Author Highlight: Executive Coach & Writer Cory Carlson
At Steuben Press, we’re no strangers to working with business leaders and coaches who want to take their know-how from the office to the page so they can reach more people.
Steuben Press author and Executive Coach Cory Carlson is an iconic example of an entrepreneur who used his go-getter attitude to give his brand’s message a massive boost through self-publishing.
After noticing the lack of work-life balance that plagues many executives in corporate America, Carlson left his 9-to-5 to become an Executive Coach full-time. Since finding his true calling, Carlson has translated his faith-based approach for helping business leaders succeed in all areas of life into his first self-published book, Win at Home First.
Was he successful? The proof is in the pudding: his book was just featured in the Forbes’ article “7 Books Everyone On Your Team Should Read.”
We sat down with Carlson to learn more about his process as a first-time author, his struggles and joys with self-publishing, and his biggest tips for other aspiring authors.
1. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
I realized I wanted to be an author about two years ago, when I had some clients start to encourage me to write a book.
I do Executive Coaching for business owners and business leaders. And most often, the reason I’m hired is to help clarify finding vision and values for their business.
My clients want to know how to support their culture to make it valuable and healthy, with an emphasis on time management, focus for future growth, etc.
What ends up happening is we have these one-on-one calls, and the things that keep these CEOs up at night are not the initial reasons they hired me.
They’re looking for guidance and support on deeper questions that all affect their performance at work:
- How can they connect with their spouses?
- How can they spend more time with their kids?
- How can they have more energy in all areas of their life?
I began telling them they need to win at home first to be able to have more focus at their company. And I give them the tools to do that.
2. How did you find your publisher? Did you have any experience with self-publishing before you found your publisher, and if so, what was your journey like?
I self-published my book. Part of the reason I wanted to self-publish is I spoke with others who have written books, and their feedback was, unfortunately, “Unless you have a large platform, traditional publishers won’t be interested in publishing you.”
Since this is my first book and my platform is still growing, I left my 20-year corporate career to start speaking and writing three years ago. I was somewhat starting from ground 0 to build this coaching business’ platform.
3. What are some challenges you encountered during the publishing process?
From writing to publishing, I would say the entire process was completely new. I don’t know how anyone can possibly do this on their own. I’m sure you can try to google all the answers to find a DIY process, but I have 0 motivation to do it myself. If I can find a coach who has done it before, then I will. And that’s what I did.
Chad Allen was my writing coach. I also hired My Word Publishing to be my self-publishing consultant, and they were both absolutely fantastic. Chad helped me with my writing and putting my ideas on paper. My Word Publishing guided me through the whole publishing process, and put me in contact with the right people at the right time, like Steuben Press! I also got connected to an illustrator for the cover design.
My Word helped me get through the entire publishing process, and I ended up enjoying it.
4. What was the biggest challenge, surprise, or joy when printing your book?
To be honest, it was an amazing process to see the hard work come together and actually result in a bound book.
It was incredible to see all the ways that mentors and coaches have poured into me, and to be able to package these tools and concepts into someone’s hands. I may never meet all my readers in person, but my book can lead to transformation that can improve their marriage, their work, and their life...Amen!
That’s why I wrote the book. There’s not a ton of money to be made as a self-published author. But if I can make an impact and help people become a better version of themselves, and can help point them toward God, then that’s a great deal.
5. How did you choose the cover design for your book?
I had a great illustrator, Andrea Constantine, who I really enjoyed working with. From picking the pictures, font type, font colors, I was highly involved.
I was very particular, because I wanted it to be an inviting cover, and yet one that spoke to the message. I wanted the design to be simple yet effective, and I think that’s what we got.
6. What is your biggest marketing tip for self-published authors?
Always be creating content and providing value to your readers — whether its content from your book or additional thoughts that you’re having since it’s been published.
Not only should you increase your email list and strategy, but you should also be adding value to your readers.
Yes, I have my book, but now I also have a voice and can continue to build on my message and share it with readers, for a new book and beyond. Even responses from my email blast and how my messages have been helpful to readers has been really great in guiding my marketing strategy moving forward.
7. What book should everyone read right now?
I’ve gotta say, Win at Home First!
I think I would also add: The message in my book is one that’s being received well right now. The reason it’s resonating is it’s hitting on an area we all know and feel, but that no one wants to talk about, because our success is measured by how well we’re doing at work and how fast you climb the corporate ladder.
But that’s not the measure of happiness. How are you doing at home? Are you pursuing and dating your spouse? How is that relationship? How are you impacting and investing in your kids? And lastly, how are you doing at work? All four create a framework and tools that can be used.