When I met Kevin O’Connor in my book-writing program, I instantly knew he was going to add great energy to our group of future authors. It was no surprise when he not only reached his goal of publishing his book, Two Floors Above Grief, but also leaned fully into marketing, garnering nearly 100 reader reviews on Amazon—an impressive feat for any author! In this episode, we discuss:
- How Kevin reached his goal of authorhood
- How “collaborative discipline” supported his success
- What it’s really like to write and self-publish a book
- Marketing lessons learned one year in, including success tips
- How to balance the “difficulty and discipline of writing with joy and self-acknowledgment” (this discussion is so good!)
- His top advice for aspiring authors
This episode is full of both great information and inspiration for anyone looking to reach their next big goal. Don’t miss this episode!
Learn more about Kevin:
- Two Floors Above Grief: A Memoir of Two Families in the Unique Place We Called Home
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Transcripts for Episode 115
These transcripts were generated by robots, not writers.
Kevin: Writing isn’t meant to be easy. It’s it can be. It can flow if you let it. It can. You can I can be stuck or words will come or I can sit and think and ruminate and not do any writing at all. But and I guess that’s the difficulty part of it is the actual sitting down and the finding that space that really works for you. And what worked for me in nonfiction book school was knowing we had deadlines and discipline, and you provided that. It would be hard for me to provide that on my own. Putting that discipline in is what provides the joy and self acknowledgment.
I wouldn’t have that joy and that self acknowledgment unless I discipline myself or worked with you and colleagues to keep myself disciplined and to let myself know, hey, I’m not going to reach that goal unless I do the difficult work.
Stacy: Welcome. This week I’m really excited to get to talk about the journey of authorhood. Statistics show that about 80% of people want to write a book, but a really tiny little fraction of people actually accomplish that goal. And I think part of that is because it’s a really big goal. And so how do we reach that?
Well, part of that is learning from people who have accomplished that goal, who’ve gone before us and achieved the thing we want to do. And that’s why I’m really excited to welcome this week’s guest. So let me read you his bio. Kevin O’Connor is an alumni of my program nonfiction book school. There he discovered a platform to create the stories for his book, Two Floors Above Grief. His book has taken him to places he never imagined. You can learn more at Kevin o’connorauthor. Com. Kevin, welcome. I’m so excited to have you here.
Kevin: Good to see your smiling face there in Portugal. Very good.
Stacy: We’re recording this almost a year after your book came out. Almost exactly. And it’s been so fun to watch you over this past year, release your book and just go through this whole journey of not just writing the book, but then also moving into the world and sharing that. Can you reflect a little bit on this past year and what this has been like for you, sharing your work with the world?
Kevin: Yeah, some words come to mind when I look at the reflection part, and that enjoyable. Frenetic, excited, anxious. Redemptive sometimes too. But very honorable, accomplished. I feel very engaged, stimulated still. I felt that way when I was writing the book. But marketing has even incorporated those adjectives and adverbs even more. And what I’ve really liked a lot about the past year is just the spontaneity and the surprise of feedback from people that read the book. People I know, people I don’t know. Yesterday I got a text message from a high school teacher, Grant. I’ve been out of high school for 55 years. He was my social studies teacher, and I’ve seen him periodically over the years. But he texted me and he said, hey, I just read your book. I loved it. I want to talk to you. Can we talk soon?
There’s people in the book that you mentioned that we have connections with, and so to have that pop in and two days ago, a friend of mine from New Hampshire sent me a picture of a friend of hers. That I don’t know who was reading the book and said that he shared it with somebody else who thinks he knows people in my town and wants to talk to me more. And I hear from former students that I’ve had I started teaching in 1973. So when I hear from former students, people I thought I maybe had lost touch with, I think I don’t know how the book is getting to them, but I’m grateful and that they’re getting back to me. So that’s been part of what life’s been like in the last twelve months and just enjoying the surprises.
I do a lot of things that are planned and a lot of things that are planned for marketing and edits and things like that. We just finished the Audible version and that was very planned and very rigorous. But it’s the surprises that I most treasure. And hearing from people and getting feedback from people has been the most fun and the most energetic and the most giving me the feeling of what I’ve accomplished. It’s been great.
