Using the hash tag #twichat, we spent about 30 minutes each night for five nights, talking about writing, publishing, and leadership.
As we went through the Twitter interview, more people joined in the talk, and the conversation eventually went viral.
Here are some of the highlights in chronological order, categorized by day. It’s a bit long, but it was hard to cut down.
Also, I’ve taken some liberties to make the content more readable (like removing hash tags and embedding links into the text). Enjoy!
Interview with Michael Hyatt
Monday, Mar. 21st
JEFF: I know you’re a big blogger. How long have you been blogging? What have you learned from it?
MIKE: About 13 years. Blogging is the best way I know to figure out what I think about a topic. I sometimes say, I don’t know what I think about something until I’ve blogged about it!
J: You’re obviously passionate about leadership. What’s the best piece of leadership advice you’ve ever received?
M: I was told, “You are not as smart as you think, but you have more potential than you can imagine.” This advice was just the balance I needed to avoid pride on the one hand and discouragement on the other.
J: Wow. Are you able to say who dished out that (golden) advice? Or at least when it was given?
M: Yes, it was a speaker I heard in college. At the time, I was pretty full of myself.
Tuesday, Mar. 22nd
J: Who are your heroes?
M: The Bible characters Caleb, Joseph, and David. Then St. Athanasius, Abe Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Lt. Col. Hal Moore. There are probably many, many more, but those are the ones that first come to mind.
Randy Elrod (@randyelrod): My hero is Mike Hyatt!
M: You are my hero, @RandyElrod. Randy is the one who got me on Twitter!
R: Why David?
M: I like David because he expressed the full range of emotions. He was a sinner. And he was a saint. I love his heart.
J: What are the traits of a good leader/hero?
M: I like leaders who are passionate, humble, and courageous. Something about that draws me to these characters.
Hans Schiefelbein (@HSchiefelbein): Regarding heroes/influences, who else in current times had an affect on your leadership style?
M: In current times? @JohnCMaxwell, for sure. @AndyStanley, and @MaryGraham. (I’m probably forgetting 50!)
J: I know you’re a writer. What sort of writing disciplines keep you focused?
M: Before I answer your question, how would YOU answer it?
J: Hmm… Write every day; find inspiration, don’t force it; always be yourself.
M: I’d love to hear from @RandyElrod on this question. What are your writing disciplines, Randy?
R: Reading your consistent blogs brings out the discipline in me. You inspire me! My discipline has been churched out, spanked out, combed out & educated out… but blogging has restored the magic!
Emma Kuhl Pitts (@emmakuhlpitts): Best book you’ve ever read?
M: My favorite book is probably The Stand by Stephen King. (Don’t hate me. King is a guilty pleasure.)
Ladyketo (@ladyketo): How much value do you place on having a niche in blogging?
M: I think a niche is important. Narrow your focus to broaden your audience.
J: I’m reading Stephen King’s On Writing. Not a huge King fan, but I love this! Recommend it for any writer.
M: Yes, I love Stephen King’s On Writing. My next favorite writing book is The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield.
Wednesday, Mar. 23rd
J: I meet a lot of aspiring authors (and am one myself), @michaelhyatt. What advice do you have for them?
J: I would love any links to helpful content you have on this subject, particularly on building a platform.
M: I have written on “Three Reasons Why Authors Must Develop Their Own Platforms” here: https://mhyatt.us/hWstFB.
J: How will that affect the publishing industry with regards to sales and whatnot?
M: Obviously, it is all going digital. I think reading will only grow. I also outline “4 Reasons Why the Sales Growth of e-Books Will Be Slower Than You Think”: https://mhyatt.us/gqUYpg
Thursday, Mar. 24
J: When should an author self-publish versus going through a major publisher?
M: When they can’t get a traditional publishing deal and don’t care about reaching beyond their own platform. One other time is when time-to-market is critical. If the book needs to be out fast, self-publish.
