Kathleen Shannon 0:02
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Emily Thompson 0:29
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Kathleen Shannon 1:17
We are so excited to be guests and our friend and pass being boss guests Autumn Witt Boyd's podcast this week.
Emily Thompson 1:24
Autumn is a copyright and trademark lawyer who hosts the legal roadmap podcast a podcast that answers the intellectual property legal questions that creative entrepreneurs have about the legal issues that you may face as you grow a profitable and sustainable business, why they're important and how others in your shoes have handled them. So you'll know what's on the horizon as you reach for your big goals.
Kathleen Shannon 1:50
Autumn's podcast is currently in its season two in which Autumn focuses on featuring case studies of high achieving and ambitious entrepreneurs talking about how they've built their businesses, and the legal lessons they've learned along the way. And we're super fortunate to be considered some of those high achieving and ambitious entrepreneurs, we were just on autumns episode. Well, this week, talking about a few different things, including how we decided to really get illegally legit, and how we wanted to start looking externally as legit as we were feeling on the inside.
Emily Thompson 2:29
But the thing that I really want to talk about in this at minisode is how having Autumn in our court really helped us whenever we were navigating our first book deal for the being boss book that's coming out this spring. Because what we have found as we grow our individual businesses and our business at being boss, is that opportunities just pop up and you never really know they're coming or not usually at least, but you always need to be ready whenever they do. So as these opportunities arise, you will be required to suit up as it were to have someone like Autumn, a lawyer who is going to have your back along the way. And I'm so glad that we were already in a relationship with someone that we trusted so that it wasn't as scary to navigate the opportunity of a book deal. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been if we were trying trying to navigate a book deal and find a lawyer to help us at the same time.
Kathleen Shannon 3:33
I know and I also just think about as we grow our brand and our business vision, having the legal side of things really solid and having someone that can not only help us draft up contracts and review contracts, but really be our counsel is so incredibly, incredibly important. Just like having that person in your court. It goes a really long way. I even think about how my friend Laura Tremaine who we've had on the podcast before her husband produces jackass and it was in the early days of like, taking a VHS tape of skateboarders and MTV was playing it. And that's the kind of stuff that people do for free now on YouTube, and if he had not had the right legal team in his corner to help negotiate that deal, the jackass franchise would not be what it is today. And so I think about that, that was like a huge lesson for me and I want to make sure that as we grow our brand that we are just as smart and moving forward and making sure that we're being compensated properly and part of that is really getting legally on top of everything and having autumn help us do that has been incredible. So here's a sneak peek of our episode with Autumn.
Autumn Witt Boyd 4:52
I want to shift gears a little bit I heard a rumor that you guys are writing a book
Kathleen Shannon 5:00
Hear that rumor when we reviewed our contracts?
Emily Thompson 5:07
Right? You have a very close birdie friend. Yeah. Yes, we are autumn, we are glad to glad to make that rumor truth. Now we do we we got a book deal almost a year ago now, at the end of 2017. We spent the early part of 20. Nope, that was end of 2016. See, these years are just early part of 2017. We, we wrote the book. And we've been going through the process of reviewing designs and copy edits, and all of those things. And our book will be out spring, April, I believe, of 2018.
Autumn Witt Boyd 5:45
Yay. So I would love to just hear a little bit about some decisions you made along the way. And any lessons that you learn from figuring out are we going to traditionally publish? Are we going to self publish? Are we going to use an agent? Are we not going to use an agent? Do we need a lawyer to help talk us through some of those decisions,
Kathleen Shannon 6:01
Emily and I could have easily decided to self publish. However, there were some decisions that went into traditionally publishing that really factored into how we were wanting to grow our brand. actually getting it done. The kind of cloud that goes with being traditionally published, I have to say is a little different than self publishing, even though monetarily who knows how that might end up shaking out. So we knew that we wanted to write a book and we kind of had been approached by a couple of agents, even just via the podcast. And that's not a typical thing, I don't think at least from what I hear, so we had to think it depends on your reach and your audience. So speaking to a couple of agents, it just didn't feel quite right. So we were still just shoving the idea because we were doing all these other things like going on vacations and creating our digital product. So we kind of shelved it. And then one day an agent reached out to us that we just connected with she got it, we liked her experience, we liked her background, and we thought, Okay, this is the kind of opportunity that we've been waiting for, or even assign that we've been waiting for that this is the right route to go. And we just wanted to try it out. I feel like self publishing is the kind of route that we would typically take both me and myself like as creative entrepreneurs, that we want to try something in the traditional space and see how that would help our brand and expand our reach and even just get more experience under our belt.
