Behind the Scenes of Book Writing

Have I mentioned lately that I wrote a book?

Well, three other authors and I recently spoke on a virtual panel to bring you behind the scenes of the book-writing process!

We each shared our various book journeys, paths to publishing, and how our books fit into our business goals. It’s a great chance to learn from authors at different stages—from first-timers (like me!) to multi-book authors.


A few things key takeaways from our conversation:

Set Clear Goals and Expectations

Emily Crookston and Jessica Lackey emphasize the importance of setting specific goals for book sales and audience-building. Emily’s target is to sell 2,000 copies, with 1,000 in the first year, while Jessica is focused on making her book the go-to resource for entrepreneurs.


Embrace Imperfection and Iteration

Perfectionism can be a significant barrier in the writing process. Andres Marquez-Lara and Sara Lohse discuss the value of embracing imperfect action and being open to iterations. Andres even utilized Chat GPT to fill gaps and adjust his schedule to prioritize writing.


Build an Audience Early

Sara Lohse advises aspiring authors to start talking about their book early in the process. Building an audience through social media, podcasts, and email lists can create a dedicated group of supporters and potential customers who will help promote the book upon its release.


Balance Writing with Business

Managing a business while writing a book can be challenging. The panel offers various strategies, from setting word count goals to scheduling dedicated writing time. Emily Crookston suggests writing weekly, while Jessica Lackey prefers long, concentrated writing blocks.


Overcome Imposter Syndrome

The emotional aspect of writing a book is significant. Andres Marquez-Lara and Emily Crookston share their experiences of battling imposter syndrome and emphasize that success is not a limited resource. Supporting oneself and not comparing to others is crucial.


Watch the recording now and let me know where, if at all, you are in the book writing journey!

Erin Braford [00:00:00]:
Sell complex services. Oh, yes. Thank you. We’re recording for posterity. I help people who sell complex services get really simple messaging so that it’s easier for them to do their sales and and marketing. Andres, is one of my clients, and so he’s thumbs upping. So that’s an endorsement. And I partner on activities like this with Emily.

Erin Braford [00:00:23]:
Emily Crookston, you wanna give a quick intro to yourself, also a panelist?

Emily Crookston [00:00:28]:
Sure. Thanks. Yeah. I’m Emily Crookston. My company is The Pocket PhD. I am a ghostwriter. I help people write books and sell their books to help them grow their businesses. So we write business books for folks.

Emily Crookston [00:00:40]:
And I have a couple of contractors who work with me also to do some of the smaller bits of writing that are also part of selling growing and selling your business and selling your book.

Erin Braford [00:00:51]:
Yeah. And so Emily and I are both you know, in our worlds, we spend all of our time helping really, really smart people get their ideas out into the world, so they can make the impact they wanna make, so they can move the needle in their business, so they can change our culture, whatever the big idea is. And so we come together on that umbrella. And so we really, are excited to present today, some authors who are in different stages of the journey and who are gonna share some of their insights and experiences. Part of this is, like, demystify the book writing experience. Part of this is why might you wanna write a book book in the first place for your business. And just also, like, let’s get inspired by hearing other, business owners who have, you know, chosen this path, as one of their channels for getting their big idea out into the world. So we’re really excited to have everyone here.

Erin Braford [00:01:43]:
I’m gonna have the panelists introduce themselves in just a minute. But just to kick us off, I am really quickly putting this as a informal poll into the we just wanna understand who’s in the room. And so if you are I wanna see who’s here. I put you can put a number 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 to answer the question. So what is sort of like, where are you in the book writing journey? If you are thinking about writing a book, share in the chat. Are you just here because you’re curious and you’re not really sure if you’ll ever write a book? Do you have a book in you but no plan? You’re already writing your draft. You’re already publishing and or maybe you’re just, like, on your second plus book. Andres.

Erin Braford [00:02:27]:
Yes. Okay. No. That’s it. Good. Oh, look at us. We’ve got some advanced advanced book writers here, who are excited and curious about how others are doing it. That’s what I’m assuming about you.

Erin Braford [00:02:41]:
So if that’s not it, go ahead and you can correct my assumption. Cool. Well, great. Glad to have you all here. Okay. So let’s jump into introducing our panel, and I am gonna I’ll put Emily on the spot first because she knew it was coming, and then we’ll go we’ll do Emily, Andres, Sara, and then Jessica, just so you know what’s up.

Emily Crookston [00:03:04]:
Awesome. Good to see everybody. Thanks for coming. Yes. Emily Crookston, like I said, my company is The Pocket PhD. We’re ghostwriters. We help people write and sell their books, business books, business owners. I my first book is about to come out in the fall.

Emily Crookston [00:03:18]:
I was just saying I wish I had a publication date to share or release date, but I don’t. But it is coming soon and, yeah, it’s at the printer, and I should have a copy of it in my hand very soon. And, yeah, I’m super excited, to see what it can do for my business. So I’m about to jump in and experiment

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:03:46]:
Hi, Hi, everybody. My name is Andres Marquez Lara.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:03:48]:
I’m the founder and CEO of Evacelitate, and we help purpose driven groups deal with the messy human stuff, the conflict, the miscommunication, the egos, the things that get in the way of collaboration. We help them collaborate and align towards, be able to to do that better. I wrote my book because I believe the 21st century needs new types of leaders, leaders that can facilitate, leaders that can be in tune with the emotional elements, not just the analytical parts. And I wrote it as basically to do business development, and that has was it has served its purpose.

Erin Braford [00:04:15]:
Oh, yay. We’re gonna talk more about that. Okay. Sara?

Sara Lohse [00:04:21]:
Hi. I’m Sara Lohse. I’m the president of Favorite Daughter Media, and we use creative marketing and media strategies to help businesses connect on a really personal level with their audiences. And my first book just released in April. It is Open This Book, The Art of Storytelling for Aspiring Thought Leaders, and it just won an award last week. So I’m still kind of excited about

Emily Crookston [00:04:46]:
that. Okay.

Erin Braford [00:04:48]:
Can’t wait to hear more. Alright. And, Jessica.

Jessica Lackey [00:04:54]:
My name is Jessica Lackey located in Charlotte, North Carolina. My business is helping, expertise based businesses implement the foundational systems for growth and scale, and I’m writing a book that is, trying to in the middle of writing it, demystify some of the myths were sold about building an online business and provide alternative solutions to, some of the business decisions we face as we grow.

Erin Braford [00:05:20]:
Great. Excellent. So would you call that manuscript? Because that’s what I or, like, what do you call that at this stage? Draft, manuscript, Jessica?

Jessica Lackey [00:05:27]:
I’m in pre manuscript according to my publisher.

Erin Braford [00:05:30]:
Okay. Good. See? We’re getting fancy. Real words. Steps in a process. That’s good to know. Okay. Pre manuscript.

Erin Braford [00:05:38]:
Excellent. Alright. So I’m gonna dive in, and we will have the panelists. I’d love each of us to take 2 minutes to sort of dig into this just sort of intro question. I want to understand a little bit about your process for writing the book. How did you come to it, and what, you know, what is it that is guiding you in terms of getting it done? Like, is there a deadline, a timeline, or what did you do to approach writing your book, yeah, that we can learn from? What was your approach? Jessica, I’ll come back to you and just get get have you kick us off.

Jessica Lackey [00:06:20]:
So I didn’t know I had a book at me. I wanted to be writing more as, like, a practice. The whole adage writing sharpens your thinking, sharpens your writing, sharpens your thinking. And when I started writing, with, I had a book coach, writing coach, I started getting really the more I started ranting and the more I started tapping in, the more I was like, there’s no like, the book I needed to read isn’t out there, so why don’t I go write it? So I’ve been working on writing the book for, like, a year. Some people write once they’ve gone through what they’ve gone through. It’s like a retrospective, and I’m more like, what do I need to go explore? Because I haven’t read anything that tackles it. So why don’t I go tackle it and then write it down?

Erin Braford [00:07:07]:
Oh, I love that. That is such a nugget right there. Like, what do I need to be exploring right now? Yes. Thank you for sharing that. Very cool. I’m gonna go Andres, Sara, Emily.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:07:20]:
Sure. So in the summer of 2019, I started writing my book, and it was all about how facilitation is a modern day ritual. And I was trying to really kind of because facilitation is a bad rap. People don’t know what it is it, and I believe the way it’s done, it can be quite powerful. As we’re seeing here, Aaron, masterfully facilitate this. Right? Like, there’s an element of connection that comes from skilled facilitators. And so I started writing this book through a program at Georgetown called Manuscripts, and it was designed for working professionals to kind of get this done. And we were in the guinea pigs, we’re in the beta phase and 40,000 words, manuscript approved, the pandemic hits, and then I start getting all these, questions in my head.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:07:59]:
Like, who the hell am I to write about what it means to be human? I don’t have a PhD in theology. I don’t really think about rituals. So I’ve been imposter syndrome, which is, like, eating me alive. And I had the convenient excuse that the pandemic, oh, we have a gold pandemic. I gotta work now. So let me put this book aside. And so I told myself, you know what? It’s gonna it’s gonna simmer on slow for a little while, let it kind of cook and develop. And at some point, I’ll pick it back up.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:08:22]:
Fast forward to 2023, April 2023, I come across chat g p t, and I start playing with it. And I’m surprised by how actually good it is in getting some responses. It’s, like, 80% accurate for the things I’m asking it. Right? So I thought it was, oh, what if I was to finish my book with the help of Chad GPT? Right? And so I gave myself the challenge to say, let me write a book in a month, and let me kinda see what I can use from the my manuscript, plus also let me learn from the things I learned from the how how not to do it in 2019 and apply that. So last year, April, I gave myself a 30 day challenge to write my book. I did it publicly on LinkedIn. I was posting every day about what I was doing or not doing. May was the time to the to the design layout, and on June 8th last year.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:09:05]:
So about a year ago, I published it. So so, yeah, that’s that. And so that’s my story about my book writing.

