Episode 03 – Mark J Roman – Conquering the Boundaries of Friendship

Mark J Roman after traveling the world, it took brain surgery in his 60’s for Mark to get his book out.

Marks career as a healthcare consultant has taken him all over the world. During that time, he developed his idea for a book about men and their relationship to each other.

It wasn’t until Mark had emergency brain surgery for a birth defect that he decided to actually get his book out. His path may not be typical, but he has written a book that is relevant and needed.

Website:

You can find mark at:

https://markroman-author.com

email him at: ctbfbook@gmail.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/markroman/

Book:

His book, Conquering the Boundaries of Friendship, is available at Amazon and the print edition can be found at Barnes and Noble.

Favorite Local Bookstore

Watch on YouTube:

Transcript

Stephen 0:46
Well, let’s start off. First of all, Sir, I’ve met you We met at Jay thorns weekend retreat. So anyone listen to the podcast. Look up Jay Thorne. He’s doing a mastermind. He does weekend retreats. He’s got books out. Jay is a great guy, another Northeast Ohio native. So Mark, before we get started on books and writing, tell us a little bit about you. Who are you where you’re from? Whatever you think would be interesting and relevant. Sure.

Mark 1:16
I’m Mark Roman, I split my time between homes in Northeast Ohio and Virginia. My wife is an archaeologist. So that’s always fun to hear some of the stories that she has about some of the digs. She volunteers for historic Jamestown in Jamestown, Virginia. And she also volunteers for the Colonial Williamsburg foundation. So she’s always got some fun stories from a historical perspective. And so Hi, I’m originally was born in Cleveland and raised in Warren, Ohio, which is also in Northeast Ohio. I went to Case Western Reserve University here in the Cleveland area. And after school immediately moved to New York and lived in New York for a few years in New York City. And as I have always been a an information technology, and business consultant for the past 40 years hard, it’s hard to say 40 years, but it’ll be 40 years and in 2020 since I graduated from from college, and I’ve had the opportunity to live in some really fun places. I lived in Johannesburg, South Africa for a couple of years. lived in San Francisco for a few years. I lived in Salt Lake City, I lived in Charleston. I lived in London for a couple of years. So I’ve always had a breadth of experience of different people and different different cultures. And I was

Stephen 2:45
all of was all of that for business or

Mark 2:49
choice. All of that was for business and and by choice because like going to Joburg to Johannesburg. The United States was still in the process of establishing relationships with the South African government apartheid was was falling apart. And I was president of a division of IBM Corporation at the time. And IBM was reestablishing relationships. And I’ve always been involved in the healthcare industry. So I actually, IBM had a philanthropic effort. And we had semis that we had outfitted as mobile clinics. And we drove those semis around South Africa. And we’re vaccinating children, and giving wellness checkups and antibiotics where antibiotics would be appropriate for for different infections and things of that nature.

Stephen 3:49
And that’s pretty impressive.

Mark 3:51
Yeah, it was it was really cool. It was one of those things were you know, it was a it was a land of haves and have nots. Because I also did work in Soweto in the townships of South Africa with Bo Park era, which is the largest acute care hospital in in the world. There were about 6000 patients and it wasn’t an AIDS hospital or a chronic care hospital. It’s, you know, for people that have appendicitis or heart attacks, or whatever acute types of conditions and that was a life changing experience. And I’ve always, you know, I was adopted. So I’ve always been I always wanted a brother or sister. Never family couldn’t afford another mouth to feed. But, you know, it was one of those things where we were poor growing up financially, and oh my god, were we rich with love. You know, my mom was next to the oldest of 12 kids. My dad was the baby of 10. Both of them were depression. babies. And so we, you know, I had literally hundreds of, of cousins and, you know, so it was that I, as an only child, I learned to to make friends quickly and cherished those friendships because I didn’t have kind of built in friends with brothers and sisters. But that was also the catalyst for from my first book, which was just published in October of this year, conquering the boundaries of friendship. I’ve interesting because about 12 years ago, my best friend was 27 years, my junior. Some of my contemporaries, some of my friends were saying, Hey, watch, you know, this kid, why does he want to be friends with you? And, you know, what’s he looking for? Etc. And he and I got to talking about it. And I said, you know, it was kind of surprising to me that, that my contemporaries were, were curious why this young guy wanted to be friends with an old guy like me. And he said, Mark, I’m getting the same thing from my friends. Matter of fact, he said, a couple of his friends had come up to him and said, Hey, watch out. What’s this old dude want to know? Why is he want to be your friend. And so we got to talking about it. And I started basically interviewing other friends to find out some of the boundaries that as men have had to cross to, to either make or or maintain friendships. And that was the that was the catalyst for the that was the main idea, the main thrust behind the book.

