The Janine Bolon Show with L. Paul Hood, Jr. - 99 Authors Project, Season 5, Episode 1

The 99 Authors Project – Season 5 – Episode 1 with L. Paul Hood, Jr.

L. Paul Hood, Jr.

A frequent contributor to Leimberg Information Services since its inception, Paul is a highly sought after speaker and consultant due to his innate ability to see through complexities and explain difficult and even boring subjects in understandable and entertaining language. He minces no words in doing so. Along the way, Paul’s been a father, husband, lawyer, trustee, director, president, partner, trust protector, director of planned giving, expert witness, agent, professor, judge, juror and a defendant, and he uses his experience in these myriad roles to guide others.

Click for Paul’s website.

Transcript of the Show

Bryan Hyde
Welcome to the Janine Bolon show, where we share tips from around the globe. As we guide practical people with their finances using money tips, increase their incomes through side businesses, and maintain their sanity by staying in their creative zone.

Janine Bolon
Hello! Janine Bolon here and welcome to today’s show, where we bring you quality content on saving your time saving your money and how about staying sane during these very continually changing phases of life? What do you think? The Janine Bolon Show is a syndicated program of four podcast shows that were combined in October of 2021. Three Minute Money Tips, The Thriving Solopreneur, The Writers Hour Creative Conversations and The Practical Mystic Show were all programs that were running simultaneously from 2017 to 2021. We’ve now produced over 300 episodes, we’ve interviewed over 217 guests, and today we will be spotlighting one of the authors that is contributing to our 99 Author Project, Mr. Paul Hood.

Janine Bolon
Now Paul is a highly sought after speaker and consultant due to his innate ability to see through complexities and be able to explain things that are difficult, and often boring subjects. And he makes them understandable as well as entertaining. I mean, that’s not easy to do, folks, he minces no words when he’s doing this, he has a very direct approach. And one of the things that’s really cool is Paul has been a father, a husband, a lawyer, a trustee, a director, a president, a trust protector, a director of planned giving, an expert with witness agent, we’re going to come back to that. A professor, a judge, a juror and a defendant. So he takes all of these myriad of roles, and the crazy experiences that he has had to guide others.

Janine Bolon
Welcome to the show, Paul, it’s great to have you.

L. Paul Hood
I’m glad to be here. Janine, it’s wonderful to be with you.

Janine Bolon
Yeah, I totally love when I get an opportunity to talk to authors because, especially when they’re in the financial industry, because I taught so much like for 30 years, I taught finances. And one of the things I used to talk to people about certain money tips, and I tell my listeners look, you know, we will cover some sort of a money tip in the show. And so the one that is my favorite story to tell is that I sat down and it took me an hour, but I sat down and I figured out with math, how much money using a spatula in the kitchen, because I did a lot of cooking from scratch. When you have four children, and you’re living on one income, let me tell you, you learn to really stretch $1. And I found out that it saved us $273 a year to use a $1 spatula to clean out everything from jelly jars to whatever, anything I use. I was dumbfounded. How is something so little, could save and yield us so much money? So I had asked you earlier hey, do you have one of those kinds of money stories you can tell us and you’re like, I’m not gonna tell you I’m gonna tell you on the air. So go ahead and share.

L. Paul Hood
A money tip that I often pass along to people at various stages of life, whether they’re students going to college or grad school or law school or medical school, or others is the following. It is much easier to borrow money than it is to pay it back.

L. Paul Hood
And people look at you like what I said yes, it is easier to get a lender to give you money, it is harder to pay that loan back with interest at the stated rate with after tax dollars, it will cost you 40 to 50% more, plus the interest to get that back. So therefore when you borrow money, remember that it’s easier to get it than it is to give it back. And remember that on the front end before so you don’t borrow too much or you don’t borrow for the wrong reason.

Janine Bolon
And that is true wisdom. But it’s so funny. Have you ever noticed it when you’re talking about money? And you’ll come out with some of these sayings and people are like, yeah, I’ve heard that before. Whatever, give me something new. I actually had a Wall Street Journal reporter say to me, look, our people are very savvy, they need something new. Do you have anything new, and I thought to myself, there is nothing new when it comes to money and how to save it and live debt free. You know, you kind of start with that first. So thank you for sharing what I know to be the basics of and to say it in such a concise way.

L. Paul Hood
Well, you know, it’s there’s nothing you know, there’s no sex appeal to the basics, okay.

Janine Bolon
It’s true.

