Tim Lewis: Well, in this episode I talk to May King again. Now the great problem we making this show intermittent as in I’ll broadcast an episode when I feel like it, is that I suffer from the, well there wasn’t really a deadline so it doesn’t matter when I get the show done. So I’m getting around to editing this episode almost a month after I recorded it. And even the recording process took a lot longer than I expected. So yes. Sorry for the out-of-dated-ness of the interview. The interview took place in June. When this will probably be released in August, I would guess now with the way things are going.
Tim Lewis: So as a very good example of why consistency can work, because if I was having to do a show every two weeks, this show would have been already out by now. So I suppose the good thing to say is that the show isn’t dead. I am going to kick start things again. I’ve still got Nicholas Meyer to help with his book launch and I’ve got possibly a few new people to join the show. So yes, Begin Self Publishing Podcast isn’t dead. It’s only been sleeping.
Tim Lewis: Now, I can’t guarantee an episode every two weeks like I did before, but on the other hand, I will try and get the shows more regularly out there because there’s nothing like a podcast that you enjoy listening to that suddenly stops with no real indication of what’s going on. So if the show actually does ever formally stop, I will tell you it stopped. Anyway, over to the interview.
Tim Lewis: Hello, May King. Welcome to the show after a long period of time.
May King: Hello? I’ve missed you. How have you been?
Tim Lewis: Yes, I think it was like early spring when I started and now it’s summer.
May King: Wowsers.
Tim Lewis: Yes. So how has the book been coming on and-
May King: Book? Book? What book?
Tim Lewis: Yeah, let me briefly explain, explain yourself to the audience as to why you have not finished your book yet.
May King: Yeah. Well I suppose I should explain what my book is about, first of all, for those who haven’t heard previous broadcasts. So my name is May King Tsang, my first name is May King, and I have a business called May King Tea. Tada! I have been in business for about nine years now and started my tea business in London, Australia, and I came back to the UK two, two and three quarter years ago, so nearly three years ago now. And so I’ve documented that business journey, really, from starting my business in London ,and heading over to Australia for six years, and then coming back.
May King: In the nine years that I’ve been in business, of course I’ve made a lot of mistakes and also I’ve made a lot of successes as well. So the title of my books is: From Making Mistakes to Making It Happen. And I felt that there was a need for the book because when I first started in business, I read a lot of books on business, but it was about the journey after the fact. So you heard from these great inspirational entrepreneurs, business owners. There wasn’t anything that was… Well, what I didn’t see was books that showed, you know, the, the actual pitfalls that people have made or you know, and actually going through the journey itself.
May King: And so that’s why I thought, well, you know, I have made a lot of mistakes. I haven’t made it to whatever “made it” means, but I have made some kind of success. And so I kind of wanted to talk about that. And that’s the essence of my book.
May King: And how have I gotten on? Well, through your guidance, Tim, this particular book that I’ve tried to write, I’ve progressed even further than any other book attempt I have tried. So for seven years, I think it was a couple of years after going into business, I thought, yes, I definitely want to write a book. I’ve got about seven different titles. And I wrote a page on each of them. I’ve never progressed any further than that. But this time because I’ve got yourself as an amazing book mentor, you’ve really made me accountable. And so, and also in breaking down structurally, it’s really helped me to progress even further than I’ve ever gone. That said, though, I have stalled a little bit this month, this last couple of months.
May King: And the reason being is actually because my business has really taken off. So you know, in being in business, there’s a lot of things that I’ve done well, a lot of things I’ve done badly. And so I’ve reflected on the things that I didn’t do so well and figured out ways in which I can change that. And so one of the biggest things that I’ve done is to hire a business mentor. So I’ve got a book mentor in yourself, Tim, but I also have a business mentor.