Stephen 6:34
So making this friendship work, gave you the idea. And I assume, yeah, some of your past experience in life fed into that. So yes, it’s one of those light bulb moments like everything suddenly clicked and jelled. And you saw it. And finally you?

Mark 6:52
Well, it was and you know, that was, that was 12 years ago. I know. I said, my best friend’s name is Ben Ben and I joked, I said, Well, I’m going to write a book about that someday. And we, you know, kind of put it on the back shelf. And but, you know, as a consultant, one of the things that I’ve always done is interview people. And so I got the idea. Well, let me I posted a request on both Facebook and LinkedIn. And I had about 300 men volunteer to be interviewed for the book. So I interviewed over 300 individuals from 60 different countries. And what was amazing to me, Steve, was the the similarities regardless of what culture you were, the the sports may be different. But for example, I have a, a chapter in the book, talking about things that we learn as men and things like, you know, there’s no crying in baseball. You know, man up, don’t don’t be a sissy did those types of things and the similarities were just astounding, regardless of what country or individual I interviewed. I remember interviewing a man named Nadeem, who was from Bangladesh. And I said, you know about cultural things that he was learned as a boy. And he said, Well, Mark, there’s no crying in cricket. And, and I kind of chuckled and said, there’s no crying and cricket. What do you mean to Diem? He said, Oh, my God, Mark, when I was learning to play cricket, you know, my dad and my uncles would be along the sidelines. And if somebody had a bad call from one of the umpires, or, you know, somebody should have had a point and if somebody felt bad about it or started to cry, you know, you you got yelled at by your dad and or uncle’s or whomever saying, Hey, no crying in cricket. It was funny because I interviewed some some men from Japan. And their statement was there’s no crying in soccer. And Australians, there’s no crying in football. And so it was just things of that nature that are that are cultural, that we are raised with as, as men. And I’m sure that there are similar things that women are raised with, but I just focused on, on men being a man, this is an area that I that I know, and certainly it was it was of interest to me.

Stephen 9:29
So was that the main focus when you started the book to find men across various social norms and cultures and, and to see what similarities or differences and you tell everybody Hey, look, we’re the same.

Mark 9:43
Yes, it was. My hypothesis was as men regardless of what culture you were in, regardless of your socio economic status, that we were raised similarly and have similar baggage when it comes to making money. Maintaining friendships. And so I literally, you know, interviewed men who were ditch diggers professional ditch digger. So in, and I had my hand and construction and I’ve interviewed CEOs of multi billion dollar organizations. And it was shocking the similarity, although the my hypothesis was that we had pretty similar backgrounds. And I have to just thank the the over 300 men that I that I interviewed because they opened their hearts to me, and talked about very difficult situations, I had several men that confided in me that their wives or children had committed suicide, or had had traumatic physical injury, and how their how their friends came in and supported them. One that was pretty stark that that really pops to mind is up, a man whose wife had committed suicide. And she had been married before. And so this gentleman had a stepson, and he wasn’t clear how to, you know how to talk to his stepson about his mother committing suicide. And as a result, he was pretty self conscious about being alone at home with his son with his stepson. And he said, that couple of his friends literally showed up at dinnertime with a six pack of beer for he and for them, and a six pack of root beer for his son, and a pizza. Or they would stop by with pasta or something that they had picked up. And this gentleman would say, we know what are you guys doing here? Well, we’re having dinner. And so you know, it was was to sue the pain, and to to get closer to Him and to make it easier for for his son as well who had lost his mother. And of course, there’s a lot of self doubt, that, that creeps into all men’s, in self criticism of I should have known I should have known something was up. And there were several men that I interviewed who had had children who had committed suicide.

