Jenn Grace is the founder of Publish Your Purpose Press. She and her independent publishing team serve authors that are looking to make a difference in the world. They are CEOs, entrepreneurs, and others that have an important message to share. Publish Your Purpose Press helps these authors amplify that message by independently publishing their books.
Jenn and her PYP team (of which I was happy to be a part this year) help people find a way to integrate their book, and their message into their business model. It’s always interesting to figure out how to help get an author’s message out using the book as part of what they do as their career or calling.
In this Behind the Seens conversation, you will learn all about the types of writers and authors that are suited to the independent publishing model and how Jenn and her team are strategic and supportive throughout the entire process.
What does a budding author need to know or bring to you to begin the project? What is the catalyst? Is it the same every time or are there variations?
There are usually 2 camps or types of authors that come to us. One is a person who is already a speaker or consultant. They have been doing their work and are often asked about their book, or if they are going to write a book. They don’t see themselves as writers, but they realize that getting a book written and out to the world will increase the number of people they can serve and impact.
That person may not be a writer, but they still have amazing content and information that can truly be transformational – they just do it other ways. They are often speakers and are already an expert in their field. They have content that they’ve created and developed as part of their work.
We’ve seen that once you have a book, it really takes the business to the next level no matter what type of business you are in. We see speakers raise their fees once they have a book, or someone who has never been paid to speak can now get a nice fee for speaking.
Share with us the profile of the other type of author. What do they look like? Can you give us an example of that? I feel like it’s not as common or harder to see.
Someone who is looking to write a book in a new space to change their path. They might be working in a field that no longer fits them. They know that by being a published author they can break into a new field and be recognized as an expert much more quickly.
For example one of our authors does trainings for automotive companies. She travels 40 weeks a year, training at dealerships and she’s great at it. She loves it but it’s not what she’s most passionate about.
She wrote a book in the law of attraction genre and we are helping her transition out of this very corporate training type of job into something else. Her new focus is more about healing and it’s very different and she’s not known in that area.
She knows that having the book means she can share her story and articulate her thoughts and expertise to help her gain credibility faster in her new field.
If we fast forward through the writing and editing of the book, what are the mindsets around marketing the book? There is no one size fits everyone, so what are the directions you give for marketing?
I have a masters in marketing. I’ve been eating and sleeping marketing and I don’t think it’s a dirty word. But many people do, even those who are in business. I want people to know that marketing your book isn’t sleazy and doesn’t have to feel that way, ever. It can be very authentic.
With that understanding, we have some authors who are natural-born marketers. Everything they say and do is in alignment with their brand and it’s just how they show up, so we don’t have to worry about mind-set. We just tell them what they need to do. Essentially give them a checklist and they get it, they run with it.
Then there are others who are on the other end of the spectrum. They have some resistance to the idea of marketing so it’s a bit harder for them. Most of our authors fall somewhere in the middle.
Every strategy for marketing is tweaked depending on the author and what they are comfortable with and what they feel good about doing. We do that because we don’t want any of our authors to feel tenuous about marketing their book.
Many book marketers have a list that they use. You do A, then B and so on without variations. But there are now cookie cutter approaches or one-size fits all plans that work for everyone.
Here’s what we know. The average book sells 250 copies in its lifetime. That’s including traditional publishing, self-published – all of it.
Our authors sell an average of 410 copies per year. Some sell much more, and some don’t sell many at all but that is our average with all of the authors we’ve worked with.
We see greater success with our marketing efforts because we do tailor them to the authors. We also pay attention to what’s working, and review strategies with each new author we work with because things change.
Let’s talk about publishing options. We know there’s a big difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing. What would you point out to those who are looking into independent publishing?
I will talk to anyone who is interested in non-fiction or memoir publishing. That’s what I know. Fiction isn’t in my area of expertise. I talk to anyone and advise them as best I can, even if they aren’t a fit for us. Many people who come to us feel that they can get a traditional book deal. I try to help re-frame that conversation with them.
We know that there is a lot of work that goes into getting a book deal. More than there has ever been and the advance on royalties is lower than ever. The financial considerations are usually where I start the conversation. I let them know that they will likely pay the same amount of money if they self-publish, work with a publisher like us, or go the traditional book-publishing route.
I try to let people know what to expect financially. I want them to understand so they know up front not matter what they decide to do. I also try to make them aware of mistakes that can happen, like choosing the wrong editor, or the wrong cover designer and things that can add to the costs because the process is much more complicated than people realize.
I explain that we are beholden (best word I can think of) to our authors because from the very beginning we want to be sure we know how the book is going to support them. We understand what are the goals and how can we help them get there. If you self-publish, no one is looking out for you and if you go with a traditional publisher, they have no interest in your business, or other goals outside of getting the book published.
We choose to focus on this because we don’t want people to get misled. We want them to accomplish their goals as it relates to their business.
It sounds like you are thinking much longer term – beyond the marketing and publishing of the book alone.
Right. In our world publishing the book isn’t the finale, it’s just the beginning. Once the book is out there, we are focused on consumer marketing. Selling books to individual consumers.
If our client is a business owner, we are also looking at events months in advance to support them in a business environment. How can we help them sell their books and advance their other priorities?
A traditional publisher is all about the initial push to get on a best-seller list. That’s the game for them. Our push is way beyond that and for a much more sustained time frame.
I’m not saying our authors can’t get on a best seller list. Many of our authors do hit Amazon best seller lists, which is nice. But we don’t stop there. We have a much longer view for our clients.
What do you see happening in the next year for your business and for your authors? What is on the horizon?
I’m not sure I should say this but you asked – you’re hearing it here first. One of the things we see our authors struggle with is the speaking side of things, so we will be testing some additional support services for our authors around this. I don’t know how it’s going to look, but we know our authors so well, we want to help them get additional exposure and new ways to support them from the speaking side of things.
Publishing the book is just the beginning. We know that a well-written book can have a long shelf life and we want to keep helping to find ways for our authors to understand how to keep promoting their book and their work.
For those who aren’t familiar with independent publishing and with you how can people find you and learn more about Publish Your Purpose Press?
You can go to meetwithpyp.com and that will take you to my calendar where anyone can schedule a call with me personally and I will happily chat with you about your non-fiction or memoir book or you can go to the website link: http://publishyourpurposepress.com/ and all our contact info is there as well.
Our next Authors Academy starts in January and that gives you the whole landscape about how to publish. It teaches you what you need to know if you want to get your book published.
Here are all of the other links to connect: Publish Your Purpose Press website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
If you are interested in another conversation with Jenn and me, you can catch this quick video where we talk about how to use to your compelling content for marketing and building your platform.
Check it out: