We’re talking today to William Y. Higgins, author of Your Road to Damascus: 6 Biblical Secrets for an effective Job Search. This is his first book.
Thank you for this interview, Bill. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I am a consultant and have been consulting with large and small organizations for over 20 years. I have consulted with many Fortune 500 organizations, as well as much smaller for-profit and non-profit organizations. My areas of specialization include instructional design, technical writing, and career coaching. As a career coach I have worked with over 5,000 clients in their career transition process.
As far as writing, I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I love the written word and think there is power in print. When a friend showed me a thank-you note she had saved from 10 years earlier, I knew there was a special kind of force in words.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
Your Road to Damascus is about finding hope and encouragement in the midst of a life crisis, in this case the loss of a job. While the specifics of the book focus on how God works in a job loss and job search, in the bigger picture it is about how God works in any crisis we face.
While we seek to be heavenly minded, we have to admit that we are firmly rooted in the soil of everyday life on this planet. With that comes the struggles and challenges we all face; death of a loved one, terminal illness, broken relationships, financial hardship and so many more. The good news is that God doesn’t desert us in those times, but walks that road with us.
As we walk the road to Damascus in our vocational lives, God is there to bless and have a personal encounter with us when we are doing well on the job and when we are terminated. That is what this book is about.
Who is your intended audience? Have you been able to crossover into other audiences as well?
The primary audience is the Christian community. They will appreciate the biblical orientation more than the average Joe. However, I have had reviewers tell me that they hope the book will be available outside the church as well because of the message of hope and encouragement.
In targeting the Christian community I want to get information to:
- The unemployed.
- College and seminary seniors about to graduate.
- Financial planners working with people at making sense of their finances.
- Career coaches and counselors.
- Military personnel and chaplains.
- Prisoners in jail and chaplains.
- CEOs and HR Directors of Christian organizations.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I don’t know that I chose it as much as it sort of chose me. This has been my life for many years; working with clients making a job change. The book seemed a natural outgrowth of that work. Over the years I have worked with people whose faith was important to how they lived their lives, yet the typical job transition program, including ours, made no allowance for how to include faith in a job search. The intent of the book is to integrate the faith side of our lives with the practical actions necessary to look for a job.
Non-fiction with a biblical perspective has been my life for over 30 years. In my work in the local church, as well as in leading Bible studies, teaching classes, and working with clients my focus has been integrating faith and life. That is what the book does in the aspect of a job search.
Do you ever experience self-doubts with your work?
What writer doesn’t. Maybe John Grisham or James Patterson, or others of that caliber, don’t, but I know I do. My self-doubt is not so much in the truths or principles I am trying to communicate, but am I communicating them as clearly as I can, am I making them as relevant to life as possible, am I accurately relating what I believe the scripture is saying.
The doubt comes in my ability as the intermediary between the scriptures and the reader. I want the reader to hear the voice of God as they read. I feel sort of like Moses when God asked him to lead the people of Israel out of captivity in Egypt. Moses told God he was not eloquent of speech or very capable as a leader. I feel the same. Yet, God has woven together years of experience and a heart for those hurting as a result of a lost job. So write I must!
Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?
I have a home office with a wonderful view of a park-like setting with lots of trees. It is peaceful and takes my mind away from the stress and hustle of daily life. It is calming, and rejuvenating. I do much of my writing in this setting.
However, when I am deep into capturing the thoughts and concepts of a topic in a book, it goes with me everywhere and thoughts flash into my mind anytime and all times. When I am driving, when I am listening to the sermon in church, even when I’m sleeping. I keep a notepad by the bed and wake up at all hours of the night to capture thoughts that have come to me. There have been times when I awoke in the middle of the night and wrote for an hour or so because my mind was just going a mile a minute.
It’s great! I love it!
What kind of research did you have to do during the writing process?
There are two aspects to Your Road to Damascus; the biblical and theological aspect, and the practical and action aspect.