Who by all accounts, if you looked at their sons or daughters who had committed suicide, they were very successful, they had steady boy or girlfriends, they were sports stars in high school, they were, you know, by all accounts had everything going for them. But were were really suffering some, some bullying and some things that their their parents may not have been aware of. And that that ran the gamut. It didn’t matter what socio economics class you were from. And interestingly, of all of the people of all the men that I that I interviewed, socio economic class was one boundary that men said that they had to, to cross I remember talking to one man who read fairly well to do financially and sail a sailor, and has a fairly nice yacht, in one of the yacht clubs in the Boston area. And there’s a maintenance man at his yacht club, who’s very handy with rigging on boats. And this man who owns the boat asked the the maintenance man to help him with with some rigging, and he just wanted to take that man out for a beer to say thanks. And the the members of the club saw the two adults at a local pub. The maintenance man said, Well, you know you I can’t be seen with you at the club. That’s that’s strictly against the the employment rules. And the next day, the couple of the members had spoken to the Commodore of the club. And the Commodore approached this man and said, You know, you’re not supposed to be fraternizing with the help. And he said, I’m having a beer with a friend, right? It’s not. Yeah, he works for the club. But and he is he’s done some work for me, but he hasn’t done it on club time. And I like the guy. So they’ve had to cross socio economic barriers. And in some, it’s interesting because every man that I talked to said that there was a barrier between them and their friend. The barriers were cultural or societal in nature of people objecting to a man who is a member of a yacht club, being friends with or having to cross that boundary to be friends with a maintenance man. And you know, there was there’s a, there’s obviously all sorts of boundaries that that men cross when it comes to friendships with women in the workplace.

Stephen 14:52
So, for the book, were you hoping to show that these are Guess false in a way that they’re they’re manmade, these thoughts are norms. They are false. And the main, you know, the main message coming out of the book was,

Mark 15:11
if you, if you like somebody or you have an attraction to them, then the term attraction I know made some people uncomfortable. But many of the men that I that I interviewed said that they were attracted to a guy for, for a number of reasons. So one man said he was attracted to another man because in the restaurant, they were at a common restaurant for over lunchtime. And the man that I interviewed said, Wow, this guy was polite to everybody. He was, he was fantastic. He was nice to the hostess. He asked the busboy the busboys name, he treated the server’s very pleasantly, and this man said, You know, I wanted I was attracted to this guy, because of number one is confidence. But number two, how nice he was. And some some men said I was, you know, I was attracted to a man because he had a good body. And when one man said, I know that that probably makes people are uncomfortable, but I’m, I’m trying to get more fit. And as a result, I looked at this guy and said, Man, he’s got a great body, he obviously at the same gym that I am, and maybe he could give me some pointers. So there’s an attraction, physical attraction, but so you know, there were there are a lot of examples of that nature, where they are really societal kind of boundaries. They’re not boundaries that necessarily exist between the two men. But you know, age difference being one. You know, while you if you’re if you’re 60 years old, you can’t have a friend, a good friend who’s 25. That’s just, that’s just, you know, that’s wrong, for whatever reason.

Stephen 16:59
And I find that interesting, because, as you said, you’re in your 60s. Yep. And these, the world today, my kids are all under the age of 25. Yep. And their world is different than ours. You’re You know, you’re right, don’t Yes, it is we we both grew up, don’t be a sissy, you know, be a big boy, that Baba blah, but now they’re much more accommodating and accepting. And it’s blurring quite a bit. I just find it, I guess, uplifting, somebody that’s in their 60s can see this and view things more like what the generations coming up are doing it. And it’s a good thing, that diversity, the acceptance, that people are who they are, you know, you can be a guy, you can be a weightlifter, and you can still be sad and cry if your dog dies, right, you know, and I think that’s great. seeing different generations being able to change and see that all the way from the kids up through me and up to you. So what would you say? Your book? Who? What would, what would you tell somebody, a guy that says, well, what’s your book? Why would I read your book, other than what you’ve already told us? which I think would sell the book itself? But is there anything else you wanted to try and get out to tell people? Hey, this is why you should read this? Well,

