IHS: Welcome, Gabriela! Thank you for being with us today. We are thrilled to have you! Would you please tell our followers who you are, what city you're from?
Gabriela: Gabriela Casineanu and I'm from Toronto.
IHS: Okay, Great! What is the title of the book you just completed with us?
IHS: Great title! What was your favorite part about bringing this book to audiobook life?
Gabriela: The narrator’s voice. As an introvert myself, I liked the calm voice that invites listeners to find out more about the book topic.
IHS: Whether fiction or non-fiction, books are truly inspired work from authors. What was your inspiration for this book?
Gabriela: In 2016, I was delivering daily workshops and talking with clients - which required a lot of energy from an introvert like me. Gradually, my health started to deteriorate, showing burnout symptoms: fatigue, breathing problems, anxiety, panic attacks, dizziness, lack of focus and concentration. It also affected my voice; I couldn’t speak for four months!
During that time, worried for my voice, I asked myself: “What would I do the rest of my life if I can’t talk anymore?” Strange enough, the answer came with the next thought: “Write a job search guide for introverts!”
Duh! It totally made sense: by then, I had a decade of experience applying coaching to employment counseling, a lot of good content and success stories from helping thousands of professionals (many introverts) with their job search and career advancement. I never thought about writing a book before, but I liked the idea because it could be a way to help more introverts...without me being present!
That thought came with so much energy...that I start writing! I couldn’t do anything else anyway; I was barely walking and all those burnout symptoms were hard to handle.
It took me ten months to write this book, but I was happy at the end: it became a bestseller in nine countries, and almost all my burnout symptoms disappeared! Plus, my voice came back!
It made me think that a burnout is actually a...blessing in disguise! :-)
IHS: That's great! Is your primary business writing? If so, what do you do for fun? If not, what do you do “in real life”?
Gabriela: That first book made me fall in love with writing! I’ve published nine more books since, and more book ideas in the pipeline. :-)
But I love everything I do, whether it is my coaching practice (coaching introverts, system coaching with groups and teams, workshops), writing, biking, hiking, painting, nature, photography, jewelry making… should I add more? :-)
I consider myself on a mission to build a better world my tapping into introvert power! (mine and others’) Everything I do is somehow related to my mission, not only my books. Even when I design and facilitate workshops for a broader audience, I create a supportive environment that allows both introverts and extroverts to understand each other, and feel more at ease to express themselves.
To me, both personal and professional life merge together in what you could call “a fun real life.” :-)
IHS: Okay, next question. Many authors are not audiobook listeners by nature. Are you? Have you ever listened to an audiobook before your own?
Gabriela: Yes, I did. I like self-help audiobooks.
IHS: That's cool! Okay, when you were listening to your narrator auditions, what was it like to hear your book get voiced by different people?
Gabriela: It’s better than if I’ve done it myself! :-) Like many introverts, I too prefer non-verbal ways of expression. So I was happy to find a professional narrator who brought this book to life in an audio version. Plus, it saved me some time and energy (I didn’t have to learn the technical aspects of recording an audio
IHS: What were you most worried about when starting out with this audiobook process? Did the worry happen or was it unjustified?
Gabriela: It was my first audiobook, so I didn’t know much about the process. When I heard the first sample, I was worried that narator’s voice seems too “corporate.” I wanted a voice that sounds a bit more gentle and carrying (like introverts’ voice, mine included). But the narrator was able to adjust her voice to my request, so I’m happy with the final results.
IHS: We're glad you liked the final outcome. So, in hindsight, was there anything that you probably ACTUALLY should have been worried about instead?
Gabriela: The pace of the voice. I’ve got some comments that mentioned that the narration’s pace is too slow.
IHS: Thanks for that feedback. Okay, let’s talk reviews. Do you read your reviews and will you read your listener comments? What do you most like to see in the comments?
Gabriela: Of course I read them! :-) I like the different perspectives they bring, sometimes pointing out things I never thought about.
IHS: Once a book is finished, then the work of marketing begins. What do you do to spread the word about a new release?
Gabriela: Well, I think marketing starts before even the book is finished. That’s what I did with that first book, which helped it become an Amazon bestseller not only in one but nine countries! And I kept promoting it even after the new release (it won the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award - Bronze Medal in 2018).
What did I do? I treated the book like a product:
- I built momentum while I was still writing it, with a daily post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, even on LinkedIn sometimes. Instead of sharing the book content, I shared an image that was related to my writing journey (I love to combine images with text). Like when I got to Starbucks (my writing “office”) to self-edit the book, and I realized that I forgot my wallet at home. :-) Or when I got kicked out three times in a day - after writing for 9 hours at the library, then from LCBO and Starbucks at closing time (I was so determined to finish the book, that I wanted to continue to write at Starbucks). While I was writing, I also learned about publishing and that it’s useful to build a launch team, so I focused on building it too.
