I’ve learned that writing is a truly collaborative effort. My advice is to assemble the best team of consultants, editors, beta readers, marketers, PR specialists and others to help you navigate through the often-tricky publishing landscape, and to ensure that your book is the highest quality product it can be.

As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ron Coury.

Ron Coury is a name that is well-known to longtime residents and members of the business community in Southern Nevada. A former U.S. Marine, Coury has worked as a casino dealer, real estate agent, founder of a limousine service and a partner in gaming bars, restaurants, major graphics and glass companies, along with several automobile dealerships in Nevada and California. From growing up on the streets of Brooklyn in the ’60s and early ’70s to surviving the good-ole-boy and Wild-West business and political climate of old school Las Vegas, Coury’s memoir “Tenacity” is a testament to how courage and perseverance enabled him to prevail against unethical, illegal and seemingly insurmountable obstacles along the path toward achieving his goals and dreams.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

I’ve actually had many different career paths throughout my life. The one common theme is that I’ve always been a “niche finder,” the kind of entrepreneur who discovers a need in a community for a particular service or product, provides that product or service more efficiently and in better form than its competitors, and implements it with appropriate follow-through. After more than four decades of doing this, I thought that retirement would be the next logical step. But I found myself growing restless, and after a few months I decided I needed a challenge to pursue. That’s when I embarked on a new path as an author. I felt my story was worth telling, would entertain some and educate others traveling the entrepreneur’s journey.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

The centerpiece of my book is the story of how theft by an employee at my Winners Casino put into motion a series of events uncovering the corruptive nature of a Southern Nevada small town adjacent to Las Vegas. I describe its nefarious city council and manipulated, duplicitous city attorney. The power they yielded over their police department to persecute an innocent “perceived” enemy of the state, the undercover investigative solution I implemented, and how the ensuing events played out resulted in a story worthy of publishing. Had I lost this battle, I could have spent up to 50 years in prison for a crime I didn’t commit. Shining a light on injustice to prevent it from recurring is a longstanding American practice.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?

While most of my business enterprises were successful, I made a mistake by jumping on the bungee bandwagon in 1992. It took months of research, due diligence and more than $130,000 to get Bungee Fever up and running. I thought we had a very good chance of success. Fate, however, had a different plan for us. Our very first weekend, there were three bungee-related accidents across the country. In each, cords appeared to break. In truth, the cords used were improperly fastened together, unlike our custom-made one-piece cords, specifically designed for our jump heights. All three accidents were captured on video and aired on national and local news programs for a week. The coverage started with statements like, “Well, if you thought bungee jumping was safe, watch this report and think again.” I faxed a press release to each local media outlet, pleading with them to report the facts. My releases were ignored. The inaccurate and incomplete reporting continued, as did the action video of people falling and getting hurt. We hoped business would “bounce back,” literally! But months later, we pulled the plug and lost north of $300,000. The lesson I learned is that you can do everything in your power to handle a situation, but sometimes outside circumstances can spin wildly out of control.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’m now on the board of directors of a new company called Square Panda, a learning aid for children ages two through eight. It works in conjunction with a tablet computer and has vast potential to revolutionize how children learn to spell and read. It was initially available through our website and in select Barnes and Nobles stores. Now we sell directly to parents via Amazon or our website. We’re also introducing the program to school districts throughout the United States, already gaining entry into over 2,500 schools. We’ve made great strides in China and India, both of which are highly motivated to teach their children English at an early age. Mark my words, Square Panda will soon be a household name.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer?

The title of my book, “Tenacity,” says it all. From conception to publication was a three-year adventure. I started by reviewing notes from a journal I have maintained, compiling decades of press clippings, photos, TV news stories, anything that could help jog my memory. Then I dictated more than 35 hours of digital recordings before putting my thoughts down on paper. Probably the most challenging part was the editing process, in which I read and revised my manuscript dozens of times before deeming it worthy of public exposure. Then the hard part really began — shopping it around in an effort to find a publisher that would be a perfect fit. This was all foreign territory for me, so I had a steep learning curve throughout every aspect. It all required tenacity.

What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?

The Marine Corps motto, “Failure is not an option,” was instilled in me at any early age and has served me well throughout my life. If there’s one lesson I’d like readers to remember and embrace, it’s that one.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a bestselling author? How did you overcome it?

