What if you could combine the healing power of writing and make a lasting impact on your readers? A way to practice the passionate art of storytelling while helping others heal.
Today we’re joined by writer, speaker, and life-coach KishaLynn Moore Elliott. She is the author of A D.R.E.A.M. Comes True: Five Steps To Planning and Creating Your Personal Success Story NOW! and CHILDISH: A Collection of Stories from the Life of a Young Black Girl, which is based on true stories from her childhood.
She is also a licensed restorative practices trainer and part of her job includes helping others build community when harm happens.
KishaLynn describes herself as a creative entre-professional for she runs a business while working a full-time job.
In this episode, we talk about the process of healing yourself and others through self-publishing or restorative storytelling, as she calls it.
KishaLynn takes us into her story of how and when her love for writing was born, how she dealt with self-criticism before publishing her first book in her adult life, and the importance of having a clear definition of success.
This conversation is truly fascinating as we dive deep into the unexpected, positive outcomes and consequences of becoming a self-published author. We discuss the common fears that stop writers and what to do about them, the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing, and much more!
Things you will learn in this episode:
-How to manage discouragement as a writer.
-How the process of publishing a book has changed in recent years.
-The power of giving yourself permission.
-The difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing.
-How to define success as a writer.
KishaLynn Moore Elliott is a writer, speaker, and certified life coach. She graduated from Spelman College in 2002. She is an educator, a storyteller, and a proud black lesbian. Themes in her work include identity, self-actualization, sex, love and relationships, and faith. CHILDish is her second book and is based on true stories from her childhood. Her first — A D.R.E.A.M. Comes True — is a self-help e-book. In all of her endeavors, she embodies her dedication to helping others live their dreams and write their way through pain. She lives in San Diego with her wife Shelli and their son Simeon.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
– CHILDish: Stories from the Life of a Young Black Girl: https://www.childishthebook.com/shop/
A D.R.E.A.M. Comes True: Five Steps To Planning and Creating Your Personal Success Story NOW!: https://www.amazon.com/DREAM-Comes-True-Planning-Creating-ebook/dp/B0094QQ90G
– Feeling overwhelmed or too uninspired to write? No time in your busy schedule? Join the Write More Challenge, HERE!
– Share what you gained from this episode in the Writers Squad Facebook group!
– Go to businessschoolforwriters.com where you’ll find more resources to help you thrive in your writing career!
Hard of hearing or prefer to read?
Here is the transcript of the call:
[00:00:00] I had this cisgendered white man coming up to me and telling me how much they related to a story that I wrote in the book about my first time with a woman.
[00:00:09] And that’s like really like what? They would give me the speed record. Like, I almost I’m almost thinking, but it wasn’t even for you.
[00:00:16] But then I realized that I don’t get to really choose who was feeling it or I just intend for the healing to be there and that it will find the people that need it.
[00:00:27] Welcome to Business School for writers, where we help storytellers like you, ditch the starving artist cliche and thrive. I’m your host, Lauren Marie Fleming, and I am obsessed with the power of stories. I’ve seen the way stories heal writers, readers and whole communities, but I’ve also seen the way we silence marginalized voices and discourage people from pursuing a career as a writer. Which is why I’m here today, helping you to ditch the lies you’ve been told about whose story matters and instead embrace the truth that the world needs your story now more than ever. I am living proof that it is possible to build a thriving career as a writer, and I created business school for writers to show you exactly how you can write more. Publish more and make more money. As a storyteller, welcome to your virtual classroom. Welcome to your cheerleading squad.
[00:01:20] Welcome to Business School for Writers Guide to Writing Project.
[00:01:28] You’ve been putting off for way too long. Life is so distracting and sometimes it can feel impossible to carve out the physical and mental space you need in your life to write. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or uninspired, I want you to know you are not alone. Most people I talked to tell me there’s just no way they could create time in their busy schedule for writing. I used to think the same thing too, that when we dig in deeper and look at our lives, we find that we’re spending hours on social media or bingeing Netflix. Even my busiest clients, working moms with multiple kids, even they have been able to find just 20 to 30 minutes a day to write. I’ve taken the tips and tools I’ve gathered over the past decade to create my own writing rituals and writing rituals for my clients. And I’ve put them altogether in my right. More challenge for 30 days. I’m going to help you carve out 30 minutes a day for writing. Think that’s impossible. While the hundreds of people who’ve taken my right more course all thought the same thing, too. But now their daily journals, bloggers or book writers, if they can do it and if I can do it, then you can do it too. Let’s work together to get your story out into the world because the world needs your story now more than ever. Learn more at business school for writers. Dot com slash write more. That’s business school for writers, dot com slash Brightmoor. And as always, that link is in your show notes. I cannot wait to see what you write.
