S. 2 Ep. 57 – Write A Book Without Writing A Book

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Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!

Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 2 Ep 57 - Write A Book Without Writing A Book with SpeakerFlow and Emily Crookston

It’s no secret anymore that – especially in the thought leadership space – content is king. But how do you figure out what content to create?

How do you narrow down what content will be helpful to your audience, or, more importantly, how to write content that urges them to action?

In this episode, we’re tackling these questions with the help of ghostwriter, speaker, and podcaster Emily Crookston.

Emily is a former philosophy professor and the owner of “The Pocket Ph.D,” a company that “helps experts—who are long on ideas, but short on time—write business books.”

Put simply, Emily and her team work with individuals and companies to build their LinkedIn networking efforts through content creation. In her words, “Many experts are simply too close to their subjects to interpret them for a lay audience… I help clients clarify the complex, craft captivating content, and figure out how to propel readers to act.”

Her work has also appeared in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Ellevate, Psychology Today, Rolling Stone, Inman, SmartBrief, and ThriveGlobal.

And she’s joined us today to share her greatest ghostwriting tips including how to hire a ghostwriter yourself.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in!

Watch the Podcast 👀

Listen to the Podcast 🎤

Show Notes 📓

✅ Learn more about Emily and her work: https://www.thepocketphd.com/

✅ Download Emily’s free “LinkedIn Cliffs Notes” guide: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-FfCr4YeNfDSjagjLl0r_zmZEIizncWT/view?usp=sharing

📷 Watch the video version of this episode and subscribe for updates on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYAr3nGy6lbXrhbezMxoHTSCS40liusyU

🎤 Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/

🚀 And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/

Read the Transcription 🤓

Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking, we’re your hosts, Taylorr and Austin, and in today’s episode, we’re talking about how to write a book without you, actually writing that book. Now, we’ve had previous conversations on the show about ghostwriting and how to hire somebody to write your book for you and what the pros and cons are. And to be honest, I was expecting this episode to shape up, kind of, similarly to some of those other episodes we’ve ran. But it took me entirely by surprise. And you’ll find out why shortly. 

Now, we’ve invited on Emily Crookston, aka the Pocket PhD, who found herself as an expert in ghostwriting throughout her years of building her business, and what’s very interesting about Emily’s perspective is she comes from a world of writing. She is a PhD in philosophy, and she shares her story about academia and how she segued out of that and why, and I think it’s a very important segue. And not only that, she shares with us her process of ghostwriting and how much of a system it, actually really, is. Up until this point, Austin and I, kind of, had the perspective that ghostwriting was purely a creative process, and while there are elements of creativity there, it’s very much a process and a system that can be followed. 

And so, Emily shares down her ghostwriting process, what you can expect as an individual looking to get a book written by somebody else, shares with us some of the misconceptions and some of the pros and cons of ghostwriting. Super powerful episode, definitely not what I was expecting, and we both learned a ton. So, as always, stick around until the end for some awesome resources and we hope you enjoy this one. See you in there. Okay. We made it live. Woo, man, another show. I like how we’re always surprised after we start an episode; you know what I mean, Austin? We’re just excited, even though we’ve done this about a hundred times now.

Austin: You just never know. You never know.

Taylorr: Technology, yeah.

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: It’s just every time we make it here. Emily, it is amazing to have you here, welcome to Technically Speaking, thanks for joining us.

Emily: Awesome, thanks for having me, Taylorr and Austin, I’m excited to be here. Yeah.

Taylorr: Yeah, for sure.

Austin: Yeah, for sure. For those of you that are just listening to audio too, you’re currently missing out on the coolest cow painting you’ve ever seen in your life.

Taylorr: Cow picture, yeah, for sure. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So, go check out the video.

Austin: Go check out the YouTube channel.

Taylorr: That’s exactly right, links in the show notes. Why are you listening to the audio version anyway, the video one’s so much more fun? So, get over there.

Austin: Yeah, come on, people.

Taylorr: All right. All right. So, Emily, we like to do a little bit of digging, little bit of research, of course, before every show. We tend to go into investigation mode, if you will.

Emily: Great.

Taylorr: And this wasn’t too hard to dig up, but overall, we love your website, love your brand, I’m sure everyone listening, definitely go check it out, it’s super cool. And you’ll see why we like it; I’m sure the second you land on the website. But one of your, maybe, core values, let’s say. Maybe that’s not the right language, so you can correct me if I’m wrong; but is badass is not synonymous with asshole.