Erin Braford [00:09:12]:
I love it. So I like that it was also paired with this, like, imposter syndrome. You had the risk. It felt like if this thing’s sitting on the shelf, like, just not getting out. Right? And so you put yourself to a challenge to say, great. I’ve done some of the deep thinking. I’m hearing I’m feeling this barrier. Here’s an enablement tool.

Erin Braford [00:09:29]:
Let’s climb let’s just get over

Sara Lohse [00:09:31]:

Erin Braford [00:09:31]:
And you and you are you know what motivates you. A little bit of a challenge, a little game there.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:09:36]:
And I’ll just add, Erin, quickly that for me also, I lowered the barrier. It wasn’t to change humanity or whatever. It was like, I just want a free collateral that I can give people that when they ask you something, here’s a free book. And so you can go to my website, and we’ll put it later on. You can just download it for free. You ask me my newsletter and hope I mean, I think it’s good. Hopefully, you get something out of it, but it’s free. And so that’s that’s kind of what I thought.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:09:56]:
I also reframed my expectations, which helped a lot.

Erin Braford [00:09:59]:
Huge. Great point. Wonderful. Okay. What did I say? Sara? Yes, please. How about you talk to us about your book journey?

Sara Lohse [00:10:07]:
Yeah. I never thought I would write a book. I think I actually said I will never write a book. I’ve been a writer my whole life, but had no intention of ever being an author. But I was on a publisher, and he said that I need to write a book. So I was like, I listen to directions. So I I’ll write a book. And a lot of it was honestly being really young in the fields that I’ve been in, and having been successful in my career very at a very young age, and then just leaving it.

Sara Lohse [00:10:43]:
I wanted to kind of prove that I could do something that I didn’t think I could do, so it was a lot of imposter syndrome. I have a whole chapter in the book about imposter syndrome. Not so much how to get past it because I haven’t figured it out yet, but there’s some information. But I just wanted to be able to say I did it. So the whole process itself is really fluid. I started with the outline and then changed it at least once a month. I changed the entire direction several times and basically learned that the book is gonna write itself almost. And if you try too hard to direct it in certain ways, you’re trying to fit your original idea, but it’s not gonna connect.

Sara Lohse [00:11:31]:
So I let it kind of go where it wanted to go and then wrapped it all up together when it got there.

Erin Braford [00:11:38]:
So interesting. And so do you feel like when you like, as the thread sort of you kept pulling the threads as they would as it were, and then you could see kind of look back and see what the the structure was to be or the main message was having gotten kind of through the the bulk of it?

Sara Lohse [00:11:54]:
Yeah. I think so. And I think if you read it, you can tell I have ADHD because I would add chapters based on which rabbit hole the last chapter sent me down. I didn’t think there was gonna be a chapter on impostor syndrome, but it was kind of me talking to myself for that chapter. There’s chapters on one chapter, taking her perspectives. And I just as I fell down different rabbit holes, I added more content because the amount that I learned about the subject while writing about the subject, I added more content because the amount that I learned about the subject while writing about it, I just had to keep writing and keep writing because I just kept learning so much.

Erin Braford [00:12:31]:
I love this point that you and Jessica both made about and I’m sure, Andres, this was your experience too. But, like, the deeper you dig into the thing you’re trying to communicate or learn about, the more you’re you’re just following your own passion at that point and putting words to paper or to paper, to to screen as it were. Cool. Emily, how about you? Tell us about your approach to the book writing. How’d you get here?

Emily Crookston [00:12:54]:
Yeah. So, I have been wanting to write a book for years, and I started writing several books. I have probably 2 books, like, 75% of the way finished somewhere on my computer. And I found this thing called Brainstorm Road. It’s Margo Aaron. If anybody knows her, she’s somehow related to Seth Godin, but she has this program called Brainstorm Road, which is really cool. But the idea is that you’re gonna practice for 10 minutes a day. You’re gonna ship every week.

Emily Crookston [00:13:25]:
So it’s kind of an accountability program. So I joined that in the spring of last year, like around March, and I said, okay. It’s a 6 month program. I’m gonna take 6 months and figure out my book idea. And then I got on a call with a good friend of mine and she was like, what are you talking about? Your book idea is how to write a business book. You’re gonna write a book about how to write a business book. You’re a ghostwriter. Like, that’s obviously the the topic and I said, I don’t wanna write a book about writing.

Emily Crookston [00:13:53]:
There’s so many books out there about writing. But then, you know, I listened to her and I sat down and I started writing. And the book, like, fell out of my brain in 2 months. So I wrote it very quickly in the spring last year. She and I, this good friend, went to the beach for a retreat and I finished the book on the retreat. Yes. And she was starting a book. And then, you know, then from there, it was a process of finding a publisher and and figuring out how I wanted to put it out into the world.

Emily Crookston [00:14:20]:
But, yeah, that that was that was the journey for me. I’m I might pick those other 2 books up at some point to revisit them and see, but it was really fun. I was I was you know, I I realized, oh, I do have something to say about this topic.

Erin Braford [00:14:34]:
Yeah. Nice. Good. Well, that’s a perfect segue, right, into kind of understanding when you now whether it was now or your number one goal for the book. So, Emily, I’ll just let you answer, and then we’ll can popcorn back the other direction, Sara, Andres, and Jessica.

Emily Crookston [00:14:50]:
Yeah. Yeah. So my number one goal so I’m not I’m like a lot of people writing business books, I’m not looking to be a best seller. That’s not the number of books I sell is not a big deal to me, but I I also don’t see it as just a business card. A lot of people talk about business books as being, oh, it’s just something you’re gonna give away. You’re never going to sell it, so just don’t even worry about book sales. Mhmm. I have a goal really of selling 2,000 books.

Emily Crookston [00:15:16]:
I’ve ordered 2,000 books from the printer. That’s that’s what I wanna sell. I like to sell a 1,000 in the 1st year, and I think that’s a really good goal for first time authors to have, business book authors in particular. If you like, I’m trying to build an audience of about a 1000 people, so selling a 1000 books seems like the right move for me. So that’s my number one goal, really to get my name out there and find you know, meet prospects where they are, that kind of thing.

Erin Braford [00:15:41]:
So it’s not about necessarily, like, the profit on those 1,000 books. You’re not looking to inject cash into your business, but you’re saying that is how I know I’m building my platform Yes. Exactly. The message out. Great. Very

Emily Crookston [00:15:52]:
cool. Yep.

Erin Braford [00:15:53]:
Sara, how about you? What what was your you you lived up to the challenge. You got the book out. What how does it fit into your business strategy?

Sara Lohse [00:16:03]:
Yeah. The book is meant for people who wanna be thought leaders, and I’ve been kind of in that thought leader space for a while. I speak on podcast conferences and all of that. So, originally, I just wanted to write it for credibility because having your name on a book is instant credibility, and that is really powerful for growing your business. So I honestly did start it kind of to be that business card. Just I wanted to be able to say, like, oh, well, I wrote a book about this.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:16:33]:

Sara Lohse [00:16:33]:
And I didn’t expect it to grow to more than that, but it ended up being a really personal project. And it’s about storytelling and how to tell stories to grow as a professional, but I taught it using my own stories. So it almost became a memoir, and writing it was like a really, like, kind of cathartic experience. So that part ended up being, like, a really pleasant surprise. But part of it, as far as the business piece, it is meant to kinda be a precursor into working with me. I wrote it very personally. Everyone who’s read it has said that it sounds like you’re just telling me these stories because I write it very authentically and in my own voice. So I want people to read it and feel like they know me so that if they wanna work with me, they already know what to expect.

Sara Lohse [00:17:28]:
And then I know that they wanna work with me because of me and not just they’re looking for someone who does what I do.

Erin Braford [00:17:35]:
100%. I love that. You know, talk as a marketing person, one of the things I work with my clients on is helping them understand that whatever we do before that sales conversation, like, you don’t want anyone getting to that point and being surprised at what they’re receiving when they’re on a call with you. Right? You want them to know how you sound, how what kind of covenants or promises you’re making to them. Like, what what is it that what about your energy that is attracting them to you specifically? And that’s part of that, like, wall helping them self qualify. So I love that you said that and that in writing in your own voice, they know what they’re getting when they come and work with you and hop on a a business development call or hire you for a speaker, event. Excellent. Andres?

