December 2010


Non-fiction author Kathleen Rehl, Rehl Financial Advisors

Today we’re featuring author and Certified Financial Planner™ Kathleen Rehl from Florida. She is passionate about helping widows make progress and move forward positively in their new financial situation. Thank you for sharing with our audience, Kathleen! We’re grateful for your advice and wish you much success.

What is your name and what is your company’s URL?

Kathleen M. Rehl, Rehl Financial Advisors, www.KathleenRehl.com and http://www.RehlMoney.com.

Year founded / location / number of employees:

Started in 1996 / Located in Land O’Lakes, FL / Two wonderful part-time contract workers. One has been with me for almost 9 years and the other for 2 years.

What is your publishing genre?

Non-fiction

How many titles have you published?

Also edited and was contributing writer for Planning for the Times of Your Life: 45 Great Financial Planning Ideas (1999).

What is your favorite or most successful title?

Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows (2010)

What is your upcoming release?

Nothing new for right now! I still have lots of work to do with marketing my guidebook for widows. 🙂

What is your other job?

My “day” job is being a certified financial planner.

What do you like best/least about being a small publisher.

The best part was being able to create the book the way I wanted to. Conversely, it was also difficult figuring everything out on my own. For example, I did a lot of research before deciding to publish my book independently, rather than with a commercial or a “vanity” publisher. Finding the right team to make this book happen was a gift from God, following much prayer. Once in place, I relied on their judgment for guidance on specific decisions to make.

What inspired you to publish your book?

That first book, written more than a decade ago, was created for a different reason than my recent book. The prior book was a group effort by colleagues, to help us share our joint knowledge with clients and others.

I wrote my financial guidebook for widows after my husband’s death. I needed to make something positive out of that terrible loss. Writing the book to help other widows assisted my own recovery. Yes, it was a cathartic exercise for me. Perhaps it was also a way to pay tribute to Tom.

So many widows feel in a fog following the death of their spouse, often unsure of what to do and what not do to avoid big mistakes. I’ve heard stories directly from many widows who were taken advantage of my unscrupulous individuals. I wanted to reach out and help my “widowed sisters” to understand their money matters better and to begin feeling more self-confident about their financial abilities.

The book presents important information about money in an easy-to-understand manner, along with issues of the heart, to help a widow face her changed life ahead.

What is your favorite/most successful marketing effort?

I’ve had good success selling books when I’m invited to speak about widow’s financial issues and the financial guidebook, addressing professional conference sessions, community events organized by church groups, etc. Word of mouth sharing also helps greatly.

So far a lot of books have been purchased by the U.S. Army, which wasn’t even on my radar screen when I wrote the guidebook. This started with a contact I made a year before the book was printed. A financial advisor at one of the Army posts in Colorado requested a review copy of the book when he heard I was writing this. When I mailed it to him months later, upon completion, he loved it! After ordering the book for use with widows he assisted through his Survivor Outreach Services division, he personally e-mailed his colleagues across the country to let them know I would send a complimentary review copy if they also wanted to consider the book for use with widows they served. Many contacted me and several other Army posts ordered the guidebook.

How do you get through writer’s block?

I tried to write some each day or every other day. Sometimes that wasn’t possible with my day job’s responsibilities. So then I would double up time on weekends.

What is one thing you wished you’d known before you started publishing?

Marketing the book is just as much work as writing the book! But that’s OK. It’s quite interesting to build the web of connections that assist in spreading the word about this publication. I’m not shy about telling people about the guidebook, and I always carry a few copies in the car with me when I’m out and about in case someone wants to buy a book.

What is one piece of good advice that you have received?

It helped me to have an “accountability partner.” This friend would ask me each week, “How’s the book coming along, Kathleen?” I knew he would check in with me again the next week, and this helped to keep me writing.

He’s also encouraging my marketing efforts now and is interested in my progress reports. It helps to know someone cares.

What is one piece of good advice that you would give to a new author or publisher?

Follow your dream of making the book a reality. Just do it! For me, prayer helped greatly, too. It takes tenacity, and it is worth it!

Do you have any final comments?

My clients love that I’m a published author! Because of this book, I am positioning myself to do more public speaking and writing during 2011. The book has given me the platform and additional credibility I needed to make this happen.

