Write Your Book



a number-one best-selling author, success and book coach, and speaker on a mission to help leaders use the power of writing to uncover their unique stories so they can scale their impact.

I'm Stacy Ennis,

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Episode 119 | Integrating a book into your business, with Dave Goetz and Melissa Parks of Journey Sixty6

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I'm a number-one best-selling author, success and book coach, and speaker on a mission to help leaders use the power of writing to uncover their unique stories so they can scale their impact.

Hi, I'm Stacy

On the pod this week, I’m excited to share a thoughtful conversation about book writing, business, and growing beyond the book. I’m joined by Dave Goetz and Melissa Parks, cofounders of Journey Sixty6, an editorial services company and independent publisher for the family business community.

In this episode, we cover:

  • How a book integrates into overall marketing strategy
  • A client case study that integrates a documentary, book, and more
  • How to uncover the thesis of your book (what I refer to as a “core message”)
  • How to self-diagnose your own needs on your book project
  • Nerdy industry talk from long-time publishing pros 😊

Even if a book isn’t on your radar, this episode will get you thinking about all things marketing, messaging, and more.

Learn more about Journey Sixty6:

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To submit a question, email or visit and fill out the form on the page.


Transcripts for Episode 119

These transcripts were generated by robots, not writers.

Dave: Too often authors spend too much time on that, on what’s called the subject. But what am I saying about it that gets into specificity? More narrow you get, the better.

Melissa: If you’re really struggling with that compliment, what am I saying about the topic I’m writing about? Then it’s probably because you haven’t done enough thinking on the idea. You probably haven’t done enough research. You have this to do, this deeper research. You start to synthesize ideas and your own idea expands. And then you can go back to your thesis and say, I know what I’m writing about. I know what that compliment is. I know what I’m saying about the topic that I’m writing about. So if you’re frustrated with that compliment phase, it’s probably because you haven’t dug into it.

Stacy: Welcome. As we wind down 2023, I have been thinking a lot about all things publishing and really getting to provide information that will support you if you are working on a book. And so I’m really excited about today’s guest. We’re going to talk about business in relation to your book launch. We’re going to be talking about author platform.

We’re going to be talking about how do you know what you need along your author journey, and how can you also be honest about what you need and objective about what you need? And then how do you actually find that help? So I am very excited to introduce our guests today Dave Getz and Melissa Parks are co founders of Journey Six, an editorial services company and independent publisher for the family business community. They serve advisors, coaches, and consultants, as well as the families who want to publish videos, books, and other content to tell their family story. From ghostwriting to coaching to publishing, Journey Sixty6 provides everything you need to professionally write and publish your book. So, Dave and Melissa, welcome.

Melissa: We’re so grateful to be here. We were just talking about how we had you on our podcast and it was one of our very favorites of 2023. So it’s an honor to be back here on your podcast. Thank you for having us.

Dave: Thank you so much.

Stacy: I’m really excited. I loved that episode and I think particularly it was nice to just get to talk to other industry experts, but I got a bit emotional at the end of that conversation. It was a really beautiful discussion and I’m glad to get to now bring you to my community. I’d love to start with hearing your founding story because all of us in this world of publishing, we have something that drew us into the world of books, right? And then specifically to pick the niche of family business. Early in my career, I started out actually working with in the family business space. This was quite a long time ago and it is a very. What’s the word I’m looking for? It demands a lot of you because you have not just business, but you also have relationship dynamics and you have legacy.

So I’m curious to hear a little bit about what drew you into Publishing and then what drew you into the niche of family business.

Melissa: I’ll start. Dave and I met at a publishing company 25 years ago. He was actually my boss at the time. I was fresh out of, actually I was in graduate school. I was pursuing my phd in literature, and I was working part time at the publishing company. And so we met there, and Dave was an editor of books, a ghostwriter of books of a well regarded magazine back when magazines were actually a thing called leadership. And I did some editing also there. And then I had a child, and at the same time, he and his wife had a child there about the same time. And I took a break from graduate school. And in that period, Dave started a marketing agency. And at that time, it was when custom content was being moved online.

