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Self-Publishing - Someone Who Succeeded

Cal Orey, Guest Author

Portions of this article appeared in the
February, 2005 Issue of "The Writer" Magazine

The Writer Magazine

NOTE: Veteran author and journalist Cal Orey of South Lake Tahoe, CA interviewed Author & Speaker Larry James for the article, "Self-Publishing: Six Who Succeeded, You Can Too!" an abridged version of the following interview. The following is an extended version of the original interview.

       

Meet Larry James, a talkative former Realtor® and present-day minister who performs more than two dozen wedding ceremonies a year. In 1991, a friend challenged him to stop talking about writing a book and just do it.

One year later, his first self-published book, "The First Book of Life Skills," was released. Since then, he was writing three relationship books. Today, James, 65, of Scottsdale, AZ, loves his profession as a self-published author, along with being a speaker and relationship coach.

NOTE: The original questions asked by Cal Orey and answered by Larry James follow.

What city and state are you from? - Born in Topeka, Kansas

City and state you live in now? Do you like it? - Scottsdale, AZ - I absolutely love it!

What is (or was) your real job? - My "real" job is a professional speaker (since 1987), author and relationship coach. I am also an ordained non-denominational minister and perform about 26 to 30 wedding ceremonies each year. http://www.CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

Have you always dreamed of being a writer? - Not really. When I was in high school, I wrote poetry and articles for the newspaper. Writing was something I did for fun and to get attention. I didn't seriously begin to think about writing until I became very successful in the real estate business. I wrote an article for the National Association of Realtors monthly magazine, "Real Estate Today" in 1972. An article about "Listening" was published in "Elite" Magazine in Tulsa in about 1989.

In 1991, my friend, Larry Winget brought his Mac Classic to our office, and said, "You've been talking about writing a book for about a year, now, what's your excuse?" I wrote the first chapter that night for "The First Book of Life Skills." It was my first self-published book about a year later.

Since then, I've written 3 relationship books, "How to Really Love the One You're With," "LoveNotes for Lovers; Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing," and "Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers." I have articles menus on three of my four Websites with numerous articles I have written and many of them have been reprinted on other Websites.

Is it your dream to write as a profession? - It is now my profession, along with being a professional speaker and relationship coach. I also coach authors and speakers.

How long have you been writing? - Off and on since I was 16 years old. I've also written lyrics and music for several songs. Several poems that are relationship related appear in the articles menu on http://www.CelebrateLove.com/articles.htm

What are your favorite hobbies? - I enjoy reading non-fiction books. I also receive a constant flow of review books from other authors and frequently write endorsements and an occasional foreword (2 so far) as part of my ongoing self-promotional efforts. As of this date I've written more than 120 endorsements for other books, many of which appear on Amazon.com and my own Websites.

I also enjoy water gardening. I built my wife, Sandy, a heart-shaped water garden, complete with waterfall, stream, water lilies and goldfish. It is the centerpiece of our backyard. It is often the site of small intimate wedding ceremonies. Phoenix channels 5 and 10 have featured our water garden on TV, usually around Valentines Day.

I love jazz! Nearly all of my books were written with the sound of jazz in the background. Sandy and I frequently attend jazz concerts.

Larry James @ work!
Larry James @ work!
What was your particular goal with self-publishing? - To be able to be in control of the entire publishing process, from printing to getting the books in the bookstores, including promotion. And once I achieved a reasonable success in book sales, to actively look for a publisher who would be assured that when they published my books, I could be counted on to aggressively continue to promote them. I have two more relationship books waiting to be written.

What type of company did you use and why? - I started my own publishing company, Career Assurance Press, in 1992. I looked for book cover designers, printers, inside designers, editors, etc., that were reasonable and offered excellent quality and excellent customer service.

Cover Design - http://www.JimWeems.com/ and http://www.Lightbourne.com

Printers - http://www.CentralPlainsBook.com and http://www.Patterson-Printing.com

Interior Design - Sue Knopf Graffolio
1528 Mississippi Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
608 784-8064

All of my resources are highly recommended and appear on my resource page at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com/resources.html

How did you reach your intended audience? - I was in radio broadcasting for 12 years, so my best promotion has been on radio talk shows (resource: Radio Station Checklist and How to Be a Great Radio Guest!) once the books were in the book stores. I've appeared on more than 650 radio talk shows and numerous TV shows, including ABC TV's "The View" with Barbara Walters and other TV stations. I also offer excerpts from my books as articles to magazines (was in Cosmo twice, Redbook, Insight, Woman's Day, The Writer, Modern Bride, Arizona Brides and others) and on the Internet. There are nearly 2900 other Websites linked to CelebrateLove.com. I also have 4 other Websites that promote my books, seminars and coaching (total of nearly 1700 Internet pages).

As a professional speaker, I present relationship seminars nationwide. I frequently sell 30 to 45 percent of the audience after a presentation.

My friends in the National Speakers Association call me a shameless self-promoter. I proudly wear that label because I do it with finesse. I have been speaking professionally since 1987 and, as part of my business I coach new speakers and authors. My techniques for self-promotion are unique and get rave reviews from my clients. I put up a special Website especially for authors and speaker in April 2004 (www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com) to help others be more efficient.

I was the Associate Producer for the MarsVenus Radio Talk Show for five years. Part of the intention of taking on this contract work was to negotiate several radio commercials about my own relationship books and Website during the show. I often appeared as a relationship guest with the co-host (Michael Najarian) when Dr. Gray was not on the show. I accepted Dr. Gray's offer to host the MarsVenus Chat Room on America Online for three years for the national and international exposure it gave me for my relationship work.
Larry James @ work!
Smokey Dude, Larry's assistant!

Describe your self-publishing success? - I have independently published 4 non-fiction books. Total sales: about 99,500 to date. Most success came from self-promotion and by attracting a great book distributor, Midpoint Trade Books, New York.

What did you learn about self-publishing from your experience? - Promote! Promote! Promote! Never stop promoting. You cannot be shy as an author and expect your books to sell. I learned that if I really believed in the relationship work I was writing about in my 3 books, I had to take complete responsibility for becoming a shameless self-promoter - with finesse - to let the world know the books were available.

Find a mentor or coach. Emulate what the successful authors are doing and do that! Tom Hopkins (The Official Guide to Success), Mark Victor Hanson (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Greg Godek (1000 Ways to Be Romantic) are friends and have offered priceless coaching. It works for me.

       

Copyright © - Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, "How to Really Love the One You're With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship," "LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing" and "Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers." Larry James also offers "Author & Speaker" coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. LarryJames@AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com - www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

       

  If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to Author & Speaker Coaching for specific details and fees.

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