A Conversation With Kerry LePage Author of Some Day Never Comes
Author: Kerry LePage
Today, Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest Kerry LePage, author of Some Day Never Comes.
Good day, Kerry, and thanks for participating in our interview.
Kerry, why did you feel compelled to write Some Day Never Comes? As a follow up, who do you believe will benefit from your book and why?
I’ve been collecting thoughts and quotations for more than thirty years. Whenever I need to be motivated, I open my file cabinet and read the thoughts of people I admire.
As we grow older, we become more aware of the reality of immortality. One day I thought, “What if one of my sons or someone I know needs help? What if they lose a job, a spouse, or become terminally ill? Who or what will they turn to for advice? I realized that I had accumulated a wealth of information about success, failure, and life itself from many sources, and I should not let the information be lost. Why not write a book and leave behind some of the thoughts and ideas that have helped me? That’s how it started, one chapter at a time, nothing more than a diary of sorts, to help others.
Who will benefit? Probably those people who think they already have all the answers and will never read this book! I can’t force people to read my book, though, so I hope I can at least persuade teenagers to read it, because they have barely begun to experience the fraud, deceit, and massive amounts of bias and propaganda the world has to offer. My book exposes a lot of the things most of us had to learn the hard way. I learned for others, so they can benefit from my mistakes.
This was your first writing project. Did you enjoy the process? What did you learn from the process?
I did not enjoy the process. It was painful and damaged my health, but I hope it’s only short term. When I was almost 75% finished writing the manuscript, four people who are very close to me were either terminally ill or in such poor health their days were numbered. I knew that even though I didn’t have a finished manuscript or published book yet, I had to accelerate the process so they could read my book before they died.
Fighting the clock to complete such an overwhelming project and share it with people before their light switch went out caused me a lot of my pain and stress. I developed migraine headaches and acid stomach from the two-year process. Only my mental discipline allowed me to finish the project. That’s why I appreciate books now more than I ever did before writing one. Now I know the effort and sometimes pain it takes to write one. It also makes people who criticize books appear foolish, in my opinion. As they say, “Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.” I learned so much from writing the book that I almost don’t want to answer that question, for fear of leaving something out.
Off the top, here are three things I learned: I’ve learned how difficult it is to sell the book after it’s written. If you are a known author or a celebrity, it’s easier to sell your book. If you are unknown like me, it is ridiculous how much money and effort it takes to persuade people to buy your book. I heard people say, “Writing your book is only the beginning.
After the book is written, the real work begins.” I didn’t believe them, now I do. Secondly, I learned how a book can expose who your friends really are. The most amazing fact of this whole process is how few of my relatives, friends, and ex-customers bought my book or showed any interest. They don’t owe me anything, but if the shoe were on the other foot and someone told me a relative or friend had written a book about life, you couldn’t keep me from reading it right away. I would be so curious about what that person wrote that the anticipation would excite me.
I can understand the lack of response a little better when I remember that most people are not like me. They are not as curious as I am; they are not as philosophical as I am; they are not as skeptical as I am, or I should say as uncertain of certainty. To paraphrase Socrates, “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”
Thirdly, I learned about the process of producing a book. I learned about writing; editing; obtaining the legal aspects, such as an ISBN, a control number each book needs if it is going to be sold in a bookstore; and I learned about copyrights. I also learned about marketing methods (though I have not applied them effectively, yet) and I learned the answer to one thing I have always questioned. I can now tell you why there are so many pathetic books for sale; books that offer nothing new or nothing interesting. The reason is identical to why movies of the past ten or twenty years have deteriorated.
Nepotism is rampant in the book industry. It truly is a “Good Ol’ Boy” network of collaboration to allow only those writers who fit a particular mold to succeed in marketing their books through stores and well-known advertising mediums. Only the ones that conform are able to overcome the boilerplate psychobabble most publishers exude. Do you want to sell your manuscript to Hollywood for a new movie? As long as it’s laced with sex, violence, or politically correct ideology, you’re a shoe in. You can also create a remake of a remake of a remake, especially if it was a bad film the first time around. Producers love sequels because they require very little thought or originality. I’m sure my great-great grandkids will be watching Rocky 26 as Balboa drinks mega doses of Geritol and shadow boxes with Apollo Creed’s ghost. Whether you’re writing a book or a screenplay, the same handful of people control the masses, and to let in an outsider is something of a rarity. Hollywood especially doesn’t want new ideas or fresh material. Movie moguls want to keep preaching the same nonsense that pays for their mansions and plastic surgery.
How did you come up with ideas for Some Day Never Comes?
