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Book Journeys Author Interview – Nov 14, 2013

Dr. Angela Lauria with Lori Anne Rising, author of Who Am I? How to Discover Your Purpose and Live Your Passion.
 

“Sometimes, it’s the writing process itself that allows you to find the answers.” ~Lori Anne Rising
 

Angela:
Well, hello, everybody, and welcome to Book Journeys Radio. This is Dr. Angela Lauria, I am the founder of the Author Incubator and creator of the Difference Process: Ten Steps to Writing a Book That Makes a Difference. Every week on Book Journeys, we talk to an author about their experience writing their first book, and this week we’ve got Lori Anne Rising. She’s the author of Who Am I? How to Discover Your Purpose and Live Your Passion. What I love about this book is – the way I became a book coach and a publisher was by reading a whole lot of self-help books that – tried to identify what – what my passion was, and – I got a little stuck in the process because I was reading book after book until I read five thousand books trying to discover what my passion was. And then, it occurred to me that my passion might be books! (laughs) So – Lori, I think you might be in the “Girls Who Are Passionate About Books” club.
 

Lori Anne:
Oh, absolutely, I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a kid. I actually used to compete with myself to see how many books I could read in one weekend. …
 

Angela:
Yup, books are – yeah. … Tell us about – tell us about Who Am I? How to Discover Your Purpose and Live Your Passion.
 

Lori Anne:
Well, that book is really focused on answering that question that you were asking yourself – what am I really passionate about, what do I really want to do, and how exactly do I sort that out? It came out of my background as a life coach – and really noticing that a lot of people are asking that question, so I created it to help them walk through the process. It’s – it explains a lot about how to conceptualize things, but not from a life coach. I wanted something that – the every day person could really relate to and apply to their lives. It’s a lot of stories – but it does also include exercises to help you get down to those core values that, when you really experience them, you feel that joy, and that passion kicks in, and that allows you to – to follow that into what you get to do next.
 

Angela:
Well, that’s funny. That’s what my blog post is about this week. I talk about my – my search to find the thing that I lost track of time doing.
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hmm!
 

Angela:
That was one of the big keys for me in finding my passion.
 

Lori Anne:
Exactly.
 

Angela:
So, how – how – so, you – so, you have a background as a life coach? How did you decide to write this book? What was the trigger that made you say, “I’m gonna turn this into a book”?
 

Lori Anne:
Well, for me – one of the things – I – I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, and I – I knew, growing up, I wanted to write books, but I kept thinking, “Well, it’s fiction” – that was the only connection, and I realized I never finished the fiction story. When I became a life coach, one of the pieces of that puzzle was realizing that, for many people who – who really benefits from the support didn’t always have access to it because of the cost. It can get expensive, sometimes, to – it’s absolutely worth it, but for some of the people who are really struggling and feeling lost, that’s part of the puzzle, is – is the financial piece, also.
 

Angela:
Mm-hm.
 

Lori Anne:
I wanted to create something that was really accessible and could introduce people to the basic concepts and help them get moving in their life. And I also walked into it with the idea of, “Well fiction isn’t working, what if non-fiction would work, and what if I could finish a book, and – and how much fun could that be, to finally – fulfill that piece of myself while helping other people?” …
 

Angela:
Yeah. Yeah. So, what was the – ‘cause this is a – you started other books, and – I’ll tell you, most of the authors I work with started multiple books, they have half-finished manuscripts, they have books that they wrote in their head that they never got onto paper, so what – what do you – made this one different?
 

Lori Anne:
It – honestly, I – originally, I had started going back through my journals for years. I write consta – and – and I started going back to my journals, and I realized, every single year, about the same time, I would start talking about wanting to write a book as if it was a new idea.
 

Angela:
Mmm.
 

Lori Anne:
And then, I would forget about it until the next year, and it would come up again. So, nap – I noticed that my journal started – eight, ten year period, and I finally went, “Well, why don’t I just finish one? Why don’t I just finish one?” …
 

Angela:
Wow. So, was there a certain – what was the time of year? What do you think – what was the pattern? What was the deal with the time of year? What does that mean to you?
 

