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 Mareli ME Scott.
Mareli is an Award Winning International Transformational Speaker and Author, Authenticity Authority, Former Radio Host, Entrepreneur and Global Ambassador.
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?
In the middle of my high school career, my family moved from the country to the city. From the first day at this new school, I suddenly struggled to fit in. I started to believe that I was a loser or weird because I was unable to make friends. These voices in my head became so loud that I grew extremely insecure, so much so that I even found it difficult to walk into a store on my own, not to even mention speaking in front of the class! Towards the end of high school, I realized that version of me wasn’t congruent with the authentic me or the person that I wanted to be. From there, I started to make conscious decisions to consistently push my comfort zone, to find out who I was and to make my dream a reality. My story inspired my life mission: empowering others to uncover their authentic selves and discover their life purpose.
Can you share a pivotal story that shaped the course of your career?
The biggest obstacle that I wanted to overcome was my fear of public speaking. I knew that if I wanted to fulfil my purpose, I had to conquer this. As Chairwoman, I had previously led meetings, attended by few hundred members of the Vividus Ladies Day House at the University of Pretoria, the biggest Ladies Day House (sorority) in South Africa. This position stretched me and was a steppingstone toward conquering this fear but after a few years of no public speaking, I felt the need to push myself further and conquer this fear for good.
An opportunity called Mega Speaker, organized by the JT Foxx Organization, presented itself, to speak for 1 minute in front of 1000 businesspeople. I decided to grab this opportunity and dove into the deep end. I did it, and from there, I was invited to be interviewed on an online radio station called Radio W.O.R.K.S. World, whereafter I was offered my own radio show. My Authenticity Series gained much popularity and the weekly content that I created for it led to the writing my book, with an Authors Award nomination and International Speakers Award following suit.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Are you working on any new writing projects?
Some of the projects I am very excited about are online courses I am currently creating. These courses will respectively help aspiring authors to write and publish their own books, uncover their authentic selves and uncover their life purpose. I also regularly contribute to my online media platform, Authentic Entrepreneur, featuring advice from and for authentic entrepreneurs to grow, lead, succeed and increase their brand credibility.
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 title of my book is Authentic ME and was launched at the London BAFTA during December 2016. The purpose of Authentic ME is to assist the reader to step into their dream and make it a reality.
I believe that in order to make your dream a reality, you need to become the best version of you that will attract the success you deserve.
Following my award-winning Authenticity series on Radio W.O.R.K.S. World, in this transformational self-help book (including workbook), I share my authentic journey, practical steps to uncover your authentic self, purpose and winning strategies to make your dreams a reality.
Chapters and topics include Authenticity, Unusual, Transformation, Heart-Centered, Empowerment, No Limits, Tuned In, Introspection, Confidence, Impact, Transfer, You.
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?
- Authenticity. Don’t try to be someone else or copy someone else’s work. Write about your own knowledge and experience. There is no right or wrong, unless you are writing a scientific or research-based book. I intentionally did not read any books or articles while I was writing my book so as to not cloud my mind or accidentally fall into the trap of plagiarism.
- Confidence. You might sometimes feel as though your knowledge or experience is not good enough to write about. Get rid of these thoughts. Every author had to start somewhere and there are no rules about who can write a book or not. Just do it.
- Perseverance. Writing a book can be hard work and take a lot from you (mentally and physically). You will doubt your decision and want to quit many times, but don’t. Although I already had content to work with, it took me one whole month of extreme focus day in and day out to write my book. In the end, all the hard work and frustrations will be worth it.
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?
Since I’ve become an author, it has opened so many doors for me and continues to. It has also led to more interview requests, speaking engagements etc. I’ve since also co-authored 3 self-help books in partnership with one of South Africa’s biggest lifestyle magazines, Finesse Magazine. Writing my book made me discover that I enjoy writing and creating content which I use and turn into various other products and services.
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?
It happens often and here is my usual advice: It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, if you write it yourself. You shouldn’t expect a book to make you rich or make money your goal. Your focus should be the people that you want to reach and the impact you want to make. A book can also be used as a business card and automatically increase your personal brand and credibility. Being an author does make people take you more seriously. Without a book, your input could be viewed as merely opinions but with one, your words carry more weight, you are automatically categorized as a thought leader and pioneer which you can leverage in various ways. It’s also a great product to sell online or from stage. When event organizers are looking for speakers for an event, nine out of ten times they will choose an author.
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?
This is something I knew but did not focus enough on initially. Actively collecting, saving, and using reviews and testimonials from readers are extremely valuable. Not just to sell more books but also to assist the promotion and credibility of your brand and other products or services. Don’t put it off for later and don’t be afraid to ask.
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?
Although it is hard work and will take longer, I recommend using your own content (even if you repurpose it) instead of using a ghost writer. I also chose to handle some other aspects like printing, as my book was launched in the United Kingdom and printing in South Africa, where I am located, are more cost effective. I also took more control over the design of my book cover as I have prior design experience. There are many free online tools and professionals on platforms like Fiverr that you can also take advantage of. I had my book’s content formatted and professionally edited by a third party which I strongly recommend. The book launch itself was handled by my publisher.
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.
- Although I recommend it, you don’t have to write your book yourself. Many make use of ghost writers.
- A book won’t make you rich and don’t expect it to. Rather focus on generating leads and building your brand and credibility.
- Decide if you want to publish yourself or through a publisher. Both have their pros and cons. Don’t partner with a publisher or accept their demands if you don’t feel comfortable with it. You have the right to negotiate and reach a middle ground that you feel more comfortable with.
- Outsourcing your book launch to a promoter skilled and experienced in this field is a great idea. Many book shops host book launches. See if you can partner with one of them.
- Decide if you want to publish an e-book, hard copy or both and through your own platform or Amazon, Kindle etc. There are pros and cons to all these options.
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 :-)
I would love to meet Donald Trump. I’ve spent time with his former right-hand man of more than 45 years, The Apprentice Judge, George Ross on many occasions and listening to all his stories, and judging by his character, I can only imagine how brilliant Donald Trump’s mind and business acumen are with a mentor like George. Despite all the politics that surround Donald Trump, I have tremendous respect for his business success.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Through my website
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.