Tim Lewis: Now, as I did a whole introducing the concept that I’m going to be taking people through the process of self-publishing a book, I probably don’t need to give too much introduction to the show. Jen Cole is a friend of mine for quite a long time, and she did mention to me about nine months ago, I think, that she was thinking, “Oh, maybe I should write a book.” I have slightly strong-armed her onto the show to say, “Yeah. Maybe you should actually commit to write this book and get it finished. Let’s go over to the interview.
Tim Lewis: Hello, Jen. Welcome to the show.
Jen Cole: Hello there, Tim.
Tim Lewis: I understand, mainly because you’ve mentioned it to me, that you are of the idea of maybe creating a book. But before that process happens, maybe you could just introduce yourself to the listeners to exactly you are and what your book is gonna be about.
Jen Cole: Absolutely. My name is Jen Cole and I am the community manager at Social Media Examiner and I am also co-founder of Depict Media. Something that is very important to me that I’ve discovered through what I do for Social Media Examiner, especially, and then what my niche has certainly become in my role at Depict Media is community building and really helping people figure out how to build and I really don’t like saying the word “tribe,” but I’m gonna say it, because it’s a great explanation of what actually happens. Building a tribe around a brand, building a group of people that is solely committed, emotionally involved and attached, and wants to know every single thing that’s happening about a brand at one time. When I write that is what I want to hone in on. That is some points that I really want to drive home, how people can do those things for their own brand And that’s totally what it’s going to be all about.
Tim Lewis: Okay. What kind of size of book and format of book are you looking at thinking of maybe doing? Are you looking to start with something small first, or is this a series of books that you could possibly do? Or is there one particular point that you just really want to ram home in a book?
Jen Cole: ‘Cause this is gonna be my first one that I’ve ever done and I’ve said that I was gonna do this since I was a kid. And my grandma told me, “One day, you’re going to do this.” And I’m like, “Okay, yes I am. But to what extent?” It’s gonna be small-ish. I don’t know. I mean, I can talk. So I imagine the amount of talking that I can do, I can also fold over into writing, which I sometimes do in my blog posts. But, a good example of what I plan to do is something very similar to the Andrew and Pete put out their Hippocampus book. And I can’t remember the exact length of it, but I imagine that it’ll be about the same length as that book.
Tim Lewis: Yeah. They’re previous guests on the show, as I think you probably know.
Jen Cole: I love those guys.
Tim Lewis: Yes. Yeah. Everybody loves Andrew and Pete. They were on the Christmas special. It was a little bit more comic than usual. As I said to them, “It’s either the best or the worst podcast interview that I’ve ever done.” And we’re still not really sure which way it’s gone.
Jen Cole: Those guys have a good thing going, too. I love it.
Tim Lewis: Yes. I mean, in terms of how I recommend people to start writing, I would say start off with a short-ish eBook if you can. And then, if it’s a reasonable length, then you can create a paperback from the book. That’s the thing. Non-fiction books are always a lot shorter than fiction books. The good advantage of starting with an eBook is, obviously, that it can be shorter. And if you maybe, let’s say, sometimes the editing for first books because of cost constraints and other things, may be not as good as maybe it was for later books. It gives a chance for all the mistakes and things to be ironed out before you create the paperback.
Jen Cole: Right.
Tim Lewis: And the other thing that a lot of people don’t appreciate with self-publishing, and something I go on about and I’ve mentioned quite a few times is the money is generally in the eBooks. Because you haven’t got all the cost of the printing and the rest of the book. So most of the revenue of the book will actually go to you. Now, I think in your case, and correct me if I’m wrong here, your major reasons for writing the book are not so much you want to be a millionaire and retire to whatever the biggest house in Wichita is. But it’s more for the fact that you want to be able to say, “I’ve got this book,” so that you can go for speaking gigs and the rest of it, and also to be able to communicate your message out. I think, is that probably the correct reason why you’re thinking of writing a book?
Jen Cole: That’s absolutely it. I mean, definitely this speaking opportunities. But for sure, I just really want to genuinely teach people that they can do this for themselves. Anyone can do this. You have to be genuine, you have to be transparent, and you have to be devoted to the brand and devoted to the people you’re surrounding yourself with. But I genuinely would love to just be able to teach and provide a resource for people, show them how they can do it for themselves.
Tim Lewis: Okay. The other thing that we were talking about, and I think is your intention, is you’ve got a range of blog posts that you’ve written. Is that on the Depict Media site or is that on your own, from your old days at Backspace Media, which I know is your old company?
