Chandler Bolt [00:00:40] Hey, Chandler Bolt here and joining me today is Dr. Lois Frankel. Dr. Lois has become synonymous with empowering women in the workplace. She’s an executive coach and the author of multiple books, including Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office and her most recent book, Technically. We’ll talk about that later. Why that is. It’s called Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It. So, Dr. Lois, welcome. Great to have you here.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:01:07] It’s great to be here. And, you know, just one small correction. It’s it’s the most recently published book, but I have an audio book. Nice girls Don’t Speak Up or stand out. And that was the latest one. But it’s just audio.
Chandler Bolt [00:01:25] Oh, awesome. Well, we’ll talk about that as well, so I’ll make a note for that on the audiobook. So today I want to talk about kind of behind the scenes of your books, niching down with your audience, how you’ve used your books to grow your executive coaching business, kind of rush, things like that. But super excited to have you here. I guess first things first, why books? Why have they been what seems like kind of a central part of your business, your brand? And also.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:01:56] You know why? It’s because when I wrote the first book, it was because I wanted to provide women with the same coaching tips that I provide to executive women who can afford coaching. And, you know, as an executive coach, that’s what I do. I help people to get and keep the jobs they want. I help them with their professional development. And I realized that there were many women out there that would never be able to afford a coach or their company wouldn’t provide one to them. And I wanted them to have the same opportunity to hear what I say to everybody else. So that’s really what got me started.
Chandler Bolt [00:02:32] Awesome. So. So you wrote that, I guess, which was the first book?
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:02:37] Well, the first was nice. Girls don’t get the corner office.
Chandler Bolt [00:02:40] Got it. Yeah. Obviously that that book’s done very well. And what, what sparked. It’s kind of a two parter. I don’t want to steal that. My my follow up and kind of the the I want to get your perspective and not lead the witness. But what what sparked the interest in writing a book specifically for women And specifically on this topic, you alluded to that some, but can you unpack that a little bit more?
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:03:10] Yeah, you know, because I was doing coaching and I was primarily coaching men because my business model said I’m only going to work with corporations. So I would work with people who are referred to me by the corporation. And at the time after remember, this is probably 25 years ago, they were referring primarily men. That’s who they were investing in. And so it kind of annoyed me that I didn’t see more women clients. But then when I started seeing a few more women clients, I realized that they had very unique needs and needs that were different from the men. They had development needs that were different than men’s development needs. So that’s why I started focusing more on what makes them different in the workplace and what do they have to do differently.
Chandler Bolt [00:04:02] Got it. And so I think I mean, popular wisdom would probably say, hey, you’re coaching a lot of men. Why not write a book for men? And you wrote a book specifically for women. It was. Was there like was it a hunch there? Was it just like because you were saying, hey, I’m just kind of tired of this, only working with men because you wanted to steer your business in that direction or what was kind of a.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:04:23] No, I didn’t want to steer the business in that direction, to tell you the truth. As a matter of fact, when nice girls don’t get the corner office hit the bestseller list, all of a sudden I was a woman’s coach after years of coaching predominantly men. Right? All of a sudden, I was a woman’s coach. So I had really good advice from a woman who used to work with Suzy Orman. And she said, you know, Lois, embrace it and go with it and this will be your new brand. And as I said, you know, it’s a little resistant to it. And then I decided, well, okay, let’s see where this goes. And it actually took me on a wonderful journey.
Chandler Bolt [00:05:02] That’s cause that kind of kick started a whole new brand and a whole new side.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:05:06] Exactly.
Chandler Bolt [00:05:07] The business. Yeah. Yep. So I think, you know, one of the things we hear often when we work with authors, there’s this big fear around niching down and niching down again with your book. It’s like, Oh, well, if I just. If I just. If I get more specific, it’s not going to sell in copies. And we always encourage it was like, Hey, actually the opposite is going to be true. And I think yours is a great example of that because we’ve had some people who, like I want write a workout book, but really it’s for women over 50 or it really is for men in their thirties who are professionals. They don’t have time to work out or that sort of thing. So how did you make that kind of decision to sit down and to say, All right, hey, I’m going to write this specifically to women, and anything you learn from that, that will be helpful?
