Inspiration for Writing a Book on Mental Health and Finances
Simon: I am thrilled for the upcoming release of your book, The Financial Mindset Fix: A Mental Fitness Program for an Abundant Life. What inspired you to write this book?
Joyce: As a psychotherapist who has been practicing for over twenty years, I care deeply about destigmatizing mental health issues, promoting awareness, and providing tools to promote positive mental health. I’ve learned so much from my diverse clients and over the years began to see universal truths—twelve mindsets that lead to holistic success that includes mental wellbeing, physical health, work-life balance, supported relationships, and financial prosperity. I began to share these thoughts in a talk called, “The Psychology of Success” which I have been giving for about ten years to businesses, Fortune 500 companies, universities, and counseling organizations. The feedback was so positive that I wanted to share this information with a broader audience. I’m so grateful that my book will be published by Sounds True this July and will also be published in Spain and Korea later this year. My intention is to help people recover from mental health and financial health challenges and give them the tools to create an abundant life.
The Journey to Discovering the 12 Mindsets for Promoting Abundance
Simon: In each chapter of The Financial Mindset Fix, you offer a different mindset that helps the reader improve their mental health and financial prosperity. Tell me a little bit about your journey to discovering these mindsets for improving mental health and financial prosperity.
Joyce: At this point in my career, I have treated thousands of clients of various cultures, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic statuses. That is an enormous amount of data collection. I started to see themes and patterns in why some clients continued to struggle and stay stuck while others began to heal, thrive, and prosper. The twelve mindsets I have identified have been empirically supported to improve both mental health and financial health and resilience. The program is holistic, in that it is about comprehensive, balanced, and expansive wellness.
The Value of Using a Researcher to Back Up Ideas
Simon: I noticed that you draw from the research literature in organizational psychology and related literatures in backing up each mindset in your mental fitness program. What advice might you give to aspiring authors who are hoping to use empirical support to back up the ideas in their book?
Joyce: I have a friend and colleague who is a brilliant psychotherapist who wrote a groundbreaking book, but the critics hammered him because he didn’t have research support to back up his ideas. I learned from his experience and sought the help of a PhD researcher that came highly recommended by an esteemed psychologist and author who said he helped her with her recent book. However, you know this because that researcher was you, Simon!
I’m extremely grateful for your findings and support throughout the process. Although neither my publisher nor my agent suggested hiring a researcher, they both said they were so glad that I did after the fact. The research component strengthened my materials and as I am applying to speak at conferences and am now a blogger for Psychology Today which requires some grounding in research, I am realizing what a wise investment this was and thank you for your invaluable contributions.
Crafting Unique Exercises
Simon: Throughout The Financial Mindset Fix, you incorporate exercises to help the reader systematically apply each mindset to transforming their life. Some of the exercises are therapy sessions in which the reader imagines stepping into your office. What are some tips that authors should consider when creating exercises for their self-help books?
Joyce: Exercises allow the reader to apply what they have learned to their own lives and helps them practice and develop the skills that are being taught. They help with reader engagement and make the material more personally useful in creating positive change in the reader’s life.
The exercises in my book range from proven techniques in psychology to innovative self-assessment tools I developed myself to the mock therapy sessions you mentioned. I encourage authors to use exercises that are empirically supported but also to have fun and let your creative side come out. A couple of my favorite exercises in my book were more imaginative—such as having readers name their financial life and describe their relationship with them as if they were a person. This kind of playful activity can make learning fun and cultivate deeper insights and awareness. Keeping exercises short and simple and easy to complete is recommended. My publisher allowed me to house all my exercises on a webpage on my site that book purchasers will have access to so they can download a pdf workbook of all the exercises, or the exercises by chapter, or the individual exercises to share with others at home and at work.
The “Wheel” Exercises
Simon: At the end of each chapter, you incorporate a wheel exercise that allows the reader to assess and measure where they are at with each mindset. How did you come up with the idea of incorporating these wheel exercises into The Financial Mindset Fix?
Joyce: Years ago, a nutritionist friend of mine, Mishra Keller, used a wheel exercise in a workshop that talked about the different foods that nurture us. I realized that these mindsets nurture mental and financial wellbeing and thought the wheel tool worked well because the focus is on wholeness, balance, and expansion.
The Mindset Fix Wheel is made up of the twelve mindsets and symbolizes the thesis of the book. The chapter wheels are my favorite exercises because they are self-assessment tools that measure how well the reader is doing on all the skills taught in the chapter that build that mindset. The way the wheels are all interrelated is the schema of the book and that framework is what I am most proud of having created. I hope it is a recipe for success that will help many people.
