I’m CEO of a publishing house for thought leaders and experts. AMA about publishing options, building your author platform and monetizing your content.

Tanya Hall
Jun 8, 2018

If you’re a thought leader who hasn’t published a book yet, the prospect can be daunting. If you have written a book, you know that writing is just the beginning of the work. Still, the benefits a book brings to your brand and your business can more than make up for the hard work that went into its creation and promotion.

I lead a team at Greenleaf Book Group who are dedicated to helping authors reap those benefits from their books, and I wrote my own book, Ideas, Influence, and Income, to help authors choose the right publisher, build their platforms, and monetize content long after their books are released. Ask me anything about:

  • Publishing options
  • Solidifying your message and audience
  • Developing your manuscript
  • Building an author platform
  • Launching a book
  • Using your content to create new income streams beyond the book

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Hi, Tanya, thanks for your response.  I've been on your web site, but I'm still not clear how Greenleaf works to promote books and authors (other than to create product -- e.g., audio books).  I'd welcome some marketing help for a book I've recently self-published!  (I've already been in USA Today, the Globe and Mail and CNBC.com, but I know there's more potential.)Do I need to submit my whole book in order to get a better idea of your services and costs?  Is there a better way to discuss possibilities and costs with someone at Greenleaf?  Thanks!

Jun 12, 10:57AM EDT0

Hi Kelly - you're welcome to give Claire from our submissions team a ring at 512-891-6100...she can walk you through some of the big picture answers. To give a more detailed response, however, we'd need to take a look at the book to understand the message and market. 

We also have a pretty robust marketing learning center on our website if it's helpful! greenleafbookgroup.com/learning-center/book-marketing

Thanks for your interest and congrats on your book's publication!

Jun 12, 3:51PM EDT0
Which books, according to your experience, are the hardest to market or promote? Why?
Jun 12, 2:51AM EDT0

Fiction can be quite a challenge to promote unless there is a good nonfiction angle to use for publicity pitches/connecting to current events. It takes a different approach, one focused on communities of avid readers and reviewers who can help to create a swell of word of mouth marketing.

Jun 12, 3:53PM EDT0

Hi, Tanya, how much dos Greenleaf charge to publish a finished manuscript?  Do you have options for helping authors with publicity and brand-building?

Jun 11, 4:05PM EDT0

Hi Kelly -  it depends. First, we have to accept it for our line...we currently only do about 120-140 titles a year to keep our service and brand strong. Then, it depends on the state of the book. Sometimes we work with authors who just have an idea and need ghostwriting, full editorial, design, printing, marketing, distribution, etcetera. Other times, we take on books that are already printed and just drop them into our distribution system if it's a fit. We don't do package pricing. It's all customized on needs. 

We have an entire department dedicated to brand strategy and audience development. We don't do traditional publicity, as our list is too varied for one publicist to handle well. I refer our authors out to publicists who are experienced in their subject matter areas. 

Jun 11, 10:08PM EDT0
How is your company's approach to help new authors enter the publishing world?
Jun 11, 9:51AM EDT0

We put a lot of effort into acting as stewards for our authors, educating them about the industry and the realities of publishing. We help them to strategize the best approach to launch and market their books based on their goals and resoures.

Jun 11, 10:39AM EDT0
Is Greenleaf Book Group open to publishing all sort of books or do you have a niche?
Jun 10, 9:32PM EDT0

We're happy to consider all submissions but our strongest sales channels for the physical retail stores is with nonfiction titles in areas like business, health and wellness, self-help, parenting, etcetera. 

Jun 11, 10:38AM EDT0
How much time on average does it take to publish a book, once you have the manuscript in your hands, read it and greenlighted it?
Jun 10, 9:32AM EDT0

It depends on whether the book is being released just online, versus being sold into traditional brick and mortar retail channels like airport stores, Barnes &  Noble, and so on. 

If it's online only, it might just take a few months to finalize the editorial work (usually at least a copyedit and proofread), cover and interior design, and so forth. If it's being sold into traditional retail, we are held to their merchandising timelines and need to pitch product at least six months before it is released. So that pushes out the timeline to publish quite a bit...often 9 months or so.

Jun 10, 12:59PM EDT0
What is the most exhausting task when publishing a book? How do you deal with it?
Jun 10, 4:55AM EDT0

It's different for everyone. For some people, writing comes easy. Others struggle with it. Some authors don't care for marketing and promotion while others live for that. Bring in help where you are weak and take a team approach to getting through it!

Jun 10, 12:55PM EDT0
How should you structure/present your manuscript if you want to be taken more seriously by an editor?
Jun 9, 11:52PM EDT0

If you're referring to an acquisitions editor who might make an offer to buy the rights to your work, you'll want to present a proposal before you share a manuscript. There are many great books (and workshops) on proposal writing. 

If you're referring the type of editor who will help clean up your manuscript, they are trained to look at content versus execution so don't worry too much about the structure. They will help you with that.

Jun 10, 12:54PM EDT0
How was the process of writing your own book? Did you take inspirations from the experiences you had with other authors and their journeys?
Jun 9, 6:36PM EDT0

Writing my book taught me a lot about the process my own authors go through as they work through their manuscripts!

The key things I learned were:

1) Start with a detailed outline so you know exactly what to write about when you sit down.

2) If your writing is going to stretch over an extended period of time (as mine did), try to write the manuscript from beginning to end instead of skipping around. I skipped around, writing wherever I felt inspired to write in the outline on a given day, and as a result ended up with a lot of repetition to clean up in later editorial stages. Not the end of the world but I could have been more efficient there for sure. 

Hope that helps!

