The Journey of Writing and Publishing my First Book w/ Amanda Bauch (Part 1)

Episode Number: 377

Episode 377: The Journey of Writing and Publishing my First Book w/ My Writing Coach Amanda Bauch (Part 1)

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The Journey of Writing and Publishing my First Book w/ Amanda Bauch (Part 1)

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This week on the Journey to Launch Podcast, I’m speaking with my book, Your Journey to Financial Freedom’s coach and editor, Amanda C. Bauch. Our relationship has spanned over two years in bringing the book to life. On this 6 month anniversary of my book being out in the world, I am bringing you this conversation to provide a comprehensive look at the behind-the-scenes work involved in writing and publishing a book, plus Amanda’s experience as a freelancer and working for a big publishing house. Amanda is a writer, editor, and teacher who delights in helping authors share their ideas with the world. Whether ghostwriting, collaborating, editing, or coaching, she strives to provide whatever guidance and encouragement authors need along the way. 

In this episode, Amanda shares:

  • Her history and passion for writing & editing, which started from a young age and her experience working at a big five publisher, discussing challenges and opportunities. 
  • The lengthy process of book publishing, highlighting the time and effort required from inception to publication.
  • Why she left HarperCollins to return to freelancing and how she created a work life balance
  • Traditional publishing vs self publishing and what is the new publishing modality; hybrid publishing + much more!

This episode is the first part of a two part conversation I had with Amanda. In next week’s episode we will cover more about my book, Your Journey to Financial Freedom and how Amanda helped me with the creative and writing process + more behind the scenes.  

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Amanda Bauch 0:02

I have worked with a lot of self publishing authors. So there's always a lot more freedom and flexibility and sort of going with the flow, whereas we work for a big five publisher. They're very tied to their schedules. But you know, it's sort of like this is when we said the books are coming out. This is when the books are coming out. Minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the journey to launch podcast with your host jameelah. So frogs as a money expert who wants her talk, she helps brave juniors like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real Whoa. Join her on the journey to launch to financial freedom

Jamila Souffrant 0:49

Hey, journeyers Alright, just a quick note about this episode. This is going to be a two part episode because the conversation was just so amazing. And long that I decided to break it up. Plus, we do have different themes for each episode. So on the podcast, I am chatting with my book coach and editor, Amanda Bach, and I am excited to talk to her. So in the first part of the two part episode, we're going to talk more a bit about like the publishing industry, Amanda's background. And I think it's super helpful, I hope to anyone who's a freelancer or creator or even if you're interested in writing a book, because Amanda and I chat a little bit about the behind the scenes of the publishing industry, how she was a freelancer, and then worked full time in publishing and one of the big five publishing houses and then back to freelancing. And then just behind the scenes of the industry itself, how long things take processes, which I find interesting, I hope you'll find interesting. And so that will be part one. Part two, will be more about the book, your journey to financial freedom. And celebrating bringing that into the world and how Amanda helped me with the creative process, the writing process and the behind the scenes, we really get into some personal and I think really sensitive topics when it comes to launching a book into the world and how vulnerable that is. This is all to celebrate that the book has been in the world for six months now. So this is to celebrate your journey to financial freedom, my first book being officially out for six months. And so I hope you enjoy these next episodes. Again, you can go to your journey to financial freedom.com to pick up my book to learn more. And if you read the book, you go to your journey to financial freedom.com/review to leave your review on Amazon or you can go to Goodreads and leave your review there. I really hope you enjoy this episode. If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journey to launch.com or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. In the show notes. You'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned and so much more. Also, whether you are an OG journeyer, or brand new to the podcast, I've created a free jumpstart guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes so listen to stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources and so much more. You can go to journey to launch that comm slash jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.

4321.

Hey, hey, hey, Jaron yours. Welcome to the journey to launch Podcast. I'm so, so excited about today's discussion, maybe it'd be multiple discussions that you'll hear over a couple of weeks, we'll see how the conversation goes. But I'm excited because I have a very special guest, someone who has helped me so much behind the scenes bring. One of the biggest things I've done, which is write a book helped me bring that into the world. And that is my writing coach. And I'd say like editor to Amanda Bock, and I am going to read Amanda's bio in a quick minute. But the reason why I wanted to have Amanda on the show is about the time that this episode will be released, we'll mark six months since my book, Your journey to financial freedom, a step by step guide to achieving wealth and happiness has been in the world. So I thought, You know what, let's peel back the curtain a bit. And I want to talk and be candid about the book process writing the book, the creativity, and the creative process behind it, the publishing part of it all that I can and why not have a man doc to help me bring all this information to light and so with that, Amanda, welcome. Hi, thank you to Mila. So happy to be here. Amanda is a writer, editor and teacher who delights in helping authors share their ideas with the world, whether ghost writing, collaborating, editing, or coaching. She strives to provide whatever guide encouragement authors need along the way, applying the same level of attention and care to others work as she does to her own. She has published both nonfiction and fiction and a career highlights as an editor include working on several best selling titles from Harper Collins imprints. She helped HarperCollins launch two new nonfiction imprints HarperCollins leadership and Harper horizon. I didn't even know that before you sent me this bio stick that's amazing. During that time, she worked with almost 100 books in various capacities from acquisitions, and developmental editing to serving as the production editor on almost every title published. Amanda has a BA in English literature from Ithaca College and an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. Okay, Amanda, welcome officially to the journey to launch podcast yay.

