Dr. Candice Seti: How To Write A Book That Sparks A Movement
Write your Passion — You have to feel compelled by your topic, really driven to share. That’s what is going to keep you motivated to keep writing, but also to continue talking about your book and marketing it for years after. It is definitely what kept me writing and what continues to drive me to talk about it now!
Be Vulnerable — People want to relate to both a book and an author. They generally don’t want to read textbooks. They want to feel understood and connected. That comes from letting your guard down and showing who you really are, flaws and all.
As part of my series about “How to write a book that sparks a movement”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Candice Seti.
Dr. Seti is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified weight management specialist, certified nutritionist and certified life coach. She works with chronic yo-yo dieters to help them break their dependence on diets and learn how to manage their weight long-term through lifestyle, behavioral, ad cognitive changes. Her book, Shatter The Yoyo, was an international bestseller.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share the “backstory” about how you grew up?
Sure! I grew up in the suburbs of New York. I was a VERY picky eater and basically just ate a lot of simple carbs! Pizza, cereal, pasta, and of course, a ton of sweets! My diet was incredibly unhealthy: I almost never ate fruits or vegetables! But I had no awareness that this was a problem. I was a beanpole; incredibly skinny, despite eating a carton of ice cream every night! So, I really didn’t start to become aware of my weight and my health until my early 20s when I started gaining weight.
When you were younger, was there a book that you read that inspired you to take action or changed your life?
I’ve always been very inspired by Michael Pollan’s books. Both The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food were very eye-opening and shifted my perspective immensely on both how we eat and how food gets to our plate. I love that he approaches the topics as a researcher and is very science-based in his writing. In my practice, I focus a lot on mindful eating, and a big part of that is appreciating your food and where it came from. Michael Pollan’s writing inspired this.
What was the moment or series of events that made you decide to bring your message to the greater world?
After my own experience with weight loss, I transitioned the scope of my practice to help others focus on breaking their dependence on diets as well. It seemed like such a much-needed area of expertise and I wanted to help everyone find the freedom and confidence that I had found. My practice filled up quickly, and I found myself frustrated by the limitations of time and the relatively small number of people I could reach. That’s what motivated me to write a book: the opportunity to reach people on a much more global scale and help others that I couldn’t see in my day-to-day private practice.
What impact did you hope to make when you wrote this book?
My hope was that the book would benefit people in the same way I am able to help people in private practice. My hope was to help people break their dependence on diets, better manage their weight, and feel confident, secure, and capable as a result!
Did the actual results align with your expectations?
More so than I could have ever imagined! I was astounded when my book reached best-seller status and I have been overjoyed by the responses and feedback I have received from all of my readers!
What moment let you know that your book had started a movement?
About 4 months after my book was published, I received a call from a woman in Atlanta, Georgia. She told me that she had read my book and it really resonated with her. She shared it with a friend who had a similar reaction. Ultimately they started a group of 10 women who met weekly — kind of like a book club — to review each section, follow-up on the homework assignments, and provide accountability and support for one another. It was amazing to hear the impact the book had on them and how they had built the program into a little community!
What kinds of things did you hear right away from readers? What are the most frequent things you hear from readers about your book now? Are they the same? Different?
Probably the most common thing I hear is “Wow, that is totally me!” People really connect with the idea of diet dependence and are shocked to learn that they are not alone in that. They have felt stuck believing that there is no other way and they are so relieved and encouraged to learn that there really are alternative approaches that are both healthy and sustainable.
What is the most moving or fulfilling experience you’ve had as a result of writing this book?
Really it’s been the overall collection of experience and responses. All the people who have thanked me for understanding their struggles and helping them achieve confidence and security. I find it moving and fulfilling every single time I hear from someone who tells me how impacted they’ve been from reading the book.
Have you experienced anything negative? Do you feel there are drawbacks to writing a book that starts such colossal conversation and change?
The only drawbacks I could imagine would be on the diet industry as a whole. I mean in the U.S. alone, we spend a whopping $315 billion dollars a year on dieting! It’s a staggering amount of money to spend on something that has a 98% failure rate. So I hope that people continue to become more aware of these alternatives to dieting and that the diet industry as a whole is negatively impacted.
Can you articulate why you think books in particular have the power to create movements, revolutions, and true change?
Books are such a wonderful way to reach a large group of people and they allow everyone to process and assimilate the information in their own time and in their own way. Even though each person is reading the same book, their interpretations and responses are as unique and individual as we all are. So every reader is able to take away whatever it is that they need personally.
What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a bestselling writer?
Really I’d have to say it was my passion for the topic as a whole and my drive to really impact more people than I am able to in person. Sharing my message and helping others kept me going and continually renewed my motivation throughout the writing process.
What challenge or failure did you learn the most from in your writing career? Can you share the lesson(s) that you learned?
With my first book, I wrote my heart out until I felt like I had said everything I needed to say; I was so proud when I turned in the first draft for editing, believing I was pretty much done. The response I got back was, “This is great. Now make it 3 times as long!” I was crestfallen. I was so sure I had done everything right and I felt I had addressed everything I needed to address. And I tend to be a very concise writer so embellishment is not my strong suit. I had no idea how to add on to it without it feeling like fluff. So, I had to look at it through a different lens and really imagine talking to all different personalities and ask myself, “How can I make this person understand this concept? And what about that person?” That was the approach I needed to truly understand how to take a concept (and a book as a whole) and allow it to reach all different types of personalities.
Many aspiring authors would love to make an impact similar to what you have done. What are the 5 things writers needs to know if they want to spark a movement with a book?
- Write your Passion — You have to feel compelled by your topic, really driven to share. That’s what is going to keep you motivated to keep writing, but also to continue talking about your book and marketing it for years after. It is definitely what kept me writing and what continues to drive me to talk about it now!
- Be Vulnerable — People want to relate to both a book and an author. They generally don’t want to read textbooks. They want to feel understood and connected. That comes from letting your guard down and showing who you really are, flaws and all.
- Have Realistic Expectations — Having expectations that are too high is a great way to set yourself up for disappointment and to take away the joy of success. If your goal is to reach just one person with your message, you feel incredible as soon as that goal is met. Then everything else becomes icing on the cake! I’m still overjoyed every day when I receive positive feedback on my book!
- Be Open to Feedback — When you start writing, especially about a topic you are passionate about, you probably have an idea of what you want to say and how you want to say it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best way or the way that’s going to speak to everyone. Getting feedback from others is the best way to understand how to really convey your message, and being open to that feedback will help everyone on their writing journey.
- Say the Same Thing in Many Ways — Just like it’s important to get feedback on how to convey your message, it’s also important to understand that different people need to hear a message in different ways. So, you often need to say the same thing in different ways to connect with each individual reader. This is DEFINITELY not my strong suit because, as I mentioned before, I am generally a very concise writer. I am working on my second book right now on self-sabotage and am trying to be conscious of doing this very thing!
The world, of course, needs progress in many areas. What movement do you hope someone (or you!) starts next? Can you explain why that is so important?
There is so much going on in the world right now and we need a change in so many national and global issues, like climate change, the black lives matter movement, LGBTQ+ rights, etc. But on a personal level, I feel people would benefit most from a movement towards self-care; moving away from the idea that doing for yourself is ‘selfish’ and understanding how truly beneficial it is for yourself and everyone around you for you to take time for yourself. We live in such a busy time right now and people often put themselves last on their own priority lists. As a result, they are higher stressed, less healthy, less productive, and less fulfilled.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for these insights. It was a true pleasure to do this with you.