Mark 18:23
I have a number of calls to action in the book. So I have a number of challenges in the book, for you to examine relationships that you have today. And how can you be a better friend? So I started doing this probably 20 years ago with a number of my friends. I call it the friendship audit. And I will, I will tell you, it is difficult the first time you do it with somebody. And I prefer to do it in a non formal setting, like over a beer or having lunch or something. But I sit down with all of my friends at least once a year, and just say, okay, Steve, how can I be a better friend this year? And here, let me tell you why I think I was a good friend. But here’s areas where I think I could do a better job where I think I might have failed you. And the first time you do that with your friend it can be it can be awkward. But I also have some giveaways in the book, if you write to me at CTB f book@gmail.com CTB F for conquering the boundaries of freedom book, all one word@gmail.com I have some contracts that I send to people to contracts for. And I’ve had some tremendous response with those of how you’re going to be a better friend to somebody over the next year and contracts with yourself. How you can be a better friend to people in need and how you can extend yourself. And so it’s you know, and I I’ve had some tremendous feedback, Steve. I had a woman who wrote to me, and I don’t know, I didn’t know her didn’t know her husband. But she saw that she saw the book sitting on her husband’s nightstand. And she asked him what it was about. And he said, Oh, you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t like it. It’s about male friendships and men’s relationships. And she said, Okay, well, I’m gonna read it. And he said, Well, whatever. So she wrote to me. And she said, Mark, I just want want to tell you the story. I read your book, and my husband and I sat down. And we’ve decided that we’re going to message our children differently. Because we’re, we’re not sure we’re messaging them the way we want to. And your book opened our eyes to some of the messages that all of your interviewees said, like, you know, don’t be a sissy and big boys don’t cry and things of that nature. And she said that we examined some of the messaging that we’re leaving with both our boys and our girls. She said, we have both boys and girls. And she said, Your, your book opened our eyes to how we’re how we’re raising our kids. And I tell you what, Steve, that kind of feedback is what I wrote the book for, you know, my, my whole thing was, I feel like I have some incredible personal relationships,

Stephen 21:27
and feedback like that. You’re right. That’s, I mean, any any sense of the word in my mind, you’ve succeeded. I mean, that’s amazing.

Mark 21:36
Yes. And I, you know, I didn’t, I had emergency brain surgery in January of 2018. And I, I, you know, realized, then what a strong tribe of friends that I’ve got, because I had friends that flew in from California, or drove down from Michigan, or drove up from Kentucky, to make sure that my wife was okay. And to help take care of things around the house. And I had one friend who had worked with me that one of the companies that we work together, and I he was able to help me get back on my feet with some of my clients, because clients were writing to me. And I wanted to make sure that somebody who had similar type of background could read my, excuse me my intended responses. And as a result, he read what I was going to send to some of my clients, and he would question me, he would coach me and say, Is this what you mean to say, because this is what I think you’re saying. And, you know, having that, that tribe of that tribe of friends, that tribe of Clans, and I’m, I’m definitely, you know, in most business schools today, they teach you not to have deep, meaningful relationships with your clients. And I am a contrarian, when it comes to that belief. I think your clients when you have deep, meaningful relationships with them, you business moves at the speed of trust. And if you trust somebody, and you know them, you can have a personal relationship, but you can also have a professional relationship. And you both have integrity, and you’re both going to follow your procurement rules, and all of those types of things. But I have all of the men that I interviewed, I would say that everyone agreed that by having deep meaningful relationships with their clients, or with vendors and co workers, help, it really helped to serve them well, both personally and professionally. So it’s, you know, there’s I think that there’s a lot of after my after my brain surgery,

Stephen 24:01
so let me interrupt you. Right there. You just casually throw out Oh, I had brain surgery. Yeah. So you said it was an emergency. So I take it. It was definitely needed. And it went well, because you’re talking to us right now. Yes. But do you think that that give gave you kind of the push to want to write or? Absolutely. Absolutely. So if you hadn’t had that brain surgery, do you think you would have still wrote this book? Or would it still be sitting around in your head?