Lori Anne:
I – it’s about May or June, that – those summer months, and I – I’ve never really thought about what the significance of that is, other than – I love the spring and the rebirth and new ideas and – it may have been something with that, but it was always about May or June every year …
 

Angela:
I think that that’s fascinating, okay. One of – one of the ten steps to writing a book that makes a difference is called “Focus your author mojo,” and it’s really about looking at yourself, taking some honest inventories, like that one, looking at your journals and figuring out, “When am I most productive? When do the muses want to visit me? Do I like writing in the morning, or is it just that people say that? Is there something special about May or June for me? What is it that gets your inner author wanna come out and play?”
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hmm.
 

Angela:
So, I love that you discovered that, and when you can harness that, without the whole story of – there’s an eight maze when I started a book and haven’t finished, and when you – I like how you put that story in your life, “Oh! I always want to write a book in May! I should do that!”
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hm!
 

Angela:
Instead of – “How come I’ve started eight times and haven’t finished? I’m a failure.”
 

Lori Anne:
Well, I went through that phase, too, but …
 

Angela:
… That’s part of our – part of everyone’s journey. There must be a certain amount of self-abuse.
 

Lori Anne:
Oh, yeah. Yeah.
 

Angela:
So, what is it that you – this – this is – I’m really asking for advice for people that are in that spot you were. Maybe – those ten years, when you wanted to write a book but didn’t finish them. What is it that, really, you wish you knew that would have pushed you over the edge …?
 

Lori Anne:
Oh, goodness. I can say some of the things that really held me back –
 

Angela:
Mm-hmm.
 

Lori Anne:
– is that I – for me, personally, which is actually part of what got me into life coaching, to be honest, was that – growing up being told all of the things that I should do –
 

Angela:
Mmm.
 

Lori Anne:
– were not compatible with any of the things I dreamed about as a kid, and I fell into doing all the stuff I should do and left all of my dreams behind. And when my Mom had a brain aneurysm when she was forty-nine – yeah, it was completely unexpected – at that point in time I had a job that – I loved the people that I worked with, but it was not a job that really – I felt passionate about. I had the job, I had the marriage, I had two little kids, my daughter was actually – twelve days old at that time –
 

Angela:
Wow. …
 

Lori Anne:
– and it really put me in a place where I started questioning everything. “Okay, I’ve done everything I thought I should do, and life is falling apart. What do I need to do different?”
 

Angela:
Yeah.
 

Lori Anne:
So, I – I fell in love with life coaching by working with a life coach who really walked me through that process, and I realized, “You know what? I’m not the only one asking these questions, and I wanna get it out there.” So, part of the process was beginning to give myself permission and to start removing the blocks in myself. And even as I started the writing process, of course, even more of the mental and emotional blocks came up, and it was a matter of walking myself through those, acknowledging them, recognizing them, and even sometimes they would stop me for a few weeks and I’d have to – pick myself up and get going again, so it’s – it’s in part the discipline to keep going and acknowledge those pieces, and – and … them.
 

Angela:
I think that is fantastic advice, we – one of the steps in the Ten Step Process is “Release Your Blocks,” and one of the keys to releasing them is awareness. You don’t have to change them, but if you can observe them and say, “What’s stopping me here?” Did you work with a coach? Obviously, you had coaching tools with you, and experience.
 

Lori Anne:
Yeah, I have coaching tools. To be honest, at the time, I wasn’t aware that author coaching existed, so in being a coach and – and a mom, I thought, “Oh, okay, I can do this, I’m a writer and –“ honestly, at the time, I think I was a little bit arrogant about the process, but it – I – I didn’t wind up having the support for myself, I thought I could do it all myself. “Okay, so … in progress, I can do this.” And it was fascinating to me to walk through it completely on my own. I actually didn’t know the other resources even existed …. So – I had my friends that were kind of aware, and they were supportive, but they didn’t under – they weren’t writers. They didn’t understand that the … so . . . .
 