[00:03:13] Kiesel and more. Elliott is a writer, speaker and life coach. She graduated from Spelman College in 2002 and now she’s an educator, storyteller and proud black lesbian. Themes in her work include identity, self actualization, sex, love, relationships and faith. Childish stories from the Life of a Young Black Girl is her second book, and it’s based on stories from her childhood. Her first book, A Dream Comes True. That’s d. R e. A.M. As a self-help e-book in all of her endeavors, she embodies her dedication to helping others live their dreams and write their way through pain. She lives in San Diego with her wife, Shelly, and their son, Simeon. And I’m honored, honored to call her a friend. And I’m very honored that she’s our first guest here on the business school for writers. So welcome. Lots and lots. Thank you. Today, we’re gonna talk about healing yourself and others through self publishing or what Keysha Lynn likes to call, which I love this time. And she’s only introduced it to me recently. Restorative storytelling. So let’s just jump right into what the heck is restorative storytelling.
[00:04:17] OK, well, start with a restorative piece. So in my other life. Well, I should probably introduce myself by saying I refer to myself as a creative entrepot professional, which in the simplest terms means I make my money in three ways. I have a full time job. I’m a professional. I am an educator, and I’m a director of a nonprofit. And I have a full time business. I’m an entrepreneur like I’m a coach and an author. And I’m also creative. So the creative and entrepreneur come together, but then they blend with that professional abuse and that makes futsal in a creative onshore professional. In my professional work, I do a lot of things, but one of my favorite things that I do is. I’m a licensed restorative practices trainer. And what that means is that I am trained in and I train others in ways to build community and also to heal that community. When harm happens in the community. So through doing that work, I’ve been learning a lot about, OK, this is what it looks like to take some kind of pain or take some kind of harm. Break it down to a place where you can figure out what do you need to do to make things right. Do that thing, restore the community and kind of move forward. So that’s kind of the professional framework from which I came. That’s where the restorative peace comes. The storytelling piece comes from the creative part of who I am. Right. I’ve always been a writer. I’ve all my childhood. I aspired to be an author. And then ultimately in adulthood, I finally did find that path for myself and write and publish my books and go and share my stories on the stage. And I thought the two things, the two processes were separate. Like in my creative world, I’m over here storytelling and in my professional world I’m over here being restorative and helping to build community. I brought the two together when I published my second book, Childish. The one that you just waved in front of the screen.
[00:06:12] This one right here. You painted it. Yeah. Oh, nice cover.
[00:06:17] So when I published a book or even when I was writing that book, I knew what I was doing was I was finally telling the stories from my childhood, the painful stories, the ones that were very hard for me to live through, and then even having lived through them, the ones that I didn’t really share because of the shame associated with a lot of it or the pain. When I got to a point in my adulthood when I realized not only am I ready to tell those stories, but I think those stories will help the healing for me as a process to share them, get them on the page, get them out there. That’s going to be the final the final piece of healing for myself. What I didn’t expect was that readers would get that book, read that book, and then come to me and share with me how it helped heal them. And so I thought, oh, my gosh, look at all of this restoration that’s happening just from me sharing my story and putting it out there. And so I like I’m doing storytelling, but I’m also being restorative and restorative practices. You focus on restoring the community, the people around you. But in restorative storytelling, I discover that by telling your story and sharing it with others, it’s a way for you to restore yourself, restore yourself to yourself, restore yourself through all of the harm and the hurt that happened in childhood. So that is where the kind of self healing part comes in. And that’s what I expected when I put out childish. What I didn’t expect was to see that restoration ripple through my readers, who were also feeling some healing and wanting to experience more, wanting to know more about it, not just about my book, but now tell me about your story in your book, in your healing that you need to put out there to help others. And so I’m just I can’t help but blend all these kind of parts of myself together. I can’t help that. I love to take, you know, bites of every piece of chocolate. I want to taste all of the flavors you do. But it’s working for me, not just that I’m living my dreams and I get to be an author and I get to talk about that. But it’s working for me at the level where I want to make a difference. I want to help people in the world and putting my story out there. It’s great that it gets me attention, but it’s powerful for me and it’s most satisfying for me when people experience healing for myself, for themselves. And when people decide to empower themselves to share their story in a deeper way and expand that healing to others.
[00:08:48] So why writing like you talked about just something I’ve seen you perform these pieces. They’re amazing. You were an amazing performer. Comes to performing pieces both in childish in some of your more risque pieces and some of your more like social justice pieces. I’ve seen you perform a lot of pieces. What is it about? Is it writing? Is it storytelling? Is it all of the above? Is it similar? Is you are writing as profound and as restorative as any other kind of storytelling? Is one that bigger for you personally or for your work?
[00:09:22] So the question why writing for me, the answer is because reading. Right.
[00:09:29] So when you really feel like I did answer, I love that my writing is reading.