Stacy: That’s so incredible. I think that’s you put so much work into this thing and then you release it into the world, and to get to have these experiences that you’re having, it’s amazing. I will get to marketing a little later on, but I think just so for people listening. A lot of the reason that’s happened is because you have been very intentional in how you’ve marketed your book. You’ve been very active. You’ve been out in the world meeting people. So we’ll come back to that. I want to go to the earlier time before your book was written. Talk to me a little bit about that decision to say yes, to write this book. Talk to me a little bit about that journey and then your journey of actually writing it. Give me that story for people that are listening.
And they’re like, I really have a book in me. I know I want to write it.
Kevin: Sure. And sometimes when I’m on other podcasts or being interviewed, people say, how long did it take you to write this book? And my first response is to say, 73 years from the time of my birth. Because it is a memoir, and it’s a story of my upbringing as a child of two undertakers, two funeral directors, my father and my uncle and their wives, one being my mother and one being my aunt. So these stories have been with me forever. And when I’m with family, as I recently was, they’re telling more stories all the time. And over a period of time, people say, how are we going to keep track of these? And what are we going to do?
One of the things you taught me in the class was, as part of my journey, was to really focus on who my initial audience was. And that was, as you and I talked before, was family. And we had narrowed it down, too, just to one, picked one person to interview. And I had a list of people I was going to interview, and you said, no, stick with one. No more than one, maybe two. I stuck with one and just talked to her. In fact, I saw her last week. I said, what would you like to know about this? And she gave me some ideas that really helped me frame and refine the story.
And I guess going back further to your question, what made me say yes was partly because I had these stories in my head, and as I retired from my educational career in 2020, and then I got involved in the political campaign of Biden and Harris. And when that finished in November of 2020, I was no longer fully employed. I had no longer had any campaign political responsibilities. So I thought, Kevin, you’ve got no more excuses. And then I discovered you online. And that’s when that door opened. And I wanted to build on the idea that even in as I can remember, in 1993, I was on a trip with three other families with our kids in South Carolina. We were walking along the beach. What do you want to do next, Kev? I want to write a book. So that was kids.
I had my career. And so what happened when I first got introduced to you through your email promotions and Facebook promotions was, kevin, you have no more reason not to do this. Time is no longer an excuse. And the other motivator was to say yes was, as you know, I had over 700 pages of handwritten and type letters that had been used, been correspondence in my family from the 1930s to the 1970s. And that became the framework of the letter. I wanted to use those letters and those voices. And so that was really why I said yes. I couldn’t say, I don’t have time anymore because I did. And then I had all this research and all this authentic voice that I wanted to share with my family.
And then as I got into the editing stage, editors told me, hey, Kev, this book can go beyond just your family. I think we talked about that in nonfiction book school, too. We have an initial audience, but how do you broaden that audience and how do you tailor your story so it reaches even more? And I learned that from you and the others in our class, and that helped me in the writing of the story as well.
Stacy: It’s interesting because a lot of people come into this process just I say just I mean, it’s still a huge undertaking, but having this vision of this is for my family or this is for my close circle. And then when they get into it and they really kind of go through this journey, they start to think beyond. And I love that is what happened for you as well. So you mentioned going through nonfiction book school, my program, and I would love to hear what your experience was like. And I’ll admit I’m very curious because I was with you regularly, but obviously wasn’t there in your office while you were working on this book.
Tell me a little bit about the journey of actually writing the book, what the experience was like as you actually did the work, because I think a lot of people, I often think about this, I read this somewhere want to have written a book. They don’t necessarily want to write a book, but you actually have to go through the hard part of it too. There’s so much beauty, but there is also challenges through that journey. So tell me a little bit about the actual writing process.
Kevin: Well, then there again, nonfiction book school helped me sequenced and be organized and take these ideas. I haven’t thrown away my sticky notes yet. I still have them in a shelf in the closet back here, and I’m getting ready to write the second book, and I’m just going to use the same process because that helped me make finite each of those ideas I had. And I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles. I don’t do them that often, but that whole process of just I guess in educational terms, a brainstorm. And just putting anything down that I came to my mind. And that part of the process where you had us work on that for weeks in between sessions.
And just I’m in the same office where I wrote the book and just used all these walls that I saw my colleagues doing that, too, used walls and spaces and anything we could do to get those up there. But what that did is it helped me just start to organize those ideas and this one, just as you’ve done with your books, and taught us how to do it. And there really wasn’t a right or a wrong to this whole process. We’ve used the word journey, and when I look back and to see those probably thousands of sticky notes, but just having them move around, I had to reinforce the stickiness on some of them because I kept moving them around so much. But then what happened was, over a period of time, was the outlet. I mean, the book presented itself on my wall.