Angela:
Yes. Sometimes, what – sometimes, what – yeah, sometimes what friends will do is, “Awesome, everything’s awesome –“
 

Lori Anne:
Right.
 

Angela:
– and that’s nice and supportive, but it can also slow you down in some ways, “No, no, no, … terrible.” …
 

Lori Anne:
… Then there’s the other pieces, the people who are – “Yeah, it’s great,” and I’m – “What would work better?” “So far, I don’t know.” “Okay, that’s not very helpful.” (chuckles) And I get it, because they – they don’t see – they can read it and say, “Yes, it’s great,” or “No, it doesn’t look good for me,” but they can’t always tell you why.
 

Angela:
Yeah.
 

Lori Anne:
And it was the deeper – why. I need to know how to improve it, and that’s what …, they weren’t – they just didn’t have the training and background to be able to provide, so it’s – that kind of stuff, having to work through, also, and really – though I’ve never written a book – I’d written articles and stuff, and my journal, but – the process of, “How do I break this content down into chapters and give it a structure that works without giving it so much structure so that it feels dead,” and all of the balancing acts in between, so . . . .
 

Angela:
And so, now that you’ve been through the process, what would you recommend to somebody that was writing? Would you recommend to work with a coach or an editor or w – w – how would you find – how would you go about if you were – if you were to do it all over again, how would you go about finding help? And what kind of help and support do you think authors should have?
 

Lori Anne:
If – if I was to do it over, it – definitely having somebody like an author coach, especially at the initial stages, to help talk through the contents, sometimes it’s having a sounding board that’s helpful, if nothing else. But also, to help with some of the internal stuff that’s gonna come up – just – many – many times, I would feel the sense of – put it in writing, I’m – I’m incredibly vulnerable, somehow, that piece is gonna be naked in the world – and some of those things that you go through on a mental level, having a coach who walks through those, helps manage them, all of that is helpful. Editors are incredibly helpful as well, especially if the content starts coming together, to help with the structure and – and – the smoothing out of it. But one of the things I was – … – blindsided by, I hadn’t even thought that far ahead, is marketing piece, and how … – integrated …
 

Angela:
Yes, let’s talk about that! That’s very segue, ‘cause people are – “Yeah, the book is done! If you build it, they will come!”
 

Lori Anne:
Yeah, …
 

Angela:
So, what have you … w – what would you – what do you wish you knew, going in, about marketing?
 

Lori Anne:
Oh, everything. I – (chuckles) – the – the idea of building an audience for it, either ahead of time or during the process, hadn’t even occurred to me, let alone all of the ways that that’s possible. And then, once it is done, now how do I tell people about it and get it out into the world and – and – technology continues to change, so how do I integrate all of these different pieces, and – and it can get really overwhelming really fast, so how do I prioritize and break it all down into something that’s actually effective and I can manage and it works for me and – there’s the other support people in the process, whether it’s the web designer or the social media expert or the PR media, and – do I self-publish or go with a publisher and – and all of those different questions I didn’t even think of until – my first copy of my book was in my hands. And then, I was like, “Oh!”
 

Angela:
What now?
 

Lori Anne:
“Well, now I need to change a couple of things, and –“ it – it was definitely – a couple of steps forward and a few steps back for quite awhile in that learning curve, so. . . .
 

Angela:
So, what I say is that everybody’s book takes them on a – a book journey, and everyone’s book journey is unique. Your publishing journey is particularly unique. Why don’t you talk about how you first published your book, and what you learned and how you changed it?
 

Lori Anne:
Yeah, it’s – when I first did the book – actually, originally – and I don’t know if it’s still out in the world or not – I actually did it, the first time, as a workbook, only. There really wasn’t much of the story to it, and I realized, once that was done, nobody buys workbooks, so I had to go back and completely rewrite it and restructure it – so that it was more for the audience that I wanted to reach, instead of what I thought it should be, ‘cause there was a little bit of a – a disconnect there. So, the – the soft cover that’s available is actually – was published in 2008. The title is slightly different, it’s actually under my former ma – married name, so – the name of the author is different, it’s the same person, but it’s – it’s slightly different, and –
 

Angela:
It’s still called – for people looking at it on Amazon – it’s still called Who Am I?
 