I had no problem coming up with ideas; the problem is how to limit what to say in a book. My editor and I cut out at least four chapters and an embarrassing number of words. I had a great editor, and she tightened my manuscript by eliminating repetition and unnecessary explanations. I didn’t run out of ideas for the book; I ran out of time. I knew I couldn’t let my project continue indefinitely, and when I reached the deadline I had set for completion, I left many ideas in my file cabinet.
Can you tell us how you found representation for your book? Did you pitch it to an agent or query publishers who would most likely publish this type of book? Any rejections? Did you self-publish?
I already knew that trying to get a publisher to accept a manuscript when you are unknown is extremely difficult. If you view my life history, you would see that what others find difficult, I find easy. What others say is easy, I find difficult. I am always doing things people say can’t be done or succeeding when most others have failed.
On the other hand, I fail at things most people succeed at. Kind of crazy, eh? Anyway, that’s why I wasn’t concerned about getting published, especially if others said it was nearly impossible. I knew I was the rare case that would be an exception.
I did most of my research on the Internet. I found my editor, cover designer, illustrator, typesetter/formatter, and book printer on the Internet. I was extremely pleased with everyone who helped me and worked with me on the project.
Just as my editor was completing her first pass at my manuscript, I lost one of the four people I spoke of earlier. You recall, my book has a chapter titled “In memory of Abe.” I worked for Abe for fifteen years. He was a close friend and business partner (officially, he was my boss.) Every time I wanted to give up writing or thought about taking a break from the project, I thought about Abe reading my book. I laughed because I knew he would enjoy reading some of the stories I told about him, so I pressed on and on, and when I received the phone call that he had died, I was stunned. My first thought was, “But he didn’t read my book yet!” My second thought was sympathy for his family, whom I also loved. I felt so bad that I said to myself, “This project is now my supreme priority. I will consider every day that passes to be critical in accomplishing my goal of finishing the book.”
Every day from that point on, I thought of the remaining three people who might die before I could give them my book, and believe me, I was a motivated writer! I also knew at that point I could not possibly look for a publisher. It was obvious I would have to self-publish my book. Looking for a publisher would take months at the very least and even probably take years, and if I did find someone to publish my book, most publishers take six months to two years past the point of accepting your manuscript before they produce the end product. Some publishers take up to five years to release a book. I could not wait anywhere near that long, because I might lose the rest of the three people on my “Must read before you go,” list!
What makes your book different from others that deal with the same or similar topics that are included in yours?
Didn’t someone say, “The only thing new is the history we haven’t read”? Well if they didn’t say it, they should have, because it’s true. In spite of that truth, I took great pride and painstaking effort to say only those things that I thought were unique, and if they weren’t unique, I always quoted or credited whoever provided the information. The problem is, especially if you read as much as I do, who knows where we get many of the ideas in our heads? Sometimes we read something and it becomes part of our subconscious, and we don’t realize someone already said it before. After my book had already sold a few copies, I realized I had copied the words of one of my mentors Zig Ziglar. I didn’t mean to use his words and not give him the credit, I simply forgot where I heard the information. (I did realize it later)…Sorry, Zig.
I promise you this: you will find fresh material and unique ideas in my book, Some Day Never Comes. You may not agree with them, but they are not the same old robotic clichés you read in most self-help books today.
Do you ever have the feeling that your book will be purchased by the converted rather than individuals who would reap the most benefits from some of your sage advice?
More than you can believe, Norm. Here is the proof to your question’s validity: How many people who are avid left wingers listen to right wing talk shows, or vice versa? How many avid Christians read from the Koran, or how many Muslims read from the Torah? I read it all, whether I agree with it or not, and it’s the only way I know that a person can grow or become wiser. If you never sway from your base, from your belief foundation, how can you possibly expose your mind to all the facts or possibilities? Most people read or listen to material that supports their biases or ideology, and they go to their grave having seen nothing more from life than a mirror of themselves.
How did you approach the work of writing your book?What challenges or obstacles did you encounter while writing your book? How did you overcome these challenges?
I already have a fulltime job. I own a small business that most would consider an overwhelming task by itself. The biggest obstacle was manipulating my time to complete the book. I wrote every morning starting at 4am and wrote for 4 more hours, ending at 08:00 A.M for two years. Once I handled that obstacle, I saw another mountain ahead; how was I going to sell the book.
The short answer is that I may not climb the next mountain. It isn’t that I don’t have time, it’s that I am not sure I want to spend that much time promoting something that isn’t my livelihood, like my corporation is. I know I can sell my book if I spend enough time and enough money, but I’m not sure I want to invest that much. I don’t have any regrets over doing the project, though. I have already received a lifetime of rewards for writing this book, it was simply never my intention to write the book to make money or write the book to become a bestseller.
We often hear the expression “you make your own breaks.” Do you agree with this, and if so, why?
