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The Published Author Podcast

WANT TO SELL MORE BOOKS? STUDY AUDIENCE DEMOGRAPHICS, USE RESULTS TO IMPROVE COVER DESIGN

Entrepreneurs who aren’t professional writers but want to write a book can face challenges. 

These include:

  • Struggling to find their voice
  • Sounding too stiff or formal
  • Not enjoying the writing process
  • Working with a ghostwriter but not convinced that writer has found your voice
  • Omitting stories from the narrative.

Jeff Arnold is now a successful author with two books to his name, including the number one bestseller The Art of the Insurance Deal, and How To Beat Your Insurance Company, along with numerous magazine articles that focus on buying insurance agencies and companies, as well as helping consumers learn how to pay less for all types of insurance.

CEMENTED POSITION AS A THOUGHT LEADER

Jeff says his books have played a big role in his evolution into a thought leader in the insurance industry. The timing couldn’t have been better, because his books have come out when many older agency owners were ready to sell.

His books have done so well, they automatically lead people to his website, and they make the next step and call him. People outside of the industry who think they’re paying too much for insurance also contact Jeff regularly, due to his book How To Beat Your Insurance Company.

UNDERSTAND DEMOGRAPHICS OF READERS TO SELL MORE BOOKS

Working with research and marketing demographics, Jeff learned that he needed to tweak his book’s cover design to meet the needs of different types of buyers.

“I had really masculine blue and brown and gray colors. And that meant nothing to females or to other type executives,” he explains. “It was a very staid, boring color. So we just changed all the colors and saw an instant change.”

USE OTHERS’ EXPERTISE TO GET YOUR BOOK FINISHED

Before producing a bestseller, Jeff had to deal with the fact that writing was not in his skill set. He had to surrender to this fact. And he wasn’t ready to admit it until a soccer coach friend observed that one of the toughest parts of coaching was getting talented kids to recognize their own weaknesses.

Says Jeff: “It resonated with me. I had to accept and drink in the fact that it's not a skill set. I surrendered to that. Then it’s ‘Let's move forward’.

“Part of it was humility, right? The other part was ego,” Jeff explains. “I really wanted to publish a book. I really wanted to get ‘author’ as a title in the things that I've done in my life.”

Jeff also admits that he was naive when he began working on his book. He soon realized that the process was more complicated than he realized. He also thought that a publisher would want his book, but that wasn’t the case. So he worked with Arbor Books to finish his book and get it published.

Today, Jeff will publish his third book next month, and is set to begin his fourth. Looking back, he says: “The journey was to find a firm that did that for me, the cover, the formatting, the styling, it's best left to the professional,” he advises. “If you don't have the experience and expertise, it's a longer journey. And why wouldn't you take advantage of other people's expertise instead of failing all along the way?”

GET YOUR BOOK IN FRONT OF THE RIGHT AUDIENCE, NO MATTER HOW NICHE

With his book published, Jeff turned to marketing and wrote blog posts and did podcast interviews to generate sales.

But what really made a difference was getting his book before the correct niche within the insurance industry. After developing relationships, relevant sites wrote about his book and featured it on their website, and sales took off. 

Next up, research revealed that women tended to buy his book on a desktop, while men bought it on mobile. This information helped Jeff tweak the book's cover colour and font to better reach those audiences. 

“What I learned is that it’s not just putting the book out there, you have to constantly market it,” says Jeff.

Learn more: If you enjoyed this episode, here are two similar episodes in which the guests had to deal with the same kinds of challenges as Jeff.

Working With An Editor Was The Best Decision I made While Writing My Book - Peter Kozodoy

Without A Writing Coach, My Book Wouldn’t Be What It Is Today - Paul Epstein

LINKS

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ABOUT THE HOST

The Published Author Podcast is hosted by Josh Steimle, founder of Published Author. Josh is a book author himself and his article writing has been featured in over two dozen publications including Time, Forbes, Fortune, Mashable, and TechCrunch. He's a TEDx speaker, the founder of the global marketing agency MWI, a skater, father, and husband, and lives on a horse farm in Boston. Learn more at JoshSteimle.com.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Josh Steimle:

Today, my guest is Jeff Arnold. Jeff is the author of two books, including the bestseller, The Art of the Insurance Deal, and also How to Beat Your Insurance Company. Jeff, welcome to the show.

