Ohhhh gosh y’all…
You’re probably wondering why I’m releasing a podcast episode today instead of Tuesday, and if you pre-ordered the Social Slowdown book, then you already know that we ran into some ~technical~ issues.
Well, I’m here to be fully transparent about what went awry.
If you’re listening to this episode on July 27th, 2023, – then today is the day that my book’s pre-orders were SUPPOSED to go live. But as we all know too well, being a business owner comes with its own obstacles.
In this episode, I talk about the pre-publishing errors I encountered with the Social Slowdown book, what I learned from this experience, and the reality of making mistakes as a business owner.
Read the full transcript
Meg Casebolt 0:00
Hello, friends, it’s Meg Casebolt. I’m your host here at the social slowdown today, as this episode is going live is July 27. Today is the day that my books pre orders were supposed to go live, I have a bit of a story to tell you, I want to be completely transparent. And things did not go exactly as I wanted them to go. And I want to share that with you and also encourage you to go just buy the book, I’m not going to do pre orders. Again, I’m just going to tell you that over to social slit on.com/book and buy the book, it is now available for you. But if you pre ordered, it will not appear on your Kindle today. And I want to explain how that happened. And to sort of give the transparent background story behind it and to share my failure because I think a lot of the time, those of us who are running these online businesses and doing our marketing, we make it seem like oh, this was just so easy. I had the book ready to go, y’all it was 98% done. It was uploaded to kindle and I missed one notification, and the whole house of cards came crumbling down. So I want to tell you about this story. Because this happens to all of us. And I as this happened as things sort of fell apart around me. I thought to myself, should I share this? Or should I hide this and one of the core values that we have a love at first search is honesty and transparency. I am not recording this the day that it happened because I spent most of yesterday like either raging or crying. But I’m better now, because everything has been resolved. And I know that Hindsight is 2020. And in six months or a year, I will be like, wasn’t that weird? How all of my pre orders got canceled and refunded. But in the moment, it was mildly devastating. I don’t think you can be mildly devastating. You know, even with a day of distance from it. I’m like, well, that really wasn’t that big of a deal. But I want to share it with you. So because this is the reality, this is the reality of running our businesses, we’re gonna make mistakes, we’re gonna fuck things up. Right. And we’re gonna do it in public in a way that other people don’t have to, you know, I remember making a huge mistake at my last job, and it looked like my boss made the mistake. And when you’re self employed, when you’re running your own business, the buck stops with you. So I’m kind of just trying to, yeah, just be honest with you all about what happened. So if you missed the previous episodes, where I kind of walked you through the process of why I created the book and what the timeline was, let me just like, walk you through it, one minute or less. So back in January, we ran a free challenge we called the Social slowdown challenge, where we work through some of the reasons why people feel so attached and addicted to social media ways that they can sort of start to D couple our egos from the ways that we’re showing up online recognition of how social media really messes with our brains. Okay, it’s gonna take more than a minute to go through this because now I’m giving a quick reflection of what was included in the challenge. But after the challenge finished, I that was really cool. And now it’s just gonna be six podcast episodes that are kind of lost in the archives. And I would like to have a way for some of that information to get more easily consumed to, for me to be able to expand on it research it more have a reason to kind of dig deeper. And that was when I decided to turn it into a book, it felt too big. So in February, I hired my friend Lacey to write the first draft of that book. So when April she handed me 20,000 words, I probably rewrote 60 or 70% of that 20,000 words, but it gave me a place to start. And so from April to June, I was writing, I was pulling quotes from podcast episodes