Writing a Book: Beginning the Publishing Process to Grow Your Brand

Welcome back to another episode of Branded, your comprehensive guide to creative branding.

In this episode, Larry and Sara are talking about publishing a book as a tool for building your brand. Both of us are writing books (Larry’s is now available!), and our reasons, approaches, and goals are incredibly different.

Larry launched his new book launch in record time using AI to expedite the writing process, while Sara has been working on her draft for nearly a year.

Despite the different approaches, we both agree that publishing is a tremendous way to grow your brand and establish yourself as a thought leader. This episode is the beginning of what will be several conversations about what goes into the writing and publishing processes, but we’re setting the stage by talking about our motivations and goals for our own projects.

Get Larry’s book, Under the Red Hat, here: https://a.co/d/6FWKB7F

Key takeaways:

1. Writing a book is an impactful way to build and elevate your personal or professional brand. Both hosts, Larry and Sara, leverage their books to enhance their brand’s presence.

2. Writing a book can be approached in various ways. Larry used AI technology to expedite the writing process, while Sara took a more deliberate and creative approach. They highlight the importance of choosing a method that feels genuine to the writer.

3. The hosts stress the significance of setting personal and achievable goals when writing a book. Sara shares her experience of not setting a deadline initially, which allowed her to focus on the quality of the content rather than meeting a predetermined timeline.

4. It’s essential to start the writing process, regardless of the method or timeframe chosen. Both hosts emphasize the importance of beginning the writing journey, whether it’s writing when inspired, using existing content, or setting specific writing goals.

5. Embracing diverse perspectives and approaches to writing is crucial. Larry and Sara’s contrasting styles and backgrounds offer listeners a robust and multifaceted understanding of the book-writing process. They encourage professionals to recognize and adapt to different approaches that may not align with their own, promoting continuous learning and growth.


Larry Roberts [00:00:08]:

What is happening, everybody? I'm Larry Roberts.

Sara Lohse [00:00:11]:

And I'm Sara Lohse, and this is Branded: your comprehensive guide to creative branding.

Larry Roberts [00:00:16]:

And on this episode of the podcast, we're gonna talk about writing a book.

Sara Lohse [00:00:22]:

This is something we both recently went through and I'm still going through, but you, at the time we're recording this, you just launched your book a couple days ago.

Larry Roberts [00:00:31]:

I did, and it's It was a whirlwind of excitement. And did you hear that? I always get teased for my.

Sara Lohse [00:00:38]:

Yeah. He's the only person I know that actually pronounces the h's.

Larry Roberts [00:00:43]:

And, yeah, if you have a a w h, I definitely have to get the the

Sara Lohse [00:00:47]:

Oh my god.

Larry Roberts [00:00:47]:

Okay. Get the h in there.

Sara Lohse [00:00:48]:

You literally no one in the world Pronounces the h in, like, what?

Larry Roberts [00:00:53]:

I I think you have to. It's just it's part of it. What are you talking about? But

Sara Lohse [00:00:58]:

So your book is about how to mispronounce Very basic words.

Larry Roberts [00:01:02]:

No. That's not true because it's there for a reason, and it's not silent. So, anyways, yes, I did just publish my book. It just came out, I think it was Couple days ago, and, yeah, it's been I think I got the I think I got the 1st shipment on Monday. Here we are on Thursday recording the episode. So It's been out a few days, and I'm super, super stoked about it. Have a copy right here, Under the Red Hat, How to Stand out in a crowded marketplace, man, it's filled with all these good tips and tricks and strategies for you to, well, build your personal brand. And, it's all about how I found my red hat and what that red hat did for my business growth.

Larry Roberts [00:01:40]:

It was it was really amazing. We're not really here to talk about the book itself. We're here to talk about the process of writing a book.

Sara Lohse [00:01:47]:

This is not an ad. We promise.

Larry Roberts [00:01:48]:

Yeah. Exactly. But it is available on Amazon right now. So if you would.

Sara Lohse [00:01:53]:

It's, there's a link in the show notes.

