Renowned Wall Street analyst Tim Kellis takes on what could be considered society’s biggest problem today: divorce. The journey that led to him tackling such a significant issue was both personal and professional. After a successful career that eventually landed him on Wall Street, Tim met what he thought was the girl of his dreams, only to see that relationship end with bitterness and anger. The journey included work with a marital therapist, and after he discovered the therapist wasn’t really helping decided to tackle the issue himself.
Ambition and a strong aptitude for math helped lead Kellis to discover how to make relationships work. His math skills led directly to an engineering degree, nine years in the telecommunications industry, an MBA in finance, and finally on to Wall Street, where he became the very first semiconductor analyst to focus on the communications market.
After publishing a 300-page initiation piece entitled Initiating Coverage of the Semiconductor Industry: Riding the Bandwidth Wave, Kellis became a leading semiconductor analyst at one of the biggest firms on Wall Street. The experience he gained as a Wall Street analyst provided an excellent backdrop for becoming an expert on relationships, and resulted in his relationship book entitled Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage.
You can visit his website at www.happyrelationships.com or his blog at www.happymarriages.com.
Welcome to The Writer's Life, Tim. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
Thank you. Well, I grew up relatively poor in St. Louis. My dad was a cab driver for 22 years and my mom a secretary. I put myself through engineering school, spent 9 years in the communications market, got my MBA in finance and worked on Wall Street as a semiconductor analyst for over 10 years. I left my Wall Street job in January 2008 to focus full time on promoting my book.
The funny thing about the question of how long I’ve been writing is I never imagined myself as a writer. In fact, I didn’t really even like to read as a kid. I didn’t fall in love with reading until I became an adult, and have been a voracious reader of all things non-fiction since then.
I kind of slipped into a writing career by becoming a Wall Street analyst. I fell in love with the stock market in 1986 when my first investment turned out successful, and I made around $30,000. My success led to a second career of investing in stocks where I spent my spare time researching their fundamentals, thus leading to my job as a semiconductor analyst after getting my MBA.
And one of the fundamental aspects of a Wall Street analyst is “publish or perish”, where you have to continually write up updates on the stocks you follow. You also begin by publishing what is known as an initial report on your companies. My initiation report on the communications semiconductor industry, a subsector of the semiconductor industry where I was the first on Wall Street to focus on, was 300 pages.
So I kind of stumbled into the business of being a writer. And then I met the girl I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and after that relationship fell apart decided to use my experience writing on Wall Street to write a book on relationships.
Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
The journey through “Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage” includes a trip through history, where the most significant lessons civilization has learned over the last few thousand years are used to demonstrate not only the way to set up a positive relationship, but the causes of that relationship turning negative.
Additionally, I dive into the science of psychology to answer the most basic question anyone asks who goes through the pain of divorce, “why didn’t we work out”?
The basic premise of the book is that we have a 50% divorce rate yet there doesn’t appear to be anything happening to help solve this problem. Just because divorce has become a significant part of our culture doesn’t mean we should simply sit back while countless families suffer through the agony of splitting up.
The toll to society tomorrow because of our culture of divorce today is impossible to determine but future generations will have to deal with this change to the culture that has occurred over the last two generations.
For the first time in history I elaborate on a psychological solution to our psychological problems so that couples can learn how to change the direction of their negative relationships. In essence, the psychological objective is to understand what happens mentally between two people who make one of the most important decisions of their lives, to get married.
The objective of this book is to provide real, logical help to couples so that they can learn how to stay out of the divorce trap. The bottom line is to learn how to set up your relationship so that you can maintain a happy, healthy, harmonious, loving, affectionate, intimate marriage.
And why did I write this book? After a successful career, and at the height of the market in 2000, I met the girl whom I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. We fell in love, got engaged, fought and tried to get help from a marital therapist. When I realized the therapist wasn’t really helping I decided to tackle the issue myself.
What kind of research was involved in writing Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage?
The extensive research that went into writing this book included reading over 100 books over a 10 month period, at 2 ½ books a week. I then spent 9 months writing. This is probably one of the most researched books ever written.
