Friday, March 9, 2018

Interview with writer Gini Graham Scott

Writer Gini Graham Scott joins me today and we’re talking about her latest books, which include: Self-Publishing Secrets, Using the Dog Type System for Success in Business and the Workplace, and The Science of Living Longer.

Lafayette, California, USA resident Gini Graham Scott has been a freelance writer for over 40 years, is the author of over 150 books, 50 with traditional publishers, 100 published by her own company: Changemakers Publishing. She has written hundreds of articles, and helps clients write, publish, and promote their own books.

She is also the writer of over 20 feature film scripts, 6 of them in release, production, or post production, and has written and produced over 60 short videos. She has a channel for her films at

Gini has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV talk shows, including Oprah, CNN, and Good Morning America. She has spoken about the topics of her books, including on crime, social trends, improving workplace relationships, and self-publishing. She has been doing talks and workshops recently on self-publishing and using the Dog Type personality system, which she developed, and for which she has been setting up a national network of trainers.

All of Gini’s own books are inspired by experiences she has had in her life. She became interested in the topic of aging and immortality after getting older herself and reading about current research on extending life. She wrote her books on self-publishing based on her experiences is using CreateSpace and IngramSpark to publish her own books. Her Dog Type personality system was inspired by her book on Do You Look Like Your Dog? originally published by Random House, after she noticed that many dog owners not only looked like their dog but shared many personality characteristics. Then, after learning about the DISC and red-yellow-blue-green personality systems, she realized that popular dogs could be substituted for the letters and colors, and people would better identity with them and have more fun. So now she has several trainers she is working with who are leading workshops on the system.

Welcome, Gini. Please tell us about your current release.
I began writing Self-Publishing Secrets after I realized that many other writers weren’t sure how to best publish and market their own books. I was also inspired to write it after I participated in a speaker’s training program and had to decide on a topic to talk about. Since I have written about so many things, it was hard to decide what to do. It seemed like self-publishing was a good focus that tied everything together, since I had self-published over 100 books. The chapters in Self-Publishing Secrets include these:
            - Why self-publish a book
            - Using a book to build your business
            - How I can help you self-publish your book
            - Deciding on your overall purpose
            - Determining what to write about
            - Creating an outline and timeline
            - Getting your information
            - Writing and editing your book
            - Formatting your book for publication
            - Publishing your book
            - Creating a print-on-demand book
            - Publishing an e-book
            - Creating an audiobook
            - And more.

The book on Using the Dog Type System for Success in Business and the Workplace includes these chapters:
Are You a German Shepherd?    
Are You a Border Collie?  
Are You a Golden Retriever?       
]Are You a Pomeranian?  
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator 
The DISC Personality Profile        
The Red-Blue-Yellow-Green Personality Type 
Some Modern Variations on the Red-Blue-Yellow-Green System    
Summing Up
How the Dog Type System Differs from Other Systems          
Why Choose the 4 Selected Dogs for the 4-Dog Type System          
The Key Characteristics of the Four Types of Dogs     
When Strengths Can Help
When Strengths Become Weaknesses  
What If You’re a German Shepherd?     
What If You’re a Pomeranian?    
What If You’re a Golden Retriever?        
What If You’re a Border Collie?   
Adapting Your Approach to Others          
Relating to the German Shepherd (Red/Dominant Leadership Type)          
Relating to the Pomeranian (Yellow/Influencer/Fun Party Animal Type)      
Relating to the Golden Retriever (Green/Steady/Cool Supporter)     
Relating to the Border Collie (Blue/Conscientious/the Serious Fact Checker)        
Summing Up
Testing Out Whether the System Works for You          
Making a Sale of a Product or Service   
An Example of Adapting a Presentation to Make a Sale         
Looking for Clients or Referrals at a Networking Event
An Example of Successfully Meeting a Prospect at a Networking Event     
Improving Your Relationships with Co-Workers, Your Boss, or Your Employees in the Workplace        
Examples of Using the Dog Type System in the Workplace   
An Example of Improving your Relationship in the Workplace.          
Getting a Job or Promotion
Using the Dog Type Occupations, Thinking, and Emotional Orientations Chart     

What inspired you to write this book?
As previously noted, my own books are inspired by my experiences. I became interested in the topic of aging and immortality after getting older and reading about current research on extending life.

I wrote my books on self-publishing based on my experiences is using CreateSpace and IngramSpark to publish my books.

My Dog Type personality system was inspired by my book on Do You Look Like Your Dog? originally published by Random House, after I noticed that many dog owners not only looked like their dog but shared many personality characteristics. Then, I participated in a training program, and one of the workshops dealt with learning about the red-yellow-blue-green personality system and using it to make more effective presentations to clients based on knowing their personality type. The reason for understanding these types is that to be more effective, one should adapt the pitch to the way a person likes to get information, such as to the point if a leader type and with more detail if a conscientious researcher type. I realized that popular dogs could be substituted for the letters and colors, and people would better identity with them and have more fun. So now I have several trainers I am working with who are leading workshops on the system.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m doing a follow-up to Self-Publishing Secrets dealing with using marketing, PR, and the social media to market your self-published books.

I’m working on developing a guidebook for leading a workshop on the Dog Type Personality System, so leaders and trainers can set up workshops all over the country.

In the course of researching The Science of Living Longer, I met a number of people who reported the spirits of presumably deceased people contacting them with information known only to that deceased person. So there may be a follow-up book based on case studies called tentatively Talking to the Dead.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably I first considered myself a writer, when I was 16 and I did a research study on the Merchant Marine Academy in Great Neck, where I lived at the time. It got published in the local paper, and soon after, officials at the Academy complained that it presented the academy in a bad light, since it included some stories of merchant marine students sneaking me and several girls in to parties at the academy.