And so it was before there was mailchimp and all these ways to publish your own content and emails. It was 2000 year 2000. And so Dave had this idea after going to a publishing, what was that, a workshop?

Dave: It was the Stanford Publishing course. They used to hold that every year out in Stanford. So they would bring together about, it’d be like 150 to 200 people from around the world. They’d have people from South America and Germany and then all the people from New York and then all these small magazine publishers and book publishers. So they took my last year there. I was there eight years at this small magazine publisher. And that last year they sent me to Stanford for two weeks. You got this emotion of being on the. We got, we had the speakers, know the people who did the Zabruder film, I forget his name, that discovered the Zebrruder film, published it at Life magazine. So we had all these editors and book editors from New York and designers and that the Internet was just hitting.

And so there was all this emotion. In fact, in Stanford’s Law center, one of the evenings in 1999, we got to hear Jeff Bezos from Amazon. And it was electric. If you’ve ever. It was high and holy worship. I’m serious. I mean, it was church and Jeff Bezos was presiding over church. And I think it was the editor of Wired magazine interviewed mean, I get chills just thinking about know. It was so spoke, you know, he’s know podcaster now and was one of the original guys at Apple. And all that to say is I came back and huh, I can do this. And so I started my own business. Little did I know how hard it would be. But anyway, that’s a completely different story.

Melissa: You started to work with a lot of family businesses. Dave was connected to people in the family business space. And through that we started to do book projects and we created our own publishing imprint called Big Snowy Media. And it was really confusing for people in our marketing agency to understand what this publishing business was. And we did everything from ghostwriting to developmental editing to the publishing side of a book project. In 2000, right around when Covid hit, we decided to separate 2020. Oh my gosh, 2020. So in 2020, when Covid hit, we decided to found journey 66 and just separate the two and to serve people who want to write books.

And just because we’ve had successes in the family business space and we love working with families because they’re so missional and people who serve families typically really are tied to a mission, it’s something that gave us great energy and we followed it. It’s like if you’re going to be doing something, let’s do what gives you the most bliss. I don’t know what you would add to that, Dave.

Dave: No, we stumbled into it probably 1015 years ago. We had a couple of clients that needed help on the book side that were in the family business. It’s a very tight community. And so this is not where you market yourself into the ultra high net worth family business community. Right. There’s no marketing, it’s all referral and it’s through relationships. And I just totally stumbled into it. And so anyway, it’s just been a great gift. So we do like that. We don’t just do books. We also do the videos and other types of whatever the digital deliverable is or deliverable is. But we started out doing books because that was kind of the main piece initially.

Stacy: Yeah, it’s interesting. To your point, probably a lot of these families are not googling for this, right? They’re relying on referrals. So getting that trust and really delivering. And I love that you have so much history as well, and you’ve seen so many things develop over marketing. I mean, how wild is it to start before mailchimp and to be able to evolve and grow with all of these things, but also to stay up on it and dynamic with it. I would love to talk a little bit about how the various things you do connect with business strategy and growth. And really specifically, I’d love to talk about the book as that kind of. I like to talk about it as fertile soil from which other things grow because I know you offer videos and you do other components of the marketing with the book.

So let’s talk about that a little bit. How does a book connect know? Of course you’re in the family business space, but I think that is applicable broadly to nearly any business.

Melissa: You go ahead and start, Dave.

Dave: So there’s two categories. It’s a really good question. There’s two categories. One is project for consultants who work in the family business communities, versus the other type of projects that we do are families who want to, they’re anxious about their family history. They know there’s a lot of stories there. They want to tell that in some way before some of the aging members in their family die. So they want to capture the stories, capture the memories, and they’re trying to figure out what’s the best way to do it. Sometimes it’s a book.