The subject matter of the 100 books was sociology, religion, capitalism, philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, relationship books and spirituality. My joke is that all of the books read were non-fiction, with the lone exception of the relationship books. My first title concept was “Men Are From Earth, Women Are From Earth” to demonstrate just that point. And my job will not be finished until I get my message out to the public.
If you would like to read the result of all of this effort please visit the following link for a review of the book that was just posted last week:
And the other element that went into the research was my own personal experience. I’ve often wondered why people think that marital therapists are experts at relationship because most of us now have experiences in relationships. The most important backdrop to my background, though, is the fact that my parents are still married. This is important because of my resolve that divorce is not an option to me. My parents taught me that you stick it out when you have difficulty in your marriage, and boy did they have a lot of problems in theirs. I’ve included an autobiographical section in the middle of the book to put a personal touch on it.
How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?
Actually, I didn’t have any say into the design of the book cover. I was introduced to a graphics designer by a PR firm I had hired last year. I met with her and discussed my book project. She actually sent over one book cover design concept, that of a silhouette of a couple walking on the beach with their two kids.
I immediately fell in love with the design. There is so much symbolism in that design. The obvious one is the simple love shown by the family walking on the beach. More importantly water is symbolic of spiritualism, and the ultimate objective of my book is to teach couples the importance of symbolism, that the connection we make that leads to marriage is much more important than the materialistic world of the here and now.
If couples were to only understand the timelessness of our spiritual connection with the one we love then they would hopefully have the motivation to stay married and resolve those marital conflicts, instead of letting them fester and then decide on divorce.
Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?
I think it is safe to say that this ride has been bumpier than I had ever expected. I figured if I wrote a book that solved the marriage problem then my readers would hear about my message, and because of the magnitude of the marriage problem, would find their way to my book.
Boy was I wrong!!!
I actually wrote my book in 2002-2003. I figured after it was written I would get a hold of an agent or publisher, tell them I finally solved the marriage problem, and that would basically be it. I spent over a year trying that route, and my only success was getting one agent to actually look at my manuscript. He read the first few pages, said there was too much information, that the average reader reads one book a year, and that he couldn’t get it published.
And then I needed to start making money. So I changed directions, began to look at getting back on Wall Street, and landed a job in Boca Raton, FL, again as a semiconductor analyst.
But my book project kept drawing me back, like some huge magnet trying to point me in the right direction. After about 3 years working again I decided it was time to get back to my book project. I left my Wall Street job in January of 2008, flush with enough funds to keep me going until book sales took off, to focus full time on promoting my book. The first thing I did was to self-publish my first batch of books.
And my challenges had only just begun. I have actually spent the last year focused full time, spending 12-15 hours a day, promoting my book. I believe I have figured out almost everything that doesn’t work but continue to trudge along hoping to find my formula for success.
Over the last year I have worked with 2 PR firms which landed me a total of 4 TV appearances and 2 public appearances, and that’s it. In fact, in my first public appearance I spoke for 2 hours and 15 minutes, going through all 166 PowerPoint slides that basically summed up the content of my book, to two people, yes two people. I was promised around 50, but only two showed up. Neither PR firm was able to get me in any print media or radio interviews.
On my own I was able to obtain my first national TV appearance, on Lifetime’s The Balancing Act, and 4 radio interviews. During that same time I had a 13 week radio show, radio ads, TV ads, newspaper ads, extensive Internet SEO work, a marketing partnership with numerous Internet websites, began building my social networks, worked with my first couple and had my first print appearance in The Palm Beach Post. I had even tried for about 6 months to get into the concert promotion business, hoping to use concerts as a medium for promoting my Happy Relationships brand.
Since January of this year I have picked up the pressure on myself by an order of magnitude to increase my focus. Today I spend most of my time working on the Internet. I have built my Facebook page up to almost 2,000 people, my LinkedIn page to over 1,600 people, not to mention the myriad of other social web sites I am on.
And I really picked up my focus on building up my blog, posting between 2-3 articles a week. I spend a lot of time promoting my blog, posting my blog comments on as many web sites as I can find. I am also in the middle of a 2 month blog tour on relationships, sponsored by Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book Promotion.