And when I think of our colleagues like May and Ruby and Ezra and who else comes to mind? Julie, Jennifer, Misty and the class. And just watching them. And what I liked about the school was I wasn’t alone. I mean, people talk about when I read about other writers, they go to a cabin in Maine, they sequester themselves and that’s how they get their work done and they discipline themselves. I thrive on other people and doing it and sharing the process and knowing that even the title of the book came from one of our classes. I think it was Jennifer. I can remember sitting there and I get tingly here when we had the title come up because they knew what I was writing about. And it was I believe it was Jennifer who came up with the title, and it stuck.
And so I know even that the title was part of our work together. If I had been working alone, who knows what the title would have been. But thanks to our brainstorming and our sharing our ideas and supporting each other, that was to me the beauty of the class and the beauty of our 1012 weeks together. And I still communicate with May and Ruby and a few others, and just knowing that May got her book released about the same time I did, it was fun to be on that journey together and to share our ideas and thoughts and stuff. I would recommend and I know I see all kinds of we get bombarded as writers, I think now, or prospective writers about all the programs that are out there.
And I just keep referring people to you because I don’t want to even look into what the other people are offering, because what you provided and the team provided you, Catherine and the team and all the guest speakers you had and the colleagues was just very special and has stayed very special. And I know that the book wouldn’t have happened without all that. It wouldn’t have.
Stacy: Oh, Kevin, this just made my day. Thank you for all of that. Really, truly grateful that I got to have you in the program. And I think in some ways, the way that I’ve chosen to run the things that I do goes against a lot of what is offered out there, because a lot of it is about getting a lot done in a really short period of time and just getting things done as quickly as possible. And that’s been not the approach that I’ve chosen to take myself and to teach. And really, this is a journey that you’re going on, and if you choose to fully immerse in it, you truly will end up on the other side, changed in some way. Some part of you will grow.
And I think to your point, part of that in the group format is also through other people. And that’s been really surprising to me as I’ve run more Cohorts, I now have a six month program that I run that there’s, like, this whole other piece that when I first launched the first program, I wasn’t sure how that would go. I was a little nervous about it, like, oh, am I diluting my effect? Like my ability to support people because I now have a group? And it’s been totally the opposite. It’s been 100% the opposite, which has been so joyful.
Kevin: And you say that and the other thing and keeping up as we do with our Facebook posts and things, it was through that. That’s how I met Lisa Bowie, who’s in your later classes, and when I saw what she was writing about, similar settings, funeral home, from a professional standpoint, a businesswoman’s standpoint, I got a hold of her. And I think, you know, we’ve become great friends, and we visited with each other, and she’s provided with me with the marketing. She’s provided me with so many ways to get into what we call now the death care industry, which is just one of my market areas. But to me, I wouldn’t have met Lisa if I hadn’t met you, if I hadn’t stayed connected with other people. So that whole circle of nonfiction book school is not just the class I was in.
It’s everybody that you’re working with beyond. And when I read their post about, oh, I got this many sticky notes or I’ve done this, or I’ve got a draft, it excites me to see that too, because I’m there with them and I’m happy for them.
Stacy: Yes, all of that. Okay, I have a quote here from you that I want to get your insights on, because this does relate to the whole writing journey, but it’s also the marketing and kind of all the journey that comes after. You said that part of your journey has been learning to balance the difficulty and discipline of writing with joy and self acknowledgment. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Kevin: Sure, I’d be glad to. Well, I think part of what we learned in class and I’ve learned repeatedly in my life when I’ve been writing isn’t meant to be easy. It can flow if you let it. I can be stuck or words will come, or I can sit and think and ruminate and not do any writing at all. And I guess that’s the difficulty. Part of it is the actual sitting down and the finding that space that really works for you. And what worked for me in nonfiction book school was knowing we had deadlines and discipline, and you provided that. It would be hard for me to provide that on my own, although I’m not incapable of that, but to have that influence. So the difficulty and the discipline, though, evolves, and putting that discipline in is what provides the joy and self acknowledgment.
