There is more to writing a book than just sharing your story and/or expertise. When leveraged the right way, it could lead to building and growing your business. This episode features special guest Anna David, a New York Times best-selling author of eight books, founder of Legacy Launch Pad Publishing, and a 3x TEDx speaker. She joins Michelle Seiler Tucker to share her insights on using books to establish authority and generate leads. Before that, Anna tells her personal journey, highlighting her childhood, journalism career, and path to sobriety, which inspired her book, Party Girl. She then dives into the challenges of traditional publishing, the value of writing with a clear purpose, and the benefits of outsourcing the writing process. Giving entrepreneurs a helping hand, Anna lets us in on the amazing services Legacy Launch Pad offers—from writing down to distribution. So listen and learn about how your business can build authority from just a book. This is an episode you won’t want to miss!
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Exit Rich Podcast With Anna David
I’m so excited for all of you to join us as we have a special guest. I know I say that every week, but for this episode, I mean it. I call her a rockstar. Anna David is one of the world’s leading experts, and this is backward from what I always believed on how entrepreneurs can build a business from a book. I always say, “Have a business, then write your book.” We are going to learn from her. It’s going to be so exciting.
She is a New York Times bestselling author of her very best book, and I love this title, Party Girl. She has since written seven more books. She’s also the Founder of Legacy Launch Pad Publishing. I have a lot of readers that want to write their very first book. She’s a three-time TEDx speaker. She has appeared on Good Morning America, Today Show, The Talk, Hannity, Attack of the Show, Dr. Drew, Red Eye, The CBS Morning Show, The Insider, and numerous other programs that she’s been on including Fox News, NBC, CBS, MTV, VH1, and E, which is one of my favorites.
Anna has written for the New York Times, Time, Playboy, Vanity Fair, LA Times, Vice, Cosmo, People, Marie Claire, Redbook, Esquire, Self, Women’s Health, Buzzfeed, Salon, and the last but not the least, the Huffington Post along many others. She’s also been written about in such publications as Entrepreneur, Martha Stewart magazine, and Forbes.
Her first novel, Party Girl, is in development. It’s going to be filmed in New Orleans where we are in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s going to be featured and filmed here in New Orleans. She’s also the Member Leader of the Fast Company Executive Board Book Authors Club. She has done a lot, but there’s more. It gets better.
Through Legacy Launch Pad, she has overseen numerous books that have become Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestsellers. One is Exit Rich, my book. It has helped her clients obtain six-figure incomes to boost their bottom line, set her books right to film producers, and appear on shows like Today and Good Morning America. If you have ever thought about writing a book for lead generation and credibility, then look this way. I found the right person to bring to the show. Welcome to the show, Anna David. We are so excited to have you here.
Thank you so much for having me. I feel like the most interesting thing you said is when you first started reading my bio, and you said we thought you had to build the business and then the book. It is something that I struggle with a little bit because I have two audiences. I have the people that my company helps, which are very successful entrepreneurs who have been spending decades in the trenches building their authority, but nobody knows who they are. The book is going to be what introduces them to the world.
I then have people who want to write a book and dream of making money off of book sales. They hate it when I tell them they won’t make any money off of book sales. Even if you are going to have a website that says, “Reach out to me for coaching,” set up some business that can help you. Primarily, my company serves seven-figure entrepreneurs and self-made people who are experts in whatever field they are in.
That’s advice that I always give as well to clients who are always asking me about a book. My biggest thing is, “What is your ROI, Return On Investment? You are not going to make money from selling a book.” I always say, “What is it that you do? Coaching?” Whatever it might be, you have to lead with your ROI when you start to write a book, in my opinion, if you want to make money from it. The only people making money off books are 50 Shades of Grey and Harry Potter.
It is James Clear, Glennon Doyle, and E.L. James. It is 0.0001% of the population. I’m a bit of a dream dasher. It’s like I don’t drive by Cedars-Sinai Hospital and go, “I should go in there and perform some surgery.” People have always told me they think I’d be a great surgeon, yet, everybody does that with books. Everybody tells me what a great writer I am, and I have a story I should write. Everybody may have a story, but not everybody should be writing their story.
We are going to jump into Launch Pad Legacy, but before we do, I want to dive into you. I want to know how Anna David has written for so many publications, has done so many things, and has appeared in so many TV programs. What were you like as a little girl?
I was always very fun-loving. I have a lot of energy and was ambitious. I’m from Marin County, which you would think is the epicenter of ambition because it’s so fancy, and it’s not at all. It’s made up of the laziest freaking people I have ever known. Everybody I went to high school with is like, “I will work in advertising and make enough money to buy a house in Marin.” Their biggest aspiration was to be able to stay in their hometown. I did not relate at all.
I was not a good student. I come from a family that they were all about my brother. They thought my brother was so smart and made such a big deal about it. I wanted to get out of there. I went to this super fun college called Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. It is considered a great school, but not by my family, so I’m always like, “I went to this horrible school.” I had so much fun. I retained nothing.
