I hired Lacy Boggs to help me write the first draft of the Social Slowdown book, and today she’s here with me to talk all about the writing process.

We also talk about:

  • Book launch strategy
  • How it felt to work with a ghost writer
  • The difference between a ghost writer and a co-author
  • The book publication process
  • Thought leadership

 Lacy Boggs is a content strategist, author of the bestselling Kindle ebook, Make a Killing With Content, and the mastermind behind the podcast, “Ace Stone, Marketing Detective.” As director of The Content Direction Agency, she helps small business owners create and implement content marketing strategy that feels like a playground for ideas and results in deceptively powerful nurture content to create massive growth. 

Read the full transcript

Lacy Boggs 0:00
Like the barrier to entry has lowered, but the noise has raised. And if you can get your message out there and make it resonate above the noise, and you have succeeded, you are a success at that point.

Meg Casebolt 0:14
You’re listening to social slowdown a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. I’m your host, Meg Casebolt. And I have a new book coming out called Social slowdown. It’s taking all of the 80 plus interviews that we’ve done so far in this podcast series, and turned it into something that’s a little bit more easily digestible. It will be available on July 27 2023. And it’ll only be $4 on Kindle and $9. On paperback. So I would love, love, love, if you could support the podcast by going on Amazon and buying the book. If you preorder it, I would especially appreciate that because that would help us get to a best seller status. Even if you don’t read it. That’s okay. So if you want to get your copy of the social slowdown book, head on over to social slowdown.com/book and get that today. And now let’s get back to the podcast, which is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lip sync, send cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7. Let’s get started. Welcome to the social slowdown. This is your host, Meg Casebolt. And back with me for the 18 million time. Lazy bog Bailey’s.

Lacy Boggs 1:34
Hey, how are you?

Meg Casebolt 1:36
I’m good. I feel like every time I bring you on, we have a very different reason for discussing whatever is on my mind. I have a thought Lacey want to hop on? Yes, I’ll

Lacy Boggs 1:47
just be a straight man. It’s fine.

Meg Casebolt 1:49
You’re the N Perkins. So my Leslie, it’s fine.

Lacy Boggs 1:52
I’m here for it.

Meg Casebolt 1:54
I’ll have the crazy Valentine’s party and you just get to roll your eyes at the camera. It’s fantastic. But today, specifically, I want to talk about a project that I just hired you for. So do you want to run through it and tell everyone what we worked on together?

Lacy Boggs 2:09
Yeah. So you came to me and said, I have this idea for a book and um, to add to get it off the ground? Can you write the rough draft for me? I think actually, what you said was to add to pull all the stuff together from the podcast, which was the source material, and asked me if I could help you organize it and get it into a format where then you could take it and run with it. And so what we agreed on was we basically put together the outline together, we talked about it and I drafted an outline, and then I pulled stuff, bits and pieces from I think it was eventually 35 podcast episodes you gave me somewhere in that range.

Meg Casebolt 2:53
I think I you and I went through and said what are the key points that we want to deliver in the book? What are the major things and topics that we want to talk about? And then I went through and just thought like which interview this featured within it. And we already had the transcript pulled so I think did I like build a notion doc for you did

Lacy Boggs 3:15
it was amazing. It was really great a whole like database.

Meg Casebolt 3:19
Because that I can do that I can I can gather I can collect information, it was just really hard for me as the person who had the conversations, to curate and condense and distill the most important points from each of the conversations. And if I had had to do that myself having been in the conversations, I feel like I would have just gone down endless rabbit holes in the book would have been 90,000 words in the first draft would have just been like basically a repeat of all the conversations without really getting to the core of the somatic things that we’ve been talking about on a podcast. So having, like a third party voice, go through and say based on what we need, here’s what we already have was so invaluable. Yeah, I feel

Lacy Boggs 4:07
like I had the 30,000 foot view maybe that that was more difficult for you to see. And so yeah, so what I did was went through all those transcripts, literally copied and pasted huge chunks, from each interview, stuck them in random, not random. I stuck them in the order in the outline. And then I did a pass to clean it all up and write sort of the transitional material that needed to be there and essentially produced a rough draft for you that you are now as we’re speaking, polishing up and as we’re, this will be live it’ll be ready to go.

Meg Casebolt 4:44
Yeah, so you and I start I think I hired you in January or February. Sounds about right. You had the first draft done for me by the end of March. But you were you were sort of saying like, okay, part one is done if you want to go take a look at it. And so, as things were big Timing clearer. And then you could always go through and be like, Oh, I found this quote from, you know, interview 17 That actually goes in part one. And yeah, I mean that. So it was you were building it, but building it in real time in a sort of collaborative way. So I could make sure that it was heading in the direction I wanted it to go. But I didn’t have to be the one digging through the transcripts and finding the threads. And, and you would even say, like, here’s some research that I found. And then we need a better citation for this one. So when you go in and do it by like, here’s the thing that we’re trying to prove at this point. And just having like that jumping off point for me was so powerful, because like, I didn’t have to do it all myself. And having those those, you know, you had gone through the outline and said, Here are the things that we want you and I had built that outline and said, Here are the things that we want. And then you showed me where the gaps were. And so what’s been really interesting is you handed over the document to me. And then I looked at the outline, I looked at what you had, I looked at what was missing. And I went and found different podcast guests in a much more strategic way than I had prior where I went, Oh, I hadn’t talked to anybody about that topic yet. Let me go find somebody so that I can record it. So that way I can use it as an interview. So that way I can build it into the book, which was a very different approach to the podcast than what I had been doing before starting to think about turning it into a book.

Lacy Boggs 6:26
Mm hmm. And I think, you know, from a writing perspective, it was a great way for me to Well, I mean, I mean, full disclosure, you and I have known each other for ever for dogs years. And so I know your voice pretty well, you know, and we’ve worked together on various and sundry projects, where I’ve written things for you and things like that. So that was not hard for me. But you know, even just having the transcripts, having your thoughts in the transcripts from solo episodes, or from when you’re talking to people, it was incredibly valuable, there were whole huge chunks I could pull out and just clean up because that was already your thought leadership about that subject. It was already there, you’d already created that content, I just had to clean it up a little and figure out where it fits.