May King: Also, I recently took on the services of a therapist too, because part of the journey, part of the reason why I went from Australia back to the UK was because I experienced in an unexpected divorce, unexpected immigration battle, and I thought had dealt with it, you know, I thought that was left in Australia. And after a bit of a bit of a, not a “breakdown,” that seems quite an extreme word, but I definitely crashed, and I realised I hadn’t resolved those issues at all, and I was keeping myself busy in business and felt that that was good enough for me to, you know, cope with the situation, and actually probably wasn’t, not for me anyway.
May King: So in hiring a fabulous therapist, having a business mentor as well as the book mentor, it’s really had a massive impact on my business in the last two, three months. And that’s why I haven’t written much in my book. So is that a good enough excuse?
Tim Lewis: I think from the sounds of things, what you need to work on is finding a way to work on the book while you’ve got all this other stuff going on. And I know we… I mean I do know exactly where you’re coming from with what you said as in as much as when big things happen in your life, whether positive or negative, it does have a habit of like you’re almost like on a desk and you just basically got your hand and you push everything else off the desk and like just put in the big like therapy or whatever. And then you look at the floor and there’s, “Oh, there’s that book project I was working on.”
Tim Lewis: I mean I’ve been there. I mean, this is why… like the time I’m coming, thinking around starting a new book, and then it’s kind of like something else comes up. But we do need… Well, you need to work out some way that you could, even if you’re doing just a small amount of writing every week or every day you get that momentum back. I mean in the last three months, what proportion of your… Well, well let’s say that as of now, what percentage of your book have you written first draught of?
May King: Oh, that’s a good question. I don’t even know the numbers. Let’s have a quick look, shall we? Well, I mean one thing that I have done since the last time we spoke actually, and actually it was inspired by the Twitter chat that you run every week. So that’s on a Tuesday, is that right?
Tim Lewis: Yeah, Tuesday.
May King: Yeah, Tuesday at 8:00 PM
Tim Lewis: UK time, it’s 8:00 pm, it’s 3:00 pm eastern.
May King: UK time. Right. Okay. So, one of the things that I was really encouraged by one of your Twitter chats, I think it was two, three weeks ago, was having, you know, finding the right editor. And we’ve talked about this before in our previous broadcasts. You know, a lot of people might write, but can they finish writing before they look choosing an editor. And I think you mentioned that that might be the wrong approach, especially if you decide to choose, you know, a really good editor, which obviously we would want that and very good editors tends to be booked out months in advance. So you really need to be thinking about that a little bit before.
May King: So even though I haven’t finished my book, from that Twitter chat I thought, well, I should really have a look at the editors. And then of course there are different types of editors, so you know I had to read and read through some of the blog post that was recommended through the Twitter chat and also from a previous broadcast that that we had, just to see what kind answer I needed. And so after doing a little bit of research based on recommendations from the Twitter chat… And actually what was incredible was that this incredible lady just popped up in my newsfeed on Facebook of all places, because you know, normally I’m a Twitter girl, and this lady popped up in my news feed and it was almost serendipity because she is a lovely, lovely editor who has supported me all through my journey.
May King: So you know, being in Australia, we spent some time together, we went to networking events and so on. She’s called Desilee Page you know, and through my immigration battle, you know, she supported me, wrote letters to the Minister of immigration to appeal decisions that were unfortunately not overturned and all that stuff. And because she was an incredible support and I know that she’s a good at her work. You know, she’s had a gazillion years experience of editing, it kind of felt right to give my book to her because of the way that she supported me from a personal front.
May King: So that’s one thing that I’ve done since we last spoke, is actually chosen an editor for my book, and so she’s a going to have a quick look at it, the structure of it. And she went through the different types of editing that she could go through with me. And so at the moment what she’s going to do is have a quick read of the two or three chapters that I’ve written to see if the structure feels right and if not, then she’ll give me guidance on that, which is amazing. So that’s one thing that I’ve done since since we last spoke. So I’m encouraged by that. Yeah.
Tim Lewis: Yeah. Many moons ago, you might remember, I asked you the question of how much of the book have you completed. I’m going to push you on that.