The practical and action aspect is something I have been using for 20 years in guiding clients in a job search. These have been proven beneficial and effective practices to use to give a job search feet and move it on down the road to a new position. Examining these in the light of scripture however was another story.
Since this book is an integration of biblical and practical guidelines, I had to make sure what principles the Bible spoke of for those making a job change. this is where the challenge came in. No where is there a passage that refers to how individuals made a job change. Oh, there are plenty of principles there, but they are woven into the lives of people. This was where my research came in. What people could I find in the Bible that make ‘job changes,’ and what could I learn about how God brought those about.
There are plenty of people in the Bible that made huge job changes; David went from being a shepherd to being a king. Moses, Abraham, Noah and others in the Old Testament went from being one thing to being another as God directed the adventure of their lives. In the New Testament, the 12 apostles were not theologians, priests, or rabbis. They were regular people; you don’t get any more regular than being a fisherman. But God directed them to change jobs, change careers, and they started new lives with a new purpose.
For purposes of this book, I chose to follow the lives of two people and how God moved them from one job to another. Joseph, of coat-of-many-colors fame in the Old Testament, went from being a spoiled son who worked in the fields helping to shepherd sheep to being the Prime Minister of Egypt. And Saul of Tarsus went from being a persecutor of Christians to a leader in the Christian movement and writer of many of the New Testament books.
My research focused on how God accomplished this in the lives of these two men.
Who is your publisher and how did you get accepted by them? Did you pitch your book yourself or go through an agent?
As part of my consulting business, we write technical documents and training curriculum. We have also produced a learning game called Footsteps© that evolved from working with a client.
So MindWare Publishing has been active for many years, but not in producing works for general public consumption. Your Road to Damascus is the first work of this nature that we have done. As the Managing Director of MindWare Publishing, I didn’t have to convince anyone that the work was relevant and viable. That was my decision.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
With the book due for release later in the first quarter of 2013, we have focused on starting a series of press releases to get the word out about the book. In addition, we have a 30-day virtual book tour that started on January 21st and includes interviews, guest blogs, book reviews and more. We also have a trailer that is currently viewable on You Tube.
We are busy putting a press kit together and will be distributing it as appropriate in the next several weeks to:
- Large churches in 25-35 major metropolitan areas.
- Christian bookstores.
- Christian talk radio stations.
- Christian universities and seminaries.
- Christian career coaches and counselors.
- Christian workshop leaders and financial planners.
- Military and police chaplains.
- And others.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
My tip would be, plan to work even harder at promoting your book if you really want to make a splash than you did in writing it. No one is going to do it for you. Also, collect a team of professionals to help you do it. You probably aren’t a professional when you step out of your area of expertise, use those that are. Copyeditors, book cover designers, book tour promoters, book trailer producers, and others will help you get the work out in a credible and professional manner. The specific promotional tip I would give is to create a diversified marketing campaign. Develop at least 10 prongs to your marketing efforts and push on all of them. You never know which one will be the one that will connect with your audience, or that will uncover an audience you didn’t even think about.
I am probably using 15-20 different tactics to get Your Road to Damascus in front of the buying public and my target audiences.
What’s next for you?
I will be starting a sequel to Your Road to Damascus. There will be a Your Road to Arabia: 6 Biblical Secrets for an Effective Career Change for those wanting to make a drastic change and jump into something new.
There will also be a series of sequels to Your Road to Damascus targeting specific audiences with specific needs. While many of the principles remain the same, there are unique issues for certain job seekers that need to be explored. These audiences include: recent or soon-to-be college grads, military personnel, entrepreneurs, and legal offenders. The current plan is to produce an edition of Your Road to Damascus for each of these.
In addition to these, I have numerous other books rattling around in my brain waiting to be released. I love writing, and believe there is much to be said that has not yet been said. So I have years of writing ahead of me.
Thank you for this interview, Bill. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
I also want to thank Examiner for the opportunity to talk about this book, the potential it has in the lives of readers, and how God brought it together through the experiences of my life. I appreciate the opportunity to tell my story.