Writing a Book to Propel Your Brand/Biz

Writing a Book to Propel Your Brand/Biz

Check out the latest episode below. Mr.Biz Radio provides business owners with the knowledge and insights needed to drive their companies forward.

Mr. Biz Radio: Writing a Book to Propel Your Brand/Biz

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz radio, Biz. Talk for Biz owners. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward, this show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


All right. Welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz Radio with me Mr. Biz Ken Wentworth. And today, guys, we're going to talk about something. I know we've got a lot of people who watch the show, who listen to the show. I hear from you guys all the time that maybe have written a book and it kind of fizzled. Didn't do what you wanted it to do, started a book, never finished it. Have thought about writing a book. Probably the latter is the larger percentage of folks, but really thought about writing a book, think, man, I got a book in me. I got two or three books in me, whatever it might be, and especially if you're a business owner and entrepreneur.


Our guest this week is going to help us kind of guide us through that process and how to optimize that. Frankly, I told her before we came on air here that I'm going to get a lot out of this show as well because I've written a few books myself, but I probably didn't do it in the best way and optimal way in order to get the most out of it. And we're going to get into that with our guest this week, Tanya Hall.


As CEO, Tanya drives greenleaf book groups, growth efforts and fosters a culture built around serving authors. What better person to talk about this? Right? Prior to current role, Tanya worked directly with Greenleaf's authors to develop publishing strategies, including multiple New York Times bestsellers, spearheaded growth strategies, including Greenleaf's ebook program and the River Grove Digital first Imprint and built Greenleaf's distribution organization, working directly with retailers and wholesalers to develop one of the fastest growing distribution businesses in the industry.


Tanya is the author of “Ideas, Influence and Income a Comprehensive Guide to Writing, Publishing and lLaunching Your Book and Monetizing your content”. Tanya. Welcome to Mr. Biz Radio. Thank you for having yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So I'm looking forward to this. If you couldn't tell. Pretty excited about the topic. And I know there's a lot of people like I said, that watch the show that listen to the show.


That again. As I mentioned, either have written a book, didn't really get a lot out of it or started and didn't really see the fruits of the labor and said, Heck with it. Shelved it. And they're halfway through. Or whatever it might be stumbled somewhere along the process. Or you used a book and didn't get a lot out of it or have a book in them, whatever it might be. But before we get into all that juicy stuff, tell us, if you would, Tanya, a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey.


Sure. So I guess I'm in full transparency. What they would call an entrepreneur because I started at Greenleaf after working in the television industry in Los Angeles for quite some time and to age myself, this was the late ninety s. And I was working for entertainment news shows like Extra and E cable networks and it's a harder gig than you would think.


What role did you have? If I could ask?


What's that?


What role did you have in there?


I was a segment producer, so I was the one putting together and isn't it funny, we get to a certain point in our career and you can kind of draw a through line. So it's always been about story for me. So anyways, when I was kind of winding down that career, I had young children at home and I decided I didn't want to raise my girls in Los Angeles. And this was 2004 and Austin was just starting to kind of come on people's radar as this cool place to live.


And I came out in an April when it's beautiful, in April in Austin, and that's about the only month that it's beautiful. And back then there was no traffic and every house was missing a zero at the end of it. So I was like, I got to move here. And I found this little company, Greenleaf Book Group, that was like four people at the time and they were looking for someone to run their distribution team, which really wasn't much of a distribution team at all at that point.


And I took that just to have a job in Austin when we moved and fast forward 20 years later, obviously now I'm running it. So the upshot of that journey is that I have done so many roles within Greenleaf that by the time our founder left, they tapped me on the shoulder and said, okay, you're turn. And so that's where I really learned. I think one of my skills, and certainly what I'm passionate about is building within a company and I think sometimes that doesn't get enough credit. There's just a lot of reward to be found if somebody does take that entrepreneurial journey.


And that's what's led me to where I am today.


Interesting. So I need to ask, so I've done a little bit of some TV stuff, some segment things on TV. So how much of a correlation did you draw from being a segment producer to some of the things you've done at Greenleaf?


Well, at Greenleaf, I'm not an editor, first in full disclosure there, because that's certainly an art in and of itself and crafting an art right? In a story, I would say the biggest tangent or parallel would be that in any area of media, whether it's television or radio or books or movies, the same dynamics are at play where there's an oversupply of content and an under demand of eyeballs or butts and seats or however you want to phrase it.