May King: So I’m trying to have a look at the moment. I’m actually looking through it just to see how many chapters I’ve completed. Normally I can do two things at the same time because I’m a female. Right? But this one I’m struggling with because I haven’t put in a legend to say, you know which chapters have completed and which ones haven’t, but… Ah, there we go. Right. Okay. Let’s go back to the beginning. That’s have some incidental music class whilst we wait for the answer. So I would say probably about 60%.
Tim Lewis: 60%, that’s pretty good. I mean it might have been 55% last time we talked, but I mean 60% is, that is a significant project, isn’t it? I mean this is like, it would make no sense not to complete this project now. Would it?
May King: No, that’s right. And in fact I was really encouraged as I was doing my FOMO creating role last week. So that’s where I go into conference and I, you know I have that excitement that’s inside the four walls, and I extend it onto social media so it goes beyond the four walls. And the whole idea of that is hopefully then people will look up and think, “Oh, what’s this?” And hopefully they’ll come to the next conference. So I was in Dublin live- tweeting Facebook living, Instagram-ing the fabulous Joanne Sweeney, who was featured in your book, Tim, who is an amazing woman, inspirational woman. And she’s just published her book, which is social media for the public sector.
May King: It was great to talk to her because I was explaining that, you know, I’m also trying to write a book and I, you know, I’m stalling a little bit you know, haven’t really made time to get things done. And I know that she’s an incredibly busy woman and she just said, “Well, what I did was I made time for it the weekends and nothing else, you know, nothing else would disturb me. I would sit down and make sure that I would write something every weekend and that’s how it got done.”
May King: She’s an incredible woman. She’s written 50,000 words, absolutely incredible and runs this amazing business. She has 150 people out to her conference from the public sector, all learning from amazing speakers about how to do social media and real life campaigns and case studies and so on. And on top of all of that organising that conference, she has a training academy and she was still able to write a book and has children as well. She’s just absolutely super women to be honest with you.
May King: So I figured, “Okay. That’s what I need to do.” Just like you said to me in the past, I need to set some time aside, so I need to figure out, okay, which day I’m going to mark out every day in my calendar and just stick to that and then hopefully I’ll get the remaining 40% done.
Tim Lewis: I mean it doesn’t even need to be like eight o’clock in the morning to write half an hour. One thing that I’ve seen is this idea of habit stacking where you could almost like, if you’re on the train to London, then you’ve got to write the book kind of thing. I mean that that is another way of doing it, especially if it’s an activity that you do a lot anyway, that you can sort of say when you’re doing this activity you have to write the book.
Tim Lewis: So yeah, we want to get that 40% done. I mean how much, I mean I know that obviously you probably started writing a little bit more because you know this interview is coming up. But how much do you reckon you can write in a week if you put your mind to it and with your existing commitments?
May King: Yeah, that’s a great question. Well, I mean you talked about how you can, you know, if you get on a train, someone can just write something. And I’m actually going down London next week for an amazing conference, which you’re going to be at. So Janet Murray’s amazing conference, and so I’ve got a train journey there, so I’ve definitely got that. And so I’ll probably, you know, get the bus to the train station so I can maybe, you know, review a few things on the way there, and get the train, and then get the train back up. I think I’ve got the day before free, so I think I’ve got from now until next Wednesday, Thursday. I’ve probably got about two, three days I could probably block out how much I would write in those days. Gosh, that’s such a good question, so loaded. You putting so much pressure on me, Tim.
Tim Lewis: well, I mean, my thinking for asking this question was, is it not so much about the immediate time as in like this the $6 million question as in like how many dollar question? When is the book going to be finished in terms of the first draught? And I mean, of that 60% how much, how many words is that, do you reckon, approximately?
May King: Gosh, I don’t know.
Tim Lewis: 15,000 or 20,000?
May King: Let’s do a quick word count, shall we?
Tim Lewis: It comes down to 15.