Autumn Witt Boyd 7:27
That's great. So now as far as negotiating and getting an actual publishing deal, how much did you guys have to handle versus what did the agent How did the agent play that role?
Emily Thompson 7:37
I was really surprised at how much our agent took over. And a lot of those things in terms of getting us the calls with the publishers and prepping us and making sure that we were ready and really helping us with the proposal but also whenever it came to, to, to getting the pitches that are that is that what they're called, the bids, the bids those things from the publisher, she was really good about like reading through them first and then presenting them and then giving her feedback in terms of what was a good one and what wasn't. And then going back with them and negotiating like I was I was actually very pleasantly surprised at how much more the book agent or at least our book agent did for us or is responsible for. And it seems pretty standard with that relationship, how that went down. So she did quite a bit of it, which was really great.
Kathleen Shannon 8:24
Yeah, and then also had a third party look over that contract. That would be you Autumn, yes, I'm just I reviewed the contract, just to make sure that our best interests were really being represented. And, you know, we have a shorthand with you as our friend and as our lawyer where we can say, Okay, here's our vision, like we're able to go with you with our big vision of what we might be creating in the future, right? How does some of these terms and conditions affect what we want to create next, whereas our agent, and our agents lawyer is probably really just focusing on the deal at hand, right? And making sure that all of that is being met, where we really use you as okay, but here's our long term vision.
Autumn Witt Boyd 9:07
When we do these things we want to do under the this contract, actually, yeah, because there were some questions that I had and spoke with your agent about and she was like, No, no, no, those are deal points. I've already negotiated that we're not going back to them about that. I was like, Okay, fine. So it is interesting, the different roles that everyone plays, because I do have other clients who haven't used an agent, and maybe I was a little more of a player in that negotiation. So it just depends on who you have on your team. Everybody has a role to play. What lessons would you say you've learned just from getting this far into the book process? Or what would you recommend for someone looking at doing that in the future?
Kathleen Shannon 9:41
I think that there's a lot of things and I can't talk about any specifics of the deal, mostly because I don't know them. Things that I would really want to look at is one creative control. And that was a conversation that we had with them. So creative control is probably a big One as far as just me saying, Okay, are we gonna do a write this in our voice? And how much can you edit? And how much can we put our foot down. And it really is almost like in an operating agreement where you have the groundwork, but then there is some wiggle room for conversation. And we have found that wiggle room and we have, you know, gone to the edges of some of that wiggle room within the parameters of the contract. I would also say things like, international rights, or selling the books in different markets, and I can hardly even wrap my head around it. But I think that these are things to really consider, like, what are the parameters of this? And how far does that reach geographically and legally, right?
Autumn Witt Boyd 10:45
Because often the publisher, the publisher wants all the rights and you want to give away as few rights as possible. So there's always kind of a push and a pull. Yeah, and I just don't know about rights.
Emily Thompson 10:58
Right? Well, in my thing is, and this is just kind of also the kind of person that I am. But I like to push things as far as I can. And I feel like whenever you're going through, especially your first time doing something big, like getting a book deal, or whatever it may be, you just kind of want to like, not so much be a people pleaser. But you want to just like get the thing done. But I'm also of the mind where I want to see how far I can push things. And so sometimes whenever we come up against timelines, or you know, who gets the last say, or whatever, I think like what would have happened if I had like, really went hard for control over one thing, or changing one thing or whatever. And and not that it's been a bad time, because it definitely has been. But this these are the things that I think about where I would like to know what the real boundaries are in terms of working with traditional publishers. Because what I do you see as someone who runs a very like, quote, unquote, New Age business, and not like crystals, but like, I have an online business, in an economy that is completely new. I, I see it almost or I see the publishing world is almost like a dinosaur, like what would happen if they got new, and like, something's up and really like, opened up and had new conversations, maybe next book deal, I will make them open up and have those conversations. And maybe I'll get the most amazing book deal of all time, or maybe I'll get a door slammed in my face, we'll totally see. But that that's been one of my sort of lessons learned from this process is that it's such an old school way of doing things. I wonder what it would look like to turn the publishing world into a new school way of collaborating with creative people.
