After overcoming numerous personal obstacles, including extreme poverty, a broken home, family illnesses and deaths, severe bullying, drug addiction, and even attempting suicide, Keith Leon went on to become a multiple best-selling author, book publisher, and book mentor and is now the CEO of You Speak It Publishing. Now well known as “The Book Guy,” Keith is a professional speaker, life and relationship mentor, and a developer and facilitator of transformational seminars.
In this episode, he talks about why having a business book is the best business card you could have. He talks about the services that his publishing company provides for those who want to write a book, and how they are a full-service publishing company. If you don’t have the time to actually write a book, they can do that for you too with just seven phone calls to get everything they need.
Folks, you’re in for a treat today because we have multiple best-selling author and CEO of You Speak It Publishing, Keith Leon, on the show with us today. Keith, welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me.
For anybody that’s been following my daughter’s journey, Keith is the brilliance behind the book that Neva is doing. He has got a phenomenal product and service that he offers. Keith, why don’t you share a little bit about You Speak It Publishing and what you do?
We work with authors of all sorts. If you are a writer and you just love to write a book, we offer all the services you would need. We’re a full-service publishing company. We can edit the book for you, do the layout for you, do the cover, help you get it up on the Amazon, help you market it. We can do everything. More specifically with the You Speak It program, that’s a program for people that are too busy to write a book. They’re like me, they’re too busy. We created a process where you just show up to seven phone calls. In those seven phone calls, we get everything that we need to create a book for you.
That I know is something that a lot of business owners could use because, as you say, having a book is one of the best business cards, business ideas that you can have. It’s an easy, quick way of sharing who you are and what you do, what your message is to the world. That service that you offer of being able to speak your book in a matter of seven phone calls is absolutely amazing.
It’s the world’s greatest business card. More importantly, instead of just helping somebody get a book done and then leaving them there, which is what I feel like a lot of companies do, actually it can teach you exactly how to give the book out as your business card in a way that it’ll grow your business, meaning the exact language to use when you do that. You’re giving them something of value. You give it to them with an offer. People never throw away a book. They’ll either read it and call you to get the offer, or they’ll throw it on the table. Every time they pass the book, it’ll say, “Call you and get the free thing. Call you and get that free offer,” and it just harasses them until they call you.
Keith, how long have you been in the publishing business?
I’m coming up on fifteen years. I started out as Babypie Publishing. My wife and I wrote a book together. We did a DBA as Babypie Publishing just so we could have a stamp for our book. Then we had so much success and I started teaching other people to write their books. After a while, we started publishing others and became a bona fide publishing company. That’s just grown from there.
It’s definitely one of those industries that I know myself don’t know a lot about, outside of what I’ve learned from you for our own business. It seems extremely complicated at times. That’s probably one of the reasons why a lot of business owners don’t actually do a book. With your program, you’ve made it extremely simple. What’s a good question that somebody should be asking you before they actually decide to do a book?
The most important question is, does this feel like a match? If it doesn’t feel right, then something’s wrong. Something’s off. It’s important to find out why it doesn’t feel right and then decide. You teach due diligence. I would say you can do it in any order. You can do due diligence then ask yourself if it feels like a match, or the way I would prefer is ask the question, “Does this feel like a match?” If you get a yes on that, then move forward based on that yes answer.
Especially when it comes to writing a book, that doesn’t feel a good piece is essential, especially because the communication that’s required, the languaging that’s required that’s going to go into the book. Make sure that the person that you’re working with understands the message that is getting delivered so it doesn’t get lost in translation. I think that’s spot on. I’m sure that you’ve got a ton of different stories working in the amount of authors that you’ve worked with. Speaking of which, how many best-selling books?
I don’t even know anymore. For me and clients?
I can’t even count anymore. A lot.
I’m sure you’ve had your shares of stories throughout the years. As a business owner, is there anything that you wish that you can go back and do over again?