Mark 24:33
It was it I think it would have I think it probably would still be sitting around in my head. Yeah. So I had I had a birth defect which was asymptomatic. I never had any, any symptoms with it. And in January of 20 2018, it ruptured. So the aneurysm gave me all of the symptoms of a of a right side stroke. And I was told at the time that I would, I would never walk again. I would be paralyzed the rest of my life and I would be blind. I would never see Again. And you know, I was

Stephen 25:03
that doesn’t make for a good beginning of the year. No, no,

Mark 25:08
it does not. But But thank God I was life flighted to the main campus of Cleveland Clinic. And it’s the the birth defect that I had is, is very, very rare. There’s about 100 people worldwide that are diagnosed with it on an annual basis. And luckily, the neurosurgeon that was assigned to my case, does about 70 of the surgeries on a worldwide basis, every year. So my new normal, and you know, so I’m writing my next book is actually, you know, it’s just it’s one of those things where I mean, I don’t want to sound crass about it, but if I can do it, you can do

Stephen 25:49
well, there’s, there’s the message, if yes, we’ll make t shirts, if Mark can do it, you can do it.

Mark 25:54
If mark, you know, talk about turning lemons into lemonade. The next book that I’m writing is called your cured The Definitive Guide to caregivers and patients on the healing process. And I’ve interviewed almost 400 people for that book.

Stephen 26:13
So let me let me switch gears just a little bit. Yes. Is your book self published? Or did you get an agent and go traditional? Or how how did that work, the more business publishing aspects,

Mark 26:24
it’s, it’s high, it’s, it’s hybrid, I’ll put it to you that way. I you know, I looked at all of the the options of kind of self publishing, I looked at getting an agent I put together a book proposal and I pitched it to some traditional publishers. And they thought that some of the traditional publishers thought it was too niche. And that that means studies wasn’t necessarily a hot market, which is the way it was was getting classified. And so I I started reaching out to people as as you can probably tell, I’m not shy and so I reached I reached out to scribe media in Austin, Texas to JT McCormick, who’s the CEO there and told him what what my story was and JT offered support so it was published through lions crest which is the scribe media imprint and so that’s that’s why I say it was was hybrid because scribe you know, I have all of the rights to but but scribe did the editing. They did the the cover design and the artwork. And they they helped me with the the marketing of the book. And, and I don’t have an affiliate marketing position with them or anything of that nature. But I tell you what, everybody that I worked with it at scribe was just a golden. And you mentioned Jay Thorne. I was reading one of Jays blogs. And at the bottom of his blog, I saw a Cleveland heights address. And I thought, whoa, Cleveland heights Oh, that’s 10 miles from me, right. 15 miles. So I wrote a note to the the email that he had on the blog. And I said, Hey, dude, if you’re real, and you really have a place in in Cleveland heights, I live in Chagrin Falls. So you know, I’m like 1015 miles, if you’d like to get together for coffee sometime. You know, I’d love to meet you. And about two days later, I got a response that said, Hey, Mark, this is Jay. I am real. I do live in the the Cleveland heights area. So yeah, coffee would be cool. So I have have have made a good friend in in Jay.

Stephen 28:54
And yeah, I’ll jump in if anybody listening. doesn’t know. Jay. Look, Jay Jay Thorne, career author with Zack bohannan. They have a great podcast. He has several podcasts. He has a lot of good advice out there a lot of good books and blogs. And he I also had written to him something that’s one of the things I’ve been finding is that I think authors are way better and cooler than ours or actress or actors because they’re more approachable. Yeah, they don’t get mobbed so much. Some of them do, obviously. But I was able to write several big name, quote unquote, big name, authors, and I almost always get a reply. In fact, I met an author Ian Douglas, and I was actually in his house for some event we were at and didn’t even know who he was that he was an author. And I jumped right into a conversation he was having with another author, about Stephen King, and you know, just gave my two cents to these authors who have been doing this For 30, some years and right, and then everybody’s like, Hey, you do know that he’s like, my best selling author? And I’m like, no way. So yeah, I definitely think authors are cooler. And I’ve had no qualms about reaching out to even big names at times. And I would definitely say, Jay has some great advice and will, will definitely try and help you if he can.

