Maybe this sounds familiar to you?
In 2012 I was overwhelmed and confused about all of the options in the self-publishing market. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. None.
I began asking friends I knew who had published books about what they did and I slowly cobbled together a plan for myself.
I had consulting clients who were asking me “Jenn, when are you going to write a book?”
I had conference planners saying, “Jenn, we’d love to be able to include a book for our audience when we have you here to speak.”
I had potential clients saying, “Do you have a book so I can get a sense of your approach before we move forward?”
It was a bit of a wake up call, that not only did I feel like I needed to write a book, but everyone I was serving also was telling me that I needed to write a book.
Throughout 2012 and into 2013 I assembled the team I needed to self-publish my first book. It worked! My hard work, endless hours of research and planning paid off.
I just didn’t know what I didn’t know
But, I didn’t put put my best foot forward. There were so many things I didn’t know that I needed to know, that I unintentionally shortcutted some of the steps and had a subpar book to show for it. It wasn’t my fault. As a first time author, there was no way for me to fully understand the process involved to be a smashing success.
It still sold and my clients appeared happy, but I didn’t feel comfortable putting all my marketing expertise behind it because it didn’t live up to my, albeit perfectionist, standards.
Amazon Best Seller on My Second Attempt
In 2014 I took all of my knowledge from the first book I published and wrote and published my second book. That process was much smoother! My hard work and experience showed because this one sold twice as fast and climbed the ranks to Amazon best seller status without nearly as much effort. (It was still a lot of work, but I was better prepared.) I was proud of the outcome of this book.
The Rise to (Industry) Thought Leader
In the middle of 2015 I had a lot of people in my network asking if they could “pick my brain” on how I self-published my first two books.
I had dozens upon dozens of coffee dates and shared everything I had learned. I was passing along my knowledge because those in my network were kind enough to pass along theirs to me when I needed it.
Mid-way through 2015 I published a third book. This time it was ebook only and in celebration of LGBTQ marriage equality passing in the United States. This was a deeply relevant topic to the consulting work I was doing. This was a different experience because I did it exclusively as an ebook.
This ebook was fantastic for growing my mailing list, attracting new clients for consulting engagements, and to get folks to hire me as a speaker more often. This was a life-changing triumph moment for me!
Toward the end of 2015 I was part of a group coaching program and brought this up one day, somewhat casually, and said, “You know… a lot of amazing people I know are looking to write and publish their books and I found a formula that works. What if I were to try to teach others how to do it?”
My business coach gave me an enthusiastic approval and suggested that I “sell it before I create it.” These words of wisdom were the best words of wisdom I had received. When creating an online product (and your book), it’s helpful to test the market and see what people are looking for, before you spend a lot of money in producing something to only find out you missed the mark a bit.
I was now on a mission to serve.
In February 2016 I grabbed seven people close to me and said, “Listen, I know you need this. And I know how to do this. But I’m not sure how I am going to execute this yet. If you aren’t 100% happy with how the next three months unfold, I’ll give you all of your money back, no questions asked.” I got seven yeses instantly. (And not one asked for their money back.)
This was the birth of what is now our PYP Academy.
I was in this to help amazing people I knew broaden their messages.
I had had an epiphany and it was BIG.
What if I were the engine behind the scenes helping other thought leaders get their messages out to the world—and earning up to $22K per speaking engagement or more while doing it?
At this point I was getting paid an average of $15k per speaking engagement. I felt amazing and on top of the world. There’s no greater high than walking out to a packed room of people wanting to hear my message.
I still feel amazing when I speak to a crowd.
But I wanted to IMPACT more people.
Speaking more sounded great, but the heavy travel demands of a professional public speaker didn’t jive with what I wanted from my life.
My ah hah moment came out of the blue…
What if I were to help other people reach the point where they too can stand in front of a crowd of 5,000 people and share their message?
I knew being a published author was a huge part in the ability to increase my speaking fees. I started at $1,000 in early 2012. After I published my first book I jumped to $2,500. Then realized I was short changing myself and jumped to $5,000 shortly after. I kept raising my fees and corporations and event organizers kept saying yes! My highest paid speaking engagement to date is $22,000.
But back to the impact.
Me standing in front of an audience of 5,000 is great for the audience—and great for my bottom line.
But me helping countless (even 10) thought leaders share their message to an audience of 5,000 people, increases my impact by TEN! And that was just if I served 10 people. My visions and present day impact far exceed that.
I could feel it in my bones.
THIS is what I was meant to be doing for a living.
I love my consulting clients. I love making the world a better place for LGBTQ people through that consulting work. But me, behind the scenes, in the driver’s seat, pushing incredible people into the spotlight to change the world for the better is where I was born to be.
