Author Interviews

Author Spotlight Interview: Brian Sachetta

By: Hidden Gems on June 20, 2023

Hidden Gems Books ARC service.

By: Hidden Gems on June 20, 2023


Today’s interview is with author, blogger and software developer, Brian Sachetta. Brian is passionate about using his skills to positively influence the lives of others, and much of his writing is focused on health, wellness, and personal development. It was a pleasure to get to know more about Brian’s publishing journey, mission and life outside of writing.

HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?

BS: By trade, I’m an engineer, so that definitely comes through in my content: I enjoy figuring out how things work (or at least trying to), testing out different solutions, and presenting my findings to my audience.

I used that same engineering-oriented approach with my own anxiety and depression, so, in some ways, my books are really just an extension of that philosophy.

My writing style and tone are mostly formal / serious (to reflect the weight of the subject matter), but there’s also plenty of hope, optimism, and even some humor / sarcasm scattered throughout my works.

HG: That’s great. Thank you. Tell us a bit about your publishing journey. When did you know you were ready to take on the “author” role?

BS: Truth be told, it wasn’t a totally conscious decision. I remember being a freshman in college, when I was really struggling with anxiety, and saying, “Once I get to the bottom of this thing, I’m going to write a book and share my insights with the world.” Then, I lost track of that vision as I focused on figuring out how to manage my mental health properly.

Eight or so years later, however, I happened to review my bucket list and a bunch of notes I’d taken on anxiety simultaneously. On the former, it said, “Write a book.” So, I turned to my notes and thought, “There’s enough here to flesh something out.” Two years later, I published my first title and started the author journey for real.

HG: Oh, that’s awesome! Okay, so tell us a bit about your books.  What can readers expect?

BS: I like to say that they’re like a conversation with a good, tough-loving friend. I tell you what you need to hear (even if you don’t want to hear it), but I do so in a way that’s (hopefully) entertaining and valuable.

To that end, I share plenty of personal stories, then connect them back to relevant psychological studies. I’m not a doctor, so I rely on that research as much as I can. That way, you can feel like what you’re reading is still legit.

HG: That sounds fantastic. As someone who truly enjoys self-help books, particularly on the topic of anxiety, that definitely sounds like an approach I appreciate. What feeling do you hope readers are left with when they finish one of your books?

BS: A sense of hope and determination. Mental illness can be such a tough thing to deal with. But it is definitely manageable and possibly even surmountable. When readers finish my books, I want them to know that at the core of their being. Moreover, I want them to walk away with concrete strategies they can leverage for managing their own anxiety and depression.

HG: Wonderful. What’s been the most rewarding aspect of being an author?

BS: I got into this line of work to help people with their mental health, so hearing from readers about the strides they’ve made as a result of reading my content is undoubtedly the most rewarding part of the journey.

Writing and publishing can be a really tough slog – the craft is challenging, the competition is fierce, and very few authors actually make money with it. But when you get those messages from readers, it makes the whole process worth it, regardless of how many books you’re selling.

I even had one reader get so much out of my first book that he got a tattoo of my brand’s logo on his chest. That was a pretty crazy moment for me; it showed me I was on the right path and, most importantly, made me feel like I was really making a difference out there.

Brand Logo

HG: Sounds like you are definitely making a difference. Well done. What have been the challenges you’ve faced in your publishing career?

BS: I had a big-time publisher come out with a book of the same name as mine (and a similar cover, before I decided to change mine) that sold super well. That success not only pushed my books way down the SEO rankings – it also got my first book temporarily pulled from Amazon.

It was a frustrating yet eye-opening ordeal: It forced me to learn a lot about trademark law and how the court system works (favoring those with deep pockets). I’m still not totally sure what the right move is, but I want to protect my brand in order to help as many people as I can. My lawyer is guiding me on the process; we’ll see how it plays out. (Fun fact: I did a podcast episode on this subject with Hidden Gems last year).

HG: Wow. I can only imagine the challenges there. Tell us a little bit about your actual writing process. Do you have a routine for where and when you write? Any interesting quirks?

BS: Since I have a full-time job that isn’t writing, the amount of time I actually get to work on my craft is limited. So, I often have to take advantage of every small window that opens. Caffeine helps with that; when I’m not motivated to get cranking during, say, the hour I have before work, I’ll grab some tea or iced coffee (though I try to keep it below 30mg per session since my tolerance is super low).