Lori Anne:
Right.
 

Angela:
So, if you go to Amazon and you looked for Who Am I? the – the hardcover is Who Am I? How to Answer the Single Most Important Question You’ll Ever Ask.
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hm.
 

Angela:
… look that up on Amazon.
 

Lori Anne:
Yeah, and that was published in –
 

Angela:
That was Phase Two?
 

Lori Anne:
Yeah, that was actually Phase Two, and technology has changed so much I wanted to get it onto Kindle and release it and – additional access for people, so that was actually done this year. And so …
 

Angela:
And that is called Who Am I? How to Discover Your Purpose and Live Your Passion.
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hm.
 

Angela:
I like both subtitles, why the change?
 

Lori Anne:
The change actually had to do with – some feedback I got from a marketing person that I worked with, to be honest.
 

Angela:
Mmm!
 

Lori Anne:
So – I – I – would probably be interesting to see which title connects with which type of audience and do some market research, and I – I just haven’t had the chance to do that, so. . . .
 

Angela:
So, what I see the difference as, and – and – go with me on this – just that people are thinking about their book titles – the first book title is How to An – or the subtitle, How to Answer the Single Most Important Question You’ll Ever Ask, and the question is, “Who am I?”
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hm!
 

Angela:
Which feels broad, that feels really big, ‘cause “Who am I” can mean lots of things to lots of people –
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hm.
 

Angela:
– and a lot of authors, especially first-time authors, are trying to make their book reach as many people as humanly possible –
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hm.
 

Angela:
– so that would work if you were – twelve or a hundred and twelve, and then you focus down here on the second subtitle, is – it’s still “Who am I?” is the question, but now the subtitle is How to Discover Your Purpose and Live Your Passion.
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hm.
 

Angela:
That feels much more specific, and maybe even to a smaller group of people, twelve-year-olds and eighty-year-olds may be less interested in that. So, why would you go narrow?
 

Lori Anne:
Actually, in part, my target market is more narrow than that –
 

Angela:
Mmm.
 

Lori Anne:
– so it fits more, and the words – “passion,” and – and those kind of things, connect more with the benefits that the book offers, and so, they’re more of a – connected it at that value place. Yes, answering the question is important, and we don’t always do in our lives, but is important, we do what we emotionally connect to.
 

Angela:
Right.
 

Lori Anne:
So, working with a marketing person –
 

Angela:
And I like that you went – went even further in the new description, where you talk about, what are you gonna get out of this book? How to find your purpose in life, how to use your emotions for growth instead of drama, we could all use a little more of that –
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hmm.
 

Angela:
– and how to make empowered choices in life. Those are very specific benefits for a much more specific reader than – how to effectively …
 

Lori Anne:
Right. And that – that comes out of – an awareness on my own part of that I’ve learned, through the marketing process, that it’s actually easier to sell more copies if your language is more targeted to an individual than to a group. Which is …
 

Angela:
Counterintuitive but true. Yeah, I think it’s not only counterintuitive, it seems to bring up some really deep fears for people. You know –
 

Lori Anne:
Yeah, it – yeah. …
 

Angela:
– … it’s – it’s for such a small group of people, and then – but this would help more people – it brings up a whole bunch of stuff that goes beyond – book marketing.
 

Lori Anne:
Absolutely, and it’s – … to me, one of the things I have realized in my own writing process and – and trying to connect with individuals through writing is that a book is a one-to-one conversation – between the book and the reader, so, even if it’s a thousand copies or ten thousand copies, every time one is read, it’s a one-to-one conversation. So, if I write it as a one-to-one conversation, more people are going to enjoy it. So if it’s switching around my – my own thought process, so I’m gonna focus on one person so that anybody who comes across this actually feels as if they are the one person I’m talking to, which is where the connection is made.
 

Angela:
I love that.
 

Lori Anne:
So, i – it’s – it’s a – … things on their head in some way, and i – it takes some getting used to, but I’ve – it’s far more successful, I have found, to – to work at that – that level.
 