Emily: Yes.

Taylorr: Big fan. And, yes, to everyone listening, we have the explicit label, bug off. So, tell us about that, Emily.

Emily: Yes. Yes, that’s awesome. That’s, kind of, part of my manifesto or my list of values. Badass is not synonymous with asshole. Yeah. Because I think you can be yourself, you can be, if you’re a little edgy, you can be edgy, but you can do that in a way that doesn’t have to piss people off, be in everybody’s face all of the time. I’m always telling my clients; you have to have an angle or an opinion on a topic. If I’m writing a blog post for you, I can go and do a little research and write a, really, generic post for you if you want. But that’s not going to get your audience excited, you have to figure out what it is that makes you a badass, really. And that can be your lens through which you view everything you write and all of the content you create. 

And so, from that perspective, you are a badass and you don’t have to be super controversial, and you don’t have to, really, go there if you don’t want to, but you have to have a little edge, you have to have something that sets you apart from everybody else in your industry.

Austin: Yeah, man, isn’t that the truth?

Taylorr: Love that.

Austin: Authenticity is so important, and it’s so weird to me that there’s this facade that, I think, everybody, to some extent, feels pressure to, sort of, conform to, to be able to get along in the marketplace and so on. And while I, totally, agree, we have to, there are boundaries somewhere, we don’t want to ever make people uncomfortable, but if you, really, do want to stand out, to your point, the best way to do that is just to let your personality shine through. 

And this is so true, we’ve talked about this on our show before, I’m going to mention it again because I don’t think that we can reinforce this point enough, but in a world where all of the information that we could ever want is readily accessible for somebody that wants to just go find it, ultimately, the thing that makes us unique and viable as a thought leader is us, it’s our personality. If you’re a leadership expert, this is the one that is easy to point to, but there are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people that call themselves leadership experts that can teach the exact same material as you, really.

Emily: Right.

Austin: But people will buy you because you’re you, and so you have to be willing to let that shine through. And to your point, how you do that is, I think, less important even, than just being authentic. So, I love that you live that.

Emily: Yeah, thanks. Yeah. And I think, especially, with writing, we all can, kind of, put on our writer hat and go back to freshman English and be like, Ooh, what are the rules? I need to be following all of the rules, you know? And I love the quote; know all of the rules so you can break them or whatever it is. And that’s what makes your writing stand out, that’s what makes it unique. If you sound like every other person in your industry, using all of the same jargon, it’s a blur; no one’s going to even pick up on that anymore. So, you have to figure out how to make yourself stand out in those ways. Yeah.

Taylorr: Yeah. Differentiation.

Austin: Differentiation is the name of the game. A hundred percent. All right. So, we have to talk about your background a little bit. And we take some show notes as we go to, sort of, help us along, and most of the time we’re using it as prompts, but your website, this speaks to you as a writer, but is so quotable, there are so many things on your website. So, I want to reference a specific line that I saw that, I think, will, probably, help us segue into how you’ve become who you’ve become, but you say that you’re a former philosophy professor who fled academia when I realized that ivory tower world is built on a foundation of utter bullshit. Ugh, I love it. 

So, help us understand, it’s such a leap between worlds from the outside, it, probably, felt more organic to you, but how did this happen?

Emily: Yeah, it’s a great question; I love to talk about this. So, I was a philosophy professor, I taught philosophy for about eight years. And the goal of becoming a philosophy professor in my mind was to get to that upper level of academia, to get tenure; that’s, kind of, the goal, and once you have tenure, you don’t have to worry about ever being fired, or in my head that was the plan. Think about job security, that’s the most secure job you’re ever going to find. And that’s what I wanted. And it’s so funny, because my dad owned a small business, my whole life growing up, and I think that, in some sense, I have a little trauma from that experience. 

I’m the oldest child, I remember very well the start of the business, the arguments with his brother, who owned the business with him; him, eventually, buying out my uncle. I remember all of that chaos and I think I, kind of, subconsciously said, I don’t want anything to do with any of that, I want the most secure position I can find. And so, I got into it and I started to realize, yeah, oh, right, after I’d been on the job market for eight years, I’m not getting that tenure track position that I’m aiming for. And, at a certain point, you just get so tired of the politics. And everyone talks about how toxic the corporate environment can be. It’s got nothing on the toxicity in academia, I’m sorry, it’s just.

Taylorr: Oh, yeah.