Larry Roberts [00:01:54]:

I mean, come on. What what kind of podcast host would I be if I wasn't, you know, telling you to to to buy my book? But

Sara Lohse [00:02:00]:

No. But both of us are entrepreneurs. We're both building our own personal brands or professional brands, and publishing a book is just so impactful for your brand. So what was your goal? Like, why did you decide you wanted to write a book?

Larry Roberts [00:02:16]:

Yeah. And, you know, I've I've kinda I kinda told the story, but hopefully people listening haven't heard it yet. What ended up happening for me was, I got booked to go speak at Entrepreneurs Organization's hub in San Diego. And I flew out to San Diego, and the room was I don't know. There's probably a 100 people in the room, when I gave the talk, And it went really well. I mean, I was on stage for about a hour, hour and 15 minutes, something like that, and engaging with the audience and answering questions and just expanding on my talk, which was covering, Generative AI, of course, talking about ChatGPT and some other generative AI tools that are out there. And after my talk, It was a bit of a happy hour after the fact. Everybody just hanging around mingling, talking, and multiple people came up and said, man, Lohse your talk.

Larry Roberts [00:02:59]:

Would love to buy your book, but the only problem there was, well, I I didn't have a book.

Sara Lohse [00:03:05]:

I love how they just assumed.

Larry Roberts [00:03:07]:

Yeah. They just well, that's how good a speaker I am. People just assume it. If the guy is crushing the stage, he's gotta have just multiple books.

Sara Lohse [00:03:14]:

That explains why no one's ever asked me if they could buy my book.

Larry Roberts [00:03:18]:

I don't think that's the case on either of those statements that I just made, But, yeah, they just assumed that as a speaker, you would have a book to go with your talks, and I didn't, and I felt super exposed. I felt super amateur. Of course, I tried to play it off while I was there, in this room filled with very successful entrepreneurs. But when I got back home, I was like, man, I I can't let that happen again. I gotta have a book, and I gotta have a book now. So I started thinking of, you know, what could I write that would reflect what my business does. And with Red Hat Media, we're all about 3 things, podcasting, branding, and AI. So I wanted to leverage all 3 of those to write the book, and that's exactly what I did, and that's why it's called Under the Red Hat.

Larry Roberts [00:04:02]:

The Red Hat's my personal brand, but we've talked about it on multiple episodes how your brand isn't just a logo or a a graphic of some sort. It's really everything behind that logo or, in my case, everything underneath it, and that's what inspired me to call the book Under the Red Hat. But that's really what I I you know, it was, again, it was a learning experience. I got out there. I was exposed and knew that I had to to remedy that as quickly as possible, and this just happened. What was it? August, September, somewhere in that time frame there that that this happened. So it's it's only been a few months since it happened, and I got back home and was so Determined not to let that happen again that I wrote and published my whole book, over that span of time there.

Sara Lohse [00:04:44]:

Yeah. And that's what makes me mad because I started writing my book in I wanna say, like, April of 2023, and we're sitting here in January of 2024, and I just finished my draft last night. So, Mine's going a little slower, but I feel like I actually went into mine kind of opposite. I didn't necessarily go into it as a, I I want this book for my business. It was more I have all of these thoughts on this topic. I love talking about it. I could nerd out on it For hours, let me put it into a book, and maybe then it'll impact my business. It was really more for me, The content and if nobody ever read it, that's fine, but just putting it all on paper was a really good way for me to organize my thoughts on it.

Sara Lohse [00:05:35]:

And that's actually Lohse me in other places because it's helped me. I've taken that content and, released things as ebooks or I've incorporated them into presentations or into podcast episodes. We've had a few episodes of this show that I pulled, some of the content directly from my book, even though it was still in draft. So I I think I kind of went about it the opposite way from you.

Larry Roberts [00:05:59]:

I think so too. I you you you you were very Deliberate in your thought process in putting your book together, and I think it's a great demonstration of we had 2 different goals. You know, we had 2 different motivations for writing our books. Now the end result is still gonna play back into the fact that we're building our brands, through authorship, But, again, 2 totally different thought processes, 2 totally different mindsets, and 2 extremely different approaches to writing the books.

Sara Lohse [00:06:27]:

Yeah. And I'm sure we're gonna have a couple different episodes focusing on this topic of writing a book and self publishing. But For anyone that's thinking about doing this, like, this is that first step is what is your goal and what is the topic and the concept for that book? And if you're doing it the way that we did, so for thought leadership and for business and branding, really Take that time to think about what is this impact it's gonna have on my brand. You want like, I Thought I was done with my book months ago. I was I sent it to my publisher. I was like, we're good. I got this. And then I read it.

Sara Lohse [00:07:06]:

I'm like, this is crap. And I could have gone in and just published it anyway just because, like they say, getting a having a published book and having your, Just your name as author is key to, like, credibility, but I didn't want my name on something I wasn't proud of. So I'd rather take more time and be embarrassed anytime someone says, oh, is that book out yet? Because I've been saying that, yeah, it's coming out in a couple months for about a year. I'd rather say, like, no. It's not ready yet than just put something out there that I don't wanna promote, that I'm not proud of.

Larry Roberts [00:07:44]:

Well and it's funny you you you say that because I mean, you know this, but, it's been 4 or 5 years ago I actually wrote a different book. I did have a book that I wrote.

Sara Lohse [00:07:53]:

It's a it's a really great name. It really shows off your knowledge of mathematics.

Larry Roberts [00:07:57]:

Hey. Hey. Let's dial that back a little bit here. But But just like what you're saying, you know, I kind of not kind of. I definitely look back on it and go, oh my gosh. What was I thinking when I wrote this? Because I actually hired a coach, and she's amazing. She Laura Peterson is her name. She is amazing.

Larry Roberts [00:08:15]:

She does a tremendous job at at helping people self publish and get published quickly. She does a tremendous job at that, and she's still a friend of mine to this day. Matter of fact, she even consulted with me a bit on my latest book in in formatting the book in helping me get it ready for self publishing. So shout out to Laura Peterson for her help there. I joined her, it was a it was a 30 day challenge. Write your book in 30 days, And I started writing my book even back then, and my whole goal was to write a book on podcasting, how to start a podcast. And as Sarah so kindly referenced earlier, I called it 1 Lohse 1 equals podcast.

Sara Lohse [00:08:52]:

If you're familiar with algebra, that means podcast also equals 2.

Larry Roberts [00:08:58]:

And I have a prolonged silence here just to to demonstrate my frustration.

Sara Lohse [00:09:04]:

It's just so nonsense, just the title.

Larry Roberts [00:09:06]:

It was supposed to be somewhat nonsensical, but it was also supposed to The message of starting a podcast is super, super simple. So, while it may not have conveyed that message, clearly, I added a subtitle. And what did I say? The subtitle was and this is great. This is it it just is simplifying the equation of podcasting success. Wait. That that is

Sara Lohse [00:09:26]:

a problem. The equation of that subtitle?

Larry Roberts [00:09:29]:

No doubt. Right? It was ridiculous. But the bottom line was I needed a book, And I wrote a book back then. Didn't really understand how I was going to use the book. I just heard that, hey. You gotta have a book. And Unlike Sarah, thinking through the process and making sure that she's happy with the output, then I was just looking to write a book. And when I had started writing that book, it was a 30 day challenge, get published in 30 days.

Larry Roberts [00:09:53]:

And about 10 days into the challenge, I realized I was writing a book that had nothing to do with podcasting. It was more of a memoir. I mean, it was my life story. It was like an autobiography that I was putting together here. So I had to scratch it completely, and I ended up writing my book and getting published in, under 20 days. So it was it was a great experience and I learned a lot, But you're not gonna find that book on Amazon anymore because I look back now, and I'm less than pleased with it, So much so that I unpublished it, so I I yanked it down. And that's something that I want to avoid going forward, But at the same time, you've heard us talk about podcasting and how if you listen to your 1st episode of your podcast After you've released 100 episodes of your podcast, if you're not embarrassed by episode 1, Well, then there's a different problem. You're not growing.