Back to the consultant side, I think a book is, there’s something really unique about a book, because if you lay down the ideas in a book, the work that you have to do to come up with a really strong thesis, a structure, all the stories and the research that you do. I don’t know how to say this, but you’re putting out something into the world that is very unique. It’s very uniquely you, and it is something that is not a commodity. And so much of marketing as a commodity, right, you’re branding yourself. But man, when you take the time to, I think we’re going down maybe a rabbit hole here, but when you take the time to really think through ideas, to agonize over ideas, and you produce, like that book, you’re doing something so unique in the world.

And I think it’s why so many people aspire to it. But it’s hard work, but it’s just a wonderful thing. And I think for marketing yourself, if you’re like a business leader, it becomes really a signature for you. And if you can do it multiple times, which is hard to do, so you don’t just produce one, but maybe a second or third, that’s where you really get some momentum, I think, in the work that you’re doing to do something unique in the world, which then gets you an audience that’s different in kind from traditional marketing.

Melissa: I’d add that we have a lot of aspiring authors, people who come to us and say, I want to write a book, and they don’t know what it entails. And there are two tendencies among authors, as you probably know. There’s the impostor syndrome, which is, who am I to write this book? I shouldn’t be writing this book. I can’t write this book. Nobody’s going to read this book. And then the foil to that, which is so ironic, is that you secretly have this belief that you are going to be the best seller. And so these two things coexist at the same time. And in your brightest, most hopeful moments, you do believe that you’re going to become this best selling author.

Somehow you’re going to have this event take place and you’re going to sell those copies and you’re going to be asked to be on shows, and it’s going to be this breaking point in your life, this wonderful, positive breaking point. But what ends up happening is you end up, most authors, first time authors, don’t sell that many copies. We worked with an author who got a deal with a traditional publisher and they wanted him to sell 3000 copies in the first year. And self published authors, I don’t know if you have a different number, but our number is you sell, probably a good number is about 1000 copies in your first year. And that’s just not a lot of revenue. Right? But that’s the reality.

And so this book is not going to be a revenue generator in and of itself, but it can lead to some really wonderful opportunities. We worked with another author who had a traditional book deal and he did pretty well with book sales probably, I don’t know, around that 3000 mark the first year.

Dave: Was that Andrew? Yeah, I think it was. Yeah, it was about 3000. That’s right.

Melissa: And what happened though is he got some really good publicity where his ideal audience was, and he was written up in the Times, the Financial Times of London. And what ended up happening was a family business. And this was his target audience. He was a consultant of family businesses, saw that article, got the book, and then said, we want him to be on our board. And it was one of the biggest family businesses in the world. And so he got this long term seat on the board and that is revenue. That is a business. Right. And so the book led to something really wonderful, but the book in of itself was not something that was hugely successful by Wall Street Journal’s measure.

Stacy: I love these examples. And both of what you said really resonated with me. Dave, to your point, I think there is an internal journey that you undergo as you are doing the hard part and you’re pushing for clarity, you’re pushing for discipline, because it does take a lot of discipline to write a great book or even just get the dang draft done, the first draft. But then the other side of it. To your point, Melissa, it’s like then now in Dave’s orientation now, you’re able to show up fully for these opportunities. But to your point, Melissa, now this book opens you up to these am often. It’s interesting because a lot of times on a first call that I’ll get on with people that I might end up working with.

One of the earliest conversations that we are having is how do you actually measure ROI on this investment of money, time, energy, focus? Because there’s always a cost to everything, at least in the short term. But what’s that long term return on your investment? I love that example. I want to hear a little bit more about how you broadly support people, because I don’t typically have people on who work outside of just the book world. And I know that you’re working with a Chicago based client right now and you’re doing both a documentary and a book. And I think it’s staged. Is it documentary first and book second? I can’t recall.

Melissa: They’re kind of on tracks right now. The same parallel tracks right now.

Stacy: Yeah, they’re happening in Tampa. So maybe we could extend our conversation a little bit on how did your client. And you think about this intersection of these two things. How are they? And you thinking about what that will open up in the future. And then touch back earlier, not to make this too multilayered of a question, you mentioned thesis, so that’s also probably developing a little bit. Maybe you’ve got it fully developed at the beginning, but you’re driving all of these things probably also to the future opportunity. Talk us through that big project and kind of the many layers of that and how you’re thinking about that. I think it’ll give our listeners some really good ideas in their own work.

