Our guest today is Mario Zeleny, author of the self-help inspirational, Ritual Tea: How the 9 Secrets of Tea Can Transform Your Life. Mario spent 15 years in healthcare and social services in clinical and administrative roles that offered coaching to employees and volunteers. An artist and entrepreneur from an early age, Mario now brings his love of writing, art, spirit, coaching and ritual together online at his creative living site, Sancti Spiritus and also from his transformational art site, Art Spellz. Mario looks forward to completing his education with Mentor Coach and St. Clement Seminary. He currently resides in Sacramento with his husband of 8 years, their children and their domestic sovereign, a pug named Brigit.
Thank you for this interview, Mario. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Thanks for asking, Dorothy. I have been writing for over 30 years… since middle school. It was mostly stories back then. Later, as an adult, it became technical and business writing. My main interest has always been how-to, inspirational and personal growth writing
In 2013, I retired from healthcare and social services to follow my passion. I love coaching and helping people. I also love art, writing and spirit. It all came together for me in November 2013 as SanctiSpiritusCoaching.com, ArtSpellz.com and MarioZeleny.com—my blogs, shop and school.
I was having a Mad Hatter Tea Party on my blog in July of last year and decided I wanted to offer something valuable to my partiers. So, I started writing this little e-book on tea. The partiers were going to be gifted the book because they signed up for my email list. But, they never got the book because it kept growing and became a “real” book!
It’s been a real learning experience and I loved every minute of it… even the hair pulling when converting for print and Kindle. Just the other day, I contact the people who signed up for that little e-book from the tea party and they are getting a paperback mailed to them… 9 months later!
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
My book is about the transformational power of tea. Tea has an incredible, unusual and sacred history which included changing people’s lives; some lives were not always changed for the better. But for those who are open, tea can change your life in wondrous ways.
Most folks believe you have to be a monk or a tea master to practice a tea ritual; I wanted to confront that mistaken belief and make tea a transformational practice approachable by anyone. My book gives them the help to get started.
The greatest challenges to writing my book were:
• “Book fatigue”- When I get fatigued I lose my spark, my intuitive creativity, and I cannot see my errors.
• Life changes- bouncing back from life changing and re-establishing a writing routine can be difficult.
• Too busy with other projects I started
• Converting my manuscript for Kindle and print
• Finding and keeping my proof readers- this one is tough for an indie author. I just didn’t have $500-$1000 to pay a professional editor
Was it the right choice for you?
I am a huge DIYer and I am self -published. It is fabulous experience. I had thought for decades about submitting to publishers. Now that I got around to actually writing my first book, I couldn’t do it. And, publishing changed; it’s not the same animal it once was. Perhaps when I get a few more books under my belt and have built up my platform more, I might consider submitting to traditional publishers.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
My plans for promotion is layered and on a timeline. Right now, my book is being launched with my Art Spellz shop, school and site. Art Spellz is also hosting a free ecourse for people who buy my book. My launch includes a virtual book tour, facebook ads, google ads, ads on complimentary sites, small joint ventures with people in my industry, and 5 giveaways (2 of which are considerable) during my launch month (May). That’s just the beginning.
It’s so far so good with the plans. They are flexible, so I can make changes as I need. Thankfully, I do my own graphic design for ads. Those ads that are not working well, I can swap out quickly. Also, I am investing conservatively in each aspect of my plan. If a certain promotional event produces a descent result, I might go back and invest a lot more.
Giveaways are my tried and true promotional event that works for me- so, I am going big there! I am giving away well over $600 in prizes including some cash.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Advice that I would give authors for promotion would be NOT to invest solely in one idea. Develop multi-layered avenues of promotion. It should all be interconnected somehow. The second thing I would suggest is to begin planning 6 months before the release and do your homework to make sure that what you are investing in (time and money) is worth it for you to reach your tribe. Take a hard honest look at it 3 months and then again at 6 weeks by putting every step and what each step requires on a timeline. Be prepared to make adjustments.
What’s next for you?
I will be writing e-books that go with my courses. I am planning on combining a number of courses and e-books into a full fledge book. I am planning on completing this project around the end of the year.
Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
You can find me: https://www.facebook.com/RitualTea www.ArtSpellz.com www.SanctiSpiritusCoaching.com
Purchase your copy of Ritual Tea: How the 9 Secrets of Tea Can Transform Your Life at Amazon.