Author Interview: Cameron C. Taylor, Does Your Bag Have Holes?
When God tells you to write, you write. At least, that is what author Cameron C. Taylor has done. Facing the blank page is still difficult, but when he remembers who he is writing for--to reach that one person who needs it--then he starts typing.
Of course, he has years of experience in business and he does thousands of hours of research. Writing to him has been a natural extension of what he does, and it fits in well with working from home. If what he has written in the short time since he started publishing books, he still has a lot of great years ahead.
Be sure to check out his website for more information!
1. How many books have you published and when (month/year)?
Mount Lanai Publishing, 2015
Hindi, Tamil, and English Editions,Embassy Books, 2015
Mount Lanai Publishing, 2013
8 Steps to Lasting Excellence
Mount Lanai Publishing, 2014
Preserve, Protect & Defend The Glorious Cause of America Institute, 2012
American Society for Asset Protection, 2012
Tremendous Life Books, 2010
Tremendous Life Books, 2010
Hindi, Tamil, and English Editions Embassy Books, 2011
Chinese Edition,ZDL Books, 2016
Does Your Bag Have Holes? Mount Lanai Publishing, 2007
2. When did you start writing your first book? Where did the idea come from?
The book Does Your Bag Have Holes? 24 Truths That Lead to Financial and Spiritual Freedom had its beginning in 1999. I was working Christ-centered leadership curriculum and was introduced to a multimillionaire who had recently moved into the area and we became friends. He asked if I would help him write a book on the steps to achieving financial freedom. My first reaction was that to pursue such a topic was worldly and could put my spiritual future in jeopardy. I felt that money was bad and that being rich did not align with the gospel of Christ.
After much thought and prayer, I realized I had many misconceptions about money and determined to add financial principles to my research, study, and writing. I helped my friend write his book and learned a great deal about business and entrepreneurship. I read hundreds of books on success and money. Most of these books excluded God from their pages and were not founded on Biblical principles. I determined a book was needed that merged the principles of the Bible with the principles of financial freedom. Before I could write a book on the truths that led to spiritual and financial freedom, I figured I had to do it myself first. I started a company that I strived to operate according to Biblical principles. After a couple years, the company was doing millions in revenue each year.
At the start of 2006, I took a writing sabbatical from my businesses to work fulltime on writing Does Your Bag Have Holes? I spent approximately 3,000 hours in research and writing to complete the book.
3. What was the hardest part about writing your first book? What hurdles did you have to overcome?
I strive to write by inspiration from God. The writing of each chapter of the book was a miracle. I think the hardest part was starting each chapter with nothing but a blank page and workings to determine what was to be written. Once a chapter was complete, I would look at it in awe and excitement but as I started on the next chapter, I again had the difficulty of starting with a blank page.
4. Once your manuscript was finished, what did you do?
I knelt in my office and offered a prayer of thanks and gratitude to my Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
5. What did you expect from the editing process? How was the experience?
I had several editors go through the book. I have had not taken writing courses and don’t know the technical rules of writing. It was very helpful to have the editors correct grammar and punctuation. I learned a lot by reviewing their track changes. It is important to have multiple editors and even after having five editors go through the book, there were still mistakes in the published book.
6. Describe what re-writing involves and how it makes you feel. How is it different than the initial writing?
The initial writing for me about creation and idea generation. It is determining what is to be taught and how to teach it. The re-writing process is organizing the ideas, improving how it is explained, crafting better sentences, and eliminating redundancy.
7. Did you have non-editors read your book for feedback (Alpha Readers)? What did you get out of that?
I had a group of family and friends read each chapter as I completed it. Their positive feedback was helpful to keep me going.
8. Who designed your cover? How much input did you have? How important is the cover design?
Nathan and Jessica Shirley designed the book cover. I commissioned Jessica to paint the picture for cover and other pictures inside the book. I original oil paintings hanging throughout my house. Nathan did the graphic design work. They were students at Brigham Young University at the time. They are extremely gifted and talented people. I loved working with them. They now live in Orlando. I sure miss working with them.
9. How did you go forward with publishing? Why? How was that experience?
I had an agent interested in representing the book but decided to set up my own publishing company to publish the book so I would have more control and could give the book away for free when I wanted. Books are a part of my ministry to teach, lift and inspire. I felt I could better accomplish these purposes by self-publishing. Some of my books have been published by traditional publishers.
10. How have you marketed your first book?
I went through 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer.
11. How was the initial feedback from readers?
Response was very positive. I remember doing a book signing at a Costco and a man come up to me said he had seen several positive reviews and posts about the book Does Your Bag Have Holes? online. He was excited to get a signed copy as he said, “Everyone is talking about it.” I had sent copies to many bloggers but was surprised that this man in Costco had seen the reviews.
12. How have sales been on your first book? Did they go as expected? What helps you the most to sell books?
The book sold well but was tough to categorize as it covers so many topics. Book signings at Costco were good because there was so much traffic through the store. Book signings at book stores were dismal as there was not a lot of traffic in the stores. I did dozens of radio interviews and we would see sales come in following the interviews. Several bloggers did reviews on the books, which provided exposure but didn’t seem to create a lot of sales. I offer a case price of $132 for 22 books and sold thousands of copies to readers who loved the book and then bought a case to share.
13. Talk about print vs ebook. Do you get more sales with one than the other?
The eBook of Does Your Bag Have Holes? was released years later so all our initial sales were of the print book.
14. Did you set the prices of your print and ebooks? How do you decide how to price them?
eBook is priced at $4.95 and print book retails for $17.95 and comes with audio book CD.
15. What made you decide to write more books? How were those experiences (writing/editing) compared with your first book? Did you do anything differently?
I frequently ask the question “God, what do you want me to do?” One of the answers I receive to this question is, “Write books.”
Receiving email and letters from readers each week telling how one of my books has blessed their life keeps me writing. I have become a better writer with each book.
16. Anything different in the publishing process for your other books?
I have learned to do things faster and have cut things out to streamline the process.
17. When did you consider yourself a "writer"?
When God told me to write.
18. When do you write? What motivates you to write?
I own several companies and work from home. I typically work on business and writing between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday. My time in the home office is split between building and managing my companies and writing.
Comments like these motivate me to write:
“I just wanted to let you know how much Does Your Bag Have Holes? has blessed me and is still blessing me! I know that you wrote this book under the direction of the Holy Spirit.”
“Thank you for writing such an inspiring book. It has been a great source of empowerment and revelation.”
“Does Your Bag Have Holes? is phenomenal! It transformed my life. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this book.”
“I personally regard your book to be in the league of The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David Schwartz and Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.”
“I have to say WOW!! I just got your book and I was glued to it from about midnight to 6 am!”
“I was inspired by your amazing metaphors. 8 Attributes of Great Achievers has great stories and is well researched. Thank you.”
“Once again we see a gifted anointing shining through each and every page of this book by Cameron C. Taylor.”
19. What do aspiring authors ask you?
How to get published. It is very, very difficult to sign with an agent or publisher. The book business is the most competitive businesses by far of any business I have been involved in. There are more than one million books published each year. The good news is that with advances in technology it is easy and inexpensive to self-publish and reach people.
20. What advice can you offer for aspiring authors about writing, editing, publishing, and marketing?
As I meet with aspiring writers I asked this question, “If you knew your book would transform one life for the better, would you do it?” The answer to this question so far has always been yes. I then reply, “Then write your book.” Don’t worry about selling millions of copies or being in Barnes and Noble and Costco. Focus on reaching the one. I have a note in my office to remind of this that says, “Write for the One.”