Amanda Bauch 5:52

Like I said, it is truly a pleasure to be here to Vila it. I am completely gobsmacked that it's been almost six months since your book came out. You and I have been at a relationship for like two years now.

Jamila Souffrant 6:08

I know what that's the thing for people who are not within the publishing world or have not gone to traditional route of writing a book, which is a lot of people is that you don't understand how long the process takes like this is a multiple year journey that you embark upon. Yes. And so I think maybe where I do maybe want to start with you, Amanda is like your history before we get into like our process and how we work together. And the behind the scenes is your like history and writing, and how you navigated the publishing world. And then eventually you went on out on your own to do your own thing as an entrepreneur.

Amanda Bauch 6:42

Yeah, it's great. Thank you. That's a wonderful question. Jamila, and I will do my best to answer it succinctly. I feel very grateful, because I am, I've grown to appreciate as I've gotten older, that it's very rare to know what you were created to do for your entire life. You know, I feel like a lot of people have a course correct at some point, you know, especially when they get married or start a family, you know, their priorities shift. And I am extraordinarily grateful that ever since I was a little girl, I knew that this is the work that I was created to do. I've just always loved language. I've always loved communication, the written word, you know, until she died, my grandmother carried a poem I wrote for her when I was five and her wallet. And she used to tell me, she always knew I was going to be a writer one day because of that, like I said, So I recognize now that that's an extraordinarily rare thing to know that from the get go. And so even though the journey to where I am now has been very winding, the Northstar has always been writing, editing and teaching like those that sort of three pronged career path. You know, and I've done all three of those in varying capacities, basically, since I graduated from high school. So I always knew that and even though there were people who were more practical in my life and tried to sort of dissuade me from being an English literature major, and then going on to get my MFA, I always just thought, if I truly love this, then why would I even consider doing something else? You know, why would I ever want to provide a safety net for myself, so to speak. So in my mind, failure wasn't an option, so why not stay the course. So, you know, after I got my MFA, I was doing a pretty wide variety of things. You know, I was teaching as an adjunct. I also worked as an instructional designer. So I was offering academic books and designing online courses for students. I also was working as a freelance editor doing primarily fiction, actually, which is funny because my MFA, I focused on creative nonfiction, which I say creative nonfiction is my love language, although I do love a good novel as well to, to, you know, sink my teeth into because it just works a different part of my editor brain, and I enjoy that. And then I also, you know, it's just doing some volunteer things, you know, I was an editor for a literary journal, I was a, what they call like a slush pile reader for another literary journal, just, you know, just kind of taking some of the overflow that the editors couldn't manage, and just reading and telling them whether or not it was worth the editors time to look at it. And so from that point forward, you know, I was, it was, like I said, I always refer to as my cobblestone career. Like, it's been very rare in my life that I've ever actually only had one job, you know, it's generally been, you know, four or five, sometimes even six, you know, different, different activities going on, and a lot of and there's a couple of different reasons for that. One reason is that I get bored very easily. And so, I just, you know, part of this from having ADHD, you know, part of that is just having a lot of variation. Tres and liking the opportunities, you know, to shift gears and dabble in lots of different things. But also, you know, anyone who's been in the freelancing space or has been a college adjunct will tell you, it is very hard to have a livable income when you're doing that type of gig work. And so typically, yes, most people who do the type of work I do are working five or six different gigs, so to speak, so that they can have an adequate, you know, livable income. Obviously, when all this is going on, too, you know, I got married, I started a family, I'm moving across the country, one of the beauty beautiful things of freelancing that has been such a joy to me is that my work just goes wherever I go, you know, so I've never had like the stress and agony of having to leave a job and hunt for a new job when we relocated, you know, or even just having the children it was wonderful to have the flexibility to dip in and out of freelancing, as they were hitting different developmental milestones. You know, like, I will tell you, when my son was born, he slept all the time.

