Episode 79: Why Your Story Needs to Be Told with Dr. Amanda Nell Edgar

A lot of the authors that we work with are really at a kind of precipice in their career. They’re about to level up….and that is a point at which you’re having to do so much with your mindset. At some point, not doing that self work is going to limit your growth.

—Dr. Amanda Nell Edgar

Amanda is offering a free one-hour book strategy session giveaway ($250 value) to Hybrid Pub Scout listeners! Use this code to book 😉.

Dr. Amanda Nell Edgar, founder of Page & Podium Press, joins Emily to talk about overcoming impostor syndrome and taking the courageous step to share your story.

In this episode we cover…

  • Understanding the purpose of your book and what parts of your story should be in the spotlight
  • How your personal story brings value to others and how more people may connect with it than you think
  • The emotional experience of narrating your own experience, with all the baggage that might churn up (psst—getting a therapist during the book writing process is highly recommended)
  • Why you owe it to yourself not to cut corners on your book production
  • How collaboration with other authors and publishing professionals is the key to publishing a meaningful book

Guest Bio

Dr. Amanda Nell Edgar is an award-winning author, ghostwriter, and book coach and the founder of Page & Podium Press. Co-author of the forthcoming Summer of 2020: George Floyd and the Resurgence of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Amanda has authored two nationally award-winning books and ghostwritten many more.

After a fifteen-year stint in academia, Amanda left university life to found Page & Podium Press, a publishing company that helps leaders share their stories and ideas through world-changing books. The company has helped dozens of authors inspire their audiences with vulnerability, honesty, and the hard-won knowledge that comes from overcoming life’s most difficult challenges. 

Additionally, Amanda has been invited to speak at organizations ranging from FedEx to the National Communication Association to the US Department of State, sharing relatable examples and digestible philosophy on issues of identity, leadership, and socially conscious storytelling.

Find Amanda, Her Book, and Her Guidance

And in case you missed it—check out the first blog in Hybrid Pub Scout’s series, “Don’t Write in a Vacuum.” Part 1 is about testing your book topic and target audience, including using other people’s Amazon reviews to your advantage.

Transcript for Episode 79 Appears Below

Amanda Edgar  00:00

At some point though, you need someone else. You might just even need somebody that you know that’s published before to talk you through the process. You might want somebody just to read it that’s, you know, a really close, trusted friend that you know is going to encourage you. Or you might need something more robust like a book coach, or you might, you know, work with a publishing company. You will need somebody. No book has ever been published that was just one person and had it do really well.

Emily Einolander  00:51

Welcome to the Hybrid Pub Scout podcast with me, Emily Einolander, helping you navigate indie publishing. Today’s guest is Dr. Amanda Nell Edgar. Dr. Amanda Nell Edgar is an award winning author, ghostwriter and book coach and the founder of page and podium press, co author of the forthcoming summer of 2020, George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Amanda has authored two nationally award winning books and ghostwritten many more. After a 15 year stint in academia, Amanda left university life to found Paige and podium press, a publishing company that helps leaders share their stories and ideas through world changing books. The company has helped dozens of authors inspire their audiences with vulnerability, honesty, and the hard won knowledge that comes from overcoming life’s most difficult challenges. Additionally, Amanda has been invited to speak at organizations ranging from FedEx to the National Communication Association to the US Department of State sharing relatable examples and digestible philosophy on issues of identity leadership and socially conscious storytelling. Welcome, Amanda. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here. It’s great to have you here. I just remember being on LinkedIn and seeing what you do. And being like, that reminds me a lot of what I like to do for people, and clearly lots and lots of experience doing it. Oh, yeah, well, it was truly the best of LinkedIn, because sometimes you connect with people and you don’t really connect. And when we connected, I felt like it was a really true connection. Well, and also, I mean, I feel like paying attention has a big part in that. Instead of just like carpet sending things to people. I’m very, like the automated connection messages that are so clearly just a bot. Yeah. And then they misgender me all the time. I’m just like, it’s such a quick heuristic of like, who I should be talking to or not as soon as I see Miss, I’m just like, alright, well, you didn’t look at my profile. Right? Right. Didn’t even do the bare minimum. You can set up a bot actually to reject those bots. Oh, my God, I could couldn’t I am just little Hold on. Let me go learn to code. Yes.

Amanda Edgar  03:20

We have a whole new career industry opportunity.

Emily Einolander  03:23

I mean, that’s what they tell writers to do. Right? Like we got aI Go code now. That’s right.

Amanda Edgar  03:32

All right. Well, tell me a little bit about the ways in which you help authors bring their books to life. Well, our main promise is that we always want to write the book, publish the book, design the book, in your voice with your vision. So we know that people are coming to us and they have a particular way that they speak to their clients or their speak to their constituents, or they speak to the people in their community. And it’s really important to us that as we’re writing books, or as we’re coaching people through writing books, that we are not putting any kind of a cookie cutter expectation or any kind of an expectation that’s going to limit their natural kind of pattern of their speech. We want people to read that book, and feel like they are sitting cross legged in front of that author, listening to all of these intimate personal stories, just like if you were you know, having coffee with a friend or one of my very favorite reviews that one of our authors got on Good Reads was I felt like a grandkid sitting cross legged in front of my grandpa. And that to me, that is the dream because we really want people’s books to help the reader feel like they know that author, they’re really connected with them. So on a more kind of logistical level, we do ghostwriting, we do publishing support, and we do book coaching. So we work with folks who want to write their own books. And then if you know people are just not a writer, they can also come to us and we’ll help write that book in their voice. Excellent.

Emily Einolander  05:02

I love that review of the idea of someone. The idea of someone picking up a book like that is also really comforting to me, because you hear so often, oh, nobody’s reading memoirs, and nobody wants to hear just like your life story. But it sounds like you have experience where that’s not true. And people do want to hear life stories of others, like, what kinds of stories do you find people are telling that you work with?