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:05:52] Well, I learned a couple of things along the way. First of all, I learned that, for example, women buy more self-help books than men. So niching it down to women. Right. There is going to be probably a bigger market than if I had diluted it. And truth be told, I had a book before this and it was called Stop Sabotaging Your Career. And you know, it didn’t. It did. Okay. But it didn’t do that well. And it was coaching tips for both men and women. But it really spoke to the point that men don’t buy self-help books. Right. So gearing it towards women, I was gearing it to a population that buys books. And then as I went forward a little bit and wrote some more books for women, I had taken a workshop from Peter Montoya, who at the time was the guru of personal branding. Right. And Peter said, It’s counterintuitive, but the more you narrow your niche, the more business you’re going to get. And the way he explained it was that everybody wants an expert, right? When you go to a doctor, you don’t go to a a general practitioner. If you’re having a problem with your foot right, or your heart, you go to a heart, doctor, you go to a podiatrist. And so what Peter taught me was that it’s the same for any profession, whether you’re an accountant, you know. And he gave an example of a woman who is an accountant, worked in downtown Los Angeles and said she was only going to work with other accounts. Now, look at how much that really narrows your business. Right? Downtown Los Angeles works with accounting firms to do their accounting, right? Well, I thought, well, that really is counterintuitive. But then she had all the business in downtown L.A. because she was the only one who specialized in that. Okay. So that’s really what I learned was that that it is counterintuitive, but it.
Chandler Bolt [00:08:01] Works. Hmm. And have you seen do you feel like you’ve seen that? Help sell more copies of the book and help grow the business now that you can niching down to the audience.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:08:14] Absolutely. Because prior to this, I was also doing a little bit of keynote speaking and I was doing it on, you know, career development and things like that. And and again, it it was somewhat in retrospect, it was somewhat diluted. Right. Because how do you you can’t be all things to all people And then after nice girls don’t get the corner office became successful all of a sudden I was getting calls from women’s groups, from women’s professional associations, from internal at the time we call them affinity groups. Now they’re called employer resource groups. And so I was getting calls from all of those people. So the speaking business really took off to the point where I wasn’t able to do coaching anymore because I just wasn’t around enough. Hmm. Although I kept my coaching business, but I really wasn’t doing the coaching.
Chandler Bolt [00:09:09] Got it. That makes sense. Now, can you talk about maybe some of the concepts from your books, whether it’s and and I guess specifically through the lens of women who want to write books. So, yeah, So some of the concepts in your book and how they apply to that.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:09:26] You know, one of the things that I, you know, I do have women call me and say they want to write a book and they want advice. And the first piece of advice I always give them is you need to find your niche. And just as you said, they always say, but wait a minute, you know, that’s going to narrow my you know, my marketing. And I always give them the same spiel. I just gave you that. Yeah. You need to narrow it down. Or for example, you know, I had a lot of African-American women wanting to write books and I told them, you need to write a a woman’s coaching book for African-American women. And almost to a person, they said they didn’t want to do that because they didn’t want to pigeonhole themselves. And I said, you realize there are no books like this in the market, that, you know, that I can’t write a book for African-American women about how to be successful in the workplace. Well, I probably could, but I don’t think it would be very successful. It would be so much more successful coming from you. So I tell people, you have to find, where’s the hook? Right. There’s so many people who want to get books published today. So if you want to have someone else publish them for you, you had better find something. Everybody’s talking about a breakthrough book. Right. You know what’s going to really break through. And I think corner office broke through for a couple of reasons. One is that it was narrowly defined, but the other reason was I essentially changed the way books were written. Self-help books were written because what I did was I kept every chapter really short. So, you know, all of my books follow the same model. What’s the problem? How do you fix it? So a chapter might be three pages. And then there’s like, you know, in in corner office, there’s like a there is now, because we did a 10th anniversary edition, there was 133 mistakes that women make. So, you know, you have plenty of pages when each chapter is still only three or four pages for each chapter. So it’s what’s the problem? What are you doing wrong? Here’s what you need to do differently. And again, it played to my strengths as a coach because I’m always observing what has to be changed and then give people practical ideas for how to do it. So for for, you know, women or anybody who wants to write a book, I think those are some of the things that you have to focus on. And then the other thing is, and where is your area of expertise? Because that’s actually what publishers always want to know. What makes you the expert on this? I recently wanted to write a book and I did a proposal for it, and it was the ABC of raising a self-confident daughter. And it was the exact same format, you know, like, what’s the challenge? Here’s how you made it. Write the hook. And it was rejected by all the people who had previously published me. And they said, You’re not an expert on parenting, you’re an expert on the workplace. So we would find a hard time marketing this. And I thought, well, that was interesting. So, you know, if I do that one, that’s going to have to be self-published.