So that's the piece that we're always sort of pushing up against and trying to find a way to cut through the noise, whether that was in television or in publishing. And funny enough, when I worked at E, I was like low woman on the totem pole. And that meant that the beats that you were assigned were probably not the best. Like everyone wanted to be the person who repped music. Right. Because you got to go to all the shows for free.


Well, mine were let's see, I had Sports, which there's really no place for sports on E. I had Fashion before they launched the Style Channel. And then I had Books, because unless it was written by a celebrity, they hardly ever did a story on books. But it's just funny how those two worlds ended up colliding.


Yeah, well, the reason I asked is I could see some parallels. I know when I've been asked to do some TV things and some of the things that producers are asking me, I could see the correlation between sharing information via the television or whatever it might be in a segment and also crafting an overall story for a book. Whether it be even some nonfiction, I suppose, whether an autobiography or something like that. But especially fiction.


Oh, absolutely. And I think the other carryover that's been so important for me in the book business is I remember when I was receiving pitches from publicists and from publishers to have their books featured and I would make my decision in 5 seconds max. There's so much coming in. I'm sure you get the same where it's just like, no, not a fit. No, not a fit. Nope, not a fit. And if somebody can put together a pitch that makes you sit up a little bit straighter and think, well, that's different, or wait, what's going on here?


Those are the keys to the kingdom. And so that's what we're always trying to think of as well on the book packaging side of things. Not just the overall narrative arc, but even how we're talking about the book in catalog copy and the cover copy itself. Right. That hook is so important.


Yeah, no, I'm glad you mentioned that because we've been fortunate during the show for so long is we got to where we get inundated with pitches every day for people to come on the show. And I literally got to the point where I have someone on the team do it now and they kind of comb through and they'll send me the top few. And I know when you're doing television you probably got a lot more than this, but I would guess we probably get 80 to 100 a day of pitches from people to come on the show.


It's a good problem to have. Right. You can really look through and find some really cool stuff, people like you to come on the show. But at the same time, we're booked out into, I think, January, maybe even early February at this point. So it's like we try to keep some spots open for some hot stuff here and there, but most of the stuff we cover is pretty evergreen. So it makes it a little bit easier than I'm sure you dealt with in television and even with books. Like you said, a lot of the stuff can be evergreen and not necessarily have to be as timely.


Certainly. Yeah, definitely. I think it's just interesting when you carry forward these comparisons across media again, how many of the same challenges we have, no matter what format we're working.


Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Well, guys, this week we're talking with Tanya Hall. You can find out more at greenleafbookgroup.com. That's greenleafbookgroup.com. You can also follow them on Instagram and Twitter. We're going to hit a break here. We're going to come back and we're going to talk a little bit in the next segment. We're going to dive into a little more details, a little more of the meat here about when's the right time to write a book, how to get the most out of it, things like that. So come back after the break on Mr. Biz radio.


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All right, welcome back to the show. It's time for the Mr. Biz tip of the week. We'll make this one quick and short, but I get this question often. People hear me talk about, ironically enough, my most recent book, “Don't Fake the Funk”. And we talk about in there my SMAC methodology. And people ask me all the time, what the heck is SMAC? What does that stand for? And again, the whole idea behind it is how to achieve massive goals. It's a four step process that I kind of unknowingly developed as I was tackling a lot of goals in life, in my competitive athletic career and business and career and family life and things like that. But it's SMAC.


The S is start with yes, really start to think about ideas. Don't shoot down ideas right away. Think outside the box. But when you are presented with a new idea, brainstorming right away. Don't think about, oh, that won't work, because think of how can it work? Right. Start with yes, the M is model expert behavior. Find someone. Once you have that idea, find someone who's been there, done that. Even if you're trying to achieve something that's really just unprecedented, someone has done something close to what you've done, you're trying to do probably find them. You don't have to go through the school of hard knocks. Learn from them and learn from their mistakes and things that they've done along the way.


The A stands for accountability. Create a sphere of accountability around you. We talk about a lot of different ways to do that. Not just having a group that hold hands and sing Kumbaya and tell you how great you are. It's not just that, but a very important part of it. And then the C in SMAC is consistent perseverance. You got to be able to get knocked down seven times and get up eight and continue along your path. And so that's SMAC and that's how to achieve those massive goals. And again, we go to a lot more detail in the book or whatever, but that is the Mr. Biz tip of the week. I know we get inundated with people asking about it all the time. So I really wanted to say, if you go by the book, you can really get a lot of the detail about it.


