National voiceover actor Kareem Taylor was already building his platform through speaking engagements and his free weekly newsletter when he decided to write his book. His main goal? To inspire himself and others. He has definitely done that. Check out his full Author Interview below!
1. List the titles of your published books (include publisher and year published) plus your author website/Facebook page links.
Get Your Life! The Transforming Power of Turning Fate into Fortune
(Kareem Taylor Publishing, 2015)
Ingram Spark for Worldwide Distribution
2. When did you start writing your first book? Where did the idea come from? Include the synopsis.
I started writing in 2013 going into 2014. I couldn’t find the book I needed to get inspiration from, so I wrote it. I was feeling down, and I pretty much wrote a letter to myself, and it turned into a motivational book.
Get Your Life! advises millennials on how to narrow down all those passions into one focus that could actually lead somewhere. Kareem Taylor spent five years rationalizing his excuses. "I'll wait until the right time." "No rush." But as he waited, he grew frustrated with his lack of growth and happiness in his career.
It was time to take control. In what Kareem calls his "big break," he took on a new attitude toward his passions and began marketing his skills in the most valuable way.
Kareem's struggle is nothing new. Millennials all over are entering the economy and experiencing the fatigue of the job market. Finally, there's a book about how to push through the and create your own answer!
In the spirit of his popular newsletters Resignation Letter and Firing The Boss, voiceover actor Kareem Taylor gives readers a reason to get creative―again!
3. What was the hardest part about writing your first book? What hurdles did you have to overcome?
The hardest part about writing my book was deciding to stop writing. I had thousands of words and just never felt done. I always felt there was more to say, more to edit, more to include, more to exclude. That was a big hurdle. I got over it by saying to myself “I’ll put it in the next book.”
4. Once your manuscript was finished, what did you do?
Once my manuscript was finished, I sent it out to my friends and family to take a look at it and give feedback. They had feedback on content, and they did grammatical checks, too. Once they returned it to me, I reached out to real editors, including Carrie!
5. What did you expect from the editing process? How was the experience?
I expected that I would better understand and even remember the purpose of my book. Once I got my book back from my editors, I realized what the book was about again. I also saw some of my fragmented sentences all of a sudden make total sense. The experience was amazing. I’ll never again publish something without the help of an editor; be it a book, or a speech.
6. Describe what re-writing involves and how it makes you feel. How is it different than the initial writing?
Re-writing allows you to fill in the gaps. When I went back to re-write, I added in research and data and quotes, to help make my point. In the initial writing of it, it was all just my thoughts and ideas. But I realized I had to back up my points, and was able to do that in editing.
7. Did you have non-editors read your book for feedback (Alpha Readers)? What did you get out of that?
Yes, all of my friends and family. I got moral support, which is important. Writing a book is an emotional process. I got free editing from my friends!
8. Who designed your cover? How much input did you have? How important is the cover design?
I had solicited help from many designers. In the end, I designed my own book cover. I couldn't find what I wanted. They say don’t judge a book by its cover. But people do. So the book cover design and title means everything. I knew who I wrote my book for, and I knew how I wanted to market my book. That helped me decide its size, cover, color, font, title.
9. How did you go forward with publishing? Why? How was that experience?
I decided on self-publishing. I went through Ingram Content, who makes your book available to all bookstores including Barnes and Noble retailers. It made it easy when I went on my book tour, as the bookstores were able to order my book at the distributors discount. The experience is amazing, as its all print on demand. There are not thousands of unsold books sitting in a warehouse somewhere. I sell out of all my books because all I have are the ones I’ve requested. And for the bookstores that carry my books, they only buy a few, and those few usually sell out. So it works for me. I love it, and if I self-publish again, I’m going that route.
10. How have you marketed your first book?
I built a really nice Shopify page, and recorded a video. The video played on the homepage as soon as you logged in. I really think that helped to move product! Also, I did a heavy social media push with #GetYourLifeBook, so that people could follow my journey. I went on a speaking tour and set up dates across the country. I also utilized my mailing list; that is how I got the word out and sold the most books initially. The book is small and cute, so that made it easy for people to share the book on social media; it’s very photogenic. Now, the book sells itself on Amazon.
11. How was the initial feedback from readers?
Most of all, amazing. People were inspired and surprised at the quality of a self-published book. I did have one reader who liked the book, but complained it was full of old blogs. I did republish blogs and put them into the book, but a lot of the book was also original. So I had a few loyal readers who were like “What? I read this already!”
12. How have sales been on your first book? Did they go as expected? What helps you the most to sell books?
Sales were amazing for me in the first six months, even better for me because I sold them myself with a high margin. They went as I expected, but died down quicker than I thought. Books have a real short shelf life sometimes. Word of mouth helps me sell books. What sometimes causes a spark is when I speak somewhere and people get to see me and hear me in the flesh. My book is a personal development book, so I'm the product, too.
13. Talk about print vs ebook. Do you get more sales with one than the other?
I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that mentioned paperback sales are higher than ever, and still beating ebook. So I only released a paperback, and it’s been amazing. If I ever do an ebook, I’ll make it interesting with like an audiobook or something. But ebooks aren't the best way to experience my work.
14. Did you set the prices of your print and ebooks? How do you decide how to price them?
I set the prices. I looked at the competitive landscape of books similar to mine, and then set a price. But I also looked at what it took to create my book.
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?
16. Anything different in the publishing process for your other books?
17. When did you consider yourself a “writer"?
18. When do you write? What motivates you to write?
I write daily. I write when I think I thought of something that’s going to change the world. Most ideas are garbage though. But some are gems! And those gems are where the money and impact is.
19. What do aspiring authors ask you?
How did you write your book?
How many books did you sell?
How long did it take you write it?
20. What advice can you offer for aspiring authors about writing, editing, publishing, and marketing?
Title and design your book to sell. It’s all about how you market it.