I stumbled across an interview of rags to riches author, Marc Reklau. I read his interview with interest. Of course, I wanted to know how he had lifted himself up, but something else seemed to shine through, something I couldn't quite put my finger on, a kind of je ne sais quoi.
I wanted to know more. When you want to live your best life, you need to be willing to step out of your comfort zone. I also believe in looking around for people who are doing what you want to do and learning from them. So after scoping out a few more articles and his website, I took a chance and emailed him.
Most authors have a contact form on their website; most write back with a canned response. (Hi, thanks for writing, so glad to hear from you. Here's a link to my next book, bla bla bla.) Not Marc Reklau. The response I received was a touching, short missive written directly to me, and not as if I was some nameless nobody. He made me feel like he really took the time to read my fangirl note and responded to my few questions honestly. (Marc claims he tries to respond to every email—a practice I hope I can also live up to as time passes. After all, you are not really an author if you don't have readers.)
I did what any real fan would do, I started buying his books. (How else do you think you should thank an author?) Like the Dave Barry postcard and M. E. Kerr letter I have held on to as inspiration for years, Marc inspired me. I began reading his books looking for more tips and clues on what spurred him from a fellow out of work, to a successful author. (He's now sold over 600,000 books, as you'll soon learn.)
Now a couple of years down the road, I once again got brave and asked if I could interview him for this blog. The resulting interview is below. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did. He's an author with a lot of valuable information to share whether you are an individual looking for self-improvement or a wanna-be author seeking tips on self-publishing. (I was both.)
JLS: Marc, in several of your books you talk about your early struggles. You've come a long way from there. Can you share a little about what that was like and for those who are in that position now, offer one first step they might take to turn their lives around?
Marc Reklau: The most important habit was not giving up although many times I nearly did. I’m glad I didn’t. You need to build your belief in yourself because if you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect anybody to do so? In the end, I think the difference between becoming successful and not becoming successful is that those who succeed just hung in a little longer. Easier said than done, I know. But possible.
JLS: Did you always want to be an author or did that just happen? In other words, did action chase after desire or did desire open the door to action?
MR: No. I never thought of becoming an author for the first 40 years of my life. And if I did, I discarded the thought very quickly. Then back in 2014, I got fired from my job, and being jobless was actually the best time to write a book. I lost my best excuse, “I don’t have time,” because I had all the time in the world.
At first, I wanted to write one book to distinguish myself from other life coaches and consultants… but then one thing led to another and, today, I have 94 products on Amazon (ebooks, paperback, hardcover, audiobooks, workbooks, journals, translations). I think it’s definitely action that comes first. Motivation and desire are not always there but action is. Once you take action oftentimes desire and motivation follow.
JLS: Of all your books, which is your favorite? (I think mine is Words of Wisdom.)
MR: Oh, that’s so difficult. It’s like you would ask me, “Which is your favorite child?” Every book was my favorite when I wrote it because I was always growing, always studying and experiencing new things. 30 DAYS started my career and, the habits I mentioned in it, turned me into a better and more successful person. The Productivity Revolution made me more productive and aware of where I’m wasting my time. Love Yourself FIRST might be my most important book so far due to the importance of self-esteem in our lives and the reactions from readers I get from it. Then there is "The Life-changing Power of Gratitude” that I wanted to share with my readers because gratitude is one of the main ingredients to my success. [Editor: So really, your books are also a kind of mirror of your self-evolution.]
I should have called Words of Wisdom “Don’t Give Up” because it’s meant to show people that the hard times can be overcome and they make us who we are. Right now my favorite book is Why Me? Why Here? Why Now? I think it’s the best book I’ve written so far (although it’s not selling very well—yet.) It’s about finding your purpose. Something I’ve struggled with for 40 years, but when I found and followed it, amazing things started to happen.
JLS: Through your books, you've not only reached out to those who are trying to improve their lives, but also to wannabe authors. Why has this group of readers been so important to you?
MR: Because I’m tired of seeing first-time authors being scammed by people who sell a dream and don’t deliver but keep the money of these authors. [Editor's: I have been an author's advocate for over twenty years and this is also a key motivator for me.] I learned on my way to publishing that the most successful authors are mostly those who take responsibility for their career, self-publish, and take care of their books (outsourcing cover design and editing, but also learning the sales and marketing aspects.)
You don’t need to pay a $5,000 coaching program or a vanity publisher to write and publish a book. You can do it without them on a pretty small budget. I started with $250 when I was jobless and spend most of it on the editor/proofreader. And then my friend, the success of your book(s) depends on you! But you can learn from authors who are already there where you want to go. The indie author community is an amazing and very helpful one.
JLS: What are you working on now? What can we expect next?
MR: I just finished the first draft of my new book The Happy Minimalist, which is about—surprise, surprise—minimalism, and all the benefits that it can bring to your life. In it, I describe what a huge difference minimalism made in my life and what it can do for you. I also just started writing my third—and probably last—book for authors with the sensationalistic title How I Earned $750.000 with Amazon Ads. I wish I could call it “How I Earned One Million $ with Amazon Ads,” but then I’d have to wait another year or two to publish it. Or maybe I can call it like that. I’m already almost there. What do you think?
JLS: Who is someone who greatly influenced your life, whether someone close to you or someone you admired from afar?
MR: Oh, there are many. My mother taught me values and to be a good person. My cousin taught me how to overcome the worst that can happen to a 16-year-old; my better half, Natalia, who knew me when I was a poor and struggling author and always supported me. From afar it would be definitely Gandhi, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nelson Mandela—for their wisdom. In the personal development area, I got influenced by T. Harv Eker, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Robin Sharma, and many more. Not to forget the book that gave sense to my life and probably saved it, Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts.
[So, authors and pursuers of a better life, you have a road map laid out for you. The only step left is to actually follow it!]
Marc Reklau is the author of 12 books including the international bestsellers 30 Days—Change Your Habits, Change Your Life, Love Yourself FIRST, and How to Become a People Magnet. He has sold over 600.000 books in the last 5 years and reached more than 1 million readers. His books have been translated into 15+ languages including Spanish, German, Japanese, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Chinese, Portuguese, and Korean.
Marc's mission is to empower people to create the life they want and to give them the resources and tools to make it happen. He writes about habits, productivity, happiness, and about writing books.
His message is simple: Many people want to change things in their lives, but few are willing to do a simple set of exercises constantly over a period of time. You can plan and create success and happiness in your life by installing habits that support you on the way to your goals.
You can visit Marc on his website here, or check out all his books here.