My ALLi author guest this week is Dale Roberts, a health and fitness author who discovered a perfect synergy between print and video content. He has amassed a sizable following on YouTube. It took a little while for Dale to discover his voice and his brand, but once he found it, he began to exude an energy for self-publishing that you just have to hear for yourself.
Inspirational Indie Authors Podcast: Dale Roberts Interview
For self-publishing advice and news, alongside indie author interviews, subscribe to the ALLi podcast:On Inspirational Indie Authors, @howard_lovy features @selfpubwithdale, a fitness author who discovered the perfect synergy between print and YouTube. Click To Tweet
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Inspirational Indie Authors Podcast: About the Host Howard Lovy
Howard Lovy has been a journalist for more than 30 years, and has spent the last eight years amplifying the voices of independent publishers and authors. He works with authors as a book editor to prepare their work to be published. Howard is also a freelance writer specializing in Jewish issues whose work appears regularly in Publishers Weekly, the Jewish Daily Forward, and Longreads. Find Howard at howardlovy.com, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Inspirational Indie Authors Podcast: About the Author Dale Roberts
Dale L. Roberts is an accomplished indie author and host of Self-Publishing with Dale on YouTube. Since 2014, Dale pursued a full-time career in self-publishing books and now shares his experience on his YouTube channel devoted to building a successful self-publishing business. His specialties include book publishing, video production, public speaking, and networking. Appearing on numerous YouTube channels and podcast interviews, Dale is always looking for ways to reach a broader audience to share the value of self-publishing books.
If you’re a published indie author who would like to be interviewed by Howard for the Inspirational Indie Authors podcast, you need to be a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors.
Then contact Howard, including your membership number, explaining why you’re an inspirational indie author and what inspires you.
If you haven’t already, we invite you to join our organization.
Inspirational Indie Author Podcast: Interview Transcript: Dale Roberts
Howard Lovy: I'm Howard Lovy and you're listening to Inspirational Indie Authors.
Each week, I feature a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors to find out what inspires them and how they are an inspiration to other authors.
My guest this week is Dale Roberts, a health and fitness author who discovered a perfect synergy between print and video content. He has amassed a sizable following on YouTube.
It took a little while for Dale to discover his voice and his brand, but once he found it, he began to exude an energy for self-publishing that you just have to hear for yourself.
Dale Roberts: Hey, I'm Dale L. Roberts. I'm an indie author, I've been doing this since 2014. I left my day job to pursue this career as an author. It wasn't always great, but I'll tell you that it was worth it in the long-term, because I've had so many rewards ever since then.
When I grew up, my big thing was, I wanted to be a writer. Life got in the way, inevitably, you know, I went to college to become a journalist and I soon realized, like, oh my gosh, this is actually hard, this is really tough. So, I ended up dropping out after a year and a half and, again, life got in the way, and I got into the healthcare industry, forgot all about becoming a writer. And it wasn't until, actually, at my job that I was challenged by a corporate wellness coach to write my first book, and that's pretty much what led me to that. But as a kid, I always was like, oh man, I want to be a writer because I loved reading the Hardy Boys, I even read the Nancy Drew series. Stephen King was the thing that hooked me on reading, and also writing, because I'm like, oh, I want to be just like Stephen King.
Howard Lovy: But before Dale Roberts could hope to become the next Stephen King, he had a little more living to do. Journalism wasn't for him, but he did stumble into the healthcare industry.
Dale Roberts: I got into the healthcare industry by accident, much like how I got into the self-publishing industry and even getting into YouTube and such.
I was just fresh out of high school, 17 years old, and I moved in with my uncle and aunt, and I picked up a job at this really rough washer/dryer type place. It was in the summer, late at night, and I got paid $4.25 per hour. It was hard work, and I just remember, after about a month or two of it, I was coming home as my aunt and uncle were getting up to go to do their work, and I just said, I will do anything other than this.
And my uncle was like, anything? And I said, anything. He was a speech therapist at a local rehab facility and nursing community, and he's like, it just so happens that this community is looking for some state tested nurse aids, would you be up for that? I'm like, oh, that's just feeding senior citizens, right? And he's like, yeah, you do a little bit more.