Amanda Edgar  05:32

Yeah, well, I mean, I’ll start, I’ll speak to kind of your larger point first, which is, I hear that too. And I talk a lot about, I think that business is very, very personal. So to me, when you are setting out to write a business, I think you have to share parts of your background. And it seems counterintuitive until you think about the major leaders who have done this and accelerated up through either their career through government, whatever their industry, because they told those stories. So I think we just had that movie that came out about Phil Knight, but that starts with that Shoe Dog, right? Everybody’s Red Shoe Dog was kind of in that entrepreneurial leadership world. If you haven’t, check it out. It’s fun read. But then there’s lots of others. I bet people know you know the story of Ray Kroc. The fact we even know who Ray Kroc is, right? So we go to McDonald’s. Great, but we also have kind of a connection to where did the store come from? And the same I went to I did my masters at University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, everyone there knows the Waltons, you know everything about the Waltons. So I would really counter I think that problem is, the word memoir puts people off. And I think that’s kind of a vestige because I think that comes from the generation that kind of dreamt of retiring to write their memoirs, I feel like I heard that all the time when I was a kid. And it’s a very self indulgent activity, it is very, it’s not necessarily economically smart. Because you don’t really plan to sell it, it’s just for yourself. But memoir means so much more than that. And it’s not just celebrity memoirs, either we read people’s stories, and every single nonfiction book we read, it’s just whether you are framing it as a story that you’re telling to invite people into your world, or whether you’re framing it as something that you just want to do for yourself. I think those are both valid, actually. It’s just about understanding what your purpose is, and which of those you’re wanting to lean into. What do people what do people bring to us, and we do all kinds of stuff. So we have absolutely done, helped people with memoirs that really were just for themselves. I’m working with a woman right now she’s in her 80s. And she escaped a literal cult when she was in her 30s. And she does not have any, she’d like people to read it because she believes it could help people. But as far as is she wanting to be an international best seller and you know, go on a big speaker tour. Not really I don’t, she’s not interested in that. What she is interested in is going back through the stages of her life, making sense of what they meant to her then what they mean to her now. And really, most of the authors that we work with, she really wants to help people. So people who are in that situation now, often you don’t know, you don’t know what the roads gonna look like, you don’t know how to get out of a cold, who knows that. But if you can read about someone else’s story, someone else’s experiences and the strategies and tactics that can be so helpful. And sure she could do you know, a PDF download, or she could do a self help book. But I would rather read a story. So you know, if we can kind of read people’s stories and take away things that are going to help us that’s so valuable. So a lot of the others we work with, that’s an extreme example, of course, but they have done some amazing thing, right? They founded some organization, or they have, you know, lifted themselves up into a better position that they started. They’ve been through some mistakes that they found their way through, and they want to share those lessons. So the people that we are working with it’s stories, but the story has a purpose. It’s not it’s not just for them, the story is going to help people the story is going to help them see themselves more clearly than anything.

Emily Einolander  09:34

So when someone comes into a project like that, is that something that they know, they’re going to be guided through in that particular way? Or do they just come to you and say, I want to tell my story and full stop? Yeah,

Amanda Edgar  09:48

that’s a great question. Definitely. We are used to helping people find the fine point of their story is what I would say. So what happens a lot particularly with Stories that have a trauma component is that there are just a lot of things, right? Well, I’ve been through this, and then I’ve been through this, and I’ve been through this. So the instinct a lot of times is that people want to kind of wrap their brain and find all of the most intense things they’ve been through. The problem is, your reader doesn’t necessarily just want, you know, one intense thing after another, they want to see that you overcame a really big, single thing. So one of the things that we really try to help people with is understanding that the things that the things that seem really uninteresting to you, because you’ve lived them, are not necessarily uninteresting to other people. So sometimes we call this the curse of expertise, right is you know that thing, that thing is so close to who you are and how you live your life. So you forget that other people don’t spend their whole lives thinking about that thing. One of the things that this is something we do, but anybody can do this for you is just literally, let’s just talk through your ideas and see what’s going to resonate with the market that you want to reach. It’s based on just basic feedback. But I’ve been so surprised at an author a couple of weeks ago said something to me about the difference between happiness and fulfillment. And I don’t want to share what it is because I don’t want to spoil his

Emily Einolander  11:21

his launch by the book,

Amanda Edgar  11:24

by the book. But he had that just in the back of his mind. And it wasn’t even a central thing he wanted to talk about. But I will tell you, it’s stuck with me. And last week, we were talking kind of brainstorming strategizing, what’s he going to do on his he’s going to do a podcast tour, what’s he going to talk about on that tour? And I was like, Well, you have to have that has to be a topic because the way you were talking about it was so interesting. He had examples. And he was like really? Okay, if you think I should talk about that I will was so interesting. So sometimes you just need another person to hear your ideas and tell you if they’re interesting or not. So that yeah, that’s definitely a part of what we do with our authors.

Emily Einolander  12:04

Yeah, just coming in and letting people know that there are certain parts of their story that aren’t necessarily as clear to you as they are to them, and maybe a little bit more extraordinary than they think. Yeah, exactly. Valuable. Yeah, yeah. And the ways in which they can actually help people. I mean, how do you go about telling someone the opposite, though?

Amanda Edgar  12:32

Yeah, that’s a great question. So one thing that I believe really deeply is that everyone has something they can share. So sometimes it is, it’s never a matter of listening to what people are saying and being mean, or rude, or, you know, and I do know, some ghost writers and publishers who are like that. And I think there’s a big scary conversation about how Oh, agents just won’t even reply if they don’t like what you have to say, which is true. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a book in you. And what I find is, if people are driven enough to get help writing a book, they do have an idea. We just have to finesse it and figure out what is the new piece. I will say one, one thing that I see a lot that I try to direct authors away from, particularly folks who are wanting to use their book, their story to elevate their industry stance, is a lot of times, those are folks that read a lot of books. And there’s a real impulse to spend your whole entire book citing other people. So you’re basically summarizing the Four Agreements, and then you’re going to talk about the four hour workweek. People can buy those books and read them, if they want to read those books. They’re buying your book because they want something that you have. And that’s where I find that personal stories come into play. Because we can take those personal stories, think of them as one axis on a chart, than the other axis is your topic. And at the intersection, no one else can write that book that is literally only you. So if we can kind of dig down and get specific enough, we can find something interesting. You’ve just got to get kind of let go of all the preconceived notions of what other people want to hear and what you’ve read, and what’s popular and what’s a best seller so that we can get to what you have to say,

Emily Einolander  14:29

Yeah, you’re kind of mining through other people’s material until you find those little personal gems.