Even though I lived through what my book describes, actually writing it and having to put feelings I’ve long held within me into words created a self-realization that few others ever encounter. I may have been changed by the process to more fully appreciate what those various experiences over four decades actually symbolize. By describing these true challenges, I may have a life-changing impact on many up-and-comers who encounter adversity. These events might provide others a road map on achieving unimaginable success against long odds. I hope other aspiring writers learn from my experiences, give it 100 percent, never quit, write in a totally honest way, and produce a book they can be proud of.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from?

Ironically, I’m more of a doer than a reader. That being said, the book that inspired me the most was “Killing the Rising Sun.” It describes the World War II experiences of our military in the South Pacific. My dad fought there but never spoke about his experiences. I learned so much about what has been referred to as “The Greatest Generation” and what my father and others endured to protect America; it made me even more appreciative of the things we enjoy as Americans and inspired me to share my experiences with others in the hope it might help them overcome business-related challenges.

How do you think your writing makes an impact in the world?

My hope is that young entrepreneurs and business owners will find motivationto be diligent, detail oriented and fearless when they know they are right. With facts and perseverance on your side, success may not always be assured, but it will often prevail. Even if you fail, you fail knowing you did all you could to achieve your goals.

What advice would you give to someone considering becoming an author like you?

I’ve learned that writing is a truly collaborative effort. My advice is to assemble the best team of consultants, editors, beta readers, marketers, PR specialists and others to help you navigate through the often-tricky publishing landscape, and to ensure that your book is the highest quality product it can be.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started”?

1. It is very expensive to write and market a book.

2. Writing it and getting published wasn’t the 90 percent of the battle I thought it would be. It was only half the battle. Marketing to the masses, those who don’t know you, is the only way to make it a success, but it is very time consuming and pricey.

3. The legal team I consulted with as the book neared completion advised that with any expose’, particularly one like mine that reveals government corruption, litigation is assured. The onus would be on me to prove the contents of the stories told. Even though I could do so, it would take years in court and my book would likely be off the shelves during litigation. It resulted in changing many names and places to try to keep the mater out of litigation and keep the book promotion efforts and sales on track without delay. My publishing law firm assured me the masses would enjoy the story as all content was still factual. I was disappointed we had to change some of the names, as exposing these individuals was important to me. But being able to continue marketing my book without losing years in court was the ultimate correct business decision.

4. I wish I knew that the author’s commission was 10–15 percent of the book sales price. I don’t know what I would have done differently but it is a shocking truth in the publishing business. But, as is my nature to turn lemons into lemonade, adapting my book into a big screen movie will result in great financial gain and I am heartened to know there is great Hollywood interest in making my story a feature film or mini-series.

5. After the first round of writing was completed, I learned that a typical book length was 85,000 words whereas my story exceeded 140,000 words when fully told. Removing 55,000 words resulted in many good stories and experiences being removed from this first edition. At the start of the book writing effort, I did not know of the word limitation. I am hopeful that if a movie deal happens, with a multipart series, we may have the time to tell the whole story.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

My book describes the benefits of reading the rule book. How, even if things don’t go your way at first, knowing the guidelines and being able to cite them may often help you get things to fall your way. Well, reading the rulebook only works if someone wrote it first. With smart phones and computers today, I feel our youth are losing the ability to put thoughts down in writing. Schools passing kids through without the aptitude in English and writing to compile an error-free paragraph of thought will be a greater problem in years to come if not corrected soon. Watch a news program! Read the captions at the bottom. These days they are filled with mistakes in spelling or grammar. Someone wrote those. Someone, presumably, checked them before airing. Far too many cannot write in an error-free manner nor speak coherently, without vulgarity, in our society today. If we start identifying errors rather than simply accepting them, maybe we can implement a movement wherein teachers, schools and students take the necessary time to value the written and spoken word enough to get it right.

How can our readers follow you on social media?


Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!


  • Sara Connell

    Bestselling Author & Writing Coach

    Sara Connell is an author and writing coach with a private practice in Chicago. She has appeared in Oprah, Good Morning America, NPR, The View and Katie Couric. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Tri-Quarterly, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, IO Literary Journal, and Psychobabble. Her first book Bringing In Finn was nominated for ELLE magazine Book of the Year. www.saraconnell.com