Rachel Luna kinda defies explanations and bios.
But if you’re going to make me put her into one of these boxes, FINE! Here goes: she’s an international speaker, podcast host, former U.S. Marine and cancer thriver. In addition to all that, she’s a coach who hosts retreats.
As if that wasn’t enough, she’s now also a bestselling author: her new book, Permission to Offend, has not only been creating waves with its unapologetic, brazen and yet hilarious voice but has also landed Luna on the Today show.
In this episode, she walks us through the exact steps she took to make that Today show appearance happen — as well as who’s been sliding into her DMs since that appearance, how to make self-help material fresh, methods for speaking up around your book launch and so much more.
Anna: Well, listeners didn’t get to hear me fawn over you. But they can imagine. Rachel, I adore you. I am so happy you’re here to talk to me.
Rachel: I am so grateful to be here, Anna, and I love you too. You know this,
Anna: We had an Instagram love affair. And I’ll tell you something, there’s a lot of people I start talking to over Instagram. And then they’re like, let’s set a call. And I’m like, no, I didn’t mean for it to go this far. And, and then we set this call, and you just cracked me up. And I’m like, she’s my friend. Because when I think about you, I don’t think of you as someone I’ve never met. You feel like someone I’ve met. You know?
Rachel: 100% 100%. The feeling is so mutual. And I’m laughing because I understand what you mean. And I say this all the time. No new friends. No new friends, no. Sorry my kids are making noise in the background. It’s President stay here at the time of this recording. And in that, but, but it’s not their fault. I have ample space. I usually do these calls in my office for having some internet stuff. So I’m in the area, but all that to say I overstand. And it’s not that, it’s not that we don’t want to make new friends. It’s just that, I don’t know. Well, yes, I think this is a safe assumption for me to make about you as well as for myself. I know this is true. I am a very good friend. I’m loyal. I show what, I’m the kind of friend that you can call at two in the morning. And because I am that way, I can’t have that many friends because I can’t have all of you disrupting my eight hours.
Anna: Fair. Fair. I’ll be, I’m not that kind of friend. My phone’s off. So do not call me at 2am. I absolutely love you. And if I’m awake, I will 1000% be there for you. But please don’t try to wake me up because it won’t work. But let’s talk about your amazingness. So, so okay, I want to get into, I didn’t know till I got your book, which was just the other day, that you were on the Today Show. I somehow missed this. And I was just watching it. I’m someone who’s been on The Today Show and seen a bunch of people on it. And I know what it’s like when you kill and you killed! You just seemed so comfortable. Were you?
Rachel: Yes, I belong there. And I’ll tell you why. I, that has been my dream for more than a decade. Literally, Anna, my dream. So one of the things I like to say to people is don’t get ready, be ready, because you don’t know the day or the hour when your dream is, when you’re going to be given an opportunity to walk out your dream. So let me tell you how, can I tell you how that happened?
Anna: Please, please.
Rachel: Okay, good. So, literally a decade ago, more than a decade ago to be, to be honest, I was, had this great idea. I’m gonna start a business. I had a two-year-old and a three month old, had no business starting a business with everything that was going on. We had just moved to Japan. I had no friends, no job. And I mean, it was identity crisis overload. And I decide I’m gonna start this business. Every morning at 10am, which is when the Today Show would air, I would have my cup of coffee in hand, café con leche because I’m Puerto Rican. My journal and I would sit and at the time it was Hoda and Kathie Lee. Okay, so I would watch these women on the Today Show. And I remember saying and thinking, I’m going to be on the Today Show one day. I’m going to be chatting with these ladies. And it’s going to be wine day, wine day Wednesday, or whatever, you know, the day that they drink the wine, and I had this vision. So with my journal, I would literally take notes, I would pay attention to who they were bringing on, what kind of segments they were doing. And I remember thinking many, many times, like what could I talk about on the Today Show? Like, I’m not famous. I’m not an expert. I gotta figure out a way to make myself remarkable enough to get on the show. That right there is the work that most people don’t even think about doing. They overlook the visioneering. They overlook the relevancy that they need to have in order to even get on the show. So but years pass and the dream is dimming away. And I’m thinking to myself, it’s never gonna happen. I’m never gonna be on the Today Show because I don’t have anything to offer. And so I began just going outward, like okay, let me just focus on helping other people. I never give up the dream. I just shift and focus on other things complementary to the dream. I write this book, and I did what I teach. I started journaling around it and then I, I have aphantasia. Do you know what that is Anna?