L. Paul Hood
But, what it does actually have some sex appeal is the fact that if you follow the basics, you will have money. And if you don’t if you fall for the shiny objects, the newfangled ideas, you often end up broke. And, you know, we’re seeing this in the cryptocurrency market today. And you’re seeing it in a number of areas where people come up with what they think are newfangled ways to make money, when the old ways are the only ways. There are no shortcuts to quality. I mean, there’s a whole list of of topics that are timeless and adages that are timeless, that just, you know, yeah, there’s yeah, there’s no, there’s no secret to it, other than the fact that this is what you got to do. And if you fall for something new, you might not work and usually doesn’t work.

Janine Bolon
Yep. And we see a lot of that happening, and so many different areas of our lives. But I’d love to have you talk to us about your book though. And you are an author, you have multiple books you’ve written several on I forget how many can you tell me how many it is now?

L. Paul Hood
Nine.

Janine Bolon
Yeah, I knew it was you were almost a double-digit author, as my kids like to say, when you cross over into 10 or more, but you wrote a book that was exceptional to me, for what I needed in my life. And that was Yours, Mine and Ours. Do you mind talking to us a little bit about why you wrote that book?

L. Paul Hood
Yes. When I was a practicing tax and estate planning lawyer, the most consistently challenging client was the client in the second, third or more marriages. I had two clients Janine actually married eight times in their lives. I actually perfected my prenuptial agreement, because I drafted four for one of them, who kept marrying younger women. The eighth and burying spouse he married when he was 82. But she was but 26.

L. Paul Hood
And the other one married eight times and died at 64. Believe it or not, that’s a lot of marrying to get in before age 64. But I did four, three prenups for him, I’m sorry. But the bottom line is that in estate planning, when you have a single relationship, couple that have that and they share the children or other descendants. The planning is very, very different than when you have people who have so called blended or stepfamilies. And in fact, techniques that work great for single relationship couples, often are disasters for the blended family couples.

Janine Bolon
And we have more of those now, right? I mean, that was something you and I were talking about. It’s like, it’s now common, it is now the majority to have blended families rather than single married couples, especially in the financial industry at this stage of the game.,

L. Paul Hood
Believe it or not, well believe it or not Janine, you’re right. And the United States Census, beginning in the 2010 census, the blended family is now the most common form of family relationship that was repeated in the 2020 census. And so therefore, Ozzie and Harriet, and Leave It to Beaver have given way to the Brady Bunch.

Janine Bolon
Yeah, we definitely are the Brady Bunch. Thank you very much. And for those of you who don’t understand what we’re saying, don’t worry about it. We’re now moving on to the to the book part of the chapter. And that is one of the things I love about authors is I’d like them to come out and strut their stuff a little bit and what they know. But a lot of you are listening to this 99 Author Project because you want to know how to market your book better. And so what I do is I brought on almost 100 authors and said, hey, tell us about what works, what doesn’t work, and why you did things the way you did. And so one of the things that I’ve come to find out with a lot of folks that are in the nonfiction industry is they don’t write under a pen name. They choose to write under their own name. But Paul, you have quite a story about your name, because on your book cover it says L and then a period and then Paul Hood. And so tell us a little bit about L.

L. Paul Hood
L stands for Leonard L-E-O-N-A-R-D, and in my dad’s family, Leonard is a name that has been frequently given, but never used. My paternal grandfather’s name was Leonard Richard. He went by Richard. He named my father, his oldest son, Leonard Paul, called him Paul. I am the oldest of three boys born within 35 months of each other. Yes, my mother and father didn’t hire babysitters. They hired referees.

L. Paul Hood
But when I was born, I was Paul, and little Paul. And of course, on the Cajun side of my family, my grip my maternal grandmother and her family are Cajun. In fact, my maternal great grandmother didn’t speak English, she spoke only Cajun French. And when we did something as kids that she didn’t like, which was frequent, she would roll her eyes and say “on glades,” because English because the Cajun people of course, hate the English, because in 1760, when France ceded Canada, to Great Britain, after losing the French and Indian War, the British troops went up to my people in Acadia in Canada, and says, you now need to swear allegiance to the King of England. They said, no, no, we’re going to swear at the kingdom. They put my people on boats, and they shipped them down out of the Great Lakes down the Atlantic seaboard. And a lot of them landed in Virginia and then made the trek across down to Southwest Louisiana. So in Cajun land, of course, the word petite is in translated in French is little. But Cajun French, I was known as T Paul, because T is short for petite. So I was T Paul. And when my son was born, who’s Paul the third, I said let’s name him something else. LP Trey Trip. The women out voted me he was another Paul, although my dad was a conscientious objector and never called him Paul, always called him Trip or Trey.