Jeff Arnold:

Thank you so much, Josh. I've been looking forward to connecting with you for years as we've learned, I was following you on LinkedIn, and I'm glad our paths have crossed via Zoom now.

Josh Steimle:

Yes, this is fun, small world. So give us a little bit of background on you, Jeff, we can tell from the titles of your book, you've got some experience in the insurance industry. But tell us a little bit more about your background? Where you come from? How you got into the insurance industry? And then we'll work our way towards your books, and how you wrote those?

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, thanks again for the opportunity. So it's kind of a long story that I'll make succinct, and try to weave some humor into it a little bit, right? So I was born in Western Kentucky. My father, my grandfather, my great grandfather, great grandfather, great, great, all preachers, I'm the first one inside innovation, not to be a man of the cloth, certainly a follower, but just this not my calling, right? And the circuitous route to insurance happened like this, being a preacher's son I had to work early, right? I had to start working early, and in Kentucky that was tobacco or hay, right? For young kids, and so here it was a full shock of red here which I devoid of today. But I was sitting on a hay bale eating lunch in a farm, where we've been doing tobacco, this guy drives up in a four door car, windows up, which means he had air conditioning, which was a big deal, right? He gets out of the car with a starched white shirt, and I remember leaning to my friend, and I said, what's that guy do it? And he said, insurance or something like that, right? So it's just kind of this weird introduction, class forward out of college and out of some experience and trying to do drama and comedy in Hollywood for a couple years, I landed, but by sheer coincidence, a job in insurance, and it took me back, you know, 12 years prior when I'm sitting on the hay bale. And present since then 31 years, I've just been in love with an industry that most people yawn over, but I consider it the industry of all things fun, sexy, exciting, and just playing awesome, so also that.

Josh Steimle:

So at what point did you say, I'm not just going to be in the insurance business, I need to write a book that has to do with the insurance business?

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, I wish I could take credit for that, Josh, I was challenged by a friend, a mentor really, older than me at the time, and I have been very, very fortunate not to talk about my insurance career, but very fortunate to buy a lot of insurance firms, agencies, and companies, right, very They're young, under the tutelage of very experienced executives. And after I'd done about 40 something acquisitions, my mentor said, you should write a book, you've got a lot of energy for this, it's a kind of a natural, I think you should write a book. And so, first begin the very difficult exercise of putting words together, and if you've ever become an author, as most of your listeners have, or are dying to, it can be quite cathartic or quite painful, right, just weaving them together, and so it was a very long, arduous journey, right? That you beat yourself up, or I do anyway, I’m over every sentence. Anyway, so long story short, at the behest of a good friend and mentor said, you should probably pin some of these deals in a book.

Josh Steimle:

And so how did you get started? And when was this? What year are we talking?

Jeff Arnold:

So 2014 and 15, kind of the idea, it took me a while to listen to him, and then just started filling up legal pad, after legal pad, after legal pad, because I can't write on that with word, I have to write it out in my Kentucky Public School chicken scratch, right, on a piece of paper, alright, and it literally looks like a fourth grader is etched it on a tablet. And so I consolidated all those at least into an outline, and thought that I'm going to get this published, I sent it to a couple different publishing firms, and they're like, it was a lesson and an experience is like, yeah, no, that's not what we do kid, right. I wasn't the kid at the time, but that was how I felt. And then I stumbled across a firm that would assist you with these things right on the internet, submitted the manuscript to them and their response was, yeah, that's great, if you're talking to second graders, but we can help you make it palatable and cohesive, and so basically ripped apart everything that I had written and made it sound like I kind of knew what I was talking about, right, and that's, it took a couple of years to do that, it was about 18 months, because after I got back there amendments and changes, because they used someone to help really rewrite it to be quite honest with you, right? It didn't seem like it was my voice, and so I just put it on the shelf for about 90 days, 120 days and wrestled with what I'm doing, so that's a safe journey.

Josh Steimle:

So going back to your notepads that you're writing on, where you actually writing words the way that you thought it would sound in the book, or was it just taking a lot of notes and jotting down ideas and thoughts that you wanted to include in the book?

