Writing a book is not easy. Behind it is a big production that involves multiple people and processes. Pulling back the curtains, Juliet Clark talks with Jacquie Jordan about what’s really going on with authors and the publishing industry, along with all the controversy we are facing as publishers out there. Jacquie is the founder and CEO of the 15-year-old cutting-edge media and content development, promotions and booking platform, TVGuestpert, that offers full-service promotion, marketing, business strategy and media services for her clients, partners, and collaborators. In this episode, she discusses why she loves hate speech, the importance of books, especially in today’s digital world, and the standards that have changed.
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Understanding An Author’s Journey In The Publishing Industry With Jacquie Jordan
We’re going to have a discussion that probably will surprise you all. It’s a little entrepreneurial, it’s a little bit about books but it’s about what’s going on in the world and the publishing world around us, that a lot of you don’t even realize is going on. Before we get started, I want to remind you to go take our Promote, Profit, Publish Quiz. You can find it at www.PromoteProfitPublishQuiz.com. Find out if you’re ready to publish. You may have written that book but what are you going to do for marketing? You don’t wait until the last minute to do this. It has to be a plan from the beginning. See if you’re ready and you have all the pieces in place.
For my guest I had on, she was one of my first shows and I don’t even remember what we talked about at this point. I met her at CEO space. Jacquie Jordan is the Founder and CEO of the cutting-edge media and content development promotions and booking platform called TVGuestpert that offers full-service promotion, marketing, business strategy and media services for her clients, partners and collaborators.
TVGuestpert Publishing, a New York Times bestselling publishing house and the TVGuestpert Academy is an online program offering visibility and media training and the TVGuestpert on-camera training. She also is a two-time Emmy-nominated TV producer, three-time author and host of Front & Center with Jacquie Jordan, a broadcast podcast. Welcome. It’s great to have you.
Thank you so much. It’s great to see you and connect with you. I always love your effervescent energy and your business model. We have a lot in common.
I appreciate that. We’re both go-getters on that. I want to talk about something. Normally, we get into entrepreneurial and how you can market. I want to talk about what’s going on with authors, the publishing industry and all the controversy we are facing as publishers out there. The reason I was so intrigued that you were the person I wanted to talk to about this is you published Tara Reade’s book. That was gutsy.
It takes courage to put yourself out there.
The threat is real. She lived it personally and stepping up on her behalf to publish her book was not for the faint of heart. It was an interesting story because I’m for free speech. In fact, I have a speech that I’m delivering upcoming for a business group and it’s called Why I Love Hate Speech, which is controversial. I love hate speech because I want to understand and see in full view who my enemy is. I want to know how they think and how they work. I don’t want an intermediary party to determine those determinations for me.
I want to be able to see these things in full view even if they’re awful, scary or it’s not part of my belief system. When the #MeToo Movement happened, Bill Cosby was first but then it was like dominos went down. Roger Ailes from Fox News channel went down. We watched Les Moonves go down. It didn’t stop. The ironic thing about this, Juliet, is that I was a showrunner before I started my own company TVGuest but I was showrunner for a TV show on AMC called Sunday Morning Shootout. It was a little Sunday morning show but it was an industry show, where we talked about the business of movies.
It was fantastic but my guests on that show were Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Jeremy Piven, this whole entire roster. Flash forward, here we are several years later, I left that job and started my own business. The specific reason was it was much more a glass ceiling issue than it was a sexual harassment issue. There was no room for me to grow and go up so I started my own business. That’s what I did. That was specific to that. We watched the #MeToo Movement happen.
During the political campaigns, we heard Tara Reade come out and, as you do, I understand media narratives. I could predict them 3, 6 months out. That’s the language I speak. That’s my mechanism. Some people understand Excel spreadsheets. I can’t get an Excel spreadsheet out of me for life. I don’t know if you believe that people understand those little formulas.
My alchemy is understanding media narratives. I watched what happened. Tara Reade came out then President Joe Biden, a week later, made the comment on that radio show, “If you’re not voting for me, you aren’t black.” That came out and people were stunned. One week later, hell hath no fury when BLM hit the city streets.