Amanda Edgar  14:36

That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. And sometimes people will literally come in and say, Well, I know people always love this book. So I want something kind of like that. No, you don’t because you will always feel that you are secondary to that other book. Always, always. Let’s make your book and your voice because you have no competition. It’s just you.

Emily Einolander  14:56

Is there any value to people bringing in their favorite books and sort of the styles they like or the thing the audience they want to go to, in view of those books, that

Amanda Edgar  15:10

yeah, that is a great point. Yes. One of the really valuable ways to use those books is when we do our intake, we’ll ask authors, what are the books you like? Because I do think that can tell you a lot about the structure the you know, even just the do you want long flowing sentences? Or do you like very straight into the point? Do you want call out boxes with, you know, takeaways? Or do you want it to be a little more nebulous and philosophical. So I do think those can be great for inspiration. And I also think you can use if you’re writing your own book, you can use those books as templates, whoever wrote that book probably had templates to write. So pull the books you like, look through What’s everyone doing to start their introduction? That’s a great hence, you can use that, you know, as a tip, but we don’t obviously want to take their ideas, right? So it’s kind of just distinguishing between how can you find your own niche and present it in a way that’s appealing to that same audience versus just trying to replicate?

Emily Einolander  16:12

Well, you refer to that intake process that you do with people and the questions you ask them. So at the beginning of a project with someone, what do you want that would be authored to know about the process and just anyone who starts working on a book that they’re a nonfiction book that they’re going to Self Publish? What should they know, going into this very long and involved in? personal journey? Oh, no, I said journey again.

Amanda Edgar  16:45

It isn’t, it feels like the longest journey ever. Right in the middle of it. And especially if you traditionally publish it, because it takes so long. But yeah, I think the big there are two big things, I would say. One, if you’re going to share any kind of your background, be ready for intense self doubt, because it happens to everybody, you are going to have to be vulnerable. That’s part of the book writing process. And a big part of that is just coming to terms with how you feel about yourself. So a lot of times, we see this all the time you see this on Twitter, or LinkedIn or ex, LinkedIn. talk all the time about oh, you know, fail, big fail publicly, build in front of everyone. I think that’s great.

Emily Einolander  17:38

I think it’s horrifying.

Amanda Edgar  17:42

It is horrifying. And that’s the thing. You have to be such a strong, well adjusted person to just put all your failures out on display. Most of us can’t do it, myself included.

Emily Einolander  17:54

I can barely do it in therapy. I’m like, Ah, this is a really embarrassing story. I don’t know if I want to tell it. And it’s like, you’re literally paying me to help you with your problems. But okay.

Amanda Edgar  18:10

Yeah, my my precursor, it’s always you’re the only one I would ever tell this.

Emily Einolander  18:19

But now they’re saying fail publicly. Okay. Sure.

Amanda Edgar  18:23

Right, so that the catch 22, right, is that people will relate to you if you share your failures, because all of us, I think most of us are very sensitive about our own failures, they’re close to us, we feel like we’re the only ones that have ever messed up that way. So seeing that other people have those failures, and they came out and they rose to the top of their industry, or whatever the case may be, that’s great, that will connect you with your readers. But the other side is, it’s really scary to do that. And when you do it in a book, you’re doing it forever, in a way that even feels more forever than the internet. It’s not feels so intense. And what happens every single time without fail, is once we get about to the point where we’re at copy editing. So we’ve got a whole draft. Now we’ve got to polish it up, we got to kind of dig back in. That is the point at which authors always get at least a little bit scared. So they they wonder if did they share too much about themselves? Did they share too much about the people around them? Particularly if you had you know, difficult family stuff? Or you you know, you worked in a job where you were not treated very well or whatever the case may be? Am I gonna get sued? That’s a big question that comes up if I said too much. We protect people from that. We let people know if you know, oh, let’s maybe anonymize this or back off and make it a little bigger, but that doesn’t prevent that fear from coming up. So be ready for things to feel kind of uncomfortable, particularly At the point it becomes real. When you start that draft, it’s real in an exciting way. But at the end of the draft is starts to be real in kind of a scary way. So folks need to be prepared for that. A therapist is something I always suggest. Yes. Actually to everyone.

Emily Einolander  20:16

Yeah, everybody, everybody out there could could do with a little outsider. Perspective. Yes, that should not professional outsider perspective,

Amanda Edgar  20:28

that yes, therapy for all but maybe just every random friend. Um, yeah. And then. So I would say, the big thing is the emotional thing. The other thing is, realize that there are a lot of people, you’re going to have to get in your corner. And I heard someone say, recently, I love this, it takes a village to accomplish something big. And we really need to get used to paying that village. Because a lot of times you are going to need people who can who have skills and talents that you yourself don’t have, and that nobody in your friend group has, and or can give you for free. So especially if you’re self publishing, you have no parachute, you are going at it, right. So if you don’t hire a professional copy editor, that book is not copy edited, even if you went through yourself and tried to clean it up. That’s not the same as what a professional copy editor will do. You need a proofreader got to have a professional cover design. Oh my gosh, it makes such a huge difference in your sales, your marketing. So be ready to go all in and not try to cut corners here and there. Because in the end, what you’re going to do is you’re going to cut your possibility ROI so sharply, that you didn’t save any money, actually.