Meg Casebolt 7:18
And I think that was the reason that I wanted to write the book is after I’d gone through in January, we did a six episode arc, like a, I don’t wanna say mini series, because that feels bigger than what it was. But it was just like, for six days, I did solo and one was with Megan. But I did like thought leadership episodes with a format that followed a specific protocol and framework. And that was when I came to you. And I was like, I just did something I think is cool.

Lacy Boggs 7:46
All right. I think this is a book.

Meg Casebolt 7:48
This feels like a buffet, like you

Lacy Boggs 7:50
said that in our slack. And you were like, I think I just I think this is a book.

Meg Casebolt 7:57
And I keep stumbling into these books. Lacey. I’ve told you this before where like I wrote. And this will be the next book, which will probably be out in I don’t know, October, November. But I wrote this blog post that I ended up with started with just a here’s the here’s a blog post and some links, and then or it started as a Google Doc, then it turned into a blog post. And then by the time the blog post was done, it was 7000 words. And I’m like, well, that’s half a book. You know, sometimes, I don’t know if it’s like the Muse strikes or the the thought leadership becomes clear. But talk to me from your perspective, as a writer, as a ghostwriter. As somebody who has done this, maybe not this exact, you know, podcast transcription into book process. But what when do you think that clients come to you and say, I need a blog post versus I need a white paper versus I need a book? When does the book become the outcome or the deliverable?

Lacy Boggs 8:51
Yeah, so I’ve done books a few times, both for clients and for myself. And I think it depends on, you know, the client’s imagination, and then also the scope, they want to bring it to write because a book is definitely a larger scope. It’s a larger project. It’s a more long term project. There’s more that goes into it. I know you and I talked about before we went live that you’re going to talk about the marketing book, which is nearly as important as the writing if you want to get it out to people, right. So it’s a whole, it’s a different scope of work for sure. The first book I wrote was for a client that I had been working for, for quite a while writing blog posts. And so like years, I had been writing for her for a couple of years. And so I had become sort of a de facto mini expert in her topic. And when she was like, I want to write a book. I said, Okay, I think we can do this. Like, I already understand a lot of the technical stuff that goes into your topic. And we did it in a sort of a similar fashion like talked about what the outline would be. And then but but I didn’t have as much to go on. I was pulling from blog posts I had read Do you wish you knew the brand voice? I knew the brand voice I was pulling for from blog posts I had written but it was much more creation from scratch. And what I learned from that project was that I didn’t want to be a book ghostwriter, generally speaking, because it was such a huge project. And like, like no, no, no shade to my client, but I didn’t know how to charge for it, you know, we didn’t understand what we were getting into. So I’m proud of the book, the book is good. But it was a lot more work and a lot more effort than I understood was going into it. And then the second book I wrote was my own, which I also sort of stumbled into by accident. I was in the audience for term, McMillan’s Creative Live course about how to write a book in a week. And when we arrived in Seattle to be in the audience, they were like, cool. So when your book comes out, we’re gonna help you promote it. And I’m like, wait, what? I did not understand that I was signing up to actually write a book in a week. But her methodology was very similar. So my book was, you know, taking a series of blog posts I had written, editing them together and publishing it, as you say, like, once you have, I mean, 7000 words, that’s a big blog post for anybody. But if you have several that are 1000 words, several that are 2000 words, you’ve got a book, you know, you once you put the connective tissue in there. That’s a book. So it’s, it’s really so so much easier to create something when you’re not creating it from whole cloth. It’s more like, like, if I’m going to take this metaphor a little further. It’s like quilting, right? As opposed to like, oh, I have to, I have to weave something from thread. It’s no, I’m going to take these scraps and quilt them together into something better.

Meg Casebolt 11:47
Yeah, again, I like to when you said like, you’re putting the connective tissue in there gave me this idea of like, the bones of the book. Yeah, we already exist. Yes. If you’ve been creating any content, marketing, whatever your content delivery system is emails, social blogging, podcast video, like whatever your content media format, is, you might have a book in it.

Lacy Boggs 12:13
Totally. And I would say even if it’s not public content, if you have done coaching calls, if you have a course, if you have talks you’ve given, there’s probably a book in that too. Like, it’s probably they’re giving

Meg Casebolt 12:26
me I already have three books that I want to write. And I think we’re putting them or potenti Lacey

Lacy Boggs 12:33
road long. But yeah, like, Those won’t

Meg Casebolt 12:37
require, I think the first book in particular, I wanted to have someone else’s sort of input coming into it

Lacy Boggs 12:44
too. Well, and your first book is always the hardest.

Meg Casebolt 12:47
Yeah, well, thank you for telling me that, because I needed to hear. Yeah, because you’ve never

Lacy Boggs 12:51
done it before. It’s the same as anything else. The first bike ride is the hardest, your first hike up a mountain is the hardest, your first baby is the hardest, because you don’t know what to expect, or what, you know, it’s so new, you have no idea what to expect. So I think once you’ve done it a couple of times, you can approach it differently. And it becomes, you know, maybe easier is the wrong word, but different and you know what to expect.

Meg Casebolt 13:17
Yeah, and I think, you know, having people around you who have done it, too, for me, so it was huge. I was still before I was working for you as your social media designer, when you wrote the book. So this was what, like,

Lacy Boggs 13:30
eight years. Yeah, yeah, you designed the first cover,

Meg Casebolt 13:33
I designed the cover of your book. And I think that was like, Oh, hey, Lisa, you just wrote a book in a week? Yeah, that’s doable. You know, you didn’t have to go out and get the agent and do the editor and the traditionally published and the query and that did it. Right. And then like, the more time I’ve been in this business, the more I’m like, Oh, I have friends who have written I’d like this is my friend the honest book right here. Like it’s a real physical right,

Lacy Boggs 14:00
but I can for the first time ever, mine is a real physical book. I used to only be as an ebook but now it’s a real physical book that you can buy.