of people that I talked to who had brilliant ideas about this that sort of complimented my framework and complimented my perspective. And I found some gaps in the content where I was, oh, wouldn’t it be cool to talk about accessibility, I should go talk to Alex or I should talk about neuro divergence, or I should talk about failure and how that looks and and sort of found those content gaps and started recording podcasts to turn into parts of the book, which is a really cool way to do it. But it also puts you up against a time sensitivity that I didn’t necessarily plan ahead for. Also, in May, we had a death in the family. So we spent a good chunk of June traveling to funerals and a couple different places around the country. And so my timeline shifted, but by that point, I’d already said like the books coming out on July 27. And my friend Megan flat even said to me, like maybe you could just push it back to August, like what’s the big deal? Just push it back? And I was like, no, not only because I’ve already announced the date and people are expecting it. But I knew myself. I knew that. If I gave myself two additional weeks I would pray Write an additional two to 5000 more words, because I have a lot to say about this, I needed the time constraint, I needed the deadline, I needed the limitation, especially like, I talked in the book about my ADHD and these constraints that we put into place for ourselves in order to stop ourselves from going down all the rabbit holes. So I kept that publication date. And I sort of said to myself, whatever is done by July 20. So that was last Thursday, a week in advance, I had until Sunday night to submit the manuscript to Amazon. And I spent all day Thursday, like, going through the details, like copy editing. And I had three fantastic copy editors who were pointing things out to me, like, hey, you know, before and after your M dashes, you should make sure that you have consistent spaces, and sometimes use toward and sometimes use towards. And the United States version is the singular, not the plural, right? Like things that I don’t know, especially when you’re writing so much. And you’re iterating on ideas, and you have all these ideas of what should go in there. But you’re not always thinking grammatically. So like, I feel like this manuscript is, maybe the best thing I’ve ever done. Like, I’m very proud of the book. And on Friday, is the 21st. I uploaded it, I was like, I’m two days ahead. Amazon says they have to have it by Sunday. I’m two days ahead, and I uploaded the file. And I, you know, my husband was like, Oh, my God, you wrote a book. And he, he brought champagne, and we drank it on the porch. And we’re like, Yes, this is awesome. And I did not log into my email over the weekend, because I wrote about the boundaries that I have around trying not to work on the weekends. And I missed an email from Amazon saying that there was a problem with the manuscript. And when I got to my desk, on Monday morning, I had an email that came in at 337. In the morning, that was like, your pre orders are canceled. Because the manuscript hadn’t been submitted 72 hours and been in advance and been approved and had all these issues taken care of it was one image. Like, now that I’ve had a bit of distance from it, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I could have logged in. And here’s where like, the inner critic starts, where it’s like, Meg, you submitted it, and you didn’t look at your email. Why didn’t you log into the KDP Dashboard on Sunday, and make sure it was okay. You didn’t even have to fix it, then Maggie, you could have just pushed back the release date by a day you kind of you kind of fixed it when you got back to your desk. Why didn’t you look, you know, hindsight is 2020. And over the weekend, I wasn’t looking at my email. But I was looking at the Amazon listing. And I was like top of the world, I looked at it and I had the little badge that’s like, new release, top release in marketing for small businesses. And I looked at the categories and I was like, Oh, my gosh, I did number two in the small business category. And number four in the marketing, first small business category, and number seven, in marketing, it was like me, and then it was Amy Porterfield. And it was like, What the hell is happening in my life, I felt like I was like, flying high, I had it all figured out. And then I got that email, and I panicked, like, What the actual fuck is gonna not be happening.