Angela:
Yeah, I think that’s so powerful, and I think if you are listening to this and you’re struggling with your title and this is bringing up stuff for you, or if you’re – “No, no, no, that’s not good advice,” – that’s all the more reason to – to look into this and to really explore it, because there’s a lot here that seems like a pretty subtle – it seems like a subtle change, but I think it makes the book much more powerful. And there’s another subtle change, I noticed, your – your cover changed, not that much – but your cover changed a little. So, what happened with your cover? Did you work with a different designer? How did you make those decisions?
 

Lori Anne:
Actually, to be honest, I handed that over to the marketing person I worked with, and that was their feedback, and I thought, “Well, not really attached to how it looks, so why not give it a try?” and then I – I love continuing – to learn and the process, and working with people and – and the feedback I was getting wasn’t …, but – just, well, this might be a new and different look, and why not go with that, and okay, great. There’s also – I have learned in the process – the color red itself can actually, at a subconscious level, connect with ideas of caution and some of that kind of stuff. So, part of – part of the process was, “Well, would it be different if we changed the color a little bit, or the color scheme a bit,” so …
 

Angela:
Great. So – … so, if you’re not looking – ‘cause you’re not looking, Lori’s cover is went from being white with red to white with purple –
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
 

Angela:
– and the second thing that she did is she added a gold frame around it. So, it’s pretty similar, but the purple – sends a different message than the red. The red looks almost a little more of – a business book, but it has that subconscious “stop” message that she’s talking about, whereas the purple seems a little more open and – self-exploratory, and the frame – I think this is probably – just a – just a little secret of Amazon is, if you like white covers, they work really well in bookstores, but on Amazon they don’t top because most people are looking at Amazon on a white background.
 

Lori Anne:
Right.
 

Angela:
And that whole thing just makes the book pop right off the page.
 

Lori Anne:
Right. Especially when you’re looking at a – a digital version, that’s the same idea, and – and the one with the frame is a Kindle-only, so it – it actually works better in terms of – of the digital download as – aspect, also.
 

Angela:
Right. Okay, so let’s talk about publishing. You self-published, did you think about working with an agent or a publisher, and if not, why not?
 

Lori Anne:
Actually the – original – the soft cover version actually was with a publisher initially – which was a wonderful process, it was accepted, and at the time she said it was – so well written they’re gonna skip several phases of the – of the publishing process and just go straight into the proofreading and get it done. I thought, “Ah! Fabulous, how often does that?” Unfortunately, before they were able to get it to market – she – she actually wound up becoming very ill and having to shut down her publishing company. So, I re – I got my rights back, and I thought, “Well, I’ve waited this long, I wanna get it out at this point,” so I went ahead and self-published it from there, and – and just – just get it to market and – and go with it. So, I’ve actually gone both routes, I guess, in that sense. The Kindle –
 

Angela:
What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of working with a publisher or doing it on your own?
 

Lori Anne:
Well, there’s – there’s pros and cons, either way, in my mind. I have a lot of respect for the publishing houses and the agents and there are many ways in which it can be very helpful, ‘specially for established authors. I – I admit I do have a personal bias towards the self-publishing, ‘specially as far as the – the technology has come, the ability for the author to – retain some control in the process, and the acknowledgement, too, that if you’re – whether you’re self-publishing or using a traditional publisher, the marketing is in your hands. So, in – in my mind, … if I’m gonna do all the work to get it out there and go with that, technology has come so far that I might as well retain the rights and royalties as well. At the same time, especially as a – at least, what I have seen, as authors move forward in their career and have additional books, there is a lot of value that a publisher can bring to the process in terms of understanding how to position a book, market a book. They may not do it for you, but they can provide advice in that area that you may or may not be in, and there’s additional value for a publisher as well. So, each person, each author I have seen, they take a different route depending on what their goals are and the process, depending on how much – knowledge they have themselves in the process and what they have access to. There’s – I – I don’t think there’s a bad route to take, it’s just really, what does the author want to do with their book, at the end of the process and – and how best to access those, and – and either one can work. So –
 

Angela:
Yeah, it’s terrific advice. Step – step nine in the Ten Step Difference – Ten Step Process to Writing a Book That Makes a Difference is, “Create your masterpiece,” and the reason that step is – there is no right or wrong way to publish, but what I find a lot of authors do is they – go in blind and they don’t realize they might be giving away their copyright and not realize what that means.
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hm. Mm-hm.
 