And as we get back into talking to our guest, I have to first of all issue an apology. And I was looking at my notes during the break and shaking my head, although I think we run other video stuff during the break, so no one probably saw this, but before we came on, so our guest spells her name if there's watching Tanya. And I asked her how to pronounce it. She said, Tanya like lasagna. And I called her Tanya the whole entire first segment. So Tanya like lasagna.


I apologize. I'm looking at my notes and literally as soon as we hit the break, I looked down my notes and I'm like, oh my gosh, you idiot, what are you doing? I even wrote down Tanya like lasagna. I wasn't even looking at my notes. I got so jazzed up for the topic and the subject, I just jumped right in. But I apologize for that. So there's Tanya. Anyway, I guess let's dive in this a little bit. And for those out there that are thinking about writing a book, that latter group that I think is the bigger majority or the bigger section at least.


When is the right time to write a book? Tanya, as you've seen in your career, at least with Greenleaf


I would say, the bigger answer to that there are a couple of different answers. But the bigger answer that I go to very often when I'm frequently asked that same question is when you can't not write it, that is the perfect time to write the book. Right? It starts spilling out of you and you just can't help yourself. It's something that you feel so passionately about. And I say that because, as you might imagine, it's not an easy journey. And there are lots of things in fact, your little framework that you described is perfect for writing a book.


You can sit there and start with yes and model people who have done it successfully, and accountability that's your editor, and then perseverance, that's the piece that I think gets lost sometimes, that consistency. So I can see that easily applying to getting through the process of writing a book, but you've got to have it in your heart to where there's a goal at the end of it that means so much to you that you're going to go through what can take a year, really to do well.


Well, I should mention, since you mentioned the whole smack and everything. So this has been something that I've done, and I've written two business related books prior, but this is sort of more of my passion project, if you will. And I had publicly, in an interview, stated when I was going to publish this book, and I procrastinated I'm self publishing, right? Procrastinated poked around or whatever. Long story short, I wasn't using my own SMAC methodology that I'm going to write a book about to actually write the book.


So it's so frustrating. I was frustrated with myself, right? I ended up writing so my last book from sitting down for the first time, and you're going to be like, oh my gosh, this book must be complete trash when I tell you this. So from sitting down to start to having it published, I did a 218 page book in 30 days.


Wow, that is unusual, but kudos to you.


But using that methodology, and I had committed to a date, and so there was no turning back. I'm not going to not follow through and do it. Now. Those 30 days were I mean, there were several 20 hours days and seven days a week and trying to work around the family schedule and personal things and all that kind of stuff, and my work schedule and all that kind of stuff. But it just goes to show you, though, that you can do these things. When people say, oh, writing a book is so much, it is 100%. It's a ton of work. It's not easy at all. But look, if a lunkhead like me can write a book in 30 days and became a bestseller and all that, so it must be at least okay. And it's continued to have legs a few years later. Even if I can do it, and I can do it in only 30 days, certainly you could tackle it and get it done in a year.


Give yourself a year and pace it out and it won't be as overwhelming. I wouldn't suggest trying to do it in 30 days, or you might have more gray hair like me, or you might lose hair if that's your propensity or whatever it might be. So, interesting stuff. I know we're going to talk in the last segment, next segment, about how to really use it to propel your personal brand and business. So I want to talk a little bit about without giving away some of that.


What are some of the benefits that writing a book can bring to someone, whether it be your personal brand, your business, whatever it might be?


Well, I think first of all, for most people, myself included, the act of writing brings some clarity to your thinking and it can really help you refine your messaging for your business or your personal brand, or even if you're writing for entertainment, if it's fiction, there's something valuable there too. But I think in the bigger view, a book, of course, is a really effective tool for planting a flag as a thought leader. And for most of the nonfiction authors that I'm working with, that is the goal. They're trying to extend their visibility and really cement themselves as the go to person in whatever it is that they've built all this subject matter expertise in.


But that being said, I have other authors who are at a point in their career where they've been very successful and they want to give back. They want to teach other people in the community how they did it. They want to be those models that you described about in your model, right to where they can say, hey, I did it, and here's what I learned along the way. Here are the mistakes I made that you don't have to make, and I'm here to teach.


So it's different for everybody. But certainly for nonfiction, those would probably be the two biggest reasons why people sit down and write a book.


Yeah, and I know I've done some of the research for the show. I know you had mentioned being able to consider a book sort of a holy grail of content marketing. What do you mean by that, Tanya?


