1. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I made up stories at a very young age. Mine were stories of my imagination. I loved making up explanations for things. The first story I put in writing was about how the toucan got his colorful peak. (After boasting how great he was, the other jungle animals threw fruits at him which left colorful and permanent markings.) Now, my writing is less about my imagination and more about sharing what I’ve learned. I post a personal reflection on gratitude on my blog every week. I expect to come out with other “Best of” collections over time.
2. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?
I have maintained various journaling practices over the course of my life. I ghosted chapters for a few consultants for their book projects, placed some features as a freelancer, and successfully placed several Letters to The Editor in major metro pubs. My first books were published in partnership with Gatekeeper. I began blogging on gratitude and mindfulness in 2010, in part, to bring myself out of depression, but also to have a format and vehicle for writing regularly. Since starting nosmallthing.net, I have posted a reflection on an everyday experience that sparked grateful feelings almost every week. At the end of 2019, with the help of Gatekeeper Press, I published a collection of favorite blog posts along with a guide/workbook on my gratitude approach.
3. What made you want to self-publish?
I had a large body of work and wanted to pull selections together in a coherent way. My motivation to write was now totally different from how it was when I was young. I wanted to provide examples of mindfulness that could show people how they could find more meaning or pleasure in things they experienced every day.
4. Would you recommend new authors self-publish, and would you recommend Gatekeeper Press?
I don’t have a simple answer. There are many options, including hybrid publishing. Certainly, it’s nice to have a well-resourced company handle marketing and promotions, but it can be hard to find an agent or publisher. Trying to find the “perfect” company to bring your work into the world should never be used as an excuse to delay publication. Self-publishing, in my case, turned out to be an investment I decided to make in myself. I decided that I’m in this for the long-haul. There is still much to learn. Gatekeeper has made it possible for me to get started. Getting started is huge.
5. What do you do marketing-wise to help announce and sell your books?
Positive reviews are very helpful. I’m always asking for reviews and word of mouth recommendations. I conduct and promote zoom-enabled workshops on my intentional gratitude process (through Eventbrite). Buying a book is not a requirement of registration, but presenting myself as an expert and offering personal experiences with my audience, I believe, can create important relationships. Hopefully, COVID is no longer going to be a limitation to event-related marketing. Authors should always carry a book or two and be ready to retail.
6. What advice do you have for a new or fledgling author?
As already mentioned, I recommend being ready for the long-haul. Yes, word of your books can travel quickly by social media, but often the process of becoming known takes a while. It’s always good to be ready with a sentence or two that quickly describes what a reader will get out of the book.
7. What social media platforms are you on?
I’m on Facebook , Instagram and LinkedIn. My use of social media is still a work in progress. I think of SM as just one way to reach audiences. I’ve recently started doing more boosting on FB. It only makes sense to create a budget for advertising.
8. What is the one piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started out?
I wish I knew about book blogger tours before launching. Book blogger tours are a way to guarantee reviews and exposure to new audiences, often audiences specifically interested in your genre.
9. What do you feel is the biggest challenge authors are facing going into 2021 (and beyond)?
It’s always a challenge to differentiate what you do but still present your work as accessible. People want something fresh but also want a familiar frame of reference. The explosion of platforms for getting something out in the world has made it easier to present a work of fiction or non-fiction, but it can also make standing out harder.
10. Have you won any awards or contests that you would like to mention?
I have collected no awards, but I did attend a virtual writer’s retreat with Jack Canfield this past winter. He wrote a very positive review of my books on Amazon.com. He didn’t have to. I’m quite proud of that.
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