Best Practices for Incorporating Client Stories
Simon: To illustrate the different mindsets in The Financial Mindset Fix, you share inspirational and moving stories of your clients’ experiences. What would you tell authors who are looking to successfully incorporate their clients’ stories into their book?
Joyce: Especially in my field, it is critical to honor confidentiality. I changed all the names and identifying information and enough to keep the lesson intact but without leaving the client identifiable. Because I care deeply about my clients and our relationships, I took the extra step of asking for their permission and sending them the pertinent section and asking if they were comfortable with it. Many were honored to be included in the book and grateful that I asked for their consent. Nobody said no.
I also asked for the consent of friends and family I mention in the book, including my ex-husband. I did this because I didn’t want anybody to be surprised or uncomfortable about how they are portrayed in the book. I did not ask permission from my estranged business partner whom I mention in the book, but I did have my publishing attorney review the material to make sure everything I said was copasetic and that I was not making myself vulnerable to being sued for defamation. That attorney informed me about insurance options for authors, including for errors and omissions which is best practice to acquire.
Conveying Vulnerability Through Personal Stories
Simon: Each chapter begins with a personal story of how the mindset helped you navigate through some challenging situations. What are some lessons you learned that might help authors who are looking to share their stories in their book?
Joyce: My intention for sharing my story was for readers to understand that I am human too, have loads of issues, and have made a thousand mistakes. This is normalizing and comforting for others and lets them know I am not speaking down to them as an authoritative psychotherapist, but rather as a caring expert who they can both relate to and learn from. Sharing personal stories is vulnerable but it is a way to authentically engage with your audience. When I sat down to narrate my audiobook, the publisher told me they welcomed authentic emotion during my reading. As I read my book, I laughed and cried, and they kept all of that in the audiobook. I hope my personal stories at a human depth to the material that brings it to life. I encourage authors to share the parts of themselves that will help readers connect with them, build their rapport, and support them in learning.
Writing a Book with a Team of Professionals
Simon: In the acknowledgements section, you mention several people that have helped you in the journey of completing and publishing The Financial Mindset Fix. Name one or two of these people and describe how they helped you in bringing your book to fruition.
Joyce: This book would have never come to fruition if it weren’t for my literary agent, Joy Tutela. I had been working with her on another project when I mentioned my “Psychology of Success” talks and she encouraged me to write a book that was a program based on that talk, and to prioritize that book because it was needed in the world. I came to her as a first-time author, and she advocated for me and didn’t give up on me when I had rejection upon rejection. She kept providing feedback, encouragement, and support as I rewrote the proposal repeatedly until I eventually received two offers and chose Sounds True.
My developmental editor, Corrine Casanova, helped me streamline and organize the content in a way that was more digestible by the reader. She helped remove unnecessary words, clarify concepts that the reader might not be familiar with, and corrected my grammar and passive voice. She was also my “book therapist” along the way. Having been an acquisitions editor and having contributed to countless books, she brought and awareness of the process that I didn’t have which was grounding, calming, and affirming.
As mentioned, you, Simon, were a tremendous resource and support. Not only did you produce excellent research findings to support my ideas, but you were also instrumental in helping me think through the content. Your suggestion to create an outline of the book saved me so much time and energy and helped the chapters to be balanced in length and helped avoid redundancy in content. As a psychologist, you had a keen grasp of the material and frequently suggested additional points for me to expand on which strengthened the manuscript significantly. Had I not hired you, the book would be half of what it is.
Reasons for Going with a Traditional Publisher (Vs. Self-Publishing) Tweet This
Simon: What considerations went into deciding on a traditional publisher vs. self-publishing?
Joyce: Many people ask about whether to go with a traditional publisher or self-publish. Of course, there are pros and cons either way. Self-publishing is a great option if you have a large following and ability to market and sell your book on your own. I held out for a traditional publishing opportunity and am grateful for all the bells and whistles including marketing and distribution. Even though the journey was longer and harder to obtain a traditional publisher, I believe it was worth the wait.
Writing a Book with the Publisher, Sounds True
Simon: You published The Financial Mindset Fix with the publisher, Sounds True. What was the process like in working with such a well-known publisher?
Joyce: Sounds True has been a dream come true for me. Their authors include many of my heroes, such as Eckhart Tolle, Tara Brach, and Brene Brown. The staff embody the mindful awareness and emotional intelligence that their authors teach, and they helped me strengthen the book as we went through the editorial process. I had to practice my own emotional intelligence as well and be open to their suggestions and directions and drop resistance and defensiveness. I bristled when I was asked to remove three-thousand words at a late stage of editing, but once I accepted that and made the cuts, I realized the editor was correct and those cuts made the material so much more streamlined, manageable, and digestible. I’m using all the content that was cut to create an e-course that my agent will pitch to Sounds True.
