David Gruder, PhD, DCEP, is perhaps the world’s only clinical-organizational psychologist specializing in integrity development. Known as "The Integritizer," he is the leader in transpartisan nondenominational strategies for solving the massive integrity deficits that have caused today's vast social, economic, and political challenges. Dr. Gruder founded the "Integritize America Campaign," an integrity stimulus plan for renewing personal, relationship and societal integrity so we can finally co-create sustainable solutions to today's most challenging issues. His latest book, "THE NEW IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and our World," is the world's first step-by-step guide to attaining personal, relationship, and career fulfillment during difficult times without sacrificing ethics and integrity. It has won five book awards in the areas of "social change," (book of the year), "current events in politics and society" (honorable mention), "health & wellness" (book of the year), "self-help" (bronze medal) and "metapsychology" (book of the year). A professional speaker and trainer for almost three decades, Dr. Gruder speaks, trains, consults worldwide on how to "Integritize" citizens, government, communities, businesses, health care, education, religion, journalism, advocacy groups, and leadership. His clients have ranged from family-owned businesses to American Express work teams, from the Sanoviv Medical Institute to the San Diego Office of Education Management Academy, and from local politicians and executives to World Trade Organization ambassadors.
Welcome to The Writer's Life, David. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I am someone who has always struggled with having far more interests than time to pursue them. My first love was music and my life largely revolved around music and drama from elementary school through graduating from college. I started writing as a teenager for my high school paper and for my English and Social Studies classes. I honed my writing skills as my university newspaper’s executive editor and as a columnist, in addition to writing many long papers for various classes. I ultimately became administrative assistant to the president of my university, which was the natural outgrowth of many other leadership roles I had previously held. Among my responsibilities was being his principal speech writer. I later learned a lot about curriculum design and teaching while working in schools for a number of years while completing my doctorate in clinical and organizational psychology. I truly had no idea how much this wealth of experiences in performing, writing, teaching and leadership roles as a child, teenager and young adult would influence the directions my career has taken. But, the blessing of 20/20 hindsight easily reveals why my career as a psychologist has included writing, speaking, training, consulting, and leadership in addition to providing psychotherapy and mentoring.
Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
The New IQ is a five-award-winning book providing the world's first complete road-tested socially responsible guide to personal, relationship and career fulfillment during difficult times without sacrificing ethics and integrity. Part personal development road map, part health and wellness manual, part social change blueprint, and part staff development template, The New IQ shows how to coordinate personal, relationship, career, and leadership development in an elegantly efficient and streamlined way. My initial inspiration for The New IQ goes all the way back to 1969, when I attended the infamous Woodstock music festival as a fifteen-year-old. However, it wasn’t until after two profoundly traumatic events that occurred decades later that I finally found my voice for this book. I happened to be in the New York City area when 9/11 occurred, and for the ten days following that profound event in modern history. The second was my own personal twin towers falling six months after 9/11 when my first wife shocked me by ending our marriage in early 2002. The events surrounding 9/11 made it clear to me that I had to bring to the widest audience possible the things I know about how we lost our way with integrity. Recovering from a divorce I would never have predicted brought into focus some key pieces about integrity I hadn’t known were central to a complete understanding of integrity. Finding ways to harvest profound gifts from these two traumas as part of healing them left me ready to finally write The New IQ.
What kind of research was involved in writing The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World?
The bulk of my research had occurred years earlier, when I was studying what “natural developers” intuitively do to recover from traumatic experiences and build life fulfillment. I first wrote about natural developers in a now-out-of-print book that my first wife and I co-authored, entitled Sensible Self-Help. As I wrote The New IQ I took another look at that research through the prism of integrity. I was dazzled to discover that the seven core life skills natural developers rely on for personal healing and life fulfillment also appear to be equally necessary for relationship, citizenship and leadership development.
How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?
I retained in my book contract the right to provide input and sign off on the final version of the book cover. My publisher was initially quite resistant to my input but by the end of the process he thanked me for it. He said he gradually learned two important things about me: I only spoke up when I had something truly valuable to add and I actually knew enough about cover design to help improve it.
Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?
Quite smooth, I would say. Especially after having heard horror stories from so many other authors.
For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?
About 1½ years.
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 didn’t and I never have used one, although I considered the possibility with both of the print books I have written so far. If it ever seems to me that utilizing an agent might useful I would certainly go that route. It’s hard for me to imagine, though, unless I was interested in securing a multiple-book deal.
Do you plan subsequent books?
Yes. I’m currently incubating a couple of possibilities for my next one. They are related to the topic of integrity but I’m not yet ready to go public with the specifics. Those who follow me on Facebook or Twitter will be among the first to know.
Are you a morning writer or a night writer?
As a night person I often find myself inspired late at night. However, I can happily write at almost any time of day. What is far more important to me than time of day is chunks of time. I write most prolifically when I marathon. Writing in short spurts is not my favorite way to write.
If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?
Before writing the book, I would invest in market research to discover the intersection among what I wanted to write about, what my target population was most thirsty to be provided with, and my capacity to effectively reach massive numbers of those people.
How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?
Self-promotion is the only kind of promotion there is, in my opinion. Authors should count on paying others to assist us in effective self-promotion. But, in the end, absolutely no one other than the author can provide customized nuanced real-time responses to the questions people raise and needs people have regarding our topic. I have used many online and offline promotion methods. Offline has included printing publicity postcards, providing massive numbers of media interviews, speaking every chance I can get, sending multiple press releases, sending copies of the book to reviewers, media people and other influencers, writing articles for print media, and writing letters to the editor. Online has included constantly upgrading my website, maintaining my IntegrityWatch Blog, posting on other people’s blogs, utilizing social networking websites, distributing articles and press releases via aggregator websites, doing internet radio, podcasts and teleclasses, and creating my own videos and audios.
Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?
My words are mostly for non-fiction writers. Build your platform for selling the book before you finish the book. Write at the intersection of what you are truly passionate about and what potential readers are already thirsty for. Write the book in a marketing-friendly way, rather than writing it for the sake of the content only. Allow your passion to shine through on every page. Understand each step in the book creation, production and marketing process, from soup to nuts. Invest in experts who specialize in the parts of the process you don’t have the expertise, passion, objectivity or time to do yourself. Remember that writing a book is about 15% of the book process – the rest is about securing a publisher, pre-production, printing, distribution and marketing. Get really, really good at and passionate about effective book marketing – don’t expect a publisher to rescue you from this task. Be clear about the upscale backend you are selling your book to generate interest in, have that backend fully developed, and develop effective strategies to convert book buyers into upscale customers. Learn to love the entire process or don’t bother doing it. And once you start marketing, be prepared to persist, persist, persist.
Thank you for coming, David! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?
Readers can find me at www.TheNewIQ.com. They can purchase The New IQ there, through major online book vendors like Amazon, through the chains or through independent bookstores via special order. However, the accompanying workbook and other resources like my Integrity Stimulus Plan are only available through my website.