Emily: And people aren’t making loads of money, they’re arguing over $500 and how to use that and it’s just like, ugh, so much time wasted and so much inefficiency. So, all of that, kind of, came to a head at a certain point for me, and I was like, Okay, I have to get out. And so, I said, what am I going to do? Because I, literally, hadn’t considered what I would do besides being a philosophy professor. So, I gave myself a year and I said, what did I want to do before I wanted to be a philosophy professor? Well, I thought marketing was cool when I was 13. And it turns out that a friend was looking for some marketing help and she introduced me to the world of, basically, ghost blogging, and that’s how I started out. 

She has a web development company, so she had clients who needed blog posts. This was back in 2015 or so. And so, blogging was, kind of, big, I would say bigger than it is now, at that time. Everybody was looking for blogging. So, I said, if I want to, really, make a living blogging, that’s a lot of blogs to be writing, I can write longer stuff. And so, I found my way to my first book, Ghostwriting Clients. So, I write business books for people. But it’s all ghostwriting and I love being behind the scenes, I think it’s, really, fun, and because I have the PhD background or the research is, really, part of my wheelhouse, I could work independently very easily, that part’s easy. 

So, in some ways, the transition was easy, but I found the business world to be so generous. I was meeting people through networking mostly, in-person networking, and they were recommending me to other people. And I was like, you’ve never even seen a word I’ve written, but, hey, that’s cool, I appreciate that. So, it is, kind of, a strange leap, I have friends in academia who say, how did you do it? And it wasn’t a long-drawn-out thought process. It was like, Okay, this isn’t working, I have to do something different. And the person who took me on as her intern to write the blogs, she, eventually, mentioned to me, you could start a business doing this. And I thought, Oh, maybe I will. Maybe that would work.

Austin: Wow.

Emily: Yeah. So, yeah, that’s where it was.

Taylorr: Wow.

Austin: That’s amazing.

Emily: I had been thinking, oh, I’ll work for a marketing agency, but I, really, was dreading a nine to five, kind of, situation. So, starting a business seemed like it, really, would work with my lifestyle and everything else. And, as you know, as business owners yourself, it doesn’t mean you get to work that four-hour work week or whatever that myth is, you know?

Austin: No.

Emily: You’re working eighty hours a week.

Taylorr: No, I’m on a whole hundred hour work week.

Emily: Most of the time, right? Or sixty. I, definitely work most weekends, but.

Taylorr: I have to invent time to work during the week.

Emily: Yes, I know, I know. Yeah, it’s like. No, my meetings happen during the week, and then I do my work on the weekends, I do my writing.

Austin: Seriously.

Taylorr: That does sound for real.

Austin: Oh my gosh. Wow, yeah. Very relatable.

Taylorr: Well, was it?

Emily: Yeah.

Taylorr: Well, given your background with your dad running a small business, kind of, that subconscious trauma, you mentioned that earlier in the show, did you find a resistance to the idea of turning this into a business based on all of that or did it seem to just make sense at the time to do it? What was the transition like for you to go from, because you were still working, if I understood correctly, as an intern, let’s say, for that marketing friend of yours, who was running the development agency? 

So, now you, kind of, were left with a decision to, okay, will I continue doing this in a corporate setting or the business and it sounded like you, kind of, had to overcome, maybe, some predispositions to the idea of even having a business, what was that like?

Emily: Yeah, that’s a good point. So, I was teaching for, I gave myself a year still teaching philosophy as this intern doing the marketing stuff, and I was, kind of, poking around at agency jobs and trying to figure out how I could weasel my way into finding those people and talking to them. So, when she recommended that I start a business, it just, kind of, clicked for me, I started doodling names, jotting names down on the napkin, that kind of thing. It’s, really, funny because I never, really, was a freelancer; people would call me a freelancer and I would always recoil from that label, I didn’t like it, I liked the idea of being a business owner much more than a freelance writer. 

So, I never went through, it wasn’t, really, a long transition, it was just, oh, business, yeah, why didn’t I think about starting a business on my own? Why didn’t that occur to me, you know? 

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: That’s awesome. I love how you just do action.

Austin: For sure, yeah. You’re somebody that very much is decisive it seems like, you make up your mind and you do something about it and holy crap, there’s a lot of squandered opportunity that happens because people spend a lot of time thinking and not a lot of time executing. So, obviously, you’re a very artful person, but you also execute, so that’s awesome.

Emily: Yeah. Yeah.

Austin: Good for you.