Melissa: Yeah, that’s a great question. I’ll start out, and Dave, I’ll let you jump in. But our client came to us with, as Dave mentioned, as lots of families come to us, as we have this rich history and people are slipping away that have the stories of our legacy, and we want to capture these so future generations know the why behind what we do. And so they’re proud of their history and they want to capture it. But for somebody like that to capture it, they don’t know where to begin. Right. I mean, it’s kind of like an author writing a more traditional book. It’s like you have all these great ideas, but where do you begin? And there’s this research that you do and this brainstorming, and you probably have multiple files, and you’re like, but what do I do with it all?

And that’s really where our client was at. What do we do with all these stories? And in talking with them, we listened to what their needs were, and we had this idea that a short documentary would provide kind of this overarching narrative, the narrative arc of their family business, with all of the major things that were at stake and how they survived those moments where there were turning points and it could have made them or broken them, but it made them. And so we thought, let’s focus on that. But what do we do then with all these other stories that they want to tell? And so we decided a nice thing, because you can’t put everything in a documentary. Especially, we wanted to keep it short so people would actually watch it.

You don’t want to watch a 30, 50 minutes video on a family business. It would just be pretty boring, except to the family, and they want to share it with stakeholders and employees. We decided a book would be really nice that people could dip in and out of, and we decided, why not create a series of stories that touch on the values that this family holds dear? And this really goes back to what you were saying about a thesis, and in our research phase, and this is true if you’re writing a traditional book, also, is you have to identify what that governing idea is that’s going to drive your book, drive, in this case, the narrative arc of the documentary, and even drive this little mini book that we’re creating of a collection of stories.

And so through our research, we found out, okay, there are three things that have sustained this family. It was hard work. It was generosity and relationships, and it was this ability to see what was ahead before that thing had actually arrived. And so we began to then go through our transcripts and everything that we had done, research wise, and we said, okay, the story has to hinge one of these three big ideas, these three principles. Does it demonstrate their generosity? Or was it a moment where their generosity was tested? Does it display how they came to value hard work? And does it display how they saw things coming at them? And that also then became the rudder for this book that we’re doing. Everything goes back to those three ideas. And so while this isn’t a traditional book, it does have this thesis.

I don’t know, Dave, what you would add to this.

Dave: Gosh, that was perfect. How we structure. One of the things that happens often when people say, okay, I have a history, is they get in a videographer and they start shooting video, but they have no idea what they’re shooting. They don’t have really preset questions. And so we probably did somewhere between 30 and 40 interviews before we actually began to write a script. So I think in this instance, if you’re going to do something that is more documentary ish, you need to have a script, and a script has to have structure to it. And structure, as we all know, in all writing is, like, the hardest thing ever. Nobody ever teaches you on structure. And so we organized it around kind of what memoirists do. We organized it around what.

And this is a common word, and I’m sure you know this, but we organized it around tent pole scenes. And so we felt like there were, like, four to five tent pole scenes that really define this family history. Obviously, there’s the start in 1907. It was the same year in Chicago when the Cubs won their first World Series. They didn’t win one again till 2016, but they started then, and they were delivering coal and ice up and down the streets of Chicago in mules. But we didn’t want to start the book with that. And we actually started, or not the book, but the documentary. We started with the fire in 1955 that wrecked their entire business took out all their fleet at that point. They had trucks.

But it really illustrated what was so powerful about that story was that their competitors came in and served their customers while they got back on their feet and thus saving the business. So think about that. They had such great relationships. This is classic family business. Private equity would never talk like this, would never do this. They would crush people and then get crushed. Venture capital. But family businesses, I mean, there’s just something. So anyway, this was just such a delightful project. So we started the video with that, and then went back to the beginning and then told the narrative. So it’s only 15 minutes anyway. So we organized it around tempo scenes. But I think having that narrative arc, having that script, doing your research beforehand and then kind of deciding what are the deliverables?

