Nicole Ayers (WNBA-Charlotte) never stops working. A committed volunteer for the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA), Nicole is also a business owner, writer, mother, and wife.
In addition to participating regularly with the WNBA’s Charlotte chapter, Nicole has donated her time to the WNBA’s Bookwoman. That means she has spent countless hours soliciting articles, writing and editing content, formatting newsletters and blog posts, and interacting with members.
The Bookwoman serves as the bridge between the national organization and our members. Initially centered around the newsletter, The Bookwoman is now comprised of two parts: The Bookwoman Newsletter and The Bookwoman Blog.
The Bookwoman Newsletter provides information about the association at the national level, while the Bookwoman Blog publishes content that supports our membership by focusing on chapters, members, professional development, and book-related content.
Nicole has been a driving force behind The Bookwoman. But after five years on staff, Nicole has moved on. We cannot thank her enough for her commitment.
I talked to Nicole about her time at The Bookwoman, her love of the WNBA, and her future projects.
Julie Frey: Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Nicole Ayers: I live in a small town that’s grown into a suburb of Charlotte with my husband, two daughters, a dog, a tortoise, and a fish. When I’m not taking care of day-to-day household demands, I’m managing my editing company, Ayers Edits, and helping writers navigate the intricacies of writing a book.
I took a winding path to my current career. I taught for many years and spent summers leading professional development for teachers with the National Writing Project. When my youngest daughter was born, I stayed home to focus on my family.
A few years later, in 2013, I was ready for something new, and the right doors opened at the right time for me to launch Ayers Edits. I’ve also fallen in love with writing again and am working on my own stories.
Julie: How long have you been a member of the WNBA?
Nicole: I joined WNBA in early 2014, soon after I launched my editing business. An author friend invited me to a meeting, and I knew this was a group of people I wanted to connect with. I joined after that first meeting and quickly became involved in helping the Charlotte chapter plan events.
Julie: Nicole, you have been on the Bookwoman staff for the past five years. Thank you for your commitment! How did your Bookwoman journey begin?
Nicole: In a moment of serendipity, I was invited to attend WNBA’s 2014 national meeting in Detroit when one of our board members couldn’t attend. There I met the lovely and immensely talented Rhona Whitty, The Bookwoman editor at that time. We had a great time hanging out, and when she announced during the meeting that she was looking to bring on an assistant editor, I decided to apply. Thankfully, Rhona “hired” me. Not only did I enjoy her company, I wanted to support WNBA. And I knew that the position would allow me to stretch myself as I gained traction with my fledgling editing business.
Julie: How did you go from being an assistant editor to editor in chief?
Nicole: Rhona had served as editor in chief for many years and had been instrumental in moving the publication to an all-digital format. In early 2017, she decided to pursue other interests, including her own writing. She was always a champion for me, encouraging and guiding me as I learned the ins and outs of editing a national publication, and she recommended me to the national board to step into the editor-in-chief role. They graciously welcomed me into the new role, and Rhona and I transitioned responsibilities until I took over full-time that fall.
Julie: Last year, the Bookwoman Newsletter shifted format from six issues per year to monthly issues, and the Bookwoman Blog, which publishes twice a week, started. What are some of your favorite things about this expansion?
Nicole: My favorite thing about the expansion is the participation of our many talented members with The Bookwoman Blog. I’ve loved reading their guest blog posts and seeing their varied accomplishments reported each month.
I also love that members (and prospective members) can read the monthly newsletter and have a strong sense of what’s important to WNBA.
Julie: In what ways has volunteering for the WNBA and working on The Bookwoman enriched your life?
Nicole: Volunteering with WNBA, and The Bookwoman in particular, introduced me to so many women across the country who care about books and literacy. There is such a strong sense of community, which makes perfect sense because our stories are often our connection points, and it was always a treat to meet someone in person after getting to know them via email. In addition, I’ve met so many fine authors and discovered fantastic books. While the WNBA promotes “the community of the book,” the best part of that community is the membership.
Julie: Do you have any favorite achievements or memories from your time on staff that you’d like to share?
Nicole: I created a favorite feature called “Behind the Curtain.” I interviewed members who held a variety of publishing jobs: a cover designer, a developmental editor, and a photo essayist, to name a few. It was enlightening to take a deep dive into someone else’s career, and I met some fascinating women. Other favorite memories include being an integral part of the centennial celebration and traveling to national meetings. And last, but not least, it was a joy to see the new Bookwoman logo for the first time.
Julie: What have you loved about working on the Bookwoman?
Nicole: I have loved the many connections I’ve cultivated while working on The Bookwoman. I’ve gotten to know so many talented, intelligent people around the country who inspire me with the work they’re doing in the world. I’ve also looked to these folks as mentors and friends.
It’s always a joy to see members sharing their news and chapters sharing their events, too. I think what a wonderful gift it is to be in an organization with so many people who care about books as much as I do.
Julie: You’ve accomplished so much during your tenure at the Bookwoman. We are truly grateful for your leadership. What you plan to do now?
Nicole: In addition to nurturing Ayers Edits, I will be publishing three creative nonfiction books in September. These companion books focus on body positivity and my journey to self-acceptance. The first book is a gorgeously illustrated gift book: Love Notes to My Body, illustrated by Mica Gadhia. The second book is a collection of personal essays: Love Letters to My Body. And the third is a guided journal: Messages of Love.
Julie: I can’t wait to read them! Any last thoughts you’d like to share?
Nicole: The WNBA has a rich and lasting legacy in the literary world, and it has been my privilege to be a voice contributing to that legacy.
Julie: Thank you, Nicole. We appreciate everything you’ve done for The Bookwoman and the WNBA, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. Keep us posted!
Follow Nicole’s writing journey on Instagram.
Julie L. Frey (WNBA-Greater Philadelphia) serves as the Editor in Chief for The Bookwoman’s publications. You can connect with Julie on LinkedIn or on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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