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SPI 613: The Business of Writing and Publishing Books with Azul Terronez

One of the best ways to help your audience is to write a book based on your knowledge and experience. But the key to really connecting with readers is going from what you know to discovering your true message.

But what does that even look like? How do you go from just sharing information to inspiring and motivating people to take real action?

My guest, Azul Terronez, teaches people how to do exactly that. In fact, much of my work would not exist if it wasn’t for him.

You might remember Azul from episode 379. Back then, we talked about how he coached me through the writing process for Will It Fly. He is the CEO of Authors Who Lead, where he and his team help leaders write and publish the kinds of books that take brands to the next level.

In this episode, we discuss the publishing landscape today and the business behind it. We also look at Azul’s incredible company and how he’s removed himself as a bottleneck so other coaches can teach his method.

Azul is one of my favorite people in the world, and I’m grateful we had a chance to sit down for another fantastic conversation. This is a great episode, especially if you’re looking for strategies to elevate your brand and stand out.

Today’s Guest

Azul Terronez

Azul Terronez is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author and book coach who specializes in helping leaders write and publish books that elevate their brand. As the CEO of the six-figure company Authors Who Lead, he has enabled Wall Street CEOs and health and wellness gurus to sell tens of thousands of books. When he’s not hosting his podcast, Authors Who Lead, he’s working as a creativity coach with CEOs and Emmy Award-winning producers to build their confidence, improve their productivity and increase their visibility within their companies.

Prior to starting a career in coaching, Azul spent over two decades as a teacher, a principal and a founding faculty member of High Tech High Graduate School of Education. He has been a keynote speaker at international education conferences and his TEDx talk, “What Makes a Good Teacher Great”, has been viewed over 3 million times. Azul has appeared on The Smart Passive Income Podcast, The Will To Change, Addicted2Success and The Good Men Project.

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SPI 613: The Business of Writing and Publishing Books with Azul Terronez

Azul Terronez: Books tend to be overstuffed. And that’s the hardest part, trying to go from what you know, to what your message is. Because I often say books aren’t words. And I know that can be confusing. Books are messages that are contained by words because people are reading a book not to gain information, because most of us are drowning in information. We’re looking for encouragement, inspiration, confidence, and then some actionable things to do. But if we’re not certain that this book is for us, we will stop reading.

Pat Flynn: Without today’s guest a lot of my work would not exist. His name is Azul Terronez. He was actually on the podcast two hundred and thirty four episodes ago in episode 379. That was a long time ago. And we were talking about book writing and how a book increases your authority and how to get started with that. But I wanted to bring Azul back on, not just for an update on book writing, cuz it’s still something that we should be doing.

We do talk about that. Like the opportunity that is in front of us right now with regards to writing books and how it increases our authority, especially as leaders. And what that can do for our businesses and our brands. But more than that, I wanted to get an inside look at a Azul’s business. He and his partner, Steve have created an amazing empire that is here to help service leaders and leaders who write books. Authors Who Lead is the name of the brand, as well as the podcast.

They’re also starting a publishing house and some other incredible things with relation to fiction. In addition to their non-fiction. Azul in particular was my coach through my book writing process with Will It Fly? back in 2014, 2015. And he’s just got a different way of doing it. You know, when I talk about some of the things that I disliked about the way he coached me, but the things that were absolutely necessary for me to go through and understand, which is exactly what it helps other people through.

I mean, there’s many, many people who have actually been on the show before that are currently, or who have gotten coaching from Azul and are actually, you know, have published books or have books coming out soon. I don’t know if I’m allowed to mention those things right now, but anyway, Azul is topnotch. We talk about a lot of things today, and we have some special things for you too, if you make it all the way to the end.

So make sure you stick around. This is episode 613 of the Smart Passive Income podcast. My name is Pat Flynn here to help you make more money, save more time and help more people too. One of the best ways you can help people is to take that knowledge, that experience that you have in your brain and put it in a book of some sort, but how do we do that?

And how is he doing this and creating a business out of this and how is he taking himself out of that process, so he can help more people? All those questions are more answered today from Azul Terronez from Authors Who Lead. Here he is.

Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he says one of the most influential articles he’s ever read was called 1000 True Fans. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Azul, welcome back to the Smart Passive Income podcast. Thanks for joining me today.

Azul Terronez: Pat, thank you so much for having me. I’m glad to be back.

Pat Flynn: For those of you who might not remember, Azul was a huge part of my life back when I was writing Will It Fly? because without you, it wouldn’t exist, Azul. So again, thank you because that book continues to still reach loads of people. I still get messages from it, and I had just wanted to thank you once again publicly. Thank you for helping with that, because that was a very hard thing to figure that that was the book that was in me. So thank you.

Azul Terronez: You’re welcome. It was a great book and still is, and I recommend it all the time. And it’s amazing how that book journey sort of evolved with you as a person, as a entrepreneur as well.

