Morning rush at the M3 Coffee Shoppe was beginning to die back, when Red saw a familiar group stroll in the door. Lisa Neumann had a stack of books on the table to share with them all. Red wanted to grab her to see what was brewing between the worst of and best of Lisa.
M3: Tell the M3 Readers the short bio of who you are.
LN: Lisa Neumann is a life skills and recovery coach and a fully recovered alcoholic. She is the founder of Competency Coaching, a creative coaching agency that works with individuals struggling to maintain sobriety. She lives with her family in San Juan Capistrano, California.
M3: Such a positive description. Anyone you want to thank before I pick your brain?
LN: Really, many are to thank. I am a combination of many great and patient teachers. We get programmed from all the players and facets in our life. Out of it we birth those words that are uniquely us. Does that make sense to anyone but me?
M3: Of course it does. Where is it you started in the publishing industry?
LN: My unofficial start (aka the first time I realized I was a good writer) came from an apology letter I wrote to my dad at the sweet age of sixteen. I was thrilled to leave it on his car dashboard (we weren’t speaking at the time). Eagerly, I anticipated his beloved response to my apology and my prose. Neither came, he returned the letter unopened.
You’d think that would have been enough to deflate me. Nope, I found freedom in the written word. My official start, however, came when I completed the first rough draft to my first manuscript.
M3: Sounds like Dad is one from your thank list. Overall, any bones to pick with the traditional publishing industry?
LN: Funny question. The worst of Lisa wants to tell a long story here. The best of Lisa says that I have learned something of (great) value from every encounter I’ve had in the publishing industry. The places where I have struggled most, however, have created an unparalleled strength in my sense-of-self as a writer, a marketer and a businesswoman.
M3: Sounds like you have learned there is something in both dishes of the scale. How does that make you feel about your colleagues?
LN: There are so many people doing such great work. I feel inspired on a regular basis by the quality of work I have the opportunity read. I see limitless possibilities with so many people doing so much giving. Most people in my industry are about service and giving back.
M3: I like the way you look at it. Few people see the philanthropic side of writing. Knowing that, do you feel like the traditional publishing industry looks down on self-published material as inferior?
LN: As a general rule, yes. That being said, I’ve read self-published work that I thought would have been better left on the hard drive. We will ultimately create a more polished/professional final draft with quality editing. And this we do for our reader. Penny pinching has no place in the editing world. If you’re not a seasoned writer ask for help.
M3: I am seasoned, but still ask for editorial help. What is your best piece of advice for newbies to the publishing game?
LN: Learn what it means to follow your intuition. It’s all you’ve got—truly! If you can get in touch with this part of you, you’ll be successful at any occupation you choose.
M3: I think that is good advice for everyone, not just writers. Any industry triumphs to report?
LN: None that I can think of. Ask me in a couple of years.
M3: I can schedule you when we are done! Let’s talk about your work. What do you have cooking these days?
LN: So glad you asked! I am working on a companion book called The SIP Solution. SIP being an acronym for Sober Identity Program. Seems I have a gift for calling addicts on their BS. (Can I say that word?) Anyhow, it’s fun and challenging writing. I love that serious, yet almost comedic, approach to life’s troubles. Addicts blow so much out of proportion, and we do it with entitlement … we stake claim to our perceived pain—ludicrous.
M3: I do not think that behavior is solely the purview of addicts. Between books and your office, how do you find the time?
LN: Ah, you never find the time, the time finds you. The truth is relentless. If you are meant to write, you will write. If you want to know what it is you love, look at the way you spend your time and money. Those are the things you love, even if they aren’t serving you, you worship them and are their willing slave.
For me, writing is a most beautiful master because it brings out the best of Lisa. She gets to dialogue with the worst of Lisa. Writing is a choice. If you choose it, it happens. The time gets created.
M3: (Grinning) I have sleeplessly been there. With all this busyness, do you ever take a hiatus?
LN: Here I go again with the same answer: Hiatus finds me. It’s just this knowing that it’s time for a break. With two kids in elementary school, I stay plenty busy. I write when I can, whether I’m “feeling” it or not. It’s just something I love—like exercise. Just do it, you’ll feel better and gain the rewards.
And yes, sometimes it’s best to take a break and rejuvenate.
M3: Glad to hear you say that. So, has the state of the economy changed the way you work?
LN: No, because I haven’t quit my day job.
M3: Should the M3 Readers care what your day job is?
LN: No, unless you want to care. I don’t care because I love my day job, too.
M3: Doing what you love makes is less of a job. Talk to me about Sober Identity. What makes it different from all the others in its genre?
LN: I’m not trying to get people to like me. I’m writing to reach addicts and help them find recovery. I’m writing for those who love addicts so they can get a glimpse of our thinking. I’m a California mom/wife/career gal who thought she had a little drinking problem. Turns out I had a huge living problem, with alcohol for a solution. I infuse my personal dialogues (from 2001-2010) into the content. The reader sees me grow as the book progresses.
Also, the book is both scientific and spiritual. The reader gets a panoramic view of what it takes to get and stay sober. I believe I present solution in a comprehensive manner.
M3: And well, I might add. What is it which makes this book close to your heart?
LN: Addiction had been part of my journey. Many still suffer, despite that we have solutions. My work is about asking the right questions. The answer always arrives. The problem is that most addicts don’t like the answer. I believe I share a solid foundation to learn to love the answer, or at least a willingness to give the answer a try.
M3: Your book gives away a lot of secrets. Is there something you probably wish I would not share with the M3 Readers?
LN: There’s stuff I don’t want to tell anybody. Ouch! Secretly though, I struggle—internally. I have moments when I feel alone and agonized. They are brief. But they are as real for me now as they were when I was sixteen and my dad gave me back my letter—unopened. That feeling that maybe I’m not good enough.
Will I outgrow this? I don’t know. The difference for me now, is that I don’t obsess about it. It’s transient, rather than unremitting. When it appears, I know what to do with it—today. It is always lifted and, I am enough.
M3: Very wholesome attitude we promote around M3 regularly. Part of your being enough is your own marketing. How important is it really?
LN: Paramount! (Counting off on her fingers.)
- No one will love my book the way that I do.
- No one can speak for my book the way that I do.
- No one cares about it more than I do.
- It’s all about me reaching out and letting people know I’m here, I’m available, I want to help—if you want help.
M3: You have given that plenty of thought! Be your own agent, now. Tell the M3 Readers in 15 words or less why they should buy Sober Identity.
LN: (Counts off words in her head.) How about 17? Stop thinking your redundant thoughts. Absorb and apply someone else’s. Addiction is incessant, but truth is unalterable.
M3: Yes, it is!
Darling M3 Readers,
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