An Interview with Jeffrey Hayzlett, Primetime TV Show Host, Bestselling Author & Sometime Cowboy

As our Featured Author series continues, I decided to ask my friend and mentor, Jeffrey Hayzlett, to share some of his insights and experience with us.

Jeffrey Hayzlett - Primetime TV Show Host, Bestselling Author & Sometime Cowboy

Jeffrey Hayzlett, Primetime TV Show Host, Bestselling Author & Sometime Cowboy

Jeffrey is a primetime TV show host with his own show on Bloomberg TV called “C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett.” He is also a bestselling author and a sometime cowboy, with offices in New York, Los Angeles and Sioux Falls (because he can!).

I first met Jeffrey in an elevator at the Speakers and Authors Networking Group (SANG) led by Larry Benet in October of 2012, soon after my second book was released.

As Jeffrey and I were riding in the elevator, a young woman joined us and noted my book among the things I was carrying. She struck up a conversation with me about writing and how she hoped to become an author someday, completely ignoring Jeffrey the whole ride down to the lobby.

The irony was, Jeffrey was and is a much more accomplished author than I am, and the humor of the situation was not lost on either of us.

Jeffrey Hayzlett and Tara Alemany at SANG VI

Jeffrey and Tara at SANG VI

Later, at lunch, we shared a nice laugh about it, and I was struck by his sense of humor and humility. As big as Jeffrey’s personality is, and as overwhelming as his trademark energy and enthusiasm can sometimes be, Jeffrey’s heart is even bigger and I truly enjoy his friendship.

So, when he invited me to join a mastermind group that he was starting, I was happy to accept. Through the group, I met some of the other authors you’ve already been introduced to through this series, like Mitchell LevyShep Hyken and Chris Westfall, and a few others who will join us in future months.

True to his nature, Jeffrey was exceedingly generous to the mastermind participants, “opening [his] kimono” to us (as he called it) to introduce us to valuable contacts, and revealing exactly how he went about marketing his books, booking more speaking engagements and strategically growing his business.

Now, in this Featured Author interview, Jeffrey is extending the same opportunity to you. So, without further ado, here are Jeffrey’s answers to my Featured Author interview questions.

Tara: What motivated you to write a book?

Jeffrey: I was first driven by the fact that I had an agent who had been bugging me to write a book and put my thoughts on paper. So her constantly bugging me for 15 years and her insistence that the time was now is what first got me to say, “ok let’s go do this.” But then it really comes down of one of the things I like to do: teach and educate through my experiences. A book is a great way to do that, by telling my stories. If you read the book, a lot of people who know me say it’s like listening to me talk because that’s the way in which I write.

Tara: What publishing options did you consider?

Jeffrey: I really wanted to go the more traditional route of getting an agent, getting someone to pay me in advance, and get the book out. Other publishing options weren’t really considered for me.

Tara: Why did you settle on the option you chose?

Jeffrey: I felt it was much more lucrative and aligned with where I wanted to take my personal brand so we chose to go that route rather than a self-published or shared publishing route. Not saying one is better than other, it’s just what was right for me at the time.

Tara: How easy was it to get your book done?

Jeffrey: You know when you work with publishers you can only move as fast as the publishers, assuming you’re faster than they are. I’ve seen authors move slower than traditional publishers, which is extremely slow. I’ve seen slow motion calendars move faster! But for me I can pretty much get a book out in less than six months from start to finish. My first book took me about a year and my second book was well under that.

Tara: How did you distribute the book after publication?

Jeffrey: The book was distributed through traditional methods, primarily through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and another major retailer that is now out of business. Then we used 800-CEO-Read for large orders, but by and large the game today is Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and some specialty shops. I always like to do things with the independent bookstore owners wherever possible ’cause I love small businesses and people who are out there trying to make a buck.

There used to be a lot more back of the room sales and that has mostly gone away. It used to be I would show up, and Barnes and Noble would show up with a cash register and hundreds of books and sell the books out of the back of the room.

Tara: How are you marketing and promoting your book?

Jeffrey: Our marketing plan is a little different because I am a marketer. We do everything and anything in order to sell the book. We spend a considerable amount of time and money in building and executing the plan. I would be safe to say we do it better than most any other Tier 1 authors that I know.

Tara: What’s working best for you to generate sales? Are there things you’d recommend avoiding?

Jeffrey: Don’t build it and hope they will come ’cause they will never come and all you will have is a baseball field in the middle of Iowa. Go to where the people are.

The best thing you can do is pre-sell the book. The average business book sells 7,500 copies over its lifetime and there are over 3.2 million new titles per year. So you really need to hustle in order to stand out.

There are certain tools that I feel you need in order to be successful and the tools that work for me won’t necessarily work for everyone. I’m going to want to activate every piece of content I can and that means helping to create content. Whether it’s through blogs, tweets, posts, podcasts, trailers, television interviews, or radio tours, I will use everything and anything to get my book noticed.

Tara: Which social network do you use the most and why?

Jeffrey: I use them all, you can’t use just one. Each social network has its own way of doing things and its own audience.

Tara: If you had one piece of advice for someone thinking about writing a book, what would it be?

Jeffrey: Focus on your own personal conditions of satisfaction. Write the book for what you want to get accomplished and then know how to measure that.  Just figure out what you want to do and how you want to do it and then do it your way.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning from Jeffrey! You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, or find his books on Amazon, The Mirror Test and Running the Gauntlet.

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Tara R. Alemany

Award-winning author and speaker, and owner at Aleweb Social Marketing
Tara Alemany defies a simple definition. She is an award-winning and best-selling author and speaker, as well as a serial entrepreneur. Her publishing company, Emerald Lake Books, benefits experts and thought leaders as they grow their business by taking their words from manuscript to masterpiece. Her consulting company, Aleweb Social Marketing helps authors and speakers to get found online, on-stage and on-the-shelf. In addition to publishing, consulting, writing and speaking, Tara serves on the Boards of Directors for a Christian writers’ critique group, as well as acting as co-president and chaplain of the group. In her spare time, she is a novice winemaker, a martial artist, a juggler, a military Mom to 2 teenagers (one of each), step-Mom to 2 dogs (one of each) and is owned by a black cat.

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