I don’t know if I would erase it or not, but we’re in the process of shifting our company name and structure over from Babypie Publishing that we started out with. It goes out with our first book. That was my wife’s pet name for me. She called me her “baby pie.” The first few authors that we published loved it. Now, we’re working with so many business professionals based on that process that we created called You Speak it that we talked about earlier.
We found out along the way that business professionals don’t necessarily love the name Babypie. That led us to creating a few more imprints. Now we’re ultimately going to restructure the company into Leon Smith. We’ve got You Speak It for all the people that want to be speakers. That’s a great imprint for them, if they want national press. You Speak It, great title. Some business professionals are like, “I love that Leon Smith because it sounds like HarperCollins, the ultimate company.” which is great. I don’t know if I would erase having the name Babypie. It did serve its purpose. Rather I wish I would have come up with Leon Smith first and created a DBA as You Speak It and Babypie. Now, we have a new one called Beyond Belief Publishing. We have a name that no matter what type of book you have, we’re going to have an imprint that fits your mission and your message.
The fact that you identified that and were able to change it moving forward and so forth, that’s something that a lot of different business owners can identify with, whether it be up-leveling or shifting or adjusting your brand message, the name of your business, making sure that it’s in alignment with what you’re doing. We’re now the Clear Business Directory. One of our first business names, The New Corporate Revolution. I kid you not. That was a business name. I can feel your pain on that. That was essentially what we were wanting to do, but it didn’t necessarily capture it from a brand perspective. Is there a time that you had a miscommunication with the client? If so, what was the outcome?
I’d say the biggest miscommunication that people have is that once someone has done their due diligence and it felt like a match and they decided they would hire us, but then they don’t trust us to lead. They try to take control of the process that we’re proven experts at. Really, by not trusting the process, they can actually make it so the process doesn’t work as well. Then they end up disappointed.
Another misunderstanding about doing a book is that they think that they’re just going to write a book and they’re going to sell hundreds of thousands of copies. A lot of people think that it’s actually only about selling books when the truth is that the authors who have really made the most money have taken their book and they’ve re-purposed it in many different ways into other products and programs and talks, speeches. They use the book as a platform to something, as a topic for their mission and their message. Again, that’s where it’s important for an author to listen to their publisher and listen to our guidance based on our almost fifteen years of having major success in the publishing industry. Really, the miscommunications have been those two things; people just not trusting the process.
I imagine that the whole book process can be a little scary, can be a little overwhelming. Like you said, there could be the expectations that, “We’re just going to go out and sell a hundred thousand books. I’m not going to have to do anything because I sold a hundred thousand books.” We’ve seen that from a due diligence perspective. “I’ve got a book and I’ve done nothing but the book.” You still have to be able to go out and back that up. The book is just a piece of the puzzle. It’s not the entire business solution. I like that. I’m glad you highlight that for folks. Even with the You Speak It Program that you offer, there’s still the work that people have to do. They start to do that on their own due diligence moving forward.
Keith, if you could let our audience know just anything about your business, what would that one thing be, or a couple of things?
First off, I have the gift of making things that seem hard or feel hard easy. Somewhere along the way, I think it was about the second book that I did and being mentored by all the people that I was mentored by, Jack Canfield and Bob Proctor, ten people from the movie The Secret, the greatest marketers in the world. Those are all the people that took me under their wing and taught me.
Why don’t you share that experience with our audience? What do you mean by “mentored by Jack Canfield” and so forth? That’s pretty big.
Something that is important for you to know is that I was trained and taught and mentored by all the greatest authors, book marketers, speakers and experts in the world. I did a book called Who Do You Think You Are: Discover the Purpose of Your Life. That was my second book. I interviewed all these people to be in the book. I asked them all three questions. At the end of me keeping my promise, of just asking three questions in an only ten-minute interview, I would say, “Thank you so much for showing up. Bye.” They’re like, “Wait, wait, wait. Tell me about this book. What are you doing? Who are you?” After I shared really what my mission and my message was, they all just took me under their wing and taught me everything that they knew.
