I’m not about selling books. That’s my publishers’ job. Instead, I use my books to sell me.
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 Joy Loverde, a best-selling author, keynote speaker, media responder, mature-market consultant, and advocate for family caregivers and people who are aging solo.
Joy is the author of The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, How to Find Help and Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?: Plan Now to Safeguard Your Health and Happiness in Old Age.
A seasoned media spokesperson, you may have seen Joy on the Today Show and Good Morning America and listened to her interviews on numerous National Public Radio stations, podcasts, and SiriusXM.
She has written hundreds of blogs and articles which are posted on her website (www.elderindustry.com).
During her career, she has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, New York Times, Money Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Reader’s Digest, and a host of others. USA TODAY ran a four-part series on Joy’s family-caregiver programs.
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?
Visiting a nursing home one Thanksgiving morning as a high school student volunteer opened my eyes to the abandonment of old people in America. Upon entering the nursing home, I observed seven residents sitting motionless in the dark. No one was talking. No one was smiling. Everyone was staring into nothingness.
I was shocked at what I witnessed, and immediately started grappling for answers to questions no one seemed to be asking:
Who are these elders?
What series of events led them to a life of resignation?
How did they end up isolated and alone in their old age?
And why are they not with their families on Thanksgiving Day?
Since that visit to the nursing home, I have never looked back. I vowed to find answers to these and other life-planning questions. For the next 40 years I would advocate and troubleshoot the causes, concepts, and needs of the world’s aging population.
Can you share a pivotal story that shaped the course of your career?
Immediately after my first book was published (The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, How to Find Help), I was invited to speak to the medical staff at a local hospital. They were interested in learning how to improve quality patient care.
Little did I know at the time that speaking about my book topic (family caregiving and eldercare) in front of a variety of audiences with different needs would jump-start my keynote and media-responder career.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Are you working on any new writing projects?
I have many exciting projects in the works.
For example, I teamed up with Paul Nagel, Executive Director of Stonewall Community Development Corporation and Bruce Frankel, CMO/Partner at Redstring to help launch Stonewall Virtual Village. This is a virtual community that connects the LGBTQ+ community to resources, support, classes, and each other. Programs are free and open to all.
Another project involves creating housing for individuals who do not quality for affordable housing (which is most of us). 2Life Communities is behind this effort.
These and many other projects keep me busy with product endorsements, consulting, keynote assignments.
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 books? Can you please share a specific passage or story that illustrates the main theme of your book?
The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, How to Find Help is in its sixth edition and a best-seller in its category. The intended audience is people who are or will be caring for aging parents and loved ones — spouses, partners, siblings, grandparents, and friends.
Here is an excerpt:
We don’t choose eldercare. Eldercare chooses us. When eldercare comes knocking on the door, many people run in the opposite direction; but not you. At first, eldercare may feel as if the rug has been pulled out from under you; you’re falling and grabbing for something — anything — steady to hang on to, and there’s nothing there. You laugh when things are sad; you cry when things go well. You never quite touch ground, and you soon realize that life is never going to be the same. People who once took care of you are now on another journey. You can walk with them now, for a while longer; then face the sad fact that they will ultimately leave you.
The caregiving journey will take you to places unimaginable, and in the process, you will learn more about yourself than ever before. Each day has the potential to bring to the surface life-altering issues and events that offer you the opportunity to develop skills and talents you never knew you had — resourcefulness, stamina, flexibility, and faith, to name a few.
The simple truth about elders is this: they want their lives to be validated, and they do not want to die alone. Go to them as best you can and you will be rewarded handsomely. Eldercare wakes up the soul and brings us face-to-face with our own mortality. Eldercare teaches us to live in the present and is the conduit that serves as a daily reminder of what is ultimately important in our lives.
Knowing how truly difficult the process of talking with older people can be, you will find numerous conversation tips throughout The Complete Eldercare Planner giving you every opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations that you will carry in your heart for the rest of your life.
Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?: Plan Now to Safeguard Your Health and Happiness in Old Age is a guide to everything you need to know to be your best caregiver. For those who are aging solo, the thought of a future without help can be a frightening, isolating prospect.
Here is an excerpt:
Join The Club. If you are living solo, you are not alone. One in three baby boomers falls into the category of separated, divorced, widowed, or never married. As the numbers continue to escalate, millions of people over the age of sixty-five will require greater assistance because they are aging alone with no known family member or surrogate to act on their behalf.
Committed couples, you aren’t out of the woods, either. If one partner suffers from a
chronic illness, the other partner typically represents the first line of defense. However, when
both need care simultaneously, all bets are off. Nor is being a parent a guarantee that adult children will care for you as you age. Children may choose to move away from parents (even a half-world away) to pursue dreams of their own.
Simply put, you have no idea whether anyone you love and trust today will accompany
you on your aging journey or be by your side up to and until you take your final breath.
Why This Book? Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? will change the course of your life, solo or with family. You need not be alone in old age unless you want to be.
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?
Hard-working. Fighter. Tireless. These character traits are intertwined.