Larry Roberts [00:10:47]:

You're not evolving. So I look back on that experience very, very fondly. It was a it was a a, a moment of growth, And it was really just me getting my roots and and getting a foundation for me to build my entrepreneurial journey on. So we're looking at it from a little different perspective. Sara much more mature than I was even when I was much older than her still even just 5 years ago, but she's looking at it from an entirely different perspective that I have a lot of respect for.

Sara Lohse [00:11:14]:

I think it's also it comes down to something we talk about a lot with content creation and not putting out content for the sake of putting out content. And if you go like, anybody can write a book and just put words on paper, but you want to Make sure that it has a point. And not even just because it's gonna represent you and it's gonna reflect you, but also If you're not putting out a book that you're proud of and that excites you, it's the same thing, like, with a podcast. You need to be putting out a podcast that you would wanna listen to Because that's what's going to keep you excited about it. That's what's going to keep you really motivated and keep putting out content and keep promoting it. So if you just write a book just for the sake of writing a book, you're not going to be proud of it. You're not going to promote it. And, also, people aren't going to enjoy it.

Sara Lohse [00:12:07]:

They'll be able to read this and say, okay. Clearly, they just threw this together. Like, there's no heart to it. There's no personal touch to it. It's just information.

Larry Roberts [00:12:16]:

No. It's funny that you say that because some people may look at my book and go, well, Larry, did you even really write your book? And the reason

Sara Lohse [00:12:24]:

is no.

Larry Roberts [00:12:25]:

I don't know. I don't know. I debate because I I say I did. Now I did use Chad g p t to help me write my book, and I actually wrote this book even faster than I wrote my one plus one equals podcast book. But I believe that the tool that I used just helped me expedite the writing process. Sure. Chad GPT gave me some of the content for the book, but I still went in and I put my own anecdotes, my own stories, my own experiences, my own self into the book as well. Now I was able to knock this book out.

Larry Roberts [00:13:01]:

I had the framework knocked out in about 4 hours. I mean, I had chapters. I had everything all lined out in about 4 hours.

Sara Lohse [00:13:07]:

It took me longer than that to figure out my title, and I still haven't even figured it out. I'm sending my book to early reviewers, and there's 2 title options because I cannot choose.

Larry Roberts [00:13:17]:

Well and see, that that's all part of the process, and that's fine. It's 2 different approaches with 2 different desired outcomes. You know, I don't wanna go into another talk and not have a book, and I didn't have another talk. Did I have another talk? Yeah. I had one with the with with the state of Texas. I think I had 1 or 2 there, But I didn't have any AI talks in an entrepreneurial setting, after that particular talk. I didn't wanna find myself exposed in that environment again. And so my goal was to get a book and get it relevant and get it done quickly.

Larry Roberts [00:13:47]:

And you go, well, Larry, you called it under the red hat, which is all about branding, But you're talking about AI. Well, I used AI to write the book. So using AI to help me write the book demonstrated that we can Leverage these new tools and accomplish very similar goals in a in a shorter amount of time. So my goals for my book, totally different than your goal for your book, and it that's why we're allowed to take these multiple different approaches. And there's not one set way that any of the listeners out there right now necessarily have to take to get their book written to help build their Branded.

Sara Lohse [00:14:21]:

Yeah. I mean, do it the way that feels genuine to you, and do it the way that It just works with how you write or how you think. Because if you're trying to follow someone else's framework, it's just not gonna be yours. And I I have a friend of mine who is also working on her book at the same time. She's actually the illustrator of my book. Her name's, Her Branded is Jasmine Designs, the creative business kitchen, and she is going a completely different approach as me. All of her content is currently on sticky notes on her wall, and I I went a different way and Kind of just started writing, and then I'll figure out the structure later. So the way that it works best for you is going to work best for you.

Sara Lohse [00:15:05]:

So there's no right or wrong way to get started, but just start figuring out what you what you're trying to say and just start even if you set a goal to write, a page a day or a chapter a week or whatever it is, those don't have to be cohesive. They don't have to make sense. Just start writing and hit those page count goals, whatever it is. You'll go back later and read it and put it all together. It doesn't have to be, Okay. I'm starting with chapter 1. Everything is outlined. I know exactly where this is going because it's gonna change anyway.