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:18:21]:
Yeah. For me, it was 100% BD. I mean, I had seen that people had these, like, ebooks that were 10 pages long. I was like, I can do that. And so the key was, like, given my experience writing the book in the beginning the first place, which was so cumbersome. As I went down the rabbit holes, I was questioning, like, what does it mean to be human? Like, these, like, big philosophical arguments that I wasn’t going to be writing about. I was like, well, what have I done? What like, I found myself what have I done that’s very concrete that I can say backwards and forwards? And it turns out that I teach at Georgetown, a leadership development class. It’s a 5 day long class.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:18:52]:
I have a super structured. I have, you know, a 500 PowerPoint presentation that I know the whole flow. And I said, well, let’s make the book about that. Let me just kind of put that in a book in a format where I’m basically paraphrasing this class. I’m adding a couple stories here and there. I also was inspired by the artist, steal like an artist by Austin Kleon. So I want it’s super, like, graphic and visual, and I wanted to make it, like, my kind of deep spiritual kind of, you know, style of of leadership. And so, basically, I gave myself a challenge to just do that with then 10 of again, giving away for free.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:19:27]:
I had no expectations to how many people are gonna download it. And, as of today, we’ve I’ve been down at, like, 462 times. But the main thing is that it it it it did what it accomplished. I got my 1st keynote last year, paid me $5,000 to speak in front of a 150 people. Those engagements can sales can maybe lead me to 5, 600 contracts. A person in Vietnam found my book out of the blue, hired us to do a training in DC, and he paid us, like, $4,000. I did a book tour, and I got another so, like, I think the book is free, but we’ve the revenue has come in as maybe 20, $3,000 from the engagements. And what happens is I find myself, on calls on Zoom.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:20:04]:
I’m always very generous with the knowledge framework. So, hey, have you heard about this? Have you done that? 90% of the things I tend to share with people turns out they’re in my book. So I end up saying, hey, here’s my book chapter 5. That’s what I’m talking about. So it actually also is a way for me to just give people things for free, but it’s also an established credibility, seem, you know, building relationships, build trust. And, yeah, that’s how I mean, it’s it’s doing what it was intended to do, so I’m happy about that.

Erin Braford [00:20:31]:
Yeah. I love that. You know, and being able to point people back to that thing, like, we’re on a call. I gave you this great advice. They’re nodding their head. Like, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Erin Braford [00:20:38]:
Anyway no. But, actually, here it is also, so don’t forget. It’s just a great kind of sandwich, if you will, approach to to making an impression. Love it. Jessica.

Jessica Lackey [00:20:49]:
So like everyone else in the call, the reason I wanna write the book was business development, but, also, there’s very few systems focused business books written by women. So I really have this, like

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:21:05]:

Jessica Lackey [00:21:05]:
This like, when someone’s like, oh, what? Like, new entrepreneur or growing entrepreneur, what book should I read? Everyone, like, hands them profit first. And I’m like, why don’t I want them to hand them my book. I want my book to be the one that’s, like, secretly passed around that’s, like, everyone’s go to book, because it’s, that’s my secret, that’s my secret passion. One of my colleagues, Paul, wrote a book. And on the strength of, like, word-of-mouth and Ali Abdaal’s YouTube video shout out about it, he sold 50,000 copies, because it, like, hit a nerve, and everyone’s like, oh, I know someone

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:21:44]:
that needs to read this. So I want my secretly want my book to be, like, when someone

Jessica Lackey [00:21:44]:
reads it, they tell, like, 5 people about it.

Erin Braford [00:21:45]:
Yeah. I love that I love that as a test as well. You know? Even if you’re when you’re in premarket or, like, Emily was talking about sort of presale sales being important. You know, how could you give some of that away to some of those people and say, can you think of a people? Like, could who who comes to mind right away? And being able to do that little bit of market research and and and know that it’s resonating in that way or be able to tweak it if it’s not. You know what I mean? I I love that as a test as well. It’s a good secret ambition. I appreciate that. Very good.

Erin Braford [00:22:19]:
Okay. So, actually and this was not my intention, but, Jessica, I think you’re the you and Emily are very fresh in this right in this moment. You’re writing the book while also taking business development calls and running your business. So I’m gonna let you answer and then Emily, and then we’ll we’ll go back to the other panelists to see if they remember how that felt to write the book while doing business, actually still having to run your business?

Jessica Lackey [00:22:44]:
It’s helping the book because, again, like, I’m in the exploration mode. So what I’m learning from running the business is informing what goes in the book.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:22:55]:
I will say that, like, I’m I’m closing in on the end

Jessica Lackey [00:22:58]:
of the first draft. Like, all of the all of the sections now have words in them, and they’re not just bullets anymore.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:23:05]:

Jessica Lackey [00:23:05]:
But yet, what I have noticed is that there’s, a significant maturation in my voice and my tone and my knowledge from, like, the the some of the sections I wrote, like, 12 months ago. Part of me somewhat wishes that, like, the time frame was compressed, but, like, I’ve I use the book to write my newsletters, to inform my offers, to get more clients. So, like, the book is, like, the central part of my funnel, so there’s just pieces of it that, like, I will have to go back and draft 2. So it’s turning out to be a much longer process, but it’s not siloed. The book is informing. The business is informing. The book is informing the business, and all parts of the marketing are part of it.

Erin Braford [00:23:49]:
Yeah. I think in from kind of a if you traditional content marketing sort of space, you usually start with your big long form piece. Right? And you or or and there’s kind of 2 ways about that with a book. 1, you can build up on the way to writing the book, so all of your blogs. And just like Andres, you had that you know, your presentation, your it was already built, and so you’ve got this long form content that you’ve thought deeply through and can bring someone through. And so spread it out, share it, get validation on some of those ideas, make some of them better, write the book, and now it’s in a portable You know, they don’t have to follow the whole blog journey, so to speak. It’s all it’s all captured. Then there’s the other side of it where now we have the book, and you can write your great ideas and then point back to page and chapter and blog that you wrote and sort of how you’ve refined your thinking.

Erin Braford [00:24:36]:
And so having that anchor piece from a traditional content marketing idea is is is great. You’ve done a lot so much of the thinking and organized your thoughts that now you can break it apart and disseminate. So I really like I really like that. Emily, I’m gonna jump to you. I think one of the reasons we wanted to talk about this is because I think there’s a myth, and you can speak to this as a ghostwriter, that you it’s just you have to, like, take a break for 4 months to go or 12 months to go, write a book. Right? So go ahead and speak to that, Emily, and and kind of how you’re doing it simultaneously.

Emily Crookston [00:25:09]:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think it’s a really good question. And what, Jessica and Andres have shared shows a really good strategy for writing a book while you’re running a business, which is that, you know, you can you can write as you’re running the business. You could I mean, we all write our books kind of in the cracks and crevices of of running our businesses. And I think one big mistake that people make is exactly what you said, Erin. It’s like thinking of the book as this, like, years long project and, you know, to really get it over the finish line, you’re gonna need a pandemic or you’re gonna need a sabbatical. Right? The the something that would take away all of the 40 hours a week that you’re spending on your business or 60 hours a week, that you’re spending on your business so that you can just plow through and and get to the end.

Emily Crookston [00:25:59]:
And so one of the things that really helps me a lot and, you know, I write books for my clients in 4 months, and so I use the same kind of use the same kind of process for myself when I wrote my book, but I really love word count goals. Mhmm. And I like to do weekly word count goals rather than daily. So daily always stresses me out. But if it’s a weekly goal, then, okay, maybe I cram all that

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:26:21]:
writing into one day of

Emily Crookston [00:26:21]:
my week because that’s the day I don’t have any meetings or whatever. Hit those, you know, you’ll get to the end of having a draft really pretty quickly. You’ll be surprised how quickly it works. And to figure out what a good word count goal is for yourself, you do some timed writing. Like, you have to know how long it takes you to write some number of words, so that you can have a realistic deadline set. But I always tell people just get to the first draft as quickly as you can because then you can spend as much time as you want editing. You’ll feel so good once you have a full draft. But yeah.

Emily Crookston [00:27:00]:
I mean, the the struggle is real. You’ve gotta you’ve gotta it’s gotta work in within your business and, you know, I all trades goes to the people who can write on the weekends because that’s just not doesn’t happen for me. I really have to make that time within my workday, to work on my book. So yeah.

Erin Braford [00:27:17]:
Yeah. Sara, how about you? You were writing your book, and running your business and speaking and doing these things. How did it how did you do? Was it fitting in the cracks? Was it dedicated time? What was your approach?

Sara Lohse [00:27:29]:
So Emily made a lot of great suggestions. I did none of them. Uh-huh. I there were some days that I would binge write until 5 o’clock in the morning, and then several months that I forgot I was writing a book, and then repeat the process. So it was very chaotic. And it was interesting though, because I would be learning more things as I’m writing it. And it’s kind of like when you see someone for the first time, you suddenly see them everywhere. Suddenly, these things that I’m learning more about are coming

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:28:02]:
up in all of my conversations and prospect

Sara Lohse [00:28:02]:
meetings and stuff. So I get to sound really smart, Even though like, I just learned this at 6 o’clock this morning, when I was supposed to be sleeping. So that part was really interesting and really any, like, word count goals, anything. I had originally set a deadline. And that was a mistake because I reached that deadline. And I so I was like, I’m gonna have my book finished by this time. And then that came, and it wasn’t finished. So I wrote it in a night.