May King: Yeah, 15 words. So 15,600 words. So yeah, about 15,000 words at the moment. So I don’t know if that a good-
Tim Lewis: So you need about 10,000 left to do. So. I mean, I’m trying to think. I mean it’s always difficult comparing one person to another person. I ,on a good day, and I haven’t had a good day for ages, and this tended to during NaNoWrimo when I was trying to write 50,000 words in a month, and I’ve done that a couple of times, I can write 2000 words in an hour.
May King: Oh Wow.
Tim Lewis: But that is the limit of my… The slower, if you’re like a really slow writer, like 500 or 250 words an hour, I mean that is actually not very much. I mean 500 is about a full sheet of paper.
May King: So you can write 2000 words in an hour, did you say?
Tim Lewis: Yeah, on a good day. But that is assuming that I’ve got a plan and I know what I’m doing, and that’s more fiction actually than nonfiction. Because if you’re in the flow of it and you know where you’re going with the story and the rest of it, I can write 2000 words in an hour. But it’s kind of … Can I write 2000 in an hour? Maybe I’m overdoing that. I mean, I think like 1500 to a thousand is kind of more reasonable.
May King: Yeah. Well, I mean that gives me something good to go on, and that’s why I love having chats with you, because at least it helps to focus how much I need to do. Because you know, 40% of my book like to do is overwhelming. However, the way that you’ve broken it down, it’s about 10,000 words approximately to go. At least that doesn’t seem as scary. And then of course the way that you’ve broken down of 1500 to 2000 words an hour, again it gives me some structure and something to aim for, which is great.
May King: And I think because this book is kind of semi-autobiographical as well as based on past events and things, although it’s not enough a novel, but I guess when I get into the flow it will kind of come easily once I figured out… Because I’ve already got, you know, based on one of our previous broadcasts, and I’ve already got the structure, I’ve got 15 chapters. I’ve written a quick couple of sentences on each of the chapters so that I am reminded of what I’m going to be writing on next. So now it’s just a case of, you know, writing it and hopefully the words will flow. I’m sure they will when I get there.
Tim Lewis: Well, I mean when you’re going across the chapter, actually topic boundary in the book, I mean chapter can be just a chapter, but if it’s like you’re going from one topic to another than that’s like there’s going to be a break there in terms of like… because you have to get yourself set up and in the next chapter. So this is kind of the reason we’re writing a plan in that you can write as quickly as possible and get those things done. I mean how many chapters have you got left in terms of like… How many chapters are those 10,000 words going to be?
May King: So I think I had, I don’t know – what’s 40% of 15! You’re really testing me now, aren’t you? Yeah. Oh, 15… Oh, I don’t know.
Tim Lewis: Well, no, I mean, yeah, well that’s how you got like, so you’ve done 15,000 already, right, and that 60% of the book, so you’ve got 10,000 left. Because from what you’re saying now about two thirds of 60% is 40%, and so two thirds of your 15,000 is 10,000. But how many chapters has that 10,000 words got? How many chapters have you got left to complete in your book?
May King: Oh, I don’t know. Some of them, as well, I’ve kind of half finished them, which is not that great either. So tea.
Tim Lewis: No tea making, finishing the chapter.
May King: Three, four, five, six, seven. Let’s say, I think it’s about six ,six chapters left.
Tim Lewis: Yeah. Well, maybe as like your first task is to finish off those chapters that you haven’t finished, so you’ve got them done. Because not finishing them, you’ve got all of the… Well, again, it comes down to like this slow down like… So you’ve half finished a chapter, right, when you pick it up, you’ve got to read through everything you’ve already written for that chapter, really. So that’s like, so you’ve got the extra time to read from it, then you’ve got to get your brain around into your writing mode again, and then you’ve got to go and basically start typing. So that could take a while, and then you can get into your like 2000 words.
May King: All right, Mr.Naggy Pants.
Tim Lewis: No, I’m just saying I’m not nagging. I’m just saying why this approach of just getting stuff finished works so much better. Because if you completed those chapters, you wouldn’t need to go back and reread it to be able to write the next bit. So you’re saving on that time. And you’re already in the flow, say you’re writing the chapter. So that’s why it’s kind of a good idea to when you’re committing, start a chapter and finish it and write it as quickly as possible.
