Q. Tell us about yourself as a person.
I’m Dale L. Roberts, a multi-international bestselling author, self publishing advocate and video content creator. The middle child of 3 kids, I was raised in a military family. Though all of my family joined some form of the military (Marine Corps, Navy, Army), I opted instead to go to college for journalism.
Sadly, I didn’t stick with my studies and opted to pursue a life as a musician. Meanwhile, I supported my music habit with my day job of working in the healthcare industry as an activities director.
In 2013, my life changed for the better when my corporate wellness coach challenged me to write a book about one of my biggest passions – health and fitness. It took one full year, but I finally wrote my first book and published it.
After seeing my first paycheck (~$23), I was convinced I’d be able to be a writer full time. After a couple years of struggle, I had my first breakthrough success with “An Ultimate Home Workout Plan Bundle.” Then, I was able to easily support my wife and I from my earnings as an author.
Q. How did you get into writing?
As a kid, I was a voracious reader. Originally, I was diagnosed with reading comprehension issues. So, I fought that tooth and nail by reading as many books as I could and sharing what I read with anyone who’d listen. When I finally got the gumption to write my own content as a kid, I wrote scary short stories. A lot of them are laughable now, but it was my first taste of writing.
My first book I wrote as an adult was “The 3 Keys to Health & Happiness.” It was about proper exercise and nutrition. Though it’s not the best read out there, it was certainly enough to put me on the right path and become more of a prolific author.
Q. What do you write?
Though I fell in love with writing through fiction, I’m at my best and most comfortable in nonfiction writing. I feel like it’s having a conversation with someone and sharing some of my insights. And, some people believe I’m focused on fitness writing, but my fitness writing days are long past. The last fitness book I wrote was in late-2016. I’m right now pivoting to writing books about the business of self-publishing. For the next couple years, I’ll be writing nothing but books about self-publishing. I find it a fascinating business and I love to share some of the granular details with aspiring authors and veteran self-publishers.
Q. Who are some of your favorite well-known authors?
Ooo, I have so many favorite authors, but the author who inspired me to read and write more was Stephen King. His back catalog is so impressive and if I could be even a fraction as good as him, then I will have succeeded in life as an author. A few other favorites include Mick Foley, John C. Maxwell, Wayne Dyer and Dean Koontz.
Q. Any indie authors you especially like?
Yes! I have quite a few indie authors I love including Chris Fox, Craig Martelle, Joanna Penn, Honoree Corder, Bryan Cohen, Brian Meeks, and Nico Laeser. The last author I haven’t heard anything from him in awhile. His fiction work is exceptionally good!
Q. Traditional publishing vs self-publishing: which do you think is better?
This is going to shock people when I say – neither. I believe both have a place and a specific purpose. If you asked me this question 20 years ago, I would say traditional publishing without a doubt. However, the modern day self-publishing model has made publishing more accessible, profitable and easier for authors who’d normally have to fight past the gatekeepers at trad pub.
But, any other who’s given a chance at a lucrative trad pub deal would probably sign on the dotted line. It all has to do with the circumstances.
I never want to make my message about us versus them. Yes, self-publishing is an amazing opportunity. But, it doesn’t make it any better or worse than traditional publishing.
If I were forced at gunpoint to tell you one or the other, I think we all know the guy who hosts a popular YouTube channel about self-publishing will answer – self-publishing. Haha
Q. Where do you get your information from?
I have a host of information resources, so it’s tough to peg any one resource. But, I can name a few:
1) Google Alerts – I simply load up Google alerts with keywords related to my niche and get a weekly roundup every Monday. It keeps me abreast of relevant and trending topics. Also, I get random small articles most people won’t see in a regular search.
2) The Alliance of Independent Authors – This nonprofit organization is a wellspring of information. If I simply pulled all my content from them, I’d be set for decades to come.
3) YouTube – While doing research for potential topics to cover on my YouTube channel, I explore other channels related to my content in self-publishing. No matter the size of the channel following, I watch it.
4) The Hot Sheet & Scribando – These two services are newsletter services that curates information much in the same way Google Alerts does. But, they refine the content and filter out the rubbish. Both of them are premium services and I find them to be THE most helpful of all my services.
Q. What helps you write? Music, doodling, etc? What about tools like Word, dictionaries, etc?
For me, knowing what I’m going to write in advance helps me stay on track. If I can get it thoroughly outlined, then I can pump out the hits one after the other. I focus best when listening to Brain.fm or nothing at all. For the first draft, I keep all dictionaries and thesauruses out of my hands. In fact, I like to keep the internet activity off and to a complete stop while I focus on writing. That way I don’t let any outside influence change how I’m writing or what I’m writing about.
Q. Do you follow traditional guidelines when it comes to writing, or is there anything in particular you do different?
I try not to limit myself according to guidelines or expectations handed down from Grammar Cops and the old guard of writers. I write for the reader and leave the editing and proofreading to the professionals. In the same instance, I don’t allow them to take too much away from my voice. I want my nonfiction books to sound almost the same as I do when having a conversation with me in real life.
Q. What do you bring to the table that’s different from other authors?
I offer a different voice and deeper than normal insights. My biggest strength is being able to concentrate and study areas longer and deeper than anyone else. Heck, I’ve been in this self-publishing space for 6 years now and have been sharing it for 4 years. During those 4 years as a video content creator, I’ve seen many people come and go. I’m the one constant. I guess that’s other strong suits I have – loyalty and reliability.
Q. What would you advise newbie authors to do different?
Don’t get hung up on the minute details. Just write your first book and then worry about the rest.
Q. Final moment to give a shout out to anyone in particular and tell us how we can follow you and your work.
Big shout-out to you, Lafiro. I think it’s incredibly giving for you to allow authors a place to share about themselves. I really appreciate your work ethic and how you have a can-do attitude. Where most people wouldn’t try given your circumstances, you make it happen. For that, I give you my highest praise.
People can find out all about me when they search up “Dale L. Roberts” on Amazon or visit me on my website at SelfPublishingWithDale.com.
Thanks so much for the opportunity, Lafiro!