Jen Cole: No. We have moved all of those blog posts over to Depict Media’s website. Everything that I’ve written as either Depict or Backspace media is all over on Depict Media’s website. And it’s really, really cool to demonstrate, too, our local clients, exactly how they can do this stuff for themselves as well. Because it’s just so powerful. I mean, everyone puts a lot of money into paid and that’s what my partner Julia’s absolutely a genius at doing. We at Depict Media believe that the two go hand-in-hand. You have to have the organic tribe as well as be able to divide out into the outer spaces of people that might not get your reach and who could eventually be tied to your brand as well.
Tim Lewis: Okay. You’ve got a series of blog posts. Would you say that they could be transferred as, say, chapters into a book, or do you think there is quite a bit of work in terms of they overlap? I mean, certainly they’re a great start to a potential eBook or short book that you could write. Do you think that you’re more or less just going to be taking the blog posts, reformatting them a little bit, and creating a book from that with a bit more commentary? Or are they more like the inspiration for the book you’re trying to write?
Jen Cole: I think that they are definitely inspiration. I would love to pull some of the stuff that I’ve already written and be able to use it, for sure. I think that implementing maybe even some case studies might be a good way to go as well, to involve the people that can give their own testimonials and their own stories and the proof that this works and not just because I’m saying it. Those people in our corner that can help portray that message as well, I would love to provide their insight.
Tim Lewis: Yes. Well, I think it’s ironic, ’cause I would probably be one of your case studies.
Jen Cole: Yes, you would. For sure.
Tim Lewis: And, also, you were one of the case studies in my book. It’s kind of like it’s a bit of a parallel situation there. I suppose I should ask some other basic questions that people don’t necessarily ask, but I will because it’s me. One basic question is, how fast do you type?
Jen Cole: Yeah. That is a great question, Tim. I wonder that myself. I have not tested my typing skills in a very long time. I just know that I use the backspace button a lot less than I used to.
Tim Lewis: I mean, it’s not so much like, are you a speed typist or anything like that. But are you one finger, one finger …
Jen Cole: No.
Tim Lewis: Yeah. You type at a reasonable rate. Because one option that a lot of authors are using now is, basically, they’re recording. They’re using something like Dragon Dictate. And they’re recording their voice, in effect, my book is gonna be audio first. And then I’ll get it transcribed. If your typing speed wasn’t particularly good, then there was the possibility you could just record the book, saying, out walking dogs or doing something. Probably walking dogs is not the best thing for audio quality.
New Speaker: That would be one way to get the book created because you could do recording. From the sound of things, you’re probably better to start thinking about typing the book out. Now, the way that I’ve done all of my books, admittedly, apart from the current nonfiction one, which is what you’re doing, but I always start out with a plan. Give some thought as to what the major chapters of your book will be about. Just really, basically, you could do this in Word or you can, maybe, if you’re feeling a bit flush you could look at a product like Scrivener. And just create a chapter heading and then a little synopsis about what that chapter’s gonna be about. In the first instance, before you start really writing and taking these blog posts, go and basically just go through and take your idea of what your book’s gonna be about and create chapter headings and a couple of sentences saying, “This chapter’s gonna be about this.” And maybe look for that at that point, where you want to put case studies in, and where you’re looking for, say, a case study for a particular aspect of, say, social. I don’t know what we would just call your book about social community building or …
Jen Cole: That’s gonna take some brainstorming, for sure.
Tim Lewis: Yeah. I mean, the hardest part, I think, a lot of time, for me, has been that initial planning element. Then I generally recommend that you write as fast as possible.
Jen Cole: Oh.
Tim Lewis: Now, the reason why I say this is that if you think about it, you’ve got your book. If you were writing 100 words a day in the morning in your book, you’re gonna forget what you’ve written the day before. So you have to go back and read what you wrote the day before. And then you end up correcting the stuff you wrote before. And you end up basically … And this is what I was like with writing books for years, until I read this book, which was basically called, Write Publish Repeat. And they said, forget about that. Do a plan, and then when you’ve got the plan done, literally write as fast as possible so you can remember what you’ve written. And don’t worry about correcting the errors and things. If you mistype something, then as long as it’s not just wrong, just leave it and just carry on and just write the book as fast as possible.
Jen Cole: Cool.
Tim Lewis: That’s how I suggest to write books. I mean, it may be that there’s a different strategy that will work for you. In the first instance, I think your first task should be to create plan with chapter headings and maybe where your case studies are, and look to see where you can get these people. And then when you’ve done that, maybe you can come back on the show.
Jen Cole: Cool.
Tim Lewis: And then we can get you into the phase when you’re actually starting to write the book. Now, I did talk to you about this before the show, so hopefully it won’t come as a shock. But I think we should look at committing to some kind of date when you might actually get the book finished.