Little did I know, I would actually, though it was a bit of a shock for me as a 17-year-old, I honestly grew to love it. And after about four years of working nurse aid work, an opportunity came available for me to get into activities work, and activities work is this, if anybody's not familiar with it, you're paid to play. You essentially go in and you can play bingo, you take them out shopping, you get to sit down and read to them. It was an amazing job. I can't say enough great things about working in activities, and it hooked me long enough that I stayed in it for two decades.
Howard Lovy: But Dale never really lost sight of his desire to be a writer, but he wanted it to be many things in those days.
Dale Roberts: I've always been chasing after some dream or another, and I don't like to just settle on just one thing, with a little bit of ADHD in me, I love many things. I love music. I love pro wrestling. I love writing. I love reading. I love video. I love movies. There's so much stuff. The activity stuff wasn't my dream per se, but I still loved doing it. But inwardly, kind of like, gosh, I would say, man, I want to be a pro wrestler. Oh man, I really want to be a writer. So, I was always kind of chasing and dabbling a little bit in things over the years. So, I'd never fully lost sight of writing, but I'll say this, that I wasn't 100% content on being in the healthcare industry.
Howard Lovy: It was a natural leap for Dale to take from working in healthcare to writing about it. Along the way, he discovered indie publishing.
Dale Roberts: It was about 2013. I was working with a corporate wellness coach, and she found I was a tough nut to crack. Because I'm really big into health and fitness, she would challenge me to do certain exercise routines and diet regimens, and she just found, she's like, oh my gosh, you just love this stuff, you should write a book about it. And I'm like, yeah, I should, I've always wanted to be a writer, so why not? So, I sat down, and I hammered out, and when I say hammered out, I hammered out the worst first draft ever known to man, over the course of about a year.
And when it came to the end of that, she was like, what are you going to do with it? And I'm like, publish it? She's like, do it.
So, it was a natural progression for me to want to go and publish this work. I came to find out my wife did not like the idea of me spending about $1,200 on a print run of paperback books. She's like, no, you're not going to be spending that. I'm like, but, but, but, and she wasn't going to hear of it. So, naturally I was like, okay, I've got to figure a way around this. And so, that's when I stumbled on CreateSpace, at that time, and initially I'm thinking, is this a scam? You're able to publish things for free? Are they going to take my copyright? There has to be something wrong with this, and I really didn't understand it fully back then, but it was really cool because it opened my eyes to something. And when I was able to distribute through CreateSpace and sell $23 and some odd cents in revenue for my first month, I was hooked.
I'm like, oh my gosh, if I focus on this full time, I beyond a shadow of a doubt am going to be able to crush it. You and I both know that it's just not that simple.
Howard Lovy: Nevertheless, that first $23 in profit did feel good. In fact, that convinced him that he should quit his day job. It took a couple of years, but he found his niche in books about physical fitness.
But what sent him into the stratosphere was when his books were discovered on YouTube,
Dale Roberts: How it transitioned over into the YouTube world was, when I had that success, after a couple years, I got picked up by a couple YouTubers to be interviewed. And at that time, I really was like, man, I was pumped up. I was like, oh man, I'm getting interviewed, this is awesome. My mom, I called her up and I was like, you won't believe this, I'm going to be on YouTube. She's like, yeah, okay whatever.
And the problem was, I started getting inundated with emails and direct messages on, how did you do it? How did you format your stuff? How do you do your covers? What do you price it at? And I'm the type of guy, I don't know how to say no to people. This is my biggest fault. I'm sure a lot of people are going to hear this and they're going to be like, hey, I'm going to go ask for a hundred dollars from him. But, you know, I just don't know how to say no to people a lot of the time.
So, rather than doing what would probably eat up a lot of my time and take me away from writing and publishing, I said, what if I just shot some videos? That way, whenever common questions come up, I'll just send them over to YouTube where my channels at. Little did I know, I'd get hooked.