[00:09:35] So close reading growing up the way that I did. Experiencing some trauma. Experiencing a lot of transition and having to start over there with a lot in my life, in my childhood that I wanted and needed to escape from. And I found that escape through reading. I became a reader kind of organically. I was fully able to read like a. By the time I was three and that came from my mom spending a ton of time. Think some of the earliest the earliest memories that I have of my mom are her reading to me. My mom was a voracious reader as well. And so I remembered how often I default to the reading space in order to escape what was going on in my life. And by immersing myself with words and enjoying the stories that were coming out of that, of course, it plants a bug in you, too. I wonder what it would be like to tell my own stories.
[00:10:36] So from that same organic journey to becoming a reader, the writer and me started to emerge. I actually wrote my first book when I was 12 years old and I self published that book as well. I printed it out on my mom’s dot matrix transfer. I tore the pages apart as I poked the holes in them and down them and duct tape the binding. And that is actually my first book and I still have that manuscript. So being able to escape your reading inspired me to want to create an escape through writing. Now, it wasn’t an easy or immediate journey if I wrote my first book by 12. Why do I only have two in the market now at almost 40?
[00:11:20] It’s because it’s not an easy journey. When you rely on others to tell you if it’s good or not, or if you should or shouldn’t. And very early in my childhood, I was having those experiences where I’m like, oh, look at here this thing I wrote. And then it’s just getting like readhead feedback for the death. I mean, I didn’t know how to handle that or what to do with that. I kind of kept it to myself for a really long time. But, you know, working it as a story, if there’s no one to read it, you know, it’s like putting on a pretty dress and not having anywhere not having anywhere to go or not letting anyone see it.
[00:11:54] So once I learned how to overcome my fears of rejection, overcome my fears of not being good enough or not being able to create that beautiful escape for my readers that I found as I was reading as a child and then in full adulthood, just decide to go for it. And the only way to experience it is to is to do it, you know, and do it enough. So that gets a good feedback. You get the affirmation that, like, this is good or this is healing for me, or this made you think differently. Once you get a little taste of that, writing will always be beautiful. Or for me, that’s my story. Anyway, writing has always been my fault. It’s always been how I process through. It’s where I tell my secrets. And now I don’t try to. I try to keep my secrets to a minimum and just share as much as possible, because, again, that is the sharing. That’s when I discovered how feeling it is for me. And the response to what I’ve shared is feeling for others. And I guess, you know, I would describe myself as a pretty generous and also a sick person. But I really, really I’m really kind of self-centered, too. So it’s something about me and just the way I happen to show up in the world and sharing the world helps others.
[00:13:11] It’s like the ultimate in my way of doing that. My primary way, my first way, the organic way comes through writing. I found other ways, of course, to but writing is my is my go to and it’s very, very powerful tool.
[00:13:25] How does a little bit deeper into something you said, because I think that it was so powerful, like if I wrote my first book at 12:00, why do I only have two books out for sale out in the world? And you mentioned that you were that’s for so long you were waiting for permission or for somebody to say your book was good enough. And I think that that’s something I see so often in my clients and my friends and people I interact with and in myself as well. You and I actually happen to have published our first look at the same age, and we both decided to self publish because we’d spent so long trying to get traditional publishers to publish our stuff. And I love that you now have stories of the life of a young black girl and you’re talking about sex. You’re talking about like queer sex and all kinds of sex marriage. And I just love that because you’re right, a traditional publisher probably wouldn’t have picked this up. But it’s an amazing book and it’s healing. And I’ve seen people react to it when you read it on audiences and I’ve seen people react to it when you’re selling it at, like, outselling your book out in public. And I think about I am not anti traditional publishing. I think it’s a really great path for a lot of people. But I think about how many stories like yours, powerful, life changing restorative storytelling stories are out there and are not out there in the world because the traditional gatekeepers, which are typically straight white men looking to make money, are are not allowing access. I love that you embraced self publishing as a way to find to find a home for your voice. And I love that you’re bringing it back to that twelve year old self of yours.
[00:14:59] Well, yeah, I mean, it’s a huge opportunity to do that now when I was twelve or nineteen ninety two, I don’t think self-help, I mean self-help. I did self publish. But in terms of getting your books into the hands of other people, that wasn’t if there wasn’t even the Internet. So unless you were gonna pay a bunch of money to print your book yourself and try to distribute it, that that was going to be hard. You’d never need permission to write. You just don’t you give yourself permission to write. No one else has to be involved in that decision to put your story down and get it out of you. But back in the 90s and even into the 2000s, you needed for it.
