Author Interview, Pete Smith, Dare to Matter
After suffering a stroke at a young age, Pete Smith knew he needed to share his story of finding what really matters in life. That's why he wrote his nonfiction book, Dare to Matter.
I had the good fortune to work with Pete as an editor for his book. I found his story inspiring and thought-provoking. Do you have a nonfiction book in you? What experience could you share? See how Pete wrote and published his book in his Author Interview below!
[if !supportLists]1. [endif]List the titles of your published books (include publisher and year published) plus your author website/Facebook page links.
Dare to Matter
2. When did you start writing your first book? Where did the idea come from? Include the synopsis.
Started the book in September of 2016. It’s based on my experience of having a stroke at a young age, and thousands of hours coaching and training people afterwards. Believing I had about 60 seconds left to live, I recognized that what mattered to me most in that moment was whether I mattered at all. Knowing that core desire exists within the heart of every individual, I set out to uncover how to live a life of significance.
Make a Bigger Impact With 6 Simple Steps. What if there was a way to know with certainty that who you are and what you do matters? What if you could elevate your performance, become more empowered, increase your confidence, and strengthen your relationships in your personal and professional life? Bestselling author, Pete Smith, reveals the findings of his self-described "obsession" with what it takes to live a life of significance. Interviewing and studying the lives of those who are making a difference in the word today - including stories from people you may or may not know - and sharing lessons learned from his own near-death experience, Smith answers the question that burns deep within us all: how will I know I mattered? In this book, you will learn: - Why focusing on six key aspects produces the best results (and why we should ignore everything else) - How to become more confident and empowered, even if you've hit rock bottom - How to generate new behaviors to stay off the emotional rollercoaster - How to finally move beyond fear, self-doubt, and insecurity in three steps - How to excel, advance and thrive without taking more on - How to crush complacency and uncover the internal reason why many people stay stuck - How to make an impact in the lives of others, without breaking the bank to do so - BONUS: Dare to Matter Resource Guide to help you work THROUGH the book and apply the concepts directly to your life - BONUS: Stories from authors, athletes, and media experts reveal how they have applied these keys to their own lives
3. What was the hardest part about writing your first book? What hurdles did you have to overcome?
The internal critic who kept rearing his ugly head by asking, “But what if it sucks?” I heard some authors state that they wrote the book for themselves, and seemingly cared very little about whether anyone ever read the book. I had the exact opposite thought. My intent was to write this book for others, to learn from my experience. The idea of writing a book and the fear of nobody ever reading it was enough to have me question whether I should write it at all. Other than that, I found finalizing the title and subtitle to be extremely challenging.
4. Once your manuscript was finished, what did you do?
Asked my wife what she thought. I knew the tough part of writing was (mostly) over and I was about to enter the world of vulnerability, critiques, and feedback. I probably had a drink or two (or three) as well.
5. What did you expect from the editing process? How was the experience?
I did some research on the editing process so it wasn’t any surprises. I was looking for an editor who could enhance the writing, not simply point out where grammatical errors were made. I thought the editing experience was great.
6. Describe what re-writing involves and how it makes you feel. How is it different than the initial writing?
I think the most important balance that a writer needs to maintain during the editing phase is between remaining open minded to the feedback from a qualified third-party individual and the determination to maintain your authentic voice.
7. Did you have non-editors read your book for feedback (Alpha Readers)? What did you get out of that?
I did. My wife was the main tortured soul, followed by a couple of close friends who read a chapter here and there. If I could find a way to write the things that my wife has heard me say countless times, while keeping her engaged and interested throughout the book, I knew I had something worthwhile.
8. Who designed your cover? How much input did you have? How important is the cover design?
I hired a freelance book cover designer. We spoke on the phone and through email. She was very interested in the type of image I imagined for the book, yet also was comfortable enough to share her ideas as well. In my opinion, the cover is critically important in piquing the interest of the reader, much like the title of the book.
9. How did you go forward with publishing? Why? How was that experience?
I chose to self-publish. I was already doing a fair amount of speaking at conferences. I was already building a platform. I felt that I could market my book as adequately as a traditional publisher, and I get to keep a larger share of the royalty.
10. How have you marketed your first book?
Social media. Amazon marketing. Sales at conferences.
11. How was the initial feedback from readers?
Overwhelmingly positive. One of the best compliments I’ve received is having a reader tell me it changed her life. That’s so humbling and remarkable. I was also glad to hear that those who know me well said it was as if I was in the room with them when they were reading it.
12. How have sales been on your first book? Did they go as expected? What helps you the most to sell books?
I researched how best to position the book to hit the Amazon best seller list when it first hits the market, which Dare to Matter did. It rose as high as #2 on the best seller list in categories that aligned with the focus of my speaking engagements.
Since then, I have started working with a marketer who lives in Poland. We have worked out a commission structure on the sale of books through Amazon. He reached out to me after reading Dare to Matter because of the impact it had on him. From there, we decided to work together. He’s awesome.
The book helps me with speaking engagements and my speaking engagements helps with book sales. It’s a great marriage between the two.
13. Talk about print vs ebook. Do you get more sales with one than the other?
Definitely more sales with ebooks.
14. Did you set the prices of your print and ebooks? How do you decide how to price them?
I set my own price. I looked at other books in my genre and decided on a price point.
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?
Haven’t written more books… yet!
16. Anything different in the publishing process for your other books?
17. When did you consider yourself a “writer"?
I’m not sure I consider myself a “writer.” I consider myself as an educator, a teacher… who happened to write a book on the very subject he speaks about.
18. When do you write? What motivates you to write?
I’m not very consistent with writing but I’m motivated to write when I have a clear message I want to convey to my followers.
19. What do aspiring authors ask you?
What was my motivation for writing the book? How long did it take me to write it? Did I decide to self-publish or go the traditional publishing route? What’s the best part of publishing the book?
20. What advice can you offer for aspiring authors about writing, editing, publishing, and marketing?
Write something that people will want to read. Not all people, mind you; just the ones who you are meant to serve.
Edit, edit, and edit again, through the lens of curiosity, openness and conviction. Editing is not about being right as much as it’s about being effective.
Publish in a way that aligns with your intent and goals of writing the book initially.
Learn to market your book or hire someone who knows how to market your book on a commission basis. If no one knows about your book, there’s a good chance you’ll be the only one who reads it.