Emily Einolander  21:49

Right. You just kind of threw it into the wind. Yeah, yeah,

Amanda Edgar  21:53

you paid some people, but we would never do this at any other area of our life. Right? Like, oh, I need to have my my furnace unit checked up, right. But I’ll clean all the ducks myself, Oh, my gosh,

Emily Einolander  22:05

whatever. Oh, my God, you would be surprised?

Amanda Edgar  22:09

Well, that is no doubt true. But yeah, that my biggest piece of advice really is like, make sure that you have got the people you need in your corner, so that you’re not just kind of fumbling through on your first time for something that is forever.

Emily Einolander  22:24

I have noticed that people can be a little anxious about the design and cover process as well, because that’s the face that you’re putting forward to everyone. Does that take people by surprise? Like how much they care about it?

Amanda Edgar  22:41

Yeah, that’s, I love how you worded that? Because yes, it is the face in the marketplace. Yeah. I don’t think it takes people by surprise how much they care, I find that most people come in with all an already designed cover. And that is so me. And let me walk that back a little bit. Not that they’ve designed it, you know, in any kind of a program. But mind, you know exactly what that cover is supposed to look like. Okay, that can be fine. So I worked with a couple of designers who do career consulting, several years back, and they published traditionally, but they actually designed their own cover, because which is really uncommon. They pits their publisher, word designers were career consultants, they were writing for their audience. They said, We know what our audience is going to respond to. Can we just can we put your design if you don’t like it, you can do your own. The publisher, let them do that. I was very surprised.

Emily Einolander  23:41

Yeah, I’ve Well, I was kind of in an unconventional publishing house before. And I that probably happened once that that was allowed. But otherwise, it was like, no, let us gently guide you away from doing that. But in itself, publishing people have so much more control than traditional because they’ll just say no to you.

Amanda Edgar  24:08

Yes, yes, that is true. The thing that I think the thing that I think people need to keep in mind, though, is, if you do know your audience like that, you may be the best person design that book, if it is just that you’ve wanted to tell your story, or you’ve wanted to give this piece of advice, you may not have as clear a sense of who your audience is, as you think. Hmm. So it’s the audience that needs to like the book cover, not the author.

Emily Einolander  24:38

Interesting. Yeah. And how do you how do you determine who that audience is? If you think the author maybe doesn’t quite understand it as much, and then how do you test that?

Amanda Edgar  24:51

Yeah. So I mean, the biggest thing is we just have worked with enough people in this specific type of book that we have a pretty good sense of of what sells? I obviously, I mean, all the industry groups, I keep up with all the industry news. So I have a pretty good sense of what the trends are. I’ll be honest, we can’t always convince authors to do what what we know will work best for them. And you know that? I think that’s okay. In a way, right? No, yeah. As I said, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s always the author’s voice, it’s always the author’s vision, because we understand that what we’re doing is producing a book that’s for the audience, that’s to build ROI for our client. But it’s also a book that is often a lifelong dream of folks, right? That’s important to actually it is not all about money for us, we really want to make sure that folks feel really, really proud. But we do a lot of the same nudging that a traditional publisher would do. And in fact, our processes are really laid out locating traditional press, it’s just that then if we get pushback from the author, we listen a little bit more. But yeah, I’ll tell you a lot of times, a lot of times I find that, you know, an author will want to toss an idea out. And then when it comes back, a lot of times, they’ll realize, Oh, I see, I see why you were guiding me in this particular way. Yeah,

Emily Einolander  26:16

and you kind of don’t always know, especially if you’re not as much of a visual person, you don’t always know whether something is actually going to look good or not, or resonate with you, and you see it.

Amanda Edgar  26:27

Well, and I have an example that I think is kind of funny. So we worked with a guy who is a historian, and his book is about the Alamo. And when we were doing the, you know, the cover design, our cover designer did a beautiful job on it. I sent it to him. And he was like, Well, I’ve done a lot of reading and that part at the top of the Alamo, that curvy part that wasn’t there at the time that this book is set. So can we take that off? Because I’ve never seen another book that didn’t have that part. But it’s it’s anachronistic. And I was not sure, but I reached out to our designer who’s great. And he’s in house so we can have him do you know, try little things? So I said, What, no, what do you think? Here’s what he said. And our designer Austin? He was like, um, why not? Let’s do it. So he sent it back turns out to lop off the top of the Alamo. It just looks like a warehouse. Just it’s just a square building, then,

Emily Einolander  27:31

man. You know what? Yeah, you’re right.

Amanda Edgar  27:36

So we sent that I sent it to the author, and I knew that he was not going to like it. But you know, here it is. And he said, Oh, yeah, okay, you’re right.

Emily Einolander  27:45

It’s a fun, interesting thought. And I didn’t know that. But at the same time, you need people to recognize that it’s the Alamo. Right?

Amanda Edgar  27:52

Right. Right. And that was what the author originally or eventually came to, is, he had said, it’s really important to me that we have imagery of the Alamo on the cover of this book. So when he saw that, that’s not actually imagery of the Alamo. That he, you know, he said, Okay, let’s just go back to the original, and was very, very happy with that in the end, but sometimes you do kind of have to play around and see what’s going to make sense to you. It’s just part of the process.

Emily Einolander  28:22

So what do you see standing in the way I know, we talked about the that moment of fear when you start getting into copy editing, and especially at those revision periods of time. So what do you see standing in the way of these authors when they’re trying to start and complete a book?

Amanda Edgar  28:43

I think that the thing that they’re different things, certainly, the thing that is going to stop people from starting their book, in my experience, is this nagging self doubt that nobody cares what you have to say.

Emily Einolander  28:58

I get it. I’ve watched your imposter syndrome video. Was it helpful? I thought so. It was very empowering.