And I learned very early on not to tell people that especially other new moms, because it would make them so furious. And so you know, I just learned to keep that under wraps. However, because he slept so much, I would get insanely bored. And so I finally said to my husband one day, why don't you think about me, maybe just kind of picking up a project here and there just to give me something to do with my brain, you know, I feel like my brain is rotting. And he's like, Yeah, that's fine. And so I have wonderful memories of wearing my son while I'm sitting at my laptop, you know, working on manuscripts, and it was just wonderful just to be able to dip my toes back into the freelancing world, without, you know, the stress and anxiety of having five or six different gigs going on, or the stress, you know, time consumption of like a full time job. So I was freelancing, and we moved to Nashville, Tennessee. And, you know, for my husband's work, is that when we moved here, I actually didn't realize at the time that Nashville is a pretty big publishing hub, or Rick Collins, Christian publishers is here, which is the biggest Christian publisher in the world. And they have, you know, non faith based imprints as well. And there were two or three other faith based publishers here as well. And so the plan is always been for me to go to work full time when the kids started school full time. Because, you know, obviously, that's the logical time, that's when a lot of women choose to reenter the workforce full time is when their children start school. And so, you know, my children were in preschool. And I was just kind of poking around online trying to see what sorts of job opportunities were here in Nashville. And I happen to stumble upon a position of HarperCollins. That was full time. And I was like, Oh, well, that's really interesting to you know, HarperCollins was here in Nashville. That's so cool. And because one of my dreams had always been to be an editor, one of the big five publishers. And so I was like, wow, that's really cool. And I mentioned it to my husband. And, you know, he was like, wow, you need to apply for that job. And I said, What I'm like, we have the kids at home, like, what are we gonna do with the kids? And he was like, No, he was like, we'll figure it out. He's like, I know, that's always been a dream of yours, we'll find a way to make it work. And so my husband have to understand was in corporate finance for over a decade before he started his current role. And so normally, when any decision is made, especially if it's going to have like a sizable impact on our family, there's many conversations had, there's usually spreadsheets involved. There's just a lot that goes into it. So for him to just be so zealous and excited about it. I was like, wow, I guess maybe I do need to apply for this job. And, and so I did, as you mentioned, you know, my first role with the company was as an editor for their HarperCollins leadership imprint, which they were just launching their first public, first published, published book was building a story brand by Donald Miller, which if you know, that book went on to become a huge bestseller, I am sad to say I actually did not get to work on that. But I was, by the time I came on board, it was already off to the printer and you know, getting ready to be become the best seller it had became and continues to be. But in my time there you know, I will say something else about myself is I feel like I've always had a bit of an entrepreneurial mindset. Because I really enjoy new things, novel things, and I really enjoy building things. Like I love like establishing best practices and processes and policies. And I know if that comes from my corporate background, you know, I worked as an administrative assistant to put myself through college. So my first job out of high school was actually as a as a receptionist at a temp agency. And so I did that all the way. through graduate school to put myself through college. So there's something about that, like creating order out of chaos, so to speak, that always appeals to me, when I think that comes not only with, you know, building something new, but also an editorial work, you know, as well, there's a lot of creating order out of chaos. So I think that's just something they vary a date to, by by being. So yeah, and so I started there, and it was, like drinking from a fire hydrant, I mean, because I had not worked for a traditional publisher. And, you know, I had worked with a lot of self publishing authors. So there's always a lot more freedom and flexibility. And, you know, sort of going with the flow, where as we work for a big five publisher, they're very tied to their schedules. And obviously, this is something we'll talk about in relation to your book as well. But you know, it's sort of like this is when we said, the books are coming out, this is when the books are coming out. And, you know, so I was working on a lot of books, you know, on average, you know, we had what they call catalog seasons, which is basically, you know, the group of books that's coming up, that will come up in different seasons, you know, some publishers have two seasons, so they'll have like a fall on a spring catalog. HarperCollins haven't had three. And so we were doing about 10 to 12 books per catalog, you know, so I was shepherding the minimum, you know, of like, 30, to 40 books a year through the process. And so I learned it was trial by fire, you know, it's like, I did not have an opportunity, you know, to really sit back and think much about what I was doing, because everything had to be done, like right now. But, but like I said, I just loved, you know, the variety, I loved learning so much more about traditional publishing. And I think that that experience, especially, has really parlayed itself well into my current season of freelancing. And so I was with leadership. And then they were planning to serve a second nonfiction imprint called harbor risin. You know, because obviously, leadership is more focused on leadership. And so, you know, leadership, marketing sales, you know, that more in that wheelhouse financial books, of course, too. So it was more in that wheelhouse. So Harper horizon was going to be focused more on narrative nonfiction, self help, you know, they ended up doing cookbooks and other types of books, and my own memoir, as well. And so those are all the types of books that I really, really enjoyed working on as a nonfiction editor. And so I parlayed over there, and worked there for two and a half years and helped build that imprint with to be what it is. And I was very proud that our first book that came out was called Make life beautiful, which is by shades, the biggie who are very, two very famous interior designers, they have a Netflix show, and you know, are just wonderful people. And that one actually hit the New York Times bestseller list. And so I was just we're coming out strong, rise it. And it has, it was just such a joy and a challenge to build publishing imprints from nothing. And something people who aren't in traditional publishing may not know is that it's actually highly unusual for new imprints to be launched. Because a lot of the imprints tend to be very long standing. And anyone who's in traditional publishing will tell you that traditional publishing generally does not like change. They don't like introducing new things or innovating. And so to operate sort of as a start up within that larger, very behemoth corporate structure is is in a very actually a very unique opportunity.