I said it in my book; I hate the expression “Things work out best.” “Things” don’t control us; we control “things.” I also credited John Wooden for saying it correctly, “Things work out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
If you could switch places with someone famous, who would it be? Why?
I don’t want to be anyone else and never have. If forced to be someone else, I might like to have the use of William James Sidis’s brain for a few hours. Since I believe he was the smartest person I know of, his brain might allow me to figure out how to sell more books! It would also be nice to switch places with a billionaire for a few hours so I would have the money to fund a dream I have. I would like to start a nonprofit organization that would give people who want to write a book or screenplay the tools and support they need to publish their work, if the material is worthy. Here is how it would work:
1.A committee of reviewers would read all the manuscripts sent in. The committee members all would have unique reading preferences. For example, no two members would both love Ayn Rand’s material. We would choose one who does, and one who does not. That way, we wouldn’t have a handful of people all looking for the same thing.
2.All manuscripts would be submitted anonymously and converted to a standard format with typos and grammar corrected before the committee reviewed them. You register your script with a unique number only. If your manuscript is chosen for publication, only then will your name be revealed. This way, judging manuscripts is based on content alone, not based on who the author was or how slick the format was. J.K. Rowling’s manuscript could be rejected and John Doe the bankrupt high school dropout’s manuscript could be accepted.
3.When the committee rejects a manuscript, it will return it to the author with the reasons for rejection and suggestions to improve the next submission.
4.Screenplays from approved manuscripts must be produced without any special effects, sex, or extreme violence. This way, the focus is placed on the quality of the script, the directing, and the players’ performances only. If the movie is worthy at that point, we could allow special effects or a mild doses of sex and/or violence. That’s the main problem today, all the focus is on special effects, sex, and violence, and the script is of secondary importance.
I could go on, but you see the principle.
Do you feel that writers, regardless of genre, owe something to readers? If not, why not? If so, why, and what would that be?
Anytime you sell anything, you owe your customer something. You owe your best effort, and money back if they are not satisfied. I offer a money-back guarantee on my book, Some Day Never Comes, because I realize some people might not enjoy it. I don’t want to take their money and have them feel like they were ripped off. If they don’t like it, don’t worry about it; just tell me to send a refund. It’s not going to be a problem.
As you are a successful salesman, if you had to choose five of the most important qualities a successful salesman must possess, what would they be and why?
Hey, now that my book is complete, you could accurately say, “I wrote the book on sales.” Successful salespeople have the following qualities:
Passion or belief in their product or service.
The ability to listen. They listen to what their customer wants and forget what they, the salespeople, want.
A sincere desire to please their customers. They never look for a sale; they look for a customer.
They are all business. In the words of Robert Ringer, “Earn your points on the playing field.” That means a customer wins with your product or service, not what gifts you bring them, or how many drinks you buy for them at some bar. The playing field is all business, not a social event.
Passion or belief in your product or service. (Did I list that twice? Good.)
Will there be any unique ways you'll be marketing your book that is different from how others authors market their books? Will you be using the Internet and if so, how?
The premise of Some Day Never Comes is about being unique and removing the wind-up knob from your back. I sure hope I discover a unique way to market my book. As of today, I am taking the advice of so-called experts, and I don’t mind telling you I’m not having much success. Maybe I should heed my own advice and try a few unique ways to market.
How can readers find out more about you and your endeavors?
Buy Some Day Never Comes; you will find out more than you probably care to know. I wasn’t shy about revealing my inner thoughts or sharing my failures. If you still want more, buy another copy of my book, because the only way I will write another is if I sell out the first.
What is next for Kerry LePage?
Norm, I ask myself that question every day. I am on the deepest valley of the rollercoaster, having completed the book. I need another hurdle, challenge, or painful endeavor to reach the top of the hill again. Because you asked, I will open my life to public exposure once more and tell you three things I’ve recently considered;
Learn to speak Chinese
Get my pilot license
Write a screenplay
Before all you naysayers out there start laughing, I said “considered,” I didn’t say “begun to work on.”
Here is why I am interested in all three:
If I learn to speak Chinese, they won’t screw up my orders at the Chinese takeout restaurant anymore.
If I get my pilot license, I can finally play Microsoft Flight Simulator on my computer correctly.
If I write a screenplay, I won’t be able to criticize Hollywood for its lack of imagination. My play will be original:
Thanks once again, Kerry, and good luck with all of your future endeavors.
Thank you, Norm. I hate it when people say “Oh, that’s a great question,” because it sounds phony. You really did ask great questions and caused me to reach inside, looking for answers. I like that, and I hope my answers were up to the level of your questions.
To read Norm's Review of Some Day Never Comes CLICK HERE
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