“You know when you go to a dinner party and you end up chatting to that one person that you didn’t expect to, and you have that really rich conversation that takes you into all sorts of interesting spaces? That’s the voice that I want to have for our authors.” – Lou Johnson

Have you ever thought about writing a book, but you weren’t sure of how to approach a publisher after it was written? In today’s episode of Finding Brave, you’ll not only hear how to do this, but you’ll learn powerful tips and strategies from a top publishing expert on how you can entice great publishers to say “YES!” to your book project.

Lou Johnson is an experienced, dynamic and highly effective business leader with a deep passion for supporting creators, developing people, workplace culture and business performance. She is a well-known publishing industry figure with over twenty-five years of industry experience including senior roles at Random House, Allen & Unwin, and Simon & Schuster, where she was Managing Director between 2010 – 2014, launching her own startup, The Author People and now Publishing Director at Murdoch Books.

In addition, her industry representation includes Vice-Presidency of the Australian Publisher’s Association (2012–2014), Chair of the Book Industry Collaborative Council (BICC) Distribution Expert Reference Group and board membership of The Stella Prize and founding committee member for The Indigenous Literacy Foundation

She has worked on a vast range of books including authors like Rhonda Byrnes, Kate Morton, Elizabeth Gilbert, Khaled Hosseini, Al Gore, Philippa Gregory, Hillary Clinton and JK Rowling.

Lou’s insight on how her company considers submissions by authors, along with the clarity she provides about how best to approach publishers, is invaluable. If you’re an author or an aspiring one, and are confused about the publishing process or losing hope, don’t despair because your message is needed. Listen in here to get the best advice and direction on how to spread your book messages with the world.

Highlights from this Episode:

  • What Lou personally looks for in new book projects for her company [4:28]
  • Her tips and strategies for aspiring authors when approaching a publisher [9:56]
  • The one thing that she says is even more important than having a big platform or audience to speak to [12:32]
  • How a publisher looks at their return on investment for a particular book project [15:40]
  • Why Lou loves the role she has now and some of the lessons she’s learned in her years in the industry [18:12]
  • What responsibilities book publishers have to aspiring authors [20:37]
  • What’s the most valuable part of a traditional publishing company to an author [22:37]
  • The biggest mistakes that Lou sees non-fiction authors wanting a book deal make and the various options that are now available to them [26:22]

For more information:





Resources Mentioned:

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Breakdown, Breakthrough: The Professional Woman’s Guide to Claiming a Life of Passion, Power, and Purpose


“If the author isn’t really clear about why his/her message is worth sharing, then that’s very difficult because it’s a muddy message from the beginning.” [7:22]

“You need to get outside your project yourself because when you’re in it, of course, you lose perspective.” [10:55]

“The vulnerability and the gestation of the idea, that’s really beautiful because that’s true creative process.” [20:48]


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Kathy’s new book The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss shares vital information on the 7 most damaging power gaps that 98% of professional women face and how to overcome them. Boost your power and confidence today!


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