Rachel: Aphantasia is where you don’t have a Mind’s Eye, meaning you can’t, you don’t have imagination for things that you’ve never seen or experienced. So if you say to me, picture a shiny, picture an apple, what, an apple on a table. For me, it’s a dark room. And, the apple is like gray, and it’s on like a gray, I know it’s gingham. But it’s gray in my mind, right? There’s no colors or anything. But if you tell me picture, the, the bag of green apples that you got from Publix yesterday, I, it’s in color now. And even then it’s not bright or shiny, because I can’t bring that into my mind. So when you have aphantasia, vision boards work really well, because now you can actually see something to bring it up into recall. When you have aphantasia, you can only bring things up from recall. It’s very, very hard to imagine. So whenever I would do those meditations, and they’re like, picture yourself in an elevator going down, then I’m like in an elevator, I’m in a dark hole. And it’s dark in here, you know? Anyway, so I decide I’m going to create a media vision board, so that I can see myself on the shows and I go into Canva. And I like superimpose my face on to all these TV shows. And, and I may sound silly, but doing that was able to really help me see myself. Then I started watching old clips of authors on the Today Show, just to see what kind of questions they were asking? What were they wearing? Where were they sitting? Right, just bringing all of this. And there was one point where my, the Harper one, which is who I was published with, they did provide a publisher for me.
Anna: A publicist.
Rachel: Shout out, shout out, a publicist. Yes. Sorry, publicist. So she was fantastic. And she, she says, can you do some videos for me? And I said, sure, no problem. Now I take the time Anna to create highly polished videos, these are not shot on my iPhone. And it’s very clear what this book is about, what is Permission to Offend? Who is it for? Why does this book matter? Who am I? Why do I matter? And I put together a beautiful package. And I say to her, here’s my media vision board. These are all the places that I want to be. And I will go, wherever you get me, I will send myself there. So there has to be this willingness to go above and beyond. There has to be a willingness to make an investment on a dream that you don’t know is going to pay out because it cost me 1000s of dollars to get all these assets together. And it was a crapshoot. Those assets were actually requested by GMA, and GMA passed. So sad for them.
Anna: It’s literally too bad. Well, they’ll come around later, maybe if you’ll have them. Go on.
Rachel: And so, as she says, you got the Today Show. They want to know if you can come on this day. And I am hyperventilating, screaming, and I’m thinking to myself, this has to be a dream. Do you know Anna, that I said nothing to no one until like, the very end. And then my husband got COVID about a week and a half before I’m supposed to go on the Today Show. And I am like, no, no, no, get away from me. I quarantine him. I’m like, you are not allowed to come out. I’m going to be on the Today Show. And you will not ruin this for me. And then I prepared. I hired a media coach. So shout out to Linnea Floyd, who was amazing. I highly, highly, highly recommend her. Anna, that was another investment. Okay, big investment for like a 90-minute thing, a 90-minute session and her helping me. Again, it’s like the investments that you’re willing to make on a chance. And it paid off because every single person that has watched that segment has told me that I crushed it. Do you know Anna, ready for this? My publicist was walking by the control booth at the Today Show. They came out of the control booth to tell her what a great guest I was and how they’re all talking about it in the control room. She says to me, I have been here with hundreds of clients. They have never come out of the booth.
Anna: I mean, it was the response I had too because I’ve had a lot of friends I know who’ve gotten their big break, gotten on shows like that, but not gone about it the way you did with that sort of preparation with that sort of intention. I certainly never did myself. And because I’m so, I’m used to watching them and like, oh, it’s the first time on a big show. Like they’re kind of uncomfortable, but like, they didn’t screw up. You were like, owning it. You, they were trying to keep up with you. You’re way better than them. I don’t think they, think that that’s like an outrageous thing to say. They are reading from cards and like, I don’t know, and I loved that you could say and look, here, I am living my dream, like that you actually, who gets to go on that show and say like, this was what I wanted. And here I am in this moment. It’s like so meta, I love it. So what has been the result of that?
Rachel: Well, we had a really great halo of sales, which I was also surprised because they said TV shows don’t sell books anymore. And I was like, well, let’s find out. And it did. We had a great halo of sales. I was really grateful for that. You know, it’s really, okay. I want to tell you this, because this, you’re my friend. And I’m like, wait a minute, there’s like, a lot of people are going to be listening. But
Anna: Do you want to tell me after we’re recording, and then…
Rachel: No, it’s good. It’s better for the audience. Let’s tell them.