During the last week of college, I look around and realize my three roommates all had plans. One is going into the Morgan Stanley trainee program. One is going to acting school. I had no plan. I feel like I spent my entire twenties trying to catch up to the fact that it was time to be an adult. I ended up going to rehab when I was 30. I have been sober. It will be 24 years in November 2023. My life began there.
Let’s talk about your New York Times bestseller. I love the name of your book.
That’s not the New York Times bestseller. I will sometimes allow people to think that Party Girl is, but it’s not. It was By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There, this book that I wrote for an actor.
I thought it was Party Girl.
I know. I could have let you get away with it because a lot of people say that, and I don’t correct them. It’s called By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There.
Let’s talk about your first book because that was your first book, right?
It was my first, and it was so special to me. It’s still the best thing I have ever written. What happened was it was a total Cinderella story. I was writing for magazines. You were like, “How did you write for all those magazines?” Back in the early 2000s, that was what I did for a living. I worked on stuff at magazines. I worked with People, Us Weekly, and a magazine called Premier.
You worked for the New York Times, too.
I wrote a modern love for the New York Times. You could write for these magazines. It was a great way to make a living. I would do these Cosmo cover stories. I would go and have coffee with Jessica Alba. For me, it was a lot of money at the time. I would make $4,000 to have coffee with a sweet celebrity. I’m like, “This is great.” One by one, those magazines started folding. I build up this big name as a naval gazing journalist. I would write these first-person pieces. I had agents who were reaching out to me and saying, “You are funny. If you ever have a book, let me know.” I had a book. When I was 3 or 4 years sober, I started writing a novel about my recovery.
When you say sober, is that drugs or alcohol?
Do they go hand-in-hand?
Yeah. I have realized I can’t speak to what anyone else’s recovery should be like. I thought they were very different. I experimented with that theory. It turned out, for me, they are the same. I don’t do anything.
You have been sober for how long?
Twenty-three and a half years.
That’s a huge milestone. Congratulations. At what age did you start using?
Was there something in your family life that triggered that?
Yeah. You can’t summarize it in a few words. There is alcoholism and mental illness in my family. I was considered the black sheep. Every problem was like, “It’s Anna. She’s crazy.” I had no coping skills. I only learned coping skills when I got sober. I went to rehab. I go through 12-Step. That’s where I got reparented. I learned how to have a relationship, how to be an employee, employer, and friend. I didn’t know any of these things.
There’s so much here to unpack, especially when you say you started in a home at twelve. Is that because people were using in your home and people were drinking in your home? I grew up with a father who was an alcoholic. My brother saw that, so he became an alcoholic, but nobody else in my family is. Is it genetics? What was it for you?
My dad was always getting DUIs and stuff, but nobody talked about it. It was not obvious at all. I did not even realize until I got sober how much of a problem it was. I believe we are born with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism or addiction. I use them synonymously. What happens to us between the ages of 0 and 10 either exacerbates or diminishes that.What happens to us between the ages of zero and ten either exacerbates or diminishes addiction. Click To Tweet
I know people whose parents were terrible alcoholics, and they are not. I know people whose parents were terrible alcoholics that they swore they would never drink, and then they ended up drinking. For me, and it’s annoying to hear this sometimes, I am so grateful for my path because I had to find my way to 12-Step. I had to bottom out. I had to go, “I have no rules for living. Show me how to live.” I was taught the twelve steps. It brings me freedom. The idea of the 12-Step is you do them. You find a spiritual way of living and you don’t want to drink or use. Being sober is not hard. The way I was living before was hard. This is comparatively easy.
The reason I’m digging into this is because there are so many people around the world, business owners, too, that have addiction problems. I find many times, it does start early at home. My brother was in and out of rehab for years. He’s been sober for years. It’s such a difficult process. It is a learned behavior or it is predisposed. How do you get to that point where you say, “Enough is enough. I don’t want to live this way anymore.”
It is harder to go through being addicted to all the nightmares associated with that, but it’s a huge conscious decision. I have experienced that with somebody who worked for me at one point in one of my companies. I still am trying to get that person to make a conscious decision to get help. At the end of the day, you do say, “Why does this happen for me and not to me?” It’s like Tony Robbins always says. It was great that it happened to you because look what you have done with your life. There are so many other people who have been down your path and traveled down your road who have never gotten out and are still stuck.
I got so lucky. You can’t force the willingness on anybody. You get this tiny window where you are willing. If some thought or some person can get in there in that window, your life can be saved. I was so lucky.
What was that breaking point for you?