And I called Amazon customer support. I’m like, I have the manuscript, I have it ready, it’s ready to go. Like, I swear, it’s never like Sorry, like, we can’t undo a preorder. And now, you can’t do another pre order for a year because you missed a pre ordered deadline. And I’m like, oh, so they took off that penalty in case I want to do a pre order in the future, because I’ve learned all my lessons, but they couldn’t give me a list of like, who had pre ordered the book. So that’s hundreds of people who then got an email from Amazon. That was like your pre orders cancelled. Sorry, we can’t tell you why. And then the emails started coming into our inbox. Like, why Why was my pre order cancelled? Is everything okay? Right. And it was like, this glitch in the system. And I felt terrible. I felt like the worst entrepreneur, and I had that moment in my gut of like, nobody’s gonna trust you anymore. Nobody’s gonna go back and buy the book this time. They’re all they’re all going to be like, how could she have made such a silly mistake? Right? Like, the inner critic was just yelling at me. And there was that moment of like, I just burned it all down. Right. We’ve all experienced that moment. I want to let you know, I had it too. I cried on the call to Amazon. I went downstairs, I opened a jar of Nutella and I ate it with a spoon. I like emotionally ate about 500 calories in Nutella, right? Like this is reality. This is a reality of running a business and of putting yourself out there and making mistakes and recognizing the mistakes that you’ve made. And then you buck up and you fix them and you move on right? I think. I felt like in the moment I was in a pity party, but I was like okay, I gotta fix this. Within two hours the book was approved and for sale on Amazon three days early, because I was like, I’m not going to this preorder nightmare. And would people would email and be like, Why did I get this email? I’m like, here’s the new link, my bad, right? And I want to make sure that everything is clear before I send out this podcast. So that if you do want to go buy the book at social slowdown.com/book, you know why, and it’s ready for you, and all these kinds of kinks are taking care of. But then what did I do after I fixed it? I went and I reached out to my friends, and I dedicated the book to all the people in my life, who are also these entrepreneurs who are, oh, God, I’m getting choked up. Korea, they’re in these these moments, yeah, see, we can have these collaborative partnerships. And we can have these referral relationships. And we can have these mutually supportive business propositions. But at the end of the day, when the shit hits the fan, you need those people to call. And some of them were phone calls, and some of them were boxers. And some of them were slack messages. And it took me about a day to get around to sending those because I was so embarrassed. But then when I started having those conversations with my peers, and if I were to name the people that I reached out to, you’d be like, yeah, we’ve heard almost all of them here on the podcast, right? Like, these are the relationships, these are the experiences that we have of having support. And that’s where, you know, I spent 100 pages of the book talking about social media and marketing. And then the last 30 pages, I talked about the relationships that you need to have to be sustainable. And to to feel good about the work that you do that it’s not enough to show up and have a really pretty feed, or to have a million followers, or to have a bunch of traffic or to get, you know, people finding you on SEO, the thing that’s going to hold you together, when push comes to shove, are the people you surround yourself with. And so I like this is sort of a love letter to those business besties to those people who picked me back up when I needed it and reminded me that in the greater scheme of things, this is not that big of a deal. And it got me thinking about the Teddy Roosevelt quote that Brene Brown uses in daring greatly, which is that idea of like, there’s always going to be people in the stands, but you are the one in the arena. And though there are going to be other people with you in the arena. And you’re going to be covered in blood and guts and gore. And you need people in there with you who are fighting the same fight. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re like, Oh my God, that’s a nightmare. Yeah, it was, but like, we’re all going to make these mistakes, we’re all going to fail. I was so high top of the mountain of like, number two in small business category. And then I had to restart from scratch. And this is the shit that happens to us all the time when we start businesses, but we’re there. Were in the arena. You know, I when I called Megan flat, I was like, I can’t believe this happened. And she goes Meg 80% of people have write a book on your bucket list. And only like two or 3% of people do it. So you, you wrote a book, you made a clerical error. You still wrote the book, right? You still accomplished the thing. And I wanted to be transparent in this podcast, because if you were one of those people who pre ordered the book, I want you to know why you didn’t get it.