I wouldn’t have that joy and that self acknowledgment unless I discipline myself or worked with you and colleagues to keep myself disciplined and to let myself know, hey, I’m not going to reach that goal unless I do the difficult work. And to make that difficult work as fun as possible. And to know that when I was writing the book and working with you and doing those drafts, it was just every time I reached another section of this many words, I thought, wow, I did that. I think you put out something the other day about Novel Writing Month, and I signed up. I always do. And I thought, well, this will be a way for me to work on the second book, and I have to get back and catch up with that. But I thrive on that kind of collaborative discipline.
I just found that word, collaborative discipline. It’s one thing to be disciplined on my own, but to look to others. What I had to realize when I was that I’ve written daily in my career as a principal curriculum coordinator, and I taught writing to kids. I supervised teachers who were teaching writing. We used the what is it? Five paragraph essay. We use the Illinois Writing Project, the Bay Area Writing Project, those different things that are out there, smokey, Daniels, other people that come to mind for me in my time of writing instruction. So I love that discipline of writing and what other people share with us. I can see the results, and that’s what gives me the joy and the accomplishment and the acknowledgment. But I wouldn’t have it unless I wouldn’t have unless I wrote and respected the discipline part of it.
So that’s where I tie that to balance that difficulty with the discipline, with the outcome of joy and self acknowledgment. So that’s sort of how I’m gearing myself up to do the second book as well.
Stacy: I think that celebration piece is so important and really undervalued, I mean, across the board in life, but certainly in the book writing process. And it’s funny because all the time this happens with people that I’m supporting on their books. They’ll finish maybe their first draft, or they’ll finish maybe their outline. The outline is a big milestone. Getting a completed outline, a good completed outline, is a big milestone. And so I’ll say, what are you going to go do to celebrate today? And they’ll be like, celebrate. I mean, why would I celebrate this? I’ll celebrate when the book’s done. No, you have to build in that celebration in key milestones along the way. And I have some rituals around that personally, especially when I finish a full draft of a book, I find some high point. I go to the top.
I put my hands up, like I just, I don’t know, completed a marathon or something. And I really let myself feel that moment because there are much more moments like that to come. Like, I have a lot of work to still do. If I don’t celebrate along the way, I’ll lose steam. That’s just we’re human beings. That’s how our brains and bodies work. So I love that you spoke to that, and I love that concept of collaborative discipline. I guess that’s essentially accountability, shared accountability.
Kevin: When you think about it.
Stacy: But I like the way you put that, because there is like that celebratory element to it.
Kevin: Yeah, part of it. And it’s okay to let people know that I accomplished something. That part of what our feedback when were in class, when we had the individual emails going back and forth, even the Facebook post in our private group. But it’s okay to say, hey, I got 100 pages. I got 100 words done in an hour, even though what we think is the little things. And to share that, I think sometimes. You were saying just a minute ago that people will say, why should I celebrate the outline? Well, because it’s a major step and because you’ve got others out there cheering for you. I think what we do in class and what I do with my friends is share that information because I want them to share in my excitement, and that keeps me motivated.
So I think it’s very okay to say, hey, I accomplished this, or, hey, I’m looking at my messy desk. Hey, I cleaned up my desk today. I really feel accomplished. And to share that with people, you’ve got other people in the audience that say, I’d love to get my desk clean, or something like that. So you got to share this. It’s like a marathon.
Stacy: Those are actually part of it, too. Having a space to write some of those things that are little signals that you’re making that I am committing to this. Like, I am going to do this thing. I love that point. Okay, I have to get us into marketing because I know that our listeners are wanting to know about this. You have been a very active marketer on our team. We’re often sharing just internally. Did you see what Kevin’s doing? Wow, you’re just so active. And you’ve been active consistently over the past year. It wasn’t like you just came out with a bang and then just let it fizzle. So can you talk about your marketing strategy? What have you done around the launch of the book and to maintain that momentum and to reach readers?
As of last time I checked, you had 94 reviews on Amazon. For those that are not familiar with the review game, that is a lot. It is very hard to get reviews for your book, even from your close friends who swear up and down they’re going to go and leave a review. They don’t. So talk to us a little bit about that process. What are some things that you’ve learned? What have you done to drive success with your launch?
