Posted On July 27, 2009 by Print This Post

Bob Mayer Part I

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 We are delighted to welcome New York Times bestselling author Bob Mayer to Romance University.   Bob has 40 books published and has over three million books in print.  He is in demand as a team-building, life-change, and leadership speaker and consultant. Bob graduated from West Point and served in the military as a Special Forces A-Team leader and a teacher at the JFK Special Warfare Center & School. His latest book is Who Dares Wins:  The Green Beret Way to Conquer Fear & Succeed.  He teaches novel writing and improving the author via his Warrior-Writer program.  He lives on an island off Seattle.  For more information see www.bobmayer.org

 Let’s turn it over to Bob.

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 Adrienne: What do you think of collaboration and how did you and Jenny Crusie work together?

Bob: We did everything for the first book via email-no phone, instant message, etc.  I’m more a plotter and she’s more of a pantser and very character oriented.  Each contributed their part.

Do not collaborate with someone who doesn’t understand how weird the publishing business is.  A-type personalities will go crazy with how slow it is.

Adrienne:  How has the collaboration affected your career?  Knowledge of craft?

Bob:  Career-wise I learned a lot from Jenny.  The same with craft.  Since we were so different in the way we approached things, we both learned.  I learned about rewriting.  Jenny learned to have her characters go outside and do things.  And that guys really don’t want to talk.

Adrienne:  What is the most important thing you’ve done to advance your career?

Learn the craft.  Read.  Network. I talk to other writers.  I just got a lot of good advice from Susan Wiggs that I am taking to heart and using.  It’s important to study the craft, learn and be open.

My friend Elizabeth George read my latest manuscript and gave me a lot of feedback.  I think it’s important to be willing to listen to and accept feedback.  I actually go to classes at conferences, rather than just teach.  I just learned a lot in Dallas at a conference.  One of the things I teach in Warrior Writer is that when something you experience upsets you, to focus on it.  Because it’s telling you a truth that you are resisting.

Adrienne:  What’s the biggest mistake you made in your career?

Bob:  Not networking enough.  Not having a long term plan.  Something I focus on now and teach in Warrior Writer is to decide your long term goal, then break down short term goals and make sure they align.  The publishing business is changing and we have to adapt to the change.

Warrior-Writer fills a critical gap in the publishing industry paradigm.  While there are numerous workshops focused on just the writing, this is the only one that focuses on the strategies, tactics and mindset a writer needs to develop in order to be a successful author.

Warrior Writer is a holistic approach encompassing goals, intent, environment, personality, change, courage, communication and leadership that gives the writer a road map to become a successful author.  Many writers become focused on either the writing or the business end; Warrior Writer integrates the two.  I use all that I’ve learned over 20 years in this business to help other writers.

Adrienne: How do you juggle writing, speaking, consulting, classes, etc.?

Bob:  I work all the time.  But I also have learned to shut things down.  To say no.  Close doors.  Another tenet of Warrior Writer.  You can’t do everything.  Pick the things you want to focus on.

Adrienne: What advice do you have for the newly published author?

Bob:  Find a mentor who is published in your field.  Ask for help.  There is so much agents and editors won’t tell you.  Most writers are pretty open to answering questions.  Don’t expect anyone else to give you your career.  You have to make it yourself.  Thus the first Force in Warrior Writer is WHAT-you have to specify your goals right up front and then use the other Forces to pursue them.

I actually started Warrior Writer based on my experiences.  There’s a huge problem-no one teaches writers how to be authors.  I want to do that.  To show them not to make the mistakes most new authors make.  The market is too unforgiving now to do that. 

The bottom line is to focus on making your writing better.  The one thing you control is writing a good book.

Thank you to Bob for being with us today.  He will be checking in to answer questions so have at it!

Join us on Wednesday for part two of Bob’s interview when he will talk about the differences in the male/female creative process.

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Discussion

16 Responses to “Bob Mayer Part I”

  1. Bob,
    Thanks for joining us! A workshop presentor at the PRO Retreat suggested finding a mentor as well. In theory, I agree that a step like this could improve someone’s writing and understanding of the business. But everyone’s so busy. Do you have any suggestions on how to approach a potential mentor?
    Thanks, Tracey

    Posted by TraceyDevlyn | July 27, 2009, 5:45 am
  2. Bob, our chapter just started a mentorship program and I’m thrilled with the mentors I’ve been assigned. I just don’t know what to do with them now that I have them. One is helping me with a historical project many years in the future, one is helping me with an aspect of social networking, and the other I’m just getting started with. Suggestions?

    Posted by Megan Kelly | July 27, 2009, 8:12 am
  3. Hi Bob and thank you for being with us today. I liked the comment you made about focusing on something when it upsets you. It made a lot of sense to me.

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | July 27, 2009, 8:18 am
  4. Bob –

    Thanks so much for being with us at RU today.

    I noticed you’re teaching Warrior Writer several times this fall in physical workshops. Do you have any future plans to teach the class online?

