Is Self-Publishing the Future of the Literary Landscape? Startup Founder Lyda Mclallen Thinks So
Lyda Mclallen, Founder of Talk+Tell, is on a mission to help authors publish books that sell, while remaining in alignment with their goals and vision.
The focus of Talk+Tell’s services is to loop PR and marketing directly into the book publishing process, with the intent of yielding more sales and reaching a larger audience. In contrast to the traditional world of publishing, Talk+Tell is dedicated to debunking the myth that self-publishing equates to lower quality and less prestige. Through Talk+Tell’s unique process, they hope to turn more authors into thought leaders and books into bestsellers.
We asked Lyda about the most meaningful impacts Talk+Tell has seen so far, what sets them apart from traditional publishers, and the advice she would give her younger self.
Q: What problem does Talk+Tell solve?
A: We turn writers into published authors and help them bring value to a wider audience. Our goal is to supercharge our authors’ impact and positively change as many lives as possible. Each author is unique, and our services are tailored to their needs, strengths, and goals.
We also help our authors turn their writing into a profitable career by passing along the higher profits that come with self-publishing, while providing the same high standards associated with traditionally published books. In other words, we offer them the best of both worlds.
Q: What are some of the most meaningful impacts Talk+Tell has had so far?
A: The books that Talk+Tell puts out into the world are the biggest impact we’ve had. This is the No. 1 reason we’re doing this. We want to amplify voices that make positive change in the world. A story can hold an incredible amount of power and, when published, can impact and change lives. For example, we published an incredibly inspiring memoir entitled Finding Myself, by former WNBA player and coach Crystal Robinson. She was born into poverty to two alcoholic parents and struggled with her sexuality in the Bible Belt, but managed to become a basketball legend. Who wouldn’t be inspired by that story?
Now, media outlets like Greatist are also inspired by her story and are sharing it with an even wider audience. Her reach keeps on growing, and it’s amazing to see unfold.
Q: What makes Talk+Tell different from others?
A: Right now, we are at a pivotal point in the industry. It’s never been harder to publish traditionally. Traditional publishers have a lot of gatekeepers, such as agents. And when looking to acquire books, they think of their bottom line almost exclusively, which leaves out any voices that would not appeal to the lowest-common denominator.
On the other hand, it’s never been easier to self-publish. Literally, you can just upload your unedited PDF on Amazon, and you’ve self-published a book. But that comes at the expense of quality. In 2018, the number of self-published titles jumped to 40 percent. That’s a huge figure! So how do you stand out in such an oversaturated market?
That’s where we come in. We help self-published authors cut through the noise by making sure that they will be noticed by their target audience through effective PR campaigns. Every day, we work tirelessly to fight against the idea that self-publishing automatically means lower quality and prestige. When you look at the facts, self-publishing is the future of publishing, because it embraces diverse voices that are not being heard by traditional publishers.
Q: We dare you to brag: What achievements are you most proud of?
A: One of our proudest accomplishments of 2021 was publishing Finding Myself by Crystal Robinson, not only because it’s such an inspiring book, but because of what it allowed Crystal to do. She was able to launch a successful career as a motivational speaker in the realms of leadership, education, and emotional intelligence. Last spring, she was interviewed for a piece by Greatist about inspirational stories from LGBTQ+ role models. The piece was sponsored by the Trevor Project, which fights for suicide prevention among LGBTQ+ youth.
The fact that we had a part in putting together such an important piece, for such an important cause, is what we are doing this for. When it comes down to it, our proudest achievements are our authors’ proudest achievements. We are just in the background, working on building opportunities for them to share their important messages, and amplifying their positive impact on the world.
Q: How do you celebrate successes along the way?
A: We celebrate the minor and the big wins every week with our authors. At every meeting, we go over what has been successful, and we determine the next steps that will amplify those successes. Our authors, their stories, their books, and their wins are our successes too. We have so much pride in our authors, and every meeting with them is an opportunity for celebration.
Q: What would you tell your younger self if you were to start your entrepreneurial journey all over again?
A: I would tell my younger self, first and foremost, to trust my intuition rather than follow paths laid by others. My passions and my innate skills have gotten me much further than following the blueprints and the safe routes that other people set up.
I would also tell myself that my definition of success will change as I go forward—and that’s perfectly normal! In fact, it’s a good thing. Priorities change over time, and that is just a natural part of growth.
Finally, I would say there is so much truth in the saying, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Dreaming big is super important, but if you don’t lay out the baby steps it takes to get to the dream, you’re going to get overwhelmed, and you’re going to get lost.
Lyda is a member of Dreamers & Doers, a private collective that amplifies the entrepreneurial pursuits of extraordinary women through thought leadership opportunities, authentic connection, and access. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and subscribe to their monthly The Digest for top entrepreneurial and career resources.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.