Nick Nelson‘s debut book, Stay Tuned, offers wisdom and practical advice for professional men to maintain a work-life balance, find peace, and deepen their spiritual connection with God.
Nelson is an innovative force who has developed multicultural marketing campaigns for some of television’s highest rated shows, including the Emmy Award-nominated television series “Black-ish,” Golden Globe-winning television series “Empire,” most recently Disney’s Queen of Katwe and Fox Searchlight’s The Birth of a Nation and more than 20 No. 1 box-office films. Now, Nelson is setting his sights on a new audience, providing men an instructional guide to avoid “tuning in” to their career while “tuning out” in their personal lives.
Men will see themselves in the transparent and compelling stories Nelson shares about his failures and successes; his deepest desires and fears; and relationships with family. Women will gain insight about the challenges men confront as they navigate the career world while keeping family at the center of their daily lives.
What inspired you to write this book?
My inspiration for STAY TUNED came from the challenges that I’ve had throughout my personal and professional life. Over the past 15 years, I’ve served as principal and CMO of LIQUID SOUL, the nation’s premier strategic communications and marketing agency. During this time I’ve helped to secure business deals with some of the world’s most recognizable entertainment brands. While, at the same time I failed to deal with many of my personal challenges in establishing and maintaining a work-life balance.
After having conversations with other professional men, I learned that I was not alone. The thing we all had in common was that on the surface, we looked like we had it all together, when in all actuality, we were emotionally and physically exhausted. Exhausted from the demands of trying to maintain a successful career, a quality home life, and finding the time to take care of ourselves. Each of us felt like we lacked control.
In STAY TUNED, I teach readers how to “take back the remote control” in their lives by being “balanced” and “present.” Balanced meaning emotionally, physically and spiritually. Present, meaning living in the moment and being mentally aware.
Do you have a specific writing style?
My writing style is casual. In STAY TUNED, it was important to me that I did not come off as some authority figure or preachy, but rather, as my bishop the late W. Ron Sailor Sr. used to say, “one beggar trying to show another beggar where to find some bread.”
What books have most impacted your life (or life as a writer)?
The irony of my journey into authorship is that throughout my life, other than the Bible, I’ve never been an avid reader. Once I reached my professional career, my reading consisted primarily of trade and entertainment publications. Things I needed to know to perform my job, be knowledgeable of my industry and excel in my career. There are, however, a few titles that I do recall that did influence my life and my way of thinking. The first is titled Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. This book was introduced as a part of a corporate training program. It really emphasized the importance of having tough conversations and provided some tips on how to effectively manage through various scenarios. Another is titled The Trusted Advisor. It explained how to increase your value in your professional career by establishing a relationship of trust and telling clients not what they want to hear, but what they need to hear.
What books are you currently reading?
I’m not currently reading any books at this time
What new authors have piqued your interest?
My wife, who is an avid reader, recently introduced me to Wes Moore. I had a chance to see him in a few interviews and was impressed by his thinking, storytelling, and his communication style. Another is the movie producer and author, DeVon Franklin. He’s actually been very influential and helpful in my process offering tips and advice from his experiences.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your latest work?
No, I wouldn’t. I feel that it’s honest, transparent and provides in very simple terms what it takes to live a balanced and purposeful life. STAY TUNED offers tips on how to overcome obstacles, encourages readers to be faithful, take risks and regain control of their life.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing or coming up with a concept for your book?
During the later part of 2015, I underwent major surgery which kept me on my back for about three weeks longer than it should have, because I refused slow down. It was during that time God gave me the title for the book. He told me very clearly that the same way I spend time trying to get people to tune into film and television programs, he needed me to get men to tune into themselves.
Very similar to the story in the Bible where God appears in the form of a burning bush to Moses, my response God was “I don’t know the first thing about writing a book” nor could I recall the last time I had even read one in full. When doubt set in, I would recall how my father, the late William E Nelson Jr., would tell me “boy you’re no dummy. You just need to apply yourself.” Therefore, if I could figure out how to transition from a career in information technology to a successful career in marketing and advertising, I surely can figure out how to write a book.
What was the hardest part of completing this project?
The hardest part was getting started. Finding the time to devote to developing a concept and then pulling together the right team of professionals to help me bring this vision of STAY TUNED to life. Being a new author, there was quite a bit I had to learn. It’s not only writing the book but editing, marketing, publishing, and then putting a system in place to track and manage sales. All of that equates to a substantial investment of both time and resources.
What advice would you give other writers?
My advice is to write what you know. There’s an interesting concept these days call blogging a book. This is where you take many short-form pieces and over time you compile them into a larger body of work. What I’ve learned from talking to other aspiring authors is that many are intimidated by the amount of time it takes. If you don’t have a month to dedicate to writing, then do it over the course of several months or even a year. There are many resources available online that can help or if you have the financial means, invest in a book consultant who can help you put your thoughts down into an outline that makes sense.
Describe the process of getting published.
I decided to self-publish. Self-publishing provides the author more creative control and independence, both of which were important to me. Once I was ready, I approached long-time friend and colleague, Clyde Anderson owner of ParaMind Publishing, and he walked me through the process step-by-step. Asking me questions and helping me to form an outline that ultimately developed into STAY TUNED.
What were the literary, psychological and/or logistical challenges in bringing your work to life?
The biggest challenge was managing this project while meeting the demands of my professional and personal life. My wife Tiffany was incredibly supportive throughout the entire process.
Everyone’s process for writing is different. Explain yours.
Since I am a marketer by trade, I think about how the end product will be promoted before it’s even done. Part of my rationale comes from my experience in marketing film and television. It doesn’t matter how good the work is if no one picks it up. Today consumers have less time and some instance less of a desire to read. If I’m going to attract readers, especially men, I know that it requires more than just words on a page but engagement through social media, short-form content, publicity, and public appearances. I like to think that I have a big personality and in our day and times, it’s the personality that takes the lead. That’s what drives word-of-mouth which inevitably helps to get your work read or at the very least, purchased.
Please provide three “good to know” fact about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job or the inspiration behind your writing.
I have a passion for creativity. When I was much younger, I was a singer and songwriter and attended Florida A&M University (FAMU) initially as a vocal music major before transitioning to the school of journalism to pursue a degree in publicity. While at FAMU, I discovered advertising and pursued it as a career after obtaining my MA in Communications from The Ohio State University. Ultimately instead of advertising, I ended up working in information technology for several years before starting LIQUID SOUL.
Another interesting fact about me is that I’m an introvert. Whenever I say this, people find it hard to believe because my personality can be very much so extroverted. I prefer spending quiet time by myself or with my family then being around large groups.
I have recently taken up videography as a hobby and enjoy shooting and editing creative content pieces.
A great book has what?
A great book has something meaningful that the reader can walk away with. Reading a book requires an investment of time and energy that is different than other forms of entertainment. I believe the reader should be rewarded for that investment with a takeaway that has a lasting tangible impact on their life.
Where would you travel if you could to write you next book?
I would travel to the continent of Africa.