Jamila Souffrant 18:42

Yeah, actually want to step in and just for people, because you know, I'm aware of some of this language, because I'm in the publishing world now as a writer, a published writer, but I do want for people who, you know, there's so many people who are listening who have no idea. Can you just give an overview of when you say big five publishers, like, you know, they'll hear these names, and then what imprints are and then if you even have numbers to describe, like how many there are, I think will be helpful for the audience to acclimate to like what you're actually talking about when you talk about launching an imprint at a publisher. All right,

Amanda Bauch 19:14

I will do my best to answer these questions. And you know, and it's funny with the big five because something that has happened over the past decade, especially in publishing is that a lot of smaller publishers are being acquired by bigger publishers. HarperCollins is one pedaler Random House this one, Simon and Schuster is one Hachette is the fourth one. And of course, now I'm gonna I'm gonna blank on the fifth one,

Jamila Souffrant 19:41

penguins. Yes. Hachette HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster and Macmillan, oh, Macmillan, but maybe they this might be an old list, and maybe it was acquired. So it's not a big five anymore. Yes,

Amanda Bauch 19:52

that and that happens quite a bit in publishing. So maybe it's just the big four now. No, Okay. So those are what they call, you know, the big five. And the reason why they're called the Big Five is because they of course publish, Kali. I mean, it may be even as high as like 90%, you know of most of the books that are traditionally published. Don't quote me on that percentage, I don't know. But that would be my educated guess based on my knowledge of the industry. And as far as imprints go, so most of the you know, so you have Harper Collins, right, but it's very rare you out if you look on the spine at your book, you very rarely will see just at Harper Collins logo on the side, you know, usually it's one of what they call like the HarperCollins imprints, for example, there's Harper business, Harper one, you know, like I said, I helped launch to do imprints, HarperCollins leadership, Harper horizon. So each of those imprints has their own unique logo that they publish under. But then they also usually have their own publisher that oversees their whole catalogue, meaning all the books that they publish, and typically, each imprint has a very unique identity and purpose under the larger umbrella of like, for HarperCollins. So for example, HarperCollins leadership was publishing leadership books, you know, horizon was publishing more books to help people enrich their lives, you know, whether that was through learning a new skill or cooking a meal, or, you know, reading inspirational memoir. So underneath these umbrellas, you know, you sometimes there will be dozens and dozens of imprints. So it's interesting sometimes, because, you know, I like a lot of times you look at a spine of a book, and you look at the title, but you often don't really look at the logo. And so the logo will tell you what the imprint is. Okay,

Jamila Souffrant 21:44

that was a very helpful overview of traditional publishing the way it's currently set up. And I'm sure a lot is still, like you said, even though it's very antiquated, and there's a lot of old ways, I do feel like they have been forced to kind of catch up with even the need for social media and book clubs and all that. But that's another conversation. Maybe marketing? Yes. So talk a little just a little bit about then, you now in this traditional publishing role, you had a lot of roles, you're seeing all these books come through, which by the way, being on the author side, and being one of many books that my publisher was working on, I think it's fascinating, how many things that you know, people within the traditional wheelhouse publishers like work on at once. While like, for me, this is my biggest like thing that I'm looking at. It's like one of many things that the people on the other side of the phone color screen are working on. How long did you stay within that role? And then what made you decide to exit it? Because I know that a lot of people within that space, a lot of people, they don't feel like they get paid enough, especially depending on where you live for the people who live in New York, and the high cost of living. Right. And so let's talk a little bit about that.

Amanda Bauch 22:59

Yeah, definitely. You know, it's interesting, because there was Harper, New York, and then there was Harper Collins and Nashville. And so sometimes things would be going on in the New York office. And we in Nashville minivan know, you know, for example, I know at least one time the HarperCollins editorial in New York editorial staff actually went walked in a walkout. And we were completely oblivious to that here in Nashville. And so it was just really interesting. To learn more about the disparities that exist in what we're experiencing in Nashville versus what was going on New York, even though we've worked for the same company. It's almost like we, we work for different companies. But you know, it's interesting in publishing, because something that has happened over the years as well, is that, you know, like a lot of businesses, they keep eliminating roles. And so one role will continually keep absorbing, you know, other responsibilities. So one thing a lot of people who are outside of traditional publishing aren't aware of is the fact that they most publishers run with a very shoestring editorial staff. You know, it used to be the in house, you would have like a full spectrum of different types of editors, you know, so you would have an acquisitions editor, who is the person who's actually going out and looking for projects to sign or accepting submissions from agents, and then helping bring new authors or repeat authors on board. So there was the acquisitions editor, and then there would be the senior editor who typically was assisting the acquisitions editor with some of the higher level editing, and they often were would oversee the more junior editors as well. Then there would be a production editor who typically would actually usher the book through the physical book process. So from the time the manuscript was done being edited until it's actually printed as a physical book and everything that goes into that, you know, the pages the cover, just making sure that all comes together. Then there would be a copy editor and so that would be the person who Who would actually correct the manuscript, you know, go through, check the grammar, spelling, punctuation, check the citations, if there's sources being used, you know, just all of like the finer details of a manuscript. And then after the book is laid out in its pages, then there would actually be a proofreader, who would be sort of the final check before the book was approved for the printer. Because there would be all of these different roles. However, most of the time in traditional publishing, now you have a senior acquisitions editor, and an editor. And that's it. So most of the editorial work in traditional publishing anymore is actually done by freelancers. And there are these very entrepreneurial people who actually have a lot of them have started these vendor outfits that sort of bring all of the Freelancers under them. And then the vendors directly contract with a publisher to bring freelancers in to do most of the copy editing and proofreading, although they'll also do other types of editing. So that was a major shift that happened in publishing. And so So what it but of course, what ends up happening is that, you know, in a lot of ways, it actually added a lot of burden to the editorial staff, because they are not there. Now they're not only managing their own projects. Now. They're also sort of quasi supervising all of these different freelancers. I've worked with wonderful freelancers, obviously, I am a wonderful answer to to my own horn. But you know, when you're hiring freelancers, it's very different than having someone in House who's very invested in the work being done.

