Member Interview: Bob Lucas, author of The Survivor’s Family Guide

Bob LucasName: Robert (Bob) W. Lucas

Book Title: The Survivor’s Family Guide: A Resource for Loved Ones after Your Passing

Your book’s Amazon purchase link:   http://amzn.to/2dXr1Ch 

What is your book about? This book is designed as a resource for readers to collect all their pertinent and important information into one resource for their loved ones. The goal is to reduce anxiety and aid survivors in settling an estate and arranging appropriate memorial and funeral services. Readers can compile information such as their preferences for funeral and memorial services; where all important information and items are located; names and contact information of people to be notified following their death and those people crucial in the estate process (e.g., accountants, lawyers, funeral directors, executors/executrixes); financial account numbers and contacts; genealogy information; last messages to loved ones and friends; and other pertinent information.

What inspired you to write your book? A friend of mine recently had the experience of being an executor for a friend of his. He related what a nightmare it was getting all the information together to settle the estate and help with arrangements because the deceased husband and wife apparently did not discuss the topic of death and were not that organized. After thinking about that situation, I researched to see what was available and realized that this would be a valuable and useful resource for people.

Survivor's Family GuideCan you describe your writing process? I tend to organize before I write and as a linear thinker am pretty process oriented. I guess that is how I was able to complete and contribute to thirty-eight books and compilations and hundreds of articles since 1995. As a self-published author, it took me thirty-two days from the day I started researching The Survivor’s Family Guide until it was delivered to me in print. I outlined my process for creating that book in a recent blog article at http://www.robertwlucas.com/wordpress/nonfiction-book-writing-process-getting-your-book-into-print-fast/. 

How did you come to do what you’re doing today? I often wonder that myself. I was one of those late bloomers who had no intention of going to college and had to retake English in summer school during my junior year in high school so that I could graduate. Forty+ years later, after a career in the Marine Corps, training and presenting to thousands of people from around the world, three degrees, and numerous writing accomplishments, I am still going strong. I really enjoy the process of researching and writing nonfiction books. I view it as a hobby and a business, and I take pride in the fact that I have so many followers and readers from around the world. More so, I like to think that I am making a difference. For example, my Customer Service Skills for Success is going into 7th edition and has been the top-selling customer service textbook in the United States for almost ten years. To think that I am providing information to thousands of current and future customer service professionals is very satisfying and makes all the hours of development and writing worthwhile.

Can you describe a typical day in your life? I get to my home office computer around 9:00 a.m. and, depending on my agenda for the day, might work several hours or up to twelve hours. I write three blogs, articles for other blogs and publications, and presentation materials that I use on any given day. When I was working on my latest book, I was averaging about eight to ten hours of research and writing a day. Now that I am revising my customer service textbook, I am working at about the same pace since I have a December 31st deadline to get the manuscript to my publisher. That is not to say that I work all the time. One of the things I enjoy about being a full-time writer is that I take time off during the day to go to a movie or play cards or a board game with my wife pretty regularly. We also try to go on at least two cruises a year, plus several shorter vacations around the country. The writing revenues and residual income that derives from products and services I create pay for those opportunities.

Make Money Writing BooksWhat do you most enjoy about what you do? I have been an adult educator, trainer, and presenter for over four decades. Seeing that “ah-ha” moment when people in a class or audience “get it” and make a connection of what I shared with some part of their life is very satisfying. The same holds true for writing because much of what I write about are topics and information I have researched and shared with others in a classroom. The two efforts are connected. For example, in my first self-published book Make Money Writing Books: Proven Profit Making Strategies for Authors last year, I shared lessons and techniques that I have learned and used for over twenty years as an author to get my thoughts into print. I have also created primary and residual streams of income from those efforts. From that book, I have developed several training sessions and presentations for authors and self-publishers to expand on the information provided in the publication. I find the enthusiasm and appreciation of the audience members to be very satisfying. We both win. I get to see the “ah-has” and they get valuable and useful information that can help them in their writing and self-publishing enterprises. Hopefully, hearing about my experiences and mistakes will prevent them from having to make the same ones on their own.

Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey? I am always inspired by people who are successful in writing and publishing their books. I think one of the people who had the most impact on me was Dan Poynter, who recently passed away. His knowledge about the nonfiction writing and publishing business and his enthusiasm in sharing that in print and seminars was inspirational. He left behind a great body of work from which nonfiction writers and self-publishers will benefit for many years to come. When I first met Dan more than a decade ago, I found his generosity and willingness to help others infectious. He and I shared that commitment to giving back to others or paying it forward by sharing unselfishly. I believe that nonfiction authors should view one another as resources and not competitors. There are plenty of readers to go around. Even if you write on similar topics, those books are likely different and complement rather than compete with one another. 

Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you? Even though I have written an average of one book and several compilation pieces a year since my first book was published in 1994, I only started considering myself an author about five years ago. The change occurred one day while I was sitting in my office talking on the phone and turned toward my bookcase. On it, I have one full row of compilation books and another with just the books that I have written. At that moment, I have the epiphany that “I wrote all that; I am an award-winning author!” Since then, I have put the title of author on my websites, business cards, and email signature.

What’s next for you? My goal is to write at least one to two more books a year before I turn 70 years old in 2021. Like many authors, I keep an “idea file” on my computer. Whenever I get an idea for a new article or book, I draft up working title, skeletal outline and short synopsis of what I was thinking at the time, and save it. When I have down time (which rarely happens), I pull up the file, choose a topic, and begin my next project.

Is there anything else you would like to add? I believe that no matter what your goal is for writing (e.g., fame, fortune, sharing information, inspiring others, leaving a legacy for your family, or whatever), you have to want to write. Writing comes from inside. If you view it as a task and struggle to regularly get words on a page, you may be in the wrong profession. We all have those times when we procrastinate and avoid sitting at a computer. That is okay. Take some time away to clear your heard or rejuvenate your brain. Those times often lead to new creativity and energy when you sit down to write. Writing takes dedication and time. If you are put forth the effort to learn all aspects of your trade and put forth the effort to market your books and articles, you can be successful and earn a decent living through your efforts.



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