Yeah, I use that phrase a lot throughout my book. Ideas, influence, and income. I will say it really depends on you having the rights to in our model. You have the rights to your book and to your intellectual property rights, so you can repurpose your content in many ways. So the holy grail of content is just in that it's vast, right? It's 60,000 some OD words. And we did a really cool infographic at Greenleaf about how many blog posts exist within a chapter and then backing into that, how many tweets are in there and how many other social media posts so you can pull things from this bigger work and put them to work not only supporting the book, but just highlighting other areas of your expertise and your career and your thought leadership.


And that's what I mean about the book being the Holy Grail.


Yeah. Well, I would agree. I mean, it certainly helped it's certainly helped me. I can't imagine where I would be without having been an author and things like that. It's certainly helped me in a lot of different ways. So we're going to hit a break here, guys. We're running out of time in this segment, but we're going to come back again. Tanya, like Lasagna Hall, greenleafbookgroup.com, we'll put this in the show notes as well. And you can also follow Greenleaf on Instagram and Twitter. We're going to come back. We're going to pick her brand a little bit more about how to use a book to propel your personal brand and business.


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All right, welcome back to the show, and we are going to continue diving in. Tanya's given us some good tips there and some good action items. Not necessarily action items yet, but some things to think about in regards to being able to use a book. But I want to dive a little bit deeper into that. So, Tanya, what are some ways I know you've got a whole bunch of these. Unfortunately, we only have about nine minutes. But what are some ways to use that book to really propel, again, your personal brand or whatever, or your business?


Most of our listeners, our viewers are entrepreneurs, business owners and things like that. Obviously, you've got fiction writers who just want to write a book and get their thoughts on a story out there. But what are some ways we can do that?


I think one of the biggest ways is just by the discoverability that a book provides for its author, especially if you're out in the retail landscape. Now, that's a whole different ball of wax. It's not an easy nut to crack, but, for instance, I have my book sitting in the airports, and that's a pay to play thing and I've had it there for years. But that's because it brings me authors who have read the book, understand my company's business model come to me like completely self qualified and ready to hit the ground running. And it's a beautiful thing. And if I get four or five of those in a year, it's well worth it. So that type of just retail discoverability is one obvious way word of Mouth is a wonderful way that the book helps any author who's out there doing a launch and talking about it, doing podcasts like this or bylined articles. A book launch is an event.


So the first word, of course of Word of Mouth marketing is give them something to talk about. And the book in and of itself is that thing. So that's a super effective way. And then as a leave behind, it's interesting that books have this very high perceived value. Right. If you've ever moved, people are always like I feel terrible about throwing out all my books. I guess I'll have to find a library to donate them. But you'll throw out a coffee mug. Right, right.


People just really struggle with throwing out a book because it does it feels like something extra special. So if you are a consultant or a speaker, books are often the leave behind where if somebody connected with your message on the front end, the book allows them to take a deeper dive and further kind of come into your community and hopefully then hire you for whatever it is that you do.


Yeah, especially so. I've used that in my role on the financial side of things being a fractional CFO consultant and things like that. Is I will often when I go meet with a prospect I kind of cheat a little bit is I don't even talk about they may have done research on me or whatever and they may have found me because of one of the books. But even if they unless they mention it, when I head there to meet and have a prospect meeting, I'll already have a book ready to go, address and everything.


I will leave, go out in my car, write a personalized note, sign the book, stick it in the mailer and find the nearest post office and mail it to them.


Oh, I love it.


And every time I've done that, it's this done deal. Right. Because again, I think the feedback I get is oh my gosh, I didn't realize you wrote a book on this. What you're trying to help me with? You've written a book on this. Clearly you must know what you're talking about now that's without the mayor of reading the book, the book might be garbage, it might be a bunch of crap information. They don't even know that. Hopefully it's not.


But I think that the point being the authority you get from that and you mentioned the speaking. That's what I do now, like when I go do speaking gigs is that's one of the caveats is I want everyone there to get a copy of my book. And that's almost always what I do when I do a speaking engagement, is to have that part of the deal, because it's more so. Like you had mentioned, I want to get them part of my sort of community, if you will, and expose them a little bit more to some of the things that, other than I just stand up and talk for 45 minutes or something like that, they get a little more honor. And as you mentioned, it gives them something tangible to take home.


And people don't like to get rid of them.


It's true. And then there's a halo effect because sometimes my authors will push back on me to say, well, I don't want to give it away. I want them to buy it. They are buying it if you set up your speaking fees. Right, okay. But even as a consultant or I give away countless copies of my book to people all the time because A, if they review it, that's worthwhile to, you know, going to help my overall searchability on sites like Amazon.