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If you’d like to be considered for an interview by TLC Graphics, please send an e-mail to: Tamara@tlcgraphics.com with Book Blog Interview in the subject line. Blessings to you!

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Today we’re featuring Christian urban fiction author and musician Harry Williams of Oakland, CA. Thank you for sharing with our audience, Harry! We’re grateful for your advice and wish you much success with your plethora of upcoming projects.

Christian Urban Fiction Author Harry Williams II

What is your name and what is your company’s URL?

My name is Harry Williams. I am the founder and CEO of Soul Shaker Publishing, Music and Film Works. I have two websites. The first is http://www.soulshakerpublishing.com. The second site is http://www.revharrywilliams.com.

What is your publishing genre?

I write urban fiction. If you were to visit any inner city book store, you would find that urban fiction authors far outsell even highly regarded literary greats like Toni Morrison. Urban fiction is raw. It is real and it is here to stay.

How many titles have you published?

I have had two books published by InterVarsity Press. Straight Outta East Oakland, published in 2008 was the first novel put out by Soul Shaker Publishing.

What is your favorite or most successful title?

As a minister, I tend not to measure success in terms of book sales alone. I received letters from people serving light years in prison who told me that the book had hit its mark. I was present on the day that a gang member told a youth that my book made him think.

What is your upcoming release?

Straight Outta East Oakland, II: Trapped On The Track is going to be released in February of 2011. This is an important book.

The first time that I ever saw Oakland, California was in a movie theatre. It was the scene of the 1973 blaxploitation classic, “The Mack.” It was a film about a man who is released from Oakland from prison. He becomes a pimp, a svengali figure who enslaves women through mind control. Little did I know when I saw the film, that I would one day come to live in Oakland.

Straight Outta East Oakland II: Trapped On The Track is a work aimed at not only the pimps and sex workers but the complacent Church which has allowed the flesh trade to flourish quite literally in front of its very doors. You won’t be able to put it down.

What is your other job?

I am a baptist minister/evangelist. I am a social case manager by trade.

What do you like best/least about being a small publisher.

I love the thought of being able to have complete creative control over the project from soup to nuts. When I wrote for another publisher, someone I never met gave my book it’s name and designed the cover. I had very little input. As a small publisher, the reins are in your hands.

Secondly, the release date is in your hands. A mainstream publisher might sign your book and then let it sit somewhere for a couple of years. If you publish your own work, you can basically set the release date.

There are a few downsides. One of them is that you have to outlay the publishing costs. This is not always easy but God makes a way.

What inspired you to publish your book?

A highly regarded literary agency considered signing me and then declined. They didn’t believe that the characters in my book could know all that they knew as young men in their early twenties. Apparently, the agents had not grown up in the hood where survival dictates that people do grow up very early. I was incensed.

Not long after I got turned down, I walked into a book store where a reading was to take place. The author was a self-published urban fiction author. I saw the future.

How do you get through writer’s block?

That’s something that I never deal with. If I walked from this keyboard to the corner store, three or four ideas for books would come to me.

What is one thing you wished you’d known before you started publishing?

That one is easy! Get a publicist. There are a million books on the market that tell you how to promote your own work. Don’t buy them. Put that money toward the hiring of a good publicist. No one can buy your book if they don’t know about it. News in print is hard to come by. Get someone who knows how to get it on your team.

What is one piece of good advice that you have received?

“Contact Tami Dever at TLC Graphics. You won’t be sorry.”

What is one piece of good advice that you would give to a new author or publisher?

Contact Tami Dever at TLC Graphics. You won’t be sorry.

Do you have any final comments?

Many people believe that only basketball players, preachers, politicians or rock and roll singers should write books. I have news for you. Everyone has at least one book in them. One  of the best books that I ever read was Dishwasher by Pete Jordan. It was the true story of a man who was on the quest to work as a dishwasher in every state in the country. Sure, he was dishwasher and not a congressman. However, his story was better than most political biographies.

Your book should become a reality. If you work at it, it will happen. Like they say in the streets of Oakland, California, “get it crackin”.

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If you’d like to be considered for an interview by TLC Graphics, please send an e-mail to: Tamara@tlcgraphics.com with Book Blog Interview in the subject line. Blessings to you!