- While it was a new release, I make a lot of “noise”! I spent 36 hours nonstop online posting often on social media and sending private messages with screenshots to show how the book climbed the rank until it was 94 in all Amazon Kindle book store, when it received each bestseller banner, when it ranked above “Quiet” (Susan Cain) and “What color is your parachute?” (Richard N. Bolles) - two well-known bestsellers for introverts and job search. It built credibility for the book and me as a writer. My marketing budget was only $120 (after ten months of no income), so I had to be creative. I used that budget for websites that share new releases in their newsletters, to only find my non-fiction book near romance books … maybe not the best use of my money. :-)
- Then I continued to promote the book by combining online (Amazon Ads, social media, blogging, newsletter) with offline strategies (“Meet the Author” events, presentations, job fairs, shared promotions with other authors of similar books, etc). I also used Nick Stephenson’s Reader Magnet strategy from his free ebook: I wrote a smaller book and published it free on Amazon, which directs readers to my book Introverts: Leverage Your Strengths for an Effective Job Search. To thank him, I wrote a post for his blog on how I used LinkedIn to get my book a bestseller.
If you’re familiar with introvert strengths, you probably noticed that I used a lot my introvert strengths to help this book launch successfully. :-)
IHS: I can se that is definitely true. Thanks for sharing your marketing strategies! Really helpful. Okay now, what advice would you give those who are thinking about becoming an author?
Gabriela: If you think about it, it means you have something to share with the world! Don’t second guess your call, start writing and learn about the process (writing, publishing, marketing).
Looking back, I feel that all my life prepared me for writing this book. I couldn’t make it relevant also for technical professionals if I didn’t have an engineering and IT background. The business experience and social media connections I built in time helped me treat the book as a product and make a successful launch - even if people didn’t know me as a writer, my audience at that time was not only of introverts or job seekers, and I didn’t have any external PR or marketing support.
IHS: That's great! So, what advice would you give authors who are thinking about doing an audiobook from their published book?
Gabriela: Two words: do it! :-)
It’s nice to get an extra check monthly, and … even better … to have your book available in a format that is gaining more and more popularity! It’s easy to listen to an audiobook while commuting or doing something else.
IHS: So true! So, for you, what was the best part for you about working with I’m Hearing Stories. Would you recommend I’m Hearing Stories to other authors thinking about creating an audiobook?
Gabriela: I like that my book narrator makes an effort to market my audiobook too, she doesn’t rely only on me. Thanks, Kimberly Hobscheid and I’m Hearing Stories!
IHS: Thank you so much for trusting us with your book and for your input! Okay, just for fun now, why don't you give us your Top Ten Craziest Accomplishments....
Gabriela's Top 10 Craziest Accomplishments:
1. I arrived at Machu Picchu by hiking the old Inca Trail for five days, even if I couldn’t eat anything for two days.
2. I wrote an award-winning and bestselling book (then nine more), although in school I thought that I was not good at writing and English is not my first language.
3. I started a daily meditation practice in 2007, amazing benefits came out of it. At one point, I was in meditation for eight hours continuously!
4. In 2009, I survived the sweat lodge of the "Spiritual Warrior" retreat in Sedona (where two people died) by paying attention to my inner experience.
5. I paid off my debt even though I lost my job at that time and had a mortgage.
6. I refused the surgery when I was taken to emergency with a knee dislocated at ski. Several months after, I immigrated to Canada while the knee was not completely recovered.
7. I changed careers successfully several times (engineering, IT, QA, business, coaching, employment counseling, adult training, artist, writer). Or should I say that I embrace life as a self-discovery journey worth exploring? I love it! :-)
8. I believed in myself that I could make it (in several tough situations, even when I change careers in totally different directions) when others didn’t, not even the close ones!
9. I quit a corporate job to follow my newly discovered passion for coaching, taking a 20k salary drop. Crazy but worthy! :-)
10. I following my path of heart wherever it takes me without judgment or regrets.
IHS: Impressive and inspiring! Thank you! Now, how can our followers learn more about you?
Gabriela Casineanu is a professional system coach specialized in experiential learning. Award-winning and bestselling author of “Introverts: Leverage Your Strengths for an Effective Job Search,” she helped thousands of job seekers by applying coaching concepts to employment counseling. An introvert advocate, writer, visionary catalyst, and change facilitator, Gabriela explores life with the curiosity of a child.
Okay, folks, there you have it! Gabriela Casineanu, author of Introverts: Leverage Your Strengths for an Effective Job Search