Sara Lohse [00:15:38]:

I changed the content of my book at least 14 times so far, including this morning.

Larry Roberts [00:15:43]:

Literally. We were on a call before we got our. We're Like, do we wanna do this? Do we wanna do that? What do you think about this?

Sara Lohse [00:15:49]:

What do you think about that? Chapters, combine stuff, change the title. Yeah. It's I moved this chapter

Larry Roberts [00:15:55]:

to here. What do you think? Do you think it flows better here or there? But the point is, Sara, what you were doing was what? You started, And I think that's the biggest challenge that a lot of people have, that writing a book is an intimidating process, and really putting yourself out there in this Sort of very vulnerable way is scary. It's it's no different than podcasting. It's no different than putting yourself out there on social media and showing your true authentic self out there. And then I'm sitting here saying put your true authentic self out there, and you're like, well, Larry Larry, you you used LGBT, is that really your true authentic self?

Sara Lohse [00:16:28]:

I feel like you're the one saying that.

Larry Roberts [00:16:30]:

No. I hear it a lot. And

Sara Lohse [00:16:32]:

Do you? Yeah. I don't feel like I never said And

Larry Roberts [00:16:35]:

and that's one of the things too in that, you know, I'm not trying to pull the wool over people's eyes with this book. I'm not trying to to to trick anybody. I actually have a a multiple Page disclaimer in the book at the very front of the book that, that tells you, hey. I used AI to write this, and here's why. So it it's not like I'm trying to pass the work off as, you know, we're hearing a lot about plagiarism these days, but I'm not trying to plagiarize anything or take credit for something that I Sara do, but what I did do was I used the tool and I trained the tool to sound like me, to write like me, to tell stories that are relevant to me and the Red Hat, And that was the tool that I used. You know? Sarah, you use a a different tool. You use well, you can

Sara Lohse [00:17:14]:

do that.

Larry Roberts [00:17:15]:


Sara Lohse [00:17:18]:

Sara GPT. But no. I mean, when like you said, it's a it's a scary process. I mean, it can seem like a big lift. So It's even important to think about, like, what are ways that we can make this easier. And if you're already a content creator, you can write a book pretty easily by just Taking content you've already written. There's so many people who have taken their podcast and turned it into a book. Sure.

Sara Lohse [00:17:42]:

A lot of people go the other way and take they write a book and then they create Podcast, but you can go the other direction. You have all of these episodes of content if you've had if they're already transcribed, Take those transcriptions and rework them into a book. If you already have a blog, take those blog posts and turn them into a book. So you can put a book out without having to spend a year rewriting it over and over again because nothing is ever right and your brain stops working. Not that that's what I did at all.

Larry Roberts [00:18:12]:

That that didn't sound like some sort of admission or or or confession

Sara Lohse [00:18:16]:

or something.

Larry Roberts [00:18:17]:

Yeah. Yeah.

Sara Lohse [00:18:19]:

But no. Like, there are are easy ways that you can do it. And also remember that books don't have to be 350 pages. You don't have to write the great American novel. You can have a book that's a 100, 150 pages, a quick read, something that someone can read in one sitting. That's still a book.

Larry Roberts [00:18:36]:

Yeah. I don't know. I mean, my goal was to make sure I had a spine. You know? I I wanna make sure that I have a spine, and I didn't want a pamphlet. And I I ended up right at a 163 pages in the book, you know? So, Now my other book, the the 1 plus 1 equals podcast, I think it was, maybe a 120 ish, something like that. Mhmm. It it was barely not a pamphlet, but it's fine. It served its purpose, you know, and it it it gave me that introduction into writing, and I actually did write that one.

Larry Roberts [00:19:06]:

I didn't Didn't have TED GPT 5 years ago, so I actually had to write that one out.

Sara Lohse [00:19:11]:

That explains it.