Pat Flynn: It really did. You know, I think that’s what I find special about the way that you help authors is you almost coach as you’re helping people write their books, right? Because I think a lot of people come to you with a book in mind and they already have an idea of what, what they want it to be about or who it’s for. I came to you with an idea and through some exercises through a lot of coaching and I almost hated it at first, just to be honest, because you just kept asking questions and I’m like, Azul just tell me what to do. And you kept asking. Questions like any good coach would. And through that process, I was able to discover, well, oh, here’s the true book that I should write and, and what it eventually became. What do you think unlocks for people when they work with you when it comes to their original idea, but then what it actually ends up becoming?

Azul Terronez: Well, I, I think what happens is a book in your head when it sits in your mind is connected to lots of things. So it’s hard to vision the book out of your head, onto the page and to, to try to write your way through that can be really difficult. Meaning, books don’t know that they’re supposed to be birthed by themselves.

So all these ideas gets attached to them. Case in point, you wanted to write a book about the encyclopedia for everything online. That’s a lot of information. Most authors I meet, they have a lot to share. Their expertise is, is large and vast. Their experiences are quite a few. And so books tend to be overstuffed.

And that’s the hardest part. Trying to go from what you know, to what your message is. Because I often say books aren’t words. And I know that can be confusing. Books are messages that are contained by words. Because people are reading a book not to gain information, because most of us are drowning in information.

We’re looking for a book to give us encouragement or inspiration or confidence, and then some actionable things to do. But if we’re not certain that this book’s for us, we will stop reading. Or we turn it off. So my work is to help people vision a book first, like, tell me about this book before you write it.

Why is this important to you? What is underneath here and who will you serve? Why will it help you as the author? Most people want to be selfless, which I understand. It’s really about the audience. That’s true, but the, the residual shift that will happen with an author is when they realize the transformation they’re trying to make.

And for you, the transformation I observed, you were affiliate marketer for the most part during that time. And you were trying to grow, like selling your own courses, returning to that sort of model. That was the leap you were making as the author, the book had a sort of a lens, but that’s the transformation that I help authors see is say this isn’t just about writing information from your head. This is about growing the message you have inside of you.

Pat Flynn: And you had mentioned something just now. The purpose of the book in one’s life, in one’s business. And I know that you hone in on that quite a bit with Authors Who Lead with you and Steve, both sort of at the helm there, what are the kinds of coaching questions you ask a person who comes to you when they wanna write a book with regards to, well, how does it fit into everything else?

How do you guide a person to understand the, the purpose of the book that they’re about to dive into?

Azul Terronez: Well, one of the things I, I want to know, or for them to see, not so much for me, but for them is most books under the surface of what we know. Just under the surface, meaning our conscious mind knows a lot of stuff.

And we use that regularly. What I’m looking for is what’s just under that under the subconscious, what is operating you? What is keeping you moving forward? What’s your source of inspiration or your motivation? Because even if you change, let’s say directions in your career path or in your business. Your book should still represent you.

Well, your book should be based deeper on values and who you are than what you know, because what you know will change, but your values tend to be pretty clear and pretty sustainable over time. So that’s one of the things that Will It Fly? really did well was once you got clear that this was about having time with my family, this is about helping other people find time with their family. This is about growing a business and not wasting your time.

It became a value based book about what you really believe, not stuff that you know, and I think that’s the difference. I’m really trying to help people say you don’t wanna be known as the Kickstarter Queen and then four years from now, you’re no longer doing that and think, oh my God, that book’s stuff with information.

If it’s stuff with who you are, what you believe, what you value that book won’t ever grow weary, it will only amplify the next thing you.

Pat Flynn: And then how do you discover what that is, what your values actually are, that you can put into the book? I know that when I have coaching students, for example, we talk about values and what they believe in or what they fight for, what they stand up for.

Sometimes it’s very challenging for them to put it into words, let alone, put it in a book or signify that within a book. How do you help a person figure out exactly what it is that they’re doing this for?

Azul Terronez: Well, sometimes I do this exercise that Steve designed. Which is, I ask them to do a lifeline. If you think of a lifeline, like maybe a timeline you did in middle school where you like the civil war started here and went to here.

It’s that little straight line with the little notches. You remember those? And every hash mark represents a major event. Well, we have authors do a lifeline to show us. So tell us about your early life, like where you started, like where you remember you becoming you. And then I want you to come to the present moment now.

And all I want you to do is show me on this timeline, what are your highs and lows in your life? Meaning, things that you would feel proud of, excited about, want to share those, go above the line. Things that you feel like are hard or difficult or things you would just consider below the line, make a distinction.

And the reason I do that is I want people to see clearly they’ve been who they are for quite some time. They just have to see the patterns of what matters to them. It didn’t just show up now because they’re a leader, an entrepreneur. It’s been there for a while, not just values, but how they’ve lived.

And what I’ve noticed is people might put, you know, I was born here. Grandpa died, my baby brother was born and it goes up and down. But what people miss is that they’re made up of the things in between those highs and lows. The in between is where most people are made, but we don’t notice those things because we were working so hard to get them.

