New York Times best-selling author Bob Mayer has had over 50 books published and has sold over six million of them. He’s in constant demand as a team-building, life-changing and motivational speaker and consultant for his Who Dares Wins concept, which he developed into Write it Forward – a holistic programme teaching writers how to be authors.
He’s also the co-creator of Cool Gus Publishing, which does both e-books and print on demand, so he is experienced in both traditional and non-traditional publishing. I’m honoured to have his as my special guest today and I can guarantee that anyone reading this interview will benefit greatly from it.
Bob grew up in the Bronx and after High School entered West Point Military Academy. Then he volunteered and passed selection for the Special Forces as a Green Beret, something which helped shape his life and establish the foundation and background for his writing and teaching career.
His books have hit the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and numerous other best-seller lists. He has delivered presentations to more than a thousand organisations, both in the United States and internationally. He is prolific, writing under his own name and four pen names.
FOCUS ON CONTENT
With a background like Bob’s I figured there was only one question to start the ball rolling. What advice did he have for new and wannabe writers? His answer may surprise some of the modernists.
“Focus on creating content – not marketing or promoting,” he began. “With self-publishing and e-books I see too many writers with only one or two books focusing too much on trying to sell those books. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Look five years out. The best promotion is a good book. Better promotion is more good books.”
“I’ve always read a lot. I think that’s the best preparation for becoming a writer. The next natural step is to invent your own stories.”
How does he see the future of traditional books and publishing?
“Traditional publishing is in serious trouble. It’s a very flawed business model. I run my own publishing company and my take is that the Big Six are at least a year behind, if not more.
THE FUTURE IS DIGITAL
“The top five per-cent of authors in traditional publishing do OK – for the rest, it’s almost a dead end. The future is here and its digital. That’s just the reality, no matter how anyone feels about it. I tell writers they have to run a business and to take their emotions out of the equation.”
“So you think that hardbacks, and even paperbacks, are in danger because of the rise in e-book readership?”
We talked about audio books and if the future seemed brighter for them.
“I have 23 titles now live on Audible and more in production,” Bob said. “I love the ACX programme they have. My father is legally blind and I got him an Audible account and he listens to audiobooks all the time. I think it’s great that people have that option.”
We got to chatting about Bob’s favourite books and authors.
“1. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. 2. Lord of the Rings by Tolkein. 3. It’s a toss-up – there are so many good writers and books out there. I loved The Stand by Stephen King.”
“What’s your work schedule like?”
I literally have two offices in my house. One is my business office where I run my company, Cool Gus Publishing. We just passed seven figures in earnings in less than 18 months, after only selling three e-books in our first month, so it’s a lot of work. Then I have a writing office where I turn off the Internet and focus on creating content.”
It was time for a last question. Does a new author need an agent – and how does he find one?”
Bob was positive. “If you want to be published by one of the Big Six – Yes. That’s just the reality. But agents are very much an endangered species. The walls of publishing are crumbling and it’s pretty much the wild west. I love my agent, but she laughed when I asked about selling a manuscript two years ago. She said there was no way she could get me a better deal than I was doing myself with my own company.”
“She was right. That book – The Jefferson Allegiance – hit 2m nationally in Barnes and Noble.”