[00:15:39] It seemed like you needed permission to publish. And that was an obstacle for a very long time. You needed someone to think that you were good and also needed someone to be willing to take it on and put it out there. Well, by the time the 2000s ended, Amazon is thing self publishing the things. The Internet is a thing. There’s a lot of new resources that have popped up that allow you to give yourself permission to publish as well. And that was the key to me. And the other thing I love about self publishing, a lot of creatives out there are probably or just human beings just hate rejection. They just hate rejection. And it’s a really uncomfortable feeling. I’m learning to embrace it as an unnecessary growth process, but it takes a lot of personal development. So that’s what I work on, on the coaching side. Like developing yourself enough to embrace rejection as a part of your growth process. But if you’re just completely rejection or self publishing is a good way for you because there’s literally no rejection involved in the process unless you somehow reject or stop yourself, which is probably a very common form of rejection in the self publishing world. That author. That just gives up and says this isn’t good. No one’s going to read this. And they stop. They stop the worst. But if you push through that and you get your book on the market, you get it published. I guess there is a form of rejection and no one in the world ever reading your book, but that’s complete bunk. Someone is going to buy and find at five and buy and read your book somewhat many someones. And that was certainly my experience as well when I put my first book out, which I call dipping my toe in the water. And we could talk a little bit about what that means, but just the fear that no one will read it or care is completely unfounded. But you don’t get to experience that until you take that step and put it out there. People still think authors are aspiring. Authors still think that they shouldn’t even start the work until they have found someone that will accept the work.
[00:17:57] And I’m like, you’re absolutely right. You shouldn’t start the work until you’ve found someone that accepts the work. I know someone new. How about you?
[00:18:07] Except the work so that you can start the work and then, you know, put it put it out there. And the very first offer that I had to have that tough love, tender love talk with was myself. And that is ultimately what resulted in the birth of my first book. A Dream Comes True Love.
[00:18:26] I felt that similarly. So my book, Body Love 10 Steps, two profoundly loving your body.
[00:18:31] I needed it to be out in the world. And I had was talking to publishers and people just like we’re like you’re basically telling me I’m not famous enough for them to take on that risk. And I was like, but I need the slick. I need to publish this for myself. And so I put there on the world. I did a short like two hundred and fifty books. I sold presold. Half of them sold almost the rest of it at the end. And then after that I was like, that was nuts. Like if I had waited decades for a publisher to think that I was famous enough for that book to be out in the world, the healing that came from writing a book about loving myself and putting a book out in the world about loving myself. Now, whenever I start, like not letting my body, I’m like, I literally can’t. I wrote a book about how I’m going to forever. So I can’t. And it was it was like permission. It was. And it was like I had to I had to let go of being told for decades that traditional publishing is the only way your book is valid. And I think that I love that you talked about dipping your toe in, because the minute I published Body Love, I was like, oh, these 10 other books that I’ve been waiting until I was famous enough or waiting until some publisher just came along and said it was OK, I should maybe finish them because, like, there’s something beautiful and just the writing process and sometimes the writing process, like I have I’ve written ten, I’ve written seven books fully, completely, and only two of them have been published because sometimes writing. Is healing enough? That’s all you need to do. And so I love that you bring up that you’re like what I write down that you said you never need permission to write. But you used to need permission to publish and now you don’t. And I love that. I love that. Love that. Love that. Can you say something about that again? Just like people can really hear that again in their heads.
[00:20:21] Well, here’s what here’s how I answer that question. When I’m teaching people about self publishing specifically because kind of like you, I don’t invalidate traditional publishing route. And I understand that. That’s right. I mean, I may perceive traditional publishing at some point. It is something that I think about a lot. But when you think about the steps, the pathways, right. To traditional publishing, like first you have to this first you have to write your book and have it be good enough, whatever that means, choppered around to an agent to get that agent to get a book deal that’s acceptable and all of that. On the other side, self publishing, you’re literally a word document and a JPEG image, a way and maybe a few clicks on Amazon or whatever publishing platform you might look and your book is there. So when you think about the pathway to getting your book to be there in your hands or in readers hands, the traditional the traditional route. And then when you think about it or when you simplify it, it’s really true. I mean, if you have a word processing system and if you have or can find a pretty picture, your book can be a real thing in the world. So once you remove the obstacles of like how and what the pathway is, the only thing that’s left to do is to put yourself on it and get it done. Get your book out. If you have a capacity to do your own design stuff, great. If not, it’s not impossible or completely unaffordable to hire someone else to do that piece for you. And then you put the two together and it’s like click, click, click, and then coaching. So that’s what I mean by giving yourself giving yourself permission. What that looks like when you’re pursuing a traditional publishing route is still very challenging and hard. But what that looks like when you’re pursuing the self publishing route is fairly simple. And people go really just a word document and a J bag. And I’m like, yes, really. Yes. There’s a lot of work that goes into that word document. And yeah, there’s more goes into that image. But that work, that body of work is a lot easier. And there is no again, unless you stop yourself in the process. There’s not going to be anything. I hold you back. Meanwhile, you’re going to run into a lot of roadblocks on the traditional traditional pathway that have nothing to do with how awesome you think your book is or how ready you are for the world to have it. And so give yourself permission and understand when you’re choosing the self publishing route, you’re choosing a path that is going to be successful as long as you continue to give yourself that permission. Whereas on the traditional route, there could be some other obstacles for you to overcome that could lead to all kinds of consequences emotionally and ultimate consequences. Maybe your book doesn’t get out there. Maybe your book doesn’t get into the hands of that reader who desperately needs to hear someone like you. Tell that story and love that.