Meg Casebolt 14:08
Can you send me like an autographed copy of

Lacy Boggs 14:10
it? I would love to I would love to and what’s interesting what

Meg Casebolt 14:15
comes like you know the same you know, you use the example of like your first babies the hardest like and then once your friends start having babies are like, Oh, she has she kept child

was like she’s a mom. I

Lacy Boggs 14:38
PS like not to say that your second child is not hard. I’m sure it is in a completely different way. But you also approach it much differently. You’re not afraid you’re gonna break them the first time you pick them up and like it’s a different

Meg Casebolt 14:49
child. You’re like, I remember being in the hospital after having my second kid and I was like, breastfeeding was never easy for me. But I remember being in the hospital and then Nurse walked in with, like an intern behind her. And she was like second time mom, you can just tell. You know, it wasn’t easy. It was just like the kid was on the boob. And I was scrolling on social media.

Lacy Boggs 15:11
It was a whole different attitude

Meg Casebolt 15:14
versus get it was like the what’s the hamburger hold? My favorite? Well, you’re not watching people at home, listen, or you’re not watching, but I’ve got all the hand gestures around the difference.

Lacy Boggs 15:30
I want to say to you, I know you and I have had this conversation. But being that I am, I can’t remember exactly what year this was published, but at least six or seven years out from publishing my book 2016. So yeah, what’s that? Yeah. What’s interesting to me is, the ebook was always 99 cents from the beginning, like it was 99 cents, the day I launched, it’s 99 cents today, I have earned out over those seven years, I’ve sold over 10,000 copies, with very little marketing on my part. And I’ve earned out more than what you would typically see for a first time author, royalty statement. So meaning that like if I had gone through a traditional publishing a first time author, especially for a nonfiction book like this, you’d be lucky to see two or $3,000. And I’ve earned more than that, selling them at 99 cents a pop of which I only get a percentage, because obviously, Amazon

Meg Casebolt 16:35
since you’re selling it on Amazon, then you would make 30% royalties from 99 cents, right? Yeah, right around there. Yeah, so you’re making 30 cents for 37, for copy. So yeah, so 10,000 10,000 Plus copies, do the math, you know, but it was something you did in a week that’s continuing to bring in royalties now and bring in clients now bring in

Lacy Boggs 16:55
clients, I’ve had clients literally say to me, I read your book, you’ve been on my wish list for three years, and I’m ready to work with you now. And that’s really interesting. I thought, I think it’s funny to what, like, people were always like, oh, book is the best business card, like you can say you wrote a book and all this stuff. I don’t believe it’s like, it wasn’t the sort of like, oh, suddenly I had an influx of, you know, hundreds of clients wanting to work for me, that was not my experience. But it has been super positive over time, I love that I can put in my bio, that I’m an author of a best selling book, because it was a best seller on Kindle, you know. So that’s exciting. So there’s a lot of reasons to do it. And when it’s that easy, like to just literally edit together some content you already have, and then upload it. It’s like why the heck not?

Meg Casebolt 17:45
And when you start to get in the habit of thinking of your content as potentially not always, but potentially becoming a part of the book, I think you’ll get more strategic about what you need to create. Yes. And then I’ll talk in the next episode about my book launch strategy, and like how I want people to engage with it. But let’s talk about that, too. Because you’re so freaking good at this stuff, which is like, once people buy the book, how do you get them on the email list? How do you follow up with them? Because Kindle doesn’t give you their email addresses Amazon’s gonna tell you they are. So having that, that funnel on the back end of it, what’s your funnel look like?

Lacy Boggs 18:24
So, you know, I did what you’re supposed to do, which is I put together some worksheets and downloads. And so in the book in multiple places, it says go to this URL. And you could download the worksheets and get this as a multimedia, you know, book. And I will tell you, it did not work very well. For me, I definitely did not add 10,000 people or anywhere near it to my to my list. And yet, people found me people came and worked with me people, you know. So I think it’s still a smart thing to do. I think it’s still a good practice to say like, go do this thing. And it didn’t work as well for me as I would have liked necessarily. But I’m not. I’m not knocking it. And I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m just saying like, it wasn’t like an immediate influx of like, Oh, everybody who bought my book signed up for my list. It just didn’t work that way. For me, maybe the stuff I was offering wasn’t enticing enough. But regardless, I think like getting people to buy it that what’s interesting about a book is that it’s a physical thing, or it’s a thing that’s in their Kindle and they see your name and it remains there. Right. It’s something that sits on their desk if it’s a physical book or sits on their bookshelf. And so it’s it’s top of mind advertising in a way that’s difficult to replicate in any other way.

Meg Casebolt 19:47
Especially if it’s a book that isn’t a step by step process but more of a thought leadership book and I think both of those have their places. I easily could have taken my step by step process and started with that. book because it was mostly done. But the book that leapt out to me as this is the first one that I want to do is more of this exploration of, of social media as a marketing strategy. And like, I think for me, it was, I’ve now you know, let’s say that every podcast is a half an hour long, I’ve got 50 hours of conversations on this that you can pull from, but I don’t expect people to go back and listen to all 50 hours to figure out what it is that I’m saying. And with a podcast or with a blog post, like there’s no, there’s no path through it. And what’s funny too, as I’m saying this aloud is that in your book, you explain how to create a path between different content.