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, so a little bit of both, like because my mind sometimes just races so fast, I just got to get line item bullet point, and then I would go through, turn the page and trying to weave it into some type of semblance of a sentence or a paragraph, and then I would reread that, and try to compare it to the paragraph above and below it, and it wouldn't make any sense, and you know, I think like most people who write or enjoy writing, you probably rewrite the same sentence 3, 4 or 5 times, right? I listened to a guy several time, I can't remember his name that he wrote in his book, he must have rewritten every sentence 40 times without exaggeration, and I believe it, right? So the short answer is Josh, some by bullet point, and then I will try to weave them together.

Josh Steimle:

And then you said that you went and you got somebody to help you turn this into more of a book type of format, was this a ghostwriter? Was this an editor? What type of person were you working with on that?

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, I wish I knew about your services 4 years ago quite honestly. It was, at the beginning I believed it was to assist me with make, you know, consolidating all my thoughts in a better manner, right? And clearly manuscript was not up to par, and so after several back and forth things, it was well, we need to rewrite it, and you need to have an assistant writer, or ghostwriter, or whatever, so and that's when it changed really from kind of my voice, right? To a different voice, and that's where my struggle was for a while. That being said I revamped a little bit of it, made it sound more like me, and we move forward.

Josh Steimle:

Talk about that voice a bit, because this matters to a lot of people, in fact, I think it matters to pretty much everybody, and it's one of the major hang ups people have when they think about writing, or working with a ghostwriter, or even working with an editor is they feel like their voice is going to get lost. So talk to us a little bit more about what changed, how did it change? What did you not like about the revised version?

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, so it was quite the journey to be very transparent and open. When I speak, I feel like I'm somewhat intelligent, right? When I write apparently it's very constipated, but in their words exactly, right? And so that voice that I try to bring to life on paper, it sounds okay in my head, but making it transfer in that same similar to an order on paper is a difficult thing for me, and so that is the disconnect, and I suspect, I would submit to your listeners that you're going to go through the same exercise, right? Not fun, the toughest part of that journey was to understand that just because you may speak in sometimes eloquently or not eloquently, writing is completely different, it's a different memory, it's a different skill set, it's a different appetite, and you know, you can wrestle over one word or one sentence for a month just to get it right, and so that was the toughest part of the journey to realize and be told that you write very constipated, and you write like you're trying to sound intelligent, but it comes off as like a fourth grader, right? Trying too hard, so that was a tough pill to swallow, but very necessary.

Josh Steimle:

And so you said that it came back, it wasn't really your voice, you kind of shelved it for a little while and then how did you get back into it? And how did you, where you able to fall back in love with it? Or how did you come to a point where you said, okay, this is something that I feel good about publishing?

Jeff Arnold:

It's just one of those weird stories, I was with a friend who's a pretty well-known soccer coach in the US, United States. And I was just talking with him, and it just, we weren't really talking about the book, but he said the right thing at the right time, he was talking with kids that he's placed on the Olympic team and you know, in the MS, MLS, and all these times, and he mentioned something he said, you know, the toughest part is to get the kid to realize where his weaknesses, because he wants to be the best, and they focus on that, it says I can't place you because you can't hit a corner kick, or you can't place him because it doesn't know how to hit a ball, and that really resonated, we were just having a conversation, but it resonated in me, it's like, you know what, just except drink in the fact that it's not a skill set you have surrendered to that and let's move forward, so part of it was humility, right, like drinking that in. And then the other part was ego, I really wanted to publish your book, maybe that’s the truth, right, I really wanted to get author as a title in things that I've done in my life.

Josh Steimle:

That is such a great bit of advice that you can help somebody if they're not willing to admit their weakness, I mean, we see this all the time, but it is so true that if you're writing a book, and you're not good a part of it, but you refuse to acknowledge that, well, you're never going to get that part right then.

Jeff Arnold:

Very, very true.

Josh Steimle:

So, this allowed you to get your book manuscript done, so then how did you actually get it published in the end?

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, so, I was naive at best and understanding all the steps that go through with it, you know, to take it to the final publication piece, and quite honestly, I thought it wasn't going to self-publish it, I thought someone wanted this, right? That was not the case, right? And so I had to, you know, go along a journey that most publishers do today in self-publish, right? And so I found the firm that did it, and then we wrestled over title, we wrestled over the back page, over images, and all along the way, it was just a constant compromise, but I had to surrender to what people they know better than what I know, right? And so at the end, I'm super happy, love, love to have two books, and my third will be out next month, but all along the way, it’s you, whoever you partner with or whatever, there's just compromise that happens, like in any relationship, right? Relationships are the great compromise, and so, in the end, I'm happy to have done it and continue to do it, now I'm working on my fourth one, on scratch paper again, but the journey was to find a firm that did that for me, you know, the covering, the formatting, the font, the styling, it's best left to professional, certainly you could do it. But if you don't have the experience and expertise, it's a longer journey, and why wouldn't you take advantage of other people's expertise instead of failing all along the way?

