One of the habits that I would say contributed to my success would be perseverance. No matter what life throws at you, the obstacles that come before you, the health challenges etc. etc. Just deciding not to give up and to press on until the job is done.

Aspart of my series on the “5 Things You Need To Know To Write A Bestselling Book” I had the pleasure of interviewing Jess Tiffany.

Jess Tiffany is an author, speaker, strategist, and marketing consultant. Jess is a #1 International Best Selling Author of his LinkedIn book (Growth Hacking: Strategically Grow Your Business Connections from Zero to 10K in 365 Days). In addition he is Marketing Strategist, C.E.O. of the Marketing and Networking Universityand MNU Digital (A Minneapolis Digital Marketing Agency). Jess enjoys karate with his kids, and is a recovering Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Addict.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?

As a younger person, I always had a passion to share what I had studied and learned with people. In my late teens, I was in the optical industry and had a passion to educate customers how products like anti-glare coatings could solve discomfort while using a computer screen.

When I sold cars, did direct sales, telemarketing long distance service or anything else, I studied. I even remember door-to-door selling or farm-to-farm as I was selling the benefits of agricultural surfactants, I would strive to be the best educated on the products benefits and the problems they solved.

This passion has continued into my current companies. The Marketing and Networking University offers online education for marketers to learn and grow. MNU Digital takes that knowledge and applies it for customers who want more of a done for you solution for all their online business and social marketing needs.

What was (so far) the most exhilarating or fulfilling experience you’ve had as an author?

One of the most fulfilling experiences of being a best-selling author is simply that people that have read my book have come to me and told me the impact that the book has made on their lives or business.

One Chiropractic Doctor told me that his LinkedIn engagements and connections growth increased by 30% after just a few weeks of applying the tips that I gave him in the book.

A young attorney took my advice on a post on LinkedIn and in the few days had over 2500 views of his shared video.

These are the type of reports that make you feel good about sharing your ideas through the medium of a book.

What was the craziest, weirdest, wildest experience you’ve had as a bestselling author?

Driving from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls South Dakota to go drink whiskey, may have been the most interesting experience so far.

It sounds worse than it was. Jeffrey Hayzlett four time New York Times best-selling author, judge on celebrity apprentice, and tons of other accolades, invited me to a whiskey tasting event in South Dakota. So I decided this was a great opportunity for me to meet somebody who has experienced great success in the business world. So I drove 3 ½ hours to get there. After the event, I drove another 3 ½ hours back, in the dark, one speeding ticket, in 10° weather, all because I had another networking meeting I had to be at the next morning at 7:30 AM. It made that next day very long because of my lack of sleep. However, I enjoyed meeting Jeffrey and some of his staff. It was a most memorable experience and I got to meet some really awesome people. I would certainly do it again!

What is the greatest part about being a successful, bestselling author? What is the worst (if anything) part?

I would say one of the best things about being a best-selling author is just the opportunities that it affords you. Just being a CEO nobody really cared to hear me speak too much. As soon as international best-selling author was added to my title all of the sudden I’m a better speaker, or at least more sought after.

The worst part about being a best-selling author is I can’t get my wife to address me as best-selling author Jess Tiffany every day during meals like I would like. Okay just kidding on that one. I have not found too many bad parts yet…

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a bestselling writer?

One of the habits that I would say contributed to my success would be perseverance. No matter what life throws at you, the obstacles that come before you, the health challenges etc. etc. Just deciding not to give up and to press on until the job is done. So much happens in everybody’s lives. For me I have had some health challenges from a car accident couple years ago, and developed diabetes from not taking care of myself like I should. My health challenges are not nearly as bad of a situation as many other people have, but obstacles nonetheless. So it might just be distractions from daily life, perhaps the timing isn’t the best, you have kids in activities that your families are involved with or any other number of excuses that you can’t write your book. Sometimes you just have to choose to get it done and persevere through the challenges.

Which writer or leader has had the biggest impact on you as a writer?

Erik Therwanger is a Marine, businessman, author of five great books and caretaker for his wife during three bouts of cancer. What I might admire most about Erik is his integrity and discipline to just get the job done the matter what it takes, yet he has a soft side full of encouragement that he developed while taking care of his wife.