I didn’t want to live. I had no friends, jobs, and relationships. The last place I wanted to go was rehab or 12-Step, but I was out of options. I thought, “I’m sure it will be terrible, but I’m out of options, so I will go.” From the beginning, it was amazing. It was people talking about solutions to problems I didn’t know that I had until I heard people talking about them. I’m a public speaker. I do TEDx talks. Do you know where I trained to do that? It was in 12-Step rooms because that’s where I learned how to speak in front of people. That’s how I did my media training. I was forced.
You could always take a negative and turn it into a positive. That’s how you learned to speak.
I always say the best employees are addicts and alcoholics because we have so much energy and we have a tendency to beat ourselves up if we are not excelling.
I want to go back a little bit because you said your breaking point was you didn’t want to live. I have been around people who have gone to where they don’t want to live and have tried to take their own lives numerous times. They are still addicted. There’s something in Anna David that makes her different and that makes her click. There are lots of people who have had a horrible background. Some get stuck in the past and never move forward, and that’s their baggage for life. Some snap and say, “I don’t want this in my life.” Is there a common denominator there, something to put your finger on?
I know hundreds, if not thousands, of people like me who got it, who stay sober, and who live these amazing lives, and I know there are far more that don’t. If I could invent the solution, it’s surrender, but how do you make somebody surrender?
That’s the thing right there. There are so many people I would like to help. How do you make someone surrender? You can’t. They have to surrender themselves. They have had to have enough, and you got to the point where you have had enough. How many years did you suffer?
It worked for me. A misconception people have is that sober people hate drinking. I love drinking. I had so much fun. If I hadn’t had so much fun, I never would have taken it to the depths that I took it. They talk about how first, it’s fun, then it’s fun with problems, and then it’s just problems. My fun was a long time. It was my last 2 or 3 years, which were very brutal.
Is it still a struggle, or is being years sober not a struggle?
Wanting to use or drink is not a struggle. Sometimes, living is a struggle. It is living life on life’s terms and having no escape. I find being in a human body quite uncomfortable at times. I have feelings I don’t want. Even when my life is fantastic, I have feelings I don’t want to have, and I don’t understand. That’s the challenge. It’s not staying sober.
People use to drown out their feelings. That was a great point. Tim says, “Congrats to you for being sober.” Let me start going through a couple of these questions. Hayden says, “With the increase in emissions to recovery programs amongst young people, what are some of the key factors driving this trend in your view?”
Fentanyl. I’m no expert on this, but everything is laced with fentanyl. We are living in what certainly a lot of people perceive to be a terrible time that people need to escape from. We are also seeing a generation that was raised on computer screens and all sorts of ways to escape that people my age were not raised on. Those are the key reasons.
Matt has a question, “Can you explain why you believe in using the label addict?”
It was what my TEDx talk was about. There was a huge controversy in the last couple of years about how the word addict was pejorative. It was negative. It was like calling someone a bad name. In fact, it was established by some addiction bureau that you were supposed to say a person suffering from substance abuse. There are all these people who will say things like, “I’m so-and-so, and I’m in long-term recovery.” Addicts and alcoholics are the coolest, smartest, funniest, most ambitious, and most amazing people I know, so I don’t consider it a negative thing. I consider it a positive thing if you are in recovery.
Sometimes it gets to the point where you can’t keep somebody because they are so over the top. They are harmful to other employees and themselves, driving to and from work. What practical advice can you give to college students with their addiction or those of family members?
You have to, unfortunately, wait until the surrender point. There are all sorts of people who try to push surrender points on people, interventions, or situations. A parent can say, “No one won’t give you any more money. You can’t come live back home.” I hear stories where that works and stories where that doesn’t work, so there’s no formula.
It’s tough. If it was an easy problem to be solved, it would have been solved right now. Jacob says, “Adding onto what Matt asked, what else needs to happen to fully minimize the root cause of addiction?”
I’m not an expert on this. I used to speak a lot about recovery and addiction. I talked about it on the Today Show and Fox News. It’s not my focus anymore because all I have is personal experience. I don’t feel qualified to talk about it. I don’t have solutions beyond 12-Step.
The biggest thing you would probably tell people is, “Get yourself into a program.”
Most people aren’t willing to do that.
I have been through that situation with employees and some friends. I agree with that. What can we do? Is there anything that we can do if we see someone who we know is addicted? It could be somebody we are working with in the workforce that has gone beyond, and we can’t retain them anymore because of the addiction, but we want to help them.
It’s the same thing that I have already said. I don’t think you can force them to surrender. You can let people know that you are not judging them. A lot of people struggling perceive anybody who is not in the same position, like an addict or an alcoholic, they perceive it to be judgment. They say 1 addict or alcoholic talking to another can do the work of 20 years of therapy. That’s why 12-Step is so effective, in my opinion.
You have already helped so many people. With your book, Party Girl, give everybody a brief synopsis of what Party Girl is. I know that you are turning Party Girl into a movie. We mentioned that. I’m so excited you are going to film in New Orleans. Can you give us a brief synopsis of Party Girl?