Josh Steimle:

So it sounds like you were working with a hybrid publisher, somebody who provided these services to help you get the book, right, not a traditional publisher, but kind of in between 100% self-publishing and going with a traditional publisher.

Jeff Arnold:

Correct? Because again my naivete was like, oh, someone who, you just approach publishers and they publish books, that's what they do, and that is not the case, right? I don't know the statistics, but maybe one in 1000 they receive or they're interested in, right? And certainly, in my subject matter expertise that makes most people yawn, it's not like let's rush to get this published list, right? Yes, that short answer ended up with the firm that delivered all our cart choice of solutions that I needed.

Josh Steimle:

So what was that company that you worked with the hybrid publisher?

Jeff Arnold:

Oh, yeah. The name of the company is Arbor Books.

Josh Steimle:

Arbor books? And so how long was that process? How long did it take from the time you signed up with them until the book was done and printed in your, holding it in your hands?

Jeff Arnold:

I got to think about that one, Josh, I don't remember, though probably transpired rather quickly, seemed like an eternity, alright. Just because you're anxious and really ready to go, less than a year, but I honestly, for the life of me you throw me a curveball, I don't know the exact timeframe.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. So you publish that first book, and then what happened after you published it?

Jeff Arnold:

Well, then the marketing starts, right? It sounds like you just hang the shingle out and people come, and then started writing a lot of blogs about it, made the assumption that oh you publish it, and the world will beat a path to your door, right? Also not accurate, and so I had to start blogging, had to start podcasts weren't such a big thing in 2017 for that, but then just anywhere I could go with blog and talk about it, and then I had to do some paid advertisement in social media stuff and then also Amazon.

Josh Steimle:

And did you see that it was getting into the right people's hands, that the right people were reading it? Were you getting responses from it? Was it helping you grow your business?

Jeff Arnold:

Yes, the real, there was a pivot, and then I was fortunate to get in front of folks in the space, right? Who buy and sell insurance entities, right, which is a very, very micro niche space, but that's really kind of what it was for, because, you know, had a lot of experience in buying, and then when that relationship developed, and they started marketing my book on their website and their emails at the time, they sent a lot of emails, but looks really kind of took off, and then I had some counsel from a web design firm who said, look we're going to study, who's coming and looking to buy your books. And this was a really good study and data and analytics, right? So demographics, and psychographics, who buys your book and why they buy it? And it turns out oddly enough that the deep dive they did was, as much as they could get the data from Google in the analytics. Females were buying my books from a desktop, and males are buying my book from mobile, right? And you think, okay, big deal, but it allowed us to change the color, the font, and the layout of the offering, based upon device, right? If it's a desktop, show these colors, right? And that would be pink, or teal, or blue. And if it's a mobile device, show a more masculine color, right? That along with putting in some landing pages, or squeeze pages, just one page, called the action pieces, really helped drive sales a lot, so that was a real big turning moment in the marketing piece, but it really happened when I realized that it's not about just publishing and putting it out there, you have to be constantly marketed, or have folks that are marketing it for you.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. So the web design company that you were working with, did they specialize in author or book websites? Or were they just a digital marketing firm, and they did a good job at it?

Jeff Arnold:

So, it was the first firm I used specialized in book authors, and guess what? It looks the exact same, right, a lot of times, and then because I still buy and sell insurance companies and agencies, I found this other firm, and I was talking to one of the really sharp, sharp guys here, as we're sharing this struggle, and he was like, well, it's the same thing, it's niche based, niche based, and you have to focus on colors, demographics, psychographics, sex for lack of a better word, right? Who's buying your book and why? Right? And I had these really masculine blue and brown and gray colors, and that meant nothing to females, or to other type executives, right? It was a very staid boring color, and so we just changed all the colors and saw an instant change. Short answer is no, it’s a different marketing firm, different web design firm, who focuses on, who buys and why they buy? And what leads them to click the buy button?

Josh Steimle:

That's interesting. So we've talked mostly about your first book, at what point then did you say, you know what, I've got another book in me, I need to write the second book. What was the inspiration for that?