Jamila Souffrant 26:42

Hey, journeyers, if you are loving this podcast, then you will love my book, Your journey to financial freedom, a step by step guide to achieving wealth, and happiness. I wrote this book for you. This book is for you. If you want a clear and enjoyable path to having more money, options, and a rich life. This book is for you if you hate your commute. And the fact that you need to seek approval or permission from a boss hated that when I worked. This book is for you. If you weren't born into wealth, you didn't marry rich or win the lottery, but you still want freedom. This book is for you. If you're at a crossroads, a major decision or event is imminent, maybe a career change marriage, starting a family pressures are reaching a tipping point. And the discomfort and the desire for more can no longer be ignored. And this book is for you, if you find yourself zoned out at meetings, looking out the window or daydreaming about the life you truly want. So go pick up your journey to financial freedom.com. So I can show you how to map out how to get from where you are today to where you ultimately want to be. And enjoy the journey. While you're on the path. Head over to your journey to financial freedom.com. To see where you can pick the book up, it's available on Amazon bookshop.org, Barnes and Noble, your local bookstore everywhere go to your journey to financial freedom.com to get the book now.

Amanda Bauch 28:10

So what I will say is for me, you know, I really love working with authors, you know, obviously, you know this because he works with me. But when I'm working with an author, I consider myself very relational. You know, I want to spend a lot of time with the manuscript, I want to spend a lot of time engaging with the author about the manuscript. But unfortunately, we're working on 30 to 40 books a year. That's a bit prohibitive. I mean, we think about that that's averaging, one wants to book a week, you know, and these are not short books, you know, it's some of them were very complex, like the cookbooks, which are is a whole other puzzle that has to be solved. So for me, I felt like my giftedness is actually just being squandered because I was in survival mode all the time. It's like, all I could do was just keep pushing things through. And I wasn't able to give projects the time and attention that I felt they deserved. You know, a lot of that, of course, comes from my background as a published writer, you know, it's like I understand as a writer, what kind of support you need to be confident in the work you're doing and to be, you know, to be happy with the finished product. And so I felt like my, not only my personal integrity, but also my professional integrity has been compromised, you know, just by the sheer volume of my workload. And eventually, that just became unacceptable to me. And also, of course, you know, you can imagine, I'm working a lot in this during the pandemic, you know, so we're all remote anyway. And, you know, I feel like a lot of us were actually working a lot more during the pandemic than we were when we were still commuting. And so obviously, it was not only you know, very hard for me professionally to maintain that that pace but also was having a lot detrimental effects on my home life, because my children were able to have access to me as much as they wanted or needed to you they're still pretty young. So they still have a great need, you know, for parents or involvement. So there were just a lot of reasons for me just to really start thinking about long term, you know, is this really where I want to be 235, even 10 years down the road, you know, and one of my other challenges were the limitations of my career path. So by the time I left, I had been promoted to senior editor for Harper horizon. But if I wanted to actually progress and to, you know, move up the corporate ladder, so to speak, my options were very limited. Basically, I could go into acquisitions, which I was, had zero interest in doing. Because that, to me, that involves like contracts and the financial aspect, you know, and I, that that is just like the kiss of death to me, like, I have zero interest in that. So that was unappealing to me. Or I could go, you know, segue into an associate or system publisher or a publisher role, which would just be more of the same. And so that wasn't something I wanted to do, either. So when I really sat and thought about, I was like, I really just want to work with authors and scripts. Why is that so hard? You know, I work for a publisher, you would think that would be all that I will be doing all day, every day? No, but really, a lot of my work was just project management. And just going to meetings, making sure everyone had what they needed, you know, making sure things are all the trains are running on the track, you know, the amount of time I, I spent actually editing manuscripts was very minimal. You hear oh, you're an editor, HarperCollins, you must spend all your days editing these wonderful manuscripts and like, no, actually, I spend very little time. It's like, I actually spent most of my time going to bat eggs and managing projects. It's like, that's really what I spend most of my time doing. This is my third year of freelancing. So, you know, I had had the hard conversation with my husband and said to him, What would you think about me, leaving HarperCollins and going back to freelancing? And now this is the time that the spreadsheets didn't come into play. Right? You know, because we have financial leads, you know, with our children's school League and other expenses. And so he basically laid it off for me and said, this is basically what you would need to earn per here to make this work. And if you think this is possible, if you think it's realistic, then yes, you 100% Let's do it. And so I did, I said, Yeah, I think I could do that. I think I could do that. And so, yeah, so I put on my notice to HarperCollins. And here I am back in what I refer to as the wilds of freelancing. But it's interesting, this freelancing. When I was freelancing before, like I said, I was working through different vendors, it all felt much more haphazard, you know, whereas now I am, I'm running my freelance, more like an actual business, and more like a brand, which I did not do before. And I will say, that was one of the many wonderful things that came out of my time at HarperCollins was that I am much better positioned to do the work that I'm doing. So even though those four and a half years, in many ways, were the four and a half of the hardest years of my life, I came out on the other side of it, having much more knowledge and many more resources and many more connections to be successful in doing the work that I'm currently doing.

