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On the Brink with Andi Simon

Dec 11, 2017

I know Tanya Hall rather well. She is the CEO of my publisher, Greenleaf Book Group, headquartered in Austin, Texas, and it makes me very proud to have her as one of our podcast interviews. She has built Greenleaf into an exceptional hybrid publisher that works with and for authors to deliver amazing products. Many of Greenleaf's books win awards (even mine), are top sellers on The New York Times bestseller list and serve the reader with great insights from terrific authors. You really don't want to miss this On The Brink conversation. Take a listen!

Tanya Hall.jpegTanya believes that our jobs, bosses, collaborators and team members are in our lives to leave us wiser than today. "From a personal growth perspective," she says, "that’s all we can hope for. All of our books are trying to help people lead better lives.”

Working first in television in Los Angeles and then flipping a number of houses, Tanya inevitably wanted a tighter community for her two daughters to grow up in. After visiting friends in the Texas Hill Country, she replied to a job posting from Greenleaf Book Group in Austin in 2004 and signed on as Greenleaf employee #4. Austin has been her adopted hometown ever since.

Greenleaf started as a distribution company for self-published authors

Eventually, it built a sales force and enhanced its editorial and publishing capacit, sending Tanya around the company. After becoming COO, she took the reins as CEO in 2014 when Clint Greenleaf, the founder, moved on to other endeavors. Today, Greenleaf is a midsize firm that publishes about 140 titles a year, mostly nonfiction with an emphasis on self-help.

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 5.48.06 PM.pngTanya is herself an author of a book coming out in 2018, "Ideas, Influence and Income," a comprehensive guide to writing, publishing and launching your own book—and monetizing your content.

A non-traditional publishing house

Greenleaf Book Group provides an alternative model to traditional publishing houses: author-funded, menu-based services. The difference is that authors own their book; they pay Greenleaf service fees and retain a higher percentage of their sales. (Agents are not usually part of the mix.) Greenleaf offers straightforward publishing and distribution services, as well as editing and public relations. Recently, they began providing content marketing—speaking and consultation gigs—and they place the books they publish into bookstores and on Amazon. “Our authors received 35% of the cover price.” That’s significantly more than an author would receive through a traditional publishing house.

From Tanya’s perspective, the key to Greenleaf’s success is the culture of respect that permeates the company. “The most positive attribute of working at Greenleaf Book Group is the prevailing attitude of "assume best intent,” she states. This basic tenant values and respects each employee’s point of view and contribution. “When you unravel issues from the perspective of each person’s best intent, the resolution acknowledges everyone.” Good advice for us all.

In this episode, Tanya Hall and I discuss:   

  • How she was shaped by early opportunities in the media industry
  • How combining self-publishing and traditional publishing is allowing Greenleaf to redefine the publishing industry
  • Achieving impressive results by encouraging collaborative efforts
  • How Greenleaf is modifying content to build a bridge between ideas and audience
  • The importance of finding a publisher that aligns with an author's needs and values 

Resources mentioned in this episode: