Today I am being interviewed by Ehsan Khodarahmi on my new book ‘Meaningful Conversations’. Ehsan is a brand and communications professional. He has published over 70 articles and writes for The Huffington Post. He believes in the power of data and the magic of personality, that’s why he published a book called ‘Character, 100% Character‘, human stories about your and your business. Since 2007, Ehsan’s been working and helping brands to build and implement Content Marketing and Social Media strategies across EMEA. He initiated Sky’s first ever social media strategy and analytics ecosystem in 2009 and set up Social Media Centre for Samsung back in 2011. He is a trusted speaker by British Chamber of Commerce and business oriented Meetup groups in London. Some of his publications are being taught and used by leading universities such as Michigan State University and Miami University. He is also founder of SMXChat, the most popular Twitter Chat focused on strategic marketing communications and social media best practices. Leading industry names such as the Drum, My News Desk, Meltwater and Socialbakers ask for his opinion when it comes to social media and content marketing.
Good morning. My name is Ehsan Khodarahmi it is my pleasure and honour to interview Geoff on his new book ‘Meaningful Conversations’.
Why do you write?
Like most writers, I write through experiences, my first book ‘Freedom after the Sharks’ was a true story, the facts were that I was planning to write another book. Once a writer starts to put pen to paper the truth will run through them, at times it is impossible to stop. It’s not exactly a compulsion, but it really does come quite close to that. Writing makes sense of one’s world, which is what most of us want to do on some level or other.
Which authors do you admire most?
Some of the most powerful authors that have inspired me or touched my life have come from the business world. The first book was from my late Grandmother authored by T.A.B Corley titled Quaker Enterprise in Biscuits, Huntley & Palmers of Reading 1822 -1972, Mark H McCormack was a huge inspiration to me with What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School, Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria with Driven, Stephen M.R. Covey with The Speed of Trust, Meister Eckhart with the book of the same name, Joseph Campbell and Hero with a Thousand Faces, Nicholas Sparks with True Believer, Richard Layard with Happiness, Carl Honore with In the Praise of Slow and Robert Greene with The 48 Laws of Power and Mastery.
Describe the route to ‘Meaningful Conversations’ being published…
I started as a writer with a non-fiction and ‘Meaningful Conversations’ was always to be a fiction the book deals with the constant root cause of today’s plethora of life and business challenges. It explores the whys and wherefores of communications, strategy and development and growth in our ways of thinking and experiencing the world, and then uncovers a way ahead through 50 short stories based by MIT, Harvard, Stamford, Oxford and Cambridge research in to valuable timeless logic. It draws upon Eastern and Western wisdom and blends philosophy with pioneering new thought. Are you up for crossing the threshold? Here we find the answers to our pressing challenges
In a few sentence’s please describe what the story/book is about?
This book demonstrates the relationship between communications (human 2 human), strategy and business development and growth. It is important to understand that a number of the ideas, developments and techniques employed at the beginning as well as the top of business can be successfully made flexible to apply. This book provides a holistic overview of the essential leading methods of techniques. It will provide you with a hands on guide for business professionals and those in higher education.
Where do you write from?
I live in London, United Kingdom however most of the creative origins for the book were established with my time in Arizona, United States of America
Briefly, what led up to this book?
I was writing weekly on communications, strategy and development and growth as a different persona. The terms ‘Communications’, Strategy’ and Business Development and Growth’ have become overused during the last decade and have become devalued as a result. In this book I aim to simplify these terms and to re-value management and leadership by addressing topics and subjects in each distinctive chapter.
What was the time frame for writing this book?
I wrote this book in direct response to being told that you cannot call yourself an author with only one book, thanks Lisa! Now I have produced my second book, I am being told you cannot call yourself an author with only two books. The time frame between Freedom after the Sharks and the release of Meaningful Conversations was approximately 3 years
What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
You have to be yourself in your writing. You have to pick a genre that suits you as a person and you as a writer. There are enough obstacles for a new author, don’t create more for yourself, write in a style you are comfortable with. If you are not enjoying writing it, if you are not comfortable writing it, nobody is going to enjoy reading it.
Do not take it personally, I do read the bad reviews, writing is completely subjective you may have 1000 people that love your perspective, genre and story but 3 people may just not get your point and they never will, you are in the creative industry accept criticism with a smile.
Books and publishing is such an up and down industry – you can be flavour of the month one minute and struggling the next, even when you have had a certain level of success. Until you have enough money coming in to be able to justify it to yourself, don’t give up the day job.