And I am in the process of revamping my main web site at HappyRelationships.com to organize it into a social site dedicated to those who want to figure out how to create the relationship they always imagined.
Most importantly I have realized the significance of getting in front of people. I am in the process of organizing a Happy Relationships Speaker Series with my friends at Conscious Living Partnership, an organization whose mission is to help others understand the need to comprehend their own lives. I am also going to organize mini workshops where I get to interact with small groups of people interested in figuring out their relationships. I even have my book in Rachael Ray’s hands through a friend of mine who knows her husband.
I have appeared 4 times, out of a total of 13 scheduled appearances, on a radio show in San Antonio, TX called Marriage 101, am talking to a friend about 3 appearances on her radio show, had initial discussions with a few other friends about other radio appearances, and have had initial discussion with a few folks about putting together a TV show.
Where I thought the path to success was imminent I now realize that no path to success is without the trials and tribulations, and focus, needed to get my message in front of people. I am learning more and more every day that I have to live by my dictum, “there is no such thing as a failure who keeps trying, coasting to the bottom is the only disgrace”.
For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?
Actually my book is self published. As I said I figured after I wrote it that I would go the traditional route and get it published. But I am not a trained psychologists with years of work in the marital therapy field, so I wasn’t successful going that route.
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’s necessary to have one?
I was only able to get one agent to read my manuscript, and his conclusion was that the book was too complicated for the general public. Obviously getting an agent is the traditional route for getting a book published. If a writer is interested in getting a book published by an established publisher then yes I do think it is necessary to find an agent.
Do you plan subsequent books?
The funny thing about that question is the way my next book idea came about. I have had many advisors over the last year hound me on simplifying my message. My continuous response had always been that there are no “7 Steps to a Happy Marriage”, marriages are way too complex.
But as I mentioned the ultimate objective in my book is to teach couples the notion of spirituality, so I have developed the 10 steps to spirituality. As soon as I have the time I will write that book. And there are more right behind that one.
Are you a morning writer or a night writer?
My book was written in the morning. After I completed the 10 months of research that went into the book I sat down to write it. The first, and most important step, was putting together an outline that defined the flow of the content. After spending a couple of months organizing the outline I sat down for the next 9 months to write. I would basically start writing first thing in the morning and spend 4-6 hours behind the computer, before retiring the computer for another day.
If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?
Again, I believe I have spent the last year figuring out what doesn’t work in promoting my book. What is important to understand is the basic concept of my book is a non-fiction self-help book. I realize that my book on relationships, because book readers are flooded with relationship books, will not sell itself. This has to be a package deal. I must get in front of audiences and present the depth and breadth of my message so they can understand that this is really the only book that presents a solution to the marriage problem by covering basically every concept imaginable that involves relationships, from the establishment of the positive relationship to the use of quantum physics to prove the notion of free will.
And to take the notion that if money was not object one step further, I would produce a TV show. Ultimately my show will become the next Dr. Phil show, by replacing his message of behavioral advice with a show that actually does solve problems couples face.
How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?
Well we all know that publishers do very little to promote the average book, so self promotion is a must for any upcoming writer who wants to be successful. As I mentioned, my offline promotional activities have included TV, radio and print, and my focus moving forward will be on public appearances. My online activity has included setting up my own home page, regular posts to my blog and other blogs, my current blog tour, and the many social networks I belong to. I currently have over 1,900 people in my Facebook network and 1,600 in my LinkedIn network.
Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?
Ultimately I believe the biggest single factor to success if focus. If you really want to be a published author then it takes the commitment to see the project through to its completion. My favorite quote is “there is no such thing as a failure who keeps trying, coasting to the bottom is the only disgrace”.
Thank you for coming, Tim Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?
I am currently in the middle of a two month blog tour. In conjunction with this tour, I have my book priced at 20% off. You can pick up your copy today by visiting the following site:
Please feel free to visit my home page at:
And I have a blog where I post frequently at:
Thank you all for your time.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Interview with Relationship Expert Tim Kellis on Writing, Publishing and Promoting His New Book