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, so the second one was, well, we've got this wonderful firm with employees, pretty much all over the world, right? Like 4 countries and 7 states or whatever, how do we primed that pump, right, to get more volume into that, because the first book out of, The Art of the Insurance Deal was really about buying and selling insurance operations, right? And so the second one was, you know, how do we speak to the general public or a mass audience, right? Because the first one is very niche based, and so How to Beat Your Insurance Company was looking at, most people think they're getting ripped off by their insurance company, why don't we write about how our team of these, you know, highly educated insurance geeks solve those problems and make it direct to the consumer. And so, SAS began the process of about 12, or 14 more months of getting it all written down on paper. Although I started this time, I would do about a chapter at a time, sometimes 2 or 3, and push it forward for feedback, which really is a kind word for saying rewritten and destroyed my original work or is it, and we went kind of we did this dance of back and forth every other week or so.

Josh Steimle:

I know you said you've got a third book coming out?

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, so this one's really about more business process. So it's not so much about the insurance space, which I've, you know, had 31 years of my life in, this one is about building better businesses, right? And everyone can relate to some horrible customer service experience, or lack of leadership in a company, or were just a miserable experience, so let's focus on business building sessions, how we've delivered a wow on every customer transaction every single time, just by focusing on what matters, right? And so it's chart full of old emails all the way back from the early or mid-90s, late 90s, sorry, mid to late 90s, all the way up to places where we failed miserably by introducing technology we thought would fix things, and it was alienating consumers, and so it's really about building better businesses.

Josh Steimle:

Got it. When's that going to be released?

Jeff Arnold:

SAS we wait still more, alright. So I just pushed the last manuscript back for some iterations that I did. I suspect we'll get it into, you know, the cover design and everything in the next week or two, and hopefully be done by late May.

Josh Steimle:

And are you working with Arbor on these second two books? Did you work with them on these books again?

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, I am. It's, you know, after again, it's been a journey, it's been a relationship and compromise, and so after you get super comfortable, leverage them to do these other services too.

Josh Steimle:

Cool. Do you think there's a fourth book in you?

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, absolutely. Already, it’s, right, and it's really to bore people who might not be an insurance, it's really about the phenomenon happening in our industry now, then it's called Insurtech, right? Insurance has always embraced technology, but what's happening now is a complete pivot for the entire industry, it’s going to radically change how people conduct business in our space, and how policies are sold, and really the experience, and so I'm focusing on aggregating the thought leaders in our space, much like your book, Josh, you interviewed dozens of executives for your marketing book, right? But certainly read your stuff, and so I'm not copying that, but you know, this makes sense to aggregate all these thought leaders into volume.

Josh Steimle:

That's really interesting. Yeah, well, and you can copy my book, because I just copied it from somebody else, that is, I called them now. So yeah, that's interesting. So it's kind of funny, because once you write a book, you've made such an investment, you learn so much about the writing process, the publishing process, it almost becomes this thing where you're like, well, I can't just let this knowledge to go to waste, now that I know how to write a book, what a waste to not write another one, because now it'd be so much easier than the first one, and then once you've written two, you might as well do three, and then you're an addict.

Jeff Arnold:

You're absolutely right, it is a drug of sorts. I've never experienced being addicted to anything substance wise, but it is I can imagine, right, this is a drug, it gets in your system, and you're always working on the next one without even knowing it sometimes.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah. Well, this has been great to talk a bit about your journey, as you've looked at each of your books, one, two, and then you have the third one coming out. What are some of the primary lessons you've learned along the way that you wish you would have known before you did that first book?

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, I waited too long to reach out and get help, right, again, I thought it was, you had to build all these bridges yourself, should have reached out much sooner, should have been much more open to criticism, it really stung, and it really delayed the process, right? Just being completely open and honest that put it on the shelf for 3 or 4 months, and then just the right timing of my friend, tell me, right, you have a problem with the curve, you have a problem with it, you can speak it but you can't write it, just accept that. And so should have gotten help sooner, and should not try to do it myself, there are people that specialize in this, right? And can help you along, reach out and engage them.

Josh Steimle:

And as you've gone through the process and gained more confidence, are there things that you're taking on now in that process that you wouldn't have taken on, or you didn't take on with your first book, but now you feel like, you know what? I know what I'm doing here, I can handle this?

