Who says you can't do it all? Certainly not Marnie Swedberg, the author of the new release and self-help book titled, eBooks: Idea to Amazon in 14 Days! Marnie Swedberg owns and manages a restaurant, retail store and espresso café. She is the author of eleven books and eBooks, is the hostess of websites receiving over 5.7 million hits in 2009, and serves as a “mentor to mentors” from every continent and career path via her Leadership Development Club. If that isn't enough, Ms. Swedberg was kind enough to take a bit of time to answer a few questions for myself and readers everywhere!
First of all, could you tell us a bit about eBooks: Idea to Amazon in 14 Days? What is the story about, who are the characters, etc.
eBooks: Idea to Amazon in 14 Days explains how any author can take their book to Amazon, themselves, in a matter of days. It is ideal for how-to and business authors who want to take their words from private to public, but also paves the way for poets, play rights and fiction writers.
This book reads like a personal journal, but is actually a guide for any author who is ready to see their book being sold on Amazon.com this week, this month or this year.
Do you have a favorite excerpt from eBooks: Idea to Amazon in 14 Days? Could you share that with us, please?
The book is 215 pages. Here is a tidbit from Chapter 5.
Don’t Stretch Your Luck
In my eBook, SANE: Social Networking Success in 15 Minutes a Day (10), I explain the process I go through to decide how many words any idea can justify. I determine whether to explain my concept as:
• A 140-character Social Networking update
• A 300-500-word blog
• A 1,000-word article
• An eBook of up to 100 pages
• An eBook or paper version of more than 100 pages
EBooks can be any length, but paperbacks of less than 100 pages do not have “spines” so they get lost in bookshelves and many stores will not stock them.
Analysis of your book idea may prove that the idea cannot justify an entire manuscript. Like making a mountain out of a mole hill, it is usually a bad idea to try to make a whole book out of a blog post.
Occasionally a tiny thing, like a social networking ping, can result in a pretty big fling.
• When I posted a note online mentioning that I manage my social networking groups of thousands in about fifteen minutes a day, it led to the eBook, SANE: Social Networking Success in 15 Minutes a Day, (10) and
• One day I invited friends to my upcoming interview with “million miler,” Dan Poynter, which generated chatter enough to lead to the creation of http://www.TheMillionMileClub.com.
What do you want readers to take away from reading eBooks: Idea to Amazon in 14 Days?
Inspiration and encouragement. Many authors are overwhelmed by the thought of finding a publisher, discouraged by a pile of rejection letters or confused by the long list of publication options. In these pages, I model a journey, from concept to Amazon, in just 14 days. While it may take you twice, or twenty times, as long as it took me, this book proves that you can get published this month or this year. It is a reasonable goal and within the reach of anyone determined to attain it.
What was the most fun about writing eBooks: Idea to Amazon in 14 Days?
The challenge. I love to communicate as a writer, speaker, song writer and trainer, but for me, the challenge of learning something new energizes me. This project, in particular, was a wild ride!
What was the hardest part about writing eBooks: Idea to Amazon in 14 Days?
Finding time. As the owner and manager of a restaurant, retail store, espresso café and several mega websites, it was hard to fit the writing of this book between catering orders, bills, vendors, traveling to buyer’s shows, speaking at live engagements, taking a son to college, managing my home and still finding a few hours for some sleep.
What kind of research did you do for eBooks: Idea to Amazon in 14 Days?
On this project, time was extremely tight, so I hired researchers to find websites and articles that addressed each chapter heading. Most of the published documents supported my theories and personal experience, but occasionally the research findings required me to change my perspective and learn a new concept from the ground up. I didn’t have much time, so this was tough.
Could you please tell us about your writing process?
I write how-to books, so I start by researching the topic enough to create a list of basic steps. Next, I hire researchers and assign them chapters to research. While they work, I write the basic content for each chapter. Upon receiving the research results, I personally visit hundreds of article-, news- and generic-websites, sorting, scanning, scouring and selecting key concepts and quotes for the book. This part of the journey often results in radical chapter additions, rearrangement and global rethinking. There are many more steps involved, from the graphic art cover to final draft formatting, but the entire project usually feels like drinking from a fire hydrant: super fast and so much to learn.
Do you ever put yourself within your characters?
As a how-to book author, I think I AM the main character.
Do you have any particular habits that you take part in while writing? By that I mean certain music you like to listen to, foods you like to eat, environment that helps you write better, etc.