When I was still early growing Marketing and Networking University, Erik invested some of his time to help me and allowed me to tag along to several of his speaking engagements and to learn from him. One of the most powerful things I gained from working with Erik was learned through a program he runs called the Leadership Link. This program teaches you how to run a company, sell better, and how to run the business successfully keeping employees engaged through the process. Erik is one of the wisest businessmen with integrity that I have ever met and I appreciate all he has done to help me succeed.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a bestselling author? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge for me may disqualify me from being called a “writer.” I am not very fast at typing. Every time I would go to sit down to type to write the book I would keep typing, deleting, and retyping the same sentence over and over again. On top of that I did it on really slowly, because I am just an average with my typing speed. Then I would get discouraged and quit for a while. This kept happening over and over for more than a year.

Finally, one day I remembered a few years previous I had bought Dragon NaturallySpeaking software and never had installed it. So I put the disk in, installed it, and spent a few hours going through all the tutorials I could find.

Once I had everything set up and understood how to use the program I made an outline of the chapters I wanted and I just went for it. The first night I had several thousand words toward the book. Once I was on a roll I just kept going and going and going until the book was done. After that editors fixed all my run on sentences and made the book readable. So you could say I’m more of a bestselling talker converted into writing. It matters more that you complete your project than it is how you got your thoughts into writing.

What challenge or failure did you learn the most from in your writing career?

One failure I had after becoming a best-selling author is not pushing for more reviews on my book. After a period of time the book sales dropped dramatically because of not enough social proof after the initial marketing and promotions. I have found myself having to go back and work on pushing those reviews and needing to almost relaunch the book to keep the momentum going on sales. So for any future authors reading this I would highly suggest you plan for and have a strategy relating to gaining reviews for your books as you are launching for the first time. This will save you a lot of work on the backend of the campaign.

What are the 5 things a writer needs to know if he/she wants to become a bestselling author?

1) One of the things any non-fiction writer needs to know is to get over themselves or their perception of their lack of knowledge.One of the things I struggled with writing my LinkedIn book was the fact that other people have written on the topic before me. What I needed realize is no one did it exactly the way I did it. I needed to realize that it didn’t matter if someone else knew more than I did about the topic because, I know more about the topic than the mass majority of the audience that are going read my book. I needed to realize that my skills and my knowledge would be helpful and solve problems for many of the readers, and at the end of the day that’s what’s going to matter.

2) Done is better than perfect.As I was going through the writing process and getting closer to the launch date of the book I kept finding myself editing and rewriting sections of content, adding new content, as well as researching what other content I could add into the book. The truth is if I didn’t just finish the job I could keep editing that manuscript for years. Getting the job done and sharing it with the world is better than having a perfectly written book.

3) Books don’t generally just sell themselves.Many writers think that once the book is written that their job is done. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The book needs marketing to take wings. Getting to the bestseller list generally is going to take strategy and a well executed marketing plan to propel the book to the top of the sales lists.

4) Everyone judges the book by its cover.It is just a fact that you need your book to look good even when it’s the size of a postage stamp on the website. The reality is when people are shopping for a book they are looking at just a small little image with some text to decide whether it is worth investigating further. Your job is to make your postage stamp sized book picture look more appealing than anyone else’s.

5) The book is just the beginning of the adventure.What you will find is that authors will generally make more money from what comes after the book. Speaking opportunities, book signings and business referrals will be the main income generating results from your book’s success.

What are you most excited to work on next? Most excited to read next? 

The things that I am most excited about going forward would be our LinkedIn mastermind group that we will be launching in 2019 to help busy executives and professionals strategically grow their business network, creating a passive marketing funnel to increase opportunities leads and revenue. The second thing would be setting up joint ventures with successful entrepreneurs like Jeffrey Hayzlett and other highly successful business owners in order to leverage opportunities of mutual benefit.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I enjoy volunteering at a non-profit here in Minneapolis called Feed My Starving Children which sends food packages to needy families around the world. I would like to see them have an even more massive impact throughout the world.

Anything else you’d like to add? 

One regret, that I am turning around, is not setting aside time to stay in shape. When you neglect time for yourself in order to work more you end up getting less work done. I highly recommend not going down that path. It is easier to do it right from the beginning than trying to correct the path later. Trust me it is harder to lose weight than it is to gain, at least that has been my experience.

Thank you so much for these great insights!


  • Sara Connell

    Bestselling Author & Writing Coach

    Sara Connell is an author and writing coach with a private practice in Chicago. She has appeared in Oprah, Good Morning America, NPR, The View and Katie Couric. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Tri-Quarterly, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, IO Literary Journal, and Psychobabble. Her first book Bringing In Finn was nominated for ELLE magazine Book of the Year.