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, I really feel like my fourth book is going to be, I'm just going to take more control, right? I mean, I'm not knocking my partner, they've been wonderful, but none of the covers have really been like, I feel like is mine, and none of the back cover explanations are really me, if that makes sense, right, it's like they have a life of their own, but it's not really mine, because I had all this external input which was needed, and so I think as I, you know, start this fourth book moving around, I just want to control more of the process, not a control freak, but I think, you know, like you said, once you learn it, it’s like, you want it to be all your voice, and that's the struggle, I met those that have produced way more than me and sold way more than me and written more books, they're on a different journey or in a different space, that's just the space that I'm in right now.

Josh Steimle:

Now what is the impact been on your business, we touched on this a little bit, but these two books that are already out, have you seen direct results from these books, in terms of your business growth, where you can point to that and say, if I have written that book, I wouldn't have gotten this benefit for my business?

Jeff Arnold:

Absolutely, first of all, the first one really submitted, I'm not trying to be pompous or an egomaniac here, it's cemented our position, my position as the author, as a thought leader in the space on buying and selling insurance operations, right, at a time when so many older or retiring folks are ready to sell, and so it leads a path to my website to this very day, I have multiple Zoom calls today and yesterday that they buy my book, and they just schedule, and we talked about helping them buy and sell an agency or company. And the same has happened on my company side, I have an Insurtech called RightSure, and every day the phone rings because someone's bought the book and said, hey, I think I'm overpaying for insurance, and so it's been an absolutely wonderful calling card. And it's a great aha to all my folks who make fun of me as being a product of the Kentucky Public School system, it's like, well, but are you a bestselling author twice, right, so it's some fun jabs back and forth to.

Josh Steimle:

Well, you've come a long way from being a preacher's son. And coming from that descendancy, what are your kids getting into? I'm guessing they're not going to be preachers and restore the tradition?

Jeff Arnold:

True, my one is an author, right? He has his own publishing company though, he is much heavier and more weighty stuff than I do.

Josh Steimle:

That's interesting, tell us more about that?

Jeff Arnold:

Oh, yeah. So I'll give you a pitch for his company, it's called PRAV Publishing, PRAV Publishing. And he writes on esoteric beliefs and thoughts, and so if you think what is esotericism or Western esotericism, it's well before modern day, religion or spirituality, it's when it used to be contained everything from alchemy to astrology, to zodiacs, all kinds of things, right? That's what it used to be before the churches got ahold and separated these things into their version of religion, and depending on your beliefs, and it's a deep subject, I have to reread each paragraph multiple times to comprehend it, but yeah, that's his passion.

Josh Steimle:

That's interesting. Was his passion in or him starting this publishing company? Was that inspired at all by you writing your books or?

Jeff Arnold:

I don't know, he's always been quite the bookworm. And I think his original goal was to be an academia and teach, right, European history and Russian history, he's always been enamored with. So I think that was his primary goal. And then briefly, I can't leave out my other children, my second son in the business world, right, thinking, finance and insurance. My third son's a wonderfully talented artists got to go to Toronto to study, and then have a baby, a doctor, who clearly is just playing soccer in video games, so I'm not sure what she wants to do yet so.

Josh Steimle:

That's great. One of the interesting impacts I've seen in my own life, I had a mother who read to me when I was young, and I feel like that's where I gained my love of reading. And if it weren't for that love of reading, I'm not sure I would be writing today. And so, it's big in our family to read to our kids and read with our kids, and none of them has shown an interest in becoming an author yet. But then again, I didn't write my first book until I was, I think I was 35, 30, no, even later than that, I mean, I was almost 40 when I wrote my first book. So sometimes it can bloom later in life, but I'm curious in your childhood, did you read a lot of books, were you familiar with books to the point that when you went to write one you're like, yeah, I think I can write one, because I've read hundreds of books or something, or was it just a totally unique idea for you to go and write a book?

Jeff Arnold:

No, I was the absolute worst student you could ever imagine, right, and multiple times I was taken to a principal's office after they had spanked me multiple times, because you could still spank in the 70s, right?

Josh Steimle:

In Kentucky, I mean.

