Interview with Robert Boich 'Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting!'

Robert Boich was born in Phoenix Arizona. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado and attended Ohio Northern University where he graduated with a law degree. The author also received his LLM in Taxation from Boston University. The author is currently working on his second book, a novel based on World War I and the Battle of Verdun. He lives in Dublin, Ohio with his wife and children. You can visit his website at www.rwboich.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Robert. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I'm an attorney by trade. I have a very limited practice these days, and have chosen to devote most of my time to my writing and my family. I have three little ones: ages five, seven, and nine. I've been writing for a little over three years now. I've always wanted to write. I'm probably no different than a lot of aspiring authors out there; over the years I've taken a couple stabs at writing a novel, but for one reason or another, my efforts got sidetracked.


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

The materials for my book came from my journaling during the final days of my active addiction to drugs and alcohol, and my first six months of recovery. The idea for the book came from one of my counselors in rehab. Originally, my writings and observations were only intended to be shared with my fellow group members in rehab or with other attendees of various 12-step meetings I was frequenting on a regular basis. It was towards the end of my outpatient rehab program that one of my counselors suggested that I put my writings and ideas into a book. He was of the opinion that my observations might be able to help other addicts and alcoholics who were struggling with substance abuse issues; maybe even save a life.


What kind of research was involved in writing your book?

Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting! is based on my years, decades for that matter, of substance abuse: both alcohol and drug. So in effect, I really didn't have to do any research on how I got to my bottom; the only real research was in documenting the steps that I took, which were necessary in order for me to begin living a sober lifestyle. The process involves a lot of change. The same counselor that encouraged me to write the book also told our group that an addict only had a change one thing: everything.


Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

The process has had its ups and downs. I was able to get my manuscript read by one of the major publishing houses. The initial editor felt the project was worth pursuing, and sent it on to the next level. That's as far as things went. The problem wasn't my story, or the quality of my writing, as much as it was the financial reality of the situation. My story was intended for a niche market. The next step was getting my story to an agent, who was also quite encouraging. She was willing to help me market my story to other publishers, but without an author’s platform, she felt it would be difficult to find a publisher. She liked my work, and felt the project could be moderately successful. She suggested that I contact iUniverse, an assisted, self-publishing company, that one of her friends had used.


For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

It didn't take too long; from the end of August to the middle of March. It was a lot of work. It seemed like I was always reviewing something, or signing off on some minor style change, cover art, bio, and things like that.

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 do not have an agent in the literal sense. I have no contract with the individual who read my manuscript, and helped me find a way to get my book published. I don't believe she is taking any new clients at this time, so I will refrain from sharing her identity with you. I can tell you that her encouragement meant a lot to me, and that her positive assessment of my manuscript, encouraged me to pursue its publication.


Do you plan subsequent books?

Yes, in fact, I'm working on a new project right now. It's a novel based on World War I and the Battle of Verdun. It's a lot different than my first project, but I'm really enjoying the process.


Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

I like to write at home. I have a small office that I've managed to cram full with research materials, maps, and other World War I memorabilia. I like to start in the morning, before my wife and children are up.


If money were no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

As far as Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting! goes, that's a tough question. My goal in writing the book wasn't to make money or become famous; it was to help other people who were struggling with a substance abuse problem. That being said, if money were no object, I would probably give the book away to any rehab centers, hospitals, halfway houses or other organizations that were interested in circulating the story.


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 very important, especially for those of us who have self-published our work. As far as off-line promotion, for me, it's been by word-of-mouth to friends and family. I've also given copies of my book to counselors in rehab facilities that I have relationships with. I have utilized the marketing departments from my publisher,iUniverse, for a ninety day media marketing effort, as well as two e-mail campaigns. All these efforts have helped, but the best thing I have done is to enter my book in the 2009 Reader Views Literary Award Program. In fact, that's why you're reading this interview right now. My book, won the Pump Up Your Book Award for the Best Regional Book of the Year.


What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

It takes a lot of time and effort to write a book. In addition, there is a tremendous amount of competition out there, and rejection can be a tough pill to swallow. One of the things I learned early on is that many successful writers had a difficult time getting published the first time. That's just the way the business is. Fortunately, there are a lot of different ways to get published these days. Modern technology has made it possible for anyone to get their work published. Personally, I wasn't going to give up. The encouragement I received from the individuals who read my manuscript convinced me that I was doing the right thing.


Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Don't give up. If you can put the time and effort into writing it, you can get it published by someone, somewhere. There are a lot of options out there today.

Thank you for your interview, Robert. I wish you much success!
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