William Matthies is the founder and ex CEO of The Verity Group, at the time of its sale, a 400+ employee market research and database marketing company with offices in California and Costa Rica. He is currently CEO of Coyote Insight, LLC, a planning consultancy and the author of The 7 Keys to Change.
Thank you for this interview, Bill. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Be happy to. I’m a life-long entrepreneur from my days working two paper routes to the founding, growth, and successful sale of a number of ventures over the last 25 years. I’ve been writing in one form or another all my life including my book “The 7 Keys to Change”; the culmination of a 4+ year project beginning in 2008.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
Most people go through life accepting the changes that come their way. When it comes to change they are reactive rather than proactive. Things would turn out so much better were they to spend some time anticipating and planning for the future. Just a slight improvement, say 10%, would make a major difference in their life. There is a way to make that happen and that is the purpose of “The 7 Keys to Change”.
Who is your intended audience? Have you been able to crossover into other audiences as well?
There are two; business managers and individuals, which makes this a rare breed. A self-help business book. It’s not as crazy as it may sound.
Take employees out of any company and the company ceases to exist. So a company’s ability to achieve their goals is dependent upon their employees doing what they need to do. Many things can prevent that from happening including the employee’s inability to focus on their job due to personal issues.
Employees are first and foremost people with all the personal issues we all experience to varying degrees throughout our lives. Most do not proactively address change, they reactively respond to it when the situation arises. And the results are not good. Substance abuse, personal bankruptcy, 50% divorce rate, etc. are all indications of personal goal achievement failure. However the good news is improvement is possible and “7 Keys” provides a roadmap for improving personal and professional change management.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
I didn’t as much as it chose me. I wanted to improve my consultation and realized what I learned had value beyond the work I do for my clients. Writing a book and speaking to groups of business leaders and individuals is how I teach others what I have learned.
Do you ever experience self-doubts with your work?
Did and still do but not about the message. The doubt concerns my efforts to reach others. Writing and publishing a book is the easy part. Anyone can and many do. But making others aware of what you’ve done is the difficult part.
Where do you write? Do you have a favorite place?
I split my time between a home in Capistrano Beach, California and a downtown Seattle condominium. Very different writing environments with different results depending on the weather and my ability to self-discipline.
What kind of research did you have to do during the writing process?
I read countless books on planning, change management, philosophy, psychology, and self-help. I also interviewed 100+ business managers in the US, China, Japan, Korea, and Europe, and conducted original research with 514 adults between the ages of 18 and 70 regarding change.
Who is your publisher and how did you get accepted by them? Did you pitch your book yourself or go through an agent?
I self-published after exploring the option of working with a traditional publisher. I don’t believe that was ever a practical option given the state of book publishing these days, and in retrospect I have no regrets about self-publishing. I am a marketer by training and understand what it takes to sell a product. What I have to say, in the form of my book and my speaking engagements, is that product. No one can believe in that more than me so who better to oversee the marketing than me?
How are you promoting your book thus far?
The promotion is intertwined with each effort supporting the others, growing in scope all the time. I do virtual book tour interviews such as this one. I run ads in online sites appropriate for my book. I accept speaking engagements. I blog, both my own and as a guest blogger. I do a lot of podcast interviews. The problem is not finding outlets for what I have to say but instead finding the time necessary to do the best job possible.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Do not underestimate how little interest there will be for you and what you have to say, including your book. One day they may discover you but only if you work incredibly hard to make them aware of you and your message.
What’s next for you?
Continued promotion of my book and consultancy as well as an interesting (to me) personal project involving Cuba. Given the current US laws governing US citizens and Cuba, let’s let that last one be.
Thank you for this interview, Bill. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Certainly. You can learn more about me at www.williammatthies.com, my company at www.coyoteinsight.com, and my book at www.the7keystochange.com.