And so our head was to the grindstone, for example, or we were falling so hard, so low that we didn’t notice who we were during that moment. I’m asking them to stop and reflect on who they are over time and share it with me in a very quick period of time so they can see who they are and then go, wow. I just didn’t realize how much that mattered to me.

But it’s true. It’s happened here, here, here, here. And this is my response to those kind of things. That’s how you start to uncover your values because they’ve been there all along. You just need to slowly uncover them. And nobody really asks us to do a timeline of our own life and reflect who we are. So that’s one of the first things we do is help them see that clearly.

Pat Flynn: And you did that for me as well, I remember. And then I have taken that and I put a lot of those principles into, Will It Fly? in fact, because when you’re building a business, you wanna really know who you are and what makes you unique and what are your unique advantages, et cetera. So for those of you who did or have read Will It Fly? you might remember the history test and the shark tank test, and some other things that are in there where in the very beginning of the book, before you even form your business idea or even understand what it is that you’re gonna be creating. Who are you? And when you’re an author, you need to know that about yourself too.

And this is what I love about the process that you and Steve bring leaders into who are creating books for their business. And again, I had asked the question like, how does one discover what their purpose is for their book? And it wasn’t, oh, well, how much more money do you wanna make? Or how many more core sales do you want?

It’s well, who are you? And what can you bring to this? Cuz when you fully put yourself into a book like this and you understand who you’re writing for as well. Well, then all those other things will come. More money will come, more opportunities on stage, more sales of your courses or coaching programs, what have you.

So Authors Who Lead is, is where you want to go if you wanna write a book. Now I know a lot of what’s going on in your business, obviously, because you and Steve are both students of mine and we connect every single week. And it’s just been amazing to see and continue to see your growth because you were in the SPI Accelerator and this was back before you had a team and now you have a team and all this stuff. I wanna talk about the transition from Coach Azul, which was the brand before, to now Authors Who lead what brought on that name change and deeper than that, like, what was the change, who it is that you were serving. And tell me about that transition. And was that easy or was that difficult?

Azul Terronez: Thank you for asking that it was really brought up when we were feeling a lot of resistance when we were in the SPI Accelerator. When I realized it was really hard for a brand that was branded personally under Coach Azul to invite anybody else into it because people, even if I tried, didn’t want anything but Azul because I built the brand around that. And though the, the reputation I built, I felt very confident in what I didn’t know what I was to do is how, as I can scale this or grow this or add people to this, if my name is in there. So Steve and I, who was helping me in the business already was invisible and really had no place to show up.

So the encouragement from you and the other leaders in that group were to find something that can be an anchor or the centerpiece that other things can grow from . And so we really thought, well, who are we serving? Like we’re not serving everybody. And that was the thing we focused on. The thing you always reminded us stay in a place that we serve the audience we want to, we knew we served leaders in people who wanted to lead, whether they were entrepreneurs or someone just starting, but they knew in their mind, they wanted to make an impact with their message.

So that’s where authors should lead, where it came from. And it allowed us to expand more around the concept around why authors can be leaders and what to do even after, because sometimes you write a book and that sort of excitement can fade. You have to stay with it. You have to stay the messenger. That is really the pivot.

And what it’s allowed us to do is add people to the team. So I no longer just coach the groups by myself. I have coaches that help me. That know our system that I’ve helped coach them. And that they’ve written, you know, some of them have written 19 books, one of our coaches, Heather she’s she’s prolific.

And so I I’m constantly catching up to her, but she’s, you know, one of the members of the team and I would never be able to add her to that. If I left it into that sort of, you know, self, personal brand.

Pat Flynn: Was that a tough transition? Cuz I know whenever a brand change happens like that, there’s a ton of moving pieces and a ton of parts that have to be updated and all that, all that kind of stuff.

How much work was that, in fact?

Azul Terronez: I had spent so much time and effort on the website. And photography and all that. It was hard to let go of that because it was like, oh, I, I committed so much to that. It’s just, you know, how you get your website finally working, cuz for the first several years that I started coaching you and a lot of other people, I didn’t have a website.

I was like, just text me. You know, I didn’t have anything. The good news is the reputation was part of it. But once I built that, I didn’t want it to go through it again. So the hard part was putting up a really messy, rough draft website and not worrying about that. It doesn’t look as beautiful as that site, not knowing exactly who I was yet with Steve as the, and together, cuz we were building things together all along, but what’s our message together.

So having to write new copy and, but what it did for us was allow us to start to speak to our ideal audience and no longer just speak to everybody about writing books and that that helped, but it was difficult because now I had to really rethink, well, who are we? Who is Authors Who Lead without Azul because that’s, it needs to have its own like identity.

And it’s too wrapped up in me. And that really was difficult because people had to ask me lots of questions. Well, well, what do you do? How do you do it? I was like, I don’t know. I, I don’t watch myself. I have to really think about this and that took a while. I just do it. I just do it. I was a little painful, but as we got through.

Creating the brand manual for the new couple of brands that fall under authors elite, it really began to fall in place. And I felt a lot of relief actually, cuz now it wasn’t just me leading this thing and other people could answer questions and really help the business start to scale. That was the thing is it was just the coach is sort of freelancing thing and I couldn’t scale the thing cuz it was just me in it.