[00:23:18] I love that. I love that. Because I am you know, I’ve dealt with that like I’ve gone through the attritional publishing route three times. And at the end of all three, they’re like, this is a great book.
[00:23:26] You’re just not famous and are like, you don’t have a big enough following for us to take this route on. Or this is a really great book. But have you thought about, like, changing this character from being gay or. This is a really great book, but like you like your body book, maybe we should add some, like diet talk into your self-love books. Like, I know that rejection and I know it’s hard. And I also know that those pathways to publishing take for ever. There’s so many steps you have to get to even get to a publisher, more or less get two published. And that can be decades. And for some books like I have a book that’s on that path right now that I feel like that’s the right path for that book. But most of my books, that’s not they need to be out sooner. They need to be in people’s hands sooner. So I love that. And I love that you talked about once you remove the pathway, the only thing left to do is get it done. And I think that that’s so hard. I think so often we see we see this idea that, like publishing is this one thing. And so we put all these roadblocks. And so we don’t allow ourselves to even write because we don’t think that we’ll ever be able to publish. So I thought that we would talk about some of the ways in which you overcame those pathways. So what did you have to struggle at all with the still unfortunate stigma that people have against the quality that people see of a self-help book as less quality now a self-help book of a self published book as less quality than a traditionally published. Did you struggle with that at all, that stigma in terms of quality?
[00:24:53] Well, I wouldn’t say that I struggle because I do. I’m a Virgo. So that translates into perfection is. And so I knew that. I’m just not the kind of person that was going to even just to get it out there fast, wasn’t going to do a good job. And my biggest inspiration to really push for a certain amount of quality was I read a ton of books that I felt weren’t really good. Now, whether they are good or not is not what’s relevant to your audience in this process, because the bottom line is good or bad.
[00:25:33] I paid my money for those books. Those books are published and available.
[00:25:37] And whether I like it or not, that author is drinking lots. And right now because I bought that book. But it helped me understand the kind of quality that I was going to aim for. And I knew that in order to get there, I was going to have to learn some things that I didn’t learn. And so I did what probably a lot of your clients are doing when they come to you. I hired a coach who I hired someone to help me now. Quality is great and I wanted that. But I wanted some other things, too, like I wanted it done. No. No doubt. Like I said, it’s arbitrary, like a deadline. I published my first book on my 30 second birthday. So I was like September six, 2012. That book is on Amazon and people are buying it, period. So the urgency piece was kind of addressed through that and getting it done. I wanted it done quickly and then I also wanted it done in quality. So when I went looking for a coach, I’m looking at a coach that was marketing how quickly and easily you could put a book together. And I worked with an amazing woman whose home thing was three days, two years due to e-book profits or something like that. And I was like, yes, three days is about around than the amount of time that I would like to invest in learning and doing and executing on that. And it really it really is it really possible to do something that quickly now to get it to quality, quality and quickness? Depends on how much help you have. Right. So I am really fortunate that I have great people in my life who have editing skills and writing skills and even some marketing skills that we’re willing to take a look at my book after it was done to help me improve the quality of it. And like I said, I did outsource all the design elements, which are basically your cover and the typesetting or the formatting of the page, how it looks from the page. I don’t know how to do that. I didn’t want to learn that part. I outsource that. But in the editing process, you know, make it as good. Me touches me areas. Help me make sense. Help the story shine. I wrote the story. Now help me bring it to life and help it pop. The thing about that, though, is when you hire your own editors, you can set your expectations up. And one of my expectations when I hired my editors was I need you to understand that this book is happening. So feedback of the nature of you should publish this book or this book is garbage or anything like that. Any feedback that’s going to have me stop this process or slow this process down? That’s not what I’m hiring you to do because we are going to move forward. So when you are the author and you’re also the publisher, you have that control over your team that’s helping you to to produce the book. So understanding what your priorities are, minds were done fast quality. Putting those three things together helped me understand the things that I had to do, whether I had to learn and do them or just do them. And then the things that I needed help with hiring that help, but give them the same values about the work, give them set the same goals for them so that they stay in alignment and don’t become an obstacle on that path to self publishing. And so there’s a whole like to teach people about when you’re when you’re done with your writing and then you’re ready to move to the next phase. Here’s some things to think about, to keep your book, to keep your book moving forward and how you hire that team. Now, one of the things that was a challenge was when I did do my first book. I decided to do an e-book because a paperback books you can still do fairly quickly, but they take a little bit longer, just by nature of the fact that they have to be printed on paper and shipped out. Whereas an e-book, once it’s done and you upload again that word file and that picture to Amazon, then, you know, in about 24 to 48 hours, your book is on the market. And that is amazing. But the other amazing thing about it, and this is what I tell people when I say it’s OK to start with an e-book, is that if there’s a mistake, if there’s an error, if there’s a change, if there’s something missing you. That sucker right down. Fix it and you put it right back up like noodle. You don’t get to do that in any other publishing modality or platform. Changes take a long time, whereas you have that level of control. So the final thing that was a challenge was e-books. Back in 2012 and maybe even still more today, there is a type of reader out there that is never going to read an e-book like they’re reading them. A book is not real unless it’s in their hands. So I just decided that in my marketing, I wasn’t going to try and convert those people. I was going to focus my marketing on people that were looking for e-books in the self-help category specifically. And that was a strategy that ultimately propelled a dream comes true. Five steps of planning and creating your personal success story. Now to the best selling category in Amazon in about six months after it was publishing. The reason for that is because I wanted to put my book in the hands of people that were looking for e-books, specifically about self-help.