So we really didn’t come up with that idea for the book and what it is. There’s a spread, right? So you have, on the left hand side is an image, and then you have what’s really a really short story. Some of them are even quasi essays, and they’re in the first person for the most part, from, say, the perspective of a vendor who had a great relationship, or someone talking about the death of, which was another stakeholder, which was another temp pole scene. They lost a son and a leader in the business to cancer, was it?

Melissa: No. Marvin’s disease.

Dave: Oh, Marvin’s disease. Sorry. Thank you. Thank you. So all that to say is structure was everything on this project. And then it also helped us define. Okay, what deliverables outside of the video, by the way, there’s actually three. There’s the documentary, there’s the book, and we’re going to have a third, which is because you just can’t capture all, as you said, you can’t put all those videos in a documentary. It becomes a junk drawer and inherently uninteresting. Right. It has to be really tightly edited. So we are putting together just all the great content from all the videos with all these older gentlemen, and they’re mostly gentlemen, some of the other stakeholders, and some of the current leaders. So that will be a separate thing, which is really more of a collection of stories.

Stacy: I love that. I have so many follow up questions, but before I go there, for people that have never heard tent pole scene before, could you explain that? Because I’m sure somebody’s listening and going, that’s really interesting. I want to know what that is.

Dave: So you have in a family history. Well, this is true if you’re writing a memoir or in our context. We’re talking about a family history. But just think about it. If you’re writing a memoir is a memory. It’s not an autobiography of everything that happens in your life, right? So people can write multiple memoirs, they can write five to seven memoirs, and they’re all very different because they’re about this memory. But in a memoir, you have these kind of quasi defining moments. They’re big, major scenes where there is so much at stake, right? Where there’s huge loss that happens or there’s some risk that is needed to be taken. So if you’re trying to write a memoir and you don’t have four to five major scenes like that, you probably don’t have a memoir.

And in addition to those tent pole scenes, you also need these substories. So maybe 30 to 50 of these small stories that fit in between those tent pole scenes that really carried the narrative around. But back to the family history, we had a bunch of small stories, but we had to identify where something big was at stake. So the fire was one. The start of the business was another. There was another moment in the 50s where there was some. And we didn’t talk about the conflict among the family, the two leaders in the business. But one wanted to do the old world, the other one kind of saw around the corner and said, no, the future is getting into innovation. So they started being a distributor of products. Today, they’re the largest master distributor in the US. But they kind of saw the future.

And that was a key tentpole scene. Another one was the death of one of their leaders, who was beloved. This guy was the laughter in the organization, the joy. He also managed one of their biggest accounts. That was a key moment.

Melissa: Covid.

Dave: Covid was a key moment. And right before that was in 2000, when they made the switch to technology. They really saw the future and jumped on it. So we created these tentpole scenes and then stitched in the stories, the smaller stories. Smaller stories.

Melissa: I just mentioned that the temple scenes really become this way of identifying key themes that you want to bring up in your memoir that helps you organize your ideas. And one way, if you’re writing a memoir, you have these temple scenes. You’re like, what’s the big idea that I’m trying to communicate? Or what happened before this to lead to this moment and what happened after it? That this moment informed and made me think differently or do differently. And so you start to group these ideas around these temple scenes, and it’s a really great way to begin to think about organizing your ideas and finding a structure for your memoir. It was a mess when we did it for this most recent video, just as an example. I mean, we had so many creative sessions where, like, where does this go with that?

And this goes with that. But as soon as you have those tentpole scenes, you begin to think, oh, this one was about scene around the corner and investing in technology. And, oh, I remember back in 1930, the next generation, they had this piece of technology. They were always first, early adopters. So you begin to see how these things go together. So even if it’s not chronological, which lots of people think, memoirs need to be chronological. They’re not. You can stitch stories from the past and the future, around ideas, around these temple scenes.