Janine Bolon
I knew

Janine Bolon
I knew that you’d have a story. And that’s one of the things I love about you is is your storytelling. And you and I both have migration story, forced migration stories in our history and in our background. So thank you for sharing a little bit of yours. But we’re going to get back to marketing that book. And one of the things that really helps when it comes to marketing a book is your ability to do verbal storytelling, as well as your written storytelling. So we understand why you wrote under the name that you do. But did you have any kind of a marketing background before you started writing your book?

L. Paul Hood
No.

Janine Bolon
No, I didn’t think so. I knew it was pretty much financial and you didn’t have marketing expert anywhere in the labels of your introduction. Although you said you were an agent. Now I was like, were you secret agent man? You know, I had that song going on in my head. So what did you mean by agent?

L. Paul Hood
Agent, actually an agent for entities legal stuff. Legal agent for service of process. I was an agent under powers of attorney otherwise known as agent and attorney, in fact,

Janine Bolon
Okay. I just wanted to make sure.

L. Paul Hood
In two different capacities, and actually a third agent, a third form of agent because I was an agent for some professional sports players. So

Janine Bolon
Gotcha. Okay. Yeah. I just wanted to make sure because when you somebody says they’re an agent. I was in a military family so that has a very different connotation. I’m like, ohh, what kind of agent?

L. Paul Hood
Right?

Janine Bolon
Okay, so, talk to us a little bit about what was the most surprising thing that you ran across with the book marketing process and how you published your book?

L. Paul Hood
Well, the most surprising thing I learned Janine when I published my first national book on business valuation with Wiley and Sons in 2010 was that publishers do no book marketing.

L. Paul Hood
You know, I being a naive, you know, guy, and, you know, sort of a subject matter expert. Just assumed that the people putting the book together would actually have a plan to sell it. But that’s not true. And that was my experience. So that was the biggest thing that surprised me. No marketing,

Janine Bolon
Zero marketing, zero marketing. Yeah, a lot of people don’t realize there was a sea change in the publishing industry from 1999 to 2000. And that’s when vanity publishing came out. But of course, Hollywood doesn’t help us authors. Right. It keeps us in that naivete. Because, you know, they still make it sound like oh, this is my publisher, like the publisher has done a lot of the marketing for you. It’s, it’s funny. So what would you change if you started marketing your books today? Like say you were a fresh debut author. What are some of the things that you would change or do that you didn’t know about before?

L. Paul Hood
Well, the first thing I would do is (a) not rely on the publisher and (b) hire, you know, learn and hire some experts who could help me actually market the book. Because, you know, I didn’t know anything about it and you know, I’ve learned something over the years about it. But the fact the learning curve is short and greatest and you don’t have to go, you know, because you can spend more money on marketing then you can make in book revenues. But if you strategically and judiciously hire experts at various levels along the way, you can really enhance your book sales.

Janine Bolon
Wonderful. And so tell us, what worked best for you when it came to selling your books? What were some of the things that were successes for you?

L. Paul Hood
Well, appearing at conferences, with boxes of books drop shipped on site. When people heard you speak, you know, they wanted to buy your book. So immediately and being set up to sell the book immediately. And obviously, technology today makes it very easy. In the beginning, it could be a little bit of a challenge. You were taking written checks from people but the bottom line is, is that apparent personal appearances, some readings at bookstores, but not very much. My old friend, the late Dan Pointer, who was one of the self-publishing gurus of this country, I got to know Dan pretty well. And Dan used to say bookstores are lousy places to sell books. And he was right. Dan sold most of his books on parasailing and parachuting at parachute shops, believe it or not. So. But conferences and today with COVID I do a lot of podcast appearances that help move the needle on book sales.

Janine Bolon
I agree that I wrote a book on it actually, as you know.

L. Paul Hood
A very good book, by the way.

Janine Bolon
Yeah, thank you, I’ll pay you your 20 bucks. Yeah, so that’s one of those things, right, is that you have to shift with the time. So this is always my favorite question to ask fellow authors. And that is, what is your story of epic failure when it came to marketing your book? We all have that story, I have a $6,000 story of epic failure of where like I invested $6,000 in something and it was abysmal. And so you know, don’t be shy. Tell us what your epic failure was in your marketing of your book?

