Interview with John Cali

How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords distributes all its authors' books to all the major retailers with just a click or two. Without that, it would be a daunting and time-consuming task for the author to distribute to all those retailers. Also, Smashwords has many free resources for indie authors, including marketing advice, cover design, book formatting, etc. In my opinion, Smashwords is the best resource out there today for indie ebook publishers.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I never thought about becoming an indie author when I started writing my first book. Back then the traditional New York publishing companies were the only way I knew to get published.

Then I read Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual. I met and became good friends with Dan. I went to a couple of classes he taught many years ago. Dan had been an indie author and publisher since 1969, when it was still called "vanity" publishing. He was very successful, and is the godfather of self-publishing. He legitmized self-publishing.

Dan was my mentor during those early years, and even till his death in 2015. As much as I've always loved writing, I probably would not be an indie author today if it had not been for Dan. Many of today's authors, including me, owe our success to him and his lifelong dedication to writing and to writers.

Over the years, I've written 10 books. In the early years, they were mostly business books. Then I edited and published a book about dogs on Smashwords. Now I'm working on my next book, Conversations with Spirit: Real Answers To Life’s Pesky Questions, Book 1.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Ever since I could hold a pen or pencil, I've loved writing. Of course, way back then, I never dreamed of writing a book, much less of ever having it published. I simply love to write. I love putting my thoughts onto paper and hopefully inspiring others with what I have to offer. I want to be of service to people, and empower them to live fulfilling and happy lives.

That is the greatest joy of writing for me -- to do what I love and to help others along life's path.
What are you working on next?
I've got a list of topics I intend to write more books on. The next one I expect to publish is called Conversations with Spirit: Real Answers To Life's Pesky Questions. The book is pretty far along, and I expect to publish it later in 2016 or early 2017.

The books I plan to write after Conversations with Spirit will be in the same genre -- non-traditional spirituality.
Who are your favorite authors?
This is a tough one to answer. I've got so many favorite authors, men and women who have inspired me to always strive to be a better and better writer and human being. Just to name a few, in no particular order -- James Herriot, Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, Dan Poynter, Mark Coker, Richard Bach, Jerry and Esther Hicks, Wayne Dyer, Jane Roberts, Sanaya Roman, Duane Packer, Louise Hay, Charles Kuralt, H. Allen Smith, Gary Zukav.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I love getting out of bed each day because I know it's a brand new day, a new beginning. And I get to do what I love full-time -- writing books and blog posts, talking with folks about spirituality, etc. Life is fun and each new day is exciting for me.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love being out in nature, walking, running, just enjoying the trees and animals, and wide-open spaces. I'm blessed to live in a rural area in the United States' northern Rocky Mountains. So there's always so much to do and see around here. Although I haven't done much travelling lately, I love that too. I've been all over this country and the world. Most of all, I love spending time with my family and friends.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Although I maintain a website, and am reasonably knowledgeable about technology, I still prefer an old-fashioned laptop computer for e-reading. I don't own, nor do I want, a smartphone. I keep my life as simple and uncluttered as I can.
What was the first thing you ever wrote that was published?
My first published article was as a college student. One of my college professors and I co-wrote an article for the American Bar Association Journal. That whetted my appetite for writing, and I've been doing it ever since.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small farm town in western New York State on the shores of Lake Erie. I had a happy childhood in a supportive, loving family of Italian immigrants. They always encouraged me to follow my heart.

And I always did. Although I sometimes questioned the wisdom of my choices, I've had a fascinating life in many different careers. To name a few: commercial pilot, flight instructor, probation officer, college instructor, real estate analyst, air traffic controller. Much of the inspiration for my writing today comes from those various careers.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was in high school. I talked about my spiritual path, and poured my heart into it. I felt sure it would be published, but it was not to be. I was pretty discouraged. I tried again when I was a college sophomore. My English professor said it was too good and I must have plagiarized it. I was ready to give up writing forever.

I had close cousin who happened to be a senior editor with Newsweek magazine in New York City. He and his wife were visiting one summer, and I asked him to read the spiritual article. He did, and said it was excellent. He encouraged me to continue writing. If it hadn't been for him, I probably would never have gotten to where I am today.
How do you approach cover design?
I always use someone knowledgeable and experienced in cover design. I don't have that particular creative talent.
What do you read for pleasure?
The same things I read for work -- books and articles on spirituality, animals, aviation, etc. My work and play are one -- I call it my "playwork."
Published 2016-01-19.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Book of Joy: How to Live Every Day of Your Life Happily Ever After
Price: $3.99 $2.00 USD. (50% off!) Words: 12,590. Language: English. Published: October 22, 2009. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Spiritual inspiration
This book will serve to remind the reader of the goddess or god within. And from there, to inspire him or her to create the joyful, abundant life that is the birthright of us all.
Dogs: Heart-Warming, Soul-Stirring Stories of our Canine Companions
Price: $3.99 $2.00 USD. (50% off!) Words: 36,760. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2009. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
Filled with warm, true-life dog tales, this book will bring you joy and tears. These beguiling canines will inspire and uplift you with their antics and their comedy. In this often-dark world, dogs light up the darkness with their love and courage. They offer us a reason to rejoice and feel good about ourselves, a reason to celebrate life, to celebrate the lives of all creatures great and small.