Kevin: Well, initially, a lot of that had to do with Catherine and just making that transition from nonfiction book school to Catherine and her other role to help and guide with me and the other people she works with. Polly latovsky and some others there at my Word Publishing to get me going and to say this is as were getting the final edits done and doing all the Amazon guts work. And they were teaching me that they never did it themselves. I always watched them do it. But that marketing piece, I just realized from the very first of all, I was intrepidated a little bit about the idea of marketing a book. But then I thought, you know, Kevin, you are a marketer. As a teacher, I sent out weekly newsletters. As a principal, I communicated all the time I was active in the community.
I did that in all my educational jobs. I did that in my political work. I’ve been marketing. So I just had a different vehicle, a different topic, and it was the book. So the initial strategies include really spending a lot of time with Catherine’s guidance and Polly’s, planning the launch, making sure they gave me lots of ideas and said, okay, what can you do? And spending. Even though we formally launched like the first week of December, we started planning in October, I think, and to do that and to set that calendar up and to know what was going to happen when, then knowing that I wanted to get going with reaching out to people. And here is where I have the advantage of, I guess, of age a little bit and different variety of experiences. I had about 1500 names and different contact list.
So I spent a long time just making sure I had their email addresses because that’s what I knew. I wanted to get that word out to them. So I spent a lot of time in that day. Sometimes I think, God, this is a lot of work, but even if I didn’t have an email address for somebody, I’d write them. Hey, I lost track of your email. So by the time we launched, and even prior to the date of the launch, I had sent email information out to about 1500 people. And now that’s evolved into a newsletter that I sent out every week. I think we’re at about 1600. What I’ve learned about marketing, though, and is every time I add a name, I probably lose two.
And not to get so concerned with, oh, the unsubscribes, but just in the marketing, keep meeting people, keep asking for their email address, keep saying, hey, is it okay if I send you my weekly newsletter? Because I have to keep replenishing that list. And while not getting upset or too concerned about why people unsubscribe, just knowing that I have to keep the pool fresh. I guess the newsletters, I’m working on that today to have it go out tomorrow. The other thing that’s been working for me in the marketing is when I continue to take classes, when I see somebody, I’ve found people through your leads or other places that offer me other ideas. There’s so much to learn and so much to do and so much to hear again.
And when I take different classes and I hear the same thing, like right now, recently I’ve been hearing one way to market your book is to write a second one. And I’ve heard that over and over to the point the second book is being. And another colleague, Brian said, consider writing the second book as part of your marketing. It’s not something in additional, it’s part of the whole marketing process that’s helped me to stay focused and see how important that is. The other thing I learned was to say yes to just about every opportunity. And the idea that if somebody asks me something, yeah, I can do that, or let me figure that out. I’ve been learning canva. I’ve been learning other things that I never dreamed I would have learned before.
The other thing, when I read about on different websites, I’ll read about self published authors or people that have publishers and say, I can’t get anybody to buy my book, nobody’s buying my book. And then the dialogue, either from me or from other people, what have you been doing? Well, I pick up that people think just because a book was published, readers are going to go to the book. That doesn’t happen. That doesn’t happen. So one of the things is saying, I got to go to the readers. So the newsletter helps that even though the newsletter is people I know, they’re telling other people, bookstores, some people say, don’t bother with bookstores. Well, I don’t spend a lot of time because bookstores are tough and each bookstore has their own little regimen. But when I get a chance to go to.
A bookstore, I’ll be there. I’ll be there and do it. Podcasts have been tremendous. I’ve signed up with different podcast agencies and things, and I get probably about three or four a month that I get on. I haven’t been able to track to see how much what’s happening. But I know those podcasts, they don’t go away. So even if somebody a year from now listens to a podcast that I recorded last week, that’s going to be lasting. My book is about the funeral industry. It’s about the family in a funeral industry. If you are familiar with the show 6ft under that was out in 20 years ago, there is a following to that show that’s still very present.
And so I don’t miss an opportunity on Instagram or Facebook or LinkedIn to make a comment to somebody who’s intrigued with 6ft under because some of the reviewers have said to me, this is not the fictional family, this is a real family. So I say, hey, if you’d like. So I do that. I’m looking for that. I use the data too. For example, my book today, this morning was ranked on Amazon 53,943. My first thought is, oh, wow, they’re not going to even print a list that has that many things on it. But then when I go to Amazon and see that there’s 33 million books available on Amazon, I’m a math teacher by trade. If I do that math, I’m in the top 1% of sellers in Amazon.
