Conversations on the Bench is an inspirational book that chronicles a number of conversations between two friends, Robbie and Sebastian. Most of the conversations took place on a bench outside a local pub or outside a restaurant or at a golf course. Basically, the conversations span a variety of topics but in each conversation Sebastian provides a lesson to Robbie. These are life lessons that you pick up along the way—things that you can use in business situations, personal relationship, and perspectives on life and living life that you may not have considered. There’s no book where you can go look them all up…at least until I wrote Conversations on the Bench. It’s wit and wisdom from Sebastian, who was a remarkable individual with a very unique set of life experiences, as could only be told by Sebastian. So it is a guide book of sorts, a guide book in life and a primer for life. http://www.diggercartwright.com/Blog/Latest
Yes, Conversations on the Bench was inspired by true events and true people. The story really revolves around Sebastian Peréy and his young friend Robbie and their conversations over a period of years. Robbie met Sebastian in the mid-1990s. They both worked at a hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Robbie was a full-time college student studying finance, and worked full time. Sebastian worked two jobs—tax investigator by day and hotel reservationist by night—but had an educational background in economics. They would spend hours talking about anything and everything, and thus began a lifelong friendship. After Robbie graduated from college, Sebastian had some very poignant words of wisdom and anecdotes to share to help the young college grad. Robbie ended up starting his own successful business at about the same time that Sebastian was forced to retire due to health issues. That gave them the opportunity to spend a lot of time together, Sebastian mentoring Robbie and giving him encouragement and Robbie integrating Sebastian in the business as much as possible. They ended up starting a think tank, Thinking Outside the Boxe, to share their writings about any topic they could debate as well as their economic commentaries and research. As Sebastian’s health declined, Robbie was there to offer support and encouragement. These two guys had this great brotherly relationship. Robbie even referred to Sebastian on many occasions as the brother he never had. And I think Sebastian liked that and really thought of Robbie as his little brother. He was there for Robbie to give him advice on women, relationships, business, whatever, and all the advice came from Sebastian’s own experiences. It’s the type of friendship that very few people are lucky enough to find in this life. It’s really just a heartwarming and truly inspirational friendship that I have recounted in Conversations on the Bench. http://www.diggercartwright.com/Blog/Latest
Robbie actually encouraged me to write the book. We were playing golf after the Thinking Outside the Boxe symposium that I attended in 2007 in Myrtle Beach, and he asked if I would be interested in writing this book that told Sebastian’s story. I was a little hesitant at first since I had never written a nonfiction book before, but as I talked to Sebastian over the course of a couple days, I realized that I needed to write this book. I felt that Sebastian’s story need to be told and memorialized in a work that other people could benefit from for years to come. So, Robbie and I started a series of conversations of our own so that I could get an understanding of what he and Sebastian had talked about over the years. I finished the manuscript in 2012, so it was a project that was five years in the making. It didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of conversations with Robbie to really get to know the situation and to get to know Sebastian, but it was time well spent. Sebastian’s story needed to be told, and I told it.
Each step of the process has its own unique challenges. The writing process is a challenge unto itself. While I’m generally pretty disciplined at sitting down and writing during the time I had schedule for that, I inevitably get interrupted or delayed or sidetracked. That’s one problem. Occasionally, I’ll be writing and box myself in with the storyline. I usually have an outline but the story itself as I’m writing it is pretty fluid. I change things while I’m writing. I’ll take the story in a bit of a different direction or I’ll introduce something that changes the outline a bit. So, writing itself is a bit of a challenge, but I like that. It keeps things interesting. I do my best to catch errors in the manuscript while I’m writing to make the editing process a little smoother, but I’m a writer and not an editor. I’ve been lucky to work with some really good people who have handled the editing process. They’ve gotten to know my writing style and tone, so they don’t go crazy in making edits that affect the story, characters, tone or style. Probably the biggest challenge is marketing the books. I made the decision many years ago to go the self-publishing route, so I’ve turned the entire process into a business. As with any business there a number of challenges, and I’ve found that marketing and gaining exposure has historically been the hardest part of the process. Luckily, I’ve built a good team for marketing, so it’s not as difficult as it once was, particularly with the various social media platforms that allow you to reach far more people than through traditional marketing methods.
Miss Matisse: Most people underestimate just how powerful social media marketing can truly be! It’s a great thing when you can market yourself, because you are the only one who really knows your product like the back of your hand, unlike anyone else. What else can we expect to see from Digger Cartwright in the near future besides the Money, Power, Greed, Sex and Revenge of Gems & Jewels?
Digger Cartwright: For the near future, I’ll probably continue with the Gems & Jewels series. That’s been on my mind for a while, and I’d like to finish Books II-V next. I’ll be doing a lot of commentaries for ThinkingOutsideTheBoxe.com, the think tank. I generally participate in their annual symposium in December and some of their quarterly champagne summits. You’ll be hearing my thoughts on politics, the economy, business and society. I’m in the process of developing a series of books that is a bit futuristic looking at what America and the world may look like in thirty years. I’m far from actually starting to write that, but that’s on the drawing board. I have plans for a sequel to The Versailles Conspiracy and The Maynwarings. Of course, time is always at a premium, so I’ll just take these projects one at a time. But I’ll say this, if you’ve liked what I’ve done so far, you’re going to love what I have planned. The best may be yet to come.
Miss Matisse: I am seriously laughing hysterically right now at your comment about someone worrying about another person living in their parents’ basement. It’s so true! Why care about what others think of you? Live your life! Speaking of yourself…What would you say has been the most successful way for self-promoting of your books?
Digger Cartwright: The world of social media and the internet are great ways to reach millions of readers and engage them. You can interact with people on Facebook and Twitter that are of like interests. You can reach hundreds of readers groups online who love to read indie authors’ work. You’re able to reach people all over the world online and with social media while you get lost in the shuffle on places like Amazon.com.
At the end of the day, there’s no better way to promote your work than word of mouth. You have a friend who reads the book and makes comments on their social media profiles. Their friends see it and they take an interest. They post something and so on and so forth. And of course, it always helps to have fair, impartial, and unbiased reviews by known or reputable reviewers, and there are plenty of them on Amazon and other places. These aren’t paid reviews; these are reviewers who consider various genres and my take an interest in your book to review. It always helps to have people who have bought your book on Amazon leave a comment or review or rating.
There’s really no one way that’s better than all the rest. It’s actually a combination of efforts that help expand the presence of the book and build an interest in it. Self-published authors should use all the tools at their disposal and that are financially available to promote their work. It becomes a lot easier once you gain a following, so make sure you engage with fans and keep producing quality work.
Miss Matisse: I totally agree with you! A writer does have to be in a certain mindset in order to produce their best work. Otherwise it can throw the whole story off! So…sticking with the same subject, have you ever made any mistakes in your field that you would like to advise others against?
Digger Cartwright: Stay productive. Keep writing. Don’t take too much time off between books. If you do, you’re likely going to become complacent and take your time before starting the next book. As soon as your current manuscript is with the editor, get to work on the next one. If you’re serious about writing, keep producing as much as you can without sacrificing quality while you can when you can. The day may come when you don’t have the time or the creative juices dry up. I find that if I take too much time off between books that it becomes more and more difficult to start the next one.