Interview With Author Tim Patterson

Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

My name is Tim Patterson, aka TradeshowGuy. I have two books, both of them self-published and available on Amazon as paperbacks or Kindle downloads:

Tradeshow Success: 14 Proven Steps to Take Your Tradeshow Marketing to the Next Level (2015)

Tradeshow Superheroes and Exhibiting Zombies: 66 Lists Making the Most of Your Tradeshow Marketing (2018)

I spent 25+ years in radio, switched careers in 2002 to the exhibit industry and used my writing and broadcasting skills to learn more about the industry, and created a blog in 2008 called TradeshowGuyBlog.

What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?

Knowing that having a book is a great way to differentiate yourself from other exhibit sales and marketing people, I finally made myself do it in 2014/2015. I did it again in 2018 by compiling dozens of list posts from my blog. I sell some copies, but generally I use them as giveaways to potential clients.

What inspires/inspired your creativity?

I’ve always liked writing and I’m a musician (guitarist, drummer), so I need a creative outlet. It just made sense to use my writing skills in the business world (I’m self-employed).

How do you deal with creative block?

Take a break. Write about anything but what you want to write about. There is no such thing as writer’s block! Just start somewhere, it doesn’t matter where. Write about what you had for breakfast, where the food came from, and so on. Soon enough, you’ll feel those creative juices going again.

What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

My books are non-fiction business books, so I think the biggest mistake you could make in such a setting is to be factually wrong. Much of what you write is opinion, but it is surrounded by facts that need to back it up. I realize that data changes over time, but it should be factually correct when it’s written.

Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

This is a tough one. The first one I had a designer do it, based on suggestions from me. The second one, I took a template I liked and dropped a small related illustration into the center of the cover. I think both turned out well. The key is to instantly tell a potential reader what it’s about.

How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

I don’t read reviews, so I never worry about them. Keep moving forward. I take the advice of Seth Godin, who says you shouldn’t read reviews; the ones that like your book you already know about, the ones that don’t aren’t going to support what you do any way.

How has your creation process improved over time?

I’ve always thought the best way is to set aside a certain amount of time per day/week/month that you need to make it happen. Make the commitment and just do it.

What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

First book took the longest: I had at least three false starts over a few years. Finally, I just decided to make it happen and made the commitment to finish no matter what. That worked. Second book was different; it was a compilation of blog posts which needed to be edited. I mostly liked the process but wished it had gone faster. The hardest thing is coming up with an idea that you are willing to commit to. After all, it will take you some significant amount of time to complete it.

I also worked with Create Space on both. Loved their help, although it was mainly hands-off. I did hire them to do a line edit each time, which was great to make sure the copy adhered to certain standards. I didn’t always agree, but it was good to know.

Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers?

Up to this point I write books to have something that will differentiate me from other people in the industry. I do it to improve business and to set myself apart.

Do you balance the two and how?

I do get satisfaction out of writing. I’ve always been a writer, since I was a kid. I don’t think I’m a great writer by any stretch of the imagination, but I can put sentences together and sufficiently explain things well enough.

What role do emotions play in creativity?

A bit, although I tend to have a lot of control over my emotions. I’m more concerned about behaviors: know what you plan to do, put that plan into place, and follow it by creating a “cookbook” of things you need to do (behaviors) so that you can get things done.

Do you have any creativity tricks?

Write about anything. If you’re going to write, there will be times that you feel you can’t put down anything of substance. Just write about anything. Or take a break like I do and bash on my drums or play guitar. Then get back in front of the keyboard.

What are your plans for future books?

Still looking for that next idea. I have a few that are solid but haven’t risen to the level of making the commitment. I also have a number of fictional stories in my head that I’m making notes on and would love to make the time to develop those.

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.

Ski bum for 50 years.
Drummer, guitarist.
I can juggle pretty good when I put my mind to it.
I do yoga every single day.
I walk the dog over a mile every single day (after the yoga!) Those are both great ways to start the day!
I do a weekly 2-hour Monday evening reggae show at the local community radio station, KMUZ.

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