Jen Cole: Yes.
Tim Lewis: And what I would suggest, because I know this from bitter experience, ’cause I’ve just done it, whatever date you think you can do it by, we’ll add on a couple of months.
Jen Cole: Good idea.
Tim Lewis: Given that you’ve never written a book before, that’s a bit of an issue, how … Well, let’s do an estimation process. ‘Cause I’m from a former IT background, so I had to do … IT estimation is about the most finger in the air ridiculous thing. How many blog posts do you reckon you’ve written on this subject, and how long are they?
Jen Cole: Oh, goodness gracious.
Tim Lewis: And these are just very rough figures. Have you written a hundred blog posts on community building? Or is 20?
Jen Cole: It’s probably closer to 20, I would think. And they’re usually … I try to make them between 700 and 1500 words for SEO purposes.
Tim Lewis: Okay. Let’s say it will be about 20-30,000 words long. The trouble is, i would try and estimate your typing speed, but I have no idea how your typing speed is, 20,000 words, I mean, that’s, 20,000, about the length of my first time travel novella. And I actually wrote that in about two weeks.
Jen Cole: Wow.
Tim Lewis: But then, I used to be a programmer. And I did … I’m not a touch typist, but I’m pretty close to being it. And I have the … It took me ages to do … It took me about a month to do the plan, though. The idea as I’ve said in the previous podcast, I hope for this mentoring, helping you to write the book process, is that I’ll come back to you in, say, a month or six weeks. And I think, actually, six weeks is a reasonable time for you to do a plan for your book.
Jen Cole: Cool.
Tim Lewis: Literally chapter headings, couple of sentences about what the book’s about. I mean, admittedly, if you come back and you’ve got one chapter heading saying, “The Book.” And the synopsis is, “I want to build communities.” That’s probably failing on your homework, Jen.
Jen Cole: Oh, yeah.
Tim Lewis: I mean, the thing is, the process more or less has always been the same with writing a book. It is a project management exercise in as much as you’ve got to think about, obviously, you’ve got to write the book. And that’s one element of it. You look at editing and proofreading, which there are cheap ways to do it, and there are expensive ways to do it. ‘Cause you’re starting off with a short-ish book, that’s gonna push the cost down of editing quite a bit, substantially. You probably want to be looking at buying a cover from somewhere. I mean, this is the thing: cover design, I mean, you could create your own cover, depending on how confident you … I know a lot of the graphics you guys do is very good. But cover design is quite a specialist form of design. It doesn’t have to be that expensive. But the first thing is, get the book created. Get a plan. And get the book written. And then we can look to think about buying a cover or getting a cover created, think about what formats, and those other questions can come, basically, in the next show, really, at the end of the day.
Jen Cole: That’s cool.
Tim Lewis: At the moment, I suppose the main thing … And the fact that you’re on the show is a commitment in itself.
Jen Cole: For sure.
Tim Lewis: But I want you to say that you commit to finishing your first book on the show so the listeners on your reputation as a pizza judge in Wichita …
Jen Cole: True that.
Tim Lewis: And, everybody, that is an in-joke, because I know that Jen is a judge at a local pizza festival in Wichita.
Jen Cole: Yes, I am.
Tim Lewis: And I’ll bet you’re doing that for the second time this weekend.
Jen Cole: That’s right, I am. I’m excited. All the pizza I can eat. Whether I want to or not.
Tim Lewis: If you fail this commitment, next year at Pizza Fest in Wichita, I’m gonna write to them and say that you made a commitment on your honour as a pizza judge to finish a book. So you’d better have done it by next year.
Jen Cole: Okay. Yes. Definitely. Okay, we’re definitely gonna narrow that down.
Tim Lewis: Yes.
Jen Cole: I think we can commit to something sooner than that, though. What do you think?
Tim Lewis: Yes, I think. I think if we were being very aggressive about it, we could say by the end of the year. Now, the trouble is I don’t know … I mean, I know you do a lot of local stuff in the Kansas, Wichita area and you’ve got things going on.
Jen Cole: Yeah.
Tim Lewis: You will need to have some time, a couple of weeks, once you’ve done your plan, to just sit down and basically write the book as fast as possible. And that may … If you’ve done case studies with people, it involves getting those transcribed and getting maybe the editing process done as well. You’re probably looking at a couple of weeks somewhere you need to be concentrating on this, not full time, but a large portion of the time. That’s something to consider. I think we probably want to add on a little bit of margin, a month or two. And then you’ve got Social Media Marketing World, which I know you work for Social Media Examiner. ‘Cause you were my boss last year for some work in Social Media Examiner. I mean, one obvious thing is to do it before Social Media Marketing World next year, which is middle of March, I believe.