My area of expertise is LGBTQ in the workplace. It has been for 15+ years. But my interests go well beyond that. I want equality for everyone. Not just the LGBTQ community. And not just for the more obvious ways that that might show up.
But I quickly saw that my area of expertise didn’t necessarily mean it was my superpower.
But you know what IS my superpower?
Helping others get in front of the right audience, because they are published experts in their fields. Then they can impact the world in ways I personally am unable to.
I passionately believe the more raw and real we can be—the deeper the connections we can experience. This drives my fierce commitment to bring voice to the invisible stories that free people from their isolation.
This shows up in everything that I do. And everything we do at PYP.
We work to elevate voices from all diverse communities who have faced any number of adversities in their life.
This isn’t our sole focus as non-fiction book publishers but if you look at our catalog of books, you will see common themes of people using their personal and sometimes tragic experiences to pave the way and make the path better for someone behind them.
This is my life’s purpose and why I exist.
I need to help people tell the stories that other publishers may not want to tell or be passionately committed to telling.
We need to hear voices from all communities of people, so we can learn, share and grow as human beings and leave the world a better place than we found it.
After a successful first run of group coaching those seven people on how to publish their books in early 2016, I ran the program three more times that year and made significant overhauls to the curriculum as I went. We still make routine updates because there are always better and more efficient ways of doing things that we want to share with you.
In August of 2016 I had only been doing this officially for six months when one of my students said, “Jenn…I really think you need to start a publishing company—and be the one who produces these books for people.”
He had planted a seed.
I could be the one who brings these stories to life—and help these inspiring people take their stories and messages to the individual communities they are looking to inspire and impact.
It was a win-win-win.
I was hesitant.
I had NO idea how to start, let alone run a publishing company. But I knew how to start my consulting company, grow a speaker business and publish my own books.
But most importantly, I knew how to TEACH. And how to show people exactly what they should do to follow in my footsteps, to see the success of publishing their thought leadership.
I hemmed and hawed for less than two weeks and sprung out of bed one morning and declared to the Universe “Alright, we are doing this! Let’s go!”
I had not set out to start a publishing company. It came to me. It was meant to be.
On April 25, 2017 we published our first book. Eight months after the initial seed was planted that I should start a publishing company.
We published 12 books in our first year.
Sometimes I still have to pinch myself when I look back and see what I’ve accomplished as an individual and what my company has accomplished as a team.
With my experience you’ll avoid first-time author mistakes
I knew there had to be a better way to help authors along the journey of publishing a book. I had heard so many horror stories of bad publishing experiences that I set out to ensure that PYP is different. And that we remain different.
My personal core mission and subsequently a large part of PYP’s core focus is to protect.
We are protecting you from a terrible first time publishing experience. You don’t know what you don’t know. We know that. And we want to help you navigate through that rather than take advantage of you, like many do in this industry.
We invite you to come with all of your baggage.
We won’t judge you.
Do any of these sound familiar?
“Who am I to write a book? No one wants to hear my story.”
“Someone else has already written something similar.”
“I want to write my story, but I’m not a writer.”
“Who’s going to care about what I have to say?”
“I’m sure other people can do this better than me.”
Bring all of your baggage with you.
You are not alone.
I’ve written and published five (5) of my own books.
But guess what?
As I am writing a sixth (6) right now and I still have similar doubts swirling in my head.
THIS is what makes us all human.
The emotional and practical difference
We provide a safe space to share your story with us, so we can in turn share and amplify your message with the world.
At the end of the day your book is an extension of you—an extension of your brand. But the reading experience is singular and intimate. We want to ensure your reader gets all of you. Every inspiring and amazing part of you.
I was recently told by someone who knows me well that they knew why I found my way into this line of work. Curiously I asked, “How is that?”
She responded, “You are publishing books as a way of healing yourself through others.”
It is such a profound statement with so much beauty and truth to it.
I am healing myself through others stories.
We all have baggage (and potentially skeletons in the closet). We all heal through listening and reading other’s stories.
I am in the incredible position of creating the change I wish to see in the world (thank you, Mahatma Gandhi).
I am fortunate and blessed each and every day that I get to help bring these stories to light.
It would be my honor and an absolute privilege to help you share yours.
Let’s find time to connect. Just me and you, over a virtual cup of tea, like friends. And you can share with me what you are inspired by and fired up about sharing.
If PYP isn’t the right fit, that’s not the end of the road. We’ve built incredible partnerships with others who can help you, even when we can’t. This is to ensure we carry on the mission of protecting you long after our encounter.
If PYP is a right fit, then we’ll talk about how we can support you in this journey moving forward.
Take a minute, for you, and go schedule your time for us to talk.
I look forward to seeing you over a virtual cup of tea soon!
Now get out there, be inspired, be amazing and get writing!
With endless love and support,