Stacy: It’s so practical. I’m sure somebody listening to this is like, yes, that was so helpful. So I really appreciate you diving into that a little bit more deeply. You mentioned to go back to thesis just from a really, just since we’re on this practical flow, if somebody is listening to this and they are saying, okay, all of that makes sense, but I don’t know how to find my own thesis for my work. And let me just say one thing before you answer this, because the piggyback that I have on this story that you just told about the documentary is that informs all of these other things that are happening. Right? In that case, it was a documentary, but somebody.

It might be informing a new revenue stream, or it might be informing a keynote or a new coaching offer, which would be in the revenue bucket, or all of these other things that could come up that thematic orientation does end up influencing forward. So how does somebody start? Because what I get a lot of times is people come to me and they say, I have endless ideas and so many parts of my story, and they struggle to sort through it and really land on that driving message.

Melissa: That’s such a good. You go first, Dave, and I’ll jump in.

Dave: These are hard questions. They are so hard questions. So my guess is when someone comes to you, they have an idea for a book, and they also have all these other ideas. And so the hardest thing to do when you have multiple ideas is to kind of winnow the idea, because in doing so, you’re saying no to a lot of other things. Do you have these ideas? But they’re not a book thesis. And you have to have a thesis. An idea is not a thesis. So we always break down the idea of a book thesis. And I’m not giving you very much practical on how to get there, but we can talk about that, but just to tell you what it is, a book has to have a very narrow idea, not a general idea.

If you have a general idea, you’re going to be frustrated and you’ll write a really uninteresting book, because there’s no need for more general books out there. Right? So the more narrow your idea and the more narrow your thesis, the better. So you do have to do some research. So I would start with, what are you most passionate about? Because that will be the only thing that sustains you for 250 pages about a couple of years of your life. Or maybe for me it was almost eight to ten years of my life, but it has to be something that does drive you think about and that you feel modicum of passion about. So back to thesis, and I’m going to shut up. So a Thesis really has two components to it. It has the idea, like, what am I writing about?

So I wanted to write about a spirituality of the suburbs, and I didn’t want it to be religious, but even though I am somebody of faith, I just wanted to use kind of sociological analysis to talk about these things that are at work in the american suburbs. So I did a lot of research on suburbs. There weren’t a ton of books written. David Brooks had written one, bobos in paradise. I don’t remember that book from the New York Times. It was a great book. And then there was a bunch of sociologists. Kenneth Jackson wrote one called Crabgrass Frontier. So I’d done some research, but there really wasn’t something on. So I decided to make it first person, for starters. But thesis that I eventually landed on was that there are these environmental toxins in the suburbs that pollute our soul.

And I identified eight of them. So that became a very narrow thesis. So a thesis has two parts. It has, what am I writing about? That’s the first question that a thesis answers. But it has the second element, what am I saying about what I’m writing about? And too often authors spend too much time on what’s called the subject. What am I writing about? Well, I’m writing out on this general topic of suburban spirituality, but what am I saying about it that gets into specificity and that helps you focus on nearing? So, I mean, a practical thing would be, if you have an idea for a book, would be to start writing out both a subject and a compliment and write down 25 of these. And the more narrow you get, the better.

Melissa: I’d also add to that. If you’re really struggling with that compliment, what am I saying about the topic I’m writing about? Then it’s probably because you haven’t done enough thinking on the idea. You probably haven’t done enough research. You haven’t done what Dave did, and you’ve gone and looked at all the books on the suburbs, and you haven’t done deep research on the spirituality that happens maybe in suburban life, even if there wasn’t anything out at the time. You start to explore maybe spirituality books. And when you start to do this deeper research, you start to synthesize ideas and your own idea expands. And then you can go back to your thesis and say, I know what I’m writing about. I know what that compliment is. I know what I’m saying about the topic that I’m writing about.

So if you’re frustrated with that compliment phase, it’s probably because you haven’t dug into it and you need to read those books that are similar to yours that you imagine yours kind of looking like. So you know that you’re going to be saying something a little bit different, or maybe you’re going to be saying it from a perspective that’s a little bit different. So it’s not third person, but first person or whatever it is that you choose to do. It’s maybe more memoir than deep research, whatever it is. But you need to figure out how yours is going to be narrow and how it’s going to be a little bit different. And that all starts with research. So we’re huge fans of research.