Pat Flynn: Who is your first coach that taught your process other than you?

Azul Terronez: The first coach that I had worked for me, actually it was, Steve was the first one.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. Yeah. Oh Steve. Okay. I mean, Steve’s your partner and you guys are very close, so you kind of knew each other already.

Anyway. So other than Steve, like I’m curious because I’m putting myself in the shoes of a listener. Who’s like, wow, that sounds amazing. I can have somebody else come in and coach on my behalf. But that also sounds scary. How will they know my process? Do you give them a manual or like work with them over their shoulder for a certain period of time?

Like what’s the process of hiring a coach to teach your thing? Tell me about that.

Azul Terronez: I remember you telling me a lot of the people that that can come to your team can come from your audience, could be fans of yours and they tend to pay attention to everything. They tend to consume all your content. And Heather, our first coach, she had written, I think, 14 books by the time I met her.

And they were all young adult sci-fi books with a, a female protagonist. Very interesting. But she was trying to write a non-fiction book and she was just stuck. She’s like, normally I could just write these in 30 days. What’s going on. I don’t understand is I started to coach her. Through a process. And that’s when she started to see this.

Isn’t what I was taught about writing. I’m like, I know I’m trying to unlearn you so that we can unclog the block that you’re having and you’re trying to solve this problem of structure and I wanna solve it differently. I think structure can get in the way of creativity. So structure in this case was causing a problem.

So basically I coached her through first and second nonfiction book. And she was just hanging on every word, listened to every podcast, which show up to anything I offer for free and joined one of our membership programs. And the more I watched her and listened to her in the, the mastermind that we ran, her questions were so amazing.

I think she gets the true essence of what I think coaching is. It was her demeanor, not her skill because she had never been a coach before. And she didn’t know. I just asked her, would you be willing to? And so what we did is I said, I’m gonna coach the first cohort with you. You watch, you observe, you be a part of it.

Because at first, I didn’t know, I could coach a group because I was only coaching one on one. So I was terrified. I couldn’t coach more than one person at a time. So first that was my first hurdle. Can I do this in a multiple person group? The second hurdle was, can I get somebody else to do it? And so what we did was I created content that people could observe and watch.

So I remained the teacher because I did want her to have to try to teach the system. I felt like that was a big burden. So I created the content and then she coached the group through the activities every week. She said, okay, you guys watch the video, you did the thing let’s share about what, what happened, let’s talk about it.

So she coached them. The process that I provided. So I still remained the, the teacher and, and not the facilitator, sort of like a professor teaches the stuff. And the TA sort of does the work with him. That’s sort of how I wanted to set it up because I didn’t wanna burden her. It’s a lot to kind of think through all those steps, but that forced me to have to record everything and no longer just show up on the fly. I really had to think through things. And so that’s really how the process started. Once I did it once with her, I I’d only show up once in a while. And then I showed up only when she invited me and now she schedules me, like, you’re gonna come on this week, not this week, you’re gonna come do this, but not that.

So I’m, I just follow her. I say, you tell me I’m here for you. And she guides me now on those calls, which is really great. That’s so cool. Which I thought was impossible, Pat.

Pat Flynn: That’s amazing. Tell me about that. Why did you think that was impossible?

Azul Terronez: Well, You know, you start to believe in your own magic, I think. To be honest, you think you know, it’s me, it’s not, if it’s just attached to you, your, your business will, you’ll one, I think you’ll burn out and two, then you really don’t have something clear.

I wasn’t clear. So I had to first study what I was doing and be clear and I think it felt impossible because it was hard. And I was so effortless to just show up. But now that I had to study and kind of categorize things, how do I make this magic happen when I’m not there? What is the tool that works?

And that’s where we started moving away from, me coaching and using tools that teach. So that’s where like that timeline exercise came in and those things sort of, people got really clear about who they are when someone else unfolded their life right in front of them.

Pat Flynn: That’s so great. Thank you for helping me think through that for everybody.

So now that you have coaches sort of in your place, teaching your stuff. What has that enabled you to do that extra time? What have you done with that time? I know there’s a lot of different projects in the works now, including a publishing house, which I invite you to talk about as well, but that amongst what other things have now come about?

Azul Terronez: Well, what allowed me to focus on. What I would say were more premium clients, not to say some are better than others, but they have a, a need that’s really niche. Like they, they have a big publishing contract and they feel the pressure to deliver, or they’re a content creator in another place like YouTube or someplace, because just cuz you’re a content creator in one place doesn’t mean you can write a book or you feel confident about writing a book.

So I get to serve those people more because my schedule is more open. The other thing it allowed me to do is focus on being a writer again, to be honest, I was so exhausted from coaching zoom calls all day long. And then at the end of the day, I was like, I don’t think I have it in me. I’m just exhausted.

