Ideas, Influence, and Income: Write a Book, Build Your Brand, and Lead Your Industry

Ideas, Influence, and Income: Write a Book, Build Your Brand, and Lead Your Industry

by Tanya Hall
Ideas, Influence, and Income: Write a Book, Build Your Brand, and Lead Your Industry

Ideas, Influence, and Income: Write a Book, Build Your Brand, and Lead Your Industry

by Tanya Hall


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A comprehensive guide to writing, publishing, and launching your book—and monetizing your content

​Are you considering writing a book to boost your visibility and credibility? Or just trying to figure out how to use the book you already have to build more influence and income?

No matter where you are in the process, Ideas, Influence, and Income is your field guide to using a strategic and successful publishing experience as the groundwork for a larger plan to monetize your content.

Designed for experts and thought leaders and written by Greenleaf Book Group CEO Tanya Hall, this book will teach you how to
•   Get clarity on your message and audience
•   Develop your manuscript and choose a publishing option
•   Build your author platform and presence through social media, publicity, influencer marketing, and partnerships
•   Launch your book with the bang that it deserves
•   Use the content you’ve developed to create new income streams beyond the book

These are the tools and strategies Hall has used to launch the 1000+ titles represented by Greenleaf Book Group, an independent publishing company that has made the Inc 500/5000 Fastest Growing Companies in America list seven times.   

A book is the holy grail of content marketing, and approaching it strategically from the outset ensures a return on the time, energy, and money behind it. Ideas, Influence, and Income is a must-have resource for authors seeking a smarter way to get the most out of publishing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626345140
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Publication date: 05/27/2018
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,056,268
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author

Tanya has been empowering authors to tell their stories since she joined Greenleaf Book Group in 2004.  As the company’s Chief Executive, Tanya fosters a culture of innovation centered on creating new opportunities to better serve authors.

As the first hybrid publisher, Greenleaf Book Group has been at the forefront of innovative publishing for twenty years and continues to grow in response to author needs, morphing from a book distributor to a full-service publishing house that now includes an author branding department.

Having worked closely with retailers while building Greenleaf’s sales and distribution channels, Tanya knows first-hand how the power of a book can be amplified through a strong author brand—and, in turn, how a brand can be amplified by a book. She writes regularly on personal branding, leadership, and the publishing industry for and hosts the podcast Published, which guides authors through all areas of publishing. She regularly speaks and writes on the publishing business so that potential authors will have a clear understanding of the industry and how to succeed within it.

Before joining the publishing industry, Tanya worked in digital media and as a television producer for Extra! and E! Entertainment Television. She lives in Austin with her two daughters and a house full of animals.

Read an Excerpt



No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.

— Victor Hugo

ALL BOOKS START OUT AS AN IDEA — a concept or thought that grows and builds into something bigger. I want to help people save for retirement. I want to teach people to be healthy. I want to spread the word about a social cause.

Whatever the idea is, it has the potential in the moment of its creation to become action. It is a vision for the future — for a better future, in most cases — that does not yet exist in a tangible form. The word idea suggests an opportunity to make that better or new future a reality. And the next step in seizing that opportunity is to determine how to make it real.

Should you start a company based on the idea? Record a podcast? Host events? Start a blog? Raise money? Write news articles? Write a book?

Quickly, your idea has developed a bit of momentum, which means you'll need to think strategically about how to get the most out of it moving forward.

For many authors, a book plays a key role in getting their big idea out into the world. Publishing a book isn't always the final goal, but it's often one of many pieces in a marketing strategy that establishes them as experts and helps them reach more people.

A perfect example of this is Joe Cross, an expert in the world of juice diets. On the verge of turning forty years old, he was a hundred pounds overweight. When he tried to imagine his life twenty years into the future, he didn't like what he saw.

His idea: "To reboot my life and go back to plants."

When that idea paid off for Joe via a major health turnaround thanks to juicing, he decided to share his story with more people, beginning with his successful documentary, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. He then developed his idea further by adding a coaching business, an online support group, juice recipes, and, of course, books.

Joe had a vision to capitalize on the success of the documentary by releasing four books in two years. Under traditional publishing guidelines, this timeline objective was highly unlikely to pan out. Between shopping for an agent, finding the right publisher, and producing the content, the first of the books would launch well after the documentary's buzz died down. On top of that, he'd lose control over much of the messaging and design. After carefully crafting his own brand image, he wasn't ready to hand it off.

So Joe and his team took the books into their own hands, writing the manuscripts quickly and partnering with Greenleaf Book Group to bring them to market on a much tighter timeline while holding on to their creative oversight. Hustling the publication of the books helped Joe stay in front of his audience and create a deeper connection with them versus disappearing after the documentary had run its course. More importantly, the books became a tool to provide his audience with extremely useful content — recipes, how-tos, and inspiration — that drove home the heart of Joe's big idea more fully.

When I encounter authors who don't understand the value of maintaining the rights to their content, I often share Joe's story with them. Because Joe chose a publishing model without restrictions on how he could use his content, he was able to take control of his larger intellectual property strategy and use it to better serve his idea. Joe owns and controls the documentary work he's done, the blog content, and the recipes he shares. Together, they all serve his personal brand and his greater goals; why should his book be any different?