Chandler Bolt [00:12:31] Yeah. Yeah, we should talk about that. So. So find your niche. Write specifically to an audience. What’s the hook? Think through the head. Start with that. All those things. Are there any other kind of you talked about those 130 something mistakes in nice girls don’t get the corner office or I know there’s 75. What a mistake. 64. Yes. Nice girls don’t get rich. Are there is there like maybe 2 to 5 of those that you can think of that would be applicable for aspiring female authors?
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:13:04] Yeah, I would say. Let me just think of it specifically about authors. I think the first one would be and I’m thinking about an author who did this is to use your network that one of the mistakes women make is we create networks, but we don’t use them because we feel like it’s kind of smarmy. We think, if I’m going to build a relationship with you, Chandler, I don’t want to come back and say to you, Could you do this for me? Because then you might think I only built the relationship to get something from you when that was never my intention. So that’s how women think, right? So there is a woman who is the daughter of a famous psychologist, and she came to me and she said she was have and she was also a psychologist. And she said, I’m having a trouble getting my book published because her last name wasn’t the same as her father’s. And I said, Have you told the publishers who you’re spinning it to? Who you are, who your father is? And have you asked some of your father’s publishers to take a look at it? She said, I would never trade on his good name. And I thought, That’s being a girl, right? That’s being a girl. Because why not? Well, as I said to her, the fact is, is that you can ask them and they may still reject it, but it’s your best. It’s your best. Try at getting attention. So that’s number one. Make sure you already have a network built and start using it. Another thing is, is to learn to negotiate. I mean, that was one of the things that I really had to learn to do was negotiate because the first offer you get is never the last offer. And I do remember the first the first advance I got for a book, for my very first book, I think it was $15,000 now. And I jumped at it. It was like, Whoa, this is great. So then when the next one came in, it was a little higher. I thought, Well, this is even more. But by then I’d had an agent. And so the agent said, No, we’re not going for that. And and I was really surprised at how much more I could ask for and actually get it. So whether you ask yourself or whether you hire an agent, you know, somebody to act on your behalf, you know, and in business, we call that an advocate, right? So if you work inside a business and you ask someone to advocate for you in your absence, that’s kind of like acting as an agent. So I think women don’t seek out advocacy enough because they think they have to do it themselves. So that would be a second thing. A third thing. And I’m just and again, usually I’m talking about in the workplace, I’m not applying it to publishing. So that’s why. Oh, it’s got to be this applies everywhere. It’s got to be you need to build your emotional quotient. You know, your IQ, your emotional quotient is going to take you further than your IQ. You may be really smart and write a really good book, but the fact is, is that if when you meet with publishers, editors, agents, they don’t like you. They’re not going to represent you. And so what you have to understand, part of is selling a book, whether it’s to the public, whether it’s to a publisher, to an agent, it’s about likability. So make sure you’re the kind of person that passes the beer test. We call this the beer test in my office. Would I like to sit down and have a beer or a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with you? And if the answer is no, you don’t pass the test. And you need to understand how do you build stronger 360 degree relationships that are going to work for you? As a matter of fact, just last night I met with it’s a it’s a writer and she’s doing a treatment of nice girls don’t get the corner office to pitch for television. Now, there already was a pilot made of nice girls don’t get corner office. And I thought the pilot was quite good, but it didn’t get picked up, which is not unusual in Hollywood. But she’s redoing it. And we met last night and she said, you know, I’m thinking of all the people that I can ask to help me out here and take a look at it and give me notes on it. And and she said, you know, I gave it to one person and they haven’t got back to me. And I just want to say, hey, look, if you don’t want to look at it, just tell me. That’s okay. I won’t expect it from you. And I said, That’s acting like a girl. Instead, what you do is say, no, you haven’t looked at it. And I’d really like your input in the next two weeks, and I’m willing to trade you and then whatever you know that they like. And she said, Well, this woman has like five dogs. I said, So say you’re willing to trade babysitting for the dogs for a weekend if she’ll just look at the script or a meal out or whatever she would like. So yeah, understanding that inherent to every relationship, there’s a quid pro quo, there’s something in exchange for something else. And identifying that and using it is not smarmy. It’s how the world works.