As for the routine itself, I almost always write at home because I read everything out loud to make sure it sounds good. Not trying to be that annoying guy at Starbucks who’s making a racket all day.

From there, it’s really just a matter of optimizing things to save time, effort, and stress. For example, I do all my writing in Grammarly (unless I don’t have Wi-Fi), and I try not to write within thirty minutes of bed because then my mind races as I try to drift off to sleep.

HG: Sounds like you have some awesome systems in place. Getting back to the books specifically, if you were to share one tip from Get Out of Your Head: A Toolkit for Living with and Overcoming Anxiety that you feel would resonate most with readers, what would it be?

BS: If you’re dealing with anxiety, visualization is not your friend.

In our society, we tend to say that we must first “see ourselves” having or attaining the things we desire – only then can we make them a reality. But that simply isn’t true.

If we believe that it is, we’ll end up going to war with our minds as our fears intrude and try to prevent us from envisioning ourselves achieving our goals. Thus, rather than push back against such fears and fall into rumination, we should learn to drop our attempts at visualization in the face of disquiet. For not only are they likely to lead us to misery, but we also don’t need them to achieve our hopes and dreams.

HG: Ooh, I like that. I’m going to remember that! A tip from Get Out of Your Head Vol. 2: Navigating the Abyss of Depression? 

BS: “We see the world not as it is, but as we are.” Or, more specifically, when we’re depressed, we view everything as bleak and hopeless. The thing is, that usually isn’t an accurate assessment of reality – it’s just a reflection of our inner state.

Thus, rather than dwelling on our perceptions or going to war with them, we should seek to change our mental frame through things like meditation, exercise, a conversation with a loved one, or a cold shower.

Then, we’ll be able to look outside again and say, “Wow, all those things I was looking at now appear differently. And, what’s more, I realize it wasn’t them that changed – it was me.” This insight then gives up hope for our next battle with this same blinding foe.

HG: Beautiful. Alright, so what can you tell us about any other projects you have in the works?

BS: My current major endeavor is a refresh of my first book. It was the first work I ever published, and I feel as though my writing has come a long way since. So, I want the book to reflect that improvement. I’m hoping that by tightening it up, I’ll be able to reach more people and make a larger impact.

From there, we’ll see. Writing is not yet my full-time job, so my capacity to take on other projects is limited. Maybe that will change in the future if the rewrite of book 1 goes well.

HG: Great! Best of luck to you. Switching gears, what do you enjoy doing when not writing?

BS: 40+ hours a week go to my day job, where I write mobile applications and lead a team of software developers for a mid-sized tech company in Cambridge, MA.

But if we’re talking about fun stuff, I love going to theme parks (Disney, Cedar Point, Universal Studios, and Busch Gardens are some of my favorites) and getting on new rides. I also spend a lot of time listening to music (heavy metal and EDM are my go-to genres).

From there, it’s mostly the usual suspects: going to new restaurants (I eat mostly vegan which can be both fun and challenging on that front), traveling, listening to podcasts and audiobooks, watching the NFL and NBA, running, lifting, walking around town, and spending time with friends and family.

HG: Busy, busy! What was your last 5-star read?

BS: I recently finished The Defining Decade by Meg Jay and really enjoyed it. It was fascinating to hear her perspectives on folks in their 20s. Even though I’m no longer in that age range, I enjoyed connecting her insights back to my own life. Plus, given my genre, I’m always game for a great read in the psychology space.

HG: For fun, before we wrap up, let’s do a fast five! First one…cookies or cake?

BS: Cookies, preferably chocolate chip.

HG: Movie or book?

BS: Though I don’t have as much time for them as I’d like these days, I’d still say books. Especially if it’s Harry Potter.

HG: Pool or ocean?

BS: In a vacuum, ocean. But knowing that the logistics of the beach are usually quite involved (and you leave with sand in every crevice), I’d say pool.

HG: Introvert or extrovert?

BS: I once did a personality test, and it called me an “anxious social.” I took that to mean that I enjoy being around people but sometimes resist it (seems right to me). So, the answer is extrovert, even if I do spend a lot of time by myself.

HG: eBook, print book or audiobook?

BS: They all have their benefits:

  • Print books are the most aesthetically pleasing
  • eBooks are less fun but much better for note taking
  • Audiobooks are just so accessible

Gun to head, I’ll say Audiobooks just because they’re great for today’s fast pace of life.

HG: For readers that want to find out more about your books and keep up with you, where should they go to connect or learn more?

BS: or @getoutofyourhead on Instagram.

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