Do you write full time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Yes, I am a full-time writer and I see writing as a career, although the nature of the career has changed. Initially, I made most of my income through royalties of my books. Then, as the publishing industry shifted, I started a company that connects writers to publishers and agents, and later film producers, called initially Publishers and Agents, and then Publishers, Agents, and Films. Initially it involved using postal mails to send publishers lists of projects and then I shifted to sending out emails in 2003. I used special software to personalize the letters to contacts while I could send from any email. The company became very successful with over 1000 writers and over 250 testimonials. By the time I first sold it in 2008, it was about 85% of my income, and eventually I sold it again, though I work with the new owners and can refer writers to them.

Now I still do some books for traditional publishers, but most of my books are published through my company Changemakers Publishing in different formats (print, ebooks, audiobooks, and soon courses), and most of my income comes from ghostwriting and other writing for clients. The publishing industry has been transformed over the last decade, so there is much more opportunity in self-publishing and helping new authors, businesspeople, speakers, and workshop/seminar leaders write, publish, and promote their own books.

My typical work day starts at about 10 or 11 a.m. and I generally write until about 4 p.m. Then I might continue writing if I don’t have a meeting to go to, though often I go to business networking meetings from about 5-7 pm. Sometimes I go to early morning and business luncheon meetings. So my days are fairly varied, and I write between doing other things. I have learned to quickly start writing and pick up wherever I left off, so I can readily adapt to dealing with meetings, phone calls, interviews, and other things that come up in the day. Generally, I work till about 11 p.m., though what I’m doing varies a lot, and then I typically watch programs on either Netflix or Amazon.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Probably my most interesting writing quirk is being inspired by experiences and dreams, which have led to some of the books I have written. Aside from my ghostwriting and co-writing for clients, my non-fiction books tend to be based on an area of interest or experience I have had that has led me to investigate further.

I had an experience with a bankruptcy attorney who cheated me after I wrote a proposal for him and he used it to sell his book to a publisher. But he had financial difficulties, so he falsely claimed “fraud” after his credit card was declined to get back his money which I had charged for the work. He claimed he had not authorized the project and had no transactions with me about it, despite my having about 350 pages of email exchanges over about a month and even getting some emails from him in which he claimed paying me would be his first priority. That fraudulent fraud claim led to a book called Preventing Credit Card Fraud, and I asked a woman bankruptcy attorney and debt strategist to be the lead author, since I felt I needed someone in the financial field to give the book more credibility. She provided leads for articles, and I wrote the book which we sold to Rowman & Littlefield.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My interest in writing started very early, though I didn’t think of that as becoming my career. But I always came back to it.

I guess you could say my first publication was when I was 6 years old and my mother, a second grade teacher, helped me create my first newspaper called The Peep. It featured articles by me and other kids about things going on in school and at home, and I went around my apartment building getting people to sign up for it.

But as a teen for a while I flirted with the idea of becoming a pop singer, and my mother even arranged for me to have singing lessons with another teacher in her elementary grade school where she was a second grade teacher. But I soon discovered that I couldn’t sing, which quickly ended that idea.

Then when I was 16, I had my first jobs in writing -- an internship at Golden Gate Books, due to a relative who had a family member who was one of the partners or owners of Simon & Schuster. Around that time, I got another job at a small local magazine publisher. I also wrote an article for the local paper about the Merchant Marine Academy that got published, as previously noted.

Anything additional you want to share with readers?
I have a new book on the new developments on living longer and maybe achieving immortality called The Science of Living Longer with ABC-Clio, out in November. I sold 4 kids’ books to Black Rose Writing, Katy’s Bow, Scratches, Where’s the Avocado, and The Crazy Critter’s First Visit. They will be out in 2018. I also have my sixth film which is being filmed based on a script I wrote: Infidelity, about three couples who come together for a dinner, and a mysterious caller suddenly calls and tells them they must answer some questions to reveal secrets about themselves or their business dealings. Otherwise, a bomb will go off, and they can’t leave or use their cell phone to call someone. But is this someone they know, or a prank caller?

My other new books which I have turned into workshops and courses are Self-Publishing Secrets and Using the Dog Type System for Success in Business and the Workplace. I’m especially excited about the potential for both of these books, which I published through Changemakers Publishing.

Since I have mainly written nonfiction books on a variety of subjects, there is no particular message in every book. But in general, I would say my books are designed to help readers achieve success in their life and work by using various tools, such as being positive, learning from experience, and continually growing, changing, and adapting to the times.

In writing one of my recent books, I learned about the potential we all have for living much longer, especially if we can stay healthy for another 15-20 years, when all the new technologies will kick in. For example, you might be able to get a new body, rejuvenate your cells, have new ways to make your brain smarter, and so on.

My advice to other writers is that until you start making enough from your writing to support yourself, don’t give up your day job. If you are going to write for clients, you need to build a track record, and you might start by providing some free samples and getting testimonials.

If you want to be successful with writing nonfiction, you need a platform with a big following, extensive speaking engagements, or a high media profile, for a big publisher to be interested, especially if you are writing in a popular competitive field like self-help, popular business, or relationships. You have to establish yourself as an authority. A good way to get started is to self-publish your book and use that to get speaking engagements and media attention, and gradually build up your sales. Then, you can decide if it makes sense to keep self-publishing or find a traditional publisher. I can help writers with either -- directly through self-publishing or through the company I sold to find a traditional publisher or agent, since I still work with them as a writer and consultant.

Let me know what else you are interested in reading about, and maybe I’ll write about that.

I have multiple websites:

Thanks for being here today, Gini!

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