Anna: Yeah, tell them.
Rachel: You know what the result was? Is that all these people that counted me out, started sliding into my DMs. All these people that would give me no airtime. All of a sudden, Hey, girl. Oh, my gosh, you’re on the Today Show? And I’m the type, listen, I’m real. I’m almost too real. So don’t come at me. You know, with all of that. But I, I was cordial and polite. Like, oh, hey, girl. Yes, I was, thank you. How do you, how did that happen? What were you doing? No, get out of here. I have zero time for you because you did not have time for me. And now you just want to, like clout chase with me? No, no. So that was interesting. Now, I will say this. I’m also nobody’s fool. So I don’t burn bridges intentionally. If a bridge has to be burned, it has to be burned. But I’m not a bridge burner. So I, I thank them for their time and attention. And I just kept it moving, but that, I knew it was gonna happen. But I was disappointed. Does that make sense?
Anna: Yeah, but I’m different than you. I would find that incredibly gratifying. No, you didn’t? You found it sad? I’d be like, Yeah, I mean, you’d come for me. Sorry, you don’t have time, you don’t have that feeling, huh?
Rachel: Oh, no, I don’t have that feeling. Because it makes me sad for them. I feel bad for them. I feel sad for them that, in all this time, they could have had a genuine friendship with me. And I am such a good friend, and they’ve missed out on all these opportunities. And now I don’t trust you. So you will never have me like that, with a friend.
Rachel: You will only ever have me at an arm’s length. Because I don’t believe you. I don’t believe who you are. I don’t believe the character or integrity behind the person.
Anna: And so these were like influencer chicks or something like that? They’re like, is that the type? I mean, it was all types, but what kind of person?
Rachel: I mean, it’s people that I’ve known for years, it’s people that I’ve been in groups and circles and programs and events with that, you know, they’re all, they’re all kiki in the moment. And then like, it’s to the winds. And to me, I, I get that we have seasons, right? So you and I will have a season where we’re chatting all the time. And then it’ll be months where we don’t chat. But I know that I could call you, out of left, and we’d be good. Because we’ve created a genuine connection. And with, with, in particular, there were a couple of small handful where I, we were, I thought, friends. But as their, their rise was, they were accelerating faster than me. And so as they accelerated, they didn’t, they couldn’t be bothered to have that level of connection with me anymore. Because you know, I wasn’t in that circle.
Anna: Got it.
Rachel: Now, my, my star is rising too. And now it’s like, oh, I knew her, what, no, you. No, get out of here.
Anna: Yes. And I sure do. And so then you’re using that Today Show to get on other shows, yeah?
Rachel: Yes. So we are pitching, and then of course holidays have rolled in, so we’ll see, I’m definitely, this is what I told my publicist. As I said, go back, go back to everyone. She’s like, yes, I am. What angle should we do here? And you know, so that is the other thing is that I’m very hands on and collaborative. I’m really not leaving anything in anyone else’s hands. Because especially when you sign with a publisher like Harper, I’m not the only author. They have dozens of other authors. And they’re very understaffed.
Rachel: So you have to be willing to advocate for yourself, give yourself permission to offend, like I talk about in my book. And you’ll be, step up and say, look, this is what I want to, here’s the pitch, here’s the this, here are the assets. What else do you need? And if you want to give me your contact list, I’ll email them myself.
Anna: And let me ask you this, are you willing to share those assets that you created that got you booked? Like, can I put those in the show notes? Or is that not something that’s public?
Rachel: Like the like, like, request stuff like that
Anna: Yeah, you, the thing that like you were like, I’m investing, I’m putting together videos. I’m not going to do them on iPhones? I’m gonna do some legit videos. Is that something…
Rachel: Yeah, I can send you one of them.
Anna: Yes. People want to see them.
Rachel: And, um, they’re not highly produced. And like, it’s not cinematic.
Rachel: But it’s well done.
Rachel: And I think that’s important as well, you know. Because sometimes we get caught up in like, I have to have this huge budget for cinematic whatever, whatever. No, just a really well done like, can you get the message out clearly? Can you convey, you know, who you are and why this matters? And why now?
Anna: Did you, for that Today Show booking, did, was there a press release as well? Or did you just put in a video?
