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E2A 042: Physical book distribution in a digital world with Brenda James 

 November 15, 2022

By  Scott A. MacMillan

There is something special about holding a physical book. With the advancement of the internet and technology, an author can get their book into the hands of a reader millions of miles away by having it available online.

Today’s guest chose to add a throwback traditional method by working with a local distributor to deliver her books into brick and mortar shops.

In this episode of The Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, your host Scott MacMillan speaks with Brenda James, founder of Leadership Reboot, about her deep love of writing, her book Believe, and the pros and challenges of physical book distribution.

EPISODE LINKS

Believe: How New Leaders Step Up and Into Their Full Potential www.amazon.com/dp/1989737722/

Leadership Reboot www.leadership-reboot.co.nz

CONNECT WITH BRENDA

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/brendahjames-leadership-reboot/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/teamreboot

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/leadership_reboot/

CONNECT WITH SCOTT

https://entrepreneurtoauthor.com
https://grammarfactory.com
scott@grammarfactory.com

Scott on LinkedIn (@scottmacmillan): https://www.linkedin.com/in/scottmacmillan/
Scott on Instagram (@scottamacmillan): https://instagram.com/scottamacmillan/
Scott on Twitter (@scottamacmillan): https://twitter.com/scottamacmillan/
Scott on Medium (@scottamacmillan): https://scottamacmillan.medium.com

Episode Transcript

Please note: The transcript is produced by a third-party company from an audio recording and may include transcription errors.

Announcer
This is SSN, Studio Story Network.

Scott MacMillan
You're listening to the Entrepreneur to Author podcast.

Announcer
Welcome to the Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, the podcast that brings you practical strategies for building authority and growing your business. And now here's your host Scott Macmillan.

Scott MacMillan
Brenda James is a leadership and career development specialist and founder of leadership reboot. She coaches clients to three outcomes, increase leadership confidence, more cohesive teams and higher workplace wellbeing. She's also the author of the recently released book believe how new leaders step up and their potential. Brenda, welcome to entrepreneur, the author, thanks so much for joining us.

Brenda James
Thank you. It's nice to be here.

Scott MacMillan
To start I'd love if you could share a bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey for our audience.

Brenda James
Yes, sure. Well, I actually, I started my entrepreneurial journey decades ago when I was only 17. I bought a typewriter. It was an electric typewriter back then, and I walked around our neighbourhood looking for business people who needed help with typing documents. So but my parents have always been self employed. And serial. So that was ingrained in me really young that I could, I guess, drive my own destiny. And I was trying to edit that this morning. And I think I'd spent about a third of my career, in my own business, mostly doing coaching work, so it's something that I've done for a long, long time.

Scott MacMillan
Oh, that's lovely. I love those early kind of childhood and, you know, adolescent stories of entrepreneurship. I think a lot of us had, you know, a few experiences you know, ranging from paper routes to, you know, something more we're involved with that. That's wonderful. And listen, you so you've written Believe, I'm keen to understand a little bit more for our audience. Can you share a bit about the book who was it written for and what are your goals for your reader?


Brenda James
Sure. I you know, I've been coaching leaders for a while now. And my initial idea for writing the book came from being so surprised how many leaders I saw that had a dent in their self belief for whatever reason, and obviously saw more and more of that with our experience. With COVID. And leaders having to suddenly mobilize teams and people being fearful and anxious, so they were dealing with a lot more and it just made leaders a bit more shaky in their own confidence. And so, the book had always been an idea, but it became more about really supporting leaders to become more connected with their own self, their own strengths, you know, become more self aware, and to you know, tap into their own well of inner strength, because that is what will carry them through. So it was about putting that into a context that gave them some story behind it. Some examples of how it worked, but also some simple tools that they could engage with right now, to make a difference. So it's been it's been really well received.

Scott MacMillan
That's wonderful. How did you find the writing process?

Brenda James
I love writing, Scott. I love writing. I have loved writing since I learned to write and I remember I've got a clear memory of sitting in the classroom at my desk, writing pages and pages. So it's always been my go to for processing emotions. For me, I've always journaled this process. So I guess the start of the answer is I enjoyed it, because I enjoy writing. My favourite times was when I could lock myself away for a whole day and just really get stuck into it. It's like meditation for me, the day would suddenly disappear. I did have challenges, but I had a really good writing coach.

Scott MacMillan
Yeah you did.

Brenda James
So I always had someone to go to, if I if I got stuck or needed some guidance.

Scott MacMillan
Yeah, wonderful. It's funny, you know, with a lot of the authors that we work with, or there's really those kind of bifurcation there. There are those authors who love writing are quite good at it have a lot of experience doing it, even if it's maybe the first book and then you've got on the other side, those that are completely uncomfortable, you know, hate writing, but they know that they've got a message to get out there. And you know, the the experience is very different between the two. But the nice thing is the way that the publishing process works, you know, both the both get to the right outcome. What about the publishing process itself? What did you maybe find frustrating or maybe surprising, or exciting about the publishing phase of work.

