Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Gini Graham Scott, and I’m 75, though I feel like 55.
Where are you from?
I’m from New York, though I came to California in 1968, when I was in my 20s. But in many ways, I’m still very much a New Yorker, since I tend to be analytical and talk and think fast. I belonged to a New York Castaways groups when I lived in San Francisco some years ago.
A little about yourself (ie: your education, family life).
I’m a single child, which is probably why I learned to be independent from an early age. I never got married, since I’ve always been very oriented to work and business. So I’ve been very entrepreneurial, and besides writing, I have started numerous businesses. I created a business 14 years ago that connects writers to publishers, agents, and film producers, and I sold it twice — the first buyers didn’t know what they were doing and closed it down, and after I took it back, I rebuilt and sold it again about a year ago to new owners. It was originally called Publishers and Agents and then Publishers, Agents, and Films.
More recently, I created a workshop program based on a new personality typing system called the Dog Type personality profiling system. It’s like the Myers-Briggs, DISC, and red-yellow-blue-green color profiling system, except it features dogs. You can see more about it at www.whatsyourdogtype.com. Another business I recently set up is the Rub-A-Dub-Dub-Experience, a fun massage-like experience that can be set up in malls, clubs, private parties, and more. You can see more about that at www.therubadubdubexperience.com. (It will be live in a few days).
Tell us your latest news.
I have a new book on the new developments on living longer and maybe achieving immortality called The Science of Living Longer with ABC-Clio, out in November. I sold 4 kids’ books to Black Rose Writing, Katy’s Bow, Scratches, Where’s the Avocado, and The Crazy Critter’s First Visit. They will be out in 2018. I also have my sixth film which is being filmed based on a script I wrote: Infidelity, about three couples who come together for a dinner, and a mysterious caller suddenly calls and tells them they must answer some questions to reveal secrets about themselves or their business dealings. Otherwise, a bomb will go off, and they can’t leave or use their cell phone to call someone. But is this someone they know, or a prank caller?
My other new books which I have turned into workshops and courses are Self-Publishing Secrets and Using the Dog Type System for Success in Business and the Workplace.I’m especially excited about the potential for both of these books, which I published through Changemakers Publishing.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing as a kid. I guess you could say my first publication was when I was 6 years old and my mother, a second grade teacher, helped me create my first newspaper called The Peep. It featured articles by me and other kids about things going on in school and at home, and I went around my apartment building getting people to sign up for it.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably I first considered myself a writer, when I was 16 and I did a research study on the Merchant Marine Academy in Great Neck, where I lived at the time. It got published in the local paper, and soon after, officials at the Academy complained that it presented the academy in a bad light, since it included some stories of merchant marine students sneaking me and several girls in to parties at the academy.
Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Most of my writing is fairly straightforward, since I write a lot of popular business, self-help, and social trends books. So I like to be very clear, to the point, and include examples and stories to illustrate what I’m writing about in my nonfiction writing.
I also do a lot of script writing, where the action sections are designed to be short and set the scene briefly, so the director can add in the details. And I write a lot of dialog between the characters. I’ve always found writing dialog very easy; as a kid I used to imagine characters having conversations when I was lying in bed to go to sleep,a long time before I wrote anything. Also, I like writing kids’ picture books, since these are very short, easy to write, and it’s fun to imagine I’m a kids again.
How much of the book is realistic and are experienced based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Aside from my ghostwriting and co-writing for clients, my non-fiction books tend to be based on an area of interest or experience I have had that has led me to investigate further. For example, as I have gotten older, I have gotten interested in the subject of anti-aging and methods for living longer, including the research for immortality that has gotten investments from billionaires.
I also had an experience with a bankruptcy attorney who cheated me after I wrote a proposal for him and he used it to sell his book to a publisher. But he had financial difficulties, so he falsely claimed “fraud” after his credit card was declined to get back his money which I had charged for the work. He claimed he had not authorized the project and had no transactions with me about it, despite my having about 350 pages of email exchanges over about a month and even getting some emails from him in which he claimed paying me would be his first priority. That fraudulent fraud claim led to a book called Preventing Credit Card Fraud, and I asked a woman bankruptcy attorney and debt strategist to be the lead author, since I felt I needed someone in the financial field to give the book more credibility. She provided leads for articles, and I wrote the book which we sold to Rowman & Littlefield.
To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Normally, I do most of my books based on research available locally or over the Internet. This has included books involving extensive interviewing, including a series of books on work relationships: A Survival Guide for Working with Humans, A Survival Guide for Working with Bad Bosses, and A Survival Guide to Managing the Employee from Hell, all published by AMACOM.
The most traveling I did was to do interviewsfor a memoir for a client based on his experiences as a Marine sergeant for 30 years beginning in 1946 — and that was only to San Ramon, about 30 minutes from my home in Lafayette.
Who designed the covers?
My books with traditional publishers have been designed by the publishers. In the case of the books published through my company, Changemakers Publishing, I have mostly used three or four templates provided by CreateSpace and I selected the photographs for the covers. Then, when a dozen of those books were published by IngramSpark for book store and library sales, I used those covers as a guide for a graphic designer to follow to create that version.