Tara Reade was taken off the news narrative storyline in those two weeks. I was like, “Where’s the #MeToo Movement?” I was curious like, “What a way to bury that?” Ironically, I’m a University of Delaware graduate where are the Biden Senate papers. The plot thickens. I saw that she was struggling but I also didn’t see anybody come around her. She raised her hand, said this happened by herself and got used and abused in a different way from it. As a storyteller, I was super curious. Through random circumstances, I was serendipitously introduced to her.
It was the weirdest thing. I said, “I wanted to see a book about what happened to her since she had come out,” because the act of coming out is so brave and people ask the obvious question. The obvious question is, “Why did you come out twenty years later?” That’s the question everybody asks. In the question, it engages the fact that something did happen several years ago. One, it’s difficult to judge a culture by the standards we live in now. Back then, you and I get that because we were active in the workforce then. What went on when we were puppies in the workplace would never ever happen now. People under 40 don’t realize what was going on in the workplace.
It’s funny because my daughter works for a large company and the rules, regulations and things that they have in place, it was a free for all back then. When I was in advertising, I had tequila on my desk. There were people in the other room doing drugs. Everybody was sleeping with everybody.
It’s totally different. I remember coming onto the work scene especially on television. I remember being shocked and startled. They’re like, “Here’s $500 cash, go to Penn station. This is going to be the guest on our TV show today. He raped 500 women in DC.” Crazy stories. I spent the night in the hotel room in New York City with pregnant teenage gang girls. Those things don’t happen now. We lived in this different culture. I got great cocktail stories
Do you run the Jerry Springer Show or something?
I was at Montel Williams for a while. I was at Geraldo. I saw a lot of things at a young age that people now aren’t exposed to. Back to the Tara Reade, I was curious about what happened. Anyway, it turns out she’s a great writer. We had the book challenge of Can We Write a Book in 45 Days. She was able to write a book in 45 days. It’s well-written. You and I have been around books, literature and writing. Our company ghostwrites books. That writing a book is not an easy feat at all. In fact, usually, it takes multiple people to write one book. Once it gets to the publishing side, you’ve got editors and line editors. You have to layer but books are big production.
She wrote a great story. I was fascinated by what happened. I was interested that if we were looking at it from a woman’s movement, she got dropped out because she was inconvenient. Real or not real, her truth though was inconvenient at the time. I wanted to support the memorialization of her story but it has revealed to me, extraordinary ugly-ness that I almost hate that we’re having to live through. What is that ugliness? The ugliness that she went through with New York Times printing her Social Security number, which isn’t fun. On the artificial intelligence side, there is an organized bot campaign to take down anything digital.
What went on when we were new in the workplace would never happen today.
I ran into this several years ago with one of my Guestpert clients who is a media psychiatrist. She’s still very active in the media. At the time we were working with her on a campaign, she was anti-videogame. She was active with the whole correlation between video games and school violence. Those digital gamers, bots, trolls, they got into Amazon. They took her book down. She hadn’t even sold 2,000 books but she had 50,000 negative reviews. The digital cleanup was a nightmare, it was terrible and tacking. We’re still so used to like now in our contemporary society, we throw something Google or Wikipedia.
It comes up the first lines we take. That is what it is. That becomes the reality. The digital matters, what’s in the digital space, the imprints as I call them, the impressions of the digital matters. I’ve seen this happen before. It was interesting to see it with Tara Reade and we’ve experienced it as a company. We got all sorts of phone calls and the first week of the launch. Our launch was so strategic. We launched the book two days before the election. We knew that at that point, the story would matter. After that point, would it matter? The outcome after the outcome, it wouldn’t matter.
I can be accused of being political or whatnot but that’s when the story still mattered at that moment where there would be interest. We got all sorts of campaigns of it. We got scrutinized but it’s the most scrutiny that comes with it. It is so superficial and shallow. It’s what you would see what you ended up saying to a five-year-old. It’s like, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt,” but the actual intention is to hurt. It’s fascinating but people don’t recognize that we’re watching history being rewritten for us, true or not true. Impressions are creating realities that didn’t exist.
What took place versus what is stated to take place are two different realities. I don’t know if I consider myself a true seeker but I’m certainly curious. I want to know and understand things. I want to understand people. I also believe at the root of everything, everybody wants the same thing. We want to live in peace and prosperity. We want everybody to be healthy. We want our family members. We want to have experienced opportunities. We want to contribute to our communities.
I don’t believe there’s any human on the planet that doesn’t have that agenda. I believe that there are people on the planet that don’t have that agenda for us but I don’t believe that as brothers and sisters on the planet and where we get caught up is that we fight over who we think should give it to us, which is a little bit of a problematic belief system right there in that.
That aside, Tara Reade, I wanted to hear the end of her story. I wanted to hear the story. I wanted to know where the rest of the #MeToo Movement went because now we have a weaponized movement that’s not supporting all women. It was inconvenient. That was that journey. I am a big believer in the First Amendment. The First Amendment is important. I don’t want an intermediary interpreting my reality for me unequivocally. I want to be able to do my own research. I want to have my own experiences. I want to come to my own conclusions and I want my own conclusions and direct experience to inform my reality. I don’t want other people out there creating my reality for me and telling me only what they want me to know.
That’s a very dangerous place to be in. I want to know who the enemy is. That’s the publishing piece but I remember when Judith Regan got canceled for going out with OJ Simpson book. At the time, I thought it was a good choice, believe it or not. I still feel that same way now. At that moment, what I was thinking about OJ Simpson was that she was doing a sensationalized and I suppose I could be accused of doing the same thing but I can only tell you what my heart was for. It was that I was genuinely curious about what happened to Tara Reade after she came forward because I didn’t think it was pleasant.
I wanted to know where everybody went, who had to push that agenda forward. With the Judith Regan, with the OJ Simpson, that’s interesting. Maybe it would have been important for her to have told his story because then we would see in words how he thinks and potentially how psychotic his thinking is. I don’t know if that is always a bad thing and I’m always a believer in letting the consumer decide what they want and what they don’t want, what they want to eat, what they don’t want to eat, what they want to read or what they don’t want to read. Also, I had these moments because we do marketing in the same fields for our clients and realizing how fragile the digital imprint is.
You can architect an article and you could change the date of the article and call that factual research. Books are so important because it is not as easy to do that with books. This process of leaving a legacy in books and book format is important. We know about The Great Library of Alexandria. We know that history has been demolished and destroyed because books have been burned.
If we’re still living in a free society then we want to be able to choose what we want to read and what we don’t want to read and want to have those opportunities. To me, that’s the truth of diversity. Diversity is you have ample range of experience and opinion, good, bad, indifferent and that you can sample each piece of it, what you like and what you don’t like.
You and I talked about before that Tucker Carlson’s new book and I know some of you out there probably hate Tucker Carlson and that’s okay. I read a lot of different things. He says in his new book that he interviewed his publisher as part of the book to find out why he dropped Josh Hawley. You and I both reached out to Josh Hawley’s group to find out if we could help because we are believers in the First Amendment and he has a right.
The topic that he was putting out there is extremely important in this social media world. I was intrigued by the balls it took to reach out to your own publisher and possibly get canceled yourself and asking those questions. That again comes back to choice. Would people have chosen to read the book? Yes, they did. Where it’s difficult for publishers these days is we need to get this material out but how do you do it without the threat of being canceled? You talked about what happened to your staff over this.
It’s funny because when we took the Tara Reade book on, I had to take into consideration the sensitivity of my staff around it and see where they were with it. Everybody on my team, we’re not the same. We’re not the same generation, ethnicity and gender. We don’t always have the same assumed viewpoint. The company itself has a company voice but we that make up the team that runs the company always see things the same way but they handle it professionally like they would any other experience. It was interesting because as we went through the book, there was a lot with us internally like, “We believe her, we don’t believe her.”
There was a lot of that between us along the way but that to me as a publisher, that’s the provocation you want in conversation. We’re never ever truly going to know what happened because if what Tara says happened with her and the president, those are the two that are going to know and possibly maybe somebody else that was there. What we go by is the credibility of the story but when you have the experience in reading it, you can come to your own conclusions about what feels true for you or not or you just file it like maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. It was interesting to watch my staff go through that process along the way.
In my working relationship, all of us were under intense pressure to do that book and from different directions. I could never say that my intensity of pressure was the same as terrorists or even my staff’s intensity of pressure. The working professional experience was positive in spite of all of that. That says a lot about someone’s credibility to me in a way I have perceived my realities and someone’s integrity because often, in a working relationship, you learn a lot about the substance of someone’s character through the actual experience of working with them. Not that it was an easy experience to write a book, let alone publish it.