Emily: No, that is a huge advantage as a business owner, I think. You have to take action, you have to make quick decisions and just do it, and if it’s the wrong decision, you just change course, it’s not like the world is going to fall apart. In the very beginning of my business, I remember being very worried that I was going to fail, you know? And I think, again, the trauma of having failed my academic ambitions, really, I did, you know? But I was like, I can’t fail. And, to me, failure meant having to go and get a regular job. 

And at a certain point I just opened my eyes, and I looked around and I was like, you’re not the kind of person who fails. You have a PhD, that takes a lot of work and decision and that kind of thing. And the academic thing was, kind of, an anomaly, only 1% of people get tenure jobs or something, the statistics are pretty crazy. And if anyone had, really, pointed that out to me in a way that was meaningful, I, probably, would’ve said, whoa, wait a minute, what am I doing much earlier than I did? But you have to be your own cheerleader at the end of the day when it comes to owning a business.

Austin: Yeah, that’s so true. Well, something that’s, kind of, interesting to me too about your specific journey here is that you left the world that you had spent, probably, the majority of your adult life trying to pursue and go and do. And when you departed from that, at least based on how you described it, maybe I misinterpreted this, but it didn’t sound like you started ghost blogging because it was something that you knew you were passionate about and loved. It was like it was something that you knew that you could do and could provide value to, and, probably, to a degree that you knew that you liked it. 

But this is now scaled into something that I can tell just by the way you talk about it, you love. Do you credit luck to that to some degree? Or do you think that there was some, maybe, intuition involved there?

Emily: It’s interesting. That’s a, really, good question. I didn’t know ghostwriting was a job anyone could have. I think that’s the story with a lot of ghostwriters, they just, kind of, fall into it in one way or the other. I didn’t know I was good at blogging, but it turns out that writing for philosophy, I call it technical writing. You have your thesis statement, that’s your argument, and then you back it up with all of your facts, and then you address some objections at the end, and that’s how you write a perfect philosophy paper every time. 

And that works just as well for a business blog or a blog, you have your angle or your opinion, you have a few bullet points, and you might address somebody who has questions about your bullet points there. Or you might even start out with the objection, that’s, kind of, a cool way to write the blog too; you might think, blah, blah, blah, but as it turns out, and then you go into your argument. So, it translated, really, nicely into that, and also my own academic writing style was criticized for not being scholarly enough, rigorous enough. I have a very conversational writing style, which you can see in my website, and I use that in blogs as well, and it turns out to be a nice tone for a blog as well. 

But I think one of the advantages I have with ghostwriting is that I don’t consider myself a writer, I’ve never been a writer. There are a lot of ghostwriters and authors that are like, I’ve been writing since I was five years old, you know? Not me. I never loved writing, but through my studies and getting a PhD, you learn how to write, you can’t help it, you have to figure out how to write a dissertation, for example. So, I think the technical stuff is there without too much attachment. And I think that’s important, when people try to write their own books, sometimes they get, really, stuck because they’re too close to the material, they don’t know how to pull out, zoom out, think about what their audience needs. I’m great at that, and that’s easy. 

And I think it’s because I’m writing for somebody else, it just makes it very easy to take that perspective without being like, oh, you know? People say, how can you be a ghostwriter, you don’t get credit? My name never ends up on anything that I write, hardly anything, other than my own blog. But I just think these aren’t my ideas, I couldn’t have come up with this book on my own. I don’t feel it. And it’s not art to me, it’s not like, oh, they’re taking my words that I worked so hard for. It just, really, is very much like a skill that I have that I’m happy to share with other people.

Taylorr: Heck, yeah.

Austin: Respect.

Taylorr: What a unique perspective. We’ve had some ghostwriting conversations on the show, and I like that it’s, kind of, like, yeah, to use your words, you’re detached from the actual ideas of the thing. It’s, kind of, like a process, you, kind of, spelled it out, that you follow to help, kind of, pull people out of the weeds and get their voice out there and…

Emily: Yeah.

Taylorr: It’s like a system you have now, which is super cool.

Emily: Exactly.

Taylorr: We can, definitely, relate to that.

Emily: Cool.

Taylorr: So, actually, you mentioned this a minute or so ago, but you, really, emphasize on your website and what you just said about how people are too close to it, they don’t know what their audience needs. And I think they come from a good place, people who want to write books themselves or write their own content, they want to, kind of, speak from the heart, but that’s not always in the lens of what their audience needs. 