Jamila Souffrant 33:32

Right. And you talk about the hard work and kind of like tribulations and trials you went through. And you know, I can attest that, when I needed your help on like the smallest matter or insight. It was, I knew it was because of your experience within the industry itself. And having sat at the seats, where I would ask the question about what do you think this means? You know, and you're like, Well, when I was when I was in that position, this is what I did. And this is what that meant. So hopefully, you are interested in this conversation, because you maybe are interested in writing a book or publishing but even if you're not, I think one of the takeaways I'm hearing and that we'll hear how it applies to your journey. And how it helped me is that the hard times you went through and this is for anyone and like the learning period in your life set you up now to be able to use those tools to have success. And so I think that's the for the people who are still within the hard parts and kind of the Why am I doing this? This is like a lot. It's like that this potentially is what's going to help you succeed. The lessons learned here in that next endeavor or project that you take on.

Amanda Bauch 34:38

Yes, that is 100% accurate. You know, one of my philosophies in any things going on in life personally or professionally, whether it's, you know, a challenge or it's, you know, something very joyous there's nothing last year there was so much of what we do with a lot of it is just perception, you know, I mean I quite frankly I I have colleagues that have left HarperCollins and are really kind of bitter about their experience there, you know, but I have endured a lot of things in my life. And you know, if nothing else, I feel that I have learned that even the worst thing can be beneficial to you if you choose to allow it to be. And so that's definitely just by my experience of HarperCollins. It's just one of many things, you know, that I feel that way about.

Jamila Souffrant 35:26

I also want to highlight the length of time it takes for a book to be traditionally published and like the why. And, you know, I'll just give me a quick perspective, I think we'll probably get into like, interviewing me about the book, like in the next half of the talker, but I do want to kind of focus on this, because I think it sets our conversation about my experience a bit better, because it is like traditional publishing versus self publishing. You know, I looked at that a lot, when I started to think about book and I knew that I want to do the traditional route, mainly because of distribution, right? Like, I felt like, okay, the stock can get into airports, and kind of have the validity behind like the book is that it's published by it, you know, top five publisher, so I knew I wanted to go that route. But then also, the trade off is like less control and the time it takes versus like, if I self published a book and wrote my own book, like I can, you know, make my own decisions, put my own money behind it, and then be able to put it out as fast as possible, but maybe not have the distribution. But, you know, you mentioned a lot of editors. And even with that an author who wants to be traditionally published, process starts waving even before they get acquired by a traditional publisher. Because first you need to understand the concept of the book that you're writing. And fiction is different than nonfiction. And so nonfiction, you typically have a proposal, which can take months or years to write depending on your process, then you have to find an agent who thinks they can sell your book to a traditional publisher, and that might take some time. And then just the fact of if you're lucky enough to have people interested in your book more than one, then it can go to auction like my book did. And then the negotiation like this takes like, can take three, four years for some people, right years.