So to use that, it’s a marketing I guess some people might call it a trick, but it’s something that’s true, it’s authentic. And I’ve learned this week from the data too, that people are going to the book page, they’re clicking, but it’s not converting all the time into purchases. So what I need to do now is go back and maybe revise my page. So I’m learning something I wouldn’t even thought of when I was in nonfiction book school, but just to know that data is there, if I can figure out how to use it. And the other thing I do with marketing is just have fun. One of the things I do I promote on the newsletter is not every issue, but I have a thing where on earth is two floors above grief.
And I ask people to take the book with them on trips and take a picture of it. And that leads me into talking about maybe that location or how that person got there. Or then people, hey, I’ve been to I was, I went through the Panama Canal before. Or people will say, hey, Kevin’s book is in South America. So I didn’t take the book there. I just keep talking to friends about doing that and whether it’s community events locally or joining the Rotary Club or going to different things that are happening in Fort Lauderdale. Book fairs. I get involved in book fairs. I was on a cruise with family a few months ago and I worked with the cruise line that I could give a presentation.
So I think part of the marketing is not to miss an opportunity like wearing my hat around town. And I have my postcards that I keep in my pocket, and when I run into somebody in town, I just give them a postcard and say, you might be interested in my book or on the cruise. I only went up to people that I saw reading books. I know that not a big there’s only a percentage of the population that are readers. So I figured, I’m not going to put a card in somebody’s hand that’s not reading. So I’ve learned to is it restrict or analyze my audience and say, is this worth an approach?
Kevin: So I think that idea of having fun when I’ve got my backpack on a trip, I put the book in the pocket of my backpack and put my backpack it on. So when people see me in an airport, they see two floors above grief. Will I get a reaction? I don’t know. But the more people see the title, the more people think, I want to learn more about that book. So I think that the idea from the marketing. You’ve got to be in front of people in some way or another. You got to be in front of the people that read. And if it’s that walking the streets of Fort Lauderdale or whatever, some of the things I mentioned, there’s hundreds of opportunities to get my book out there.
Stacy: I love all these tips. I mean, there’s so much richness to that. But I’ll recap a few things that came up for me. One is your consistency. You mentioned your weekly newsletter. I think for a lot of people that feels like a lot to produce something like that on a weekly basis, but it truly does keep you top of mind. This is why our team, when I mentioned talking about all the things that you’re doing, we know because of your newsletter, if you weren’t sharing that, it wouldn’t be top of mind. It wouldn’t be something that people were paying attention to and aware of. So I think it’s so well done. Your point about people unsubscribing too, this idea of a great brand should attract and repel people. And so actually, when you lose people, it’s not a bad thing.
I had to learn that too in my own journey. To your point about Amazon, there are a million new books that come out every year. And so that idea that just because I write and publish a book, people will read it’s just not true. You do have to put in that energy and effort. And then the other thing that I’ve noticed that you’ve done well and differently than some other people I’ve watched is you actually go with your human body to a human place with other humans. And a lot of times people are just showing up online in different capacities or on stage. And so you’ve taken a very human approach to your marketing efforts. One last question for you before we close out for today.
Looking back on this whole journey, what is that number one piece of advice that you wish you’d had at the beginning or that you would offer new authors who are just writing their first books?
Kevin: I’ll elaborate a little bit, but just leave no stone unturned. Keep listening. Find a person, Stacy or other people. Persons who have know their skills and have honed their skills in writing and in marketing. And I keep focused. I said earlier, there’s so much onslaught, I guess, or barrage or bombarding of things on social media. Hey, we heard you wrote a book. We’re going to do this. I get sucked in a couple times and I think, no, I’m going to go back to my roots, go back to what I learned from you, back to what I learned from Catherine. If I have a question about some mother marketer coming to me, I share that with other people.
I guess the other thing is that I would share with people to do things like nonfiction book school, to do things with a marketing group, like My Word Publishing. Yeah, you got to spend a little money. You got to spend something. And I remember when I signed up with you, holy cow. But then what I did, and I think I shared this with you what I did is I had just retired from my career, and I had retirement income from Florida for the last five years, and that was all put away from me. So I thought, I’m going to use that money, because I was in a position that I could use that money. It’s like moving from one career to the other.