Amanda Edgar  29:06

Oh, good, good. Well, I think that imposter syndrome is a term. Everybody knows that term. Because everyone has that there. I don’t think there is anyone in this world who has not felt impostor syndrome at some point in their life. A lot of the authors that we work with are really at a kind of a precipice in their career. They’re about to level up. They’re about to start a speaking tour they want to join a speaker’s bureau are they’re really at the edge of becoming a real true thought leader. And that is a point at which you’re having to do so much with your mindset. Yeah, so. So it’s like you got to build all the self esteem that you have not really you’ve done, okay, without doing that self work. At some point, not doing that self work is going to limit your growth, right. It’s going to stop you from believing you have an I have to say, to write a book, you are trying to do all this work in your business and kind of grow, maybe your offers grow your team, that is a tremendous amount of stress. And oftentimes that takes the bandwidth that you need to think about what would a book project mean? This is why so many people hire us to just write it for them, by the way, right? Because if you’re out of bandwidth, we can help with that, actually. But you’ve still got to do that mindset work to feel like, okay, I’ve got enough under control, I have enough of a vision of where I’m going, that I do feel competent, that I can lead now, as opposed to that kind of lead follow lead follow that I think we all do at the beginning of

Emily Einolander  30:39

our careers. Yeah, when we’re trying to get good at what we’re doing. And when we’re trying to sort of build up that momentum and make money.

Amanda Edgar  30:48

Yes, well, and I think so. So often, for people that have been marginalized in some way by society, there also is such a draw of getting more credentials. And that makes it so hard to believe you’re an expert. If you’re still in a class, you’re still in school, you’re still in a certification program, you’re constantly hearing that you don’t know enough, you gotta get out of there, most of us actually need three fewer certifications than we think.

Emily Einolander  31:21

said to the doctor, right?

Amanda Edgar  31:23

Oh, my God, I still take classes all the time, I love learning. But you really have to do a lot of work in your mind to say, Okay, I want to learn more about this. But it’s because I’m an expert in this other tangential thing. And I’m building out, I see the world. But yeah, that that can be I think, it can be really, really difficult. If you’re still in that world of feeling like you don’t know enough to forward and get that book started. The unfortunate thing is that it lasts forever, you have to actively pull yourself out of that place. And really talk to yourself in that kind way that you would talk to your friends, you know, look at, look, make your evidence list, make your list of all the amazing things you’ve done in your life, and then put it on your bathroom mirror, you’ve got to lift yourself out of that world. Because it will always always hold back your growth. And it’s just a matter of when you can get up to some particular point. And you’re not ever going to get beyond that if you don’t work on your mindset. So that is a major, major thing that then is going to hold you back from your book. And the book would help you go further. So it’s, you know,

Emily Einolander  32:35

you gotta write that I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And everybody, everybody likes me. Write that on your mirror.

Amanda Edgar  32:44

That’s right, you are good enough, you are smart enough. Everyone loves you.

Emily Einolander  32:50

Yeah, I mean, I would say that writing a book is kind of like looking in a mirror and possibly for the first time in a while discovering that a few years have passed.

Amanda Edgar  33:03

And funny it is. And you know, one thing we hear over and over is that people, even though they feel their message is pretty clear, which that’s good, you should feel pretty clear about your message by the time you get to us. That the process of talking to another person in our larger package, you talk to us for eight to 10 hours before we ever get anything on paper. Right? That process is really going to show you what you need to think more about. And that happens a lot is what we’ll do a meeting, you know, I’m always asking questions and prompting people to think a little more deeply. There’s always a point where someone says, oh, I never thought about it that way, let me think on it more. And that is the way that you get so much deeper and so much more clear. And like we were talking earlier, more specific, so that you are making a real contribution in your book instead of just bringing all the stuff out that you’ve learned in your various certifications and from reading your various books. So yeah, the startup point is, I think, really mindset. As you’re moving through, I typically find that once people have made the commitment to writing the book, if they have support, they typically finish or for some very good reason they decide they don’t want to but it’s a conscious choice, not a fear choice. Right. I think the thing that holds people back from publishing most is not getting the support that they need

Emily Einolander  34:26

from the people who are helping them create the book or just in their general life.

Amanda Edgar  34:31

All of the above. So think about I you know, I talk to people a lot of times who have tried to write a book on their own, and they just couldn’t make progress. And so finally, okay, I do need help. A lot of times they’ll tell me they have not told anyone they’re working on book. Oh, and it almost is a point of shame sometimes. Because

Emily Einolander  34:54

it’s too like self focused or emotion

Amanda Edgar  34:59

is a lie. lot packed in there. I yeah, I think it’s the self focus. What I really think a lot of times is that we know if we tell people we’re going to do this big project, then they will know if we fail. If you never tell anyone, then you can just stop and start and stop and start and just be mad at yourself. But you never have to worry that other people are going to judge you. Right, right. That’s

Emily Einolander  35:27

yeah, working on any big goal is kind of like that. Yes, yeah. It’s interesting that we’re always afraid to show well, not always, I guess some people aren’t like this, but I certainly am. But we’re afraid to show people that we’re trying to sort of like reach a different level in our lives and careers. I don’t completely know what that is other than just like a fear of embarrassment if we fail. Yeah. Yeah.

Amanda Edgar  35:56

It depends so much to on how you generally talk to yourself and how you think about yourself and how you grew up thinking about things like money and expertise and authority. Shout out to all the Gen Xers are now authorities having to deal with that.

Emily Einolander  36:16

Yeah, that’s that’s the mirror thing. That’s when you’re right on the mirror. That Yeah,

Amanda Edgar  36:22

that’s exactly right. Yeah, it’s. But I do think embracing that side of yourself. It is a whole, it’s a whole thing. When you talk about the things that you want. First of all, we know your more science tells us you’re more likely to do the things that you talk about, right? Because we’re just constantly hearing ourselves talking about those things. You’re gonna get outside feedback. And I you know, I can’t speak for everybody’s friend group. I tried to build a pretty healthy group of people around me, I can tell you that if I share, I’m writing a book. Nobody says, Who do you think you are? No one says.