Amanda Bauch 37:10

Yes, 100%. And I will, I will say some authors who are familiar with traditional publication process are very shocked at how long it takes to get a book into the world. Now, I will say that there are reasons for that, you know, as you very well know, why it takes so much time, but then there also is the reality that doesn't necessarily need to take that much time. But it's just the way the traditional publishers operate, they have a process, and it's very rare, they will choose to deviate it from it. Now, I will say there were times when we did push a book, I think the fastest I ever, I call it flipping, that's not really an accurate term. But basically, you know, the fastest I ever got a book, to market from concept to the physical book actually being in the world, I think was three or four months, you know, and that was that was highly unusual, you know, and the reason why was because it was actually about the COVID pandemic. And so we said, if we're going to do a pandemic book, it has to basically come out like yesterday, because if we two years, you know, it could be totally irrelevant. So what's the point? But generally, no, that was not the case. We were not pushing books through that quickly. And like you said it normally, from the time, we would receive a proposal from an agent, and you know, in the author and would agree to work with us, it was usually a minimum of a year, from the time we signed the book until the book actually came out in the world, and actually was usually longer than that. And then like he mentioned, there's lots of different reasons for that, you know, it's like there's the contract negotiations, you actually have to write the book, which could obviously take some time. And then there's the whole editorial process, you know, it needs to go through the copy editing, it needs to go through the interior design process, you need the cover design, you have to get your marketing and publicity teams involved. And you know, and so everyone has to get on board and start marching forward. And then of course, there's been multiple rounds of proofreading, and then the actual physical printing of the book and getting them in warehouses and to retailers. So it is an extraordinarily complex and long process. To me, when the most fascinating things that's going on in publishing right now, is what I called sort of like the uprising of the hybrid publisher. And so do you mind if I just speak about hybrid publishing momentarily? Yeah, let's talk about it. Yeah. Because I think it's a new modality that, especially authors are really taking advantage of and leveraging for their benefit. So it used to be there was traditional publishing and self publishing, you know, and those were really the The two primary ways you could go, thankfully, and I think rightly self publishing isn't necessarily is frowned upon as it used to be anymore, you can self publish your work, and people aren't going to think you're less of an author, which used to be the case. So hybrid hub publishers are very interesting because they sort of sit in the space between self publishing and traditional publishing. And actually a lot of authors who have been traditionally published who actually are opting now to either self publish their books, or to work with a hybrid publisher. There are many good reasons for the authors to be doing that. One is that usually the time from ideation to market is much shorter. Like some hybrid publishers need to get a book to market in a matter of months, which is really unheard of in traditional publishing, like I said, it's very rare that they can accommodate that kind of timeline. Another reason is that the royalty structure is usually a lot more favorable for authors, you know, some hybrid publishers will give you a royalty rate of up to 85%, you know, and sometimes even higher, depending on how they are structured. So that's another good reason authors go the hybrid route. Another reason is that they have a lot more creative control. And so you know, whether it's the content in the manuscript, the cover design, whatever that might be, they, you know, they typically have a lot more creative control, as well. Of course, you know, some of the benefits that offset that, or the fact that there's usually upfront costs involved. So depending on the hybrid publisher in their prices, that can price some offers out in the market. But some of the more savvy hybrid publishers anymore now partnering with some of the big five publishers to do their distribution. And so even though you're working with a hybrid publisher, you might say, for example, have the benefits of distribution through Simon and Schuster, and be able to leverage their sales team and get your books into places like Barnes and Noble, you know, and other retailers, you know, and so, especially for authors who already have like a pretty sizable platform, in their own sort of marketing and publicity machine, the hybrid publishing can be a very valid option. You know, anytime I work with authors, you know, especially ones who aren't quite clear on what they want their publishing journey to be, or what they want it to look like, you know, I always encourage them and say that this is your publishing journey, you know, what do you want that to look like? What are you worried about? What are your hopes, where do your dreams, where are your fears, because answering all of those questions will help you identify, you know, which publishing path makes the most sense for you. And the reality is, that publishing path might not even be the same for every book an author publishes, you know, I actually know authors that do some traditional publishing and some hybrid publishing and self publishing. So sometimes you might actually have an author who's publishing all three ways concurrently, because each project is necessitates its own approach. And so I think that's a really fascinating thing that's going on in publishing right now. And I, for my part, I'm really excited to see it, because I'm all about providing more opportunities for more authors that you know, and to do the thing they love. And you know, anymore, it's very hard for a lot of authors to get a traditionally published book contract. And so they have these other options. So they can have a small taste of what they could be like, but then also not compromise, you know, the quality of their end product, I think is I just think it's such an asset to the industry. And obviously, at the end of the day readers are the ones who benefit from all of these changes and innovations in the industry.

Jamila Souffrant 43:51

Right. And then I think the other thing, probably to note, is that the structure of the advance and how, like, for me, at least traditionally, that was like the one benefit is knowing that I would get a very like nice advance that was my goal, a significant advance. And so even understanding that but also knowing now that the book is out, and so the basically the publisher will sign you for an advance and give you an advance up front, but you don't get that advance. All right away. Right. And so the one of the surprising things I learned about the publishing industry, as I was in it, was that my book went to auction late in the year. I'm blanking on, I think it was 2021. I should like, look that up and verify but it was very late in the year but it went to auction and I had 11 publishers bid on the book, and select the one that I felt was the best in terms of like the vision and I felt they were aligned with what I wanted, because they initially reached out to me before I even had a proposal. So that felt very special to me that not only did they see the vision before the proposal and before, like, you know, everyone else wanted it. But it was someone from their team who actually listened to the podcast who recommended me to the person who ran that imprint. So that was special Plus, they did come with the most money. So that was very nice. Also, yes, that worked out very well worked out really well. And so when I was thinking about, okay, I, you know, get this deal, but I remember talking to my agents, and they were like, so yes, we have verbally kind of like handshake on this acceptance. And that's it. Now we go off to work on the contract. And so we go off to work on the contract, but you should start and begin like writing the book or start that process, which is where we kind of started to kind of get introduced and move forward. But like, literally, I was like, Wait, so what, how

