Sally Marks – Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within

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

Erase Negativity: and Embrace the Magic Within is a practical guide on how to reduce negativity and embrace happiness. From meth addicts to multi-millionaires, the book offers powerful experiences of individuals who have faced dramatic challenges, but did not lose hope. Using these compelling biographies, as well as practical advice and simple exercises, the reader is guided on an internal journey toward adopting a more joyful way to live.

Tell us something about yourself.

I’ve enjoyed writing since I was 10 years old and always knew I would be a writer. My favorite form of writing is comedy, but I found it easier to make a living in public relations than writing romantic comedy screenplays. I love making people laugh, but self-improvement communication is a way to help people become happy – and that is pretty exciting too.

What inspired you to write this book?

My co-author, Jacqueline Howard and I were discussing some of our favorite self-improvement books and how they had helped us. Then the conversation shifted to people we knew who were in terrible emotional pain and very negative because of it. We wondered, “What would it take to help someone like that?” We brainstormed and decided that there needed to be some sort of primer, or “read this first” book that could help them erase their negativity. Then once they were no longer entrenched in negativity, they could go on and enjoy the optimistic messages in other books.Our thought was that if a person doesn’t erase their negativity first, any optimistic front would just fall apart.

How did you choose the title?

In the same conversation with Jackie one of us (I forget which one of us) said “folks need to learn how to erase negativity.” The word hung in the air: “Erase Negativity.” As soon as it was said, we knew that was the best title. The subtitle came only a few minutes later. It was a magical moment. We both got goose bumps and knew we had an important mission to write this book and get it out to the world.

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

Although we were convinced the book addressed a huge problem, we were both unknown writers. No one wanted to take a chance on us. We were rejected by approximately 200 literary agents and book publishers. I had the Writer’s Market book and I queried everyone who accepted nonfiction. I wrote a proposal and mailed that out. It was a dark time. But I also knew that every famous author faced rejection. I decided the message was important enough that I’d get the book out, even if it meant self publishing. I had a chance encounter with a friend whose son published on smashwords for an electronic book. He wrote a lengthy email on how to publish that way and I got the book out there. The paperback version was done by createspace. My background is public relations and publicity, so I knew I could handle that angle. My biggest obstacle was believing enough in the message to do whatever it took to get the book out there. I’m glad I did. Nearly every day someone tells me how much they appreciate the book.

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

I always joke that it was the only thing I was good at. I love telling stories, writing and creating scenarios. I tell people I can’t add, but I can spell. I started writing a book when I was 10 years old. When I was 11 my teacher, Max Perkins, told my mom he would see my name on a book one day. That really encouraged me. I wrote for the school paper in junior high, high school and college and eventually earned a journalism degree. I can’t imagine NOT writing. It’s not only what I do, it’s who I am.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I should, but I don’t. When I feel like writing, I write. Fortunately, I feel like writing every day. If I don’t have a computer or a pad of paper, I’ll write things down on a scrap of paper. I’m good at hitting deadlines. I have my journalism teachers to thank for that. I have internal deadlines too. Mostly though, I just park my butt down and write.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

Erase Negativity is nonfiction, so most of the people’s names are their given names, or something very close to the real thing. However, in my screenplays and plays I try to pick names that correspond with the character’s personality. I have a sportscaster named Storm. I love that name. I also have a penchant for honoring friends and family by using their names in my stories. Not terribly original, but it works. I just have to make sure I don’t make the characters villains.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Since I had to publish and market the book myself, I had to immerse myself in those areas. I read books, searched on the web, watched webinars. It was intense. I understood marketing and public relations, but there are a lot of things I didn’t know about book publishing. I would say the most important thing I learned is no one is going to care more about your book than you do, so you need to look for every opportunity to talk to people and get the word out. You can’t use the excuse that you’re shy, or you just want to write and not do the rest of the work. Even if you have a publisher, an agent and a publicist, you still have to go out there and talk about your book to every friendly ear (and maybe a few unfriendly ears too!)

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

Even though a lot of it was frustrating, I can’t say that I would do anything differently. I learned valuable information every step of the way.

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

I’m a self-help junkie. I love Sonia Choquette’s books. I read “The Secret” every night, even if it is only a sentence or two. I strive to be a better person and I think self-help and New Age books are a great source of knowledge and power. My absolute favorite book was the first self-improvement book I read, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” It’s just as valuable now as it was decades ago.

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

We are going to have a follow up Erase Negativity book. It will probably have the same title and a different subtitle. I’ve already talked to one person I want to interview. We are also working on a student edition for Erase Negativity. A fictional project is I have a screenplay (a comedy) that I need to revise. But I really need to focus on marketing Erase Negativity first. There are still a lot of folks we need to reach.

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

With writing, it’s like the Nike ad. “Just do it.” I have a lot of friends who are better writers than I am. The problem is they never finish anything. If you have a great idea, go with it and don’t give up until it’s done. With publishing, I do think the POD option is a better route than I originally thought. I don’t plan on self publishing every book, but I know if I can sell enough books, a publisher will be interested. It’s a lot easier to convince someone if you can prove you can sell. Bottom line is you have to be open to new ideas, new technology and not get discouraged when things don’t go exactly the way you think they should.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within is for anyone who battles negativity and is ready to do something to improve their situation. I think it’s a great introduction into the self-help arena. However, I have had folks who have read a lot of New Age and self help books who gleaned a lot of information from it too. The key is they have to be ready to read, learn and make some changes.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

I write a weekly blog If folks want to learn more about me, or the book, the blog is a great place to start. I’m also happy to answer emails. The book is available on Amazon and a few locations throughout the U.S. If someone wants to contact me at I can tell them the best location to purchase a copy or two. Or they can call me at my PR office 480-664-3004.