Rachel: No, there was a press release, I can send that too.
Anna: And what was the time peg? Like I think people need to know that, you know, we invent these we make it newsworthy, you know, my book on writing was newsworthy during the pandemic, because hey, writing helps you heal. What was your news peg for this?
Rachel: Like, what was our angle?
Anna: Yeah. Like why now?
Rachel: Oh, the antidote to cancel culture.
Anna: Yes. I love it.
Rachel: The antidote to cancel culture.
Anna: Yes. And then the nice thing with a book like this, too, is, I mean, I’m just riffing here, but it’s like, then it could be like, a Mother’s Day angle. Women. Yeah. You know, a holiday angle, like
Rachel: Women’s history is coming up. And we’re gonna add that too. The, the great thing about my book is that it really hits every facet of life, right? So relationships, business, your internal perception, identity, boundaries, decision making. It really is an all-encompassing book. So we can hit it from any angle 365. I mean, I’m pitching the Rachael Ray Show for crying out loud. My publicist said, how are we going to tie it in with food? I said, great. I’m a breast cancer survivor. And I healed with the Gerson Therapy, which was, you know, all these cancer-fighting meals. So let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about how I gave myself permission to offend. We’ll drill down on chapter two on identity, she’s gonna love it.
Anna: And so these are all, I, did, did the publicist, did you hire an outside publicist or you’re only working with the Harper Collins publicist?
Rachel: I am only working with the Harper publicist? Because, girl, these publicists are no joke. We’re looking at for, for at least the ones that I wanted to work with, it was like $6,000 a month, retainer. Anna: Yeah.
Rachel: And I just was, I have two kids that go to private school.
Anna: Yeah, I mean, I think what you did, that’s key. What I used to do, when I had Harper as my publishers, I would sort of successfully alienate the publisher, the publicist, because I’d be so angry that like, I didn’t feel like I was getting the time, like, what you’re doing is you’re understanding that they’re very busy, very overworked, by the way, very underpaid. And you’re actually assisting that. Which is only going to make them want to help you.
Rachel: Yeah, I really, I mean, I created my own graphics for crying out loud. Because they weren’t, they were just, they had so much going on. And I tried to put myself in my editor’s position, who by the way, she wasn’t my acquisition editor. My acquisition editor left.
Rachel: And now my editor Sydney, God bless her inherited my project, a bunch of other projects, and she got promoted all in the same fell swoop. And then three of her books got on the New York Times bestsellers list. So, you know, I could have spent a lot of time being angry and frustrated. And I definitely had my moments of like, I felt where I wasn’t getting any kind of response. But you know, Anna, I followed exactly what I teach in my book, Permission to Offend. And I stuck up for myself. When they were not responding to me in any kind of a timely manner, I sent an email and I said, listen, I understand that you’re really busy. But it would be out of integrity for me not to say anything. The, you told me that you would respond to me in a timely manner. And that hasn’t happened. And I’m beginning to tell myself stories that you don’t value me as an author. And she received this so well. Why did she receive it? Because she read the book. And she knew I was the embodiment of my work. And that changed everything for us.
Anna: Yeah. And when you’re coming from a place of authenticity, nobody cares that you’re sticking up for yourself in a way that might point out their inadequacies. Because you’re being authentic.
Anna: Okay, well, we were going, we don’t have time, we were going to also talk about what I was telling you, which is that I am just going to be totally real, picked up the book thinking, I probably don’t have time to read this. I love this girl, so I’ll definitely give it a good skim. I mean, sure. And literally could not put it down, brought it into my bed last night, most books don’t make it into my bed. So, and I said, you know, I just I’m really kind of over self-help and that’s why I didn’t really think I would respond to this. And, and we started talking about this idea that it feels like everything’s been written, but it hasn’t. You want to just speak to that?
Rachel: Yes. So everything has been written. There’s no grand new idea. But there are so many ways to tell a new story, using an old principle. And this is why, you know, if you read the Bible, Jesus told parables, he taught in stories. And I think that that’s what we’ve forgotten, especially in the self-help realm. It’s so prescriptive, it’s almost like step one, step two, step three. There’s nothing engaging, there’s nothing that actually shows me that, wait a minute, maybe this author actually does have an interesting perspective. Because authors are, in my opinion, getting lazy. We’re writing, we’re so conditioned to writing captions that are limited. So we’re not taking the time to draw out the story to go deeper to actually think, what is the question that the reader has after I write this sentence? And can I speak to that? My process is, can I speak to the thought underneath the thought? That my readers experiencing?