Sara Lohse [00:28:44]:
And I was like, okay. I’m done. And I told my publisher I was done, and I sent it to him. And then I reread it, and I was like, don’t open the email. This is crap. Do not. And I realized what I was trying to do was just make a deadline and not make a difference. And I really wanted to at this point, I was so emotionally invested in it.

Sara Lohse [00:29:05]:
It wasn’t just a business card anymore. So I really wanted it to be something that could make a difference and that I would be proud of. So I had to tell him that his deadline is not happening, and I will let him know when I’m ready. And my deadline was, I think, August, and my book was done in April. So not exactly on schedule, but if I had released the book I had originally said I had finished, I would have been probably really embarrassed. And the book that I did release, I am very proud of.

Erin Braford [00:29:37]:
Excellent. Yeah. I love that. I mean, you’ve had to push it back because you need it. I love the make a difference, not a not the deadline. You said it better. It’s in the recording. We’ll quote you.

Erin Braford [00:29:46]:
But, I but I think, the opportunity or the the fact that it was available to you, that you felt like this was something worth standing up for and just pushing a pause on is also okay. Like, making a plan and iterating from the plan is fine. It’s when we you know, you had a deadline, so you at least knew what you were kind of, you know, shifting away from and why. And I know it’s really easy to beat ourselves up when we do those things, but I think to your point, you know, you ended up with an award winning book because you did what you felt like was right for what it needed to be in the world, and I appreciate that so much. It’s a great lesson to keep in mind. And then, Andres, we know that you set yourself a 30 day goal. Did it work?

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:30:32]:
Yeah. I mean, I the thing is, like, what helped me is, like, I’m a recovering perfect I’m a recovering perfection perfectionist. So, you know, what helped me is, like, just knowing that this book will never be finished. You know? This will never be finished to the extent that I want it to be. And once I embrace it, I said, f it. You know, like, I’m just going to go and and do this thing, and and it’ll be good enough. One of my favorite quotes is Harry Truman says, imperfect action is better than perfect inaction. And it was just like, I’m gonna get this into the world to a point where, like, I’m I’m I feel confident.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:31:03]:
I’m proud of it enough, but it’s going to be imperfect. And it’s okay. And the nice thing about being a digital product is I can always just and it’s free. I self publish. I can always just do iterations and version 2.0, 3.0, whatever. And, basically, I applied, like, the course I I was running a business, but, like, I applied the lessons I learned from my 2019 experience. Right? So I made it much more focused, much more concrete, the imposter syndrome came up, but not as much. I also was using chat g p t for some of my struggles.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:31:31]:
Like, my first time around, because because I would go into these rabbit holes. And, like, back then, all those years 2019, you know, I would go into Google. It’s like, what is x y z? Now with chat gbt, like, it would give me an answer. I would just okay. We’ll paraphrase that in a warm, friendly tone. I would take that, tweak it, make sure it felt authentic, you know, on my tone, and I could fill these gaps because my first manuscript had gaps all over because I wanted to explore things that I’m not an expert in. So chat g p t really helped cover some of those gaps. And again, I think but in terms of time, I mean, I think, Emily, you said it like the the nooks and crannies, like, I’m a morning person, and I would write between 4 and 6 in the morning or 3 and 5:30 in the morning.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:32:11]:
And then we’ll go work out, and but I’m not an evening person. I’m asleep by 8 or 9 with my kids. So was during the day, I was doing my business, you know, working. And then in the mornings, I would just have really early mornings, 3 to 4 times a week. And also because I had written 40,000 words, I also was just copying and pasting and editing. So I I didn’t have to do a lot of deep thinking this time around. It was just more like editing, combining, and to a point where, like, again, my bar was very low intentionally so because I didn’t wanna sell thousands of copies. I was just like, I was wanted to just have something I could show somebody else that I could say I’m proud of.

Erin Braford [00:32:46]:
Yeah. I think, you know, the idea of filling in gaps, I like you know, you, have a personal interest in in the AI world and the chat GPT and letting it help. You know, that’s why we have writing assistants, researchers, ghostwriters. Like, there’s all very frequently, we’re using edit like, great editors are can help fill in those gaps. So I think there’s a lot of different ways that people identify where their gaps are in the book writing process and either go and do the deep research and come up with a point of view or, you know, fill it in, ask someone else to help them fill it in. I feel like that happens, kind of regularly. Oh, oh, hello, friend. That’s fantastic.

Erin Braford [00:33:26]:
Great. So when we think about we’ve got about 10 minutes in this portion, I think. So I just wanna ask everyone really quickly if you have an idea on the panel. Is there anything you would do differently or that you’re already thinking about? You know, Jessica, you’re in mid you’re in it right now, pre manuscript. Anything you would do differently, I’ll just go ahead and throw it to you, knowing what you’ve been going through over the last year to get to this point, and then we’ll go to Sara and then Andres and then Emily.

Jessica Lackey [00:33:59]:
So, I do write my book during the weekend, and I’ve gotten a little resentful about that fact.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:34:06]:
So I think I would have

Jessica Lackey [00:34:09]:
limited my client roster to 80%, even though I know that’s, like, gonna cost me money in the short term, to be able to have some some free time in the mornings to write, after I work out. I think I really, like, wanted I I really do work best in, like, 3 to 4 hour blocks once a week. Some people really write, like, once an an like, an hour or once a once a day. I, like, really, wish I’d kind of, like, cut my client roster so that I could, like, have, like, a half day on one of those workdays that was for the book.

Erin Braford [00:34:44]:
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And I think your the point that you’re like, the just the overall point is, like, how do I work? Or the big question, guess, that would that comes out of that is, like, how do I work best? How could I help myself, write this book in a way that works for me, and what would have to change in the way that I organize my my weekly plate, so to speak, to make it happen.

Jessica Lackey [00:35:06]:
Some people, like, write every day, and I’m like, I I find that, like, days where I have client calls, I can’t write on the book because I’m always, like, running behind on something or, like, waiting for that client call. So it’s like, I really have to have business days and book days.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:35:22]:

Jessica Lackey [00:35:22]:
And, the weekend’s a forcing function of that, but, Fridays will probably work as well too.

Erin Braford [00:35:29]:
Yeah. And that’s, like, that deep work chunk. Right? You need to have that big space to do that. Great. Sara, how about you? Anything you would do differently?

Sara Lohse [00:35:38]:
Well, the first one is not set the deadline to begin with, but, also, I think I would have taken it more seriously or maybe taken myself more seriously. I think I went through the whole process thinking, like, this isn’t a real book because I’m writing it. And, I mean, it goes back to that imposter syndrome. It’s like, I like, I am nobody, so this is just a fun exercise. And I never really considered it to be a real book. I feel weird calling myself an author because I’m just like, no. I just wrote a book. It’s that’s all.

Sara Lohse [00:36:13]:
So I don’t know. I’m still doing it clearly.

Erin Braford [00:36:16]:
Well, I appreciate your vulnerability your vulnerability in sharing that. Thank you. Because it’s really honest, and it’s I think I personally would, you know, identify I think it’s interesting that, you you see it that way now and you can look back. I mean, when you think about this this does tie to identity. So on one hand, Emily is encouraging folks, like, you know, it’s just a business book. Like, get your manuscript out. It’s $40,000. On the other hand, put that word author.

Erin Braford [00:36:51]:
It does there. And so there is some identity stuff that we’re gonna wrestle with. Then how do we our success or getting it done?

Sara Lohse [00:37:01]:
Yeah. And that comes up a lot with a lot of things that I’ve done. It’s kind of, I wouldn’t wanna be a member of any club that would have me type of thing. I used to look at, like, conference speakers as this person must know everything. They must be top of their industry. They are experts. And now I’m speaking at conferences, and I’m like, oh, they’re they’re not a big deal at all. They just someone handed them a microphone.

Sara Lohse [00:37:24]:
And just because I became it, I stopped taking it seriously. So that’s something that I feel like probably other people have experienced, and I have to stop. So do you.

Erin Braford [00:37:36]:
Yep. Thank you. It’s a good word. Andres, would you do any what would you do differently?

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:37:41]:
I mean, I think, as

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:37:42]:
I said, I think

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:37:43]:
I did did I did think things differently. And, and then for me, it was not taking us seriously. Actually, I think that’s what helped me get it through the finish line, and lower my expectations. I also question, like, you know, the identity as an author. Like, I I mean, yes, I’m an author, but, like, I I I don’t really own that in the same way

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:37:59]:
I own that I’m an

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:38:00]:
entrepreneur or my father or I’m a husband. The the identity author is just like, okay. I did it, but it was a chat g p t in a month. Like, does it really count? Right? But yeah. Like, I mean, in some ways, like, I’m okay with it because my ultimate goal was BD. And, like, whether I’m an author or not, whether it’s good or not, like, I don’t care. It’s already proven itself. And, yeah, like, I have a second book in me that I’ll probably be more thoughtful, more intentional, more as painful as the first one, but probably less so.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:38:27]:
But that’s something that will come in the future. And, again, the timing also is huge. Like, how to also give yourself some grace in the process to do that while having deadlines. I think it’s that both and, that’s something that in my second book, whenever that is, I think I’ll probably play with that.

