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By Gina Gallagher | Citizens Bank Contributor
Kyra Morris always knew she had a story that needed telling. What she never could’ve predicted, however, was where that story would lead her: becoming the owner of her very own publishing company, and one that’d be recognized by Citizens Bank as a 2019 Small Business Community Champion.
“I loved math and science,” laughed Kyra, the 29-year-old Philadelphia native. “Writing was so painful for me.”
Yet it was pain that made Kyra put pen to paper. In her young life, she’s overcome rape, addiction, divorce, and suicidal thoughts. But it was the anguish of her 8-year-old son having his own suicidal thoughts that prompted her to write.
“I was in a very dark place watching him struggle and going through all of these different emotions,” she said. “But faith has taught me that I would not only get through this experience, but do something wonderful with it.”
Fortunately, Kyra’s son started to heal in a month. Kyra realized that the time had finally come to tell her story. So she did what she never fathomed she would do: write.
The words flowed out of her.
“Writing was a powerful outlet,” Kyra said. “It allowed me to reflect on all the difficult situations I encountered and share how I was able to overcome them.”
In just seven days, she had written a manuscript: Beauty for Ashes, The Transformation of My Life’s Darkest Moments. It’s a memoir about how faith transformed some of the darkest moments in her life into something beautiful and life giving.
Despite achieving this monumental accomplishment, Kyra was conflicted. She wasn’t a formally trained writer, so when it came to writing a book, Kyra felt unworthy and unqualified.
“I had to remind myself why I needed to do it,” she remembered, “that I had an important story that could offer hope to women who had similar struggles.”
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For many people, the process of completing a book is a joyous and rewarding experience. But the process of getting it published — and navigating the myriad options available — can take that joy right out of it.
It certainly did for Kyra.
“I had no clue about the process,” she said, “or anyone who could help me chose among the options available to me.”
Kyra said she was so focused on getting her book published that she neglected to do thorough research on her options and settled for a hybrid between traditional publishing and self-publishing — a fee-for-service publishing company that could bring her book to market.
At the time, it seemed like the right decision. That didn’t end up being the case, as Kyra said she ended up editing the memoir herself.
“Throughout the whole process, I kept thinking ‘There has to be a better way,’” Kyra recalled.
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When Beauty for Ashes was released in April 2018, Kyra never anticipated the responses she would receive. Other women found hope in her story.
“I realized that it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your background is,” Kyra said. “People are people, and when you’re transparent and authentic, you’ll connect with them.”
That wasn’t the end of the surprises. Kyra learned that she was inspiring other authors, too.
“All of a sudden, I was getting these emails from people asking publishing questions,” she remembered.
“We believe that every author has a story to tell and every story deserves to be told.”
Kyra Morris, owner of Glorious Works Publishing
Helping people is part of who Kyra is, so she willingly started guiding these prospective writers through the publishing process. Throughout all of her interactions, Kyra couldn’t help but think I wish I knew this before.
Armed with all this knowledge, Kyra self-published and released her second book, Pursuing Purpose, in February 2019. This time, she got shocking responses: authors requesting that she publish their books.
From that, Glorious Works Publishing was born.
“As I moved forward with my business model and plans,” Kyra said, “I remember thinking ‘Am I really doing this?’”
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According to Kyra, traditional publishers want authors with established platforms. That way, they have the power to reach and sell books to hundreds of thousands of people.
Glorious Works Publishing takes a different approach.
“We believe that every author has a story to tell and every story deserves to be told,” Kyra said. “Whether our authors sell 10 or 10,000 books, if they reach and change the life of one person, they are successful.”
Kyra (center) offers discounted writing and publishing packages to authors in the Philadelphia community.
That ideology makes it easy and affordable for authors — particularly women and children — to overcome publishing barriers and share their own stories of hope. It’s what drew Philadelphia-based aspiring author Debra Cox to Glorious Works Publishing.
Having written a manuscript about using her life experiences and faith to help others achieve their goals, Cox needed a publisher. Some expressed interest in her story and the quality of her work, but Cox didn’t have the financial means to work with them.
That’s when Cox learned about Glorious Works Publishing and how it offered significant discounts on four writing packages. She wasted no time and applied online. Much to Cox’s relief, she was selected by the company.
The reduced fee allowed Cox to take advantage of a full range of services — editing, design, consulting, marketing, and more.
“Kyra has provided writing guidance that has really helped me,” said Cox, whose book ATAP, AW, All Things Are Possible, Anywhere will be released in April 2020. “She’s vowed to give her clients the support she didn’t receive when she went through the process.”
Author Katrina Brittingham came to Glorious Works Publishing for a different reason.
Having written and self-published two books, Brittingham was attracted to the scope of services that Glorious Works Publishing provided. “When I self published, I had to do everything myself — writing, editing, cover design,” she explained. “The support that Glorious Works Publishing provides is so key. Kyra has helped me think of things I didn’t even think about.”
Thanks to Kyra’s help, Brittingham’s inspirational book Why Not Me? will be released in March 2020.
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Making publishing services available to underprivileged authors is only part of the work of Glorious Works Publishing. The company is also dedicated to educating the community with free writing workshops. That was one reason why Kyra entered the 2019 Citizens Bank Small Business Community Champion Award Contest. Glorious Works Publishing was awarded $10,000 from Citizens Bank to continue its important work in the Philadelphia community.
Glorious Works Publishing has used the $10,000 to fund a series of workshops on the writing and publishing process. It’s also allowed them to offer discounts on publishing services so single women, children, and those from lower socioeconomic brackets can afford to tell their stories.
“Citizens Bank has certainly been wonderful to us,” Kyra said. “I am so thankful for their support.”
Glorious Works Publishing was awarded $10,000 after being named a 2019 Citizens Bank Small Business Community Champion.
But those aren’t the only plans Kyra and Glorious Works Publishing have for the contest money. The company will also award two authors free publishing in 2020.
“We try to offer discounted costs, but to some people with limited resources, it’s still not enough,” Kyra said. “Going forward, we want to continue to offer free services for those who need them.”
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Kyra believes in surrounding yourself with supportive people. She went through a lot of very difficult times, which took her to a broken place with low self esteem. Kyra wants Glorious Works Publishing to be that support system for Philadelphia authors.
“I think it’s especially important that women find someone who will not only encourage and inspire you, but also help you identify your blind spots,” she added.
“The support that Glorious Works Publishing provides is so key. Kyra has helped me think of things I didn’t even think about.”
Katrina Brittingham, Author
Someone who’s benefited from having a strong mentor is Kyra’s eight-year-old daughter, Sabrina.
“My daughter has been able to see that at a young age, her mom, without much formal knowledge or instruction, saw a need and developed a solution to meet that need,” Kyra explained. “She also sees the exuberant joy that I exude as I’m helping others bring their dreams to fruition.
“She decided that one day she would become an entrepreneur, and is eager to write her first book.”
Kyra Morris could never have scripted the obstacles and triumphs of her life. She does know, however, that she’s right where she was always meant to be.
“I believe everything happens for a reason,” Kyra said. “If I didn’t have the experiences I had, I never would have had my own publishing company, or know how extremely gratifying sharing the stories of others would be.”
Citizens Bank is proud to support small businesses who help make our communities ready for what comes next. Enter now through March 2 for the 2020 Citizens Bank Small Business Community Champion Award Contest in Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.
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