It's my opinion that when an author's idea is on the line, the safest person to serve that idea is usually the author himself.

This book is for authors, like Joe, who intend to get the most leverage possible out of the blood, sweat, and tears that go into writing a book and launching a big idea.


If Joe's story didn't quite make my point, owning a big idea in all its forms often takes the shape of thought leadership. You may be thinking, Isn't the world of experts, influencers, and thought leaders a little overblown?

Those words are definitely thrown around a lot, but their popularity doesn't make their place in today's media landscape any less important. Thought leaders continue to play a major role in helping readers and consumers find a voice they can trust.

Before you tackle the road map that we'll cover in this book for developing your position as a thought leader, it's important to have the why behind the work you will need to put in to reach that status.

Thought leaders help others make decisions

In our convenience economy, we are inundated with choices. With the whole world on the other side of our keyboard, we no longer have to settle for the fabric softener our local grocery store stocks. We can order an organic, unscented, paraben-free fabric softener online and have it delivered to our front door within the hour. We can also work with a business coach halfway across the world or watch personal training videos online. Our options are endless.

It's this paradox of choice that drives people toward thought leaders. Finding a voice in the crowd that they can trust helps people connect with the goods and services that are right for them. People who want to benefit from the juicing revolution don't have to do hours and hours of research on which juicer to buy. Joe Cross has a link to his favorite on his website.

What we often overlook about personal branding and thought leadership is that it's not about building the number of followers you have. It's about building connection. In today's crowded information landscape, that connection is priceless.

The strongest thought leaders wield tremendous influence because they build connections with their audience, not because they magically racked up (bought) two million social media followers. They regularly show their passion for a topic and freely share their knowledge. Moreover, they listen to and engage with their audience in return.

J. K. Rowling, for instance, famously responds to tweets from fans and answers their questions about Harry Potter plots.

Paulo Coelho is the author of The Alchemist, a New York Times bestseller for over 300 weeks. Coelho has been blogging for years, posting at least twice a week with a range of content from stories to commentary, all helping to continue to build his audience and keep them close.

I often tell authors who balk at the idea of building a brand as a thought leader that it fundamentally just means finding your readers and customers and talking with them. Not so intimidating, is it?

Building that trust in a noisy, overcrowded space isn't easy, but once they have earned it, thought leaders carry tremendous influence.

Thought leaders drive change

Occasionally, thought leaders get a bad rap for being too focused on making money, and some thought leaders successfully earn their audience's trust but quickly squander it by not bringing them anything of value.

In my experience, however, these types of would-be thought leaders are uncommon. Far more often, I meet people who truly want to make an impact on the world and other people. They have vast knowledge and experience on a given topic and see how that knowledge can benefit others.

In these cases, thought leadership is the vehicle through which they share their message. The more people they reach through articles, keynote speeches, social media, or media interviews, the more people they are potentially helping.

Going back to Joe Cross as an example, his big-picture goal was to help people adopt a plant-based diet and lead healthier lives. In one of his books, he shares transformation pictures from some of his readers, demonstrating how they have changed physically as a result of Joe's ideas.

This also extends to the leadership coach who is helping organizations function more efficiently or the philanthropist trying to raise awareness for a cause. Thought leaders have a powerful opportunity to impact the lives and careers of their audiences, and while many of the steps we discuss in the book are indeed focused on earning income, it's important to remember the why behind the effort.

It's hard to put an ROI (return on investment) figure on changing someone's life.

Thought leaders take control of their future

We've established that thought leadership can do great things for the audience it serves. But another reason thought leadership is important is that it brings opportunities to the thought leader.

Have you had days when you've thought, Wouldn't it be nice to work on my own schedule? Or, in my case, Wouldn't it be nice to work from Fiji?

In our modern "gig economy" of freelancers and four-hour-workweek enthusiasts, we've seen a surge of people whose businesses are built around them, personally. They are often one-person shops, though some have figured out how to scale. Their lifestyle helps them take long sabbaticals, work remotely when they choose, or simply have more time to spend with their families.

Earning that lifestyle takes a lot of work though. You can't just hang a "thought leader" shingle on your door and head to Fiji. (Well, you can, but it won't go as planned.) It will require significant hustle to build your following, but you will certainly have more control over your schedule and your future growth than you would in a standard nine-to-five job.


Whether you're an established thought leader or you're just starting out, a published book is the cornerstone of establishing yourself as an expert. This idea is the primary focus of this book.

Writing a book is a significant investment of time, energy, and, in most cases, money. How do you know if you're ready to take the leap?

Here are six questions to ask yourself before you dive in. Later in this book, we'll revisit this conversation at a deeper, more quantitative level. For now, I encourage you to grab a notebook to jot down your answers for easy reference as we work through the process of developing your book idea.

What do you want to write about?

If the answer doesn't immediately come to you, that's okay. I'll help you work through that in this book. Most authors start with a vague idea, like "marketing tactics," and build from there. Focus on your experience and your successes to get the ball rolling.