So it’s allowed me to start writing again and dreaming about why I started this, which was, I wanna share the things I know, but also to be a writer. So one of the things that I’ve been able to do is start a new program for really, for leaders who want to write a book of fiction and it’s called Fiction With Purpose and meaning they don’t intend to write fiction to make a living at it, but they really think maybe I’d write this book for some other reason.

Like, just because I wanna try it, or I wanna write a book for my kids to read or like Steve and I, we, we interviewed our father during the pandemic over zoom. It’s funny to watch them use zoom, but we recorded interviews about his early life and we’re turning all those interviews into a three part series of fiction that, that capture his life growing up in a red light district in the Hills of Appalachia, right outside of a small coal mining town and what it was like to a place that existed in the 1800s until the 50s or 60s as like the Vegas of that time. We’re immortalizing his life, but not trying to just capture a biography. We really thought we could tell it differently. And so Fiction With Purpose is one of the things I’ve been able to start, because I have just a little more time. It’s a playground.

It’s not like, I’m not saying this with scale, unless maybe it does, but I’m not as worried because I have time to do that. So those are some of the things that I’ve been able to do with more time. And the last one probably more recently is starting a membership where people can come in and not just learn to write books.

How do I market this book? How do I get on stages? How do I get a TEDx talk? How, like all the things that come with being a leader, who’s an author, those pieces now I can teach, not just in the coursework of writing a book, but from A to Z. And so having more times definitely helped me to be able to be more creative.

Pat Flynn: So good. So good. And you’ve mentioned a bunch of things that I wanted to talk about. First of all, the fiction sort of play is really neat. I know that you have been writing a lot, so yes, you’ve had a lot of extra time and you’re writing these fiction books and now you’ve developed this sort of process, similar to what you did with like the nonfiction stuff that you are now experimenting with.

And I think you have your first group coming up or you’ve already got a student or two that are working through like a fiction novel with you. Tell me about like, what does that actually look like in terms of helping people with that?

Azul Terronez: Yeah. So Fiction With Purpose is really meant to be. An organic way of writing.

So the, the cohort just started we’re on week three and it’s a 90 day program with the idea that you go from your idea. Even if you didn’t have one to done with a draft of manuscript in 90 days, which is ambitious. But what I find is that people don’t finish quickly for fiction. They tend to get a new idea and they just start another book and they don’t ever finish.

The way that it’s structured is so many people were taught writing kind of early on, like when you’re young, but very few of us ever wrote fiction for fun in school. Maybe you had creative writing for a semester, maybe, but most of us don’t think that in that world. So we, we really don’t know if we have the confidence, but what I’ve found is that, because story is so ingrained in humans, that they know more than they think, and they just have to stop trying to over processs things.

Because writing a book, especially a fiction is a lot like life you show up and things happen. Even if you have a perfect plan if you ever tried to plan the perfect family vacation with what happens on day 1, 5, 6, 7, what time everyone gets up, where you go, you realize that it rarely goes as planned.

And yet the things that happen, you always know what to do. The bus breaks down, or the ride is closed or the volcano exploded, whatever it is, you just respond to it. Well, that’s like, that’s what writing is. It’s like life on the page. You, you shouldn’t overthink it. If a character has problems, he’ll solve it. And problems are actually what you need.

So you don’t walk away from problems in a book. You walk towards them, you need multiple ways in which to fix the story with more complications. So my job is to not let them worry if they’re never done it before, but trust these instincts. And you know, where I learned that, Pat, which is really interesting is I used to coach teachers when I was a principal and a teacher.

And I would go into young classrooms like kindergarten or first grade where kids don’t have a lot writing skills yet they might have had in preschool, they can put a few words together, but I was trying to teach writing early age writing. And so the teachers, I would say, okay, class will get those big jumbo pencils and that paper with the, that buff paper, with those blue lines and the, the spot on the top for a drawing.

And I tell them we’re gonna. We’re gonna write stories today and they would cheer. They’d get so excited. And the teacher would say, oh, you know what? They don’t really know how to write yet. I said, that’s not a problem. She goes, she would look at me strange. And I tell the kids we’re gonna write. And they never worried.

They didn’t think it was a problem. I say, put crayons and, and pencils. And I’d say on, when I say go, we’re gonna start. And when I say stop, we’re gonna end. Is that okay? And I’ll give you a little bit of a warning. So, you know, when it’s coming, okay. A new mark could set, go, and kids would grab pencils and markers and they would start creating stories. Some of them really knew words and they were putting one word out together. Very few, some were scribbling to, it looked like words, cuz they had seen adults scribble and others were drawing pictures and all of it looked sort of like not much, but when I would stop kids and I would say, okay, put your pencil down. Johnny, show me your work.

And it looked like scribbles. And I’d say, Johnny, can you read me your story or tell me what your story is. And Johnny would say, this is a story about an ant who gets lost coming home from school. I said, oh really? He’s a yes. Well, then what happens? He said, well, his mom goes looking for him and she is an elephant.

I said, she’s an elephant. Yeah. Well, what happens? Well, she goes looking for him in a tree and she gets stuck. Johnny goes on to tell this beautifully elaborate story with a beginning, middle end and with a resolution. The scribbles on the page. And I was like, that’s a beautiful story. And I realized in that moment, everyone has story built in them for hundreds and hundreds of millennia.