Simon: How did the editors at Sounds True react to your initial submission of the full book? What are some tips you would give to authors who are hoping for a smooth process once they deliver their initial manuscript to the publisher?
Joyce: My contract said if they weren’t happy with the submission, they could ask for a refund of the first installment of the advance and the deal would be over. So, I erred on the side of caution and made sure that I hired an editor and researcher who would help me submit a strong manuscript. Upon receipt of my initial submission, the senior editor said my delivery was, “an editor’s dream and needed zero developmental editing,” meaning content didn’t need to be moved between chapters. We just needed to work on smaller edits which made the process much shorter and smoother. I believe submitting a strong manuscript also left me less susceptible to content that was important to me being cut out or revised in a way that wouldn’t feel good to me.
Tips for Receiving Endorsements from Well-Known Authors like Seth Godin Tweet This
Simon: In The Financial Mindset Fix, you received excellent endorsements from well-known authors, including one from Seth Godin. Do you have any tips for authors on how they can secure excellent endorsements?
Joyce: I recommend starting early and aiming for the sky. Sounds True was amazingly supportive in the process and helped me receive endorsements from incredible authors such as Seth Godin, Rick Jarrow, and Maria Nemeth. I hired a PR Firm, Triple 7, which has not only helped me get a tremendous amount of media opportunities to promote the book, but they also helped me obtain an endorsement from best-selling author, Stephen MR Covey. The rest of my endorsements came from me leveraging my relationships with organizations such as The Family Institute at Northwestern University, the American Counseling Association, Refresh Mental Health, and my talented friends and colleagues.
Marketing advice – “Plant a Thousand Seeds”
Simon: You have actively engaged in marketing activities for The Financial Mindset Fix, from speaking events, to appearing in the news, to being featured in Forbes. What have been the most effective marketing activities you have engaged in so far in promoting The Financial Mindset Fix?
Joyce: As an entrepreneur, marketing was my favorite aspect of growing a business. I find it exciting to plant a thousand seeds and see which one’s sprout.
As mentioned, hiring a publicist was a wise investment. While it can be expensive, if you choose a strong company like Triple 7, the bang is worth the buck. I started working with them five months before my book release, which has proved to be an amazing runway into the launch. They helped me get big media hits such as Forbes, Thrive Global, Parade, Weight Watchers, countless podcasts, radio, and national television opportunities. They also gave me an introduction to Psychology Today which resulted in me having my own blog, where I can post content related to my book as often as I want. My feeling was this opportunity in and of itself paid for the investment in a publicist.
My digital marketing company, Digital Natives, has been working hard to create updated branding, website, and social media to promote my book. They have helped with Facebook and Instagram ads, e-newsletters, pre-order incentives, and more.
My literary agency, The David Black Agency, continues to pitch my book to the global market. They helped me acquire deals with Spanish and Korean publishers. My understanding is that global deals may come in over the two years following the US release.
Sounds True has helped pitch my book to their distributor, McMillan. It will be in all the major book retailers including Barnes and Noble, Target, Walmart, Indie Books, and more. Sounds True also interviewed me on their podcast, Insights on the Edge with founder Tami Simon, which was a fantastic experience. They will email the podcast and a book announcement to their very robust email database. My book and audiobook are available for purchase on their website, and they will post about the book on social media. They also help me set up book signings at bookstores nationally.
One of my personal strategies has been to increase my public speaking. With a stronger website with better SEO (search engine optimization), I am speaking several times per week globally. Attendees are encouraged to join my email list, follow me on social media, and buy the book.
Another strategy has been to get in front of therapists who might use the book with their clients and encourage their clients to purchase the book. I am honored and excited the continuing education providers such as PESI, Essential Therapy Training in the UK, and (Anne) have hired me to give trainings to clinicians on the book’s material. A big thanks to Trusted Provider Network (TPN), who has hired me to provide a 36-hour Mindset Fix certification program where there is one three-hour training on each of the twelve chapters over the course of the year. Attendees will be encouraged to purchase my book and these training courses will be available on demand for three years and I will receive a portion of revenues and advertising.
I’ve also created author profiles on Amazon and Goodreads and am leveraging these to the best of my ability.
Additionally, I am collaborating with local businesses and friends and colleagues for book events, launch parties, and social media lives so we can cross-pollinate our audiences.
ABOUT JOYCE MARTER
Joyce Marter has been a licensed psychotherapist for over twenty years and is the Founder of Urban Balance, an outpatient mental health company with seventeen locations in six states.
Marter is routinely consulted as a mental health expert in the media, featured in such outlets as The Wall Street Journal, CNN and MTV. Her book, The Financial Mindset Fix: A Mental Fitness Program for an Abundant Life, is available for pre-order now and will be in bookstores July 27th.