It was intense. We’ve never done anything like that before. It did rely on her to deliver a lot of story and content because, without that, our deadlines would mean nothing. It happened. That’s how I at least experienced people. That’s how I get to know people. There are people I’ve worked with before whether in my television career or a business on my own. I’m like, “I did not like that person at all.” There’s somebody who got caught in the news. I’ll tell the story for the fun of it for your readers, Juliet.
I had the experience of working with Jeopardy! Executive Producer, the host that was in the controversy. I worked with him when I was a puppy and we worked on a television pilot for Lawrence O’Donnell who’s on MSNBC. I remember they brought him in and I was told that he’s going to be a producer on the show, “You’re going to be a producer on the show but you’re going to do all the work. He’s not going to do the work.” It’s because they were holding him to be the host of the pilot, which was The Bachelor that they were shooting in Hawaii, it was like a placeholder on the show.
The process of leaving a legacy in books and book format is really important.
I had thought of his name in years and then when it came up in the news, I had to go look, I was like, “Is that the same Mike Richards?” It’s the same Mike Richards speaking about the culture in television. It was interesting to see that whole thing play out again because that was my experience of him. Not even to his fault, it was the way the dynamic was set up. It was hard to want to like a person who’s getting paid your salary and title but not for doing any of the work. That had come up again but when you have these experiences, it becomes your direct experience and it informs your opinions about things and your reality.
That’s my point in telling that story. That’s what makes me a curious person. That’s what makes me curious about my work and my business. I want to move forward and help support people in telling their stories. I appreciate you acknowledging it because the Tara Reade thing was a risk. In fairness to her, she probably didn’t get quite the promotion from us that she rightfully deserves because you don’t want the negative news story to be the news story of all that. There’s an element that not only does it feel threatening to be attacked like that in civil society but it also feels dangerous.
There’s that piece of it, too. I see it in the aftermath of my own clients. It takes courage to put yourself out there. We’ve put experts and authors on TV. In general, it takes guts to want to put yourself out there. You have to come up against your rejection, fear of not being accepted. In this cancel culture time period, we’ve watched many businesses either on a flimsy joke or even something that was well-intended get turned against them.
It feels dangerous to want to step out and go out there. That’s why media training for my work and my company is so important because I want to support my clients in knowing how to handle conversation in all interview situations because it’s important for people to be able to use these different channels of media platforms to get their messages and experience out there. I’ve never experienced this before in my lifetime, in my media career ever.
Before I reached out to Josh Hawley’s group, I have a sit down with my family and said, “If there’s a yes here, this could get ugly.” We took a vote and everybody was in. You never know the follow-up these days. I could lose my company. I’m moving in with your kids. The kids could be targeted. You don’t know these days and it does feel dangerous.
The reliance of much of our businesses now has become the technology. Technology is where we’re vulnerable, which again, why I liked books because when we publish books, we’re putting books into a physical reality. It’s not just a digital reality. They have to go into bookstores. We have a warehouse in Lithia, Georgia for our books. We work with distributors. We pre-sell them into bookstore chains. We got picked up by Walmart for carrying our books because we had to work around the essential versus nonessential bookstores, poor thing, Barnes & Noble. I don’t know how they let that happen. I like the tangibility and the physicality of the parts of my business that are physical, tangible and real.
I have great respect for technology because you’re in Utah, I’m in Nashville, Tennessee. We wouldn’t be talking in this capacity and getting to see each other if it weren’t for technology. I respect it as a business tool but I’m also aware of the dependency on it in this culture. It can be dangerous to our livelihoods. We have to be, as business owners, smart about it. That’s why I like having physical books.
Let’s talk about that a little bit because this is going even a bit further. I know your time is valuable. I don’t want to take up much time with this but you mentioned getting into Walmart, Barnes & Noble. We have seen of late almost a digital book burning by Amazon. They’ve taken down Alex Berenson, who has been a great source of information during COVID but they want to call it misinformation. I don’t remember the name of the woman who had the book on transgenderism but they removed it, Target removed it. Target brought it back. What do you think about that? You should have a choice of what we read. If we didn’t have a choice, where would porn go?
We’d all be drinking Vanilla. It would just be one flavor. We don’t have a choice and its information. It’s so important to have a reality that’s full of a spectrum of ideas and inside possibilities or opportunities that only exists with a wide spectrum of collaboration because if it becomes too specific pre-chosen and too unified. I think bout JK Rowling, she has been getting a slam fest. There were comments that she had spoken up and then it got snowballed. We’re watching and I always ask, when we talk about it in my company, “Who is making the decision that it’s unpopular?” That’s the bigger question. “Who is making the decision?”
