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Beyond the Books Interviews Joey Asher, Author of How to Win a Pitch

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Joey AsherJOEY ASHER is one of the country’s preeminent experts on selling skills and communication.

As President of Speechworks, an Atlanta-based communication and selling skills coaching firm that has been helping business people deliver presentations that win business for over 20 years, Asher combines his skills as an attorney and journalist to help sellers communicate a clear, simple message that connects with prospects and wins business.

As a professional communication and selling skills coach, Asher has worked with executives, managers, and salespeople at such firms and organizations as The Home Depot, Skanska, Hardin Construction, Georgia Pacific, Global Payments, The Weather Channel, UPS, Kimberly-Clark, Alston & Bird, PricewaterhouseCoopers, AMVESCAP, Verizon, Cisco, and Kurt Salmon Associates.

Asher is author of Even a Geek Can Speak: Low-Tech Presentation Skills For High-Tech People, which was originally published by Longstreet Press in 2001 and is now in its third printing by Persuasive Speaker Press, and Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers, which was published in 2005 by American Lawyer Media. How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish You from the Competition is his latest book.

A graduate of Cornell University, Asher earned his JD from Emory University Law School. Prior to attending law school, Asher worked as a newspaper reporter for the Gannett newspaper chain in Georgia and New York. Asher practiced law with Troutman Sanders L.L.P. in Atlanta, and worked as an adjunct professor of law at Emory University School of Law.

Joey Asher lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area with his wife and family.

You can visit Joey online at www.speechworks.net.

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How to Win a PitchWelcome to Beyond the Books, Joey.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

This is my third book. The first book was “Even a Geek Can Speak: Low Tech Presentation Skills for High Tech People.” My second book was “Selling and Communication Skills for Lawyers.” My latest book is “How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish You from the Competition.”

What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

“Even a Geek Can Speak: Low Tech Presentation Skills for High Tech People.” It was published by Longstreet Press in Atlanta.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

I had no rejections. I approached the publisher personally with the idea and he liked the title. We had a contract that day and I wrote the book over the next six months.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

I didn’t have any rejections. I think things are different when you’re writing non-fiction and business books. It’s not like trying to publish fiction.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

I chose Longstreet Press because I had met the publisher and knew that they did business books.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I enjoyed being published. I didn’t really celebrate any particular way. We had a big book signing at a local bookstore where we invited our clients. My company teaches business people how to create and deliver presentations.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I notified my clients and gave away a lot of books to key people.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

No.

Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

I have two more books. My latest is How to Win a Pitch: The Five Fundamentals that Will Distinguish you from the Competition. I think I’ve grown as an author as I’ve refined my ideas on how to give winning presentations.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

Not sure.

What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

All the books have been instrumental in promoting my business, Speechworks. We are a communication skills coaching firm with clients around the country.

If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

Tennis pro.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I play a lot of tennis. So I guess I have the best of both worlds.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

I might write a fourth book. I have an idea for another book. But I want to finish promoting this one before I start on that one.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

I think the key is finding a market and then writing for that market.

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