L. Paul Hood
Well, I’m gonna tell you a story and name names. In the Business Valuation book that Wiley published, was actually written more for tax practitioners and lawyers, and not so much business valuation people. Wiley marketed the book to the extent they did at all, to business valuation professionals. And it had very little about business valuation there. So the book never sold. So we actually just recently got a reversion of the copyright and we’re putting out a second edition of that book with a different publisher. But reliance on the publisher to pick the market, they didn’t even pick the right market for the book, which virtually guaranteed its failure. From a sales standpoint, if you’re selling it to the wrong the people who don’t want it, you know, why do that? And I thought I assumed they knew more than they, then they then they did.

Janine Bolon
And I wish, I wish I could say you’re one of the few authors that that has happened to. When people read this book that we’re building slowly through these podcasts they’re going to they’re going to see story after story of where they definitely did struggle. Authors definitely did struggle with that. So for our debut authors that are getting out there, don’t make these mistakes, make different ones, make different mistakes.

L. Paul Hood
Exactly.

Janine Bolon
Right. So what story do you like to tell about yourself that gets the most laughs from your target market?

L. Paul Hood
There are three. The first is when I’m on a podcast that has video. I tell people I have a face for radio. The second the second thing is I often will almost always introduce myself as a recovering tax lawyer. And then often on airplanes when someone sits next to me and in turn because I never talked to anybody I sit next to on an airplane I don’t know about you, but me I just don’t I have my earpiece. I’m listening to music. But sometimes people will ask me, hey, what do you do? And as an estate planner I’ve used to tell people I practice psychotherapy without a license. Because there’s a lot of truth to that.

Janine Bolon
Yes, you and beauticians.

L. Paul Hood
Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, do it, do it a hair therapy, if you will. But the third thing is a former law partner of mine, used to refer to me as the repositor of the bizarre and arcane. Because in addition to my professional interests, in the Fall, I am teaching the first semester of a three-semester course on the history of the Pope’s and the papacy. I’m also teaching in the same semester, a three-week short course, on the history of the platters, and the drifters, to music groups from the 1950s and 60s. So you never know with me. I was a pitching coach for 25 years. I mean, I’m all over the board. So he called me the repositor of the bizarre and arcane.

Janine Bolon
I think it’s lovely. I think that’s just lovely. Because authors are not single dimensional. Now, that’s one of the things you know, most human beings have run into are multi-dimensional, okay. And what’s really sad is when it comes to marketing a book, or whatever it is that if you’re going to work with the artificial intelligence on social media, and the search engines and stuff, you’re almost forced into such a tight niche, that until people get your newsletter or something they might not know about all these other things that you are very good at doing, you know that you have a life outside of just the one book or the nine books that you wrote. So tell us a little bit about what the biggest change is, in yourself since you started marketing your own books?

L. Paul Hood
Well, of course, it was eating a big piece of humble pie. And, you know, I had to realize that I’m a lousy, I’m a lousy self-promoter. Okay. Part of it is, you know, the guilt that was instilled in me having been raised. And that was how, you know, when people come up as a kid, I was raised as a Southern gentleman, pursuant to and have to follow the code, the unwritten code of the Southern Gentleman, which is you don’t call attention to yourself, which of course, is okay in, in personal settings. But when you’re trying to sell a book, it causes cognitive dissonance. So you’re like, this is something I was taught not to do. But here, I’ve got to do it. And it never, it never feels right, Janine, it just, I wish I could get to a comfort point with it. But I’ve never gotten there.

Janine Bolon
Yeah, no, I totally understand. I was raised under very similar situations. With the military background I had and training, it was staying in stealth mode, you know, you didn’t make noise. You didn’t make waves. And it is something that I still struggle with. And people laugh, because they’re, they’re like Janine, you’re so extroverted, you’re outgoing, you tell stories. And I’m like, yeah, it took work and Paul, you’re saying the same thing. It took work to get to that point where we could be comfortable just sharing stories, you know, with other people. But well, knowing what you know, how about you give us your top five tips on what you would tell a debut author about selling their books, if you don’t mind?

L. Paul Hood
If you, number one, if you want anybody to buy your book, you got to market it yourself. Publishers don’t market books. Two work with the best publishing partners, and resist signing with the first publisher who offers you a contract. I made that mistake. I won’t name the publisher. I will be kind this time. Yeah, I really shouldn’t. But I don’t give a second book to the publisher with whom you’re working before the publisher gets the first book out, because I made that mistake. And then they double crossed me and only put out the electronic version of the second book. And I ultimately had to buy my copyrights to both books back. Even though the royalties for five years were zero. And you know, the books go for three to five times annual gross royalties, so I should have paid zero for my copyright. I gave them $1,500 so they’d go away so I get my copyrights back.

