Book Reviews

 

Tom Pace and Walter Jenkins
5 stars

Interview with Tom Pace, author of Mentor: The Kid & The CEO

Patrick Mackeown: I'd like to welcome the author Tom Pace back to the Litarena Website. His book, Mentor: The Kid & the CEO, can be read about here.

Patrick Mackeown: Please could you tell us a bit about yourself, the PaceBulter Corporation and College Mentors?

Tom Pace: At the age of 26, I read at a fourth grade level and thought myself to be a failure. I read at that level because I believed that I couldn.t read, plus I have ADD and a mild case of dyslexia and it is hard for me to focus on one thing. Someone gave me a book called The Greatest Miracle in the World and at the age of 26, it was the first book that I had ever read cover to cover. This turned me on to reading. To date, I have read over 500 books.

In 1987, I had $62.53 in my pocket and I had been through about 30 jobs and one of my friends suggested that I start a business so I did.the PaceButler Corporation. We would buy used computer equipment and re-sell it. Now, because of a kid I was mentoring, we buy and sell used cell phones. The company has had some ups and downs over the years, but today we are thriving better than we ever have.life is good.

College Mentors for Kids is a great organization that is dedicated to helping young students learn about college and the importance of pursuing a college degree. These are students that are never going to here this type of information from any other avenue.

Patrick Mackeown: Who did you specifically set out to reach with this book, Tom?

Tom Pace: I wrote this book to be easy-to-read and entertaining, one that once you picked it up you wouldn.t want to put it down. I wanted to target non-readers and encourage them to read. I wanted to target young people who think reading in boring. I wanted to target people who were in low point of their life and who needed hope. I do believe though, anyone can get something out of this book. We've had anyone from Steve Forbes to a 13-year-old student comment on the book.

Patrick Mackeown: Once you had selected your target audience how did you plan to make it aware that your book existed?

Tom Pace: The first thing we did was find someone who had knowledge in the industry. She helped us understand how the book business works. Since then, we have done a lot of marketing. We got in with Ingram and Barnes & Noble so we started faxing and calling all the stores to let them know about the book. We have landed TV interviews, speaking engagements, and newspaper articles. We have also advertised in the in-flight magazines and reader's digest.

Patrick Mackeown: How important is it to secure professional editing, cover design, typesetting and other publishing services for a book?

Tom Pace: I would say it is a must do because this was my first book. I had a product that I thought was really great. But when professionals in the industry took a look at my book, they saw that the book needed major changes. After I saw their changes, I was very happy that I consulted with them.

Patrick Mackeown: You were already a successful businessman when you set out to write this book. To what extent would you say that understanding business is necessary in order to successfully launch your own book if you do not already have a publisher?

Tom Pace: I have learned that the book industry is different than regular business. You are going up against 300,000 new books a year. There are 3 million books listed on Amazon.com and that number will continue to grow. That is a lot of competition and to make money with a book you have to go outside of your local market so I'm glad that I understand profits and revenues and expenses, but this book thing is a whole different world for me. Obviously this is the entertainment industry and until you make a name for yourself or have a following, it is very difficult to get any attention, but it is possible. I have no doubt this project will succeed.

Patrick Mackeown: What are your book sales objectives? Are they being met?

Tom Pace: My goal is 2 million books; I will not stop until I sell 2 million books. Things never happen as fast as you want them to but I think we are moving pretty quickly for a self-published book-writer out of Oklahoma who really doesn.t know any big hitters in the industry.

Patrick Mackeown: Your book is an inspirational one. What is the most uplifting response that you've had to it so far?

Tom Pace: There are too many to choose from. But two immediately come to the top of my head: In one case, a mother read my book and then made her three sons read it. Her three sons were all either of high school age or lower. And they did not want to read it. So she told them that she.d give them no more gas money until they.d finished reading my book! They read it, loved it and then went out and purchased the first book on our recommended reading list!

The second is a man who was facing divorce. He read the book, decided he needed to change his actions and save his marriage. Stories like that hit you hard and make you glad that you are sticking with the project.

Patrick Mackeown: In your book the Kid, Tony, has to learn to trust other people. And he had to learn to accept advice. Finding the right people to trust can be a very risky affair. Would you recommend any local and national organizations to young people who are in Tony's difficult situation?

Tom Pace: It.s hard to say because most organizations only deal with certain age groups. But some of my favorites are: College Mentors for Kids, http://www.mentoring.org, Boys and Girls Club of America, Big Brother Big Sister and Dawson McAlister Live! I believe all these organizations can be trusted. But what I encourage people to do is to find someone who has in life what they want, and then to ask that person to be their mentor and teach them how to be successful.

Patrick Mackeown: If people don't think in terms of running multi-million dollar corporations or mentoring to schools and colleges on a national scale, are there still things that they can do to help themselves and to help other people on an individual scale, in your view?

Tom Pace: Definitely. You don.t need to have millions of dollars or be a part of a large organization. You can make a difference right where you are. It is as simple as finding someone who looks like they want more out of life and saying, .Do you want help?. Another thing is that you don.t have to be perfect to lead someone. I.m not perfect and I have mentored hundreds of people. Find something you are good at and that you have succeeded at and then find someone who wants to be successful in that area and help them out. The great thing is the mentor will usually grow more than the student. I think that surprises a lot of people but when you are accountable to someone you start watching every little move you make because you want to be the best teacher you can be.

Patrick Mackeown: In your book you show Tony as someone who began by not reading books. Was this your personal experience of reading? How important are books? Could Tony have turned his life around with books alone?

Tom Pace: After reading The Greatest Miracle in the World, I learned that the answers to life could be found in books. I learned that I didn.t have to necessarily go to school to learn how to be successful. I could just read books by people who have been successful in my field of business and then do what they did, and it works every time. At my company we pay employees $10.00 for every book they read as long as it will improve their life somehow. I cannot promote reading enough. All the wisdom in the world can be found in books. I would not be where I am today if I did not read. And Tony could not have become successful if he did not read. I still read close to a book a week today and I will never stop reading.

Patrick Mackeown: In your view will mentoring continue to be led inspirationally by organisations like PaceButler and College Mentors in the future?

Tom Pace: Yes it will. Mentoring is growing larger and larger every year. The bottom line is that we need help from people who are in life where we want to be. No one gets to the top by themselves, therefore, mentoring will always be promoted and practiced. I think over the next ten years you will see thousands of companies start mentoring programs of some sort.

February 2008

 

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