Jun 9, 8:21PM EDT0
Would you say that nowadays with so much competition out there authors should market themselves as a brand?
Jun 9, 6:47AM EDT0

I think that definitely helps! Studies show that the majority of readers make author-driven book purchases - in other words, they'll buy on name recognition vs out of curiosity of a new subject. That doesn't mean ALL readers do that, but it's an important reality to take into consideration while considering the hard work of building an author brand.

Jun 9, 12:02PM EDT0
Although female authors are coming up to the forefront in the literary world, what are the challenges that they still face today?
Jun 9, 2:07AM EDT0

As is true in many areas, I think one of the biggest challenges is being taken seriously for their ideas, especially in the non-fiction world. 

Jun 9, 11:58AM EDT0
What is it about how a book is written, that makes it inspire its readers to take action?
Jun 8, 10:17PM EDT0

Actionable content is critical for readers to find real value in a book. Theory only goes so far, so we strive to incorporate features like action items, next steps, and case studies to show how the reader can apply concepts or information in a book to their own lives.

Jun 9, 11:54AM EDT0
What was your career in publishing like before starting your own company? How did that lead to your CEO role?
Jun 8, 8:32PM EDT0

My career started in television. I worked in entertainment news on Extra! Entertainment TV, E! Cable Networks, and The Style Network. Media is media - different formats, but the same challenges of oversupply and underdemand. 

All of this experience gave me the perspective to understand the importance of developing any media product to be differentiated and targeted to a specific audience, and also underscored the importance of distribution. Creating a quality product is great, but getting it out into the world is where the magic of making an impact starts to happen.

Jun 8, 8:57PM EDT0

Tanya, from a standpoint of developing your own projects and journey to creating your brand, what would be your insight for authors that are working to establish their unique voice as well as authority in today's market? With today's climate, there are so many opportunities and also some obstacles, and I am curious to know if you have any thoughts on how to navigate. 

Jun 8, 3:41PM EDT0

That's a big question and my first piece of advice would be to pick up my book Ideas, Influence, and Income - it tackles all of this! But you're already onto some of the key priorities for any author developing new work when you mention creating a brand and establishing a unique voice and authority. Based on your question, I think you're in a perfect position to start reading my book and make the right decisions on the front end vs fixing some missteps later.

Every project is different in terms of audience, message, tone, and of course potential income streams. It also depends on what you naturally enjoy doing (speaking vs writing, for instance) to help support the work. Authors stick with it more often if they enjoy it, whether that's webinars, blogging, podcasting, or anything else. You'll find a ton of resources in the book. And you can reach out on Twitter if you have questions as you go! 

Wishing you success!

Jun 8, 4:12PM EDT0

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Last edited @ Jun 9, 8:36PM EDT.
Jun 8, 3:29PM EDT0

Hi there - we've tried a few of these but haven't had great success with them, interestingly. Perhaps just not a fit for where we sell books well. But we'd be happy to consider them if you want to submit them for consideration - there are guidelines on our website at greenleafbookgroup.com/submissions

Jun 8, 4:04PM EDT1
What future projects will be the focus of your publishing house? Do you plan to extend your services to the international reader/writer base as well?
Jun 8, 5:25AM EDT0

We'll continue to bring on titles in the areas where we've had strong past success such as business, health and wellness, self-help, parenting, and generally all types of content that help you become a better person or live a better life. Audiobooks are a big area of focus as well, as that is the fastest growing format in the industry by far. 

We have a number of international authors on our list, and always welcome them provided that they are committed to promoting within the States. We also distribute internationally, so we do serve a global audience of readers.

Thank you for your question!

Jun 8, 3:19PM EDT0
What was the last book you helped in publishing? What was the process like and what made you select the manuscript?
Jun 8, 1:49AM EDT0

As CEO, I tend to work on the business moreso than "in it," if that makes sense. I have an awesome team who are experts at what they do, so I don't personally get involved in the editorial development of manuscripts, for instance, unless there is a question about saleability or brand fit. Or if it's my own book. :)

We bring on multiple projects each week, and we select them based on the quality of the content, the author's commitment to building an audience and promoting to them, and general fit within the sales channels where we have the most strength, such as airports.

Jun 8, 3:22PM EDT0
What makes you passionate about being in the publishing industry? How do you plan on helping authors, professionals and leaders?
Jun 7, 5:16PM EDT0

I began my career in television, and then I moved into the interactive space and finally into publishing. The thread that ties through all of that experience is the understanding that in media, value comes down to ideas and stories, and how to maximize consumption whether that means eyes on a screen, bodies in a theater, or books into homes. Due to that understanding, I hold  a reverence for the creators in our culture, and I believe they should be respected, supported, and treated fairly. 

That's what drives us at Greenleaf Book Group, and under a broad umbrella, that's how we help the folks we work with. At a more micro level, we help by coming alongside them to develop and distribute their work.

Jun 8, 3:27PM EDT0

When you consider the future, what new things do you see happening with your publishing company as well as changes in the industry?

Jun 7, 2:29PM EDT0

We're very excited about the growth of the audiobook category and are exploring some interesting initiatives in that space. 

We'll continue to grow the division of our business that helps authors to define their brands and build an audience - as the number of books published each year continues to rise, it becomes critical to have those building blocks to support a book's success.

Jun 8, 3:33PM EDT0
People are no longer hindered in terms of access to information. Do you think this modifies the role of the book in society?
Jun 7, 11:01AM EDT0

It modifies it in some cases, yes. Reference books like dictionaires and encylopedias become less popular because we all just Google those things now. Cookbooks have felt that shift as well, though some of the authors there with strong brands or very niche content continue to thrive. 

But in other cases, the book provides a type of structure in longer-form content that doesn't really work online. Whether it's a business book that introduces a new approach to a problem or a work of fiction that needs that longer narrative to play out the arc, there's a place for all types of content. 

Jun 8, 3:38PM EDT0
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