Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Chicken Soup for the Soul was my published works, my story Volunteering from the Heart was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul in 2009. My first book, On Toby’s Terms, was released in 2010. It became an international best seller and won Gold in the Readers’ Favorite 2012 Awards. That book, about our dog Toby, inspired a series of children’s books: Toby the Pet Therapy Dog and His Hospital Friends, Toby the Pet Therapy Dog Says Be a Buddy Not a Bully, and Toby the Pet Therapy Dog and His Forever Family (to be released late 2013). I also co-authored GPS Your Best Life – Charting Your Destination and Getting There in Style. These books were all published by Bettie Youngs Books. In 2011 I also self published Bounce Forward- Building Resilient and Inspired Teams. Since Chicken Soup, I have also been featured in five other books
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Toby the Pet Therapy Dog and His Hospital Friends was inspired by our dog Toby and the legacy of A Million Acts of Kindness that we created after he passed away. Toby presented with me to more than 10,000 children around North America and we wanted to continue sharing the message of kindness, unconditional acceptance and making a difference.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
One of the writing habits I have created is Not Writing! I discovered that in many ways I am a stronger storyteller than writer. I Talk My Book. Using my H4 Zoom Recorder (and transcribing the audio) or Dragonspeak (which types your spoken word) software I talk my book instead of typing my book. When I tell a story out loud instead of simply typing it from my head, the story is richer.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
So many books have inspired me through the years.. Velveteen Rabbit, Judy Blume, the Rupert The Bear series, Jack Canfield to name a few.
What are you working on now?
I am in the second round of edits of Toby The Pet Therapy Dog and His Forever Home which will them go into illustrations. At the same time I am finishing off my book for authors, Your Book as a Business- make your book the next Big thing!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
There are three strategies that have really served us well:
– Speaking (at events, signings, tele seminars, webinars, etc.)
– Media (online, print, radio, TV, magazines and blogs)
– Relationships (social media, sponsors, building a strong connection and conversation with fans, video, circle of champions)
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Systematize everything you do, there are many tasks you repeat over and over again with the book production and marketing/selling. When you create systems you save time, money and resources. And you create the template for success for your next book. Also, keep track of all the contacts you meet (media, bloggers, reviewers, online sites that list and promote your book). This will save you time and energy (and money) for your future book and help you repurpose what is already out there (e.g. you can circulate book reviews that were done on a monthly basis, and having the links on a spreadsheet allows you to easily find them).
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I heard is to take an action every single day towards marketing your book, this is 365 actions a year. And …. think big! Selling books in the 1:many format (e.g. bulk sales) takes less energy and time then selling books in the 1:1 format.
What are you reading now?
Several books including EMyth by Michael Gerber
What’s next for you as a writer?
Our next project is turning our children’s books into iBooks and apps, and finishing the audio version of the books.
What is your favorite book of all time?
My favorite book of all time is the Velveteen Rabbit.