do I know I actually have a deal. And they're like, you do have a deal. Because we know we've verbally we kind of have an email said, we have accepted, it's moving forward, but there's no contract. And like you don't get your first advance until like the contract is signed. And then there's ways in which it's, it's caught up in over like a period of for me at least two years, that I get the entire advance over that time. And then what traditionally published authors, you don't start earning money from your book until you earn out your advance. So until you sell as many books as it takes for that publisher, for however much they paid you is when you have to wait just like a record deal. Like you know, when they say they had a record deal advance, like artists maybe got like a million dollars, they won't see revenue from the sales of their album or digital sales nowadays, until they earn back that $1 million. And so I know that for people who self published that is the power of not necessarily waiting and giving up a high percentage of profits to that to the publisher, and you get to take the risk on yourself. And pocket most of whatever that book is abuse that you sold, versus for as a traditional author, you know, the publisher is putting money upfront. And they're hoping that you earn out I have also since learned that sometimes they don't even expect you to earn out like the business model is that they have some books that are not so much more than they put up front and some books that they just kind of expect to not work or make money. But it's all like kind of rolled up. And I still don't understand this. But it's like if you might have been one of those books that they didn't really think would make it even though they gave you an advance because there's other books that are stronger that basically pay for whatever loss that you have contributed to the bottom line. And so all that is kind of like a background of setting up our conversation that we'll have about like my process or going through the creative process of writing the book, because it wasn't things that I would have known unless I was going through it at the moment. Yes,

Amanda Bauch 47:40

and thank you so much for speaking especially about contracts and advances. It's a strange thing in publishing, because it's one of the least known but also one of the most known pieces of the publishing businesses that most books don't earn back their advance. And so publishers take on a lot of risk when they're signing projects. And I remember it was very funny. One day I was having a conversation, my father in law, who spent his career as a CFO and in corporate finance, and he was like explaining the business model publishing to me, he's like, I'm very curious about it. And so I'm explaining to him, you know, how we signed the projects advances and all of this, and his brow was just getting progressively more further. And I finally started, he's like, that doesn't make any sense at all. And I laughed, I'm like, it is a little backwards compared to the way most businesses run. And he's like, Well, how do they? How do they earn money, he's like, I just don't understand. And I was like, there's two ways. One is you have like a big book that blows up. And that basically, you know, the company just right to that tide, like as long as they possibly can. But then the other thing is what they call backless titles. So backless titles or titles that have been on the market. Usually, some publishers will ship the book The backless at six months, but it's usually like a year or longer. And so a lot of the you know, so a lot of them come a publishers actually comes from their backless titles. So books that have been on the market for a long time, but still continue to sell extremely well, between the, you know, the big book and the backlist like that's where most publishers get their the bulk of their operating money from

Jamila Souffrant 49:21

right. And then you have like little old writers like me, who like their whole, they're just like, Okay, I do want this to be successful. I want it to earn back, you know, the money that they put up front, so then I could also get some residual income eventually. And it's just like, well, you know, technically we didn't really expect you to do well anyway. But no, I don't think that was the case for me. I do think they had they had hopes. They had hoped for my book. I think so as

Amanda Bauch 49:45

well. Yeah, yes. Please let

Jamila Souffrant 49:49

everyone know where they can find out more about your work and what you

Amanda Bauch 49:53

do. Yes. So the best place to find out more about me and the work I'm doing is my website which is Amanda belk.com So Amanda B as in boy, a U C h.com.

Jamila Souffrant 50:07

Thank you so much Manda.

Speaker 2 50:09

Don't forget, you can get the episode show notes for this episode by going to journey to launch.com. Or click the description of wherever you're listening to this. And you can still grab your jumpstart guide for free to help you on your journey to financial freedom by going to journey to launch.com/jumpstart. If you want to support me and the podcast and love the free content and information that you get here, here are four ways that you can support me in the show. One, make sure you're subscribed to the podcast wherever you listen, whether that's Apple podcasts, that purple app on your phone, your Android device, YouTube, Spotify, wherever it is that you happen to listen, just subscribe so you are not missing an episode. And if you're happening to listen to this and Apple podcasts, rate review and subscribe there. I appreciate and read every single review number to follow me on my social media accounts. I'm at journey to launch on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And I love love love interacting with journeys. They're three support and check out the sponsors of this show. If you hear something that interests you, sponsors are the main ways we keep the podcast lights on here. So show them some love for supporting your girl for and last but not least, share this episode this podcast with a friend or family member or co worker so that we can spread the message of Journey to launch

Jamila Souffrant 51:27

Alright, that's it until next week, keep on journeying journey airs

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