The background is when I got sober, I got hired at Premier Magazine to do a column called Party Girl, where I was covering the Oscars and Emmys. I was going to all the premieres, and I was hobnobbing with everybody. It was this great irony that here I was, wearing the moniker of a party girl when I was newly sober. I thought that would be a funny premise for a book. The premise for the book is exactly that.
A girl gets hired as a party girl correspondent when she gets sober, so she has to create a fake persona based on whom she used to be. It’s been optioned over and over again. Now, the producers have the funding. The beautiful full-circle moment is that one of the producers is one of my best friends from college. We had lost touch for decades. He is a money manager and a producer, and we did a lot of damage together. He’s sober too, so it’s beautiful.
I like that, “We did a lot of damage together.” Everybody should look at their addiction as, “Why did this happen for me and not to me?” They got to flip their perspective. Once you flip your perspective, you can become an Anna David, and you can figure out, “How can I turn this into a positive? Am I going to be stuck in my addiction? Am I going to live with this for the rest of my life, or am I going to take control over my life and figure out why this happened to me?”
It’s like Tony Robbins. All the things that happened to him in his childhood, he turned that around for the greater good and help people all around the world. Let’s jump into Launch Pad. You wrote your first book. One of the questions Jacob asked is, “As an accomplished author and book publisher, what was the most difficult process to get started? Was it more difficult to find success as a writer or as a publisher?”
Selling a book to a traditional publisher is pretty much impossible if you are not a famous person or an influencer. It’s not because publishers are terrible people but because they want to make back their investment. That’s the big five publishers. That’s like HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. You could sell to a small publisher, but I can’t imagine why anybody would want to do that.Selling a book to a traditional publisher today is pretty much impossible if you're not a famous person or an influencer. Click To Tweet
Succeeding as an author in the traditional publishing world was hard. I was very lucky. I got a book deal right away. I got a succession of book deals. Even as a lucky person, my book deals dwindled. I wasn’t doing well financially at all even though I had a New York Times bestselling book. I had to find another way to do it.
Unfortunately, so many people have rose-colored glasses. They think they are going to be the exception to the rule, and that without writing training, they are still going to be bestselling authors and make millions. I know a number one New York Times bestselling author whose book was made into a movie and was on Oprah multiple times, and he is trying to find out how to make a living. It’s certainly not the answer.
Becoming a publisher, for me, was very easy and organic. Since I had this New York Times bestselling book, a lot of people asked me to write their books for them, and I didn’t want to. One person was very insistent, which is Darren Prince. He’s a sports agent. I said, “I could hire someone to write it.” He said, “As long as you are editing it, that’s fine.” I learned how to publish from there. I watched this book get him spokesperson deals, get him a speaking career, and get him on Lewis Howes’ podcast and Jay Shetty’s podcast. He got all over the place.
From there, people kept coming to us. We never did any advertising. We have never done any outreach. We are doing that because we are in a growth period. We published over 50 books, and every single person came to us. One client would refer another and would refer another. Most people who reach out to us are not the right clients for us. We get an increase every day. It’s, “We won’t take your money unless we think you can earn back 10 to 100 times what you pay us.” Our prices are very high, so that’s a lot of money.
There is a lot to unpack there that you said. You have published over 50 books, right?
Our company has.
Legacy Launch Pad has published over 50 books, and so many of them being USA Today and Wall Street Journal Best-Sellers. A lot of people do think that. A lot of people think, “I can go write a book and become rich.” How many books are written every month?
I don’t know the numbers because it would probably be too depressing.
I heard it is 30,000 to 50,000 every single month of books being published, but it’s probably higher than that.
It’s hard to know what counts as a book. Someone could go write two pages and upload that as a book.
I agree with that 1,000%. I have a friend of mine who is like, “I wrote 100 books.” I’m like, “Your little books are ten pages. I don’t count that as a book at all.” It’s very difficult. You are not going to get in there and make money. That’s why it’s so important to have the ROI. You and I had this conversation where I’m like, “Writing a book is the best thing to ever happen to a business owner. There are so many great benefits behind writing a book.” She said she doesn’t take everybody, so you have to know the ROI. To me, you have to start with the end in mind when you decide to write a book. You have to decide, “What do I do? What’s my superpower? What are my objectives for the book? How can I make money?”
You have to go, “My book is for blank so they can blank, and so I can blank.”
You have to fill in the blanks.
You can go to BookInASentence.com and get sent that formula. I released a book called On Good Authority. My book is for founders and CEOs who want to build authority through a book so they can attract people to my company. I always write how-to books with the intention of somebody could read it and do exactly what I’m describing, and somebody else could read it and reach out to our company to do it for them.
That’s where you need to store it. I have so many friends who are like, “I have been working on this book for three years.” I’m like, “You shouldn’t be working on a book for three years.” I write my book in six weeks. Most people are not me, but there’s got to be a balance there. You got to know what the objective is.