Erin Braford [00:38:42]:
Yeah. And don’t and I, you know, just wanna highlight that, yes, the the the edited version came out via chat GPT and pulling it together. You also did the, like, author’s journey of 40,000 words and self doubt and questioning, like, before that. So there was also some that that went into it in advance. So you’ve sort of gone through a double version of the process just like what Sara, you know, described, the kind of the not serious version now and then it became a serious version. It’s almost the opposite. Emily, how about you?

Emily Crookston [00:39:16]:
Yeah. So I was thinking about this earlier when I was walking around. I think the the one thing I wish I’d done differently, so I I I’m using a hybrid publisher and they had designers who designed the cover for me, and I didn’t like any of the initial designs for the cover. And so I just and I didn’t like them to the extent that I thought there’s no way I’m gonna get better designs from these people. So I contacted a designer I know and I asked her to write to create some, cover designs for me, and I fell in love with one of her cover designs. And I told her yes, and she was so excited because it was her first book cover, you know. And I said, yes. This is the one I’m going with.

Emily Crookston [00:39:59]:
And then I got another round of of new covers from the publisher and I was like, oh, no. I actually really like this one from the publisher. So I wish I

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:40:08]:
just kinda cooled my jets at the moment when

Emily Crookston [00:40:08]:
I was like, I hate all these designs. I’m gonna get a different designer. I was I was too excited, you know, and and too too upset, you know. I want I really was I was too excited, you know, and and too too upset. You know, I want I just wanted to get it done, I guess, and that was a mistake because then I had to go back to her and say, sorry. I’m not gonna use your design after all. I’m I’m really sorry. But yeah.

Erin Braford [00:40:31]:
Yeah. I think that get it done. It’s it I think it’s all tied up in this if I’m gonna psychoanalyze us. You know what I mean? This is like it’s like I wanna get it done. I want it to represent me well. Like, you this is, you know, this is me putting my big idea out in the world. Like, I want it right. You know? And so how do you how do you navigate those big emotions when they come up? You know? I think it’s a good, like, marker.

Erin Braford [00:40:54]:
I’m always asking myself that all the time. How do you navigate it? Good. I y’all have the panel. The formal questions are over. I wanna give us a chance as panelists just to, you have, like we have 2 minutes before we open for q and a. Is there anything else you sort of wanna just, like, share about book writing, make sure that people here are getting as a takeaway or thinking about? I’d love to give you a chance to say that.

Jessica Lackey [00:41:21]:
I kinda like, sometimes I only write stuff because I know my book coach is going to like, it wasn’t really a book coach. I hired a writing coach because I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write more, and then she turns out she’s, like, a dev editor, so she does book coaching. Having someone, Emily, use brainstorm robe, but I think Neil sometimes the only reason I write stuff is because I owe it I owe pages. So that level of accountability is really helpful.

Erin Braford [00:41:46]:
Nice. It sounds like Andres, you had that similar

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:41:49]:
I was gonna second that. I mean, I think that the difference I mean, that’s what the whole manuscript thing was about. Like, writing never write alone is your tagline. It’s like having the people, there’s other authors, development editors, whoever it is, just like having somebody else that you because the mind will just mess with you the entire time and just having that accountability. And again, for me, doing it in public was also a way to do that. It helped me kinda have that accountability along the way. It does build pressure, but just having people you can talk to, other authors that you’re reminiscing with, like, oh my god. I think that’s a huge piece that I mean, that and then just, like, embracing that your first book mean like, it’s gonna be what it is.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:42:23]:
Like, it’s not gonna be what you thought it would be, you know, etcetera. But, like, it’s like dealing with, like, our own perfectionist BS traps that we have in this world. And it’s like it’s not gonna be crap, but it’ll probably be, you know, crappier than you thought it would be at some point. Right? And just, like, embracing that and then knowing I’ll have more books than me to write 2, 3, 4, or different different editions, whatever it is. I think having that mentality, at least for me, is what allows me to keep going and not not to stop from doing it.

Erin Braford [00:42:53]:
Love it.

Emily Crookston [00:42:54]:
Yeah. I really love that idea because I always tell people book is a snapshot of your brain. If you spend too much time, you know, getting in your head about it and and and and get and I that’s where I was with the first two books I tried to write. But if you tell yourself, look. I just need to get to a draft and can always rewrite it. You know, if you change your mind entirely, great. Now you can write a new book. You know? Like, there’s there’s no no limit to the number of books you can write.

Emily Crookston [00:43:20]:
So, you know, just just get it done. You know? Get it get it out there.

Erin Braford [00:43:24]:
That’s, like, the full extreme opposite of what many of us probably come into book writing with. Like, there’s no limit to how many books I could write. Like like, meaning, like, I could actually produce more than one. Go ahead, Sara.

Sara Lohse [00:43:36]:
1 and done. I’m never doing this again.

Emily Crookston [00:43:40]:
Oh, okay.

Sara Lohse [00:43:40]:
No. I have 2 things that came to mind. 1st, like Emily said with the cover art, it is your book. Make sure that it’s something that you want. I didn’t even I I’d seen the books that my publishing company had put out, and they all felt very just the same. And so I didn’t even have them give me mock ups. I said, don’t bother, and I went and got my own designer. And when you’re trying to figure out what that cover is going to be, go to a bookstore and just go through all of the books and find the ones that you really love.

Sara Lohse [00:44:12]:
And don’t feel like you have to stay in your lane either. I was in the business section because technically, it’s a business book, and I hated all of them. I went to the self help section, and they have way better covers. So my book was inspired by a lot of books in that section, and that was really, really helpful as an exercise.

Erin Braford [00:44:32]:
Love it. Cool. Good. Alrighty. Y’all, we’re rocking. Okay. I would love to open the floor up to questions. You’re welcome to put them in the chat, but it would be great if you can you know, if if you’re comfortable to go ahead and put go ahead and put yeah.

Erin Braford [00:44:50]:
Just raise your hand or, come off mute and ask a question to our authors. Just let us know who you’re talking to. We’ve got Emily, Sara, Jessica, and Andres. I’m working on being comfortable with being silent. We have a question in the chat. How do you not let impostor syndrome get the better of of you? So who would like to speak to Read chapter 4. Okay.

Sara Lohse [00:45:37]:
That’s a terrible answer. I’m so sorry.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:45:39]:
Yeah. I would just say that it’s, like, it’s gonna get to you, and that’s okay. So, like, when it when it gets to you, how do you find mentors, peers, colleagues? What strategies you put in place? Just embrace it’s gonna happen. And so and begin to identify strategies that happened in the past because imposter syndrome doesn’t just happen for writing a book. It probably happens in other parts of your life as well. When you’re on a stage speaking, when you are trying to pitch a client that you think is too big for you, when you’re trying to apply for a job, like, it’s everywhere. So it’s like how you then cope with that. And, again, really surround yourself with people that will support that and then lower your own expectations.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:46:12]:
I think, again, for me, that was a big thing. It’s like, it’s gonna be a crappy first draft. You can say whatever you want, mind. I know. I already know it’s gonna be crappy. That’s okay. I’m still gonna write. So I think in some ways, like, just yes, ending and embracing that, not fighting it, because when the first time around, when I try to fight it, it’s like, oh my god.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:46:29]:
Like, who am I to talk about rituals and humanity and becoming human? I don’t have a PhD in theology. It’s like, you’re right. I should stop. I can’t even find this information online. Like, what the hell? Like, I was trying to find it like I needed to. There was an audience in my head that was like a panelist saying, you will meet this or not. And I was fighting that panel. I was trying to justify myself to them instead of saying, f you.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:46:49]:
Like, I know it’s gonna be crap. That’s okay. Like, fail me. Whatever. So embracing that, I think, is a way that can help with that. I’ll add

Sara Lohse [00:46:57]:
to that too. With imposter syndrome, people, for some reason, think they’re the only ones that deal with it, And that they’ll only deal with it while they’re at this current stage that they’re in. And once they hit that next milestone, it’s over. Like, I’m there. And that is not true. No matter who you are, what position you’re in, whether it’s your first day or you’re the CEO, you have imposter syndrome. It’s just part of the just like human experience. And a lot of it, when it comes to getting over it, you’re not going to.

Sara Lohse [00:47:26]:
You’re just going to work through it and find, like, coping mechanisms almost. But one of them is just our being kinder to yourself. And we are so supportive of other people in our life, but we are not as supportive of ourselves. So there were times where I’m writing this, and I’m like, what am I even doing? And I would just think, like, what would my best friend say to me right now? Or if my best friend is dealing with this, what would I say to them? Because you’ll give a way better answer that way than you would to yourself. And I think another thing is understanding that success is not limited. It’s not like a limited resource. So seeing other people reach success is not taking anything away from you, and comparing yourself to them is never going to help with anything. Like, there’s the whole paranoia.