Emily Einolander  37:03

I can’t even imagine. Like, I mean, I’m sure there are people who, I think that’s a sign to reexamine your friend group, honestly.

Amanda Edgar  37:13

Oh, my gosh, exactly. Right. You might need a clean slate, I will be your friend.

Emily Einolander  37:16

I feel like all of my friends are interesting enough to write at least some kind of book.

Amanda Edgar  37:23

Exactly. Exactly. And you forget the things that are interesting about yourself. Yeah. Yeah. Well, so I will tell you from having written multiple books. The first one really, before I had any idea what I was doing, no one ever said to me, who do you think you are? I said that to myself. Right? So sharing, it actually is going to help you in so many ways to just feel a little bit more competent. But also to your point, you’ve got to have a support system. Nobody has ever written a book without a support system. Even if you succeed at getting the draft down, shut in your snow bound cabin.

Emily Einolander  38:02

I mean, I was about to say the Unabomber. Well, it wasn’t very good, though. I think it’s fair to say,

Amanda Edgar  38:12

sure. But how many self published books do we not know about?

Emily Einolander  38:19

was in The New York Times?

Amanda Edgar  38:23

Oh, my gosh, it’s a dream. Yikes.

Emily Einolander  38:27

He’s dead. It’s fine.

Amanda Edgar  38:31

That’s right. Yeah, even you know, if we think about people that you know, really talk a lot about writing in isolation. If that works for you, that’s fine. I have written things in isolation. I’ve written things in groups, I’ve written things with co authors, there’s all different ways. At some point, though, you need someone else. So you might need someone you might just even need somebody that you know, that’s published before to talk you through the process. You might want somebody just to read it that’s, you know, a really close, trusted friend that you know, is going to encourage you, or you might need something more robust, like a book coach, or you might, you know, work with a publishing company, you will need somebody no book has ever been published. That was just one person. And had it do really well.

Emily Einolander  39:20

Right? Yeah, I can’t even imagine how you would do that. Because everyone that you’re working with who is worth it is going to at least have an opinion or something to offer you in order to get that actually happening. And I can say personally, that it’s really hard to be a generalist in terms of book publishing. It’s a lot of work. It is it takes a long time to learn. So especially if you are an expert in something else, you might just not have the time to learn how to do all those things.

Amanda Edgar  39:52

Absolutely. And you’re gonna make mistakes the first time all of us make mistakes the first time. Absolutely. So if you hire someone When they’ve probably made their mistakes on other people or their own books

Emily Einolander  40:05

don’t like me like that. So if someone were trying to decide between self publishing, even self publishing with a team, like you know, your company offers, and I do, and traditional publishing, which you know, the little bit of that control it more control is out of your hands. What would you want people to consider when they’re making that decision?

Amanda Edgar  40:35

So the biggest thing for me is, this is kind of a whole theme of my life and this interview is you got to try to get fear out of the mix as much as you can. It is not about whether your book is good enough for traditional or you need to settle for self publishing. That is a false distinction. I hate when I hear people say that, yeah, excellent books have been self published, and really bad books have been traditionally published, you is not it is not black and white like that. What you have to think about is, if it’s going to serve your purpose, what do you want your book to do? Is that something traditionally published books do better? Or is that something that self published books do better. And I find that there are so many variables in here that it’s really difficult to give blanket advice. We put together a quiz for this for people that are interested in in our company. So your folks can take it, it is at page and podium.com/quiz. But it’s just going to ask you some questions about what’s your book about what’s your what do you want your book to do for you? What who are you as an author, and it gives, we put people into six different types. And we believe that those types have different recommendations. So sometimes, you know, for example, if you’re writing a book, where you are going to bring out a lot of dirt on other people, yeah, you’re not self published that book, because you need the legal team and the safeguards that a traditional publisher is going to be able to give you even if you hire one lawyer, that person is not necessarily going to be able to see all of the issues down the road. On the other hand, if you are, you know, you have a consulting business or a coaching business, and you’re really wanting to let people into your world, give some backstory, give some, you know, little wins that they can do in their life. Those books traditionally do really well with self publishing. If you’ve you know, if you really want that traditional contract for the status, go for it. But you also if you are building an audience already, you may be able to sell more books, and he will certainly get higher royalties, if he’s publish yourself. So it really comes down to what your goals are, where you are as a thought leader, what’s your books about? That kind of thing? Have you ever

Emily Einolander  42:53

had people who try to Self Publish and then traditionally published the same book afterward?

Amanda Edgar  43:02

I have not had anybody try that? Because I would tell them that that’s really, really unlikely. And I think that’s probably not your best route to whatever result you’re looking for. So I would be curious, you know, when you hear this, what people what are people looking for? Do you think usually,

Emily Einolander  43:19

I think that they’re looking for maybe the reach maybe a further reach than what they were able to get themselves? I think that’s the most practical reason to want to do that. But then there is also the some people want the clout.

Amanda Edgar  43:37

Yes, yes. I agree. I think I agree. So usually, I find that it is they they don’t know how to do the marketing, they don’t want to hire somebody to do the marketing. So they think I will, quote unquote, just traditionally publish. I think a lot of times, folks don’t realize, first of all, what I find when I talk to traditionally published authors, myself included is most of us did not get as much marketing support as we thought. It just is not, it is not the same as having a publicist, you know, somebody that is promoting you. And that’s their whole job. I mean, unless you are at the very, very top level, you’re probably not getting that from any traditional press. And a lot of the stuff that traditional presses will do, you’ll never see it. So it’s gonna be industry stuff behind the scenes. That can be helpful. But there’s a lot of companies that can do that stuff for you as well. So

Emily Einolander  44:34

in your traditionally publishing, in a lot of cases, they’ll tell you to get your own publicist or someone to do your social media marketing, even though you’re working with a publishing company, and supposedly they’re doing that for you.