For me, and I’m sure you will agree to this, I encourage all business owners to write a book and check out Anna David because I did it in 2011 and it was a game-changer for me. It was a complete game-changer because nobody knew who I was. It was a best-kept secret. I wasn’t a mistress, but I was a mistress to business owners because I sell companies. I don’t want them to go on social media and say, “Michelle sold my company. Here’s a great testimonial for Michelle who is selling my business.”
Somebody came to me and said, “You should write a book and tell them what you do and who you are.” It was a huge lead gen. It was credibility. I was able to ROI within the first year. I had a good plan and I had somebody who led me down that path. Since then, I have written many more books. To me, it is the best business calling card that you can have in a company. That’s huge credibility and a huge lead gen.
It opened up so many things. For me, I was able to get on stages I would have never been invited to speak on. I was invited to different masterminds and different groups I would have never been invited to. It opened up different doors for attorneys, CPAs, and semi-clients that want to sell their companies. It got me so much exposure as a business owner. Credibility, exposure, and lead gen are the three keys to success.
It gives you all of them. If you put a lead magnet in your book, we will put QR codes at the beginning of our book so that you can lead people to your newsletter list and have something that enhances what your book is teaching them. For On Good Authority, we created an authority-building calendar, email, and all of these things.
If you go to OnGoodGifts.com, you can be sent all of those things. It gives you all of those things. What’s hard for me in my position is I will talk to business owners who easily could afford to have the best people in the business create and publish their books, but they have that ego of, “I want to do it myself.” I say to people, “If you want to have the life experience of writing a book or if that’s your childhood dream. Otherwise, in the same way, I wouldn’t try to work with clients to sell their companies because I don’t have training in it. Why not outsource it if you can afford it to the best people?”
People who write all day every day and have for twenty years are going to do a much better job than somebody who has been doing something else. About half of our books are written by the clients, but honestly, those are the harder books for us to do because we have to go in, take it apart, and Frankenstein it back together. It is much easier to start from scratch than to put back together something that’s broken.
I like that comment, “We have to Frankenstein it back together again.” It’s whatever is best, but I tried the ghostwriter thing. That did not work for me. The reason it didn’t work for me is they didn’t get my stories down. You can’t go to a lawyer and say, “All lawyers are bad.” You can’t go to a ghostwriter and say, “All ghostwriters are bad.” You got to get the right ghostwriter and you got to have the right team. It didn’t work for me, but I didn’t have the right ghostwriter. It’s a much easier process, too, for a business owner to use a ghostwriter.
In the same way that anybody can say I’m an editor, anybody can say I’m a ghostwriter. Every single client that comes to us with their finished books is devastated when we say, “This needs work.” They go, “I paid somebody $10,000.” It’s like, “What bestselling books did they edit? What samples did they give you?” They say, “Nothing. They said they were an editor. They said they were a ghostwriter.” You have to do your due diligence. You have to, I say, work with snobs because they are going to find the best people.
I don’t see you as a snob.
In ghostwriting, I am.
You need to look at Anna’s background. I read this long bio about all the publications that she’s written for and everything she’s been featured in. That’s a huge case study and huge credibility right there for her. You don’t want to go to somebody who’s never had a bestselling book before on Wall Street, USA Today, and New York Times. To me, Amazon is not in the same category. Everybody can go and say they have an Amazon Best Seller.
If you can’t do Wall Street Journal, Amazon is the next best thing. The USA Today list is gone. It disbanded itself at the end of 2022. It was shocking. Publications are struggling to stay afloat. I don’t think USA Today could afford to keep it going. It’s very unfortunate because it was the third most important list. I do think if you can hit number one in all your categories, that’s a wonderful accomplishment.
I’m not saying it’s bad or anything, but if Anna can get you to Wall Street Journal, that’s even better. I didn’t know because Exit Rich, my book made the USA Today. That was at the end of 2020, I want to say.
That’s amazing that it went away because people can’t do that anymore. It makes it more special.
Hayden asked, “As a New York Times author and the Founder of Legacy Launch Pad Publishing, how have you managed to successfully transition from an author to an entrepreneur?”
Being an author is a miserable profession to the point that you couldn’t even call it a profession.Being an author is a miserable profession to the point that you really couldn't even call it a profession. Click To Tweet
Unless you are some of those authors you mentioned earlier.
My clients are successful because they are entrepreneurs first and authors to enhance their entrepreneurial reputations. We are going to talk about money. At the height of my success as an author, I was making about $80,000 a year. At the height of my success as a publisher, my company made seven figures. It’s a radical transformation.
Frankly, I don’t know if it’s a lot less work, but I have a team, so I have so much support that I didn’t have as an author. Building a team was hard. I started with horrible people. I have been blessed with this one team member. He had graduated from college. He applied to be my intern at a website I ran years ago. I have kept him close because he is a genius. We had employees who tried to steal our secrets and start competing companies. We went through it.