Lacy Boggs 20:43
Yes, and like, literally what’s in my book is on my blog that people could go read for free. However, there is a premium that gets attached to something when you’ve packaged it and put it together and edited it into something that’s consumable in a different way. I remember Charlie Gilkey talking about this, and he was talking about the difference between a blog and a book is how people experience your body of work. And I thought that was a really good way to put it because like, my blog, gosh, oh, so I had recently do a content audit and go pack through like 350 Plus blog posts on my 10 years of blogging is a lot

Meg Casebolt 21:27
longer that CO bring it

Lacy Boggs 21:28
out. That’s right, 100. And what’s interesting is like some of it’s still relative, I mean, relevant, some of it’s still valuable. I was actually impressed with myself, like what this is, you know, eight and a half years old, and it’s still really very much what I believe about XYZ. But Is anybody going to take the time to go back and look at that, probably not. But if I have taken the time to pull out here are, here’s my best work on this topic. And I’ve edited it together and put it in a pretty package where you can just read it straight through, oh, suddenly, that’s a value add, right? That’s, that’s something valuable, even though you could go get the same information on my blog for free, you have to work pretty fun to

Meg Casebolt 22:11
open it up in different tabs and you know, crossing but it’s not going to be right at the end of it. So it’s not going to be this linear progression. I think that blogging feels a lot more like a book where it’s Choose Your Own Adventure, I remember doing a graphic for you, that was choose your own adventure, and we got a cease and desist on it, we got an example. You know, that is basically what it is, is it’s choose your own adventure, but you never get all the way through it, you don’t read all of those different options.

Lacy Boggs 22:37
Exactly. You’re never gonna read straight through the same way you want a book. And so the author has done some of the heavy lifting for you by choosing how to present it, what order which pieces, etc. So it’s, it’s a totally, it’s still valuable. And it’s worth, you know, whatever you’re charging, it’s worth the 99 cents or the $9 for a physical copy, because I’ve done the work to present it in a different way. All right,

Meg Casebolt 23:03
your mind’s 399. So it’s right. So are times more valuable than lazy, I don’t want them to hear you say on this, that it’s 99 cents, and then get tomorrow and be like, wow, it was supposed to be 99.

Lacy Boggs 23:15
No, I 100% should have raised the price. And then like after three or four years at that price, I was like, whatever it’s gonna be forever.

Meg Casebolt 23:23
And probably part of that was that you had pulled it together, you knew you were gonna have some advertising around it because of Creative Live, you may have felt some pressure from other people in the room who were like, Oh, I just did it in a week, it’s only worth 99 cents, not thinking about the value that people are getting out of it. Whereas my thought process is I want it to be in the Amazon 70% royalty range versus the 30% royalty range, which is 99 and above. And then I went, Okay, it’s like people buy me a cup of coffee. I don’t care if they never read the book, just buy me like right, go to Amazon, maybe a cup of coffee, write me a review. Be nice. Give me the best seller status. That’s the nice thing you can do.

Lacy Boggs 23:59
Right? That’s how you can support me today. Well, and I think originally, I was gonna leave it at 99 cents like for the launch, and then raise the price. And I just never did. So this is like lazy. Lacey never went in and raised the price. And in fact, it’s so old. I’m not sure there was a difference in the royalty back then. Like I think it was. So who knows? Somebody can correct me on that. But I don’t I don’t recall.

Meg Casebolt 24:21
I don’t really have listeners who come in and they’re like No.

Lacy Boggs 24:26
Good we don’t know that keeps your damn self. That’s right. We don’t care. I’m not on social slowdown. We’re not going to see your app.

Meg Casebolt 24:40
Right away. And away on Twitter. I won’t see it. It’s

Lacy Boggs 24:44
I’m curious. I’m going to flip this. I’m going to flip the script here. I’m curious. How does it feel? To work with a ghostwriter? Did it feel strange? Like this is a little bit of a weird question because you and I know each other so well, but does it Did it feel strange to you to be like, Oh, my book baby, Lacey’s gonna write the first draft was that weird at all in any way? I think

Meg Casebolt 25:08
because it was coming out of existing content. It didn’t feel strange to outsource it because it was still my independent thoughts. Yes. And the conversations that I’d had, if I and the next book will be the cornerstone post, and then the one after that is going to be thought leadership that I have not yet articulated out loud. If I asked you to write that one. I think that would feel a lot more like, I guess the difference to me and my brain right now is like the difference between curating and extracting. Yes, with the social slowdown book, you went through 30 of our 70, or whatever episodes, you knew what you were looking for in each of those, because I’d gone through, like, I probably had like a drop down menu of this one’s talking about mental health. And this one’s talking about chronic illness. And this one’s talking about this particular alternative strategy. So this one’s about summits. And this one’s about relationships, and blah, blah, blah, like I sort of, after we had the outline, it became clear to me what was getting curated, I just didn’t want to have to dig through everything, because I would have gotten so stuck in the weeds. Sure. Whereas, you know, book three, which is going to be about empathy in search engine optimization and keyword research. Like, I’ve talked about it, but not

Lacy Boggs 26:26
as much not enough, right? I have not enough source,

Meg Casebolt 26:30
I don’t have enough source material for you to be able to pull from it. So it would have to be you and I may be sitting down weekly, and you saying like, what do you think about this? And how would you explain? Yeah, and what’s an example of this and what your case study for this, like it would be you extracting it out of my brain versus you extracting it out of my content, which would feel very different. Like I, I put the first draft onto audio, and then you made the first draft out of the audio. And now I need to turn it into a second, third, fourth, final draft, you know, right, right. So yeah, my voice but when I told people that I hired you to do this, they were like, so is she a co author on it? And I said, No, she’s the ghost. Right. So talk to me about that difference, too.