Mark 30:23
Yes, he will. And I, you know, it’s in, in my book, conquering the boundaries of friendship, I talk about authenticity. And Jay is an authentic man, he doesn’t sugarcoat it. He’s very straightforward. He has tremendous advice on self publishing and becoming a career author. And he has helped me immensely with the with even just providing encouragement on kind of sticking with it and sticking through the marketing program, because, you know, for me personally, that the writing was actually the easy part. It’s, it was the the marketing and kind of positioning and, and those types of things that were, were tough for me, because I don’t have a, I don’t have a blog, it doesn’t relate directly to my to my business, although I do personal and professional coaching. That the book, you know, isn’t isn’t a door opener for those types of things. And

Stephen 31:24
so are you doing all of that yourself? Or do you have a company or a service that you’re doing some through? Or what are you doing for your marketing? How are you getting the word out getting the book out there, etc.

Mark 31:38
Email it’s a it’s been through LinkedIn, I have about 8000 connections on LinkedIn. And I am, I am not a lie. I’m a lion, for those of you listening is a LinkedIn open networker. So as someone who will accept an invitation from from anybody, all 8000 of those connections on LinkedIn, are people that I personally know or have worked with, or they have been clients or I have provided services to them. And I did an extract of all of the emails from from LinkedIn. And I used a an email service. And I sent out the genius link from from Amazon and send out a little blurb on the, on the book and what it was about. And I got a tremendous response. As matter of fact, when I posted to to LinkedIn, the cover of the book and said that the book was coming, and I gave a brief synopsis. In two weeks time, I had over 10,000 views of that synopsis, which was was tremendous traction. So it wasn’t just my 8000 connections, it’s their connections as well, who were seeing my book cover. And so it’s, you know, that’s, that’s been kind of the end then. And then going into to local bookstores. We have a little bookstore in Chagrin Falls called fireside books. And I approached the owner about carrying my book and she said gladly. So, you know, it’s in a couple of local bookstores, and they put a nice, nice local author sticker on it. But you know, I’m really happy to say that 10 days into my launch on on Amazon. I became an Amazon number one bestseller.

Stephen 33:35
Congratulations.

Mark 33:36
Yeah, thank you so much. It was my God. I cannot tell you, Steve. That was was such a good feeling. Because it was certainly not expected. And, you know, for like I said, for 2018 because not only did I have brain surgery, but I I lost both of my parents that year. Both of them passed away. So 2018 wasn’t a banner year.

Stephen 34:01
It might doesn’t sound like it’s my book.

Mark 34:03
But for my book 2019 has just been spectacular. And like I said, the the next two, as soon as I finish writing, I’ve got a fantastic editor that I met just by reaching out who’s a professor at the University of Washington in Bellingham, Washington. And he he collaborated with me to edit conquering the boundaries of friendship. And I acknowledge Him His name is Chaz hoppy. And Chaz is, you know, wordsmith extraordinare. And was was a was a good editor. I mean, he he really helped me to clarify some points and you know, it’s it’s one of those things where as a as a new author, then getting, you know, getting folks to leave reviews has has been challenged. And

Stephen 35:00
what have you done to get people to try and get people to get reviews?

Mark 35:05
Well, I’ve, you know, I’ve sent out, I think, 50 or so free copies of my book to people, I’m just, you know, ask them, here’s a free copy of the book, if you would, when you read it, give me a, you know, give me a review. And but it make it an honest review. Which, you know, as I think, Steve, I think everybody knows, reviews on on Amazon are, are very strategically important for particularly new authors such as myself. And I have just been heartened by the reviews that I’ve gotten. And not just from the 50 or so that I sent out as free copies. But there are a number of reviews out there now who I have no idea who the people are. So, you know, so they obviously bought the book, and decided to leave a review. And then as I said, I have CTB f book@gmail.com. I’ve gotten a number of, of just incredibly encouraging notes. And thanks for writing the book. And, you know, let us know when you’re when your next book comes out. And of course, I’m continuing to build my, my email list through that so I can develop a readership. But unlike Jay, and and some other folks, I don’t have the imagination to do to do fiction.

