Today our Featured Pennwriters Member is Nate Hardy of Area 6. Nate Hardy serves as the Pennwriters Internet Activities Coordinator providing us with new opportunities to expand our writing connections and resources online.
Nate, thank you for joining us today and sharing a little about yourself! I see from your bio that you have published short fiction, poetry, journalism, and even cartoon series. Tell us about a few of your favorite publications and projects. Where can we find your stories and poems?
My favorite publications are mostly nonfiction. The bulk of my writing is nonfiction on business and self-help topics. They may not be what you expect, but my favorites are Nutrition Action Newsletter (I was touting it before Oprah Winfrey), Consumer Reports (for its innovative studies and consumer advocate angle on marketing), Car and Driver, and Writer’s Digest (for obvious reasons).
Since my 4th birthday when I got my first set of Hot Wheels cars as a gift, I was an automobile enthusiast. My Hot Wheels car collection eventually grew into the 100s. On long road trips, instead of falling asleep I spent my time learning the different car models that whizzed by, knowledge that eventually paid off for my writing profession.
At one point in my career, I wrote automobile columns for a Tribune newspaper and test-drove new cars over weekends to prepare reviews of them. Fun job, but someone had to do it! I remember when the opportunity arose and I pitched the idea to my editor and the rest was history. I had a dream of becoming a great automotive journalist and possibly write for Car and Driver or Motor Trend magazine, whose weekly TV program made it more appealing. As I approached new forks in the road of life, I had to make harder decisions on which dream to pursue next and which to put on the backburner. I already devoted a few years to automotive journalist, so I put it on the backburner. My other dreams needed a chance, too!
One of my favorite projects is Plus Sign Productions Business & Life Coaching. There are so many differences between people; it’ll be great to get everyone to “complete” each other. I like inspiring people and feel compelled to help others when they struggle in areas that are strengths for me. I developed online courses (another one of my projects) to help more people in more places. I’m working on an online course platform for Pennwriters so more writers can help and learn from each other. Keep visiting the Pennwriters website and click on the “Courses” menu for updates.
I’m sad to say that places where most of my short stories have been published are no longer in publication. Many publishers and literary magazines are having an increasingly difficult time staying in business. Some of my work under pen names is still available, but listing them here would defeat the purpose of the pen names. You may be able to find a reprint of one of my poems in the archives of the Daily Press newspaper, which ran an article about the honors my poem won.
In addition to your creative writing pursuits, I see that you have 20 years of consulting experience, and that you currently offer business and life coaching. Want to tell us a little of your career history there? How did one lead to the other?
The type of marketing consulting I had done targeted large organizations. At the same time, I studied coaching to improve my deal-making and presentation abilities. The coaching service was later created to extend services to small businesses. Moreover, as I indicated earlier, I like to help people become their best. Working with small business owners has unique intrinsic rewards you can’t get from working with executives of large corporations.
As for life coaching, I think our economy will be much healthier once people gain a better understanding of how marketable their strengths and differences are and how to market them. Society in general will be much happier once people give others more acceptance and respect for their differences. There are too many people living unhealthy unhappy lives yet have the power to improve them—if they were only coached how. This drove me to coaching and the book I’m planning to package it for mass consumption.
Ever since I was young, I paid particular attention to how badly people treated each other. I believed in being friends with everyone, despite faults others would obsess over. How does one get people to be more accepting? There are areas of coaching that deals with that. I dreamed of one day figuring out how to accelerate the timetable of world peace that many people want and need to happen. That’s one of those dreams I try to keep on the frontburner as much as possible.
It sounds like you engage with writing both on the creative and business sides. What are your personal favorite writing styles?
I don’t have a true favorite. It depends on what I have a passion and goal for at the given time. Over a year ago, it was literary fiction since I was finishing my novel. Now, it is business training and report writing. In business, you’re always looking for more concise clear ways to write.
Who/what are your greatest creative influences?
Success stories of others who’ve done what I want to do. In my marketing courses, I have people study their top competitors. You can quickly come up to speed on what works and why in an industry this way, and avoid reinventing the wheel and the hefty cost of effort and money and lost sales from doing so. In the writing world, this is much easier since competitors are often welcoming compared to the business world with combative competitors like Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
Creative influences. When I rent videos to watch, I always look at the “Making of…” and “Deleted Scenes” and the rest of the story vetting special features. I like to learn how they made the story better not only from an audio/visual perspective but also with word choice, dialogue, pivot points, etc. Hardly any novels have “Deleted Scenes” or “Author’s Commentary” sections at the end, though some customers may find value in it as they do in movies.