Once you have the idea in place, create a brainstorm document where you can list some more specific topics that you feel comfortable talking about — perhaps the things that others ask you for advice or insight on. Don't worry about outlining just yet. We'll cover that later. The key here is defining a general something to say.

What do you want your book to accomplish?

Plenty of authors use their book as a calling card to drum up business, but you don't need to be a business owner to use writing a book to your advantage.

Are you an aspiring speaker, hoping to use your book to get your foot in the door for more corporate keynotes? Perhaps you're an executive who wants to build a personal brand outside of your company's brand? Maybe you simply want to be recognized as a writer with a book that sells well.

There is no wrong answer here, but it's important to think through your goals for the book before you get too far down the road. Publishing a book is a big investment of your time and money, and clarifying your goals will help ensure that you don't waste either one.

Who is your audience? Are you already talking to them?

Visualize and describe your target reader. Try to get in their minds before you begin writing. What are their pain points? What are they hoping to learn? Where do they get stuck? How can you help them?

This is such an important part of writing a consistent, targeted book that Greenleaf Book Group's branding team regularly creates audience profiles to help authors answer these questions. They create personas for two to three different kinds of readers that are likely to need an author's particular book. (Visit for examples of these personas.)

While you may not need to spend hours researching these personas just yet, you can get a head start by thinking about your current platform. What kinds of followers do you have on social media? Who shares the articles you write? Chances are that you are already producing content in some way. Who is reading and engaging with it?

If you aren't actively engaging with an audience, start now. Dip your toe in the water with shorter-form works like blog posts. This will help you understand the person you are writing for, and it will also help ensure a base of demand for your book when it comes out.

Why you?

You now know what you want to say and whom you're saying it for, so it's time for an honest evaluation of why you're the best person to deliver the message.

What qualifies you to write a book on the topic you've chosen? Have you worked in the industry for years? Did you pioneer something new? Do you have an exceptional track record of success with your methodology? Or did you do a lot of research on this topic?

What would be missing if someone else wrote a book on this subject?

This question will also help you identify your differentiation. What do you bring to the table that is different from the content that readers can get through existing articles, books, podcasts, white papers, and so on?

Why now?

Is there currently a demonstrated demand for your area of expertise? Are your clients increasingly asking for more information about a particular area of your business? Do you foresee a shift in the industry due to technology, politics, or economic trends?

Most nonfiction books intend to provide timely, useful content for readers, but if you are able to anticipate their future pain points and help them avoid certain problems in the first place, your book will gain a powerful competitive edge.

You know your industry better than most, so spend some serious time thinking about its future path to understand how you can be the go-to, long-term resource for your audience in your specific area of knowledge.

Is a book the best outlet for this idea?

Between videos, blogs, social media, white papers, articles, and so on, there are many ways to share ideas and test an audience's interest. If you have answered the first five questions in this section, challenge yourself with this one: Could I sum up everything that I want to say in a blog post? A blog series? A series of tweets?

Many readers can point to a book that contained 30 pages of valuable information and then drifted off into repetition and "fluff" for the remaining 150 pages. Before you embark on the journey of writing a book, know that you are so passionate and opinionated about your topic that you are bursting with valuable information, anecdotes, case studies, and advice.

Repurposing existing content is a helpful way to compile your book, but if you don't have enough to say to fill a book, think through your audience's needs and draft some short-form material. Get your work out there in other formats, and your voice and content will come together with time.

A book is an exceptionally valuable brand asset for a reason — it's hard work to write and successfully launch one. Working through your answers to these questions will make the process of writing easier and will be helpful at many points down the road during the publishing process.


If you've determined at this point that a book may be the logical next step for you, it's important to understand your publishing options from the outset. If you are inclined to self-publish, you'll need to approach the development of your book with the understanding that you will be handling all of the moving parts. On the other hand, if you know you want a traditional deal, your primary focus will be on the manuscript and the development of your platform. A hybrid author will, as the name implies, fall somewhere in between.

There are three basic models for publishing: self-publishing (including digital publishing), traditional publishing, and hybrid publishing. We'll get into the pros and cons of each model later in this book. We'll also provide some guidance on deciding which option is right for you, but for now, we'll give an overview of these three basic models.


Excerpted from "Ideas, Influence, and Income"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Tanya Hall.
Excerpted by permission of Greenleaf Book Group Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1 Ideas 5

Chapter 1 The Importance of Owning Your Idea 7

Chapter 2 Letting Go of Fear 21

Chapter 3 Identifying Your Brand 37

Chapter A Supporting the Creative Process 45

Chapter 5 The Act of Writing 57

Chapter 6 Protecting Your Content 67

Part 2 Influence 77

Chapter 7 Building a Platform 79

Chapter 8 Creating a Personal Connection 95

Chapter 9 Leveraging Your Platform 113

Chapter 10 Ready for Launch 119

Part 3 Income 145

Chapter 11 Options for Publishing 147

Chapter 12 Building Blocks: Productizing Your Writing 161

Chapter 13 To Publish or Not? 187

Conclusion 193

Acknowledgments 197

Resources 199

Index 201

About the Author 215

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