We didn’t all get to raise our hand and take a vote on it. Somebody is making those decisions. Those of us who understand more about the media, it’s funny because in the bifurcation even of family members over this or that, right or wrong or one or the other, which is happening. People are facing that in every possible conversation arrangement. What I can say to be true because I know from my professional experience is the media is run by several conglomerates. I have people who tell me that’s not true. I was like, “It’s true. That is a fact.” We’re down to five big players and on top of those big players, there have been two investment firms that are running it.
Follow the money. That is a fact. People are shocked when they say, “We’re going to cancel somebody or we don’t approve of them,” which shows up as a headline. I will say, “Who’s the who that made that decision. Did you get a say in that vote? Did you cast your vote on it?” Those are specific and driven agendas. I’m a pro-business owner like I am for entrepreneurs. I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a business owner. You’re an entrepreneur, a business owner. Most of my clients are entrepreneurs and business owners. In business owners, there’s a lot of ingenuity. I don’t want people making decisions for things like that.
I’m a big believer that nobody can make me feel anything. I’m responsible for my feelings. No more than I can make you feel something. I’m not responsible for how you feel, Juliet. I would never know how you feel. I cannot be responsible. To hold content responsible for how someone is going to react or respond is like, “When did we become like this?” I’m not responsible for how you feel. I hope you have a good interview with me.
Stay curious, keep moving forward, help support people, and tell their stories.
That’s the craziness that’s been going on from the ‘90s with the political correctness. I read that the CDC has come out with a lineup of inclusive words. I’m going to use the words I want to use. If my words hurt your feelings then you better go figure out why you’re triggered. I’m not a mean person saying mean things but conversely. If you say something that triggers me, I may be mad for a few minutes but then I step back and go, “What about that that she said provoked that reaction because it wasn’t her. It was me.” I wish more people understood that because it would take a lot of anger out of the world. It’s always somebody else’s fault. It’s nobody’s fault but your own.
When it’s somebody else’s fault, you have no power. We’d make it somebody else’s fault. You’ve given up all your own power to change things then you become a victim. It’s funny you say that because I took a call from a business owner of a nail salon. It’s a specific story. She was offended because the woman called her a midget. I totally said, “Ouch. That’s not nice.” Anyway, she canceled going to a wedding. She was in bed the next day, which is telling me this on Tuesday. I’m like, “From a comment, someone made to one Sunday at a nail salon. If they had called you a purple elephant, would you have been as offended?”
She said no. I said, “Why? It’s because you don’t believe you’re a purple elephant.” It’s something that she holds about herself, a judgment she holds about herself about being a petite person. That comment was offensive. She holds that. It says a lot about the person who said it. I’m not saying that at all. We’re getting all mixed up and what’s mine and what’s theirs. When we feel a reaction, that reaction is ours.
Jacquie, I could talk to you all day. We have done that a time or two. Where can people find you if they want to find more? She’s a higher level of what I do. If you have a bigger book, where do we find you to find out more about you and your media training?
If anything in this conversation you want to talk about, I’m open to talking about that, too. I’m curious and I want to live in a place of curiosity. My email is JJordan@TVGuestpert.com. Our company is TVGuestpert.com. We would certainly love to hear from you. Thanks so much. You can follow us on Instagram and Facebook.
It’s good for you still being on social media. I don’t even do it anymore.
That digital dependency, it’s not good for businesses. The fact that you’re not on most of the social media and you’re doing great with your business is a testament to staying in a physicalized reality with a business model. That’s good for you.
Thank you so much.
It was so fun to talk to you.
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About Jacquie Jordan
Jacquie is the founder and CEO of the 15-year-old cutting-edge, media and content development, promotions and booking platform, TVGuestpert that offers full-service promotion, marketing, business strategy and media services for her clients, partners and collaborators, TVGuestpert Publishing – a NY Times Best Selling publishing house, and The Guestpert Academy – an online program offering visibility, media training and TVGuestpert On-Camera Training. She is also a two-time Emmy nominated TV Producer, three-time author and the host of Front & Center with Jacquie Jordan, a broadcast podcast.
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