We have been passing down our life through story. It’s part of our DNA. So what I’m trying to do with this program is teach people that deep thing that’s already in them. Just like those kids, they have story built in them and I just have to nurture it out of them and get out of their own way. So that’s a lot of the differences in how I teach fiction versus follow this structure.

Pat Flynn: Dude, that’s so good. It’s making me think of how important story is for things like podcasting and YouTube and other. Content. I mean, not necessarily just fiction, but non-fiction in the, the art of storytelling and the three act structure and those sorts of things. But you’re right. I, I, I think when we try to fit things into structure so much, we lose a lot of that creativity and I love that you’re offering that space to be creative and to flow and to get into flow state.

Speaking of space, I know that for a lot of your authors, you are focusing on future in person events and, and things like that. Retreats. Why do you think it’s important for, when writing, especially to get out of where you normally are. Right? Because I think for me, you know, I’m comfortable writing here at home, but when I had to write Will It Fly? I had to get out of my comfort space for some reason.

And it just seems counterintuitive. What’s the purpose of an escape, if you will, to be able to, to fully write.

Azul Terronez: I think it’s just changing the routine of what feels like work. A lot of people associate the computer with so many things. Sometimes it’s deadlines or it’s schedules or pressure sometimes just being at your desk where those things occur is enough of a trigger that you’re not noticing that’s causing you to stare at the blank page.

Sometimes it’s the environment. Sometimes that space could be critically important for you to show up to, like you said, sometimes Will It Fly? you had to leave other writing being at your office actually feels great. Cuz you can leave and close the door and it’s over. I think it just depends on, is there resistance there are you finding like I keep getting stuck when I sit in my screen and even if you’re really good at being creative in some other endeavor and that desk, you might need to, to shake it up to.

To reprogram your brain to say, this is writing. For me, I had tried, I tell people it took me 24 years and 30 days to write my first book. The 24 years was the struggle to think about it, to doubt, to start, to stop, to throw it away. And then eventually when I figured out the plan, it took me 30 days to write that book out of apprenticeship that I took to you and that one day business breakthrough.

But I had to write it by hand cuz every time I sat at the computer I froze. No matter what. So I wrote it by long hand and then I went and typed it. I write and type like, but that was the only way I could keep from the resistance for me. So it, I think it depends on each person and I made it an event. So , I would sneak into hotels that had really nice pools or really nice places.

And I would pretend like I would be a guest writing. I created the intrigue and it made the event was more interesting. So writing was more fun. Oh, So I did different things that helped break the, the cycle that was keeping me stuck.

Pat Flynn: Can you do that? Can you just go to a hotel and like hang out by the pool? I mean, I guess.

Azul Terronez: If you order a drink, they think you belong. That’s what I’ve learned.

Pat Flynn: Life hack. Nice. As we finish up here, this has been great. Just a to catch up with you Azul and see how the brand is going and all the great things that you and Steve are doing now to help authors. And, you know, I know that when people come to you to write, you know, they’re not all the same, they are in different stages of business, different stages of life.

How do you on your website or in your brand to help determine who shows up and how to best serve them. Do you have any tips for those of us who also have sort of like sub niches within our space? Like what are you using specifically?

Azul Terronez: Well, first of all, one of the things I did, I had a great friend. He, he, he made me make a list of all the, the people that I really wanna work with. What are they like? What are their demeanor, their personality, their behaviors, their, their influences, like who are they? And then who are the people you don’t wanna work with? And I, at first was like being scrappy, I was like, I wanna work with anyone who will pay me. Like I, but what I realized is that started to make me unhappy because even though they were giving me money, I started to get stuck with like, I don’t know how to help them. And what I realized is it wasn’t even, I don’t know how it’s just, I don’t think they wanted to learn from me because they were resisting what I was offering.

And so I made a list of the qualities of people who I don’t wanna work at, even if they were really closely aligned with the person who I wanted to, they were very similar. So it took me a little bit of time. And a lot of that helped me refine how do I track the right people? So I tend to be someone that attracts people who are high performers who have a big message and a big in their mind responsibility to an audience, but they also feel like they don’t know what they’re doing.

And that’s a really vulnerable place to be in. It’s not information they’re usually out looking for confidence and, you know, that’s a lot of what I provide and I’m really good at that. So that’s where I try to attract the people. I don’t try to, to focus on people who think they get it all figured out because I know I won’t help them.

They will resist my silly exercises I give them when I’m trying to disrupt their brain, even when they do come work with me and they, they do it their way. Eventually they’ll say. Okay. You’re right. Tell me what to do, cuz I couldn’t do it. I thought I could do it. I’m like, yeah, that’s fine. So I think that’s how I’ve kind of honed in on who I help high performing people with with a bigger message than they’re thinking growing their brand or their business and they want to make sure it’s good and it’s right.

And that’s, that’s really what I help them get confidence in when they’re working on their books.