Our first book was a seeming failure because I didn’t know how to market it. All I did was take and implement what all the masters taught me personally. That was a completely opposite experience. It was an international best-seller. Sold a ton of books. Now, I’m speaking on stages in front of a thousand people instead of twenty. It was a complete reversal. I went from “Keith who” to “the book guy” in a year’s time. Just amazingly quick. People started calling me “the book guy” because while I was speaking, I was talking about life purpose, that was the talk, but at the beginning of the talk, there’s this piece that every speaker does, it’s called “earn the right.” It’s like, “Why should you listen to me?” In that story, I shared how I did this process and how all these people taught me. Even though I was talking about life purpose, people would come up to me after I spoke and say, “Aren’t you the book guy? Aren’t you that book guy?” I heard that so many times that I said, “I get it.” Until I am Jack Canfield and Bob Proctor and I am Marci Shimoff and the people who taught me that were in the movie, The Secret, until I’m a household name like them, then I’m supposed to be teaching people how to write and get their books out.
That’s the experience of where I come from. I took all that they taught me. I brought my heart to it, my piece to it, who I am. It’s a hybrid of all them, but through me. What I’ve developed through what they taught me is how to take something that appears to be hard and seemingly is hard and make it extremely easy and simple and fast, which has been a blessing because I used to do it the hard way.
Everybody that’s achieved a level of success can look back and go, “We did that the hard way.” The process just gets simpler and simpler along the way. Something like a book that’s got so many moving parts to and is complicated, it’s nice to know that there’s somebody like yourself out there who’s got the experience, who’s got the training, who’s got the title of multiple best-selling author under his belt and who’s been vetted. They know that you’re trustworthy. They know that you are who you say you are, you can do what you say you can do. That’s so important. The book industry, the website industry, there’s a lot of people that say they do books, they professed a little certain level of success, but they aren’t really who they say they are. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to have you part of the Clear Business Directory and have you in there.
Keith, can you continue to share what that one thing or something that you want somebody to know about you or your business, what you want them to know about you?
We were authors before we decided to publish other authors. We’ve set up our publishing platform to favor the author. That’s why when somebody publishes with us and they do a book deal, we give the author what the publisher would normally get. We get what the author would normally make. We flipped that. I teach people that we publish how to use the book as a platform. I don’t charge for that. It’s like you’re in the family, let me share with you what I know. I’m basically free mentoring the people that we publish how to use the book as a platform, how to pre-sell it, how to get on stage, how to get press, whatever they want.
Then we developed the You Speak It process as well because we’re writers first and we know you’re too busy to write a book, a lot of you. That’s why we created that process. We can do everything, because we’re a full service publishing company. We can do editing, layout, book cover. Maybe you are the person who loves to write and you have a manuscript that’s ready. We can help you get that to a published book. We can do the editing, the layout, set it up on Amazon for you, through the Barnes and Noble order catalog as well. We do all the cart services. Basically anything you need to get your book out there; Facebook ad campaigns, marketing programs, whatever you need, we have it available for you and are happy to share our services with you.
For our audience, first off, if you’re thinking about doing a book, definitely reach out to Keith. You can find him in the Clear Business Directory. Find his profile and his contact information there. If you ever have an opportunity to sit down with Keith, he is by far the real deal when it comes to understanding the strives of being an entrepreneur, of having a business, what it takes to write a book, just a genuinely all-around great guy. For our audience, if you haven’t heard him sing, he has an amazing, amazing voice as well. Keith, is there somewhere that you’d like to send our audience to where they can learn more about you?
Go to YouSpeakItBooks.com.
Keith, I know we’re going to see you again here very soon on the next month or so. I look forward with connecting with you again. Thanks for being on the show today, Keith. Remember, folks, next time you decide to get into business with somebody, make sure that business is in the clear.
Learn more about You Speak It Publishing and Keith Leon.