Set up your social media sites in advance — get as many followers to all your sites as you are writing your book. I could have done this better so that all my sites had a large following so I could market to them quickly. LinkedIn worked particularly well for me. I hired an email marketing firm to connect with my 6500 connections and several hundred purchased my book.
As a part of our series about “How You Can Grow Your Business or Brand By Writing A Book”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephen D’Angelo.
Stephen D’Angelo is a best-selling author and Silicon Valley veteran with more than 30 years of experience in the tech industry. His book A Single Day of Peace serves as a guide for self-empowerment and how to climb to success in both business and personal endeavors. He believes great things are possible for all who blend their brainpower with faith, hard work, positive inspiration, and goodwill.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share a story about what motivated you to become an expert in the particular area that you are writing about?
I am always inspired by successful people. I see success as joyfully following your passion and always trying to be the best you can be. While many people define “success” as having money or assets, it is not the only definition. Mothers, fathers, homemakers, teachers, writers, charity leaders, and other non-business people that are pursuing their dream with a passion of being the best they can be are also a success. I define success as the process of pursuing a worthwhile goal…whatever that goal is to a particular person. It is in researching “success” that I found I could become an expert in this area and through many years of documenting the essential things needed to become a success story, and through my own business success, I felt I could have a positive impact on the world. I realized that all the research I did on “success” would make a great book. Hence I wrote an inspirational novel titled A Single Day of Peace.
Can you share a pivotal story that shaped the course of your career?
I had a very impactful experience that helped me understand the requirements of success. When I was 17, I was the ball boy/bat boy for the New York Yankees. It is an interesting story of how I convinced the Yankees to hire me but that is for another time. I had this job for two years and working closely with some of the most famous and successful professional athletes taught me what it takes to be the best you can be. These athletes have an extreme dedication to being their best…much more than people realize. I saw how they prepared, competed, dealt with failure and success and what was required to be a “winner”. The lessons I learned were invaluable and I took them with me when I started my career and have used them throughout my 30-year career as a software executive. I certainly learned many more things over the years but it was these early unique learnings that proved to be the foundation of my success.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Are you working on any new writing projects?
Having published my book A Single Day of Peace which is an inspirational novel to help people live a more happy and successful life, today my projects are in exposing this book to as many people as possible. The goal of the book is to help make the world a better place by helping people find their better place. I’m doing many media interviews, etc. to spread the word of the book and how it can help people achieve a happier life while better connecting to their spirituality. Since my book is a fictional novel, I’m thinking about a sequel and also pursuing getting exposure to make it into a movie.
Thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. Can you please tell us a bit about your book? Can you please share a specific passage or story that illustrates the main theme of your book?
The inspiration for this book came from the desire to help people improve their lives while better connecting to their spirituality. To make the world a better place by helping people find THEIR better place. To provide direction for anyone that is seeking self-improvement, growth, navigating their spiritual journey, desire for personal strength, or wanting more fulfillment, happiness, and success.
We all have parts of our lives that are flourishing and parts that need healing. Things we would like to change and improve. We all have struggles, setbacks, regrets, dreams, blessings and opportunities. The proper mindset and actions we put into these life circumstances make all the difference. Hopefully, this book’s message will help many on their journey.
The teachings of this “self-help” book are delivered through a fictional story. This story is compelling and somewhat controversial as it pertains to formal religions.
The novel is based on the character Mark Tossi who was a very successful business executive. He experiences a dramatic life event and decides to take his proven leadership skills and lifelong deep spiritual beliefs to become a Catholic Priest. His goal is to transform the Catholic Church and make it a more spiritual institution. As a Catholic Priest, he sees first hand the failing ways of the Church and witnesses the loss of the Church’s following. He challenges the traditions and through his sermons and media attention, he provides a bold and controversial view of how to become more spiritual, happy and successful. Through his unique approach and stunning prediction as to what could happen to Jesus Christ if he were to return, the church rejects him. All while achieving millions of inspired followers. He furthers his spiritual journey by traveling to Spain and experiences the Camino de Santiago. The outcome of this journey is his 50 daily principles to guide people to experience a happier and more successful life, one single day of peace at a time.
The main theme of the book is that it helps people learn that they can achieve great things if they create the right mindset, connect to their spirituality, connect to the universal energy, and connect to the God inside of them. The character Father Mark Tossi provides lessons of success and happiness throughout the book. The 50 success principles outlined are the roadmap for people to achieve happiness and success…one single day of peace at a time.
You are a successful author and thought leader. Which three character traits do you feel were most instrumental to your success when launching your book? Can you please share a story or example for each?
A positive attitude — When writing a book, self-doubt creeps in. Thoughts like…”Is this any good?”, “Will people like it?” “Will I ever get it published?” etc. Whenever we want to achieve great things, self-doubt naturally comes in and this is where you have to keep a positive attitude and go for it. The way you keep a positive attitude is through the next trait.
Positive self-talk — Many people hurt their chances for success because they talk themselves out of it. They repeat negative things to themselves. I often repeated positive self-talk statements that kept me with a “can do” attitude. This is a central theme in my book…create positive self-talk to achieve the things you want to achieve.
Persistence — Like anything in life we want to achieve, writing a book requires persistence. Along the way there are all kinds of reasons to quit but it is in persistence that you make it through the difficult times. So many great things in our world were achieved through persistence.
In my work, I have found that writing a book can be a great way to grow a brand. Can you share some stories or examples from your own experience about how you helped your own business or brand grow by writing a book? What was the “before and after picture?” What were things like before, and how did things change after the book?