Stephen 36:36
Well, it sounds like your nonfiction is pretty inspiring. I unfortunately, I have not gotten it, I’m going to have to get your book and read it. I know you were talking about it at the weekend retreat, which is what made me think of you for this podcast. So you’ve definitely intrigued me on wanting to read your book.

Mark 36:54
Well, thank you, Steve. It’s, it’s been fun to write. And it’s been so incredibly rewarding. And

Stephen 37:04
so what you already said, you’re working on your next book, what have you learned from this first one, that you’re doing different for the next one,

Mark 37:13
starting marketing the book sooner, because I didn’t really do any marketing of any of any type until the book was actually published. So I’m going to start getting the word out, particularly since this next one is about patients and in caregivers, reaching out to a number of hospitals that have therapy programs, reaching out to a number of charities, because again, in doing the research for the book, there isn’t a heck of a lot of material out there. That is written for caregivers or patients who have experienced trauma, traumatic physical injury to their bodies. There’s a lot of academic things out there. But there’s nothing certainly that’s been written by patients for patients. That’s something that I’m definitely doing differently.

Stephen 38:10
Okay, so along those lines, what what advice would you give other authors? I mean, you’ve already said several things you’ve done that I think other authors may be extremely helpful for, but is there anything else you would give advice to other authors who are working on their first book?

Mark 38:26
Yes, I would say do your research. read as much as you can in the genre that you are writing in, whether it be fiction, or whether it be nonfiction, or whether it be post apocalyptic fiction, or whether it be romance novels, whatever. read as much as you can, in those genres. And look at what other authors do. And just remember, they are they are not your competition. I learned that very early on. By, you know, initially, I was thinking about some of the authors that are out there as being my, my competition, but they are not as a matter of fact, they’re in certainly, in my case, they’re pioneers in in leading the way so that an author such as myself can come in like with something like conquering the boundaries of friendship, and have an interest group or having a readership out there that’s already established. So I would say do your, you know, do your research and learn as much as you can about the Amazon keywords? And one of the things that I do, and I did for the first book, interestingly, and this is, this is not since I become an author, I’ve done this as a sales guy for years. I do what I call an avatar. Who is my ideal reader. Who is it? I expect to be reading my material. And I try to get into as much detail as I possibly can. And as a as a sales guy, I always did an avatar for who was the beneficiary of the particular service that I was offering to to my client, because my, my client may be the buyer, but they’re not the beneficiary. And so as a as an author, I do an avatar of what my ideal reader looks like, age wise, demographics, educational level, as much detail as I as I can. And I keep that avatar in my mind, as to who I’m writing the book for and who my ideal reader is. And I find that personally, very, it’s kind of my North Star, if you will, when I, when I start thinking about Oh, should I should I construct a chapter one particular way I keep in mind who, who my ideal reader is and who I’m trying to provide the most benefit with my book. And that helps me to keep that direction, right. And it’s, I think of it as the difference between a compass and a roadmap, a compass gives you direction, a roadmap tells you how to get from point A to point B, and those those avatars are my compass, they keep me going in the direction that I want to go.

Stephen 41:37
And I’ve heard that before, too, I’ve heard others say, your your figure out your reader. And people are like, well, I don’t know who my reader is, you know, but you do, especially for a book like yours, you have an idea of who would benefit. And as you found out, even if you’re targeting, let’s say, middle aged men, that live in big cities, you get a whole variety, you get people from down south, up north from across the seas, you get women, you get younger men, older men, so it might stop you and limit your book from being discovered and by others, but by focusing on that one particular group, that’s your avatar, then you’re you’re more popular, so it actually helps your book be discovered by others. And what I’ve seen,