Emma Kuhl Pitts (@emmakuhlpitts): Favorite business book?
M: Probably Good to Great by Jim Collins.
Ines Franklin (@inesfranklin): What is your take on self-publishing ebooks?
M: I am fascinated by it. That’s essentially what I did with Creating Your Personal Life Plan.
J: I’ve heard about hybrid publishers like @WestBowPress. When would you recommend going that route?
M: Hybrid pubs are good when you don’t mind paying for someone to handle the tech stuff. Like hiring a contractor to build a house. By the way, WestBow is a division of Nelson. We just recently offered a WestBow author a Nelson contract.
Jesse Mutzebaugh (@jessemutz): When writing a book, is it good to have in mind self vs company published? Does it make a difference in the end?
M: No, I don’t think it does. You should strive for the same quality.
Ines Franklin: Are e-writers killing the publishing business?
M: No. Anyone offering an e-book for free is getting value. It just isn’t always money.
Rebecca Lyn Phillips (@rlynph): When people ask me about how they can publish their book, are there any other good resources besides the writer’s market?
M: There are too many resources to list. It depends if you want full DIY or “assisted publishing” like WestBow.
J: What about Godin’s @projectdomino?
M: I don’t know enough about Seth’s project yet to have an opinion. I am reading Poke the Box now. I hope to interview him.
Ines Franklin (@inesfranklin): Has Social Media proven to be a reliable platform for new authors? Suffering of write versus post.
M: It’s not either/or, but both/and. You MUST do both. Y0u just have to manage your time.
I: Ugh, I knew you’d say that. Accountability. 🙂
M: Sorry. Being a successful writer is not for the faint of heart. However, social media has leveled the playing field.
Friday, Mar. 25th
J: You’re going to a lot of conferences these days, looking for new authors. What’re you looking for?
M: Basically, authors with a message that resonates with a lot of people. It’s all about the content.
J: What kind of content?
M: It is really hard to generalize. Memoirs are especially big right now. Like Heaven Is for Real.
Elke Speliopoulos (@speli): I am curious what you do when you are approached with topics that might sell well, but are very controversial.
M: We have to take it on a case-by-case basis.
J: What type of messages are the most compelling?
M: Again, I think it is tough to generalize, but ones that are authentic and born of personal experience.
J: Is fiction not selling well these days?
M: Fiction is selling great. It is about 50% of the book market. It is NOT my personal specialty.
Dereck Harvey (@DereckHarvey): On memoirs – Does a great one have to involve the extraordinary?
M: Nope. It just has to be interesting. Don Miller is a great example.
J: Would you publish someone with great content but no platform? Have you before?
M: Yes, we have. Our preference is for authors with great content AND a platform. But content is king. We have had three books on the NYTimes bestseller list in the last year from authors with ZERO platform. It’s possible.
J: Can you say who?
M: Todd Burpo, Eric Metaxas, and Ron Hall and Denver Moore.
Adam Jeske (@acjeske): How do you balance a clear and bold expression of your worldview with appropriate sensitivity, given your platform?
M: Great question. I think by being convinced of your convictions but genuinely interested in others.
J: What’re you reading these days?
M: I usually have several books going. I am re-reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by @DonMillerIs.
Elke Speliopoulos (@speli): It seems all your “big authors” are males. Why is that?
M: I don’t know. We are constantly looking for more female voices. I wish we had more.
Josh Hood (@JoshuaMHood): What up-and-coming Thomas Nelson authors are you excited about that we should check out?
M: I am really excited about @AndyAndrews’ new book and @IanCron’s.
J: What’s your biggest struggle?
M: I think probably fear. That’s why I write so much about it.
If you liked this interview, feel free to share it on Twitter or Facebook and/or link to it from your own blog (you’re welcome to include an excerpt). Also, you may want to consider subscribing to my blog.
Question for the reader: If you could interview anyone, who would you interview?