Sara Lohse [00:48:16]:
We’re constantly comparing ourselves to other people, but we’re not comparing us to people that are in the same spot that we are. So it’s never gonna really match. So just stop trying to compare yourself, and everyone else can be successful while you can also be successful.

Erin Braford [00:48:34]:
I love that. I wrote comparanoia in there because, and probably didn’t spell it right because I don’t not on the spelling of it. But,

Sara Lohse [00:48:41]:
it is a trademark word. I can’t remember the who said it. I love it. But it is it is trademarked.

Emily Crookston [00:48:48]:
That’s a good one.

Erin Braford [00:48:49]:
I love it. And the the tip to, like, how would you talk your best friend? You know, I hear that all the time, and also don’t deploy it.

Sara Lohse [00:48:56]:
Of course. Me neither.

Erin Braford [00:48:57]:
That’s an easy tool. But, like, let’s do that. Let’s do that. What would I ever say to you, to to Emily, to anybody that I care about? Like, I’d say, you know what? It seems like you need to take a nap. Go rest. Get a snack. Chill the f out. Like, some you know what I mean? Like, if you’re getting to that point where you’re beating yourself up and getting in your own way, you probably need to step back.

Erin Braford [00:49:16]:
Right? That would be for for what I would have to say to myself.

Sara Lohse [00:49:20]:
Go eat a Snickers.

Erin Braford [00:49:22]:
Yeah. Or don’t because of the sugar crash. You don’t make yourself eat a bunch of kale that you won’t be excited about or whatever. I know. Good. Emily, did you have something to add to to that?

Emily Crookston [00:49:36]:
No. No. I second everything everybody said. I think having that support system is is really key. People you can reach out to when you need to be hyped up a little bit.

Erin Braford [00:49:45]:
Good. Love it. We have a super juicy question in the chat y’all, so get ready. I’m most nervous about missing the moment for the book to be relevant. What do you think is the best process for getting content out in this case? My current plan is to release a short version or, like, paper quickly and then build audience around that idea while I finish the book, hopefully, pretty quickly. What are your thoughts?

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:50:12]:
Excellent question.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:50:13]:
For me, that’s why I like the idea of building in public. Like, you know, you can be posting blogs, chapters, you know, like, not the whole thing, of course, but, like, as you’re writing, you can be publishing billionaire audience, etcetera. Without knowing also what it is you’re trying to what’s the timing you’re so concerned about? I also wanna question what what are the assumptions that we have about the timing? You know, like, it’s election cycle. This, like, this well, they’re always elections. Or is it, like, you know, something happened. So, again, without knowing specifics, but whenever we have this FOMO or this, like, urgency, yes, things there’s a timeliness, but there’s also a lot like, the underlying themes of most books are eternals. Like, there’s elements of it that you can you know, if this wave passes, there’ll be other ones. Having said that, I mean, like, if it’s, like, a very specific kinda, like, 2024 criteria, like, the war in Ukraine, but, again, it’s been going for a year.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:50:58]:
So it’s hard for me to think of examples that, like, are so time sensitive for a book. If it was a reporter, like, a client driven thing, I get that. But if it’s something that you’re publishing because you wanna say something to the world, the world will be here whenever you wanna say that. And you can maybe just tweak or adjust the framing so it feels more relevant. That would be my my comments on that.

Sara Lohse [00:51:17]:
Mhmm. Yeah. It’s kind of the same, but I would say just make it relevant. Whatever you can do to like, it’s it’s your narrative and whatever you can do to pull in other elements so that it stays relevant, you don’t have to focus on just one piece of whatever your topic is. You can broaden it a little bit. But even with timing, like, the pandemic was 2020. It’s still in every book I’ve read ever since. And it’s 4 years later.

Sara Lohse [00:51:47]:
People are still adding it to their books because it’ll never really stop being relevant. There are certain things and events and things that will always really be there. So as long as you can find a way that you’re removing almost the time sensitive piece of it, you can make it so that it stays relevant.

Emily Crookston [00:52:08]:
And and the

Jessica Lackey [00:52:08]:
piece of feedback I’ve always gotten on the book is, like, the like, it has to be something that once it’s published, you wanna talk about for, like, the next 5 years. Oh. So, because it’s, like, takes, like, 3 year like, that’s what you’re riding off of for a

Sara Lohse [00:52:22]:
long time.

Jessica Lackey [00:52:23]:
You have to be willing to talk about it because it’s a 3 year journey just to, like, hit it get it hit over that tipping point. So I think it’s

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:52:33]:
that’s what always in mind.

Jessica Lackey [00:52:34]:
I’m like, am I willing to, like, talk about this for the 1 to 2 years of writing it and the 5 years after writing it? Or if you’re Mike McCallum, what’s the profit first? Here we talk about it for your whole career. So, you know, like

Erin Braford [00:52:47]:
You know, I use this analogy all the time with my clients because, like, if you if you think about being a rock star, like okay. The Rolling Stones have been singing the same freaking songs for decades. For decades. What? It’s why they win. It’s why they’re right? Like like, make it a contemporary. The you will be singing your hits forever. Like, you gotta believe in them. So what are some of those philosophical underpinnings? What are some of those truths to what you understand? I I can talk about as just quickly as an example from a messaging point of view, like, yeah, I could talk about new technology and AI as a risk.

Erin Braford [00:53:25]:
Guess what? People still do not know how to simplify their own ideas. Like, they still don’t know how to get as empathetic and stand in the shoes of their customers. Like, they we just don’t because we get in our heads about what we wanna say. Right? And so, like, there’s just fundamental truth underlying, and then it gets applied to whatever the pain of the day is, is is is kind of I I find at least in my work. I don’t know about you. Well, I guess I do. We kind of are talking about that, aren’t we?

Emily Crookston [00:53:55]:
Yeah. I will say I agree with with what everybody’s saying, and this is one of the reason they are and I like to talk about sharing half baked ideas. Don’t sit on your idea too long because by the time you’re ready to share it, it might start feeling stale to you and that’s, you know, that’s that’s not great. But if you are really concerned and I think this is a real concern you that that a competitor might scoop you, for example, like, if you’re worried that there are people biting at your heels, about an idea that you have, then I do think that’s a perfect opportunity to start putting the idea out there in different forms so that you can kind of plant your flag around it. But I will say I used to worry a lot as a philosophy professor. We used to worry all the time about getting scooped and it’s kind of a silly thing to worry about because unless you’re, like, plagiarizing someone’s idea, you likely have a different take on it, and you likely can spin that take into a way that make you look, like you have a unique idea, you know, to make it into a unique idea. There’s always a way to make it relevant to your work in a in a way that’s not relevant to their work. You know, there there are ways to wiggle around.

Emily Crookston [00:55:00]:

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:55:01]:
I was gonna add to that. Like, I think

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:55:02]:
you’re saying, like, you’re not publishing research papers, like, finding the DNA. It’s like, it’s your story, and this you are the only person who can tell story based on that. So I I think that’s a great

Emily Crookston [00:55:11]:
Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

Sara Lohse [00:55:14]:
And I’ll also add, writing a book does not mean you have to write a 300 page novel length book and take a year to go through the whole publishing process. You can write 20 pages and release it as an ebook. There’s, like, all these different ways that you can write a book very easily, very quickly. And that way you don’t have to worry about, okay, when I finally get to the point that I’m publishing, it’s not gonna be relevant anymore. I’ll come up with an idea for an ebook and I publish it that day. So it’s it can be a very fast process if you are okay with having it be, more short form.

Erin Braford [00:55:53]:
I like that idea as well. I think your approach, Emily, that you or Emma that you described is is good in that you’re going to get feedback, and you’re gonna start rallying people around the idea. And even if the core idea evolves, you you now you have a journey to take people on. Like, when I wrote that ebook or that paper, I was here. And then it’s been another 6 months, and I’ve now I’ve enriched my own thinking, so come along with me. And then the book is, like, people responding to the, you know, to what you all have learned together on your journey. I think there’s opportunity, in in taking it in bites as it were or or, like, just being okay with sharing with what you have now. Mhmm.

Erin Braford [00:56:31]:
Great question. For the we have another question. Super fun. For those who had to do research and interviews to support your message thesis, would you write in parallel as you do the research or finish the research first before you start writing? Juicy.

Emily Crookston [00:56:49]:
This is something I talk about in my book, actually, because I think research can be distracting. This is one of the reasons I really push for using word count goals rather than, like, a time goal. Like, I’m gonna work 2 hours on my book every week. 2 hours if I held myself to work in my book for 2 hours a week, I would spend an hour and a half reading a bunch of stuff and then 30 minutes writing if I’m lucky. So that’s why I I stick to the the word count goal. But I always say separate the research from the writing as much as possible, and you probably don’t need to do as much research as you think you do. And, you know, I I I’m a I love researching, so I can easily get lost down rabbit holes and and spend all my time doing that. So I always tell people do as much research as you need to complete the chapter, but be make the priority, you know, getting the writing done.