Chandler Bolt [00:18:12] That’s great. Those are really, really helpful. Thanks for sharing those. So do you see any I guess, maybe limiting beliefs in that for women or quote unquote, nice girls in the workplace or with their finances that are kind of like a carryover, right. Yeah, you talked about a few of them there, but I guess I mean, more so even the getting started part because I think a lot of people even even just, hey, I’m doing this book is is is a is a is a big leap. Right Probably in the same way that you see like, oh, I’m asking for this promotion or so Is there any other crossover that you see there in the getting started phase.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:18:49] I think if I’m understanding you correctly now maybe it’s the overarching theme of the nice Girls books, which is a nice girl, is someone who acts according to the rules she was taught were appropriate in childhood. Okay, so that girl, little girls get different messages than little boys, even in this day and age, because we do have more woke parents. Right. And so they’re giving their daughters the message. You could be anything you want. You could do anything you want, Right. The only problem is then you have grandma. Right. My niece told me the other day, actually, my great niece, she said I was we were talking about careers and she said, you know, but my grandmother keeps telling me the most important thing is that I find a nice man and I get married and have a family. Now, this is 2023. She’s getting the same messages women got in the 1940s. So when I talk about nice girls, I’m not talking about not being nice because I just said, as I just said, nice is necessary for success, but it’s not sufficient. So I would urge women and I start actually start all my coaching sessions with this. I urge women to think about what were the messages you got. And they could be from parents, they could be from grandparents, from teachers, from your religion about how women are supposed to be. Because that’s what’s going to hold you back more than anything else. Okay. And so once you understand what those self-limiting messages are, you can then add behaviors that are going to count counter them. As I always say, you know, I’m a recovering nice girl. I don’t know that I’m ever not going to, you know, succumb to some nice girl behaviors. You know, I did it recently and a friend pointed it out and she said, you know, Lois, you wrote the book on this and you did that. And I said, I know I’m a recovering nice girl, so it’s not like you ever get over it. But there’s certain situations that are always going to be a trigger. And for me, it’s always friends. You know, I can be direct, straightforward with anybody else, but with friends, you know, I do revert to being a nice girl. And so I think that’s the overarching thing, Chandler, that I think women need to think about as they get started. And the other thing is to surround yourself with yay sayers. There’s enough naysayers in our lives, right? People who say, okay, I remember somebody one time said to me, I was thinking about writing a particular book and they said, There’s already a lot of books like that. And then somebody else was sitting there and said, Well, how many diet books are there? And there’s always room for one more. So, Lois, you just go for it. You know, this is like, you know, really in the beginning, and that’s what you have to think about. You’re going to have the naysayers or I remember when I quit my job to start my own private practice, my mother said it turned her stomach to think of me as unemployed. Well, I wasn’t unemployed. I was starting a business which my two brothers had already done. So I knew to set boundaries with her and find other people who were like minded because they’re the ones who are really going to buoy you up. Right? Who are going to provide you with support when you need it. There’s there’s this little visual I have and there’s a saying on it says, The women around us. We’ve circles of love that when we when we need to be buoyed up, we’re buoyed up by them. And when we need to be brought back down to ground, they do that, too. So that’s why women really need to think about who’s in your circle. And do you have a yay sayers?