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, absolutely, yeah. Two different teachers on occasion said, this child is not allowed in my classroom anymore, I cannot, there's nothing I can do with this child. Today, you would diagnose it as ADD or ADHD of Medicaid, right? We didn't have that, so when they couldn't get it out of input with a paddle, it was just go sit in the principal's office. So yeah, it wasn't until, literally I can pinpoint the moment 22 years old, I just started reading again in the night, oddly enough, for 22-year-old that wasn't out, partying and doing whatever, I would spend my nights and weekends going to the library, you know, the internet wasn't this big thing, right? And so I would conuse books, right? And yeah, and it was really to feel things that I didn't know, like a lot of skill sets, I didn't have anything from fiction and nonfiction to business, to acting, to speaking, whatever I just had to consume at all.

Josh Steimle:

That's interesting. Two things actually are interesting, one is, I wonder how many entrepreneurs spent time in the principal's office, because I did that too. And it seems to be a common thread with entrepreneurs that they kind of got in trouble a bit when they were kids with authority and rules, and structure, wanting to do things their own way. But also just that passion for reading that came out, even though I mean for me, it was 3 years old. For you it was 22, I just finished reading recently, the biography of Malcolm X, I didn't know anything about him, it just kind of read it on a whim. And he grew up not doing so well in terms of education and such, but then later in life, actually when he went to prison, he started reading and he became this bookworm, and it totally changed his life, and he turned everything around in his life, because of books, and because of reading. And it's interesting to see that passion awaken, whether it's early in life or later in life, but then it's doubly interesting to see that passion lead to people saying, well, hey, if these people wrote books, I can write a book too.

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, it's true. I still struggle with, like, if I go back and read an old Richard Bach, which I read a lot of in my 20s, right? That the words would just stand up and come alive off the page, I am not there yet, right? So maybe after write a fiction word or something, right to make them all stand up, but yeah, when you, when words do that in paragraphs strung together that just speak to like, you know, when you write something really profound and awesome, you just hit yourself in the arm and can smile about it all day, right? That is a better thing, any drunk, any paycheck, anything, right? And so once that gets in you, it's quite, quite fun and addicting.

Josh Steimle:

Well, this has been a great conversation, Jeff. If people listening to this want to connect with you, where's the best place for them to find you?

Jeff Arnold:

Thank you so much, again it's been a pleasure. My personal website is jeffarnolds.com, jeffarnold.com.

Josh Steimle:

You're pretty lucky to get that URL. Because I mean, jeffarnold.com, that's not the most uncommon name in the world, so.

Jeff Arnold:

True.

Josh Steimle:

You're lucky to have that. I have a friend who's gone through one of our Masterminds, and his name is Ben Ward. And I said, you need to get your name as a URL, and he's like, yeah, that's going to be kind of tough, but he got it, he got benward.com, and I thought, man, that is a big win, so it's great to see when somebody has their name as their URL, and they don't have to add weird things to it or something.

Jeff Arnold:

Yeah, very, very fortunate. You have another second portfolio.

Josh Steimle:

Sure.

Jeff Arnold:

If just so.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah.

Jeff Arnold:

But most people know V. Jeff Arnold, who started Sharecare is an internet entrepreneur, and it's super successful. I can't remember his first beginning, success company, but anyway, so that's what I consider like the real Jeff Arnold sometimes, and I'm like, surely he got this, but apparently he's not into publicity, and anyway, I was in a restaurant in Atlanta just before COVID, right, like maybe October, November before COVID-19 here. And I saw him come through the door, I'm like that's super successful, I didn't want to go be that guy, like, hey Jeff, I’m Joe, and I got your URL, I’m sorry, but at least I can muster up, but he was in a group of people I couldn't muster up the intestinal fortitude to go interrupt, but I wish I would have, right, it had been kind of funny, so that's, you know, because you think, you know if you're Michael Jordan, you would think that Michael Jordan has his URL, right? Or whatever, but sometimes that's not the case, so I'm lucky.

Josh Steimle:

Yeah, well, you're also lucky that you have a name that people can recognize and spell correctly and pronounce correctly. With a name like Josh Steimle, I mean, there are pros and cons, right? For you, you might have to fight for your URL. I didn't have to fight for Joshsteimle.com, it happened to be available. It also happens that I don't think there's a single other Josh Steimle in the entire world, because that's how unique my last name is. Unfortunately, nobody can say it or spell it, but pros and cons. Hey Jeff, this has been great having this conversation. Thank you so much for spending time here today on the Publish Author Podcast.

Jeff Arnold:

Thanks so much again, greatly appreciate the opportunity.

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