May King: Yeah, no, I know. I do appreciate. I’m only kidding. I think I remember you saying that before about, you know, just getting it down, and I think actually when I was on the flight to Dublin, I tweeted you and said, Tim, you know, just finishing off my book and the reply that you said to me was, “Oh yeah, you kind of, you know, focused on the aesthetics again and you know,” and it’s wrong. And you know, just like not finishing a chapter, of course I know that I’d have to reread it to get back into the flow and stuff. So you’re only saying this to help me save time and just get the book written. So completely, completely appreciate what you say. I’m only joking. I know you’re right. I just need to get on with it.
May King: Yeah, I think that now that I know I’ve got, you know, sort of six chapters to do, about 10,000 words to go, I just need to maybe put in… Because I think initially I had the end date of April to get it done. And of course that clearly hasn’t done, clearly hasn’t happened. But as I say, it is one of many projects and my business has been really taking off in the last few month, which has been great. So I’m not complaining about that. So I probably need to put in another sort of end date to try and aim towards, I suppose. So I guess your next question is going to be when that end date is going to be, isn’t it?
Tim Lewis: Well, part of me is like well what’s the point, because you’re not going to do it. No, I think it’s… Well, I mean, I know some people would say that 10,000 words is just a very long blog post. So you just need to complete this very long blog post, which is finishing the project off.
May King: Right, okay.
Tim Lewis: I mean I think some time around August would be achievable because as long as you can, like … especially if you can get the odd day here and there where you can get those chapters done. If you’ve got seven chapters left or six chapters, right, what’s going to make the amounts easiest? Well, if it’s like five chapters, five chapters, 2000 words each and that like, well, let’s say it’s two hours each, so that’s not really that unachievable in even month. So if we go for some August times, so mid August, 18th of August because it’s the 18th of June now.
May King: Okay, great.
Tim Lewis: And that is for getting your first draught done.
May King: Okay, lovely. I will. I think that would work well because I think last year I thought, well, you know, I was working on my business and had never gone on holiday around June, July time. And I was waiting for, you know, customers come back and they’d all been on holiday and I was really frustrated. I mean, it’s great that they went on holiday of course, but I didn’t realise that, you know, business owners go on holiday too. And I think that was rather naive of me.
May King: So I thought, well this year I’ll either gone holiday myself, do the stuff that, you know, the stuff in my business that doesn’t rely on customers, you know, the non-sexy stuff like the don’t know, tax return bits and pieces and admin bits and trying to be more organised. So yeah, I think 18th of August is achievable, so let’s aim for that.
Tim Lewis: Yeah. Okay. Well, it was a great to have you back on the show, and it’s great to get the show back sort of going again.
May King: Thank you for having me.
Tim Lewis: Yes. And was I also gonna say anything else? Well, not really. I will wait with bated breath to find out how you get on, and I’m actually much more… because I really think you’ve rebooted yourself in a way just from what I’ve seen. Because your business really does seem to be taking off now. So I’ve think you’re much more likely to actually get this done now than you were previously, if nothing else.
May King: Yes. Yeah. No, absolutely. Absolutely. And you know I just want to say thank you for your friendship and your support during the last few months. It’s been, well, you know it’s been a bit of a challenging time. But thank you for inviting me back to talk about my book and, yes, we’ve got an end date. I’ve just got to get thing done now.
Tim Lewis: Yeah. So I will talk to you when you’ve got it all done or possibly beforehand.
May King: Lovely.
Tim Lewis: It’s great to have you on the show again.
May King: Thanks for inviting me.
Tim Lewis: Bye.
May King: See you.
If you liked this show you would like May King’s previous episodes Making TEA Right Book Decision with May King Tsang, May King Plans for TEA Future, What is Success with May King Tsang and May King Mistakes