I have had the same. Employees can be the biggest challenge for any business owner.
I have the best team, but I also know you can’t hold onto them forever. I hope I can. An entrepreneur is only as good as their team.
Some of the best team members come from interns.
We had a big transformation. Mentally, I used to look at employees as if they are doing me some favor. I was like, “Would you please come to work for me?” I had this epiphany that being able to work from home as a writer and publisher is a gift. We found our amazing team members on Indeed. We are not using recruiters. We are going there and posting ads that are showing how amazing we are to work with. What we are attracting is the best people.
Tim says, “As an author, how have you adapted to the rise of social media and utilized it for promoting your books?”
Social media is wonderful to promote books. More importantly, if we are talking about the bottom line to attract clients, I don’t have a big LinkedIn following. If I post something on LinkedIn, it gets a little bit of traction. I have attracted $100,000 clients as a result of my LinkedIn. My first client, Darren, came to me because he was searching for hashtags on Instagram.Social media is a wonderful way to promote books and attract clients. Click To Tweet
You don’t have to be an influencer to use it well. I have a system that I teach in my course, Book to Business, which shows you how to take your book or your book in progress and post it. My book, On Good Authority, for the year I was writing it, I was using the content on LinkedIn. I was using it on Instagram. I was even using it to make TikTok videos. I wasn’t creating any new content. In an hour a week, I was creating my entire social media plan. If you have a book or a book you are writing, you don’t need to create new content.
It’s much easier. Mike says, “What are some of the common challenges entrepreneurs face when trying to build a business from a book?” Anna already spoke about that. It’s much easier to have a business and write a book about your core competencies than it is to just write a book. A lot of people want to write a book about their story, their life, their childhood, or this or that. Unless someone is a celebrity, somewhat famous, or got deep connections, is that a good idea?
Yes and no. Party Girl was my story. It was a novel. I ended up on CNN. We have published memoirs that have radically transformed the businesses of the people, and it surprised me as much as anybody. My first client, Darren, is a big sports agent. He represents Magic Johnson, Hulk Hogan, and all of these people. He said when the book came out, everybody knew his personal story and personal struggles, so it made business negotiations into conversations with friends so his business quadrupled. It’s not always a direct route, but you can still benefit from a memoir.
If you think you are going to write your story and make a lot of money off of it, it’s not going to happen. A lot of times, it’s therapeutic and it’s good to get that out there, but it might not be as successful as you think it’s going to be.
You are not going to make it on book sales.
It’s such a competitive landfill out there. With 30,000 to 50,000 books being published every year, that’s even going to get more. What are your thoughts about AI or Artificial Intelligence being able to write books for authors?
AI and specifically ChatGPT is amazing for doing research. If you want to use it as an author, go there and ask what the most successful books about whatever your topic is. You then say, “What are the negative Amazon reviews about that book?” You have this market research about what your audience wants and isn’t getting. In terms of writing a book, the more everybody thinks they are an author, the more the truly excellent people are going to stand out. I don’t see it as any threat, at least not yet.
Do you see AI writing a book for somebody?
I see AI writing as not good books for people.
There’s going to be so much AI can do and so much AI can’t do. Somebody said to me AI can replace him. I said, “AI’s not going to deal with the emotions. It’s not going to feel a buyer’s remorse or seller’s remorse.” It’s not going to deal with everybody backing out. It’s not a psychologist. It’s not going to rub their back when somebody gets mad. It’s the same thing for books. You are always going to need an Anna David to help you get that book out there, for sure. Hayden asked, “What’s your perspective on the culture of cancellation in the publishing industry, and how does it influence your choices as a publisher?”
It’s very interesting. Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat, Pray, Love wrote a novel about Russia.
It’s a novel with Julia Roberts.
No. She wrote a new novel about Russia and Ukraine. There was this huge uproar. On Goodreads, it was flooded with one-star reviews for people who were upset that she was writing about it. That’s how cancel culture works. The book hasn’t even come out. She decided to delay publication as a result. There’s this big uproar in the publishing world.
One of the major drawbacks of being in traditional publishing is you have to worry about stuff like that. Whatever publishers have been canceling books, there are all sorts of authors that have been canceled before their books came out or after. HarperCollins has to answer to a board of directors and all of this stuff. If we published a book that got someone canceled or that incited the Twitter brigade of cancel vultures that wouldn’t affect us.
That is because you are not a traditional publisher. The book will continue. It might affect book sales, maybe.
Book sales don’t matter. I would rather sell 100 copies of 1 of my books to 100 people who are going to have their lives changed and possibly hire my company than 10,000 who won’t care.
That’s a very good solid point she made. It’s not about selling to the masses. It’s about getting 100, 150, or 200 people that could be your clients for the next several years. That’s what it’s more about. What are the key elements that you believe make a successful book? Let me back up. Maybe somebody is thinking about writing a book, which I know several of my readers are because people ask me about writing books all the time. I specialize in selling companies, not writing books. I write books for myself. What are the three steps a business owner or anyone who wants to write a book should start with?