Amanda Edgar  44:48

Yep, no, that’s right. Actually, I have a book coming out in March and we, this has now been months ago at this point. But we got an email saying please let us know who your publicist is. So that we can connect Do our marketing person with your publicist. Or if you’re not using one, that’s fine, too. But I mean, it was not like, if you’re not using one, we’ll provide one for you. Yeah,

Emily Einolander  45:08

it was like, well, wink, wink, wink. Good, good. Go quick.

Amanda Edgar  45:12

Yes, yeah. So and you know, the other thing is, really, you’re probably not going to be able to do that anyway. Right? I think we probably need to say most traditional presses are not going to want something that’s already been out there. When I work with academic authors, this comes up a lot, because if they wrote a dissertation, and then they’re revising their dissertation into a book, presses are going to want it dramatically revised, because it’s already out there. You affectively published it, when you defended it. If it’s, you know, you’ve got more than 15% or so of that book on the internet. A lot of presses do not want that, because that’s, that is something that they are buying the rights to your book, right. So if you’ve already distributed it everywhere, you’ve made it so so much less valuable to the point that they might not even want it. So I think your original question, would you what would you say to others that come to you and want to take their self published and make it into traditional, I would say, what is the thing you really want? Because I bet there’s an easier, better way we can get there?

Emily Einolander  46:15

Do you think having a self published book helps you sell another book, traditionally down the road?

Amanda Edgar  46:22

Oh, my gosh, you ask all the hard questions. That’s what this

Emily Einolander  46:26

is what the people want to know,

Amanda Edgar  46:27

younger people want they want. So a self published book can help you get a deal down the road, but only if it does really well. So it is a big gamble. Because you with that self published book, you are giving that agent and then later editor evidence of how well your books sell. So if the evidence is that your books don’t sell very well, then that is not going to serve you at all, and there’s no getting rid of that, that books out there. If your book sells really well, then that’s you know, that’s great, then they know your next book is going to sell really well it probably will. So be really careful. Be really careful with that. That is not to say, don’t self publish your book, it’s just you if you know you want a traditional book down the line, you better make sure that you do an excellent job with marketing and publicity on that first self published one.

Emily Einolander  47:19

Good to know. So what criteria do you think someone should use to decide whether they’re ready to go through with this?

Amanda Edgar  47:28

Yeah. So this is, again, this is going to kind of depend on what you’re wanting to say I did do a blog post a while back, that was five things you need to make sure you do before you write your memoir. I know your audience is not likely all interested in writing memoir. But really, I think the points stand for pretty much any book, you’re going to tell that’s going to have your personal story in it. But the main takeaways, I would say, you’ve got to make sure that you have enough distance from those events to know what they mean. A lot of times when we’re right in the middle of something really, really hard. We actually don’t have much to say about it yet. Because all we can think about is that moment. And I think about you know not to get kind of overly philosophical, but I think about that Brecht quote, will there be in the dark time will there be singing Yes, there will be singing about the dark time. And people take that, I think is a message of hope. It is a message of hope. But it’s also a message about when we are in those hard times, all we can talk about is the hard times. It’s a while after that you can start to see, oh, here’s what I learned from that. Here’s how maybe that could have been prevented. But you have to have the distance for that to be the case. Relatedly having a therapist during the process is so valuable, but also therapists help you come to that meeting a little bit faster than you probably could on your own. So that’s really important. I tell people to make sure they’re not coming into it to name names. So if you went through something and you felt like that, you know this one person was the villain of my life maybe they were probably a book is not the place to air all that out.

Emily Einolander  49:15

Unless you’re Britney Spears.

Amanda Edgar  49:17

Unless you’re ready you know and actually good for her because that’s what was happening we the way do

Emily Einolander  49:29

but she waited until she was free.

Amanda Edgar  49:32

She did and and I bet you know that telling has so much more meaning than if she had told those stories as as they were happening. No one would have even listened.

Emily Einolander  49:41

Well, she wouldn’t have been able to like legalese. But that’s not the point. The point is it was as meaningful because it was still going on.

Amanda Edgar  49:49

But the legal thing I think is important too, because obviously, a lot of us are in situations where our safety could be threatened. thinking, you know, lawsuits and that kind of thing, where, you know, if you have anything signed with your employer, you need to make sure that you’ve got, you know, look through that NDA and make sure everything you’re gonna share is gonna be okay. So the distance gives you so much more perspective on that. Whether you’re Britney Spears or not. I’m

Emily Einolander  50:18

also thinking, That’s interesting that you said it that way. Because I remember during like quarantines and that kind of COVID stuff, when it was especially intense, just like watching media and going, when are we going to be able to talk about this, like, when, when are we going to be able and I think like, the first thing I saw was like, inside, but the Bo Burnham. But that was a very specific moment that had passed, even though everything wasn’t done yet. Which I don’t think it ever will be. But like there’s a period of time that has passed during that entire process, but just starting to see people talking about it now, is you kind of get this jolt of like, Oh, yeah. Well, I was there for that, too.

Amanda Edgar  51:06

Yeah, yeah. So I it’s interesting. You bring that special up. I tried to watch that special recently. And it was like, it was like an anthropological. Yeah. Because I watched it. I watched it when it came out. Yeah, watching tons of standup at that time. Because what could you do? You need to laugh? You’re gonna laugh. But it was wild to watch that after the fact. But no, that’s exactly right. One of the books that we’re wrapping up right now, she campaigned for office during COVID. There’s no roadmap for how to do that. And then there were things I had forgotten that in working on that book with her, that, for example, there was a fairly long period where we didn’t know that you could talk to people at a distance outside without a mask,

Emily Einolander  51:56

right? I remember that. So

Amanda Edgar  51:58

if you’re going door to door, trying to get that Oh, for you, you have a mask on you keep the door between you. Maybe the person inside wants to go get a mask, two people yelled at her for wearing a mask. People yelled at her for being out at all. I mean, it just, it’s you forget about that, that stuff. Yeah. And when you kind of go back, it’s a really different way that you can talk about it that it was I’m excited for that book to come out for many, many reasons. It’s amazing. But I think the COVID piece, it’s just one chapter. And it was for me a very intense She also writes about the Trump election. Also, I big was writing it. Yeah, it was just you just don’t think it seems like it’s been a while ago. But

Emily Einolander  52:47

that was a tough year. That was a really tough year.