So I found a way to find the money, and I found a way to find the money to do the further work with Catherine and the so. But when I see people posting on Facebook help sites, I don’t know what to do about this editing. I don’t know how to do the COVID I don’t know where to start. I know there’s all kinds of do it yourself stuff on there, and I know it can be done. My roots has been, just find people that are affordable to me. Tap into their not tap in, live with their expertise, and it’s worth it because for the time I would spent doing it myself, I wouldn’t be having this conversation with you, probably. So I think that’s another piece of information. If you want to do this, find the people that can help you.
And I know there’s help sites online that are less expensive, so use them and listen to what people say. Listen, read what people write. Keep your audience, your writing audience alive and vibrant, but don’t be afraid to spend some money either.
Stacy: That’s such great advice, Kevin. I mean, I use that in my own business, too. When I want to learn how to do something, I could spend dozens of hours and a bunch of hair pulling experiences, or I could pay some money and learn from somebody and get to where I want to go so much faster. And I think with any big thing, especially something like this, honestly, the chances of somebody finishing this goal are pretty low without support. We just know that statistically. And so if you’re really serious about it doesn’t have to be a big, huge investment. At least something make some sort of investment in education, I think. And coming from a former teacher, I think that’s perfect advice.
Stacy: Looking ahead, you’re one year in. What are you most excited about right now, and where can our listeners buy your book and learn more about you?
Kevin: Well, thanks for that question. And right now, your question said, right, what am I excited about right now? Will that be what’s coming up in November and December? I’ve got a Barnes and Noble in Fort Lauderdale has been great to me. They can’t stock the book, but they allow me as a local writer to come every three months and be at the door. And the first month I was there, I outsold Prince Harry. So that was great because he was at the he, not he, but his book was at the table next to me. Not one person picked up a book from Prince Harry’s table. I sold 15 copies of my book. I think that’s if Prince Harry had been there, it would have been a different story.
But the idea the other thing I’ve got going on right now is Smart Ride Registration, which is an event I’ve been involved with for the last ten years. It’s a fundraiser where we ride bikes. We ride our bike from Miami to Key West, 165 miles. I’m not riding, but I’m participating in the crew, and I’m donating 25% of every book sale to the ride. So next Thursday is registration day, and they’ve set me up with a table so I can talk to the 500 crew and writers to talk about the book. Then. Also next week is the Miami Book Fair. So I’m on Writers Row, and I’m taking my book down there and having my table set up. Weather permitting. I hope it doesn’t rain, but that’s next Friday and Saturday. And then in December, we talked about bookstores.
I approached the Shakespeare and Company bookstore on Broadway in August and went in and talked to them, and they signed me up for December 14. So if I hadn’t asked, who knows what would happen? And then we’re planning the first year of the release and doing some work, and I’m working on that, having some two zoom events, probably tentatively set for Monday, December 4, and Wednesday, December 6, where I’ll do some zoom activity and just put that out there via the newsletter and other places. And I’m taking a class on book marketing for the holidays, so it’s very lots of assignments and that’s keeping me focused on other marketing approaches. And I’m starting the second book, so I’m doing that. So that’s what I’m doing right now. You mentioned before to learn more about what’s going on.
You mentioned earlier my website is Kevin O’connorauthor Dot and go there and then there’s a spot. We’re just doing some revisions on the website. The sign in for the newsletter is right in the top page now, so people can do that, they don’t have to look for it, and they can learn other things about the book. Pretty soon, all my podcasts will be cataloged there so people can go back and listen to podcasts. I use. As you know, I’m using social media, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and trying to keep myself disciplined to getting something on there three to four or five times a week one of those.
And people can go to Amazon and just type in Two Floors Above Grief and learn more about the book there and leave a review because I’m trying to get to 100 reviews and so I’ve only got six to go. So if people want to leave a review, I welcome that. So those are some things that are happening right now.
Stacy: Kevin, thank you for this conversation. I really appreciate you sharing your expertise, your time, your energy, and I just enjoyed connecting with you.
Kevin: So thank yeah, it’s been great. I found a friend in you when we met three years ago, so two, three years, I don’t know when it was, but anyway, I treasure our friendship. Thanks very much.
Stacy: Thanks, Kevin. And thanks to you, the listener, for being here for this conversation. I hope it was really helpful and inspiring for you. Thanks, as always to Rita Domingues for production of this Kind podcast and Catherine Fishman for project support. And I will be back with you before you know it.