And one of your core points on your website, again, to point that out is you, kind of, need to understand what your audience wants from you, and then find a way to package that up and deliver it to them. And so, with that balance of finding out how to write from the heart and give what the audience needs, how do you find that balance?

Emily: Yeah, that’s a tough one. And I think this is why it’s helpful to talk about your book, I always tell my clients, talk about your book as much as possible, or even, not my clients, but authors who are trying to DIY their books.

Taylorr: Sure.

Emily: Talk about it, because that’s going to help you remember what your audience needs to hear. When you’re writing, you’re coming from your own perspective, you’re, really, engrossed in what you think is important. And sometimes it can be very hard to remember, oh, right, I’m not writing this for me, I’m writing it for them. But, of course, to your point, you want to make sure that you’re keeping the heart in there, you’re keeping that authenticity and all of that, that we’ve been talking about as well. 

And it is a tough balance sometimes, I think the biggest piece of advice I can give around that is, maybe, write one version of the chapter with your own heart and your own thoughts in mind, whatever you want. And then, go and talk to people, and then write a second version that has more of those points pulled in from your audience. And then you can, kind of, marry the two in a way, sometimes that could work, and it’s, kind of, like shuffling cards, you’re trying to find that balance that can work. But also, I think, I know a lot of your listeners are speakers, and so you can, absolutely, sometimes do a better job of conveying all of that stuff in a talk, rather than in writing. 

So, if you start with the talk and then turn that into your article or your book, that can also be a, really, good way to make sure that the passion and the heart stays in there, because we tend to talk more from that than when we sit down and write.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: No, I, really, like that differentiation, I haven’t had it broken down like that, but when you are writing, you’re as close to it as you can, possibly, get because you’re funneling your perspectives into something, whereas if you’re having a conversation about it, you’re almost a little bit more removed from it, because you’re in an active conversation about it. So, I feel like you just shifted a paradigm, for me, here.

Emily: Cool. Yeah. I hear speaking coaches say to people, pretend you’re talking to one person, rather than an audience, you know? And the same applies for writing, for sure. Pretend you’re writing to one person in your audience, that’s always a, really, solid way to think of it.

Austin: Man, already you’re dropping practical bombs on us, so thank you, I appreciate that.

Emily: Awesome. Yeah.

Austin: So, something that I want to get your perspective on. There’s this, I don’t know if it’s, actually, a named theory or not, but there’s a phrase that gets used, the curse of knowledge, where because we’re so close to it, we take for granted the information we have, and then do a poor job at communicating that to our audience because we assume that they know foundational stuff that, maybe, they don’t. And so, we only halfway get the message across because of these assumptions that we’re making.

Emily: Yeah.

Austin: I can imagine that one of the benefits to working with somebody like you, would be that you need to more or less understand what’s trying to be communicated, and as somebody that doesn’t have their expertise, you’re a filter now, that you can take complex ideas that they would communicate without thinking or hard to understand and now you can say, Oh, well, hold on, help me understand what this, actually, means. And now, we’re communicating a better version of the idea that can connect better with somebody that might not have that knowledge. Is that a correct assumption? Is that something you look for or try to do while you’re working with people?

Emily: Yeah, a hundred percent. The less I know about your topic, the better, in a lot of cases. Because then, I’m coming at it.

Austin: Interesting.

Emily: Really, from your reader’s perspective. I do this a lot when I’m editing, I do developmental editing as well. I say I’m your first reader. Because I don’t know anything about this topic or much less than you do anyway. So, anything that’s not clear to me is not going to be clear to your audience, and let’s figure out how to bridge that gap. I often think of myself as a translator. You have this expertise. A lot of my clients, they have very nuanced work that they’re doing, I have a corporate communications client, but she doesn’t label herself as corporate communications. She’s talks about herself as communications strategist, she’s not PR, she’s not marketing, she does crisis communications. 

So, explaining the work that she does can be a huge challenge from a marketing perspective; she could get in there with her clients and be amazing in the room, but in writing, it’s a lot harder and I think we do add a lot of value, my team and I, add a lot of value by just being able to say, explain this jargony term to us. What is the practical takeaway from this? What’s the one thing you say to your clients that makes them sign the contract? What is the thing that’s, really, driving your audience?

Taylorr: Wow, that’s awesome.

Austin: Yeah, that’s brilliant. Yeah.