Chandler Bolt [00:22:39] Mm hmm. That’s great, man. It was really, really cool. So let’s switch gears a little bit. Let’s talk. So your your quote unquote, most recent book. Well, not even the most recent book. The book is not the most recent audiobook. That’s the most recent one that I’m staring at here on inside.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:22:58] I just don’t get it that well.
Chandler Bolt [00:23:00] Yeah, exactly. That’s Girls just don’t get it. So you mention you got the right backs. You got the rights back from the publisher and then decided to self-publish that and kind of republish that. What? Was the why and the how behind doing that.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:23:15] Oh, because, you know, I coauthored that with Carol Froelich, who is an attorney, and because I felt like we were going to talk about things like negotiating. And I know she’s an expert in that. So I coauthored that with her. Now you have to know that I was discouraged by the publisher from coauthoring any books because they felt like it dilutes your voice, You are the brand. Now you’re going to dilute your brand. So the publisher published the other Nice girls books, wouldn’t publish that one. So we went to another publisher. The agent took it to another publisher who? Who? You can look it up, but I’m not going to mention their name. And I didn’t feel like they put the resources in it to make it successful. Whereas my original publisher provided us with publicists and know provided me with publicists and everything I needed to really get a book off the ground. This one didn’t do any of that. We had to do our own publicity and we did get on the Today Show with it. So there was a slight bump, but there wasn’t much else. So because the book didn’t go where we thought we wanted it to go, when they told us they were going to take it and put it out of print because it didn’t do well and, you know, it was like it was like a self-defeating prophecy. Right? You don’t put money into the book and then it doesn’t do well and then you take it off your list. And so we said, well, we’ll take the rights then and we’ll self-publish it. So that was exactly what we did, and that’s why we did it. And so now we’re in the process of, you know, we use that more in conjunction when we do keynotes or webinars or things like that. That’s really our method of promoting that book. But at least this way nobody gets any piece of it, because that’s the other thing for authors to remember. As long as you have a publisher doing it, you’re getting a way smaller percentage than if you do it yourself. There’s pluses and minuses, obviously. My preference, Chandler, is to have somebody else publish it and to.
Chandler Bolt [00:25:26] Take more of the royalties.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:25:27] I just want and pay and pay a few and get fewer royalties. Exactly. That’s my preference. And part of it is it’s a it’s probably a very snobby thing because I know when people tell me they have a book out, the first thing I almost always do is look at the spine and see, was this self-published or was this published by, you know, a publishing house? Now, nowadays, I know it’s much more common to self-published books, and there’s nothing wrong with it. I’m old school. What can I tell you? If I can get someone else to pay for it and do all that stuff right. Why wouldn’t I do that? So it’s just kind of part of my business head to, which is why would I lay money out for something that I don’t know where it’s going to go when I can someone else have someone else take that risk? Right. And see where it goes.
Chandler Bolt [00:26:15] It makes sense. And just for for people who are listening or not familiar, you know, typical royalty rates with a publisher is typically somewhere between 8 to 12% per book. So maybe a dollar or two bucks a book. And then if you’re going self-published, it can be anywhere from 20 to 70% per book, kind of depending on format, length, price and all that stuff. So just by way of comparison. So when you got your your rights back, did you have to purchase them back? No, they give them back. How did that how did that work?
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:26:46] No, they gave them back because we had earned back our royalty. So, you know, I think if we didn’t earn the royalty back, maybe they would have made us buy out the royalty. But we had earned our royalty back. So they were just going to and it was in the contract that if they write, it was in the contract.
Chandler Bolt [00:27:08] Because, I mean, Frank is a coauthor. Was a lawyer.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:27:10] Writer. Right. Yeah, that’s. Yes. And so you want to make sure that that’s in your contract, that if they withdraw that title, that that the rights revert to you, or at least you have the first right of refusal for the rights. So they did revert to us.
Chandler Bolt [00:27:29] Hmm. Oh, man, that’s really smart. I’m just the first person I’ve ever heard that’s included that in a contract. It’s a really good take away for people who are traditionally publishing. Negotiate that into the contract. There’s no yeah, there’s not really much, much, if any, downside to the publishers. So that’s like a throwaway thing that I feel like they would likely be okay with adding in. But it saved you guys probably a lot of negotiation and okay, well, we’ll sell it to you and then having to buy the rights back and all that stuff. So that’s that’s really interesting. You mentioned your most recent book is Audiobook only. What was so what’s the book and what was the thought process behind launching an audio only?