Lacy Boggs 27:09
Yeah. So I think what you said right there about like having me having to pull it out of your brain for the third book, if we were going to work together on that is a very important distinction. Because like, that is what a traditional ghostwriter would do, right. So like the guy who wrote Prince Harry’s biography, sat with him and interviewed him for a long time. And that’s how that works. In a traditional ghost writing relationship. The ghostwriter has to be a really good interviewer, they have to be really empathetic, they have to be able to take and a lot of times, what they will do is record the conversation and take the transcript. It’s the same process. It’s just like, we’re creating that initial content, just like what you said, right? So the difference to me between a ghostwriter and a co author is if I were imparting my thought leadership or my ideas, then I would be a co author. Like if I came to you and said, Meg, let’s write a book about, you know, your book about empathy and SEO. But I want to write about it. I want to add a part about empathy in writing, like how you can actually do the the actual act of writing with empathy or the words you choose. And if I’m going to add that chapter, and it’s not something you have come up with, then I’m a co author, if I’m just taking your ideas and translating it to the page, and I’m not really adding anything new. That’s a ghostwriter.

Meg Casebolt 28:31
Right, it’s taking the words from or the stories from inside someone’s brain and putting them on a page.

Lacy Boggs 28:38
Exactly. And I might clean up the language I might sound you know, like, a lot of times when we’ve worked with blogging clients, like they all say, It’s me dialed up to 11. Because what they see is that the finished product, the writing sounds better looks better than what they could do on their own, just because they’re not a writer, right? It’s not that I’m actually changing their ideas or changing what they’re saying. It’s like the fact that I’ve organized it well, or the word choice is slightly different, or whatever it is. And they’re like, it’s me, but dial up to 11, that that’s still I think, is the purview of a ghostwriter. Because it’s not my ideas. It’s not our we’re still 100% Using your ideas when we’re ghost writing, we might pretty it up, put some polish on it. But it’s not. I mean, a good editor does the same thing. Right?

Meg Casebolt 29:28
Right. So tell me about the like, the package that I chose was and I want to explain this differential for people who are listening to this potentially, and going like, Oh, hey, maybe there’s a book in here. Right? So if you’re a listener, singular listener, if you’re out there and you’re going like, maybe there’s a book in here, or you know, I have a podcast that I could I already have these transcripts sitting around or I have this idea that I’ve been thinking about, you know, or I already especially if you already have the the content creator You did. And you’re just thinking about how to reorganize it, how to restructure it, how to, like, almost upcycle it into objects? What are the questions that if they came to you lazy? What are the questions that you would ask them in order to figure out what they need?

Lacy Boggs 30:13
Yeah, so I would want to know, first of all, do you have it? Is it all there for will we need to do some interviews, like, because what could happen is you’re like, I’ve got, you know, 70% 75% of what I want to say, I just need to pull it off, you know, I need to tie it all together. At the end, I’ve never done this part, or I’ve never seen or told my original story, whatever. So I would want to know, do you have it all? Or do you have part of it? Or, you know, because that would determine how much involvement in terms of interviews and things like that we would have to do? Does it exist as transcript something written? That I could say whether it’s no matter what the source material, is there a transcript or something written that I can literally copy and paste from? Because that’s a big part of the process? And you know, also then how long are you envisioning the final draft to be? Because there are books and then there are books, right? My book, I never thought it could be a published because it’s so slim. I think it’s, I think it’s like not even 18,000 words. It’s really short for a book, nonfiction books, like traditionally published nonfiction books, if you’ve ever read them, you may notice that like, the author tells the whole thing in the first chapter, and then the rest of the book is kind of just elaboration. That’s because they have to be a certain length. For a traditionally published book, with ebooks, and on self publishing, were much more loose, I think you and I talked about the draft I was producing being between 20 and 25,000 words was the idea.

Meg Casebolt 31:42
Yeah, I think that the agreement that we came to in the contract that I signed was 20,000 words, and it ended up being more like 22, or 23. By the time you were done, just because the some of the blocks of text were longer, right, or, you know, that was just sort of where it landed, by the time you were ready to hand it over.

Lacy Boggs 31:57
Right. And it could be considerably longer by the time you’re done, because you’re going to add a bunch of stuff in. But the point being like, I’m about

Meg Casebolt 32:02
40, maybe 40. Like by the time I’m done with everything, because as I’ve been telling you as I’m writing, like, I’m finding these new opportunities, I’m seeing new threads, as I’m pulling things out, you know, I hand it over to you in February, and now it’s it’s June. So I have four more months of interviews that I have interviews and thinking about the book. So I just interviewed our friend Jamie and she started talking about rejection sensitive sensitivity, dysphoria, which I can never say out loud. And I’m like, oh, that should be mentioned in it, right? Like, just like these little quick realizations. Once you start writing, you’re like, oh, that’s an interesting opportunity. It can just be a two sentence line.

Lacy Boggs 32:39
Right? But it adds more words. Yeah, it’s more and

Meg Casebolt 32:42
more, but you know, what two sentences is going to be another 30 words,

Lacy Boggs 32:46
right? Well, and so like a word count, for me is never a heart. And this is different for different writers. So don’t don’t take this and translate this to another writer. But a word count for me is never a hard, like, I’m never gonna cut you off at 20,001. But it’s a good way for me to estimate the time and, and energy that will be required. So I’ll usually ask, you know, how long are you anticipating this to be? And then, of course, I would also want to know, like, who are you? What is it about? Tell me because with books, especially, it’s a very, this is true of ghosts, writing blogs, as well. But it’s a very personal relationship. It’s a very, like, I have to live in your brain for a little while. And so it has to be something that I’m interested in at least tangentially, it has to be something that I agree with at least and gently. You know, I’m a very values driven business owner. And so I’m never going to take something that I wholly disagree with, you wouldn’t be happy with my output. If I did, right. That’s not a great relationship. So just making sure we’re fit in all those ways as well. And then I would price it out based on the amount of time and effort and energy I think it’s going to take. So the way you and I did it mag was considerably cheaper than what I would have charged, if we were if I was ghost writing something from no source material, right? Because there’s so much more energy that has to go into the interviewing process, there’s so much more energy that has to go into my writing process, because I’m creating it from scratch, as opposed to creating it from something that already exists. So it’s a really great way actually to work with a ghostwriter. more affordably than if you’re trying to do something totally, totally brand new.