Know who your book is for and that’s your potential client, know what your client wants, and be able to relay it in a way that is simple and easy to implement.
I would also add one thing there. You might agree or disagree, but I would say easy to read. People like overly complicated books. That’s one of the biggest comments I get it’s that, “Your book is so logical and has steps that it follows. It’s easy to read. It’s not like I’m trying to read a textbook here.” I would say there are lots of stories in it, too.
With On Good Authority, my book, I set the challenge for myself of writing a book that was under or around 40,000 words. People are reading shorter books. I’m a book critic for KTU, a TV station in Portland. I have sent hundreds of books every month. I pick up the thinner ones.
You have sent hundreds of books. I remember that. I’m not sure if I read that in your bio, but you were a book critic. What do you see that’s reoccurring with the same issue, same challenges, and same mistakes that authors are making?
To clarify, I don’t criticize any. I pick 5 books every time I go on, or 4 or 5, and I recommend them. If I’m reading a book and I’m not responding to it, I’m not mentioning it. There are so few book reviewers. As far as I know, there are no other shows out there that are having people come on and recommend books. I love being able to do it for other authors.
We got to know what your client wants and know who your audience is. What was that third one?
Know who your book is for, know what your client wants, and then be able to describe it in an easy-to-implement way.
I would say the fourth step is to call Anna David because she can help you put it all together. Tell us quickly about all the services that Legacy Launch Pad does. It’s not just about ghostwriters writing a book or editing a book. You got the graphics, layout, design, and distribution. Why don’t you walk through Legacy Publishing services?
We have two options. We have the writing it from scratch and working with a completed book. If we are writing it from scratch, we pair the client with a ghostwriter We set aside 2 hours a week to talk to your ghostwriter for about 3 months and then about three months for the publishing. The publishing goes through developmental editing. It goes through proofreading. It goes through a copy edit. It goes into the layout. We do cover design, eBook, paperback, and hardcover. We have an audio recording studio here in Hollywood. We have all sorts of add-ons.
You have an audio recording studio.
We work with one. It used to be in my house. We had a sound booth, but it was not a good use of space. We have this state-of-the-art facility that’s right down the street. Our clients like it, too, because it’s very glamorous. Lots of celebrities are going in and out of there. You are always seeing one if you are recording. Recording an audiobook is a lot of work, so we also hire SAG-accredited actors if our clients don’t want to record it themselves.
I wish I knew that when I recorded Exit Rich. I recorded my very first book, Sell Your Business for More Than It’s Worth. I will tell you that it’s worse than delivering a baby. It’s worse than labor. It is so painful. It’s a painful process.
You got to know what you are getting into. When I recorded Party Girl, it was exhausting. When I recorded On Good Authority, I went in knowing and it was a lot more fun. It was a shorter book, too.
I went in not knowing because nobody prepped me. I was in physical pain. My back was killing me. It was an emotional rollercoaster. I decided to hire talent for Exit Rich. Next time, I will come to you, for sure. How does Legacy Launch Pad stand out from all the other what you call not traditional publishing?
It’s a trade-off. I was calling it hybrid publishing. This time, I’m calling it custom publishing. Hybrid, a lot of times, means a company that works with you and then splits the proceeds. We don’t. Our clients get 100%. What differentiates us is, as far as I know, I run the only company where I’m a New York Times bestselling author of eight books. I come from traditional publishing.
A lot of the other companies, because there’s a lot of them out there. I feel like they saw publishing as a good thing to do and they set up shingles. What I know from coming from traditional publishing helps our clients so much because I have learned what not to do in many ways and how to add the flourishes that make the books that we publish indistinguishable from traditionally published New York Times bestsellers. I have a lot of respect for other companies that do it well. There are companies that do it well, but there are a whole lot of companies that don’t.
I have been at different book clubs, masterminds, and things like that where everybody puts their book on a table and everybody looks at the book. There’s always a leader of that round table. They are like, “This is self-published. This is good.” You don’t want it to look like you self-publish. When you self-publish, you are not going to get those distribution channels. You will never make it into Hudson Booksellers.
That’s misunderstood, too. I was published with HarperCollins for a good advance. They got my books from Barnes & Noble and Borders which used to exist then, and they got them in other bookstores for two weeks. They paid for placement. Once those six copies sold, it was out of bookstores. People misperceive how much traditional publishers distribute your book.
I’m talking about the hybrid approach.
We have the ability not only to distribute as widely as a big publisher. I went to Barnes & Noble. I was chatting with a guy that worked there. I had no intention of trying to hustle my book in there. I started talking to him. I said, “I’m an author.” He said, “We publish your books.” I said, “No. HarperCollins had told me long ago that Barnes & Noble didn’t want my books anymore.” He said, “Really?” He looked it up and said, “I can order any of your books except I can’t order the HarperCollins books.” That is because traditional publishers, the way they distribute is they make it so a bookstore can’t return your books. A bookstore doesn’t want to order a book they can’t return. Ironically, they couldn’t order my traditionally published books but could order any of the books that my company published.