    Many thanks,
    Kelsey

    Posted by KelseyBrowning | July 27, 2009, 8:19 am
  5. Bob, I just checked out your website. Your service of critiquing submissions is something I’ve been looking for. Expect my query and ten pages soon.

    Posted by Wes | July 27, 2009, 10:36 am
  6. As far as mentors: different people can fill different roles. For example, I get writing advice on characters from Elizabeth George. I ask Susan Wiggs questions about the business, because I’ve watched Susan’s career take off. I use beta readers, rather than writers because readers approach a manuscript differently than a writer.

    I haven’t yet set up Warrior Writer on-line. I’ve had varied experiences teaching on line. A key to Warrior Writer is the small group synergy we have. Same with my Writers Workshop. Often someone in the group will come up with the key thing to help someone else. I did put together my eight hour Writers Presentation on DVD so that people can get it without having to travel to a workshop. Next year I will probably experiment with something on-line. I’ve considered the possibility of actually doing a Warrior Writer and having it broadcast live, but there are also privacy issues. Things can get pretty deep in the Workshop as we do try to delve into our fears and blind spots.

    I’m considering cities right now and my short list, which will get longer, looks like here in Seattle; Phoenix, Chicago, Washington DC area, Orlando. I’ll need help finding venues in those place so I’m open to suggestions. I’m doing an interesting thing with Central NY RWA in March. Doing my day long writers presentation as their Saturday workshop and then running my smaller Writers Workshop on Sunday. I’m in the process of talking to a couple of other groups about doing this combination.

    Posted by Bob | July 27, 2009, 3:10 pm
  7. Bob: Good to see you again, even if it is virtually. I love the idea of a workshop with an integrated approach to authorship. I’m having these conversations right now. How do I select projects I want to write that will ALSO be effective in reaching my career goals? Complex questions.

    Posted by Blythe Gifford | July 27, 2009, 3:50 pm
  8. Very hard questions. You have to be creative, but you also have to accept reality. It goes back to goals, the first thing we talk about in Warrior Writer. You have one goal that supersedes all other– got to know what it is.

    I don’t think you can write just to get published and get paid, although I am told there are people who do that. Every author I know, writes because they love it.

    Posted by Bob | July 27, 2009, 4:34 pm
  9. Hi Bob!

    Thanks for being here..great article, looking forward to part two! I just signed up for your newsletter and am eyeballing your novel writing course. =) I too would love to see your Warrior Writer course online….I’ll keep an eye out for that someday in the future too!
    Love this line…Every author I know, writes because they love it.
    It’s so true!

    carrie

    Posted by carrie | July 27, 2009, 8:16 pm
  10. So in Warrior Writer, in talking about the one goal that supersedes all others, are you talking about something deeper than the overall goal of being published?

    Because publication would be my first response if asked what that goal was for me. Is that a flippant answer? Should it be deeper than that? Or am I getting totally off tangent?

    I do love writing, and whether I achieve publication or not, I would still write. But striving for publication adds, for me, a sense of validity that–I’ll admit–makes me feel better about making writing a priority and taking my time away from other things, from other people and what I should or shouldn’t be doing instead.

    Pam

    Posted by Pamela Scheibe | July 27, 2009, 8:51 pm
  11. Getting published can be a goal, but it’s not specific enough. Published at what level, how many books, how long? In Warrior Writer we try to get specific with the strategic goal because all subordinate goals flow out of that.

    Posted by Bob | July 28, 2009, 11:56 am
  12. Okay…something like goal planning for the next five years or however long you plan ahead. Only more intense and much deeper, if I’m reading your posts right.

    I do have a specific publisher and line with that house targeted, a ‘five-year’ plan–nailed down to how many books per year (category) and where I want that to go from there. Your Warrior Writer program sounds as if it provides tools for the writer to get out of his/her own way.

    Posted by Pamela Scheibe | July 28, 2009, 8:07 pm
  13. The biggest thing is most people don’t have a plan other than get a book published. So it sounds like you are ahead of the curve. Then the point is to align all subordinate goals to support that plan.

    Posted by Bob | July 28, 2009, 8:08 pm
  14. I’m working on the aligning thing–getting out of my own way is one of my biggest challenges. Prioritizing, and finding that 25th hour in the day. But I am working at it, deligently. Are you planning on offering the Warrior Writer workshop down here in Southern California?

    Posted by Pamela Scheibe | July 28, 2009, 8:20 pm
    • I know about the search for the 25-hour day, and if anyone finds it, it will be you, Pamela Scheibe. Do you ever think about collaborating on a projects? There was a great team of Pam and Pam which is fondly remembered as
      ‘Pam-squared’. Ring any bells? Continued success to you.

      Posted by Pam Biggs | July 29, 2009, 12:30 am
  15. I’ll be doing it in San Diego 26-27 September– so yes.
    Check my web site on the workshops page and it lists everything and gives you a link to Eventbrite page with location and all other information.

    Posted by Bob | July 28, 2009, 8:24 pm

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