Kathleen Shannon 12:38
And what's super cool is I think that we're actually doing that. So our publishing team over at running press has been super open to having conversations with us where we can really integrate our new way of marketing like so some grassroots online marketing efforts, influencer efforts with their traditional system, because like, I want to write a dinosaur, like back home school, or I want to get on the Today Show, for example. And they have those kinds of contacts and connections. And that is why we went that route. And I've just been super excited about how open they've been in working with us in this world and being open to us saying like, Well, hey, we have a podcast that's an asset to help promote this book, how can we make sure that we're really doubling down on this effort together, and just really getting on the same page together? So they've been really open to that. So I think that we are kind of helping to change the traditional publishing industry from the inside out. And it will be interesting to see how a second book deal goes by kind of being different than anyone else who's maybe published a book in that space before.
Autumn Witt Boyd 13:45
Yeah, and to go to what Emily said earlier. I mean, anytime you're negotiating, you never know what that what that point is, or the other side will walk away. And that's what makes it challenging and frustrating and fun if you enjoy negotiating.
Kathleen Shannon 13:58
And the same is true for selling ad space. The same is true for pricing your product no matter what it is like it's all a negotiation. Right? And I think that Emily is so good. Like we kind of have probably a good cop, bad cop situation going on. Always. I'm probably an who knows it might also be kind of what's been conditioned to us as women in the Midwest, like it's easy to go to that people pleaser place. I think more than that, it's just wanting it so bad, like wanting it and you have to be willing to walk away from it. And I think that that's something I have learned to do. I think that Emily's got it in her bones like she's just
Emily Thompson 14:37
right. And I could certainly I could certainly do with a little more like acceptance in my life.
Kathleen Shannon 14:44
So we definitely balance each other out. It's been cool partnering with each other in that way too.
Autumn Witt Boyd 14:49
Yeah, as as the lawyer I will sometimes review deals that are not good deals, and that probably should not be taken. But sometimes the person wants it so badly that they're okay with it. But it's not a good deal, because maybe it's gonna help them accomplish something else. Even if they're not gonna make money from it, you know, it will have some other benefits, you have to always weigh all the things.
Kathleen Shannon 15:08
I mean, I'm sure that you also see good deals or quote unquote good deals that are a lot of money. But you might be giving away a lot of rights. Right? How much is that really worth?
Autumn Witt Boyd 15:17
Yeah, it depends on what you want it in the future. And so you have to think of it having that big picture in mind, I think is really important.
Kathleen Shannon 15:23
And that was one of the most like helpful things working with you on the book is like, okay, we're selling rights. And it is like selling a house like it feels the most like selling a house. It was just incredible, an incredible experience. I had no idea how much went into it. But I think that for me, we're selling a book called being boss to our publisher, and then they own the rights but how much of the rights to the brand now being boss Do they really own so it was really helpful working with you to really clarify that our brand is still protected? Yeah, this is a book separate from the podcast, for example.
Emily Thompson 16:02
It was such a treat to be a guest on the legal roadmap podcast, you can listen to the full episode in iTunes, Apple podcast stitcher or anywhere else that you are listening to this podcast, and get more info shownotes and transcripts from the episode at WWW dot a web firm.com slash podcast.
Kathleen Shannon 16:24
This minisode was brought to you by Twenty20. Check them out at twenty20 .com/beingboss. That's t w e n t y 20 as in the number.com slash being boss.
Emily Thompson 16:38
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