Mitch Ditkoff

Unspoken Word: Love Longing & Letting Go is a collection of 100 of my poems – the fourth in a series of poetry books I have written. It touches on the essence of what it takes to be a conscious human being – reflection, receptivity, wonder, longing, deep feeling, gratitude, love, humor, and the full enjoyment of the present moment.

Tell me about your latest book and what inspired you to write/create it?

Unspoken Word: Love Longing & Letting Go is a collection of 100 of my poems – the fourth in a series of poetry books I have written. It touches on the essence of what it takes to be a conscious human being – reflection, receptivity, wonder, longing, deep feeling, gratitude, love, humor, and the full enjoyment of the present moment. Here is what people have said about it:

The First 20 Amazon Reviews
Testimonials #1
Testimonials #2

Share your personal publishing story. Did you choose self or traditional? How did you go from book manuscript draft to finished book available for purchase?

I chose to self-publish my book. I hired a good friend of mine who works with self-published authors. She designed the book, worked with me on the cover design, and coordinated all of the behind-the-scenes efforts to get the book ready for publication. And that included the Kindle version. I had neither the time, skill, or interest to do this on my own. Well worth the expense ($3,500).

Describe your writing routine. How many hours a day/days a week do you write?

My writing routine is a curious one. It has many facets to it and is always evolving. Writing early in the morning is my favorite time of day and a way to stay connected to my subconscious. 4:00 am is my favorite time to write, but I don’t always wake up that early. How many hours per day? It varies. I also like to write in cafes. Sometimes, when I am driving, I get inspired and speak what is coming to me into a voice app – which I may or may not listen to afterward. On the weekends, especially, I like to write in bed. I probably write 5-6 days per week, but it is not scheduled like a dentist appointment. I try to find the right balance of spontaneity and being organized. Also, I find great value in posting excerpts of what I am writing on Facebook to see what kind of response I get.

What is the most difficult part of your creative process?

Stepping back from what I write and looking at it through the eyes of others. Sometimes, I get intoxicated by my own creative process.

How do you come up with your illustrations/images/graphics?

Two ways: I licensed the illustration for Unspoken Word from an extraordinary artist/illustrator in England – Tim Gainey. I saw one of his images online and then contacted him. My other approach is to collaborate with a designer friend of mine. We talk about the feeling and content of my book and he comes up with a few book cover designs. Then we go back and forth until the final image emerges. And sometimes I post various cover designs on social media and ask people for their opinions.

How many unpublished or unfinished books have you written and set aside? What are your plans for them?

1) A Code to Live By (a book of a father’s wisdom for his two children)
2) Once Upon a Timeless: Bedtime Stories for Waking Up (a book of moments-of-truth stories from my own life)
3) Applied Creativity (a book about the creative process)
4) My next book of poetry.

My plan? After I put the finishing touches on Once Upon a Timeless, I will begin writing A Code to Live By. After that, I will decide what’s next.

What do you do for book marketing? Describe your plan, how it is working, and what you want to add or change to that plan, if anything.

I do quite a few things in this regard – some obvious, some not-so-obvious. Over time, I have realized that the tooth fairy is not going to market my books and I need to get way more intentional about my process for getting the word out. How is it working? So so. Here’s what I do:

• Enroll friends and fans around the world to help me get the word out
• Provide these friends and fans with promo copy, links, and photos to make their social media efforts easy
• Ask friends to read a sampling of my manuscript (or the whole enchilada) and, assuming they like what they read, send me a testimonial
• Publish excerpts of my book on my Facebook page (including two of my FB groups)
• Publish excerpts of my book on my FB poetry group and poetry blog or storytelling blog
• Create a book website: example #1example #2
• Ask musician friends of mine to choose their favorite poem/passage from my book and write a song about it – then include their song on my book website
• When my book is published, send an announcement to my email list, along with selected links
• Post excerpts and book promos on my Medium blog
• Seek out podcasters to interview me
• Post daily on my FB poetry group (not just my stuff, but poets that inspire me)
• Do live poetry readings (with musician/artist friends of mine)
• Give books to “influencers” and ask them to help me get the word out
• Read selected poems of mine at the temple I belong to in Catskill, NY (the Rabbi has designated me as the “Poet in Residence”)
• Collaborate with a friend of mine on spoken word videos
• Send books to selected publications and request book reviews
• Ask my social media followers for their ideas
• Brainstorm with friends

How do you go about obtaining book reviews? Do you read them? How do you deal with the good and the bad ones?

This is something I need to pay more attention to. I have done only a little of this. Yes, I read my reviews. I have yet to get a bad review. When and if I get a bad review, I will pay attention to what they say, get slightly depressed, and then move on. PS: Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected by 144 publishers. Famous book rejections.

Do you prefer reading print, audio or ebooks? Why?

Print. I like the feeling of a book in my hands. I like to underline and write in the margins. I also like audiobooks. I do not like ebooks. (I already spend way too much time online).

Who is your favorite author, book? The last book you read?

It’s a toss-up between Rumi and Hafiz. Favorite book would be The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks. The Tao Te Ching is close behind. The last book I read was The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I have read it twice so far. It’s a masterpiece – especially for anyone interested in the creative process.

There are many trends in self publishing that have come and gone. What do you think is going to change next in the self or traditional publishing landscape?

Something to do with AI. Maybe upload your manuscript and then, in a few minutes, see several designs for your book and query letters sent to book reviewers, publicists, podcasters, media, and others. Or maybe this already exists.

Now that you have published a book/new book, what would you do differently this time?

Find an affordable publicist that I trust and have chemistry with. Create an audiobook version. Get my book reviewed in several publications.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

• Trust yourself
• Go beyond your doubt and imposter syndrome
• Get in touch with your vision of what you want to write
• Develop a writing rhythm
• Enroll your significant other (if you have one) in your project so they don’t see your book project as competition for their affection
• Get feedback from people you trust (not just your friends)
• Commit to writing in a much deeper way than you have ever done before
• Do it for love – not money
• Practice!
• If you need a writing coach, contact me.

Who inspires your characters or the subject of your poetry?

Who? Or what? Both are important to me. On the “who” side of the equation, it’s either me or my long-time teacher, Prem Rawat. And when I say “me”, I’m referring to the part of all of us that reflects on life or has something of value to share with others. The “what” is mainly about the innate thirst for the divine, the sacred hidden within the seemingly mundane, love, letting go, and the magic of life.

Mitch’s Bio

You want to know about my life? It’s a lot like yours. Here goes: Born… lived… and will eventually die – hopefully later rather than sooner. I’ve done a lot, but doing isn’t my main interest. Being is – though it’s taken a lot of doing to learn what being is all about.

My path has not been a straight and narrow one – more like the shape smoke takes from a fire. I grew up in the suburbs of New York, majored in English Literature at Lafayette College, went to graduate school at Brown University, but quit the moment I realized that I wanted to live life more than I wanted to write about it.

I’ve had more jobs than most politicians have excuses: gardener, dishwasher, cook, waiter, mason tender, house painter, day care teacher, social worker, nursing unit manager, training developer, newspaper editor, community activist, political speechwriter, free-lance writer, corporate blues band creator, management consultant, writing coach, website editor, Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions and Founding partner of SageCatalysts.

I’ve been married twice and have two kids, 29 and 26. I live in Catskill, NY. I almost drowned when I was 21. I became a student of Prem Rawat when I was 24. I saw an angel when I was 27. I entered into fatherhood when I was 47 and 50. I realized when I turned 60 how powerful storytelling was and have written three other books on the subject. I have also written four books of poetry.

The main thing I want to say is this: life is a gift and we are all blessed to have been given it.

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