And of course, there’s a point of diminishing returns with research where you use it to delay the actual writing process because writing is so hard. But there is some basic research that needs to be done if you are stuck, if you haven’t done any research to begin with.

Stacy: I love these points. And the thing that came up for me while you were talking about this idea of what do you want to say about it? Is just the simple have an opinion. But that opinion is driven by expertise or experience, right? And I find that a lot of this has actually been a journey for myself in my own work, coming with most of my career as a very kind of consummate professional voice in most of the things that I’ve done, and then really stepping into having a strong voice and coming in and having opinions based on expertise and experience that I’m willing to stick my claim on. And I think that can be kind of scary for people because it feels easier to just come in and take kind of a basic approach to something.

But what makes it interesting in part is you and your unique lens and what you bring to it and the opinions that you have and the expertise. So I love that so much. My last question that I want to offer you offer up to you, I should say, as somebody is listening to this, we have gotten a lot of practical pieces towards the end of this. So I really hope this is helpful for people that are in that early stage. But there also might be people who have been on this journey for a while and they are feeling a sense of stuckness, whether they are early on or they have a draft done. And it’s interesting because I get a wide variety of people that reach out to me. Some are like, I’ve wanted to write a book for a long time.

I’m ready to do it, and I know that I need coaching. They just are there. And then other people, they’ve been working on the thing for years, and they’re like, clearly this isn’t working. So I need support. And then I get a lot of people that write me that have a first draft done, which is not the space that I work in. I help people from idea to draft. But that draft has been sitting for a long time, and so there are so many different points that people can get help. A lot of times they don’t even realize that help is available to them, or they don’t recognize that. Maybe they know they’re stuck, but they’re also not open to the expertise that really needs to come in and help bring this book to life. How do people recognize that?

What are some maybe question or checkpoints that they could ask themselves and then maybe offer a few options? We talked about book coaching as an option, which I know you offer. There’s editing. What are some of the things people could be thinking about at different stages in their journey?

Melissa: That’s such a great question. And I’ll start by saying the reason why we named ourselves Journey 66 is because writing a book is a journey. It’s like a long road trip, and you often break down on the side of the road or you get lost on the way. And so for us, it’s a really helpful metaphor to help people understand that if you’re stuck, it’s very natural. That’s part of the book writing journey, and you should find comfort in that, because that means that you are doing the hard work of writing. If you’re stuck or you’re even entertaining the idea, that means that’s something very exciting. I think one question that I would encourage people to ask is, how long are you going to continue going in circles and say, I’m stuck, and maybe someday I’ll get help, but not now.

And how much time continues to go on that your idea doesn’t move forward. And if this is a priority, maybe it’s a question of how am I going to make room for spending some extra money on getting that help. And I think it has to do with you asking yourself, how important is it for me to get this book into the world? And I like to ask people, how do you feel about your work not getting out into the world? And what is a greater pain being stuck here with no book? Is that more painful? Or the pain of investing real time and money and getting this book done?

And I think that people who really want to write a book and get it out into the world will say, it would be really painful if I didn’t complete this book because I have something that I have to say. It’s a burden and I want to say it, and I want to help people, and I want to use this to build my business and to help even more people through that. So I think it’s just reflecting on what do I really desire? What are my hopes and my goals, really, and reconnecting with that. That’s my soft answer. Dave, do you have any harder answers than that?

Dave: Well, the hard thing is we always say there’s two mountains to climb when you decide to write a book, and the first mountain obscures the second one, you don’t even know you have to climb that second one yet, which we haven’t talked about, which is promoting your book, and it’s actually the higher mountain. But when you’re first thinking about, there’s really two models. One is you decide to write a book and you get help on the front end with some form of a professional. So they walk you through. Know what your expertise is, Stacey, which is this expertise on just the whole that will save you so much pain. Because typically, while it’s hard to get feedback like that, or it can be hard to get feedback like that, sometimes it takes you years to get to a first draft.

