Welcome to the forty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today’s is with autobiographer & motivational speaker Gary Goldstein. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here.
Morgen: Hi Gary. You’re a motivational speaker and author of your autobiography, please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.
Gary: I am a single, 49 year old male from Brooklyn, New York who graduated from college with a B.A. in journalism, but ironically, aside from the school paper, it wasn’t until I was incarcerated in 1998 that I really began to put my craft to use.
Morgen: I’ve classed your book as an autobiography, you may like to clarify that, and have you considered other genres?
Gary: My first published book, “Jew in Jail”, is true crime, as it is the story of the nearly six years I spent incarcerated in several upstate New York facilities upon my plea of guilty to robbery, which was a direct result of my past addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling. I have considered other genres too, including comedy, documentary and others.
Morgen: True crime is hugely popular, especially autobiographical. What have you had published to-date? How much of the marketing do you do?
Gary: I submitted “Jew in Jail” for several competitions, and although I didn’t win, I feel that just by submitting it, I gained additional exposure at no cost to me!
Morgen: Absolutely. I always like to imagine the judge/s sitting down to read it. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Gary: I do not have an agent, as I am a self-published author on a tight budget. I do think they are extremely helpful to an author’s success, but I wouldn’t use the word vital.
Morgen: I’m hearing that a lot (and I know many agents are concerned about the future). Is your book available as an eBook? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
Gary: I am currently in the process of getting my book onto Kindle and Pubit. I, personally, prefer to read hard copies of the book, as I am old fashioned and prefer to physically turn the pages myself!
Morgen: From the responses so far, I’d say (despite Amazon selling more electronic), the ‘real’ book has the edge. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Gary: I have had more than my share of rejection, but continue to persevere, since I am well aware of the many thousands of authors who attempt to get their books promoted in this very competitive field, and when I do achieve success, it will feel that much more special and gratifying.
Morgen: Absolutely. That’s exactly what I think (and I’m pleased to say many of the authors in these interviews). What are you working on at the moment / next?
Gary: I have my next book in my head, and it deals with the internet in general, and chatrooms in particular.
MB: Ooh interesting. Come along to http://www.litopia.com/radio/live-events one Friday or Sunday evening (8pm / 6.30pm UK-time respectively) and you’ll see what our chatroom’s like. :) Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Gary: I do not write every day, but when I do write, I can go on for hours at a time once I get a good flow. The most I have written in one day is roughly 100 pages.
Morgen: Wow… I did 100 pages (of script) for http://scriptfrenzy.org April 2010 but that took a month (although on and off). What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Gary: I very rarely get writer’s block myself, and think it is just a matter of one losing focus. On the rare occasions that it does happen to me, I usually just turn on some music and try to relax.
Morgen: Me too, or I do another project (writing-related or otherwise) and come back to it. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Gary: My favorite part of my writing life is knowing when I crafted something great that I want to share with readers. The least favorite part of my writing is the long, arduous task of getting noticed.
Morgen: Me too, although it’s becoming oh so worth it. :) If anything, what has been your biggest surprise about writing?
Gary: That I am actually very good at it and have been told so by many people.
Morgen: Yay! My guys have been telling me that my writing has never been better, which is great! Again, it’s practice. Almost like I can read sheet music (which I can’t). What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Gary: To never stop writing, put all their innermost thoughts on paper, and continue to persevere to get noticed, since anything worthwhile requires a lot of work and dedication.
Morgen: It does; a successful writer is a writer who never gave up. What do you like to read?
Gary: I like to read non-fiction, or anything based on the truth in our world.
Morgen: Not some biographies then. :) Only kidding, I’m sure they’re all 100% factual. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Gary: I am on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and LinkedIn, and they are great places to share tips, meet other authors, and market/promote a book. They also have a global reach, and in that respect, I find them invaluable.
Morgen: Aren’t they great? Although I’m yet to explore Goodreads. Off to do it now… ah yes, I recognise it. Noted for another time. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Morgen: Your ‘dedication’ page is very moving (my father died, of dementia and other complications, September 2011 so I can totally relate to your feelings) and I do regret the fact that he’s not here to see what I’m achieving, although I’m sure they’d both be very proud of us Gary. What do you think the future holds for a writer generally?
Gary: Writing will always be an important aspect of life, but I think the increased popularity of the internet threatens to decrease the amount of book readership, since humans today are all about instant gratification, rather than curling up with a good book by the fireplace.
Morgen: Sad but true in a lot of cases. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Gary: Being a self-published author, rather than a well-known, famous writer with a large PR firm and publishing company representing me, I find this interview to be not only crucial to my success, but a most-welcomed addition for getting the word about “Jew in Jail” out to the public. Thank you very much for this opportunity Morgen.
Morgen: You’re so very welcome. Thank you and take care.
Gary Goldstein was born on October 18, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from Long Island University in 1983 and is a selected member of Sigma Delta Chi. Before Gary’s conviction, he worked for both CBS News and Sports, and NBC Sports, as a journalist, and has also worked at other media outlets and sports production companies in the Tri-State area as well. Since his release in 2004, Gary has also been employed in the construction industry, but is now retired. Gary is single and has no children. He enjoys reading, writing, music, working out, spending time with family and friends, dating, and going to the beach, and still resides in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, where he is currently working on his next book project. He is also a motivational speaker on the topic of addiction & recovery; a subject he is passionate about.
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