In another episode of Book Journeys, Angela interviewed author Neal Whitten on his book, The Gift of Wisdom: Lessons for a Lifetime. Neal’s book captures the wisdom of the elders as he interviewed twenty-five senior Americans from across the US representing roughly the demographics of America, to draw insights about life in general, covering a wide range of topics such as relationships, spirituality, health, vocation, finances, caregiving, dealing with stress and hardships, among others. Neal recorded hours and hours of conversation as he gathered data for the book, interviewing half of the respondents in person, and the rest over the phone. He had twenty-five base questions which he gave ahead of time for his contacts to study, and depending on their answers, he went off on different directions so that each person was ultimately asked literally hundreds of questions.
Neal is not a first-time author, having written several business and technical books as a professional in the IT and project management industry. But it is his first one related to life and life balance as he also describes himself as people-oriented. He looks at the book as a potential career transition for him, from the technical to the life-balance type arena. It is also his first self-published book and narrates that he decided to self-publish after facing several rejections from traditional publishers. He was motivated to take control as he realized that this is the Internet age and thus anybody can publish his own book. The book has given him a different sense of gratitude and he has seen how people have responded positively to it along with the seminars he has conducted which are based on the book. He has seen people tear up when he talks about the advice given by these twenty-five people, and others have expressed how they’ve been helped by somebody they don’t personally know but now feel they actually know them.
Neal has conducted around forty seminars since the book was written, as his intent in writing it was to be able to go to companies to help employees improve their life balance. He has distributed his book as part of his seminar package, selling around 2,000 copies through this. He has also sold less than a thousand copies through Amazon, Kindle, and other online ebooks through his website. Neal has engaged in several ways to promote his book, like offering special book sales in his website, going to magazines, or even through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. But what he found most useful was promoting it through his newsletter that goes out to several thousand people, getting a fair number of sales from it.
Neal encourages would-be authors to finish whatever it is they have written because it is something they can be truly proud of, but he adds this is just the beginning because the biggest satisfaction is in being able to reach out and help people as they get their book out there.
Watch out for Angela’s interview with another exciting author.