The Nitty Gritty

  • The four reasons why Emily and Kathleen, co-hosts of the Being Boss podcast, chose to traditionally publish their first book, Being Boss, instead of self-publishing (and how they weighed the pros and cons of each)
  • What the collaborative process looked like behind-the-scenes for them, from writing sessions over Zoom to in-the-moment editing
  • The multiple marketing channels they’re using for the book launch from traditional methods like radio and T.V. to community-focused methods like launch teams made up of passionate Being Boss supporters and more.

Today on What Works, we welcome back Emily Thompson, founder of Indie Shopography, co-host of the Being Boss podcast, and co-author of Being Boss: Take Control Of Your Work + Live Life On Your Own Terms.

Emily graciously takes us behind the scenes of co-writing her first book, including what she considered when choosing between traditional and self-publishing. She also shares the process behind writing the book together with Kathleen Shannon, and what marketing methods they used for promoting the book.

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Why they chose traditional publishing over eBook and print-on-demand

“For us, it was a matter of a couple different things, one of those being our multi-year long relationship where we were both talking about writing the book — and neither of us had done it yet. We both knew that external pressure — those deadlines and expectations from someone else — would actually help us write the book. That was a big part of it: knowing that we were answering to someone else.”  — Emily Thompson

If you know Emily and Kathleen, you know they are no strangers to doing the work. Each of the women run their own successful companies in web design and branding, respectively. Yet despite their independent success and work ethics, the book still hadn’t been written.

Ultimately, the pair looked at their biggest roadblocks to writing the book and realized that while they’re both completely capable entrepreneurs, they felt that having to answer to someone else would actually force them to get the book out the door.

But that wasn’t their only reason for choosing traditional publishing. They also wanted to reach further than their Being Boss community — something they felt they could only do by traditionally publishing their book. “For us it was about creating an experience for the people who are going to be reading the book,” says Emily. And that simply wasn’t something they could create through self-publishing as an eBook or even as a print-on-demand book.

How they collaboratively wrote the book

“The book started with us getting really clear on the entire linear outline. From there, we started writing from the very beginning all the way to the very end so we could really build upon each piece as we went as opposed to piecemealing it together. We found that writing separately was a lot less productive than actually writing together so we would block out a couple of hours every week. We would get on Zoom and we would write together.” — Emily Thompson

Yay! for the digital age where we can co-collaborate on projects, no matter where we are physically located. That was definitely the case for Emily and Kathleen, who co-wrote their book together from two different states, using the (practical) beauty of Zoom and Google Docs.

Have the right tools was only one part of the book writing process, though. It also required that Emily and Kathleen release any expectations (and the ego) to edit the book as they worked through it. It’s already hard enough to put your ideas on paper, Emily said — and she admitted that it was difficult to have someone tell you that you can do better as you’re just getting started. But, as Emily shares, towards the end, the consistent feedback was expected — and it ultimately made them both better writers.

How they’re using traditional and independent marketing avenues to launch their first book

“This is the kind of project that’s simply grown significantly larger than me — and even larger than me and Kathleen. There are things happening to market this book that I don’t even know about.” — Emily Thompson

Both Emily and Kathleen are experienced in launching and promoting products and programs in the digital space. But by partnering with a traditional publisher, promoting the book outside their online wheelhouse became that much easier.

Their publishing team put together traditional promotional avenues, like radio and potentially even T.V. slots., plus purchasing newsletter ads that are sent to indie bookstores.

On the independent marketing scene, Emily and Kathleen wrangled some of their “nearest and dearest” bosses within their own community to take part as their launch team. And, of course, they’ll hype up on their communities on Instagram and Facebook, too.

Listen to the full episode with Emily Thompson to hear more about traditional versus self-publishing, collaborating on a book with a business partner, and what’s coming up for Emily.