My book has certainly improved my brand. My advisory business has been a success because I help companies and people be more successful. The spiritual tone of my book has broadened my audience and market for my services. I have had several companies ask me for help after the executives have read my book and they told me that it was the spiritual tone that made them feel I would be different and better than the many other “consultants” that are in the market.
The previous picture was primarily focusing on my business consulting capabilities and when I engaged in projects, I would find ways to tie in what I call Spiritual Leadership (which has nothing to do with religion). The picture after my book is that I lead with business and spiritual concepts so my potential clients can understand the power of the two combined. It is a 1 +1 = 10!!
If a friend came to you and said “I’m considering writing a book but I’m on the fence if it is worth the effort and expense” what would you answer? Can you explain how writing a book in particular, and thought leadership in general, can create lucrative opportunities and help a business or brand grow?
The decision to write a book and feeling it is worth the effort and expense is determined by how much belief is in the message of the book. In my case, I believed 100% that my message was important and that it would help make the world a better place by helping people find their better place. Writers have to assess this for themselves and have to decide how badly they want to change the world for the better with their book’s message.
Writing a book, assuming it is relevant to the times and the problem you are addressing will certainly create lucrative opportunities. Your message and your DIFFERENCE is delivered through your book so it will be a promotional tool that will help move your business forward. Your brand as a thought leader will grow as well.
What are the things that you wish you knew about promoting a book before you started? What did you learn the hard way? Can you share some stories about that which other aspiring writers can learn from?
My expectations on promoting the book were in alignment with reality. I knew it would take significant effort to get it exposed to the world. I suggest that writers understand that they must build their social media reach and connections so they can reach the masses. Don’t just promote your book, deliver value in your social media postings. Give advice or whatever your book provides so that people get value from your marketing and social media postings.
I learned that I can not rely on the publisher to do all the marketing. If the world was to learn about my book, I would need to put significant effort into promoting it. Aspiring writers must be aware of this fact…publishers will do some marketing but the impactful effort will come from the author. I have a strong belief in my book’s message so I am happy to work hard in promoting it.
Based on your experience, which promotional elements would you recommend to an author to cover on their own and when would you recommend engaging an expert?
For public relations efforts, hire a PR firm. They know the ins and outs of that process and it will save you significant time and money by using a professional.
For social media marketing, get advice on how to do it properly and then do some of it yourself. While this can be a full-time job in itself, you should do some social media work yourself so you get valuable feedback as to what works. You can then hire a firm to do more work in this area.
Instagram is a very effective way to market your book. There are millions of book lovers on Instagram and you can easily access them by following other book lovers. You can direct message them and share the concepts of your book.
If you are a business person like me, LinkedIn can be an effective way to promote your book. I used a messaging/email service that sends messages about my book to my first connections. It is amazing how many people responded positively and purchased the book.
Wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your own experience and success, what are the “five things an author needs to know to successfully promote and market a book?” If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Communicate with bookstores — Don’t rely on the publisher to do the marketing. They will do some but you should identify all the bookstores in your geographical region and throughout the country and email, call, visit them, etc. and tell them about your book. I was fortunate to get many great reviews and become Amazon’s #1 new release seller for the inspirational category so I tell bookstore managers/owners that I have that status and they need to carry my book. Also, I was sure to communicate the value their customers will get from my book. I visit the bookstores that are in my geographic area and bring them a complimentary book as I introduce myself to the manager and owner. I have gotten several bookstores to carry my book this way.
- Set up your social media sites in advance — get as many followers to all your sites as you are writing your book. I could have done this better so that all my sites had a large following so I could market to them quickly. LinkedIn worked particularly well for me. I hired an email marketing firm to connect with my 6500 connections and several hundred purchased my book.
- Set up a website for your book — I did this when I was 75% finished with my book. I created the site and marketed it. It was very helpful as I pursued publishers and had a site they could go to and review my book and my intention with it. It was also a site I had interested purchasers go to and register themselves to be notified when the book was launched.
- Get people to pre-read and promote your book — I asked ten people to pre-read my book and when I got positive feedback from them, I asked them to send me a picture of them and asked for a testimonial and put them on my website. Go to asingledayofpeace.com and see how I did it. This helped me market myself to publishers. They were impressed that I had great reviews before I was published.
- Hire good professionals — I hired a great PR firm to promote my personal story and book. I have had many interviews (radio, podcasts, TV, etc.) because of the great work my PR firm did. Hire a marketing firm to do digital marketing for you.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
There are many people I would like to have a meal with. For example, people like Jeff Bezos to learn more about how he leads; Warren Buffett to discuss private equity investing and the upcoming real-estate market; Hollywood producer Brian Grazer to learn how to convert my book to a movie; Bruce Springsteen to discuss writing music/stories, etc. If I had to pick one person, it probably would be the famous college football coach Lou Holtz. Lou Holtz is a fantastic motivational and inspirational person is faith-based and is strongly connected to the Catholic Church. Since my book is an inspirational novel using the Catholic Church as part of the story (somewhat controversial), I would like to get his opinion. Also, I’m a big Notre Dame football fan and he was one of the greatest Notre Dame head coaches so it would be an honor to have a meal with him.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
They can follow me on my social media accounts or email me. Here is my information:
Instagram — asingledayofpeace
LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephendangelo/
Twitter — @stephendangelo
Email — [email protected]
Thank you for these excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent. We wish you continued success with your book promotion and growing your brand.