Meg Casebolt 34:28
I you know, I gave you the transcripts for these 30 different podcast episodes. And then when I got the draft back, I was like, Oh, this is my about page, which you also wrote. So it was just funny, especially I think when you have established a relationship with somebody who knows your brand stories and your brand voice going into this process, like you didn’t think, oh, maybe explained this in the origin story podcast. So that’s the one that I have to use. You’re like Actually, I already know the story. right where this came from, which I didn’t tell ever on the podcast. But it felt relevant to where it was going in a way. Like I think it even feels more relevant now than it did when you wrote it for me three years ago. And that’s such an interesting thing when you develop these relationships with writers that it can be, it doesn’t have to be you know, this is my ghostwriter. And Lacey produces its thing. And then we’re, we’re done forever. Right. And I also wanted to say really quickly, like a Kindle book is usually between 230 to 250 words per page. So when we’re talking about, you know, Lacey writing me 20,000 words, or curating me 20, whatever, whatever verb we want to use here, it would be about an 80 page book on Kindle. Whereas your ad, would you say 18,000 words would be about 40 or 50. Kindle pages, but then if yes, and I’ve gotten on the sides of the book, right,

Lacy Boggs 35:55
right, I’ve got the physical copy, it came, it came to 8080 pages, exactly. The physical copy. So

Meg Casebolt 36:03
especially in an online books, they don’t have to be giant books, I think to an extent, it’s almost better if they’re shorter, because people are more likely to actually finish them, and feel really good about it. You know, you don’t need to create the magnum opus for it to be valuable for your business, you have an 80 page book that’s sold 10,000 copies.

Lacy Boggs 36:23
Also, PS like, Meg, you and I both are dabbling in the fiction world. Like when I was trying to write fiction, and I was trying to write my Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. It took me 10 years to finish a draft, because I was putting so much pressure on myself. And then the next draft I wrote for NaNoWriMo. And I finished it in a month, because it was no longer like, Oh, this is my magnum opus. And so there’s really something to be said for saying, like, I’m going to write this book, which is a small chunk of my entire body of work. This is not my be all and end all of everything book. When you get when you give yourself that permission, it makes it 1000 times easier.

Meg Casebolt 37:06
When you don’t feel like you have to squeeze every good idea that you’ve ever had into this one. Yeah, magnum opus, you know, this doesn’t have to be the masterpiece. And and the other thing that, that I think is relevant in this conversation is this is the way that I feel about this right now. When I first and I, maybe I talked to you about this, or maybe I talked to my friend Tanya, who has been a book coach for forever, where I said, I think I want to take this six episode, podcast series and turn it into a book and then sort of spin it out from there. Should I go query find an agent, find an editor, or should I self publish, and it was my friend, Tanya, because she was like, by the time you get an editor, it will no longer be relevant. Right? So the fact that I can go from an idea to a completed published book in six months, you know, it’s not quite as fast as your NaNoWriMo turnaround for fiction, but like, these don’t have to be. And you’ve already heard me say, like, I’ve got three other books in my house before other books in the hopper. Because if I take the pressure off this book, this book is the 2023. Here’s the first however many episodes of the podcast, here’s what came out of it. Here’s the research behind it that I’ve mentioned in some episodes, but not every episode, right? Like, this is a place in time for this book. It’s Yep, it’s complete. And, and there’s something I have to say, like, I feel like to you, I can really express this. There’s something really satisfying about completing something.

Lacy Boggs 38:36
Yes, yes. And I think I’ll take the pressure

Meg Casebolt 38:39
off, like, Yeah, I mean, like, with content marketing, you’re like, Okay, I finished that podcast can’t celebrate it, because I’ve got the next one coming in the next one coming, and I’ve got to take it to the blog. And then I gotta email it. And like, it’s this cause even if it’s sustainable content marketing, you know, where you have the blogs that you’re still giving phone for 10 years down the road, you still feel like you have to be creating new optimizing, so on and so forth. Whereas with a butcher, it’s terrifying, because you’re like, somebody’s gonna have a physical copy of that, this and if there’s something wrong, I can’t go back and get it back. But also like, hurray, it’s done.

Lacy Boggs 39:09
Yeah. And I think there’s also something I’ve talked about this around content marketing to like, I talked about it with launching, like, there’s something about taking the pressure off a single piece of content. So taking the pressure off of this book, to be all things to all people makes it suddenly much easier to get out into the world to release it to say it’s done. And it’s good enough and all those things, right. In terms of launching, I often, like people will, all of a sudden, they’ll, they’ll be launching something. And so they’re like, Okay, I have to create 47 blog posts, and 312 emails, and you know, they all have to work because if it doesn’t work, my launch is going to flop right because it puts all this pressure on these pieces of content. Whereas if you’re continuously nurturing, nurturing, continuously creating valuable content, it it actually removes some of the pressure for a single piece of content to have to convert at X amount so that you make your money, right. It’s the same idea here, like we’re creating this book. But you already have four more in the hopper. Notice I added one because we just came up with another idea. Um, you’re talking about the room, this one, this one doesn’t even doesn’t have to be an you know what I’m saying? Like no longer, there’s no longer this pressure for it to be this thing.

Meg Casebolt 40:29
Yes, this is not the thing that this is this is not going on my tombstone.

Lacy Boggs 40:35
Exactly. It’s not the only book you’ll ever write. And it’s not the only one you’re ever going to be known for, et cetera, et cetera, or your only opportunity to do this thing.

Meg Casebolt 40:43
I think people put a lot of pressure on it, because it’s a publication versus right. It feels like to have time. Yeah,

Lacy Boggs 40:49
it feels different. But then I have clients who feel the same way about blog posts, like they won’t hit publish, because of whatever they have some hang up about it.

Meg Casebolt 40:57
I think I have a whole section in the book about comparison, itis and perfectionism and how it impacts us. You do? Go back and listen to whatever episode it was with Tanya Geisler and that way you don’t I mean, still buy the book, please buy the book.