L. Paul Hood
Number four if the publisher isn’t holding up their end of the bargain, don’t be bashful about saying I want my copyright back. You know, go get it and if you got to pay it you gotta pay. And number five, where I am today, self-publishing is the way to go. If you’ve got the right self-publishing partner, and I have to tell you, I love mine. It’s Kathy Meis at Bublish. And they’ve put out my last two books. They are technically self-published. But she has a network of independent contractors that do every aspect, cover design, copy editing, developmental editing, proofreading the whole thing. Those books are the best-looking books. And like I said, I’ve put I put out books with Wiley, you know, National Underwriter, American Lawyer Media. But those two books that are self-published books, okay, you think low quality stuff, best looking books I’ve ever put out. So, but it’s but once again, you got to pick the right, you got to pick the right helper. And I did. So I’ve got three and three more books and in the works with Bublish right now.

Janine Bolon
And then what is the primary thing that you think has been the biggest reward for you at becoming an author?

L. Paul Hood
The biggest reward for me would probably be when the book actually goes live for sale, you know, because, you know, you went through all that, you know, trouble writing the book, and then the editorial process, and then, and then the book assembly process, and, you know, the galley reviews, and you know, this and that, when, but all that is worth it. When you click on and all of a sudden, your books for sale on Amazon, or on Barnes and Noble. It’s like, hey, my book’s for sale now! You know, all that hard work for that one moment, you’d say, is it worth it? And the answer is, yes, it is. And that’s why I keep doing it. So.

Janine Bolon
Good for you. I’m glad that you do. Because you have nine books out, I know you’re working on another one. And I just know that all that information that you have that is arcane and bizarre definitely does need to come out for us. Do you have any last comments that you wanted to make before we go today?

L. Paul Hood
I think that to be a writer, to be a successful author requires two things. It requires passion, and discipline. If you have passion, but lack discipline, your book never gets put down on a computer or on paper. On the other hand, if you have discipline, but no passion, your subject is never compelling enough to either write, or if you do write it, it will be painful, and nobody will read it. So when I tell people who say, gosh, you’ve written nine books, I could never write a book, it’s too big of a project. I say stop. Commit yourself to writing down writing 300 words a day, which is one page. Okay, if you write 300 words a day, for a year, you got a 365-page book. And there you did it, you did it, three foot tosses, as opposed to trying to make a 20 foot toss, you know, that ring toss from 20 feet is a hell of a lot harder than it is when you’re standing three feet away, especially when you’re six five like I am. Frankly, could put the damn thing on the on the ring. That’s my tip. It’s not rocket science to write a book. And it’s not impossible to write a book. But it takes discipline and passion. And you have to have both.

Janine Bolon
Discipline and passion. Well, that’s it. Paul has answered our questions. And then we got more information in store for you. If you want to check out his latest work. Please go and find his website. So where does somebody connect with you, Paul?

L. Paul Hood
www.PaulHoodServices.com.

Janine Bolon
Paul Hood Services.

L. Paul Hood
And I have articles there, the links to many of the latest articles that I’ve written in the last eight or 10 years. I have some white papers there, links to buy the books, and some other things. And my blog. So there you have it.

Janine Bolon
Authors are very good at having a lot of free stuff on their website. So scope dig around it, the author website, which is PaulHoodServices.com. And so there you have it. Today we had Paul Hood as our spotlighted author. If you have an author or you know of an author that you would like us to spotlight please visit our website AuthorPodcasting.com Where you will find the 99 Author Project listed. We talk to all authors from all walks of life as we build out our book number 12, which is Advice From Authors To Authors in 2023 is when that will go out. And this is Janine Bolon signing off with you today and all of us here at the 8 Gates that produces the Janine Bolon Show. We wish you a wonderful week. And we encourage you to get your message, your story or your knowledge out into the world and make it a better place just like these authors that we’re interviewing this year. We’ll see you again next week. And until then, keep sharing what you know with others, keep shining that light that is you and don’t forget to go out today and do something for yourself that’s just plain fun. We’ll see you next week.

Bryan Hyde
Thank you for listening to the Janine Bolon show. Be sure to subscribe to our show notes by going to www.theJanineBolonshow.com, where you’ll find additional resources as well as the opportunity to sign up to receive our program in your email each week. Be sure to visit our sponsor at www.the8gates.com.

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