Taylorr: Yeah. I like that there’s a process there. Speaking of. This is just my own curiosity here; I’m sure people who haven’t been familiar with working with a ghostwriter, probably, are thinking this too. Again, ignorance is bliss here on my end. I’m, really, curious about the process of ghostwriting, so let’s take a book for example, right? What’s the journey you take somebody through to get a book completed? Can you help us understand that?

Emily: Yeah, definitely. So, you come to me with an outline of your book idea. That could be very high-level, that could just be, sort of, chapter topics or a list of ideas that you, really, want to talk about and some, kind of, order that makes some sense to you; so, order is always a little bit helpful. And then, we meet, and it’s a 16-week process that we go through, we meet once a week throughout that process. I like to get to a full draft in eight weeks, if we can. And then, we have eight weeks to edit. And that’s how we work; we work, really, collaboratively, we meet and talk through different pieces of the book, I go away and do the writing for 10 or 20 hours a week, and then you do the editing, or you do the revisions, and I can do that as well. 

When it works, really, well, it’s a mind meld; it’s your expertise combined with my writing and my time because you don’t have the time to hack the whole thing out and you don’t have the bandwidth to even think about getting that whole idea down on a page. You let me do that part and you just come with the inspiring ideas and the expertise. So, I tell people it could take an hour of your time every week, and then toward the end it might take a little more of your time. But basically, you’re getting an entire book written with about 20 hours of your time being given to us. 

And when we do ghost writing for smaller projects like LinkedIn posts and blog posts, we meet with somebody for 30 minutes during the month and we create all of their content based on that 30-minute conversation. So, we, really, try.

Taylorr: Wow.

Emily: Yeah, I think that that’s the main value-add for working with a ghostwriter. I’ve met ghostwriters who say, oh, yeah, I’ll write your book. There’s not a deadline, maybe I can get it done in a year. This kind of stuff. And I think, why would you pay for that service? You can write your own book in a year, probably, working two hours on the weekend, if you’re disciplined.

Taylorr: Sure.

Emily: So, I feel like the value is, look, you’re going to get a book done in 16 weeks, or you’re going to get your social media content done 30 minutes a month. Because nobody has time for creating all of this content that we’re creating, that we need.

Austin: For sure.

Emily: To keep our businesses going.

Austin: That’s the aspiration, but not reality, usually.

Emily: Yeah, exactly.

Taylorr: Yeah, absolutely.

Emily: Exactly.

Austin: Yeah.

Emily: Yeah.

Austin: This is so valuable. Okay, a couple of things. First of all, I cannot help but tangent a little bit because you used the phrase mind meld a moment ago.

Emily: Yeah.

Austin: And then, if I’m not mistaken, there’s a symbol of the Jedi Rebel Alliance on your site referencing Rebel. So, are you, actually, a Star Wars, Star Trek fan? Is this reality?

Emily: I am not the biggest fan, but I think that the analogy works, really, well for what I’m trying to do with my clients.

Taylorr: Fair enough.

Emily: I’ve seen all of it. I’ve seen the Star Wars, but that’s not my…

Austin: Yeah.

Emily: I’m not a Treky or anything like that. But it’s cool.

Austin: Fair enough. There’s a geekery spectrum, right?

Emily: Totally.

Austin: So, I’m just trying to figure out where you’re at on the spectrum.

Taylorr: You’re on the continuum, that’s right.

Austin: Yeah.

Emily: Yeah.

Austin: Definitely, the way you think is fascinating, to me, to some extent. Because when you think of somebody who’s a writer, and I know you said that you don’t, really, think of yourself that way, so I’m starting to, really, understand why that’s your, sort of, frame of reference here. But writing, I think for most people is seen as this highly creative endeavor, and so you find people that are the creative types more so than a structured systems type.

Emily: Yeah.

Austin: But you, really, are living in both worlds at any point, you just explained to us a very structured process with tight deadlines, and these things are, I would say, probably, atypical for a lot of the creative-minded people that I see, while simultaneously, obviously, being very skilled in the creative side of things as well. So, does one of those come more naturally to you than another?

Emily: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that’s a good question. I, really, like borrowing ideas from people. I like that they come to me with the ideas and if I have a client who’s relying on me for generating ideas, that project is not going to go very well because I’m not that comfortable in your industry coming up with these ideas for you, you know? So, I, really, need a lot in the idea spectrum, in the creative side of things from the other person. And then, I think I tend to be creative within a box. You give me the, I don’t know, the groundwork or you give me the foundational pieces and I’ll take them, and I’ll tell you, here’s where they go. 