But also they tell a friend, and then the friend buys it, and it just creates that velocity that we need to kind of keep a product moving in the marketplace.


Yeah. I try to give out 50 books a year, basically about one a week. And sometimes there are two or three weeks to go by that there's none, and sometimes then it's three or four or five in a week. But I try to keep on that pace to make sure that I'm getting it out. There someone I met and talked with that I think might benefit from it. I'll say, hey, it was great to meet you. Blah. Again, put a personalized note in it, send it to them. And I always get super positive feedback from people, I think, a little bit. Is that rule reciprocity? Right. You're giving someone something, they feel like, oh my gosh, you took the time to write the personal note to actually send this to me.


I think at least for me, it's been a great touch. I think a lot of people enjoy it. Everyone likes to get mail, right? Unless it's junk mail.


Absolutely. And I love the fact that you write a note in there because you're right. I think if someone sends you a gift, you're kind of a jerk if you don't jump on email and at least acknowledge it. So there's some implicit pressure in your gift.


Yeah, and I might write something real short, like inside the book, but I'll literally write like a handwritten note and stick it in with the book just to say to make it a little more personalized. And not just that I jammed a book into an envelope and sent it to you. There's a little thought behind it. Other than just that. And again, it's been something that's been very powerful for me. And I know again, the feedback has been great. And like I said, I like it.


A lot of times we'll have guests on that are authors and they'll send us sometimes in advance. They'll send us a copy when they're pitching us to come on the show or whatever, but so we get a lot of books like that. But we also get sometimes guests will say, oh my gosh, I had a book. Let me send it to you, or whatever. And like I said, it's always good to get stuff in the mail and it's interesting. And do I read every single word of every book I've ever received? No, but I read a lot. I mean, I probably read, I would say, 40 to 50 books a year, not quite one a week, but I read a lot. And sometimes I'll flip through a book and I'll pick out chapters and say, this one's not applicable, but let me read all the chapters but these three, or whatever it might be, and just to get as much as I can out of it. But yeah, I think the instant authority, I think you get with having a book.


My first book was a very short book, and I just wrote it to be for my clients to give to my clients. And I had accumulated information over some time. And my brother said, how long is it? And said, I don't know. It's like 70 pages. He's like, you need to make a book out of it and put a book out and put it on Amazon. I'm like, I'm not putting it on Amazon. Who the heck is going to buy this? He's like, what would it hurt?


I don't know what the process is, but how long would it take you to self publish on Amazon? Just put it out there if no one ever buys it. So what if someone Googles you? They may find the book and say, oh my gosh, this guy's a published author. And that's how the first one started. And it was crazy mean. A person was writing an article in the UK and they found the book and it was about cash flow, and they wrote an article about the best books on cash flow for business owners and they ranked at number one.




And I didn't even know it. And next thing you know, I get this thing from Amazon saying, congratulations, you've sold X number of books, or whatever. And I'm like, I forgot I even had the book out there. I had to go out and find my login to get onto the I'm like and I emailed him, I said, you guys made a mistake. This can't be my book. I'm not even promoting it. I'm not marketing it. I'm not even telling you when it's out there.


And then I found out a couple of weeks later that it was this article that just propelled it. So then that gave me the steam to say, well, I think I got another book I would like to write about business stuff. And so then that pushed me into writing the next one. The cumulative effect.


Yeah, you can certainly find a cadence in this process. And I think all of us learn a lot the first time we write a book. And I'll tell you really quickly, one of the main things that I learned was, don't skip the outline. I tried to get around doing an outline because I thought, I've been speaking about this for years. I don't need an outline. Well, the problem was I didn't know what to leave out. It wasn't about what to put in. I was going down these supply chain rabbit holes that nobody really cares about except me. So I finally went back to my editor tail between my legs and was like, about that outline.


And then we did this ridiculously detailed micro outline where I could just drop in whenever the muse visited and write a piece of the book and then later kind of pull it all together with some yeah, yeah.


I went through a very similar process. I do mine audio first, have it transcribed and then edit it down from there. But I have to have an outline or I'm the same way, especially with audio. I'll just talk forever and I'll end up with a bunch of crap that no one wants to hear. So much meandering and everything, but Tanya Hall's been our guest. greenleafbookgroup.com again, we'll put it in the notes here. Instagram and Twitter, you can follow them as well.


Tanya, we're out of time, but thank you so much for coming on show. I really appreciate it.


It was my pleasure.


Yeah, absolutely. Guys, thanks for watching. Thanks for listening. Have a great, great rest of your week. And don't forget, as always, cash flow is king.


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