Pat Flynn: How about even within that space, you know, you have, and I know you have a quiz for example, on your website and that’s been providing some really useful information for you. Tell me a little bit about how that quiz works.

We’ve talked about quizzes a lot here on the show. However, we haven’t really uncovered case study on how a person’s using them. I’d love for you to just explore and, and, and share with me, you know, in more detail, how that quiz works, a person sees it, and then what’s the process. What are the branches, if you will?

Azul Terronez: Yeah, well, what I’ve realized is people quickly, and it was me too leap really quickly to their publishing path. Before they even start writing their book, they start thinking about, do I self publish? Do I find an agent traditional published, or somewhere in between? They start thinking about marketing. They see get their head to the end in mind, which is that’s normal, especially for entrepreneurs.

So what we try to do is help based on that sort of idea for them to find out what’s their book’s publishing path usually helps them to kind of realize that depending on where they’re coming from, they might think differently about their publishing path. So the quiz helps them make, add some very simple questions.

Some of them have to do with writing. Some of them don’t. For example, if they select partly said, what’s the sort of the branches. If they select, they’d like to be quiet and sit by themselves and at a party and they don’t want to interact. They’d rather people come talk to them. Then we probably know that they’re probably struggling being forward creating content or, you know, they probably don’t have a social presence in a big way. And that might be true. But what we’re trying to do is figure out where do they best should focus on, should they focus on the content or are they really thinking about, Hey, I need to get this book outta the park and I’m growing my brand.

So we ask questions that help clarify. What’s the point of writing their book and what are they hoping it does for them without being too direct, because we don’t want them to be, you know, kind of trick the questions to get some answer we want to really know. So it, it spits them out in three categories, either they’re a rising star, which means they may be new on their journey of leadership or entrepreneurship, a trailblazer who’s already got an audience of following. They have some, maybe some notoriety, but they’re not quite at the level they’re hoping to go to. And then there’s movement makers, people who already have a big audience, people who already are making an impact, those three things, help them know what kind of publishing path they should consider. And that helps them get more confident, like, oh, okay.

So it’s okay to do a self published book when I’m first starting out. And that’s because this is how I’m gonna grow my brand versus. You know, should I be doing a self-published book if I’m a, a movement maker, maybe, but think about these things. So that’s what it’s job is to help break it down. So they understand the challenges in pitfalls with each of them and the benefits as well.

So the, the quiz is totally different than writing, which is, is why it’s kind of different. Cuz we found so many people ask us right away about publishing and marketing and before they even start. So that’s where we started.

Pat Flynn: And how do those answers help you? Do you do anything with the different buckets of people who come in?

Azul Terronez: What we hope to do is drive ’em to some action. So at the end of the quiz, what we’re hoping for them to do is based on their quiz results, this is the path we think is best for you. And then we tell them, and then we say, we we’d love to offer you to apply to our group coaching program. And we give them an opportunity to apply.

So that’s the goal is application. It’s not to sell them anything usually.

Pat Flynn: The goal would be to get them into the group. No matter which of the three they are. Right. They’re all kind of going to the same place?

Azul Terronez: Potentially. If they select movement maker, sometimes they will. We might, rather than the application might let us know, Hey, this, this is probably a call for you Azul. They have a huge following. They have a publisher, they, or they have an agent, or this is their goal. That might be a good fit for a one-on-one client. If they’re trailblazer, they actually might benefit with like-minded people being in a group in a small group of six to eight, because it’s like a mastermind for six months just about writing a book.

So trailblazers do really well there as well as rising stars. Sometimes they, they do well by joining a group where they feel a little out of plays and sometimes they need to be with their own group and maybe they try, maybe the membership and just dabble for a while until they have enough money or confidence that this is really what they should be doing.

So it just helps us sort them a little bit. And then we know exactly if they apply how they score. It doesn’t exclude them from anything, but it helps us direct how do we help them best? So it’s really a sorting tool and gives them the reasons why we’re doing that.

Pat Flynn: So they’re not necessarily segments to sell different things too, but more just to understand more about well, who they are and where are they coming from.

And even if they all end up in the same spot, you can speak to them differently. Right? They’re in a different position. They require a different language or number of touchpoints, for example, before the ask can come in. And I think that’s fascinating, cuz I know a lot of people who are implementing quizzes, but they have like five different pathways and each of those different pathways or five different courses, right.

They could all be the same course if all courses can help them. But those pathways help determine how to get from where they are to that same course, and it’s different for every sort of group. So I, I love that. Any final words of advice for those who are curious about book writing today? You know, we’ve talked about books quite a bit here on the show.

Tell me about. Your thoughts on the book landscape, is it still something that is worth diving into and if so, who would that be for and who would it not be for?

Azul Terronez: Yeah. Oh, it’s a perfect time to write a book.

I mean, I think the creator economy is just booming for all of those of us who’ve been in, in entrepreneurship for a while. It might feel like it’s kind of old. It, it is only growing. People are searching for content creators in multiple ways to build shows, to build programs. So they’re looking for you.

