everyone likes your book. Still, it hurt like hell and made me shed a few tears.

This was my first bad review and I want to share it to show that bad reviews don’t stop a book from becoming a best-seller:

“It was really really bad you should be ashamed. I would hate to be your daughter to have this book written about her!”

Also, if someone felt such strong feelings about something you wrote, you probably did a good job…

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a bestselling writer? (i.e., perseverance, discipline, play, craft study)

The habit of marketing your book.

It’s about enjoying the marketing process and looking for new opportunities. It’s also about letting the world know your book exists, even if it feels like there’s no chance of being successful. If I had to choose two words, I would say perseverance and joy.

Like many authors out there, I spent hours looking for opportunities to let the world know my books existed. I contacted bloggers, bookstores’ managers and participated in online discussions. I submitted proposals to online magazines and connected with other authors to help each other. If I saw an opportunity, I grabbed it.

Perseverance paid off big time, as it helped me create many bestsellers. I was open-minded about trying new things as well as willing to fail.

Which writer or leader has had the biggest impact on you as a writer?

So many, but I’ll name just a few:

1. Dr. Seuss, who taught me playful writing while incorporating strong messages. He taught me that a good book appeals to both children and adults. Until this day, Yertle the Turtleis one of my all-time favorite books.

2. J.R.R Tolkien, who showed me how to use words to create new worlds and adventures that capture your imagination and stay with you forever. At 5 years old, I learned about The Hobbitfor the first time when a friends’ dad read it to me, and since then, I’ve become hooked.

3. Louise Hay, who taught me that words can heal and that self-help books are valuable beyond measure. She’s the one I look up to as a writer, healer, and a change maker.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a bestselling author? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge is without a doubt the fear of being judged. Because publishing a book is about putting your best thinking out to the world, it puts you in a very vulnerable place. When writing a book, doubts come up: Who am I to write this book? What if people don’t like me? What if I fail?

The only way to overcome these fears is to act, to move forward, to get your book published and to surrender to faith. To know in your heart that your story will make a difference and to trust the universe to support you.

Sparkly Mewas written with what I can describe as “higher guidance.” I felt the words pouring out of me as if I had no control over them. It was as if I was channeling a higher power to create this book, almost as if the universe chose me to deliver the message.

Although the road to publishing was a rocky one, I made it happen and tried any marketing method I came across, even if other people said it didn’t make sense — I gave out hundreds of free copies and spent hours contacting bloggers. I had no idea if this would work for me, but I had faith that the right thing would happen at the right time. I kept acting on my dream, and it led to sales and to me writing more books and helping other people spread their message. I followed my heart and intuition, and that’s what I’ve been doing since then.

What challenge or failure did you learn the most from in your writing career? 

I love this question!

My biggest challenge was to believe in myself. To trust my thinking and to realize that being an immigrant shouldn’t stop me from following my dream. I had to convince myself that even though English is not my first language, it will stop me only if I let it. I had to tell myself that I’m the only one who can prevent me from achieving greatness.

I learned to trust my guts, to follow my intuition, and to believe in myself. I learned that the answers are always inside me and all I need to do to slow down and listen.

What are 5 things you would tell your younger self who was just starting out on their writing journey?

If I could only say that to my younger self, then things would be much easier.

1. You’re not alone– there are people out there who are willing to help.

As a young girl, I never felt supported. I grew up in a small community in Israel where we were trained to be farmers and there was no room for big dreams. I would tell myself, “Ayelet, you are loved and supported by higher powers, and if you look around, you will find the people who are willing to help you make your dreams a reality.”

2. Being different is OK — In the Kibbutz, there was not much room for uniqueness. Although our school system was full of creativity, the messages were that I could be creative as long as it served the community. Anything beyond that was not encouraged, to say the least, and I did not dare to show myself to the fullest. I was afraid of being different, not to mention that I was already different by being chubby and looking like a boy. I had no desire to add anything on top of that. I even quit playing the Cello because it was too big and the kids made fun of it. I couldn’t take that.

Going back, I would say to myself: “It might be hard now, but as you grow you’ll see that the parts in you that are different will be those that serve you in your journey.”

3. Be brave — Bravery is about trying new things you’ve never done before, even though it scares you. Although my articles were published in magazines before, I never wrote a book. When I started writing one, I realized that writing a book is much more personal and it puts you in a vulnerable place where you’re exposed to criticism. If I had let this fear stop me, I would never have become a best-selling author.

What I would tell myself is this: “You’re brave beyond measures, and you have what it takes, so ACT NOW and get your book done.”

4. Have faith– Although I now trust that things happen for a reason, I used to think differently. Growing up in an ultra-secular community where God didn’t exist, one where there were no other spiritual practices of that kind, faith was never discussed. Yes, we celebrated holidays, but that was more around agriculture and community and less about higher powers and alignments.

I would love to go back and tell my younger self that there’s more to life than that. That there are things that are not visible to the naked eye but are there to guide and support us. I would tell my younger self that if she opens her heart, she will be able to notice it — it’s there to provide support and guidance.

5. Trust your thinking– Many years ago, I was part of a self-development group. It was not clear why I joined that group and I did not think of how it would serve me until the teacher (who’s now my best friend) told me to trust my thinking. That one sentence lit a spark in me. Two days later, I found a job, put my daughter in daycare, and started my first job in the US.

Although I stayed there for only two weeks, this was the beginning of my journey as a business owner which led to publishing my first book.

As for going back and talking to my younger self, I would say this: “Your mind is brilliant. Trust your thinking.”

What are you most excited to work on next? Most excited to read next?

I’m currently working on a book that teaches business owners how to use their emotions to grow their business. It’s about looking at feelings as a source of power rather than trying to avoid them, and it’s about managing the emotional rollercoaster that many entrepreneurs experience on a daily basis.

I’m always thrilled about reading books that are helping me make my life better as well as novels.

You are a person of significant influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

The book that I’m currently writing is about creating a safe space for business owners where they can show vulnerability while growing their business.

I also help women raise their voice by sharing their stories to become leaders in their field and to help others heal and improve their lives.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Dear women (and male allies),

My prediction is that 2019 will be the year where more women will raise their voice by sharing their stories. This will be the year where our voices will be louder and clearer than ever, and people will no longer be able to ignore them.

Share your stories, make a difference, and change the world.

I’m here for you ❤

Thank you so much for these great insights!


  • Sara Connell

    Bestselling Author & Writing Coach

    Sara Connell is an author and writing coach with a private practice in Chicago. She has appeared in Oprah, Good Morning America, NPR, The View and Katie Couric. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Tri-Quarterly, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, IO Literary Journal, and Psychobabble. Her first book Bringing In Finn was nominated for ELLE magazine Book of the Year.