[00:31:03] If I just put my book out there in general and said my books are amazing. Everyone in the world, please buy them, read it. It may not have been successful, but that’s not what I had my sights set on. I wanted to give people who were looking for a book like mine what they were looking for. And that was, again, like I said, that that led to that led to success. It did lead to a full level of satisfaction for me in terms of my life as an author. But in terms of my goal of becoming an author and publishing my book and doing it successfully, success I defined as did I make money? Yes. Check success. And then you said as soon as you see that one goal, you set the above that you just put it out a bunch of different things.
[00:31:47] But throughout that process that you talked about, you kind of removed those pathways by defining your own version of success. So you’re like, OK. Success in writing is X. Success in editing is why. Success in graphics is like the type. It’ll be the audience. It will be you define success within your book becomes successful. I think about my body love book. My goal was just to sell two hundred of the two hundred and fifty I published. I kept 50 to like donate to places or to give to friends or stuff like that. So and I was able to do that. And now I can then redefine success for that book. Like I’m going to be re set republishing it and putting it back out there in the world again. But I was able to define success for myself, whereas traditional publishers define success for their terms and then you have to be a part of their definition of success. Like I remember hearing that if you sell less than like I had a friend who who he would be able to get his next book published, but he had to sell fifteen thousand copies of the book that he had out. And he was trying to decide whether to like buy up some of those copies so he could get them to pay for his next book to be published. I was like or you could publish like there was so much that seemed backwards to that. And I think that so much of the way we talk about. I hear often at least that people want to be a successful writer. And so they want a traditional publisher because they think that that will make them the money and sell the books. But you you give away 95 percent of what you’re making. So if the goal is making money, whatever your goal is, if it’s to build a business and make money, you are getting only five percent. So you have to sell. I’m bad at math. This is why I’m a writer. But however many more copies use to make the same amount of money versus like if money is the things. Understanding what you write of successes. So, for example, for me, self publishing my help, my idea of success is that it’s out in the world. It’s part of my larger sales funnel, my larger brand. It’s part of me helping other people. My fiction, my idea of success is I want it to have gone through the editing process. So whether I do it with original publisher or myself, I want it to be really high quality, edited. So understanding what your definition of success was made you successful. And I want my audience to think about that, too. Like, whatever you need to define success for yourself before you start. For so many of my books, success was simply writing that first draft, writing a feel complete draft. Looking at it being like that was a cool story to try. Take it away. Maybe later. Maybe not. I don’t know. For some my books, my success, my idea of success is like, no, this one is gonna be a New York Times bestseller with a movie starring the rock and everything in between. But understanding each book has a different version of success. So don’t let someone else define your books version of success for you. And I love that you did it. I love that you didn’t do that. So let’s talk about the successes that you came from. What successes have come out of self publishing these two amazing books?
[00:34:52] Well, so when I look at success, I love this idea of defining success, because that is absolutely the power that. We have, especially as self published authors, I coach people and I practice myself to go for the lowest hanging fruit of success because again, I’m rejection and criticism of Verve’s. And so when I experience or encounter that, if I have tied everyone’s opinion to my feeling of success, I’ve lost. I’ve lost right away. I’ve lost as soon as I get that first one star review or I get that first like piece of criticism. So my version of success, the lowest hanging fruit for me was done. And so that looks like for me my book is successful because it’s done. If you don’t think it’s successful, show me your book.
[00:35:43] And if you have a book, I’d say that again, because I think that’s so powerful, because I can’t tell you how many people have told me that my book doesn’t count as a book. And they’ve never published a book. Say that. Say that again and again.
