Interview with Author Robert F. DeFinis – Ramona Portelli Blog

Interview with Author Robert F. DeFinis

Author Dr. Robert F. DeFinis has been working with children, athletes, coaches, teams, leaders, and organizations for over twenty years, consistently leveraging optimal performance strategies into success stories. As a former DIII Athlete and Coach, Dr. DeFinis understands the physical and mental commitments athletes and coaches endure to accomplish their goals. In addition, as an organizational leader, Dr. DeFinis has cultivated human capital to maximize business outcomes while creating employee satisfaction. Born just outside of Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Dr. DeFinis received his Doctorate in Organizational Leadership and Development and a Masters in Education while acquiring several certifications in Sports and Performance Psychology. He is also the creator of Total Optimal Performance Solutions, and host of Rising to the TOP Podcast. Dr. DeFinis created RDF Books in 2020, and writes children’s books dealing with contemporary issues and team play.

Tell me more about your latest book

My latest book, Lady P’s First Day, is a children’s book about what a first day of school looks like in a Coronavirus world! The entire world is grappling with how to safely live with this virus. In America, children are beginning to return to school. Many for the first time. The book is based on how my own daughter, a kindergarten student this year, will be going to school virtually. Originally I had a completely different vision for the book when I started to write it almost a year ago. However, I too had to change the vision of the story to meet the current situation. This actually becomes a theme for the whole book. We have to accept change even though we may not like it. 

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

I would have to say the most challenging aspect was changing almost the entire concept of the book from what I originally intended to write about in a short amount of time. When I started the writing process for this project, the world looked very different. In fact, I put this project aside to address some of the things happening with the Coronavirus in another book. I was hoping by midsummer that the virus would have been more under control, and that never happened. So I had to scrap my original concept and start new. A tremendous amount of work, but I think everything has a purpose. I’m very pleased with the final product and believe that educators, parents, and children will enjoy the story. 

What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

As a newer author, I’m still navigating and tweaking my process. Obviously your first book is a learning opportunity. I took the successes and failures of that and tried to really focus on having a good system in place. Early on I decided to self-publish. The main reason for this was that I wanted my stories in the hands of readers much faster than the traditional system allows. It’s just a personal preference for me. Additionally, I don’t necessarily follow all industry suggestions. I sort of do what’s best for me and my books.

What motivated you to become an author?

Writing children’s books is just one of the many things that I do. It took me years to start to bring my ideas to life. Only recently did it become the perfect season for me to go from talking about writing children’s books to taking action and becoming a children’s book author. I think now my motivation is to tell a good story so children have something to enjoy and learn from. I focus on contemporary issues that provide a learning opportunity. That alone motivate me to keep going. 

How many books have you written so far? List and name them all here.

This will be my second book. I now have a writing goal to produce at least two books a year. I’d say that I am not short on ideas, but time can be an issue. I guess we will see what the future holds. My last book, How to Defeat the Icky, Filthy, Creepy, Slimy CORONA MONSTER!, was released in April. Another book focusing on how children can do their part with defeating the Corona virus. It is a short rhyming book that focuses on good hygiene. It has been well received.

As an author, do you prefer the traditional book or online version? Why?

In all honesty I don’t have a preference. I think both present advantages and disadvantages. Sure it’s nice to have a book and flip through the pages. However, with new devices and constantly going from this to that, it can be easier to read online material. As an author I also struggle with how my book can get to as many children as possible. Technology is great. However, there are many disadvantaged children that do not have the most updated resources. I try to now make some version of my book free and accessible for this reason. Personally, I would prefer not to have any barriers in the way between my book and children that want to read them.

How hard or easy is it to establish and maintain a career in writing?

I see many authors talk about this. It really is up to the individual author and their effort. In a perfect world someone would write a book and everyone would buy and read it. This is not a reality. I think if you want to establish and maintain a career, you have to be very passionate and aggressive about not only writing, but all aspects of the industry. You also have to develop a really good strategic plan. As I mentioned, this is just one of my many interests and passions I have. I set out to tell stories. I think if you focus on good storytelling, develop a concrete plan on how to market your book, and stick with it you should be satisfied with the results. 

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Simply, don’t give up and develop good marketing skills. I can’t stress the second part enough. Even if you have to take a marketing class, I think it’s important to understand good theory and practice when it comes to marketing your book. I see some very good books out there that go absolutely nowhere because the author isn’t getting the material in front of the right audience. I think the best authors take actionable steps each day to market their brand. 

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