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:28:11] You know that one. The idea for it came and this is something else I’d also like to tell your listeners. People often ask me, what does it take to write a book? And I say, There has to be something you want to say so badly that nothing can stop you from saying it, right? I mean, that’s really the motivation for me, is that I really want to say this. I really want to help people. I want to get this into the hands of the people who need it. That’s my motivation to write. If your motivation to write is so that you have a calling card for your business because you think you’re going to get rich and famous, right? You know, for ego, it’s all the wrong reasons. Those are just the wrong reasons. So I think because I do these things for what I think are the right reasons to write, obviously these ideas come to me about, gee, what is it people want? So one of the things from nice girls don’t get the corner office that people always ask me about was the communication piece. And when I talked about communication, it was the thing that stuck with people, whether I was doing training or I was doing coaching or on keynotes. They liked the communication piece. So I thought, Why don’t I just take that small chapter out and expand it? So I actually sold it as a book to Hachette Books, who is my publisher of Everything except Nice Girls Just Don’t Get it. I sold it to the publisher as a book. And then as I started writing it, I realized, you know, this begs to be heard because if we’re talking about communication, how it sounds matters. You know, I can write down the sentence and, you know, make sure that you’re expressing appropriate enthusiasm. Or I could or I could do it, and I could say, you know, make sure you’re expressing appropriate enthusiasm and here’s what it would sound like. Okay, people get that right. It makes a difference. So I went back to them and I said I wanted to make this audio only. And they said, okay, fine, we’ll do that. And so we did that. And there was some challenges with it because I think they weren’t used to audio only books. And so there were some challenges with getting it distributed. So it didn’t do as well as I would have liked it to do. But it’s it’s still it’s still out there going, you know. Hmm.
Chandler Bolt [00:30:47] What did you how did you guys approach? I mean, where is that distributed? And so then was there any what was the thought process behind that?
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:30:56] Well, because it’s audio, it’s distributed on like Barnes Noble Audio, it’s on Audible. It’s on what’s it called? Google Read. I think, you know, there were a couple of places like I think it was called X Libra or Libra. Yeah. Yeah. So those are the places it was distributed. And they put up very large like signs, led signs in airports. And so they did some like print things that were visual for it, but we weren’t able to get me on to the talk shows. And that’s really what makes the difference. You know, for every book before I was on one of the morning shows. And that makes a huge difference. And this one, you know, well, you know, also it came out I think it was just right around the time that the pandemic started. So, you know, that made a difference, too. So, you know, I tended to market it myself through my LinkedIn page, my keynotes, webinars, things like that.
Chandler Bolt [00:32:05] So this has been great. Dr. Lewis. What would be your parting piece of advice? I would say, especially for females or women who want to write books. So to the Lois of how many of her years ago before you wrote your first book and to all the other, I guess potential, Lois is out there who are thinking about writing their first book.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:32:24] Number one, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do this. You know, if this is a project you believe in, put your energy behind it. And as I said, surround yourself with the people who are going to help support you. Number two, find your voice and find your niche, because that’s what’s going to help sell this book. And number three, make sure that this is something that you can’t live without writing, because writing is a very solitary process as that as all of us who write know. And you’re going to be sitting for hours by yourself. So you had better love that material that you’re with. I’ve always loved the material that I’m with, and so those would be my three points of advice.
Chandler Bolt [00:33:21] That’s awesome. Where can people go to buy your books to find out more about your speaking, your coaching, and whatever would be most helpful?
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:33:28] Well, two places. One, they can go to my website, which is Dr. Lois Frankel dot com, and that’s drl0sfr and ki ELLE.com. And they can also buy all my books on them at Barnes and Noble Barnes and Noble online or on Amazon. That’s where you’ll find all the books.
Chandler Bolt [00:33:53] Awesome. Dr. Lewis, thank you so much.
Dr. Lois Frankel [00:33:56] Thank you. It’s been my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
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