“Hard-working” relates to the writing process which includes consistent self-editing and asking the question, “Who cares?” Writing a book with no “fluff and clutter” is always my goal. I write only what needs to be said. Nothing more. Nothing less. Over time this process is mentally and physically exhausting. At the end of the day, sleep is a welcome relief.
“Fighter” dictates why my books needs to be written in the first place. Both of my books have a mission. The mission of The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, How to Find Help is to prevent elder abuse. The mission of Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?: Plan Now to Safeguard Your Health and Happiness in Old Ageis to prevent isolation and loneliness in old age. I do not write books to be read and then stored on a bookshelf to collect dust. I write books that make it easy for readers to take action and improve the quality of their life. I fight and advocate for every elder’s right every single day and aim to fulfill the mission of both of my books.
“Tireless” comes with the territory of writing. After you determine the mission of your book, nothing will stop you from completing this long and arduous task. Writing a book takes years. Keeping the mission of both of my books in mind as I wrote got me through it all.
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?
Two experiences come to mind.
I knew from the get-go that if I wanted respect in the industry, I needed to be accepted by a top-notch literary agent who would eventually land me a contract with an established and well-respected publishing firm. This proved to be one of the most important business decisions I made as it relates to my brand. Anyone can self-publish a book (which is really a printing process and not a publishing accomplishment). Writing a book proposal (that alone can take a year or two) to gain the attention of a proven literary agent who will then shop it around to the publishing firms reaps myriad rewards.
The second way my books enhance my brand is how I use them to open doors to new business opportunities. What I wrote in my books is my voice and my perspective. Potential clients who like what I have to say and appreciate my viewpoint hire me to work with them. It’s that simple.
I’m not about selling books. That’s my publishers’ job. Instead, I use my books to sell me.
Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming an author and promoting a book? Can you explain to other leaders why they should invest resources and energy into this? Can you share a few examples of how writing a book in particular and thought leadership in general can create lucrative opportunities and help a business or brand grow?
Investing energy and resources into writing a book plays itself out in numerous ways. Besides creating passive income from book sales (if the book is marketed effectively both online and in retail outlets), authors also benefit a great deal from world-wide exposure of their brand. You never know who is holding your book in their hands and reading your content at any given time.
If business owners, media representatives, and marketing professionals resonate with your content and viewpoint, you may be contacted to get involved in projects that are new and different from anything you have ever done before. This is what continuously happens to me.
When The Complete Eldercare Planner was first released, I was bombarded with national media requests. Each interview led to being contacted by senior-housing developers, home care agencies, and healthcare-related businesses among others. They wanted me to help them craft marketing messages and events that targeted family caregivers. They invited me to be the keynote speaker. They also distributed copies of my book to potential clients.
This had a snowball effect. My reputation as a proven mature-market sales and marketing strategist, keynote speaker, best-selling author, product endorser, camera-ready spokesperson, caregiver advocate, aging solo specialist, long-term care expert and consultant grew over the years
Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? is casting an even wider net. I work solely with professionals — lawyers, financial advisors, insurance agents, retirement advisors, social workers, public health, clergy, associations, women’s groups, alumni clubs, manufacturers, franchises, marketing/PR firms, employee benefits & human resources, life coaches, and other mature-market professions.
My job is to facilitate their success. Together we meet and brainstorm how to grow their business. I provide marketing strategies, training, consulting, media interviews, and product endorsements.
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 a story about that which other aspiring writers can learn from?
When I first started out, I did not know that promoting a book and my brand means signing up for a career that requires non-stop travel. You must be available and willing to travel at a moment’s notice.
What I learned the hard way is the fact that people may be jealous of your success. You will be snubbed. Your words will be challenged. You will not be invited in certain circles. Your content will be plagiarized by other writers. You may also have emotional difficulty reading negative book reviews that tear your work apart. Everyone has a right to their opinion — good and bad. So be it.
Like everyone else who has ever applied for a job, I do not get hired as a keynote speaker for every event. I do not get every consulting job. I win some and lose some.
Based on your experience, which promotional elements would you recommend to an author to cover on their own and when would you recommend engaging a book publicist or marketing expert?
You can network on your own — online and in person. You can join clubs. You can offer to speak at events, book clubs, and small gatherings. You can give books away to people of influence.
If you do not know the ins and outs of marketing and public relations, then you may choose to hire a professional book publicist, especially if you want national and international exposure of your work. Professional book marketers can also contact media in your behalf.
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.
- Hire a professional photographer for your headshot. Your photo should reflect your personality and your book’s message.
- If you do not know how to write a press release, then hire a publicist to create this critical document. The publicist can also be hired to distribute the press release in your behalf. I make copies of my books’ press releases and use them as inserts in my books. The press release helps other people talk about the content of my books.
- Create a book website. Include testimonials and order information. Make it easy for people to order your book online and to contact you.
- Research all of the online bookstores and ask to be included in their listing.
- Befriend reporters, bloggers, and radio and television program directors. Offer to send them a free copy of your book. Don’t underestimate this task. This is how I got on the Today Show.
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, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
I would like to have lunch with Robert Blancato, the ultimate advocate for old people everywhere. Together we would engage in a conversation about the future of people who are aging solo and discuss plans to create a world void of elder neglect and abuse.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
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.