Write what you like to read and write the book you wish you could find (but doesn’t exist). I kept thinking I should write other types of books because of higher popularity and marketability. But I could never force myself to write certain books that I knew would make more money, such as romance novels, for example. I’ve always been a great lover of non-fiction business books and yet I’d constantly find myself trying to write things that I believed would be more commercially successful. This resulted in a lot of false starts, planning and outlining books that would never be written, and sitting on the sidelines for years waiting for the perfect time to write the book (when in reality I was procrastinating because of trying to get myself to write a book that wasn’t my niche). Write what you’re most interested in reading yourself. And write something that’s meaningful to you no matter how commercially successful it may or may not potentially become.
I had the pleasure to interview author Monica Main. Monica is a successful serial entrepreneur and self-made millionaire who has used unconventional wealth-attraction techniques to best leverage her massive success. Having grown up in the Chicago suburbs in the ’70s and ’80s, adhering to the spiritual philosophy of Kriya Yoga, a Hindu-based form of wisdom taught by Paramahansa Yogananda, Monica masterfully blended these teachings with those of forward thinkers such as Charles Haanel, Napoleon Hill, Joseph Campbell, Louise Hay, and Dr. Wayne Dyer. In 1987, Monica discovered a powerful manifestation technique which changed her entire life. However, as she entered her teenage years this was swept under the carpet as the heaviness of some major life changes took hold. She eventually went through three divorces, a short stint in federal prison, a personal bankruptcy, and a devastating two-year civil lawsuit with the government. Monica found herself completely tapped out. But eventually Monica clawed her way to the top in her career and business field. Monica is currently publishing a book called ‘The Lost Secret’, about the two lost chapters of the original 1937 Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
Thank you so much for joining us Monica! Can you share a story about what brought you to releasing your new book?
It was quite an extraordinary set of circumstances. Years ago I had attended a marketing conference and met this elderly man who was sitting by himself at the bar of the hotel restaurant. I remember his cloud-white hair and an oversized football ring on his right finger. We started chatting over our meals and he revealed to me that his step-father had worked for The Ralston Society who was the publisher of the original Think and Grow Rich. In fact, his step-father not only worked on the publication of the book but actually had two chapters that were never published in the original book or any subsequent editions thereafter. While I was intrigued, I didn’t believe him…that is, until some time later when he mailed me copies of these two lost chapters in the mail which ended up blowing my mind completely. I knew I had to write a book about these two missing chapters since they really do highlight what always felt was missing in the book Think and Grow Rich.
Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?
This would be the story about how the FBI busted down my door back in 1998 and how I was in a lot of legal hot water due to having a business that wasn’t completely legally compliant. I was 19 years old when I started my first business. Unfortunately, they don’t teach business skills of any kind in school. So, I jumped into the adult world of business at a much too early age and without the education and know-how needed to pull it off. So, this resulted in legal problems, prison time, and a bankruptcy as a result. But…live and learn, right?
What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?
That the power to get what you want in life is WITHIN YOU already. There’s nothing for you to seek out outside of yourself. The power is within you and always has been. This book shows you how to access that power so you can start manifesting all the things you want in life and then some.
Which authors do you draw inspiration from? Why?
I’ve always admired Dr. Wayne Dyer’s work, especially his later work when he talked more about spirituality. One of my favorite metaphysical authors is Stuart Wilde. His work has always been filled with humor, making his books easy reads. My two favorite business books are by a guy named MJ DeMarco who wrote the books The Millionaire Fastlane and Unscripted. The books are so humorous and yet educational about business at the same time. For anyone who can only read one book about business in their entire lifetime, I’d have them read The Millionaire Fastlane, hands down. I also really like the writing style of Mark Manson who wrote a fantastic book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Also a pretty good book to read.
What was the most challenging part of writing this book and how did you overcome it?
For me, each time I thought of the enormity of the Napoleon Hill legacy, I would start to psyche myself out. I didn’t feel worthy of taking on such a project and it made me wonder why the old man at the bar chose me to send these chapter copies to. (He may have sent them to a number of people. I guess I’ll never know.) At one point, I almost chucked my entire first draft in the trash to start over from scratch, writing it from a completely different perspective which would have turned out being much more “clinical” and “matter of fact.” I realized that the only way the book could be good is if I wrote from the heart and soul. The first thing I had to do was get around my feelings of inadequacy around being intimidated by Napoleon Hill and the legacy he built. I found that the ONLY way to get over this fear of not being able to live up to Napoleon Hill’s legacy, I’d have to “micro focus” on the project at hand, taking only one chapter at a time and tackling my writing from that standpoint. I decided to be myself and work my own personal stories into each chapter to make the book more interesting. The result was a “warm and fuzzy” feeling based on my own personal life experience while being informative and giving people strategies on creating success in their own lives. I think the book turned out pretty good.
Also trying to cut through all the chatter and clutter of everything else going on in the world is proving to be a challenge. And then multiply that by the amount of other people trying to get attention for their worthy projects and it’s easy to find getting the right attention and publicity to be a daunting and overwhelming experience. What keeps me going is remembering why I wrote the book to begin with. I have something important to share with the world and it’s important that people learn about it.
How do you think your writing makes an impact in the world?
I’m hoping it’ll help people realize that they’re not helpless to the whims of what’s going on around them and that they have direct control of their happiness, health, and wealth…much more so than they previously thought. That is my ONLY goal, to educate people about their own personal power and then show them how to use it. Ideally they’ll all actually use the techniques and strategies to realize this personal power so they’ll never have to feel like a powerless victim ever again.