I have many other creative influences too, depending on the genre of writing in question. I believe in cross-pollination of ideas from unrelated sources. Observing the best of the best and their words on how they did it are my main influences.
What are your goals as a writer? As a mentor?
My goals as a writer are to publish a bestselling novel and have it made into a movie, and to publish self-help books on what it takes to create that accepting respecting world of peace I dream about and motivate people to create it. That’s where the mentoring and coaching component comes into play, and continuing study of motivation. World peace will likely involve some sort of big grassroots word-of-mouth effort moreso than use of brute force.
As a business and life coach, tell us a little about your philosophy: where and how do you help others focus their energy?
I know there are coaches who deal with energy and auras and the like. For many people, talk about energy is too new-agey and unbelievable. My target is the mass market, not so much the people who are already on board with the idea. I take a different approach and focus on clarity, positivity, and passion—applicable to business and life. My philosophy is three-fold, based largely on studies of human behavior:
* Acceptance, inspiration, and respect drive the bulk of one’s happiness
* The more one can keep reality ahead of expectations, the more they’ll impress and push themselves
Put these philosophies together and you’ll have a recipe for success and fulfillment.
Recently you’ve been offering an online course called “MARKETING MADE EASY: SUCCESS STRATEGIES FOR WRITERS” (with a discount for current Pennwriters members). Tell us about this program and what it provides to the participants. When will the next course offering take place?
The online program is designed to do what the title says: make marketing easy for writers. Many writers view marketing as painful, uncomfortable, or too difficult to do. What if I could boil down marketing to a series of simple concepts that can be outlined on one sheet of paper, making it less of a pain, flexible enough to customize how each writer wants, and deliver the extra sales and audience they need? I would’ve hit all 3 elements of motivation I just discussed, getting the procrastinators and avoiders to do the marketing they have to do. For writers who are doing marketing already but don’t like the results, there’s a lot of strategy discussed in the course to improve their effectiveness and efficiency.
The next online course will start January 26, 2009 and run 3 weeks. Registered students will have a chance to take the course FREE if they win our free-course drawing held after the start of class. AND a Strategic Marketing e-book will be offered FREE at the end of the course. Writers can register at the Pennwriters website in the “Courses” section, or they can register at my Plus Sign Productions Coaching website.
We’re glad to have you as a Pennwriters member, and the Pennwriters Presents series is a great success. Could you tell us, why did you join, and what are some of your favorite benefits from the organization? What are you goals as Internet Activities Coordinator?
I joined when my desire to write a novel became so great that it was time for me to act on it. At the time, I hadn’t written any fiction in years and had to get back up to speed. I subscribed to Writer’s Digest, bought how-to books, and solicited some colleagues to read rough drafts. I needed to find writers in the area for advice and networking, so I searched online for some. When I came across Pennwriters, I joined.
Some of my favorite benefits of the organization are the very reasons I joined in the first place: advice and networking. Maybe I should use a warmer term than networking—the feeling among members is more like a friendship or even family. Members have taught me a lot about the trade and have served as great sounding boards to ideas. Some of them helped me generate content and awareness for a few of my websites. Very open and generous people. That’s what you want from a writers organization.
My goals as Internet Activities Coordinator are simply to satisfy the needs of our members through online resources. If they need marketing help, give them tools to increase awareness and sales like social networking platforms and online courses. If they need advice, give them access to some of the best experts and successful writers around with programs like Pennwriters Presents. My main numerical goals: get 100% of our member online and keep online membership growths rates greater than the overall general membership growth rate. The internet is the future for writers–in many respects, it’s already the present.
And now, the words of wisdom: what advice would you give other writers?
Stay positive and persistent. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, so keep learning from others—take online courses, attend conferences, read, and ask others for advice. Remember book publishing is a manufacturing business, and no publisher wants to make a lemon. Once the book is made, it has to be sold and you’re one of their top sales reps. The same can be said for websites and blogs.
If you want to learn some successful marketing strategies, sign up for our “MARKETING MADE EASY: SUCCESS STRATEGIES FOR WRITERS” online course at the following links:
http://www.Pennwriters.com (click on “Courses”)
Thank you again for joining us Nate, we wish you the very best in all your writing endeavors!
It was a pleasure, Jade. Thank you for having me.