Lacy Boggs 41:14
Right? Exactly.

Meg Casebolt 41:15
I think the reason I’m writing books now is partially because I have, in part of this extracting of my own ego from social media and trying to figure out how I want to show up and how I want to serve people and how I want to package up these ideas. I’ve started to detach my ego from my marketing. So if I sell 10 books, or if I to sell 10,000 books, I’m okay, if I sell 10 million books, I’ll have a different feeling about my ego. But the sales, I don’t see the sales as being the royalties are not the reason I’m writing the book.

Lacy Boggs 41:50
Yes, we’ve divorced it from that metric,

Meg Casebolt 41:54
right? The metric is not how much money am I going to make from the book? The it is how much brand awareness how many new email subscribers, how many new clients? And how much can I change the landscape of how people feel about this, like it’s it’s less about how this impacts the business and more about like, getting these ideas into a digestible format. That feels like thought leadership. And you actually ran a program, I think two years ago called thought leadership lab where we were really looking deeply at like, what is thought leadership question mark, like? How do we define thought leadership? And then how do we put it out into the world? And how do we how do you know what is your thought leadership content, and I struggled through that entire program, because I didn’t feel like I had a stake to put in the ground. I didn’t feel like I had something unique to say. And then at some point, this winter, I had a switch flipped, the switch flipped. And then I saw the ways that this stack of books, the dominoes started to fall into place, and I wasn’t ready until this winter.

Lacy Boggs 43:01
tell you we’re ready. And it’s fascinating to me, having run that program and having like, marketed it and tried to sell it. The hang ups people have around the term thought leadership because they put a lot of pressure on Oh God, what is that going to be? Like? What does that have to be to be called thought leadership? Whereas I, I mean, not to toot my own horn here, Meg, but I could see when you took that program two years ago that you had thought leadership, right, you know what I couldn’t tell you

Meg Casebolt 43:29
out of that program didn’t Richard it? Because I think I we were we were joking. Me. And you and Jess, really were joking about the list of domains that I already owned.

Lacy Boggs 43:43
Yes. And social slowdown was one of them was led on I

Meg Casebolt 43:45
bought like two years before that. And I was like, what is that? And I think we talked about making it into a summit called the the antisocial anti summit or something.

Lacy Boggs 43:57
Yeah, I think there’s something

Meg Casebolt 43:59
there’s something social may happen. But I remember thinking, Well, I don’t want to I don’t want a big, big freakin launch. I want like a more long term thing. And that was where the podcast came from. So sometimes I don’t I just feel like sometimes things take a while to marinate to come up organically. And then when the switch flips. And another part of it for me was writing 80,000 words in NaNoWriMo, where I was like, oh, word count doesn’t have to be hard. It wasn’t right business book. It was it was a kissing book. But

Lacy Boggs 44:37
yeah. And that it can be fun. And then it’s not.

Meg Casebolt 44:41
It doesn’t have the end of the world. Yeah, it doesn’t have to be you know, you have to get an agent. You have to publish it and you have to live through all these things. And then you have to get it into airports and go on a book tour. And I think I think the idea of authorship as a business is very different than what I’m going for here and not help. Yeah.

Lacy Boggs 45:00
And I think that’s an interesting way to look at it too, because the barrier to entry in all of these creative pursuits that we go after, for our businesses in the name of our business has diminished so greatly over our lifetimes and even our lifetimes as entrepreneurs, that we’re still seeing the old gatekeepers as as the arbiters of what’s good, or what’s appropriate, or what’s valuable. Whereas, if we had just a little bit more confidence in what we have to say, like, the arbiter of what’s good for a million people, 2 million people doesn’t have to be the same as the arbiter of what’s good for the 1000 people, we need to see this book. Right. It’s like that idea of 1000 true fans like, because you’ve divorced this from, I don’t need to be a New York Times bestseller, I don’t need to get into airports, I don’t need to see it on the shelf at barnes and noble, whatever, you’re going to make it happen, which means it will get into the hands of the people who need it. And it will have a big impact on them. And it’ll have an impact on your business as well, because you’ve overcome the idea that those old gatekeepers, the agent, the publisher, the whatever, might or might not say it’s

Meg Casebolt 46:24
good, right? And the belief that in order to write a book, you have to get a book advance, which will then enable you to go get a cabin in the woods,

Lacy Boggs 46:35
right? Or you have to have a PhD in something or you have to have years of research into XYZ, none of which is true. You know,

Meg Casebolt 46:44
like, I do have years of research into this, because I’ve had conversations and I just like once I started to realize that these podcast conversations were book interviews. And the in the same way, like and people can go listen to the entire interview. Great, pretty cool.

Lacy Boggs 47:02
It’s pretty cool model. And

Meg Casebolt 47:03
you and I had a very long conversations about like, Well, how’d you do MLA citations? Right, because

Lacy Boggs 47:09
we’re super nerdy. But yeah,

Meg Casebolt 47:12
yeah, that was not even the nerdiest conversation of that day.

Lacy Boggs 47:15
No, it wasn’t. I think too, what’s fascinating is like, we’re changing in real time, what constitutes thought leadership and who gets to be a thought leader. And I know that you feel very strongly about like, your business amplifying marginalized voices, which I feel strongly about as well. And it’s like, oh, we are actually marginalized voices in some places to like, women don’t get published nearly at the same rate, especially in nonfiction that men do. You know, and things like that. So like, we’re amplifying our own voices here and taking those roads. Right, driving right past the gatekeepers, just going off road going around the gate can entirely

