Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Interview with Life Coach Sheri Kaye Hoff, Author of Keys to Living Joyfully
Sheri Kaye Hoff is a Life Coach and owner of the Sheri K Hoff International Coaching Company. She also teaches college classes as an adjunct faculty member and has earned her Master of Arts in Organizational Management. Her new book, Keys to Living Joyfully, offers a way of living a meaningful, successful and joy filled life. We interviewed Sheri to find out more about her new book, Keys to Living Joyfully, and her life as a published author.
Welcome to The Writer's Life, Sheri. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I am a life coach, wife, and mother to three children. I also teach at a college part-time and enjoy working with students. I have been writing poems, short stories, and articles since I was able to hold a pencil. However, I dreamed about writing and publishing a book for about twenty years. I thought my book would be the next greatest American fiction novel, but I found that I gravitated more towards motivational and inspirational writing. I decided to follow where my heart was leading me, and I left my full-time position at a college last spring in order to write my first book, Keys to Living Joyfully. I taught college classes part-time while I worked on my book. Then, I started blogging on my website and publishing poetry on authorsden.com. I began to experience great joy in my writing, and I only write when I feel inspired.
Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
When I was 17, my 15-year-old brother died tragically. This altered the path of my life. I was scheduled to attend an east coast college and I could not bear to leave my parents when they were grieving. For years after my brother’s death, I felt numb and thought I did not deserve to be truly happy ever again. Gradually, I healed, but still struggled with on and off depression. I married my husband and gave birth to three beautiful children. I worked in a career that I loved; yet, I did not truly enjoy my success. I read hundreds of books on leadership and motivation. When I went deeper into my spiritual life, I experienced a way to merge my personal leadership skills and my spirituality. My life clicked into place. I became truly happy, and I felt so free. I, then, had a deep desire to share my keys with others. I hoped that people would be inspired to tap their sources of joy. This desire created my book idea. I have been receiving personal stories from my readers telling me that their hearts have been touched. Each person seems to have a different part of the book that is most meaningful. I feel so blessed and grateful.
What kind of research was involved in writing Keys to Living Joyfully?
Over the years, I have read hundreds of self-help, training, leadership, and spiritual books. My master’s degree is in organizational management and I am working on doctoral studies in leadership. I have always been interested in motivation, spirituality, success, and happiness. This book is a culmination of my life’s work and interest in being able to not only be successful, but also more importantly be happy and joyful.
How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?
I worked very closely with the graphic designer, giving her my vision for the book, then she came up with three options, we chose one and made some adjustments. She spent a couple of hours talking with me about my book, which gave her the feel of the work. She was absolutely superb.
Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?
It has been very smooth. I have had the feeling several times that I was destined to write this book. I did have a huge learning curve regarding publishing, which I absorbed in a very short amount of time. At times, I felt overloaded. Overall, I found that the ride to becoming a published author was invigorating.
For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?
I chose to publish my own work through createspace. From the time, I decided to write seriously, I wrote the book in five and a half weeks and published within five months.
Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it is necessary to have one?
I do not have an agent, though I may consider it in the future. I plan to write many books and want to focus mainly on the writing and leave the other details to someone else.
Do you plan subsequent books?
I do have another book in process. It is a life and career guide for people suffering from tragic events and posttraumatic stress disorder. It is very difficult to recover from an unexpected tragic event. Many people do not ever fully recover. We know this, in part, from studies that were conducted with Holocaust survivors. I strongly believe that people should not only be able to recover, but live triumphant, successful, and beautiful lives. I am a personal example of someone who suffered from PTSD and then went on to live a successful and happy life.
I also write poetry continuously and may come out with a book of inspirational poems.
Are you a morning writer or a night writer?
I am most creative and inspired between about 9 am and 11 am in the morning. Then I hit another creative spurt between 9 pm and Midnight. However, some days, I will have a twelve or more hour writing spurt. I only write when I am inspired.
If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?
I would host a huge “Keys to Living Joyfully” conference in either St. Thomas or Hawaii. People would come to receive spa treatments, healthy food, and then work through some of my Keys in a beautiful, relaxing environment. My goal would be to have people live feeling physically, mentally, and spiritually renewed.
How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?
I think self-promotion is highly important. I have a website, am a featured author on authorsden, write articles for ezine, blog, and work with social internet groups like Facebook, twitter, MySpace, Squidoo, Ping, and LinkedIn. Offline, I do guest speaking events and work with local bookstores for booksignings. I also sent books to coaches and authors that I really admire and most of them responded back to me with positive feedback.
Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?
In today’s world, if you have a dream to become published, you have a great opportunity to self-publish. I chose to self-publish because I wanted my book on the market fast. I wanted my life-coaching clients to be able to purchase and use it immediately. I also felt that my message needed to be heard. The bottom line is that your writing needs to be great and on target for the people that you want to reach. If you have that, you can make it happen, whether you self-publish or land a contract. I would also add that it is important to mastermind with a few great people. I did that with Michele Caron (she wrote the foreword for the book), a couple of close mentors (business and personal), and my graphic designer. When everyone agreed that the book was a high quality creation, I knew that I had something great to offer the public.
Thank you for this interview, Sheri! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?
You can purchase my book on Amazon and you can find me at www.lifeisjoyful.org . You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to purchase a signed copy.