And also to recognize that like we’re all human, and hopefully telling the story will make you feel that way when you’re going through it. If you are hitting one of these snafu arena moments in your life, even if it feels big in the moment, but in the greater picture, you know, it’s small. Reach out to those friends of yours who are also running their businesses if you don’t have those friends. I mean, go ahead, email me, I will I will empathize with you. I’ll shoot you a boxer and be like, Oh my God, that sounds terrible. But you’re gonna make it through right or listen back to this podcast. But go find those people. Reach out to those people build a community of peers build a network. In the book I write about how I found my people. And did it felt like an afterthought in the book not like an afterthought, but like it was the conclusion to an extent of here’s how you can market your business, develop social media, and it’s by connecting and having these deep relation friendships. And then it is in the failure that I realized how much the deep relationships matter. And the folks who reached out and were like, Oh my gosh, my preorder got canceled is everything. Okay? I thought about how those are the people who are in many ways, like, closest to me, they’re my biggest ambassadors. They’re the ones who want to support me the most. And they’re the ones who are seeing the failure from the closest seats in the arena. Right? And that mortification kicked in, like, oh, my gosh, I can’t believe they know this about me. And now I have to go admit that I’m a huge failure. But at the end of the day, the people who have reached out to be like, hey, this, this mistake happened, what’s up with that? They also turned around and just reordered it, cuz it’s $4. Right? It’s like a $4 book. They don’t care. They’re not judging me. They’re not watching me as closely as I’m watching myself, right? They’re just like, oh, okay, I’ll just go buy the book that no big deal. So is it embarrassing? Sure. Is it disappointing that I don’t have those top level categories anymore with this book? Yeah. Did I lose money on it? Sure. But like, it’s a $4 book. So I lost maybe like a couple 100 bucks, because I only make $2.30 on each sale. Like, this isn’t something that I did for the money, it was something I did for the thought leadership and getting the information out there. And feeling like I had something to contribute to the world and, and trying to change the way that the industry sees this and trying to kind of influence people to be a little less harsh on themselves in this quest to talk about what our businesses do, and to run businesses that feel good, that don’t feel like a burden that don’t feel like an obligation. And the irony that I specifically made the decision, the conscious choice to only publish the book on Amazon, the irony of that is not lost on me, because I just spent the past six months essentially, writing a book about making critical decision making in your marketing, and not necessarily just defaulting to the lowest common denominator to the easiest place to be, you know, I have spent 130 pages now or probably half of it, right, like 60 pages ish, saying, if social media doesn’t work for you, then you don’t have to go there, right, there are alternatives that might not be as easy, but they might be more rewarding. So just because your people are already on Facebook doesn’t mean that it’s the right choice for you. It might be easy, it might not be the most efficient, the most effective, and the control is out of your hands. And then I published his book to Amazon because I thought, well, that’s the lowest common denominator. That’s the place where people are accustomed to placing pre orders and to making book purchases, it’s the simplest way to ask for those sales is say, hey, go buy it on Amazon, right? So I considered doing a wider distribution, I considered saying, Okay, I’m also going to make sure that it’s available on Apple books and Kubo. And like the ebook version, and then also making sure that I could get it picked up in Barnes and Noble and like, I could have done all of that. And it would have taken maybe 20%. More work administratively. But it would have also eaten into my royalties. And I wouldn’t have been able to enroll in Kindle Unlimited, which I’m trying out. And now I’m locked into Amazon. For 90 days, I have to sell exclusively on Amazon until October 21. Because of the way that I set it up. Because I wanted to see how many how much of my audience would purchase it outright how much would purchase paperback versus ebook How many would go to Kindle Unlimited How many pages would be read in Kindle Unlimited like, to me, now that I especially now that I have a bit more distance from this, then, you know, Monday morning, when I saw that email that sent me into a panic. Now that I have a bit more distance, I can say, Okay, this is all data, right. And in three months, which is not ironically, which is strategically what I say in part three of the book where I’m like every three months go through and evaluate what’s working and make adjustments. In three months, I’m going to make a decision about whether to continue publishing my book on Kindle Unlimited or pull it off, whether I’m going to continue to exclusively be on Amazon or pull it off. It might be more work for me to not be exclusive. And to publish through Ingram Spark, which is just like a distribution channel so that I can have my book picked up by libraries, right, like maybe that’ll make it more accessible, even if that means that my royalties for Amazon