Mike Sprouse – The Greatness Gap

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

My book is called The Greatness Gap. It is a detailed account of how people can use their own personal strengths and strategies to boost their professional potential, no matter what industry or profession they are in. It covers how to find your passions, how to set goals, how to carry the right winning mindset with you every day and ultimately how to set yourself up for professional success over and over again. Lou Holtz, the famous football coach, wrote the Foreword. A generous portion of my own proceeds go to Camp Erin, which is the nation’s largest bereavement camp for kids 6-17 who have lost loved ones.

Tell us something about yourself.

I grew up in Fairfield, CT and now live in Chicago, IL. I was a former world-ranked tennis professional on the ATP Tour after graduating from my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame. After my tennis career, I was the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Playboy Enterprises for five years. I am now currently the Chief Marketing Officer for Epic Media Group, a large internet marketing company.

What inspired you to write this book?

I realized one day that I was always being asked by coworkers and friends how I was able to achieve my potential in various pursuits through my life. People couldn’t believe how varied my background was – from accounting major to athlete to entertainment executive to internet professional – and they were asking for advice on how to solve certain issues or problems they had professionally. I decided to write a book as a tell-all, or a manual, for people curious about the decision process I’ve always used that has worked.

How did you choose the title?

I actually wrote the entire book and chose the title last. As I finished the book, I realized what I was really teaching people was how to close a gap between being decent and being great at whatever you choose to do. So I had a mental picture of a greatness gap that was being closed.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

My biggest obstacle was basically naivety about the whole process. I actually wasn’t at all scared of writing the book; it was just that I was a little uneducated about the review, publishing and distribution process. I had a very helpful publishing partner in Advantage Media Group, but I also did a lot of researching on the internet about what to expect.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

During my most recent career stops, I had done more and more writing mostly on business topics and the like. I had grown increasingly passionate about writing, and once I had the idea for a book, I had a massive amount of support from my wife Kate. I would say were it not for her support, I would have still written the book, but probably not as fast and it wouldn’t have been as good (she was my #1 editor).

Do you have any writing rituals?

I absolutely need to be shut away in an enclosed office space where it is quiet with minimal distractions. I can’t write very well if I’m not focused or if our dogs are running around or anything like that. The other thing I do to avoid writer’s block is to type in a stream of consciousness sort of way, and then go back and organize my thoughts later.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I think I would be much more proactive about getting the e-book published at the very same time as the print version. Most of my audience that wanted the e-book had to wait a little while.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I love non-fiction and specifically autobiographies in the business, sports or political fields. I really love to learn about what makes people tick and what is behind some of people’s choices or career successes. For that reason, I don’t have any particular favorite authors; it really depends on what type of person I want to read about.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

Yes. My next book will be about marketing and advertising, and will help shape the way people think about those professions for decades to come (I hope)!

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Do not be scared to write, don’t get paralyzed with how daunting writing a book might be. I was an Accounting major and largely a numbers person, so writing was never in my “DNA” until very recently and I was still able to get what I think is a very good book written and published. If someone like me can do it, anyone can.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

I’m an active blogger at http://www.mikesprouse.com. That is also where people can find out the most about me and my background. There are links to find the book on that site, or it is also on Amazon.