Book Review: “Ideas, Influence, and Income” by Tanya Hall
There are few titles that still hold as much cachet in our society as that of “author.” While the label may have lost some of its luster due a flood of subpar self-publications in recent years, there’s no question that having a published book can be a big benefit to those who want to grow their business or brand. But… how exactly do you do that? That’s what Tanya Hall’s Ideas, Influence, and Income: Write a Book, Build Your Brand, and Lead Your Industry seeks to answer.
Before I get to my thoughts on Ideas, Influence, and Income, I do need to provide some context on the book, it’s publication, and how I came to acquire it. First, a copy of the book was included in the “swag bag” given to me while attending FinCon 2019. Upon receiving it, the first thing I noticed was the publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press. Intrigued by that name (which didn’t sound like a traditional publisher), I did some quick Googling to learn that they are actually a hybrid publication company. Would you care to guess who there CEO is? That’s right — author Tanya Hall. Suddenly, it started to make more sense why a) the book existed and b) why it was given away for free to conference attendees.
Considering that context, you might assume (like I did) that Ideas, Influence, and Income is just a plug-fest that spends nearly 200 pages extolling the virtue of hybrid publishing. Thankfully, that’s far from the case. While there are certainly references to such an arrangement and to Greenleaf’s services specifically, the book remains quite fair in its assessments of other options such as self-publishing and the traditional route. Moreover, the material goes well beyond an assessment of these mediums, covering a wide variety of topics related to authorship, audience, and more.
The book is divided into three main parts: Ideas, Influence, and Income (three terms that might feel familiar to observant readers). In the first section, Hall breaks down the process of developing, writing, editing, and publishing a book. As I mentioned, she does so while also highlighting how this series of events can differ depending on which publication method you opt for. Having personally gone through the self-publishing process, I can definitely vouch for much of the information and tips Hall provides. In fact, I admittedly felt validated to find that some of the advice she offered — such as preparing a book proposal regardless of whether you intend to actually pursue a publisher — was similar to what I shared in my ebook Write, Print, Publish, Promote (great minds!). I also appreciated how she wasn’t afraid to get a bit meta in her prose, noting in a section about editing how she chose to cut a section from the very book we’re reading. Such touches made the material far more authentic and approachable to me, not to mention engaging and interesting.
While the “Ideas” section is all about producing your book, “Influence” is dedicated to much of the other work non-fiction authors need to do to ensure that their work is a success — or that a publisher even picks it up in the first place. From social media to video and podcasts, Hall offers a wide range of content ideas and plans that can help potential authors build a following. If there’s any critique I have of this section it’s that it goes a tad too deep in its love for Gary Vaynerchuck, but who can really blame her? This section is also where Hall covers the art of the book launch, which once again contains a lot of helpful info for authors of all publication mediums.
Lastly, there’s the “Income” section. Somewhat oddly, this one starts off with a bit of a retread, looking even closer at the differences between self, traditional, and hybrid publishing. I suppose this version has more of an emphasis on the finances of each option, but it didn’t do much for me. Conversely, what follows is an exhaustive list of ancillary products, services, and monetization strategies for authors and influencers. To be sure, this goes well beyond the obvious (audiobooks, speaking engagements, etc.) and into ideas that I didn’t even know were things, such as book summaries. While not all of these suggestions will fit each individual, I was fascinated by many of them.
With all things considered, to my surprise, I found Ideas, Influence, and Income: Write a Book, Build Your Brand, and Lead Your Industry to be a worthwhile read for anyone thinking about writing a non-fiction book. While the work easily could have pushed a narrative that benefited the author’s day job, it instead chooses to cover a variety of topics directly and indirectly related to the book business and the business of books. While some of this wide-ranging info may prove less necessary or relevant for some, those who want to build a complete brand and leverage the power of a book to cement their expert status will certainly get the most from it. If that sounds like you, then I recommend giving it read.