[00:35:55] So my version of success is done. And so if my book is done and you don’t like it. Show me your book. Yeah. If you have a book and it’s successful, that doesn’t mean my book is not successful. It means you have a different definition of success than I do because my definition is done. So the fact that I have a book means that I am going to be successful. Period. Like, that’s. It’s as simple as that for me now. And so that was kind of where I began as a published author. That’s where things began with a dream come true. And that’s where it got me. I mean, the other thing was the purpose behind that book. I love how you’re so clear about, like, body love.
[00:36:36] And my mom pitchin book is huge in the world to do this. And then the fiction books that I am working on are here in the world to do that. I had a similar I had a similar goal associated with A Dream Comes True, which was I was launching a business as a coach. I had developed this signature coaching system. I had been testing and I had been using it. I’ve been sharing it and other forms and I wanted to put it all in a book. Put that out there and then be able to use that to market myself as a coach. And so that’s a pretty typical strategy when you’re starting a business as a coach and you’re thinking, how do I build a client tells a coach having a book is really helpful. So it made it a little easier to be like a book done coach. I immediately, like, put my book A Dream come True out in the World, and then I, like, basically walked away from it and focus all my energy and attention on building this coaching business. But I talked about not feeling fully satisfied in that I knew as an author, you know, again, that three parts creative entrepreneur and professional, I, I put the creative hat on hold right away and I focus on being the onshore professional. And after about three years, I started to feel like, you know, I know I put that book out and it was great and it was successful because it was done. It was successful. And I also know that there’s something else inside of me, something different, something that’s not associated with this business that I’m building, and that something was real by stories, not my system, my stories. There is a little storytelling and a dream comes true. And that kind of is probably what inspired me to think are people really big in this book? Because I’m walking them through this five step system, or are they big in this book? Because I have a personal story in there associated with my own Apple creation of each of those systems. I didn’t know or care about that. I don’t even think to ask what I remember when the writing process, what I enjoyed the most was creating that storytelling part. So and I knew that I had stories. I mean, come on, you know, I have stories.
[00:38:49] You got stories. And if you guys want to hear those stories that you should write this book, because they are good stories.
[00:38:55] And I all I always had a dream of like one day I’m going to write the book that like the book I knew I would write one day the book that was just to tell my stories. So I started writing that book, working with the same editor that helped me on a dream come true. She did an amazing job because she serves as an archivist, too. So anything I write, I can send it to her. She files it. And then when we’re putting a project together, she can pull it out. And how about this and that? And I said, I think it’s time to put, quote unquote, a real book. And by that I meant, let’s do a paperback like let’s add in the writing. Even the real book is like, I want to focus less or not at all on a process and more on just the stories letting stories live and be and be the purpose of the book. And that’s how childish was conceived. I knew I didn’t want to write a novel. I didn’t want to write a memoir in the traditional sense that I’m going to take you through every day of my life and we’re going to kind of grow up in that way. I knew I wanted to just drop readers in to these moments by just telling a story of what happened as I was growing up throughout my life. So you get these snippets or these moments that come together to paint this picture of my childhood and the sense of satisfaction that I had when that box came. And I open it and put my hands on the paper. It’s just that in and of itself, because it told me I can increase my definition of success and I should. Because when I do and I reach that, I feel even better. And when I open that book and read the pages, I don’t really read a dream comes true a lot, quite frankly, because I had been living and working that system for 10 years before I ever wrote a word about it. I just didn’t need to read. A dream comes true as often. But when I open the pages of childish, what I see in there as my actual story, what I see in there is myself and I see myself growing up and I feel that feeling again. And that’s amazing. And that’s just me sitting in my living room with my Amarone box on my lap, still with the packing materials, just like looking in the book. Then I think about other people having that book in their hands, opening it, reading those stories, walking through my life in their own shoes, thinking about their pain. And it’s it’s just it’s just the wrap from there, you know, now I realize, oh, my goal here is healing my purpose and telling these stories is to heal, feel myself from those pain. And then once I put the book out, people started reading it and responding to it. It’s so amazing to think that. And you talked about. Oh, I think I talked about Zoove, somebody in the world is waiting for your book and they’re waiting for it to come from someone like you, whether that’s, you know, the queer femme or if it’s the black girl or the black lesbian or whatever it is, they’re waiting for you. Not just a book, but like your book coming from you. But the thing about it is other people will find that book and other people that you never expected to relate to or enjoy or be healed from your book will have like under Weitman coming up to me and telling me how much they related to a story that I wrote in the book about my first time with a woman.
[00:42:34] And that’s like really like what they would give me this feedback I wrote, like, I know I’m almost thinking, but it wasn’t even for you.