Mark 42:28
yes, and I would, I would suggest that that was certainly true with conquering the boundaries of friendship, and that avatar, for your keyword is giving me some ideas on again, opportunities for me to to go out to market the next book, and to start that marketing well in advance of its of its publication date. So you know, kind of preceding the the marketplace, if you will, so that people know what’s know what’s coming. And, again, continuing to build that, that email list. Because, you know, I’m not a, I’m not a social media maven, by any stretch of the imagination. But, but interestingly, if you keep your mind open to opportunities, whether you’re older or younger, you if you if you kind of check your baggage at the you know, at the door, you can, you can open yourself to to a world of opportunities, and a world of opportunities as far as friendship is concerned. But similarly, with, with offering, that if you keep your your mind open about opportunities that you have, as you’re as you’re writing and seeking advice, coaching mastermind groups, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a phenomenal world. And I have to echo the same commentary that you made earlier, Steve, as I have, I have been embraced by a number of authors. And the authors that I’ve reached out to have been just so generous with their, with their time, their support, their their coaching, and or challenging me asking me questions of Have you thought about X, Y, or Z that I’ve been, I’ve been just totally blown away by how embracing and how open the the author community is to to having a new author such as myself, you know, be as in in their community and I feel that it’s, it’s a community that’s very warm, and embracing. And that would be my other bit of advice to people if you’re if you’re a great fiction author or you have a question. concept that you you know that you want to try out, give it a shot. But but stick with what you know, creatively telling your story. And even though it’s in my case with nonfiction, it’s a, it’s a true story that you’re telling, but telling it in such a way that it’s of interest to the readers. And you know, it gets to be a page turner, where someone wants to find out once wants to happen and find out what happens next. doesn’t mean you can’t be creative with how you construct your work.

Stephen 45:33
Right? And I’ve heard a lot about that with nonfiction writing the story writing it? Yes. Tell the story. I need to get going. I’m sure you do, too. Where? Can we find your book besides Amazon? And do you have a website? Is there any other places online, we can find you.

Mark 45:53
You can find me on LinkedIn. I’m Mark J. Roman, on LinkedIn. And I am establishing an author’s website as we speak. And it’s just mark Roman dash author.com. And then for conquering the boundaries, you can find me at CTB F, book, one word conquering the boundaries of friendship book@gmail.com. And, of course, my book is available on amazon.com on Barnes and Noble. And it’s also been picked up by about 150, Barnes and Nobles brick and mortar stores. But I would also suggest that if you if you think you’re going to get it at a at a local, physical Barnes and Noble Checkout, whether they have inventory in that particular store, because I know a couple of friends have written to me and so we know, we stopped at our local Barnes and Noble and they didn’t have your book, but they ordered it for us. But I don’t know how I don’t know how Barnes and Noble distribution network works on that. But, you know, certainly amazon.com and it’s available in ereader formats. And it’s also available in in paperback on on Amazon and Barnes and noble.com. And then in Europe, interestingly enough, there’s a an adult remember what it’s, but it’s it’s basically a spin off of all the, the grocery chain here in the States. There’s an Aldi in Germany, who is also carrying my book. I’m not quite sure how they, how they picked it up. They weren’t in my original distribution plan. But I’ve got a friend, Dr. friend who used to be a colleague of mine, and we don’t work together any longer. But he sent me a fantastic email and said, Mark, I was able to buy your, your, your book at all the Wow, I just I kind of chuckled and said I you know, all the is the the grocery chain. And he said no, no, not in Germany. And, and he lives in, in Frankfurt, in in Viz, Barton. And so I’m not quite sure how it got picked up in some of those other geographies. But it’s fine with me, as I said that my my objective with the book is to try to help as many individuals, men and women as possible to have deep meaningful relationships. And as I said earlier, I’m a contrarian when it comes to keeping your personal and your professional life separate. I think that they they can co coexist and co mingle quite well. So

Stephen 48:48
well, Steve, it’s been a pleasure. Yes. And great talk to you. I appreciate the time mark. Yeah, no great words of wisdom and advice.

Mark 48:56
Well, thank you. Okay, great. Steve, you take care of software Cheers. Or have a Have a Merry Christmas.

Stephen 49:03
You too. Enjoy the holidays. Yep. Thanks, Steve.

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