For another dozen of my most recent books, which were published by both CreateSpace and IngramSpark, I created the covers myself. I used stock photos of dogs and organized them in Photoshop. These are books featuring four dogs representing the four Dog Type Personalities — a German Shepherd, Pomeranian, Golden Retriever, and Border Collie. These books include What’s Your Dog Type?, Discovering Your Dog Type, and Using the Dog Type System for Success in Business and the Workplace.
Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
Since I have mainly written nonfiction books on a variety of subjects, there is no particular message in every book. But in general, I would say my books are designed to help readers achieve success in their life and work by using various tools, such as being positive, learning from experience, and continually growing, changing, and adapting to the times.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
One of my interests as a nonfiction writer is social trends, and in this area, the author I think has been most influential for me is Malcolm Gladwell, who has written about trends in society, such as in his book The Outliers.
Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Since I started getting published when I was a grad student in sociology, I would say I got the most support for becoming a published author from my professors on my publishing committee. One was Troy Duster, who provided the most encouragement as I worked on my dissertation in which I compared a spiritual growth group and a witchcraft group. It was published by Praeger as Cult and Countercult.
Do you see writing as a career?
Since I am a full-time writer, I obviously see writing as a career, although the nature of the career has changed. Initially, I made most of my income through royalties of my books. Then, as the publishing industry shifted, I started a company that connects writers to publishers and agents, and later film producers, called initially Publishers and Agents, and then Publishers, Agents, and Films. Initially it involved using postal mails to send publishers lists of projects and then I shifted to sending out emails in 2003. I used special software to personalize the letters to contacts while I could send from any email. The company became very successful with over 1000 writers and over 250 testimonials. By the time I first sold it in 2008, it was about 85% of my income, and eventually I sold it again, though I work with the new owners and can refer writers to them.
Now I still do some books for traditional publishers, but most of my books are published through my company Changemakers Publishing in different formats (print, ebooks, audiobooks, and soon courses), and most of my income comes from ghostwriting and other writing for clients. The publishing industry has been transformed over the last decade, so there is much more opportunity in self-publishing and helping new authors, businesspeople, speakers, and workshop/seminar leaders write, publish, and promote their own books.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I tend to write fairly quickly, and once a book is done, I consider it done. If I want to change anything, such as because there are new technologies or social trends, I would simply write and publish another book.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
In writing one of my recent books, I learned about the potential we all have for living much longer, especially if we can stay healthy for another 15-20 years, when all the new technologies will kick in. For example, you might be able to get a new body, rejuvenate your cells, have new ways to make your brain smarter, and so on.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
If my book on The Science of Living Longer is made into a film, I would suggest a doctor/scientist or journalist might play the lead as someone introducing people to the new technologies for living longer. The first lead that comes to mind is Richard Gere or Susan Sarandon, with one being a doctor/scientist, the other a journalist.
Any advice for other writers?
My advice to other writers is that until you start making enough from your writing to support yourself, don’t give up your day job. If you are going to write for clients, you need to build a track record, and you might start by providing some free samples and getting testimonials.
If you want to be successful with writing nonfiction, you need a platform with a big following, extensive speaking engagements, or a high media profile, for a big publisher to be interested, especially if you are writing in a popular competitive field like self-help, popular business, or relationships. You have to establish yourself as an authority. A good way to get started is to self-publish your book and use that to get speaking engagements and media attention, and gradually build up your sales. Then, you can decide if it makes sense to keep self-publishing or find a traditional publisher. I can help writers with either — directly through self-publishing or through the company I sold to find a traditional publisher or agent, since I still work with them as a writer and consultant.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Let me know what else you are interested in reading about, and maybe I’ll write about that.
What book are you reading now?
Right now I’m reading a series of books, articles, and course materials about email marketing and marketing and publicizing books, since I need to learn how to do this for my own books.
Do you remember the first book you read?
Early on, maybe when I was about 3, I read one of the Dr. Seuss books, where an elephant turns green, and I recall it scared me to look at that page. One of the first books I read when I was about 6 that was very influential was a book about Dick Turpin, the famous British highwayman. I thought he was very adventurous, and ever since then, I’ve always been interested in crime writing and mystery, suspense, and films about the police or others tracking down killers. Some of my own books have been in this area, including Homicide by the Rich and Famous, and I have several film scripts in the crime, suspense, mystery genre, including Driver¸ about a Uber-like driver who becomes a serial killer.
What makes you laugh/cry?
Most recently I’ve been following our modern day political saga that has provided grist for the late night comedians, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Samantha Bee, Bill Maher, and others. Though I mainly laugh at the latest antics of Trump, Congress, and the RNC, I’d say their words and actions can make one both laugh and cry.
Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’m fascinated by ancient history, and I’d love to meet some of the Viking and English kings from the Middle Ages.
Do you have any hobbies?
My hobbies include watching films and TV series, most recently on Amazon and Netflix.
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like a lot of the reality based TV series and crime shows. Most recently, I’ve been watching The Vikings, American Crime, The Five, and Criminal Minds.
Favorite foods, colors, music?
My favorite foods are Chineseand salads. My favorite colors are red and black. My favorite music is Country.
Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
If I no longer wrote in the future, I’d travel – primarily educational and anthropological trips in a group to learn about other cultures. I’d also continue to create new business ventures and raise capital to make them happen.
What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t plan on a head stone, since with all the new technologies for living longer, I plan to live forever! That may be funny now, but sometime in the near future that could be true!
Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events, and special offers?
Yes. I have multiple websites: