When Diversity Matters
Jenn T. Grace is a nationally recognized business strategist, speaker, and author. She has published over 40 books that share the stories of others. She has written five of her own non-fiction books and is set to publish her memoir, House on Fire, in September 2020.
Guided by the mantra, “change happens in business,” Jenn believes social change happens first in the workplace before spilling over into mainstream society. She has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, and The Huffington Post.
Passionate about helping people share their stories of adversity, Jenn is the Founder of the Publish Your Purpose Press and the PYP Academy, a publishing company with programs that teach aspiring authors how to publish their book.
What We Discuss with Jenn Grace:
- The impetus behind establishing her own publishing company
- How she walks her clients into their publishing journey
- Some pitfalls to watch for about traditional publishers
- Marketing strategies for first-time writers
- How to show up in your own book
- An overview of the general editing and publishing timeline
- The importance of setting clear goals for putting your book out there
[01:11] Helping Other Authors Write Books
Jen was getting more and more questions from people about publishing books. Eventually, she established her own publishing company.
There’s a deeper purpose for writing your book. Hence, her company was named Publish Your Purpose Press, which was very intentionally designed around the purpose.
If you can lean back on your purpose and remember who you’re impacting and why you’re doing this, it makes the process feel more rewarding because you can always go back to your why.
[5:55] Providing the Best Experience for Authors
They get the majority of their work through word-of-mouth and referrals. Their primary goal is to deliver the best possible results and experience for their authors.
They wanted to be the antipredatory predatory publisher that tends to exist in mass quantities within the space.
There are a lot of scammy publishing companies out there that have very anti-author contract terms. Jenn wants to make sure that every author they serve is not going to experience this.
[08:45] The Pitfalls to Watch For About Traditional Publishers
Editing: There are a lot of services out there that will take whatever manuscript an author has brought to the table. They will proofread it and then send it on its way when it should have gone through developmental editing first. So the book comes out that’s littered with typos and is incohesive. Then you end up getting negative reviews from readers.
Hidden fees: Because of how these contract terms are created, it’s almost impossible for you to put the book in the order you want or without you having to spend thousands of dollars.
[12:18] What You Need to Know About Traditional Publishers
When you’re going the route of a traditional publishing deal, they’re trying to sell your book to their audience. But you need a publisher who’s selling your book to your audience.
Those that don’t need a publishing deal are the people that a traditional publisher wants because they can have a big enough platform and they can move enough volume of books. But it’s really those people that don’t have that audience who are seeking those traditional deals and get screwed in the process.
Most publishers want to know half of your book proposal and how you’re going to market it. If they don’t think you can sell your book, they won’t sign you.
[15:05] What Authors Struggle With When Getting Their Book Out There
Impostor Syndrome: Even if you’ve been an established thought leader in your space, a lot of people still struggle with feeling like an impostor.
The authors that sell the most are constantly out there. They’re talking to people many times and giving their books away for free. They’re on podcasts and speaking on panels, whether paid or unpaid. So they’re using their books at the forefront of what they’re doing.
Lead with the fact that you’ve created the book because this establishes your credibility.
[17:50] Marketing Strategies for First-Time Authors
Understand marketing. Without understanding what marketing really means, then you don’t really know where to start.
Focus on who your target reader is. Determine where your actual audience is. Don’t spend on Twitter when you don’t have an audience on Twitter. Figure out their psychographics, consumer behavior, and where they’re getting news from.
[21:15] How to Show Up in Your Own Book
The power of storytelling: If you’re struggling through the process of writing your book, it doesn’t matter what you’re writing about. You’re still going to have emotional doubts of yourself creeping in.
Share how hard it was to get this book out to your reader. Use this opportunity to connect with your reader on those different layers of diversity or adversity you’ve faced.
Show some pieces of your identity at some point within the book. This helps educate people and change hearts and minds through your work and your words.
[26:40] The General Editing and Publishing Timelines
The editing is the linchpin to everything. Their general publishing timelines are anywhere between 6 and 10 months. Depending on what you bring to the table, the editing can take around 2 months to 4 months.
Looking for the right fit: When working with authors, Jenn looks at the impact they’re trying to create. They’re going to keep asking why until they get to the root of something.
[30:50] Setting Clear Goals and Writing for Yourself
You have to say no to something in order to say yes to something else. We have a responsibility to put ourselves out there in very intentional ways to help other people feel seen and heard.
Have good clarity in how you’re individually defining success for each book. This makes it feel more attainable and more empowering. The more clarity you have, the more the overwhelm shrinks.
Focus on your eyes only. Just sit down and write raw, vulnerable, and real – only for you. Writing for yourself gives you more clarity. You feel more confident and you get more comfortable with what you’re writing about.