I met Jay Heinlein in 2003 when I joined a writer’s group in Colorado. I was determined to discover how to publish my first book and he was an accomplished publisher working with a variety of authors. Jay gently guided new and seasoned authors and I was very impressed with his humble demeanor. I have always felt that there is always a message to learn from those who let their actions speak louder than their words.
I gratefully consider Jay my friend and I admire how he has helped so many people. Jay understands how to take a story from conception to publication and beyond – because he has worn every hat in the publishing world. One of the most valuable ways to help another is to provide an opportunity for their voice to be heard. I also believe that those of us who can need to accept the challenge of being the voice for those of us who can’t!
1. When did you first get involved in publishing and what was your initial vision?
I actually started in publishing as a field representative, which gave me great experience and a unique perspective, once I eventually arrived at the executive level. As a field representative, I covered 8 states in the Northeast calling on a wide range of booksellers and book distribution clients including “Mom and Pop” stores, regional and national chains, and key national book distributors. My main perspective at that time was one of rapidly learning about the book market from those independents, chain retailers, and key accounts point-of-views; growing in understanding the book world as it existed at the time; and serving the end-users – the readers, while growing books sales within a diverse region and unique publishing niche.
As I was promoted “through the ranks”, I always felt it an advantage in understanding the book world from the marketing side – and in particular, the reader’s perspective. That is serving the market with the “end-user” in mind, and their ultimate most important perspective – what they enjoyed reading, or what they desired to receive as a result of giving of their valuable time to interacting with the content of the books.
Also, in those early days, I learned that much of the actual “work of production” in publishing was outsourced. And, I began early on to explore and research the opportunities that might be afforded both authors and readers outside of traditional “big brand name” publishing.
2. How would you describe the changes you’ve made since them?
I think that question is better answered with another question, “What are the changes to publishing in the greater publishing world and processes of publishing that have occurred since I first became involved?”
And, the complete answer would be quite a long. The shortened version would be the rapid and dramatic advances in publishing production technologies, quantum leaps in direct access to the greater public and communication opportunities for authors with their readers, resulting from the emergence of social media and other phenomenal communications advancements such as e-readers and smart phones and a brand new universe through the internet world – “cyberspace”.
3. Since you promote the Habitat for Humanity on your website, http://www.heinleingroup.com, I am curious to know, do you also volunteer with them?
My personal mission includes community service. That includes a desire to give personally through volunteering. There is a wonderful rebound gift that comes with that. One always receives back much more than one can give. It makes the soul expand. I love things like Habitat for Humanity, because it also provides a very material and visible result.
4. In what ways has helping others helped you to realize gifts (yours and / or another’s)?
We all need hope in our lives in whatever endeavor we are involved in. Hope carries us forward. If someone is having a rough cycle, the hope that results from a little boost propels them forward to move past the immediate need. And, that hope is also passed onto others from those that have benefited from that boost.
And, in our work, we realize that it is hope that propels us to do more, to be more, to give more. We hope that our work will possibly inspire and compel something good by someone having interacted with it.
5. What has been the most challenging to you with regards to working with others in the publishing field?
Publishing has been a very predictable and systematic process for a very long time. And, that system worked well with consistent outcomes. Suddenly, our world is changed. It is changed dramatically. And, it is changed forever. It has become different in a blink. The human condition as whole, doesn’t respond to sudden change well. It generally resists it violently… as a threat, as a challenge to what is proven as a norm… And, so as this roaring train of change has come down the tracks at such supersonic speed… many have not made the turn.
6. How have you overcome this challenge? *If you are still working on it, what are you doing?
Adapting is a key element of survival. And, adapting to change is critical to success in business. Typewriters were terrific writing tools until word processors… and, then came personal computers… and, now tablets and smartphones.
We must always be learning, adapting, and adopting-implementing new technologies and innovative ways to create and produce our art and craft.
And, what will be next? In the Zen philosophy, one is instructed, “to be supple like the grass of the fields, so that you can bend rather than be stiff as like the oak, which will break from a strong wind.”
7. I know that you are a very spiritual person with special interests in nature, photography and books that connect the reading experience to life adventure. What words of wisdom would you give to a person with special needs / abilities, given your broad background?
I do like absorbing the wisdom of the spiritual and especially accomplished. And, their quoted wisdom contains compact truths. I love to read them and I love to share them.
I believe that desire and drive are greater assets than innate talents or above average skills and abilities. Many people with uncommon challenges overcome those challenges by an even greater determination.
“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” -Rumi
“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” -Confucius
“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” -Bill Cosby
8. What is the #1 tool you would like to give to people who are trying to make a positive difference with their writing?
Write every day. It doesn’t even have to be writing that is toward an intended project. Rather it is the “writer’s training” to write every day. Whether on a napkin, on a notepad, speaking into a recorder device, or at a keypad… a writer must always write regularly.
9. Do you have an experience or event that positively changed your outlook on life that, perhaps, even influenced your mission?
There are many. But, something significant was a semi-negative experience that gave me a determined and clarified personal mission.
On the day that I resigned from a high-level executive position, having made great personal sacrifices and significant contributions to the overall success of the company, and having communicated that I felt bad that I was leaving during a time of great transition within that company,
I was told that my leaving would not leave any more of an impact than would be the indention left if one had thrust his hand into a pool of water and pulled it back out.
Now, my waking prayer and first conscious thought every morning is a determined desire to leave a positive impact as a result of my actions and efforts during my time on this Earth.
10. What do you need help with in order to achieve your goals / dreams?
We all have special gifts and talents to contribute. It is through the cooperative collaboration of those gifts and talents that real progress is made toward any positive objective. I want to know those persons with special talents and developed skills. I want to work with those who desire to be the very best and to be included among them. It is my ongoing desire and hope to be a part of positive, human advancing and affirming projects.
Jay Heinlein describes himself as a Proud Father, Publishing & Marketing Professional (20+yrs), Social Media Enthusiast, and Mid-life Adventurist. He enjoys “all things Colorado” which includes hiking, skiing, biking, and eating trout. Jay is very involved in volunteer and local community service. Jay’s driving passion is to influence and impact the world for good–to “leave a mark”. Jay’s blog musings regarding publishing, writing, education, and social and cultural happenings can be found at heinleingroup.com.
J. A. Heinlein
Publishing – Marketing Professional
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Your comments, questions and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated. Ill-willed comments of any kind are not allowed here. Please be kind. The law of attraction is always at work: that which you sow, so shall you grow. Thank you and have an incredibly blessed day!
Proud to be the mom of two incredibly awesome boys! One just happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome. Both teach me how to be grateful for life every day.
Rhonda Spellman is an award winning author, professional speaker, autism advocate and coach. A published author at 17, she has since worked in many areas of the writing / publishing / media field. When a form of autism took her son’s voice in 2001 and threatened to take his ability to live a normal life, she began to search for better answers. Rhonda self-published her first children’s book – an EVVY award winner, in 2003, a short two months before her first son was diagnosed with autism. Her second book, based on small emperor penguin who gives children a message, “You don’t have to BE big to DO big things” was picked up by a major publisher in 2008. Rhonda’s third book, “The Journey Home from Autism“, is based on over 7,000 logged hours of research was released on January 1, 2010. It has won a 1st place INDIE Excellence award and an EVVY award. In January, 2013, she published her 10-year-old son’s first book, “Asperger’s Rhymes with Bass Burgers“. Her programs for children and adults, her website and her column “Beyond the Spectrum” are designed to educate and enrich life ~ in all of our many shapes, colors and forms. Her online sites include: AutismWithRhonda.com, Linkedin.com/in/RhondaSpellman, Facebook.com/RhondaSpellman, http://www.youtube.com/artospress, She can be reached at Rhonda@RhondaSpellman.com