Emily Crookston [00:57:43]:
And if there’s something you don’t know, come back to it and make a note in your in your manuscript and come back because then the research will be more targeted. You won’t you’ll be less likely to go down a bunch of, you know, roads that you actually shouldn’t be talking about and, you know, stuff that’s irrelevant to you. You can be very sort of specific when you get when you do the writing and then do the research.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:58:06]:
I was just gonna add, like,

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:58:06]:
I I think for me, my first round 2019, research was a center of impostor syndrome for me. It was to was distract me from actually getting into the writing. It’s like, I felt I needed to know more so I could be ready to then write. And I think that was a that was a trap that I was getting into. So I definitely agree with what Emily’s saying. And the other piece I would say is that in theory, you’re writing a book about something you know, like or or something. You don’t have to be an expert, but, like, there’s a personal connection. There’s something you can speak to.

Andres Marquez-Lara [00:58:32]:
So, like, that should be kind of the core elements of it. Right? Yeah. You’ll can can definitely do research, expand on it, but, like, there should be some core themes that you already just know from your experience or lived experience, your your past research that you have done. And I think so. Just be mindful that the research can be, again, a way to kind of seduce ourselves into, like, not writing.

Emily Crookston [00:58:53]:

Sara Lohse [00:58:54]:
Yeah. I’ll add to that. Sorry. No.

Emily Crookston [00:58:57]:
Go ahead, sir.

Sara Lohse [00:58:59]:
If you can find it through researching it on the Internet, so can everybody else. So that part really is not important because they don’t need you to tell them. They can just Google it the same way that you did. So if you’re doing, like, interviews in first person, that’s different. But the research that you’re doing online, you only need to be able to have examples or or something to support your stories about it. So really just hone in on that story piece because that’s your story and your experience around the topic and around the research is the only piece that can’t be Googled.

Erin Braford [00:59:37]:
I know when I’m writing content, I will I do so I have high input as a if you’re a StrengthsFinder person, input is I gather all the things. Gather, gather, gather. So risk research is a big risk because I just can’t get enough, and I collect and I think. Right? So in doing that, in pursuing curiosity, I’ve always read something somewhere, and I’m that person who’s like, there’s a stat on this and I misquote it or whatever. So what I have taken to doing is writing a note to myself, like, go find a stat that talks about x y z, and then move on. Keep going because I know I’ll find the stat, and I know I’m probably not making it up so wrong, because I have an opinion, and I formed that opinion at the time I read that article. Right? So, like, I I think that helps me keep things moving as well.

Emily Crookston [01:00:29]:
Yeah. And I will say that we we’re kinda combining research and interviews, but a lot of people will write interview books where they’ll interview 20 experts. And in that case, I would say I always caution people, you wanna have a framework for your book before you you do the interviews, because you can’t just interview 20 people and then say, okay. Now I’m gonna figure out what the common thread is with you know, you really wanna have an agenda, I think, when you’re talking to people and interviewing them. So, you know, I and even in that case, I would say write the book first and then sprinkle the interviews in, where it makes sense and you’ll have a really clear picture of what where you’re trying to go so you can ask the right questions and get, you know, answers that are gonna support your your idea.

Erin Braford [01:01:13]:
I I yeah. Go ahead.

Jessica Lackey [01:01:14]:
I think there is an interesting like, there’s research slash interviews, but then there’s also stories. So I’m not doing interviews for, like, data purposes. I’m collecting stories, and I’ve already plugged in a bunch of stories from people. Emily will be one of them that I’m hoping to put in that support. I’m not really looking for things that, like, go against my thesis, so it’s not really, like, research to prove or disprove a point, but I’m, like, here’s stories I wanna tell which formed the book, but, like, that’s, like, the the remaining, like, large chunk of, like, the first draft is, like, story collection. So interviews for stories versus interviews for research.

Erin Braford [01:01:54]:
Nice. And so I feel like in that way, Jessica, you sort of have the framework of it, and now you’re you’re illustrate it’s, you know, it’s so that people’s brains can sort of wrap around the concept of what you know you wanna communicate. Right? Exactly. Love it. Yeah. It it is always interesting, Emily. You know, I I haven’t written a book, but in doing client research for the purpose of coming up with a market ready message, you know, if I if we, I need to go in knowing what I’m trying to make true, so to speak. Like, I need to say, I you know, we we need a headline.

Erin Braford [01:02:29]:
We need a we need to understand x y z. We have these hypotheses. Is my and then my questions have to be the same more or less for every interview so that I’ve got a body of responses that I can pick and pull and tell the story with. And if I went in and just ask everybody what I was curious about as I went, I’d have nothing cohesive at the end. So sometimes, like, that make it true. Like, this is a story I wanna tell. How do I make it true, is is a helpful filter for for me. That sounds shady, but it’s really not.

Erin Braford [01:03:03]:
I promise. Like, I get think about the end state and then Yeah. And then what questions would help me be able to poke and prod at that end state whether or not it can it can hold up. Is that

Andres Marquez-Lara [01:03:15]:
If it doesn’t, that can be a chapter or that can be Yeah. Or right?

Erin Braford [01:03:20]:
Yeah. It’s my my disproven hypothesis about x y z.

Emily Crookston [01:03:24]:
That’s your next book. Yeah. Right? That’s right.

Erin Braford [01:03:28]:
All the ways I was wrong. No. I’m just kidding. Good. Alright. Any other questions coming from the group? What I’ll ask this. What’s, like, one thing you wish you knew before you start if you haven’t shared it already? Like, what’s one thing you wish you knew before you, like, said, I’m writing a book?

Sara Lohse [01:03:56]:
Don’t throw out anything. I wrote when I was writing drafts and I was writing different chapters And, again, as I say, I didn’t know this because I was doing it. But if I realized that, like, this chapter doesn’t really fit anymore, I don’t really like this, I like what I wrote, but it doesn’t really fit here. I had a second document that was called outtakes that I would just copy and paste it over so I could erase it from my document, not have it in my manuscript, and be cluttering it, but I wouldn’t lose it. And then the book would evolve and be like, oh, wait. I actually did need that, and I could just go back and grab it. But one, I even I had an entire chapter that I had taken out, and then I just released it as a free ebook that’s a lead magnet. And that’s available on my website.

Sara Lohse [01:04:42]:
So if I just erased it, I would have lost out on all of the, like, new contacts I’ve gotten out of that ebook.

Erin Braford [01:04:50]:
So smart. Mhmm. I think ButterDocs actually has that built in for that exact reason. It’s a it’s like a it’s a competitive tool to Google Docs for writers, and they, like, let you clip and save anything. You’re like, get it out, but don’t get rid of it. Perfect. Love that advice.

Andres Marquez-Lara [01:05:09]:
I mean, I think it’s just, like, how hard it would be. Like, I mean, I I mean, like, intellectually, I think you understand writing a book is hard, but, like, the emotional like, this is one of the more emotional intense processes you can go through, I think. And I never even imagined that. And, I mean, I’m a therapist. I’m a facilitator. Like, I live in the emotional world for a living. I was like, I wish I would have a little heads up. It’s like, this will be the most intense emotion.

Andres Marquez-Lara [01:05:31]:
You’re gonna question yourself day in, day out. It’s, it’s, an emotional birth of processes for so anyone who’s a mother here, like so, like, that having that upfront, I think, can kinda pump you up. Okay. Let’s do this. But, like, I think I was, like, blindsided, but, like, oh my god. That is, quite intense.

Erin Braford [01:05:49]:
Thank you for sharing that. I love that. Definitely needed to hear it. Good. Okay. There’s another question about promoting the book, but if you had something that if you wanna answer the what you wish you knew, I’m open to that too. Jessica, were you about to say something?

Jessica Lackey [01:06:09]:
I was gonna be, like, promoting the book organically. I think, like Yeah. I plan to give my book I plan to give my book away to as many people as I humanly possibly can, and I reckon that, like, that’s at cost. And I’m like, that’s, you know, the that’s the plan. I’m gonna go the book is a great podcast marketing tour, book. I would be interested to get y’all’s thoughts on, like, the, just a read this first, like, like, kinda, like, beta testing series. Read this something about, like, read this book, read this first. I’ve got a log somewhere, but, like, you can send it to people for, like, commenting along the way.

Jessica Lackey [01:06:45]:
Like, it’s by the foster guys or, the mom Rob Fitzpatrick, the mom test guy.

Andres Marquez-Lara [01:06:51]:

Jessica Lackey [01:06:51]:
But, like, that way, you can get people involved in reading it, like, as you go. Mhmm. But I think, like, there’s there’s been a couple interesting podcast episodes on how to, like, basically just seed your things in front of people. A lot of people wanna sell, and I’m I’m just like, I’m a give it away as many people as possible.

Erin Braford [01:07:10]:
Mhmm. Yeah. I love that idea. And, like, the value of the there’s, I think, 2 different ideas in there. 1, you’re getting it in front of people in advance, and you’re starting to understand reaction. And I think from a point of view of clarity, if everyone’s getting tripped up on x y z, I haven’t quite connected that dot. How can I make it better, like, in terms of seeding it in front of people? You know? And I think you could do that independently as well as pull a group together and be like, here and, actually, I think I’m on somebody’s preread list where I get whenever they finish a chapter, I get their Google Doc access to view only, and, you know, we’ve all said we won’t share it or copy it or whatever. But it’s just like, put your comments and feedback in or share it.