Go down, right like i i see the irony in the fact that I went to the default channel and expected it to work for me, instead of working for itself that I made this sort of broad assumption that the algorithm would work in my favor. for organic traffic for organic sales without needing to run Amazon ads, and in much the same way that many people have come on to this podcast, and said, like Facebook ads, dust, you know, got hacked, or my Facebook channel got shut down, or I got locked out of my Instagram, right like, in the same way that if you put all your eggs into the social media basket, you can be penalized if the algorithm changes or if they don’t like something about your account. In the same way, I sort of made the exact mistake that I criticize in the book, because it’s so easy to do, I went great, I’ll just go to Amazon. And then all my pre orders got refunded without my consent, the only payments that did not get refunded were the people who came directly on my email list. And they paid for an autographed copy, which I will send out and all of those payments are still in my system, I own those payments. It’s only about 10% of people who did that. And I’ll probably make more. In fact, I know I’ll make more than I would from them buying the paperback directly from Amazon, because we built those margins into it, even with the cost of shipping, it’s going to cost me less and have a higher profit margin. If I write those autographs and write those notes to people. Here’s another time where I should say like, and if you want that we will include a link to purchase your autographed copy of the book in the show notes. But this is exactly I keep coming back to the term ironically, because there’s no better way to say it. This is exactly what I’m talking about in the book is that we have to make these critical decisions that aren’t necessarily the easiest decisions, but maybe the best choice for us. And it might not be the broadest platforms. And it might not be the easiest solutions. But they’re the ones that we can control. Right? This is the difference maker here. And honestly, I’m not just thinking about the launch of this book, I think that this experience of having my pre orders cancelled has been a really good learning experience. For me, as I continue to write into the future, I already have plans for my next nonfiction book, worn to the team that I will take a year to write it instead of six months. Now I have made all the mistakes, so I will not make them in the future. But I have a book coming out about the role of empathy in your marketing coming out. I say, I need to, like 10,000 words into it. It’ll happen though. It’ll be out next year, sometime next year. At first, I was like, I’ll put out a book every three months. No, not doing that. I’ve definitely learned a more realistic timeline for release dates. I also love to write fiction as a creative author. And that’s something that I’m thinking about now a little bit differently than I was even last week, because last week, I was like, Okay, maybe I’ll put out a fiction book on my own. I’ll Self Publish. I’ll put it on Kindle Unlimited, because that’s where romance readers hang out. But I’ve also heard stories of books just going into what they call the Amazon dungeon where Amazon just decides like, Nope, we’re not selling your book anymore. No, it doesn’t apply to our terms of service or something happened, right, and it’s out of your control. And so now there’s a part of me that’s thinking maybe I do want to try to get a traditional publishing deal on those books. Because even though that eats into my royalties, I also have a wider distribution, right? I have, there’s pros and cons to every single one of these marketing decisions. And it’s not just in the b2b marketplace, it’s not just in the book publishing marketplace. But every decision that we’re making can be a reflection of our priorities, and our values and how we want to be perceived and how we want to engage with our clients. And there’s a lot more to consider than just like, well, what’s the easiest reach? Or what’s the royalty on this? You know, there’s
always so many more things to consider in every decision that we make, not just the social media question, the self publishing question, the entrepreneurship question, like, that’s what makes entrepreneurship so fascinating and interesting is that we are always doing these risk assessments and cost benefit analyses. So, all that being said, if you have questions about this, feel free to reach out to me and the team support. I love it for search.com. If you have questions about kind of self publishing process, and you want to hear more about that, I’d be happy to record more episodes or anything, you can head over to social slowdown.com fill out the feedback form. We use that as a way to come up with ideas for the podcast, and have guests fill out their ideas if they’re pitching themselves as guests, so head on over to social slowdown.com You can also get a link right there to both the autographed and Amazon versions and Kindle Unlimited and paperback versions of the book. Social slowdown.com Thank you so much for listening. Thank you for your patience and generosity as I share this sort of honest behind the scenes looks of the snafu. of running an online business and the roller coasters that we go through on a daily, weekly basis. If you’re not trying new things, if you’re not failing at new things, you’re not learning from new things. So definitely consider that and I’ll talk to you next week. 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