Jen Cole: It is the middle of March. It’s coming right up.
Tim Lewis: Yeah. Or, maybe a more sensible thing is say, should we say a month after that? Middle of April.
Jen Cole: That’s what I was looking at, mid-April. And what I was thinking also was utilising some of that time out in San Diego where I’m around a whole lot of these people in person getting them on video with their case study interviews and then transcribing that later.
Tim Lewis: Yeah. I mean, I have seen … The only person I’ve ever seen do this … But I have seen eBooks that incorporate video. Gary Vaynerchuk did one in his Crush It book that included video snippets. Now, I have no idea … I did look into, once, how people do that. I’m sure you can probably find software that could do it for you. But that would actually be a nice draw, if you could have video of the people, you could send people from your eBook to a website, say on your Depict site, with the video interviews. That’s not a bad idea. Shall we say, the 30th of April, 2019?
Jen Cole: Duh-duh-duh. Sounds good to me, Tim. Let’s do it.
Tim Lewis: Okay. I’m writing this down on a post-it note.
Jen Cole: I just wrote it down in my notebook.
Tim Lewis: You’ve now made the commitment and if you don’t fulfil that, I will have to let the Pizza Fest judges know. And your whole credibility in Wichita will go down massively.
Jen Cole: That’s fair.
Tim Lewis: You’ve made a solemn commitment on the show to get your book done by then.
Jen Cole: Indeed.
Tim Lewis: And, yes. I suppose that finishes this weird interview-y, mentor-y style call. I always, actually, start off with the few clients I’ve had with a half-hour call. And I say … A lot of the time I’m … There was one person, I basically told them, you don’t really need me. All the hard stuff of the self-publishing … She already had an editor and she already had all this stuff. And I’m like, “You just need somebody to tell you to do it. So just do it.”
Jen Cole: Yeah. That’s a hard … I mean, let’s just take it from Brian Fanzo himself. Press the damn button.
Tim Lewis: Yeah.
Jen Cole: Seriously. It’s just what you have to do.
Tim Lewis: Yeah. Depending on … I’ve got a few other people I’m going to approach who I’ve sounded out about being the VIP Begin Self Publishing guinea pig people tracked to do their books. Depending on how many others of those I get, I can invite you back in a month or in six weeks to find out about how you’re doing. And in either situation, I expect some progress in terms of getting a plan together.
Jen Cole: For sure.
Tim Lewis: No pressure. Well, there is pressure, lots of pressure.
Jen Cole: Oh, yeah there is.
Tim Lewis: You’ve now made the commitment. The funny thing is, that this is all a little bit time-wise, skew-if is the phrase I’d use, in that we’re recording this on the 21st, and this show is actually gonna go out in September. But, in terms of the relative time, it’s gonna be four to six weeks. It should be interesting to find out how you’ve got on.
Jen Cole: Yeah. I think that’ll be exciting.
Tim Lewis: Yeah.
Jen Cole: Maybe I can over-achieve a little bit. We’ll see.
Tim Lewis: And the other thing, obviously, I’ve been doing this show for two years now. I’ve interviewed loads of people about marketing and various aspects of self-publishing. If you have any questions that come up during this time, just write them down and ask me on the show.
Jen Cole: Okay, cool.
Tim Lewis: I would say, give them to be beforehand. But on the other hand, it’s probably better if you’ve come up to them and I don’t know. ‘Cause then you can embarrass me and I can feel embarrassed and I can waffle a bit. But that’s probably better if we just keep it light. You just write down any questions you have about the publishing process or the writing process, and on the next show, you ask me … You present your list of questions.
Jen Cole: Sweet.
Tim Lewis: Presumably after you’ve handed over your kick ass plan with all of your chapters and your tactical drawing about how you’re gonna approach people to get case studies.
Jen Cole: Cool.
Tim Lewis: Does that sound fair?
Jen Cole: That sounds more than fair. Yeah.
Tim Lewis: Well, thank you very much for being on the show. And I’m hoping this new format change works for the podcast, certainly enough to get your book finished and everybody else who I get on the show, once I’ve approached them.
Jen Cole: Well, thank you so much for having me, Tim. I’m really excited and looking forward to seeing where this is gonna take me, for sure.
Tim Lewis: Yes. And April next year, you’ll be sitting there with your finished book.
Jen Cole: Yes.
Tim Lewis: Thanks so much for being on the show, Jen.
Jen Cole: Thanks again, Tim.
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