Everyone wants to live the dream and write full time, but it is a very difficult industry to get into and a very difficult industry to stay in. Learn to write around your day job in the beginning.
Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break into writing?
I think it was what I did wrong that helped me break into writing, In life you survive. You move on but with a purpose. A great philosopher and friend in the US once told me that you are in this world by divine right and you have the right to reach your highest potential through your own uniqueness. I know so many people who are only in bliss when they are miserable. They blame their parents, their spouse, their family, the system, their employers, their friends.
You can do whatever you have to do to get past the challenges of writing and writer block etc, you can do it. The question is how much do you want the right way, your dream or the purpose.
On that note, what would you have done differently if you could do it again?
Every audience has a different dynamic, a different rhythm, and a different reaction. The audience wants, needs, and expects pertinent, real-life information to enhance and support their lives and importantly what they’re facing. I believe it was my destiny in life to push things to the limit. You only get one chance to make an impression. I gave Meaningful Conversations every opportunity I had and I believed to be right book at the right time for readership, I am not sure I would change a thing given a second opportunity.
In what ways do you ’service’ your books?
If one is fortunate enough to have one’s books taken up in a significant way, there is a tremendous amount to do in ‘servicing’ the books. Speaking opportunities, blogging, social media, interviews PR travelling and often attending book festivals and other events all over the world. Although it can be quite burdensome, it is always very interesting to meet the readers, and I think that is what keeps me going.
What advice would you give to an aspiring novelist?
Trust yourself and never, never give up. Be determined right to the end. You should always write about what you know and love. This is not just a matter of principle but solid writing advice. Editors and readers have a good understanding whether a book has a purpose, it is their intuitive know-how. You have a story to tell that cannot be told by anyone else, in any other way, and if you’re talented and lucky and work hard, you will find the right way to tell it. In other words, be truthful to yourself and you can communicate the truth to others through writing. This is not to say that you cannot be creative, but rather that your voice, your true voice, is what will draw people in to your manuscript.
On another note it is quite possible that one publisher will reject your book for a number of reasons while another loves it for those very same reasons. The trick is to secure a great editor and find a publisher whose interests align with yours.
My advice is to write a book and then immediately go on to the next one and to the one after that. In other words, the more you write, the better you will become.
Best piece(s) of writing advice we haven’t discussed?
Always, in every place across the world, people have written. Writing has not changed since the Roman days. Writing affords me a chance each and every day to just sit with my thoughts and be still. I live in a very busy city with people everywhere on mobile devices, and I love that. But I also think it’s important to sit and be quiet, to reflect and to use creativity with yourself and your thoughts. Writing for me is very meditative and calming, and helps to keep me peaceful in a very frantic world.
Every writer is influenced by everything they’ve ever read or seen. All the books and news articles that have passed through your hands have also somehow made their way into your thoughts, whether you are aware of it or not. I love that idea. I love to think that when I write, I am in some ways sitting down with all the books I have ever read, and in some ways, sitting down with the writers who wrote those books. I like to think that I’m connected to a long line of people just like me, people who also loved to write with the ability to leave a legacy of my work that someday will be read and hopefully inspired upon by others.
As my good friends and colleagues constantly remind me on a daily basis, I must write version 3.0. I do have some quite amazing and credible ideas This is in my thoughts and given the time I am sure it will come. I need to be in a creative space with my netbook and some great coffee. It will happen! Outside of 3.0, I am enjoying my weekly blog writing, spending time with fellow authors, sharing experiences, PR, interviews, and of course my day job which is always challenging and interesting, never ceases to amaze and surprise me in life.
Meaningful Conversations will be available via Amazon, Smashwords, Waterstones, Barnes and Noble in hardback, paperback, kindle, e-book from 28th January 2016 pre-sales on the book can be reached vis Matador Publishing on http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=4202 and the following links:
Ehsan Khodarahmi produces industry and current content which is based on experience and the latest research by leading organisations.
Ehsan will also be interviewing me on Tuesday 24th January on his SMXCHAT show, which runs live on Twitter @smxchat the interview is open for all to join and participate and commences at 8pm London UK time GMT.
– Follow Ehsan Khodarahmi on Twitter: @eksays
To download this article in PDF-format, click HERE.
This interview was originally published on 6 December 2016 by Huffington Post UK here: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ehsan-khodarahmi/what-it-takes-to-become-a_b_13200850.html