Leon Scott Baxter, “America’s Relationship Guru,” is the founder of CouplesCommittedToLove.com and the author of three books on love, romance and relationships. Baxter has spoken with over 20,000 individuals about love over the years via many outlets, including his seminars, talks, telephone coaching, radio and podcast programs. He’s an AllExperts.com expert and has written scores of local, domestic and internationally articles.
Baxter has been happily married to his college sweetheart since 1992 and is the father of two daughters (10 and 14).
What inspires you to write?
It really depends what I am writing. Sometimes I just can’t wait to get my story “out there.” Other times I feel that my message needs to be shared. When I first started writing I was pushed by the fact that others didn’t think I could write a book. Today, I am confident in my abilities and feel satisfied having completed another project.
Tell us about your writing process.
When I write, it takes me a VERY long time to flush out my ideas, be it fiction or non-fiction. I come up with a “Big Picture” idea and let it rattle around in my head for six months up to three years, writing down ideas when thy come to me. Then, when I am ready to start, I arrange all the scraps of papers, note sheets, receipts, and fast food napkins with snippets of ideas and start to piece together my flow and my chapters. Once I can see the path my book will take, I jot down the “scrap paper ideas” on lined pages and organize these into a big binder with dividers signifying each chapter. Then I start doing research and interviews for each of those chapters.
Once I obtain the info for each section, I start on them one at a time. This makes it easier for me, because when I know I’m working only on one chapter, the idea of an entire book becomes far less daunting.
I usually have a working title for the book during the writing process, but never really name it until I have a completed manuscript. Often what I set out to write, becomes something different by the end, and the title no longer meshes with the text.
What advice would you give other writers?
It’s been said over and over again, but it’s tre… write! Just write whenever and about whatever you can. Get in the habit of putting pen to paper. Submit stories wherever you can. You never know who will read them. A piece I wrote for a local paper was seen by the Chicken Soup for the Soul folks and they asked if they could use it in one of their books. It became my first paid piece and changed my mindset from calling myself “an aspiring writer” to “a writer”.
Also, believe in yourself after you get rejected, but also learn from those rejections. My first book received 300 rejection letters. It was disheartening, but I knew 300 agents and publishers couldn’t all be wrong. So, I made changes and with each book became a better writer and marketer.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
No one would touch my first book with a te-foot pole, so I published it myself at my local copy shop. I landed an agent for my second book. She said all the publishers loved the book, but wouldn’t invest in it, because it would be too hard to get my intended audience to read it. So, I went through Lulu and self-published. It was a bit intimidating to do everything, but I think the end product turned out better than I had expected.
I got a publisher for my third book, Cedar Fort. there was no bidding war so I just went with them. They are good people, but I learned I made more self-publishing, and the ebook version was very difficult for people to access. So, now with my newest book ready for publishing, I have to decide to I go with my publisher (nice people, established relationship, apparently better ebooks), do I go with a different publisher who may be able to offer more but I have no relationship with, or do I self-publish (no support, but more money).
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It’s strange to me that self-publishing is so accepted now, and I am sure there will be even more authors taking that route in the future, and ebooks are growing. With ebooks, it cost less to “publish” a book, but it cost less to buy the book. So, with more books being sold at lower costs, will that be financially good for writers or will we all need to keep our day jobs? Only time will tell.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
non-fiction, relationship, love
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print