It was so much fun, and it's like an adrenaline rush knowing that I'm helping other people who are stuck like I was when I first started out. Probably within a year, it was about a year and a half, I think I hit a thousand subscribers, and that's when I was truly hooked. I was like, this is awesome. Oh my gosh, this is incredible. I love this. And ever since I've been hooked on both, not only publishing books, but publishing video content to help other people.
Howard Lovy: It wasn't long before the restless Dale Roberts pivoted again, this time from health and fitness to teaching other authors about how to self-publish.
Dale Roberts: It wasn't until September of 2020 here, that I finally decided to make the dive and make the big pivot from talking about fitness, to talking about self-publishing.
I'd already been doing the YouTube content for over four years, and time and again, a lot of people are like, hey, I just looked up your books, but I don't see anything about self-publishing. There's a lot of fitness books, it looks great, but do you have anything about self-publishing? And I, admittedly, every single time, I just was like, I don't really have anything.
Why don't you have this? You're talking about self-publishing; you should have books about self-publishing. So, I made the big pivot over to self-publishing content. So far, I've done about three publications, with a fourth short-read publication, I don't want to call it a book because it's really not a full book, and I'm getting ready to release another one, literally tomorrow, as we're recording this.
Howard Lovy: So, Dale created his own universe. His YouTube channel promotes his books and vice versa, but is this really for all writers?
Most, or at least many writers, are natural introverts, content to sit down and write rather than stand up and perform.
Dale Roberts: This is going to shock a lot of people, when I say this, I'm actually an introvert, with slight tendencies of being an extrovert. I know that being on camera or through audio, that it's going to help me with exposure with getting in front of more people, and I give myself a greater advantage by using those tools. So, that way I can grow my whole brand, whereas if I went without the video and audio, I'm having to look at other avenues.
For instance, it's a hundred percent free to upload a video to YouTube. It's a hundred percent free to distribute your podcast. You can do all those things, and for most of the stuff you don't really need a lot of fancy equipment. It costs a great deal of money for paid advertising, whether you're going with Amazon advertising, BookBub ads, Facebook ads, Google ads, so on and so forth. That can be very costly, and especially if you don't know how to properly leverage that. Whereas, with video and audio, it's cheap. It's only going to require a little bit of your time. So, I'm honestly like, if you're an introvert, you're going to have to get comfortable with being comfortable.
I promise you, as soon as I'm done with this interview, I'm going to end up, I got to do a live stream later today, and as soon as I'm done with that live stream, I typically have to take a moment, about a half hour, to go meditate because it exhausts me, both physically and mentally.
I've done four-hour marathons online, heck, I did an 11-hour one once, and I was cooked for a day afterwards, because it takes everything out of me just to do that. So, as an introvert, I just encourage you to get out there, try it out, be okay with it being imperfect, because it will never be perfect. I promise you, after nearly five years of being on YouTube, I still cringe at my videos.
I'm like, oh, this is horrible. Sometimes I say things and I just dwell on it, but I know that I'm helping out people, and I'm also helping build this brand that is Dale L Roberts.
Howard Lovy: As for the future, Dale is going to branch off into fiction, but he remains committed to self-publishing.
Dale Roberts: I anticipate over the next year, actually, I shouldn't anticipate, I'm going to tell you, over the next year, I'm focused on a rapid release schedule of putting out more content based on self-publishing, that'll be for at least the next year. I'm starting to plan out almost like a two-year plan.
Probably after that point, I'm going to start to pivot into fiction writing. It's what I originally wanted to do as a kid, and I feel like life's finally coming full circle.
Other than that, though, I'm sticking around the self-publishing community. I've seen so many peers come and go inside this business, and it breaks my heart every single time when I see those people go. But I'm going to tell you that there is, you know, no get up and go on me, I'm staying here in this business because I love it. I love to obsess over self-publishing so that other people don't have to. So, I can give you the information, so you can continue to write, publish market, promote, all those things. And yeah, I'm just hooked on this business. I don't see myself going anywhere, anytime soon.
If you're a published indie author who would like to be interviewed by Howard for the Inspirational Indie Authors podcast, you need to be a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors.
Then contact Howard, including your membership number, explaining why you're an inspirational indie author and what inspires you.
If you haven’t already, we invite you to join our organization.