Secret Library Podcast


Secret Library Podcast Episodes

#97 Being Boss

Emily Thompson + Kathleen Shannon wrote the book on Being Boss.

Back in January 2015, Emily and Kathleen launched a podcast called Being Boss. It was for women business owners and creative entrepreneurs. The show quickly grew from a small posse of listeners into a sensation, and then a movement. The exploration of what it meant to be boss created in-person events and a vibrant online community of women, all ready to "do the work" as Emily and Kathleen put it. It was only a matter of time before they wrote a book. As soon as the book was ready to hit the presses, I was eager to speak to the two of them about what had allowed them to collaborate on a book from two different cities and in the midst of their shared business and the businesses they each run on their own. I knew they'd have systems and tips galore, and I wasn't disappointed. If you've ever thought about collaborating on a book, this is your episode. And even if you don't dream of co-authoring, the advice Emily and Kathleen share will help you get your book written better, faster, and saner. Happy listening!

Discussed in Episode 97 with Emily Thompson + Kathleen Shannon

  • People always say that writing a book is the most painful thing you’ll ever do, but Emily and Kathleen found the process joyful and pleasant, and grew from the process as writers.
  • They needed to have hardcore systems in place to make it work and make it joyful.
  • The first two weeks of the book writing process was very trial and error.
  • The proposal was the most painful part of the whole process but gave a lot of clarity about the content that would be written about.
  • They decided to write the book in chronological order, from beginning to end, instead of writing random chapters when they felt inspired.
  • They had a very structured and detailed outline and then assigned who would write each part.
  • They wrote in Google Docs so they could write and edit in real time, and would go to separate offices to write different parts then come together and read to each other.
  • They found it easier to write by reading out loud and talking it through with each other.
  • They had recurring themes and pillars that always came up in their work that they decided to use as chapters.
  • The hardest part of the proposal was trying to explain what they do to people who were not familiar with their work, and pitching to traditional publishers.
  • The pushback, resistance, and clarification along the way is what makes the work ultimately better.
  • They played off each other’s energies to help get through the process and encouraged each other to keep going.
  • Writing a book was like childbirth; you don’t remember how painful the whole process was and then you have this beautiful thing at the end.
  • Consistency breeds legitimacy.
  • They had to drop their egos to make the best book for the reader to pick up.
  • Collectively agreed that they needed to stand ground on the graphic design of the book.
  • At the end, it wasn’t ego, but it was having this vision and needing to go through the process to get the thing that aligned with the vision.
  • There is a certain amount of clout that comes with being traditionally published and having other people believe in you.
  • They wanted the accountability of a traditional publisher to make the book happen.
  • Finding a good fit with an agent and publisher and asking the right questions along the way is important if you choose traditional publishing.
  • Show up and do the work!
  • How you do anything is how you do everything. Treat every project like it is the most important project in that moment.
  • When people can have mutual respect for one another, they can all create something to be proud of.
  • They had to build very serious boundaries in work so no time was wasted while writing, but knew it was okay to break those boundaries sometimes.
  • If you start behaving as if you are writing the book or that you are getting a lot done, you will get it done. Care enough about the project to do what it takes to make it happen.
  • You have to acknowledge that this is still your job and you won't always have inspiration. You still have to just sit down and do the work.