Anna: Yep. And you do that really well with like, even your opening anecdote with this, you know, and you guys are all gonna buy the book, but basically, so it’s not a spoiler alert, but like, you know, kids, husband, let’s go have a fun day, culminates in like snapping at husband. But then it goes back and it’s like, it walks you through. Okay, so when my kids were on their computers, it made me feel like I was a bad mom. And it kind of just leads you through each thought. And whether you’ve had that exact experience or not, you can relate to it because you’re like, oh, right. It’s just really walking back every emotional outburst. I don’t know. I love it.
Rachel: That’s, well, quick question. Did you read the intro?
Anna: I did. I read the intro, so I can tell you actually where I am.
Rachel: Okay, I was gonna say because the intro, I want to mention this: I skip introductions, always. And I did not want to write an introduction. In fact, we went around a couple of circles. My editor and I, she was like, you’re writing an intro. I’m like, no, I am not writing an introduction. They suck. And she’s like, you have to write an intro Rachel, please just take a stab at it.
Anna: Oh, yes. I can’t believe, that’s so interesting that the intro did not stand out to me when it is quite standoutable.
Rachel: So that’s, that’s why I asked if you read it, because that’s the feedback that I’ve been getting from people is like the intro alone, like sucks you into the story. We won’t tell them that.
Anna: Can I tell you what’s interesting? Because of the people I attract and the sort of books that I publish and people I know. That was less memorable to me than the mundane stuff because, because a lot of the books that, it’s a shocking thing and it’ll just anyone who reads the book and hears me say that will be like you’re the most jaded fucking person ever. But it’s true. Um, so yeah, that’s interesting. That did not stick out. I mean, it’s horrible, but it didn’t. It didn’t stick out to me.
Rachel: Yeah, But I’ll tell you this, though. Well, because we’re talking about writing things from a different perspective, right? I hate introductions. So I wrote one worth reading.
Rachel: And this is what my, my cry to all of the nonfiction authors in the world reminder to myself is, let’s write books that we want to read over and over and over again. Because if you can read your own book over and over and over again and still look at it and think, damn, that’s good. That’s how you know. I have read my book eight times. now Anna, eight. Because I read it every time I had a draft that I was turning in, I read it out loud. And then I read it out loud for the audiobook. And then I read it again once they sent me the physical copy, once I had the real one. I read it again. I love my book. And by the way, can I just talk about that for a second?
Rachel: I, as I was writing it, remember thinking this is crap. I hate, like this is not going to be good enough. And I just kept fine tuning, fine tuning, fine tuning. There is one chapter that’s like, you know, the least favorite chapter. And I won’t tell, I always tell people read the book and tell me which was your least favorite. And let’s see if we have our same least favorite chapters. But they’re all my favorites. And I, go ahead…
Anna: Do they pick, do the people pick the same one as you?
Rachel: No, everyone has said, I don’t know what you’re talking about?
Rachel: Yeah, no one has found it. Yeah, everyone has said I loved, I, cover to cover I’ve loved it. I don’t know where you’re talking about.
Anna: Oh, yeah, I have a book I wrote where I hate the whole book. And whenever someone emails me and says they like it, I have zero respect for them, and I delete it. But it really, yeah, this book deserves no respect. You deserve all the respect in the world, and I just adore you. So is there any, are there any final words you want to leave listeners with?
Rachel: Ooh my gosh, I hate when people do this to me, because I’m such a wordy person,
Anna: I know, I’m so sorry.
Rachel: Okay, final thought is: check out the book. We, go on to Amazon, read the sample, give it a go. Because at worst you’ll, you know, invest a couple of minutes. At best, it’ll change your life. And I can say that with full authority because writing the book has changed my life and all of the readers that have at least responded back to me. It has already completely shifted things for them. So give it a go. And at a minimum, connect to your truth and activate it immediately, if not sooner.
Anna: And if people want to find out more about you, they should definitely go to Amazon to get the book, but where can they find you?
Rachel: At rachelluna.com And since you’re already listening to a podcast, definitely check out my podcast, Permission to Offend. And I’m on Instagram @girlconfident. I do respond to DMs, so DM me.
Anna: I love it. Rachel, thank you so, so much. And you all thank you for listening.
Rachel: Thank you.
Follow me on IG: @AnnaBDavid