Erin Braford [01:07:49]:
You know? And it’s a really nice way to design in public for sure. And, of course, I’m gonna end up buying the book because I, like, invested. So, like, very smart marketing top approach. But I love to give it away. Am I right? Give it away approach you and Andres have been both talked about.

Andres Marquez-Lara [01:08:05]:
I mean, building the public, again, I think is a great way people feel committed to it. You know, drafts, people feel that it’s the the hue the kind of the human element. A published book is this, oh my god. I can’t do this. It’s untouchable. But if it’s, like, a draft, like, you can kinda see some of the, like, the the rawness of it, people connect with that. Also, ideally, you have an ideal audience that you’re writing your book for. Like, that should be part of your planning process.

Andres Marquez-Lara [01:08:26]:
So where are they hanging out? You know? Who do you know your network that’s gonna, like, where you kinda baited? And and then speaking engagements, you know, I know, like, writing a book can be challenging and maybe for I mean, I’m an extrovert, so I love speaking. I don’t know what, Sara, your experience was getting into that speaking engagement circuit, but, like, finding speaking engagements of associations of groups that are your ideal audience and just talking about what you’re learning and then being able to kinda say, by the way, in the next 3 months, I’m gonna be writing, I’m gonna be publishing. I would love to get you in my newsletter. Would you be interested? So your call to action is getting them in your newsletter, and you kinda could just keep building that months in advance. So when you do launch or do a soft launch, you’re able you already have some some fans ready to go.

Emily Crookston [01:09:05]:
Yep. Yep.

Sara Lohse [01:09:07]:
Yeah. I I would say definitely, as soon as you start writing a book, start saying you’re writing a book because people will hear that, and they’ll be like, oh, okay. You’re writing a book, like, when can I buy it? And you will already have built in customers when you’re ready to release. I was promising people my book would be out in 2 weeks since last summer. I had a lot of questions about that, but, eventually, they bought it. Definitely start building an audience ahead of time, whether you wanna start increasing your social media content creation, start getting on podcasts. I run a podcast production company specifically for growing businesses and growing your brands, and that is a huge way that you can start building an audience, even if you launch your own podcast or guest on them. Just start building an audience and start building an email list.

Sara Lohse [01:10:05]:
You need some kind of lead magnet, some kind of lead gen system so you can have an email list. So that when you announce that you are releasing your book, you have someone to announce it to. Because if you just say it and no one’s listening, it’s not really gonna matter. So build that audience and build that list, and that’s gonna be really helpful. And then also create, some people call it a book army. I say book party, but have a list of people that are your, like, super fans, whether they’re your close friends, people in your network, whatever it is. Let them know, like, hey. I want you in my book party.

Sara Lohse [01:10:42]:
Here’s what I expect from you. And it’s things like when it comes out, I want you to be promoting it for me. Get like, be one of the first people to buy a copy. Buy 3 copies and give them to people. Write your write me a review. Be an early reader so I can have early reviews. Submit the book to things like Book Siren so you could be sending out your unreleased book to get those early reviews. Anything like that is gonna be really helpful.

Erin Braford [01:11:11]:
Nice. I’m like, I’m glad we’re recording all of this.

Emily Crookston [01:11:14]:
Keep going. Such good. Such good advice. Yeah. I mean, I I I can’t agree with more with any of this. You know, I always say the same thing that that Sara just said it. Once you start writing your book, tell people that you’re writing a book. That’s my thing that was, I would say, the surprising thing.

Emily Crookston [01:11:30]:
I was really surprised. I don’t know why, but I was surprised at how positive a response I got once I started saying I was writing a book and people just saying, oh, I wanna read it. When is it coming? You know? And that’s really encouraging as you’re in the writing process too. Like, oh, people want this. You know? This this is good. So that, you know, keeps it going. And, you know, I don’t think you can share enough about your book. I don’t think you, you know, you should share early and often.

Emily Crookston [01:11:53]:
People worry about their ideas getting stolen. I think that’s a very small risk. I don’t think you need to worry about that. Just, you know I mean, Andres knows he’s building in public. Like, you know, he’s he’s literally show showing the book as he’s writing it. Like and I think that that’s great because you’ll get feedback and feedback will make the book better, and, you know, it’ll motivate you to keep writing and keep going, and there, you know, there’s just there’s really nothing to be worried about. That’s just impostor syndrome in most cases when you’re afraid of putting the idea out there. And that’s the other thing.

Emily Crookston [01:12:26]:
Like, you can a lot of people think, well, once I get a draft, I’ll put it out. I’ll have my friends read it. But you’ll get way better feedback if you share little bread crumbs along the way. If you share a whole draft, people are like, oh, well, the draft is done. I mean, what what’s really gonna change here? Right? So they they’re not gonna give you the best feedback, on a draft. They’ll give you way better feedback if you say, I’m working on this idea. I’m not quite sure. What do you think about this? Like, would this resonate with your clients or, you know, how how would you respond to this objection? You know, this is a problem.

Emily Crookston [01:12:57]:
What how would you solve this problem? You know that.

Erin Braford [01:12:59]:
It’s such a great point, Emily. I love that. Like, the just kind of bringing that psychology of, like, there everyone’s gonna be, like, very intimate. Am I gonna read you 400 page book and then give you feedback on the whole thing? Like No.

Emily Crookston [01:13:10]:
No. No.

Erin Braford [01:13:10]:
But I will, and you don’t step in and be like, this doesn’t make sense, or I this this story really helped me or whatever. I love that.

Andres Marquez-Lara [01:13:18]:
Can I

Sara Lohse [01:13:18]:
have one more thing?

Emily Crookston [01:13:19]:
Yeah. Yeah.

Sara Lohse [01:13:20]:
As soon as you have a title by the URL Mhmm. And so what I said before with, like, having a lead magnet or having something for lead gen, have a URL for the book, and then all you need to do is put, like, sign up to be notified when presale starts. Sign up to be notified when when I publish, whatever it is. Then you’re getting people in your funnel, you’re getting them on your list, and you’re getting them to know what your book is gonna be. I had I have opened this that’s been up since before my book came out, and it had every iteration of what my book was gonna be about. Every time I changed it, I changed it on the website.

Andres Marquez-Lara [01:14:02]:

Sara Lohse [01:14:02]:
And it’s still there. And now that it’s out, I have, like, the awards it’s won and all of the reviews it’s gotten and all of that. But you can start that as soon as you know what the title’s gonna be.

Erin Braford [01:14:13]:
Great. And if you change

Sara Lohse [01:14:14]:
the title, change the URL.

Emily Crookston [01:14:16]:
Right. Good advice. Good

Erin Braford [01:14:18]:
point. Good point. Y’all this has been so rich. I know people are popping off. Emily, we promise that, you know, Andres was, like, very thoughtful and asked, like, are you all selling your, like, methodology for writing your like, can I talk about how I went? And I said, like, we’re not here we are not here to sell you our methodology for writing a book. We do wanna share that we have an upcoming retreat for content writing in October, and it would be a lot of it, like, this richness. It’s how Emily and I roll. And so we just wanna let you all know about it, invite you to share other that I find out more.

Erin Braford [01:14:56]:
Emily just put the landing page on that. If you know expert business owners, people who are leading with their big ideas like you all and and who want to maybe have a book in you down the road, but today, it’s get the blog out, get the paper out, get the content out, start building in public. That retreat is a is a short, opportunity, just a brief pause in time to get to sit down and really focus and concentrate, do that deep work like Jessica, subscribes to. So we do wanna let you all know about that. But, I hope you all have I mean, this conversation was everything I needed it to be. I cannot wait to get the transcript and just highlight everything that we heard today because you all have given us so much great inside scoop. So thank you so much. Sara, thanks for putting your book, link in there.

Erin Braford [01:15:42]:
Andres, I saw yours. Jessica, we’re all gonna, like, follow along, so put us on your list, man. Tell us where to go. Totally. And, Emily, of course, your book launching soon. Yeah. Like, we we’re gonna get some good ideas going from just what we heard today. So our our muse is here in the room.

Erin Braford [01:16:01]:
Do you wanna add anything in closing, Emily?

Emily Crookston [01:16:04]:
No. Yeah. Just sign up for the retreat if you’re interested. That link will take you to the landing page. It’s October 25th through 27th. We’re looking at Lake Norman, North Carolina, so it’s about an hour outside of Charlotte. So if you’re close to here, that might be a a fun thing for you to do. And, yeah, we’re really looking forward to it.

Erin Braford [01:16:23]:
Yeah. Absolutely. So thank you all for agreeing to be on this panel. I hope you’ve gotten, you know, 20 new followers along all of your books, and I’m excited about that. You all are really, really generous, so thank you so much. This was so great.

Emily Crookston [01:16:37]:
Thank you all.

Erin Braford [01:16:38]:
Thank you. You all take care. Good luck on your book writing journeys, friends.