Meg Casebolt 48:00
amplifies, amplifying our own voices. And then using the examples in the book to tell the stories of other people in a similar situation that are looking for an alternative to the the like a countercultural alternative to what’s expected of us is, it’s, it’s surprisingly empowering. It’s wonderful for me for others to and you know, the other great thing, and I’ll talk about this more in the marketing episode, is you and I went through it when when, like, who has said, really freaking beautiful, brilliant things. And then I get to reach out to all of those friends that I’ve already spoken to, and be like, Hey, is it cool to quote you on this? Right? Yeah. And hey, do you want to do you want to tell your people about it? Because here’s some swipe copy. Right? So not only do I get to share another asset, with people who are brilliant, and who have shared their time with me, but I also get to go like, Oh, hey, Tanya, I talked about you can you just share this with your list? If you don’t mind? No pressure, you know, and just

Lacy Boggs 49:05
like, right, but you’re amplifying her at the same time, right? Because then she’s in a book, which is super cool. I think too. The other thing I just want to throw out here is like, you know, we put these things on a pedestal or we have in the past week, this is the royal week. You know, getting an agent, getting a big five publisher, all these things. I’m sure you and I’ve talked about it, but I’m gonna say it out loud here. Like when that Penguin Random House court case was going through, it came out that something like 95% of their nonfiction books don’t sell more than like 100 copies and the average sales was 12 copies.

Meg Casebolt 49:48
Really? I didn’t realize that oh, maybe it was it’s really low. I

Lacy Boggs 49:51
think it was like 95% sell fewer than 2000 I think don’t quote me on this but something like that. And then like most of them sold 12 copies and I was like do They don’t even have 13 friends. But when you look at it that way, and you see these things like I’ve done really well, by those standards in six years, or seven years, whatever it is. And suddenly, it’s like, oh, those people don’t necessarily represent the be all and end all. Also, if you go listen to my new favorite podcast is called if looks could kill. And it’s these I love it too. And they like debunk the junk science in popular nonfiction books. But when you listen to that, it’s hilarious. First of all, but then you’re also like, oh, like, you actually don’t have to be. Because this is all like half of it’s made up. And half of it’s just terrible science,

Meg Casebolt 50:48
or anecdotal evidence that they then extrapolated into being into something else. Yeah. Oh, man, it’s painful to listen to. But Michael Hobbs is just, I think he puts out

Lacy Boggs 50:59
so funny. When he left.

Meg Casebolt 51:02
What was the one that he did with? Before he moved to being on maintenance phase with Aubrey Gordon? I don’t know. It was so good. Um, yeah. And another stat that astounded me, I had Stacy Harris on the pod. And she shared this like podcasting global stats. And it’s like, if you get more than 100 podcast downloads, in the first seven days, you’re in the top 25% of podcasts. And yeah, always consistent. And it’s like, and like, of course, the top 1% of podcasts is like 5000, in the first seven days, and I’m reading this directly off here, I don’t have this off the top of my head. But, you know, when you think about that, just how many how many hobbyists are out there? Or how many people just don’t have audiences?

Lacy Boggs 51:50
Yeah, yeah. So like, the barrier to entry has lowered, but the noise has raised, right. And if you can get your message out there and make it resonate above the noise, then you have succeeded, you are a success at that point. And it’s so funny, that we think it’s some huge barrier, but it’s really not, you know, like, to be considered. Whatever the top 5% of podcasts are, you know, to to earn out more than what a typical royalty would be, or, you know, the cost,

Meg Casebolt 52:26
and I’ll talk about this, if people are curious about it, but the cost to publish my book so far, has been hiring you, which I didn’t have to do, right, like I did, but I didn’t have to, and the cost of the ISBN, because I am gonna do a print copy. But you don’t even need that if you’re gonna sell it on Kindle. So it feels you know, when you hear people talk about self publishing a book, it feels like it should be a big upfront expense, and it can, if you’re like, I’m gonna hire an editor, I’m gonna hire a cover designer. I’m like, Jocelyn on my team design the cover for it, because she has done all of the graphics for social slowdown, right? You don’t need cute like a little like, maybe we can do like a phone emoji. And she did it. And it was done in a day. And it’s all in all the same colors that people are already going to recognize from the website. Like, we already had the brand. Yeah. So I think your four versions, and then it was done and it was uploaded, and it’s ready to go, you know?

Lacy Boggs 53:20
Yeah, I think for mine, I did pay one of my team members to edit it. So whatever her hourly rate was, and then I paid you to design the cover. And that was it. That was it was tired.

Meg Casebolt 53:32
anymore that month, you just

Lacy Boggs 53:33
know, I think I like swapped out a blog post. I’m like, hey, guess what, I read a book if you do this,

Meg Casebolt 53:39
like 50 bucks out of pocket, if we had done the math on it, you know, right. It doesn’t have to be this like big production. Not to say that the quality of our books aren’t they’re not valuable.

Lacy Boggs 53:50
They are they are but even today, like you can go on Canva. And they have pre made templates for book covers that look amazing. And so you could do something pretty decent by yourself for less than

Meg Casebolt 54:02
20 bucks a month, or 20 bucks a year or something with Canva pro Canva Pro. Yeah. I mean, I’m really fancy like that I pay for the Pro. I do do. Any final thoughts about book ghost writing publication, thought leadership.

Lacy Boggs 54:18
I think you know, if you feel like you have a book and you talk to a writer or talk to a ghostwriter, if you need some support, because like maybe you just need somebody to get you over that hump. Write that rough draft. If you want them to write the full final everything. It’s perfect draft, it’ll cost a little more, but that is valuable to some people, right. And everybody, like if you’re, as you said earlier, if you’re creating content on any kind of regular basis, you almost certainly have a book in it. So whether you hire somebody to help you or not, find your book, get it out there. Publish a body of work. It’s pretty exciting.

Meg Casebolt 54:55
It’s very exciting. Thank you Lacey, for coming to chat with me today.

Lacy Boggs 54:59
Always my pleasure.

Meg Casebolt 55:02
Thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social slowdown.com and sign up for our email list so you never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social slowdown.com/review Or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media. Talk to you then

Please forgive any typos or errors, as this transcript was automatically generated by Otter.ai

hiring a ghost writer for my first book