Larry Roberts [00:19:15]:

Yeah. That's why. And but, you know, what's what's funny is it it was great because the community that I had at the time, they stepped up. And that 1 Lohse 1 equals podcast, Even though I I I don't talk about it other than when Sarah brings it up to make fun of me, it it was a number one bestseller on Amazon. It still accomplished the goals. I got Social proof that now I'm a number one best selling author on Amazon as social proof that I could leverage to continue to build my audience and continue to build my brand. Now, again, my brand's evolved, and that's not really where it's at now, but it served its purpose at the time. And the biggest thing where there was that I just I did it.

Larry Roberts [00:19:53]:

I started, And, Sarah, you keep keep saying start here, start here, or you could start there. You could start wherever you wanna start, but that's the keyword here. It's just freaking start.

Sara Lohse [00:20:01]:

Just start. Then and it's scary. It's a big thing. And one thing that helped me get started too Was and this is might be opposite for some people. I didn't give myself a deadline. I think a lot of people and Myself included in most cases, I work much better if I have a deadline because I know this has to get done, so I'm gonna do it. But I started with a deadline, and I wanted to have the book done by a certain time. And that's why when I thought I was done the 1st time, I realized it was crap.

Sara Lohse [00:20:36]:

Is because I wasn't trying to write the best book. I was trying to write a book by a certain date.

Larry Roberts [00:20:42]:


Sara Lohse [00:20:43]:

Yeah. So Giving yourself the freedom to write when you feel inspired or, like, take a break from it and Go learn more and go do more and experience more so that you can add more to your book. Whatever it is, your process is your process. There's no hard time that you have to have a book published by, so do it the way that it feels right for you and the way that makes sense.

Larry Roberts [00:21:07]:

I I just gotta say, I just love our show. I Lohse our show because of the the distinct contrast in messaging and and style. I mean, honestly, You know, you're taking it from a much more creative and much more, inspired approach. Whereas me, you know, I'm I'm doing a talk at Podfest in a couple of weeks here on how to write your book with AI in a week. So it's it's taking it from concept to publish in in a week, and you're saying, man, just just take your time. Right when you're inspired, be creative. Feel that feel that that that influence that you have, and and I I love it, bro.

Sara Lohse [00:21:43]:

Such different people. It's such a thrill.

Larry Roberts [00:21:46]:

And that's why I love this show because we have the this contrast of styles.

Sara Lohse [00:21:50]:

And, I mean, it just if you look back at just who we are, I mean, you did 20 years in business IT while I was working in the creative department of an ad agency. Like, we have that different background, that different experience. And I like it too because at no point I is either of us wrong. It's not yeah. Which, I mean, I'm sure both of us have Sara plenty of things that have been inaccurate and incorrect. But what I mean is

Larry Roberts [00:22:16]:

Conceptually speaking. It's not of us

Sara Lohse [00:22:19]:

or what. Of us versus the other. It's not we it's so important as anyone that is in a thought leadership position or business wanna to recognize that there are so many different perspectives. And even though you and I come at things differently, I learn so much from the way you do things. And then, like, I know that there's been things that you've learned from me. So Oh, 100%. Yeah. Being able to have those differences are so helpful because Sometimes my way doesn't work for even myself, and I need someone else's way of doing things.

Sara Lohse [00:22:52]:

So you have to be able to adapt, and having someone who is so opposite from you Lohse give you something to adapt into almost, if that makes sense.

Larry Roberts [00:23:02]:

Oh, it definitely does. And I I just think it's amazing. So I I I We

Sara Lohse [00:23:05]:

are our own biggest fan.

Larry Roberts [00:23:06]:

We are. We are. I I I I do love the guy under the red hat. That's for sure. Hopefully, you you guys listening found some value in this episode today with a contrast of styles and perspectives. Hopefully, it resonated 1 or the other with you or Both. I mean, I ideally, we we both can can help you in in some form or fashion. So if you did find some value in this episode, do us a favor.

Larry Roberts [00:23:29]:

Go ahead and subscribe to the show on your podcast platform whether you're watching the video on YouTube or whether you're on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, we appreciate you continuing to listen to the show. And with that, I'm Larry Roberts.

Sara Lohse [00:23:42]:

I'm Sara Lohse. We'll talk to you next week.