It is more of a hybrid or custom publishing approach. That’s a good point because that’s something I didn’t know. I have been writing books since 2011. That’s a good point. I am with a hybrid as well. Next time, I’m going to work with Anna. I’m a hybrid as well because I want to own the content. You got to be very careful if you are looking to publish your book. You can tell all these issues, but I’m wanting you to own your content. That’s huge. Number two, I didn’t know that they won’t keep your books because they don’t want returns.
I have explained this, I have a podcast called On Good Author-ity. I broke down how to get your book in a bookstore. I don’t want to exaggerate. I tend to exaggerate. I have had dozens of people reach out to me and explain they went right in and did that. Especially if you live in a smaller town, you go in and say, “I’m a local author. This is my book. It would mean so much to me if you would consider selling it here.” It depends on whom you are talking to, but I happened to be talking to a bookstore manager. He said, “We are going to order the book. Come in next week and sign copies.” He was very savvy. He said, “Take pictures of you in the bookstore holding your book and put it on social media. People will come in and buy them, and then we will have to order more.”
Those are good points. I learned that, too. I was walking through an airport. I can’t remember where I was. I travel too much to remember. It was an airport. I walked into the bookstore, to Hudson. I said, “Where are my books? I don’t see them.” He looked it up and goes, “You are the author?” I go, “Yeah.” He goes, “We love that book. We can’t keep it on the shelf.” I said, “Are you reordering?” He was like, “Yes. We got another order coming back in.” I said, “Are you ordering more because you run out so quickly?” He was like, “Absolutely.” Always go to the bookstores and talk to whomever you can. Sometimes, it is getting lucky. I got lucky. I got the right person who looked up the book. Are there any other disadvantages of going with traditional publishing versus custom?
Yeah. You have no control. I have had books that have been published with covers I hated. I have had edits done that I didn’t like. I don’t see why anybody would go traditional.
The reason why some famous people go traditional is because they get that big group of people.
If you are a famous person, that’s different. Do it that way. We had the biggest influencer in the world who wants to publish with us. They could get a deal anywhere for $1 million but want to publish with us so that they can own it, control it, and all that.
How do you take a book and turn it into a movie? That’s something that you do as well. Let’s talk about that quickly.
We don’t do it ourselves. We have had several books that have been optioned by Hollywood. I have a separate project I’m working on that connects authors to Hollywood producers. The reality is most business books are not going to be made into movies. They don’t lend themselves to movies.
Most business books, but maybe if you have a good life story. Let’s say you started your $1 billion company out of a pickup truck and you have a fifth-grade education or you have done something very unique in the marketplace. It’s as difficult and competitive as writing books. The same thing is true with movies. You have struggled, too, yourself getting Party Girl out there.
It’s the hardest thing in the world. You have to have everything lined up.
You are going to make it a movie, right?
Yeah. My boyfriend is a movie producer, so I have got some in-house support.
You have been so great. You have dropped so many words of wisdom and golden nuggets here. Do you have any last-minute thoughts for our readers?
The best time to write a book was years ago. The second best time is now.The best time to write a book was 10 years ago. The second best time is today. Click To Tweet
How can they find you? How can they connect with you?
What’s next for you?
My boyfriend and I have a surrogate who’s expecting a few weeks. Luckily, I have this amazing team, so my company will probably do even better if I’m not as involved. Who knows? That’s the plan. We will see.
That’s wonderful. Little baby Benjamin. I don’t know if I was supposed to put that there.
I have announced it on social media.
You saw it. The best time was years ago. The second best time is now. What’s the average life of a book?
Usually, the minimum if you are going to start it six months from signing to release.
Do you have any other last-minute thoughts?
No, that’s it.
Thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you all to all of our readers. This was great content. You are going to have to go back and read it again because she dropped a lot of tips and a lot of golden nuggets. It’s like drinking through a fire hose. She speaks very quickly. Make sure you go to those links. Make sure you get in contact with her. Make sure you share this show with your circle of friends and your circle of entrepreneurs. Share it on social media. Share it with everybody you know. Get the word out there. Write your book. Have an ROI. Use Anna David. Use Legacy Launch Pad. Thank you so much, Anna, for being a guest. We will see you on another episode of the show. Have a great day, everyone.
- Party Girl
- Legacy Launch Pad Publishing
- 50 Shades of Grey
- Harry Potter
- Exit Rich
- By Some Miracle, I Made It Out of There
- On Good Authority
- LinkedIn – Anna David
- Eat, Pray, Love
- Sell Your Business for More Than It’s Worth
- On Good Author-ity
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