They just need to know you exist. And if you don’t have any audience becoming an author gives you instant authority. Like overnight. I’ve had people who are doctors, attorneys, lawyers come work with me and their book, launch them into stratosphere above their peers. Cuz everybody in their peers are all MDs.

They’re all doctors, they’re all PhDs. So they don’t stand out. A doctor with a book on a topic that’s unique that makes you stand out. So it’s really great. And if you’ve like me, I didn’t have any, anything experienced real wise in entrepreneurial world. That’s why I was following you. But the book allowed me to get a Ted Talk.

It got me an introduction to a organizer who met with me for 45 minutes and invited me. I never applied. They invited me based on the fact that I was an author. So I went from being nobody, knowing nothing, to having that Ted Talk out there in the world and allowed me to speak on a topic that I cared about, authority. So whether you’re a seasoned author, sometimes going from traditional to self-publishing could be really beneficial and sometimes you could move from self-publishing to having a traditional deal. I, I think it just depends on your goals. And I think anyone who’s considering wanting their message to make a movement. They should really think about it. And that’s what we do at Mandala Tree Press, which is our press. We started is help people make a movement with their message. And that’s the focus of our group of our organization is to help people get the message they want out in their, out of their hearts and into the world.

Pat Flynn: I love it. Azul, thank you so much for being here today and thank you to Steve who’s, who’s not with us today, but he is doing some busy stuff as well. And for what you’re doing at Authors Who Lead, give us the rundown on where people should go from here. I know we mentioned a lot of things from the quiz to even your Ted Talk.

I mean, do you have a resource page perhaps with a lot of this stuff so that a person can go and conveniently see all those.

Azul Terronez: Yeah. If, if they go to will have a resource page there for them, it has the quiz. It has some of the episodes that might help them first to listen to, and they can learn a little bit more about like where they need to start.

Cuz a lot of times you just need a little more information and there’s a lot out there and we wanna just condense it into really simple next step for them. And we’d happy to direct them towards what might help them. Even if that means, Hey, should I do a Ted Talk first? Or should I do a book first?

Or how do I turn that talk into a book? Those kinds of resources are there on that page.

Pat Flynn: Your Ted talk has how many views now?

Azul Terronez: I think 3.1 million.

Pat Flynn: 3.1 million. That’s insane. I love that. And that came again as a result of authoring a book and getting invited on that stage. And should I check that out. And I think you’ll have the TEDx Talk on there as well, right on that page. Yes. Correct?

Azul Terronez: Yeah. And that Ted Talk is What Makes a Good Teacher Great. And they’ll be there too, so they can see how that unfolded.

Pat Flynn: Cool. Thank you so much for coming on today. Appreciate you, and look forward to connecting again soon. And of course, we’ll talk on the next coaching call.

Azul Terronez: Yeah. thank you so much, Pat. I really appreciate it.

Pat Flynn: Such an absolute fun episode. Azul is one of my favorite people in the world. So genuine, so kind, and again, tremendously helpful for my career and doing the same thing for others too. And I’m just so happy to see he and his partner, Steve creating just an incredible company to help people like you perhaps get the book out there.

That’s not just gonna help you make more money. I mean, that’s not even really the purpose. To lead and to get that message out there and now even potentially get a story out there through fiction, which again, I think is really neat and definitely something I wanna take part of in the future. You’ve probably heard me talk about that before and the process that he’s taking authors through already with regards to fiction without structure, which is kind of the opposite of what we think. Right. And again, it’s process. And when you develop your own style and your process, right, that’s when you can coach and stand out from other coaches who are offering the same sort of transformation, and you can have a better experience through that as well.

And that’s how you stand out. That’s how you create your unique selling proposition. I think Azul has done an incredible job. And I’m just remembering the days when I first met Azul. When Chris Ducker and I, at our one day business breakthrough event as a one day workshop where Azul was one of 25 students who paid to come and see me and Chris put them in the hot seat, break down their business and build it back up and to have Azul tell us all that he wrote a book in like 30 or 60 days leading up to the event, just to have something to show for the art of apprenticeship and a fine book at that, I knew there was something special on this guy and he’s definitely continued to help spread that word out and, and help people. So definitely check him out.

That’ll take you to a page with more information specifically that is there for you, the SPI listener, if you wanna get involved, they got a lot of ways that you can get involved. Anything even just motivation, cuz he’s definitely somebody who can help you through things. So thank you to Azul Steve. He wasn’t here on the show with us, but they’re in spirit for sure. And you can check ’em both out at again, Authors Who Lead check out the podcasts and If you wanna get the show notes and all the links that I mentioned just in one spot will take you there.

Speaking of taking you there, I’m here to continue to take you to the next level of your business. Make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss out. We have a Friday Follow Up episode coming as well as more incredible interviews coming your way so that we can unpack a lot of the knowledge and experience that people have had their whole life and bring it to you in a 30 to 60 minute episode.

I mean, it varies. Right. So anyway, thank you so, so much hit that subscribe button and I’ll see you the next one.

Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at I’m your host Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski. And our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session.

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