What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?
Passion. That’s all it comes down to. If you’re writing something you don’t believe in, it’s a hard road ahead and likely the book will never get finished. Passion comes in all kinds of forms. Believe it or not, my best work is when I’m fueled by anger and aggression. This is when it seems I can get my thoughts down in the most direct and heavy-hitting way possible. This is when anger or feeling injustice, pain, or hatred can work in your benefit. Just use the pen or the keyboard to load that passionate fuel onto the page before you lose it. It also helps to have a linear outline. It’s not enough to have some kind of idea or meager sketch of the book. A chapter-by-chapter outline is a must, this way there can never be an excuse for writer’s block which is nothing more than not knowing what to write next. An outline keeps every major writing project on track.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?
Figure out as quickly as possible which type of writing floats your boat. The first thing is to determine if non-fiction or fiction writing is your bag. Then decide which genre interests you the most. Not only should you write the kind of book you’re most drawn to reading but write the book you can’t find anywhere else. Don’t write the book you think everybody wants to read. Write the book YOU want to read. It’s really that simple.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” as a writer and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- You don’t need a formal education to be a writer. I decided to get my MFA at the University of California, Riverside because I thought I needed the “proper” education and validation from professors to feel like I was a real writer. Instead, this plan backfired on me since I found the process of being stuffed into a box to get a degree actually hindered my creativity. While I don’t regret getting the degree, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else because you don’t need to go to college to become a real writer. Instead, JUST WRITE and keep writing.
- Break every rule because rules are made to be broken. I found my literary agent by NOT doing the proper “protocol” of first sending a query and then a proposal upon request. I sent it all at once along with one of my self-published books as a writing sample. I sent this package out to about 80 agents and I had several who were interested in representing me. I signed with an agent within 2 weeks of mailing my proposals with my query letter and self-published book. Later my agent (Bill Gladstone) and I were laughing about how I broke this rule and he told me that he didn’t care because of how incredible my book premise was. When you have something amazing, you’ll be forgiven for not following the “rules” and you may even be a little more respected for being ballsy.
- Write what you like to read and write the book you wish you could find (but doesn’t exist). I kept thinking I should write other types of books because of higher popularity and marketability. But I could never force myself to write certain books that I knew would make more money, such as romance novels, for example. I’ve always been a great lover of non-fiction business books and yet I’d constantly find myself trying to write things that I believed would be more commercially successful. This resulted in a lot of false starts, planning and outlining books that would never be written, and sitting on the sidelines for years waiting for the perfect time to write the book (when in reality I was procrastinating because of trying to get myself to write a book that wasn’t my niche). Write what you’re most interested in reading yourself. And write something that’s meaningful to you no matter how commercially successful it may or may not potentially become.
- The publishing industry is fast changing (by the day, it seems). To get published today, it’s all about either self-publishing, using a vanity press, or a hybrid press. No longer is it about using one of the Big 5 publishing houses anymore. Going out on your own can sometimes be much more beneficial because you, the author, can get a lion’s share of your royalties on all your book sales provided that you can hustle, market, and generate your own publicity for your book. And if you’re not that savvy when it comes to selling your books, don’t think one of the Big 5 will do much for you. They only put big marketing budgets behind known authors like J.K. Rowling and Stephen King.
- Be prepared to get your own book publicity. This means getting interviews (radio and television) and being somewhat of an extravert in spurts here and there. Media isn’t that difficult to do and it’s something you’ll have to get used to if you want your book to do well. This also includes getting really good at marketing because this is a skillset that will take your book sales a very long way when done well. And, of course, it helps A LOT to have a book that can hook into getting notable media buzz. A run-of-the-mill book doesn’t have a chance in hell in getting media coverage of any kind so make sure that you have a book that can garner media interest and attention. If you’re working on a book topic/subject that isn’t hot, maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board for a new book idea unless it’s something you’re really passionate about, in which case just write the book and see what happens!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It would be for people to be kind and considerate to others, to animals, and to the environment. Our world would change in a big way if people would stop being so selfish or lacking in empathy by simply turning around and reaching out to others around them. The world just needs more love, caring, and compassionate people. Without it, people are more depressed than ever, lacking hope more than ever, and feeling so empty…more than ever in history. This is because we’re so disconnected. And when we do connect, it seems to be in a cold and callous way. By simply being kind to a friend, family member, or a stranger, it will make all the difference. And to STOP being harmful to children, other people, the environment, and to animals, that will change the world!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
My next book idea is percolating in my head right now. Years ago, I met a man who is a long-time student of mine. He knows how to cure cancer using all-natural remedies. Since both my parents have had cancer, I’d like to start out my new book telling those two stores, and how my mother chose the traditional route of chemo and radiation, thus losing her life inside of 6 months and how my father chose the all-natural route and he kicked his stage 4 prostate cancer with all-natural remedies. And then I’d like to go into details — using the information and data I get from my students as well as additional info from other sources — about where cancer comes from, how and why it grows, and how to beat it in most cases by using all-natural remedies. I’d also talk about my own bout with skin cancer about 10 years ago and why it formed on a part of my skin that literally never sees the light of day, which is counterintuitive to how it would seem that most skin cancer would be formed. Even though there are a number of natural remedy books about beating cancer and other debilitating diseases, mine would be different because I’d be showcasing my own experience with cancer while offering some of the strategies I teach in my book The Lost Secret to help beat cancer and other diseases which talks about using the power of the mind to heal the body.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I’m on Facebook at facebook.com/Monica.Main. I’m not that internet savvy yet to be active on other social media platforms yet.