I suppose my main oddity is that I meet with my outsourcers in the wee hours of the morning, before they leave for the day. I work with outsourcers from many different countries around the world and 5 or 6 AM is the best time for us to connect.
Where do you get your ideas and inspirations?
My friends, employees, online connections and members of the leadership club are always asking me, “How do you do that?” Every book I’ve written has been in response to that question. I answer with the appropriate length of response. Often I give a 140 character social networking update, a blog post or an article. Sometimes the question deserves an entire book.
How did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Was there any authors or books that made you think "Wow, that's what I want to do – craft stories of my own for others to read"?
I was never going to be a writer, just an entrepreneur. But people started asking me how I did “food.” I was entertaining over 100 guests per month, serving great meals and spending less than $.50 a meal per person. I interlibrary loaned over 200 books, trying to find just one that explained my kitchen shortcuts. That experience changed my life: I could not find a single book describing the food processes I used. What I did find was less than inspirational: many of the books I reviewed during that process were poorly written. I remember thinking, “I could do better than this.”
What made you take that leap from "wanting" to be a writer, as opposed to "becoming" a writer? Many talk of being a writer and dip their toes in, but it seems there is often a sort of "push" to bring one over that wall.
I only write when the need arises. For example, I never wrote books about home management or homeschooling because there were other books on those topics that said everything I wanted to say, and they said it better. I take on new writing projects at the moment I realize that what I have in my head has not yet been communicated, shared clearly or taught inspirationally. Answering people’s questions, so long as they are within my scope of understanding, is something I love to do and it motivates me to write.
How do you come up with the names of your characters? It almost seems as though, as an author, you have the continuous fun of naming children!
Again, as a how-to author, this one’s easy. I am the main character; the experts and audience are the other characters; and things progress nicely from there.
Were you an avid reader as a child? If so, what were some of your favorite books?
I was a non-reader. I was dyslexic and did not learn to read well until I was an adult. I spent my childhood suffering through books I required for school. Most words entailed focused attention to decipher; thus the process was painful and sheet drudgery. As a young adult, my mind was freed to read more easily and everything changed. Since then, I have become an avid reader, focusing almost all my attention on nonfiction books.
If you had to summarize your life and give it a book title, what would that title be?
Super Busy. Actually, I started writing a book by that title last fall. I think I was built to be busy and I love tackling new challenges. In 2002, we bought a restaurant for me to manage, despite the fact I had never worked in a restaurant, even as a waitress. In 2006, we bought a retail store and espresso café, same drill. I don’t even drink coffee. My life is fun, fast and always interesting. I like it.
What are you working on right now? Could you give us a taste/teaser (aka excerpt) from your current WIP?
SANE: Social Networking Success in 15 Minutes a Day. I launched it as an eBook last fall and it took off. I am currently adding stories from successful Social networkers to flesh out a full-length book that will help people understand how to take advantage of the opportunities available in our interactive, 2.0 culture.
What are you reading right now?
I’m always reading about five books at a time. Just now I’m loving Girl Talk by Jen Hatmaker. She is a riot! She’s a pastor’s wife and absolutely hilarious. I interviewed her for my radio show last year and have been a fan ever since. Love this little book about the freedom gained when we are willing to be vulnerable. I am also reading, Leading with a Limp, by Dr. Dan Allender. People look to me as a mentor despite my glaring weaknesses and this book is a breath of fresh air in a culture that worships outward perfection.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Timothy Ferriss, Shaunti Feldhahn, Nancy Missler. Joyce Meyers. Jan Johnson. Kathleen Krull.
If you could have lunch and chat with any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Jesus. I know He didn’t write a book, but the Bible describes Him as “The Word” and “The Author and Finisher of all things.” So, definitely, a face-to-face with Jesus would be out-of-this-world!
What do you hope to accomplish within the next five years?
20 years ago, I could have answered that question, incorrectly. Now I take one day at a time. If you would have told me five years ago that I would now own a retail store, espresso café, or glow-in-the-dark mini golf course, I’d have said, “No way! I’m too busy!” I gave up the goal-setting thing and just live each day to the max, taking full advantage of every opportunity as it flies by.
Is there anything that you would like to add? That you would like readers to know about you or your writing?
I write virtually for real people, with real challenges, who live in a real world. My hope and prayer is that something I say, write, or do will have a positive affect on your life, or at least on your day.
Where can readers get in touch with you? Twitter, Blog, Facebook, etc?
“MarnieSwedberg” at LinkedIn. I’d love to keep in touch!