Brenda James
Well, I have to say I, I am so really I'm so pleased that I made the decision to connect with Rana factory because I had zero idea what was required once I actually put the last word into my book and push Send to send it off to the editor for you connected me. So it's like I thought I was done. I thought I was done. But then suddenly I'm looking at editors comments, choosing covers, which took a while for for this book, looking at internal designs or the I did the audio books so you know, connecting with the sound engineer getting all that set up. My biggest surprise was how much there was to do. After I've written the book, a lot of 4am starts to proofread for me. And yeah, it was because I engaged with you. I wasn't I wasn't anxious about that. I don't know that I had any frustrations. Gosh, I don't know. I'm sure there was along the way. I think the biggest one for me was having to check the audio. It was a long process. But apart from that, I learned every step of the way. And I'm looking forward to doing it again with that knowledge next time.

Scott MacMillan
Yeah, there are so many kind of...I don't know what the right word is...idiosyncrasies maybe around the publishing process, right? So much detail. You know, it's what I do every day and there are still things that I learned that we haven't come across before. And so you know, I think our job as teachers are to try and handhold the author means that the author can focus on their ideas on making sure that they have the vision and that that we're executing towards the vision of what they have for the books without having to get too into the weeds of all of all those details.

Brenda James
Yeah, I felt really supported. I have to say.

Scott MacMillan
That's wonderful. No matter what about your business goals for your book, what what did you hope to accomplish with your book, and how are you using it to support your business?

Brenda James
My first goal was to be able to reach more people because of the work I do and it's only me. There's only so many hours in a day for me to coach groups and leaders individually. And I really wanted to reach more people with the message of possibility. So that was the primary goal. I always knew that there was a chance clients would find me new clients would find me through the book. And that has definitely happened. And it's nice because I'm reaching. I'm working with some large organizations and other cities here in New Zealand that I don't think they would have found me without the book and I'm getting opportunities to get out and speak to large audiences that I'm not sure that that would have happened without the books. So there's been some big bonuses for me, but it's primarily about reaching more people getting that message out there about how to develop inner strength.

Scott MacMillan
So it's wonderful to hear that you're seeing impacts so quickly because it's not that long ago that you published, publish the book. So to see that kind of impact already is really great to see and you know, it's interesting, many of our authors don't really bother with brick and mortar, kind of that the bookstore channel, but you chose to engage a traditional distributor in New Zealand alongside the regular online distribution, which I think is really interesting. Why was that and how did you approach it?

Brenda James
Well, initially it was because we received media interest in the books. So I was interviewed for articles. We had a few radio interviews. And, you know, it was advice to me that the book really needs to be available in bookstores, with that sort of promotion. So we did engage with a distributor and you know, the main bookstores it's gone into ended up being in our silence here in New Zealand. Some in the north islands paper plus, and some, you know, some really neat, quirky little bookstores. The challenge though, has been that the bookstores tend to favour major influencers or famous people. So it can be it can be challenging to get in there if you've got a good distributor I definitely wouldn't recommend doing it without someone who does that all the time. Because even they've found it interesting.

Brenda James
It's a lot of work, isn't it? You know, it's not impossible to get a book into a bookstore, but you know, it's there. There aren't really economies of scale or economies of effort. In my experience, it's about reaching out bookstore by bookstore often and just letting them know about the book, sometimes offering to do an in person event, which, you know, none of that is really all that easy to do at scale. So, but you know, it's really interesting to hear your experience on that. For those who have considered writing a book and we have a lot of listeners who kind of to two paths, right some who are already writing where they have written the book and other you know, leveraging it in their business, but there are a bunch of people who I think have considered writing a book and they're exploring it, but they haven't done it yet. What advice would you give them?

Brenda James
Just start. Write the first word, I mean, I had written the transcript and getting a writing coach was a really good idea for me because she put structure to my writing she gave me a process of structure to use, but I know many people who have got incredible stories. You know, one friend of mine, who I recently caught up with has an amazing life story. And I said to him, I'll write the story for you. So it's, I say, Just do it. Even I even I had face impostor syndrome. You know, even I and I've written my whole life even I was going on who wants to read this? What am I but throughout the process, you just keep going just keep writing one more word. one more sentence, one more page. And before you know it, you actually go book, just do it.

Scott MacMillan
That's right. That iteration is so much a part of it, isn't it? You just need one foot after the other. And you know like I said before, you know you have a manuscript and you know, it's going through it multiple times having the editor do their past multiple times. Eventually it just becomes something that you know, often you didn't expect in the first place. Yeah, for sure. For the how can people get in touch with you to learn more about what you do and and how they might work with you? If they're interested?

Brenda James
Oh, for sure. The best place to find out about me is the website which is leadership-reboot.co.nz, or connect with me on LinkedIn, you'll find me there, Brenda James, and Instagram, Facebook, all of the social media channels, but really the website will give a lot of information about what I actually do and I've got a book page on there as well.

Scott MacMillan
That's fantastic. And we'll be sure to put that in the show notes. This was super interesting. Brenda, thank you. I know you're entrepreneur to author experience will really help those in our audience who are currently where you were not too long ago, and perhaps a bit anxious about what's to come. So thank you again for being here.

Brenda James
Oh you're welcome. Thank you.

Scott MacMillan
As we wrap up this episode of Entrepreneur to Author remember, now is the time and the right time to publish and trying to grow. I'm stopping really until next time.

Music

Announcer
This is Studio Story Network.

Scott A. MacMillan


Scott A. MacMillan is a speaker, international best-selling author, entrepreneur, and the President and Executive Publisher at Grammar Factory Publishing. He and his team help expert entrepreneurs write and publish books that build their authority and grow their business.

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