Amanda Edgar  52:51

We weren’t going through all the things in that one five year period.

Emily Einolander  52:55

Yeah. And just also what you said, you have to kind of go through it in order to be able to look back it in order to be able to look back and have it mean something to your life at the time. And I guess to all of our lives, in that particular example. Yeah, yeah. All right. So you were talking about the importance of being able to promote and market and sell your own book? Do you have any recommendations for people who are trying to do that? Especially if they don’t start out with a big audience?

Amanda Edgar  53:33

Oh, right. Yeah, um, this is a really hard question. The main thing I would say is, you don’t have to have a big launch. I do think that is a misconception that the number of books you sell on the day, it’s out, you know, pre sales and the day it launches. That’s, that’s your sales. That is not true. And particularly with nonfiction, nonfiction has a really long tail, you can keep from I mean, think of think of Profit First, that book Profit First, that book is old. He is still promoting it all the time. It’s a helpful book, it continues to be helpful. You can do updated editions. So I would not imagine that, you know, oh, I have to wait until I have 100,000 people on my email list before I write a book. No, you don’t. And in fact, a book can help you increase your email list. There’s a balance, you want to make sure that you are talking to people and particularly one thing that having an audience can help you do is dial in what they want to hear for your book, right. So I would be out there being visible, whatever that looks like for you. If that is posting on LinkedIn, if that is you know, starting on Instagram, if you want to do a YouTube channel or a podcast, I would start to just get comfortable just being out there so that the first time you share a story, it’s not your whole entire book. bits as you go and you’re getting kind of react Since that can be really helpful, but I would definitely I would I definitely want to change the way we think about book marketing, it does not all have to happen in the pre launch. And if you don’t have a big email list pre launches are can actually work against you in some ways. So.

Emily Einolander  55:17

Okay, yeah, this is actually really comforting to me, because I, I’ve heard that so much. And so it’s sort of like, well, if you’re using the book to sort of like build up your career, then that can seem like a bit of a catch 22.

Amanda Edgar  55:33

Yes, yeah, it can, you do want to make sure that you’ve got people invested. But I find that most people have enough personal contacts, go through, you know, go through your very first email, go through your address book, and make a list of the, you know, 50 or 100 people that have supported you at different times in your career, reach out to them, let them know you’re publishing a book and ask if they would be willing to be a hype person for you. Technically, I think we might call this a launch teams, people call it a street team, right? Essentially, just people that are going to be in your corner, going to help promote your book, give you reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Emily Einolander  56:10

So hard to get people to do that. It’s

Amanda Edgar  56:14

really, really hard. And you have to follow up. And I think that’s what makes it really hard, right is I just was saying to somebody this morning, if you are kind of in the invitation in the inviting people to buy from you, whether that’s a book or a service, and you don’t feel like you’re being a little bit annoying, you are probably not doing enough, because people need reminders, and they need it in front of them multiple times a day, and most people want to support you, you just have to make it as easy as possible.

Emily Einolander  56:44

Yes. Oh, yeah. Easy as possible. And that requires reminding people. That’s right

Amanda Edgar  56:52

and sending them the link to the review page on Amazon, you can find that if you scroll down where the reviews are, there will be a link that’s like write a review, and you can send that link to people. That

Emily Einolander  57:06

is an excellent idea. Because that little button is kind of hard to find. Yep.

Amanda Edgar  57:10

Yeah. Then you click right you put it in the email, they click it, they can write their review. How long is it gonna take 45 seconds? Yeah,

Emily Einolander  57:18

yeah, we’re less or less?

Amanda Edgar  57:21

How much you have to say really what all of us want the stars. But you know, leave a few words, give some context, potential readers, take that extra 40 seconds.

Emily Einolander  57:32

Help your buddies. All right, do you have anything else that you would like to share before we close here?

Amanda Edgar  57:41

Well, I did just want to invite people, I was so excited to be on this podcast, because I think your people and my people are so similar. I really liked the idea of working with you. So I did want to offer a free one hour book strategy session to anybody that’s listening that wants to pick that up. So you can sign up for that at HTTPS page. And podium.com/hub H UB, That’s

Emily Einolander  58:07

so nice of you to extend to the listeners.

Amanda Edgar  58:12

If you’re working with Emily, I would love to help them support you. So if there’s anything that we can do to work together, make sure your book is as awesome as it can be. I hope you’ll reach out.

Emily Einolander  58:22

Yes, and I will say some of the questions I asked today we’re getting your wisdom on some things I actually had questions about too. So I really appreciate your insight. And I think that we’ll both be able to help each other serve our customers and authors and people who deserve to tell their stories, which is pretty much everybody.

Amanda Edgar  58:47

I think, everybody, I think it’s everybody, you just may need to wait for the right time when it feels good to you.

Emily Einolander  58:53

Excellent point. Is there anywhere else people can find you follow you on social media?

Amanda Edgar  58:59

Well, I will send you a link to my forthcoming book if people are interested in that it’s on the summer of 2020. Speaking of COVID we talked about protesting during COVID. About the George Floyd murder and all of the aftermath of that. I’ll I’ll share a link with you if you can put it in the show notes so people can find that book. But absolutely. Yeah, thank you so much for having me on. It was a delight as always to chat with you. Yeah.

Emily Einolander  59:24

Thank you so much. And hopefully we’ll chat again soon. Yes, excellent. Thanks. You can find hybrid pub Scout online at hybrid pubs scout.com, on LinkedIn, or on Instagram at hybrid pubs Scout pod. Please leave a rating and review on your favorite podcast platform. And thanks for listening

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