[00:42:41] But then I realized that I don’t get to really choose who the healing is for. I just intend for the healing to be there and that it will find the people that need it. So, again, setting a definition of success is important and it will help you along the way. But you also should be prepared to be successful in ways that you never imagined or thought about. Childish hasn’t hit the top of any bestseller list yet. And I don’t get to talk about it in that way. The way I do with a dream comes true, but I definitely do. I actually talk about childish as the more successful book because it reached more people and it had a bigger impact because the contents of the book were my story and that that is powerful and that is enough.
[00:43:28] That is even. It’s like story, story, story, story few in the next book. You know, that’s a project that I’m working on now.
[00:43:38] I love that. And I feel like that’s a really beautiful place to end our our current conversation.
[00:43:44] I hope I can bring you back in and we can talk more about the process that you went through. But I love that you’re like telling that story is enough. That’s how you heal. That’s how others heal. Stories heal. And I love that. I love that. Thank you so much for coming on here and talking to us about your self publishing journey and your restorative storytelling. Thank you for teaching me that word. Restorative storytelling journey. Is there any thing how can people keep getting in touch with you? What’s the next step? Obviously, go by your book. I am very, very fond of this childish book. And where can they find it? How can they get in touch with you? So childish.
[00:44:23] And that the best way to get in touch with me is through social media. So if you search Kastelein pretty much anywhere, I’ll pop up and just look for the pretty black girl that wants me. And please follow me. Please contact me. The book is at Childish, the book dot com. That’s where you can go and buy it from me directly. I did also record and narrate the audiobook version of childhoods, which is basically my favorite. Like, if I if you do bring me back, bring me back just to talk about audiobooks and how awesome they are. I love audio book, audio book, version of Child. This is actually turning out to be one of the reasons that I can define childish as financially successful. And that’s that’s really exciting to me. So childish. The book that. Com is where you can go to buy the e-book or order an author science paperback or to download the audio book. But it is also available on Amazon. The audio book is available on Audible as well as I book my books. And so that’s hard to find. Me social media official, and don’t forget, that’s one word he said and Ettlin together. And then that’s how you find about childish. But I don’t actually want to end on a self promotional. No. If that’s OK with you, I’d like to share a piece of advice that I’m really starting to give every single one of the people that I work with or the people that reach out to me and just for advice about writing. And I basically have summed it up and said three sentences, OK, are you ready?
[00:45:52] I’m ready. I’m so ready.
[00:45:55] OK, so you should write your book like no one will ever read it. And you should edit your book like everyone will read it. And you should publish your book like everyone should read it. If you follow that code, you’ll be an author. You’ll make a difference. You’ll be a healer. Whether you intended to or not. And for me, I intend to. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
[00:46:24] That is fabulous advice. I’m so glad we got to end on that. Much love to you. Q In. And thank you again for joining us. And if anybody wants to get a hold of crucial in all of the information will be in your show, the article.
[00:46:37] Can’t wait to hear your feedback on Wild It. And I’m happy to answer any questions as well about the payoff there or about myself. I’d literally an open door. Amazing. Fine, thank you.
[00:46:54] Wow, what an episode. That was amazing. I just I love getting to talk to people and there’s a reason she’s a friend of mine. I love her as a writer and as a human. And I’m so glad that she got to be our first guest on the physical for the podcast and that you all got to learn her. Want to connect with her more. We have all of our information in our show notes. I just want to share one last thing before we go.
[00:47:16] Something I wrote down from her that I loved and I want to have you have in your mind to want to remove the obstacles from the pathway to publishing. The only thing left to do is get it done. If you want to be a part of restorative storytelling, if you want to heal through writing. If you want to hold your book in your hands, all you have to do is get it done and the rest well. That’s a business school for writers is here to help you with figuring out all of those logistics and helping remove those obstacles to the pathway to getting your story out in the world, whether it’s a published book, whether it’s a blog post, whether however you are as a storyteller.
[00:47:52] We’re here for you. So thank you again for joining us. And I cannot wait to read your book.
[00:48:01] You just finished another lesson at business school for writers. Feels pretty great, right? Being one step closer to a thriving writing career. I am so excited to see how you put to use the tips you learned today. So please share what you’ve gained from this episode in the writers squad Facebook group. You can find your squad at Facebook, dot com slash groups, slash writer squad one even more support making your writing dreams come true. Go to business school for writers dot com where not only can you find show notes and links from today’s episode, but you’ll also be able to explore courses, coaching and free resources. We’ve gathered together to help you along your path to creating a thriving writing career. Thanks again for listening to the Business School for Writers podcast. I’ll see you in the next lesson.
[00:48:46] Business School for Writers is hosted and produced by Moore and Marie Fleming with editing and support from Samantha Olivares. All rights reserved. By Last Masteries LLC, our music is delicious but La Bamba. Check them out on Spotify. Big thanks to the team at Terabit and to Kristen Hoback. And of course, big thanks to you the listener. And put down this podcast already and go right. I’ll see you next episode.