And this, I think, is why I, really, love developmental editing. It’s, really, high level, it’s not proofreading at all. It’s let’s get into the sausage and figure out what your best idea is here and let’s highlight that. I worked with somebody to write a book or to edit her book, rather. And she had all of these chapters, they were beautifully, she had lots of great storytelling. There was a story in chapter nine, and I was like, this should be in the introduction, this should be the first chapter, this needs to be up front because this is the most interesting story of this book, you know? 

And so, I’m pretty good at pulling out that kind of stuff and seeing that like, yeah, creative within a box. And, maybe, that’s why the ghostwriting works so well for me, because that’s what you want from a good ghostwriter, you want somebody who can take your ideas and jigger them around and spit them back out as if you had written them on your best day. And, yeah, I, really, like that aspect of the whole process. I like that I have to learn enough about a subject to be able to write an entire book about it in 16 weeks and then send you on your way to promote your book and sell it. It’s a perfect process for me, I think it’s a service that I can provide just tailor-made almost, for my skills.

Taylorr: Yeah, for sure.

Austin: Rock on.

Taylorr: Yeah, heck, yeah. I just like the way you think about this, it’s unique to the previous conversations we’ve had about ghostwriting. It’s been more of that, I don’t want to discredit your creativity by any means, creativity within a box, but we, kind of, get a blend of the writers; highly creative, highly visionary people, it’s a roller coaster to get through the thing, basically. But it’s very procedural, you have a process down that allows you to deliver something in that amount of time and I was not expecting this conversation is, basically, my point, I think it’s super awesome.

Austin: In the best way.

Taylorr: In the best way possible. Yeah, I just love the perspective shift.

Emily: It’s so important. I think a lot of people who are ghostwriters are authors, they write their own books.

Taylorr: Yeah, sure.

Emily: And they’re doing the ghostwriting to supplement their income until they get their best-seller, until they hit it big or whatever. But I think that, kind of, perspective, it, first of all, it, really, does make you feel like you’re giving away your words, you could be spending that time writing your own book and you’re giving away your time to write someone else’s book and you’re not getting any credit for it. But also, writers and authors are, really, creative and they have their own ideas and it’s, probably, hard for them not to impose those ideas on their clients’ work. 

And I think me being more of a blank slate around that stuff is very, very helpful. And with clients I’ve worked with long-term; I have a blogging client I’ve had since the very beginning of my business, six or seven years. I do come up with ideas for her a lot, and I do use those past ideas to, sort of, shape the new content that we’re creating, but, at the end of the day, it’s still in her voice. When I’m writing, I even often hear my client’s voice in my head when I’m writing, and I think.

Austin: No kidding?

Emily: Yeah. I think that’s, really, interesting. It’s almost like method acting or something, you’re putting on someone’s persona onstage, but in front of the computer to get the words written.

Austin: Yeah. Well, that illustrates that, sort of, mind meld thing that you were just talking about there.

Emily: Exactly.

Austin: Which makes sense, right? to the very first point that we made in this conversation about authenticity, you have a, almost, and maybe, this is putting it too seriously, but, kind of, a sacred responsibility to preserve the way that somebody communicates their ideas and their style, because it needs to read authentically to, right? And so, you do, sort of, need to hear their voice, so that you would be communicating the way that they would be communicating.

Emily: Yes. Yeah.

Austin: Which is, yeah, an important job.

Emily: Right. And I have a, really, thick skin as a philosopher, so it doesn’t hurt my feelings when you say, Ooh, I don’t like the way this reads. I’m like, Okay, cool, let’s fix it.

Austin: Right.

Emily: I’m always telling my clients, this doesn’t sound, if you would never say this, tell me you would never say it like this so that we can fix it and figure out what you would say.

Austin: Totally. Yeah. Well, I dig that.

Emily: Cool.

Austin: Okay. So, I can’t believe we’re almost at the half hour mark here. I have one, sort of, final thing that I want to reference, both about, probably, your process and the way that you think about things, but also the types of people that might work with you. Because there are a lot of people that are, I’m sure, listening to this episode and, really, resonating with the thought process behind everything that you’ve just described here. But something that you point out are people that you, really, enjoy working with; mavericks, people that are a little rebellious.

Emily: Yeah.

Austin: There’s this, sort of, rebellious energy about your whole brand and it sounds like who you like to work with as well. So, where does that come from and can you help me define, really, what that means for you?