Angela:
They might be signing up to self-publish when they’re just not good at details, and their book could have gotten out or could have looked better –
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hm.
 

Angela:
– come out sooner or – or looked better, ‘cause that’s not where their strength is. It’s not – publishing is absolutely not rocket science, anyone who can write a book can certainly do it, but is that where you wanna use your resources?
 

Lori Anne:
Mm-hmm.
 

Angela:
It may be, it may not be, and it really depends on the book and the author, but being conscious of it, I think, is the most important thing that – that a lot of people just miss, ‘cause they think writing is ninety percent, and writing is – probably not even fifty percent when you think about what marketing –
 

Lori Anne:
Yeah, wri – writing’s just the starting point. (chuckles) Yeah.
 

Angela:
Yeah. Yeah, usually I have to go – “What percentage did you think writing was gonna be, of – of becoming an author, and what percentage is it in reality?” What – what’s that – what’s with – your answer to that one?
 

Lori Anne:
I think part of it depends on the phase, and the – obviously, in the writing process itself it’s probably a good eighty to ninety percent. Once – once the main content is done, it completely shifts, though, and the focus goes into – the marketing and all of the other detail. and even the building of the rest of your career around what is the content, because a lot of it, especially non-fiction – when it’s a “how to” or personal development types of things, it’s – there’s – yeah, there’s the rest of the career around it, and so, how to build to that end, and – and – and make it all work together, I – the sh – the focus, I think – there’s a pendulum to it, and – for the most part – unless somebody’s writing several books every year, which was not typically how they do it –
 

Angela:
Stephen King? Yeah.
 

Lori Anne:
Yeah. Usually, it’s more, okay, one – one book a year or every couple of years, so if you – the majority of your time is actually in all the other places –
 

Angela:
Yeah.
 

Lori Anne:
– the researching, or the marketing or out talking to people, or – or doing something else if there’s a career tied to it, it would – whether it’s coaching or speaking or – or other types of things, it – it’s all the other stuff that goes along with it.
 

Angela:
So, we have about – we’ve got about a minute left, and, in our last minute – I’d love to hear from you, what is the best thing that has come out of being a published author, for you?
 

Lori Anne:
(chuckles) The best thing for me has been – well, it’s two-fold. There’s been a sense that I can do this, and I – I am good at it, and the way in which it has shifted the direction of my own career, and getting to do more of what I really love to do the most. People have seen it, approached me, and I’ve been able to connect with people, far more – that credibility, the expertise and my just being able to do more of what I love to do, with and for other people.
 

Angela:
What I love about that, Lori, is that your book is called How to Discover Your Purpose and Your – Live Your Passion, and through writing your book, you’ve really done that in your own life.
 

Lori Anne:
Oh, yeah, absolutely, it was – it was discovering it, writing about it, and learning to live it, through the process. I – it’s all really …
 

Angela:
Some – so many authors – so many authors say – “I’m not – I’m not there yet, but I don’t know my purpose and my passion, how can I write that book?” And I think it’s great to see how you can discover that you don’t have to have everything perfectly tied up with a bow to write your book.
 

Lori Anne:
Oh, no, not at all. Sometimes, it’s the writing process itself that allows you to find the answers.
 

Angela:
Absolutely. So, Lori Anne Rising is the author of Who Am I? How to Discover Your Purpose and Live Your Passion. Lori, I feel like I could talk to you for another hour. Thank you so much for all your … advice today.
 

Lori Anne:
Well, thank you for having me, it’s been a lot of fun!
 

Angela:
Terrific. Well, we’ll be back next week for another Book Journey, and – with that we are changing the world one book at a time.
 

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