And then let’s say you engage someone and you realize your thesis was buried in chapter five. And actually you need to read a structure, the whole thing. I’ll just tell you this. So when I submitted my. I worked on this. Well, I don’t need to tell the whole story, but I will say that I rewrote death by subrout probably five times. And after I submitted, like, two or three chapters and the proposal, and they said, yeah, we’re kind of interested. Rewrite it. And then just the chapters that I had submitted, and then they came back, said, that’s pretty good, rewrite it again. And they asked me to submit another chapter rewriting it.

So I will say there is a mindset if you’re going to write a book back to the journey that you’re going to be writing and rewriting, and are you up for it? And back to Melissa’s point, it’s not like starting to work out. This is real work. And if you want to put your ideas into the world and do it in a way that’s really clear, forceful, and uniquely you, at some point in the journey, you do need professional help. Like, what you do is so strategic on the front end because it just changes, it re vectors your entire book journey.

Stacy: I love all of that, and I’ll volley that back to you in that you have such a niche area of expertise, and I think people don’t realize this about the publishing industry. It’s so wide. There are so many components to it. And if you have a specific need, finding somebody who niches in your area and really deeply understands what you need specifically is so important and it can save you so much time and so much energy. So somebody who has a family business and they want to do all the things that you offer, they could go to a generic, all service type of place, but that is going to be a totally different experience than if they go to somebody like you who has that niche expertise. And people don’t realize that.

So I like to talk about that so that they do have that awareness. Thank you so much. I did not cry in this episode, but it was still lovely all the same, and especially all the practical. I love practical stuff, and I know our listeners do, too. Tell us what you’re most excited about right now and where people can learn more about you.

Dave: What am I excited about right now? Well, it could be a personal thing. We always do what we call a positive focus every time we have a team meeting because we want to set the course for. So we do everything from. It can’t be work. It always has to be personal. But in terms of work, well, just personal. In terms of writing, I’ve been kind of stuck just mentally about what I want to write about. I just published about five years ago, published a book on fly fishing. I’m a big fly Fisher, had a podcast, and we sold a book through the podcast and stuff. But I want to write another book called Fly Fishing Proverbs.

So you take kind of a saying from one of they’re just legends of fly fishing men and women through the years that have just, in fact, I’ve got a proverb from a 14th or 15th century woman who I think is one of the first. It’s called fishing with angle. She wrote this little treatise, and so I got a little quip from her. And so basically, you take the proverb, put it at the top, and then you write a short essay on it. And so I’ve got about five of those done. So I’m really excited. Just personally, I’m really excited about that. I enjoy doing that on the work side, just working with these families, such a joy because for me, I’m just so missional. I care about these ideas. I care about these people that have these stories to tell. Right?

They’re so important and they’re so moving. And so being able to get those out into the world, I don’t know, it just gives me great joy. So that’s what I would say for me.

Melissa: Yeah, ditto to that. We love where we’re at right now, serving families and also those who serve people in the family business space. So we’re grateful to be here today, though, to talk to your audience, and we hope they found some nuggets for their own writing projects.

Stacy: Well, I can feel all of the love for the work that you do in every conversation, every discussion that we’ve had today. I want to give our listeners where to find you. So it’s at journeysixty and it’s spelled 60 is spelled out and then the number six. So we will be sure to also put that in the show notes so that people can learn more about you. Melissa, Dave, thank you so much. I really enjoyed our conversation.

Melissa: Thank you so much, Stacy. We loved it, too.

Dave: Stacy. It’s really an honor. When you asked us to be on here, it just made us feel so good. So thank you so.

Stacy: Oh, well, thank you. Thank you for joining me. And thank you to you, the listener or viewer, for joining us today. I hope this was really helpful. There were so many good, practical nuggets in here. And then also, hopefully, you can think about the example of the documentary and some of the other conversations and consider how what you’re working on could expand. What other areas can that pull into? So I hope that was very helpful for you. Thank you, as always, to Rita Domingues for producing this fine podcast and Catherine Fishman for project support. And I will be back with you before you know it.


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