Emily: Sure, yeah. Rebels, renegades and Mavericks, that’s, kind of, my tagline.

Austin: Yes.

Emily: Yeah.

Austin: That’s the one.

Emily: I’m fiercely independent, I was raised to be fiercely independent; that has it’s good and bad sides, obviously. But when I’m working with somebody, I come across people in, it’s like everybody in this industry offers strategic planning, for example, right? You meet somebody and they’re just doing the thing that everybody else in their industry does. And it’s just, really, hard to find something interesting to say when that’s your perspective or that’s where you’re coming from. And, of course, differentiation, even if you do, do strategic planning, that’s cool, but how do you talk about strategic planning and do you talk about it in a way that other people do not and sets you apart from everybody else in your industry?

I was in a bootcamp this week and one of the things she said was, you don’t want to be, generally, useful, right? You want to be useful in a, really, specific way, in a way that stands you, so you stand out from the crowd, you know? And I just love trying to help people figure out what that looks like for themselves.

Austin: Yeah.

Emily: And if you can come with some ideas about it, even better; we’re going to get an even better result that way. But, yeah, and I love people who are ready to disrupt their industries and we’re writing about something that’s, really, cutting edge and no one else is, they haven’t talked about it yet, it’s brand new, they’re trying to corner a market or something like that, be a market leader in some way. That’s fun because that’s a challenge. 

We’re trying to figure out how to say it in a way that makes sense, in a way that connects up to what people understand, because if you’re, totally, disconnected from your industry, you’re also going to be in trouble because people are going to be like, ah, I don’t know what that is. Especially in this day and age when our attention spans are so short. You have to find a way to get in and say what it is and give someone that aha or be like, Oh, that’s different from what I’m hearing from everybody else. In a good way.

Austin: Right.

Emily: I just love that challenge and that’s almost more of a content marketing challenge than a book challenge. But the book stuff, definitely, applies as well. And working with people who truly are thought leaders, not just calling themselves thought leaders, right? But people who, actually, have something new and interesting to say, that, really, just gets me going.

Austin: Yeah, man, that’s a powerful thing. I love everything that you’ve just described. It’s, actually, one of the reasons that Taylorr and I, really, fell in love with working with speakers, coaches, authors, consultants, podcasters, because they tend to fit that bill. There’s something about; you, kind of, have to be, not against the grain entirely, but you have to have a point that you’re making and, probably, a point that other people aren’t making, and it’s, really, what makes it interesting. That’s the coolest part about having unique ideas and being people and being able to share them, you know?

Emily: Yes.

Austin: So, yeah, I just love your whole thought process.

Emily: Yeah, that would start conversations. Yeah, that’s what starts conversations and I think a lot of the times people shy away from that because they don’t want to pull the trolls in or they’re worried about somebody saying they’re wrong about something, but I think everybody needs to have thicker skin around that. So, what if you think I’m wrong, let’s talk about it, let’s figure out where we disagree exactly, rather than the knee-jerk. If we could have more of those conversations, I think we’d be in a better place. The world would be in a better place.

Austin: Isn’t that the truth? I a hundred percent agree with that. Well, Emily, thank you so much for coming on and your story is awesome, you’re just a great human being and you’ve shared a lot today and helped me understand ghostwriting in a wholly different lens, so that’s amazing. Thank you for creating so much value for us. Tell us, what else are you working on that our listeners might be able to take advantage of?

Emily: Yeah, thanks Austin and Taylorr, I appreciate you having me on. So, the newest thing I’m doing, our LinkedIn hot seats. And if you’re interested, you can hop on my newsletter list, my email newsletter and I’ll keep you posted about those LinkedIn hot seats, but you just, basically, come and if you’re brave and you want to share your LinkedIn profile with me, then I’ll take a look and tell you what I see, basically. And then, I have the LinkedIn roadmap, if you’re curious about LinkedIn services, we do those services; we create posts for people, we help you with your strategy, and we do that with or without blogging. 

I find that combining all of your content marketing into one place, it can, really, build and grow your audience and help you, really, get the word out in a, really, comprehensive way. And so, those services are all available on my website, the company is the Pocket PhD, and, yeah, come connect with me on LinkedIn, I’d love to meet everybody.

Austin: Oh, man, that is so great. Everybody, please go take advantage of that. As always, the links to everything will be in the show notes, so go check it out. Emily, thank you again for coming on. And everybody, if you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it, like it, subscribe to it, and if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources.

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