[00:00:00] Emily Thompson:
Welcome to Being Boss. A podcasts for creatives, business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host, Emily Thompson. And today I'm joined by my friend, Tasha L Harrison, to chat about becoming a full-time author. From exploring the differences between being an author and building an author business
[00:00:21] to the mindsets and boundaries that help writers make writing their full-time job. You can find all the tools, books, and links we reference on the show notes at www.beingbboss.club. And if you like this episode, be sure to subscribe to this show and share us with a friend.
[00:00:39] Need another podcast recommendation. How about one that's closing the gap in helping more women level up by sharing stories and strategies from powerful women in leadership. That's what you'll get when you listen to CEO School by Suneera Madhani brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network. One of my favorite recent episodes was with Yasmin Cheyenne, a self-healing educator, talking about setting boundaries and prioritizing what's most important to you.
[00:01:06] What you know is perfectly aligned with the conversations that we have here at Being Boss. Learn more and listen to CEO school wherever you get your podcasts.
[00:01:21] Tasha L. Harrison is a romance author and creator of the Hashtag 20K and Five Days writing challenge and word makers, a writing community where authors come together to do the writing work.
[00:01:37] Welcome Tasha to Being Boss.
[00:01:41] Tasha L. Harrison: Hey, thanks right me back.
[00:01:42] Emily Thompson: Of course. It came up recently that you haven't done one
[00:01:48] that's just, you. Oh, really? Yeah. Did I say that? No, I did. No. The team did the team and I were talking about it. We were like, oh, you know who we wanna have back. And somebody was like, Tasha, hasn't been on for her own episode yet. And I was like, are you kidding me? that's weird to think about, so riveting immediately and very excited to talk about what we're here to talk about today.
[00:02:10] Cuz I've heard you talk about this in private conversations, dozens of times, extensively, extensively. And so I'd love to like, I guess officially have that conversation and share your brilliantness with anyone who might find it helpful. Okay. Let's do it. Let's do it. Okay. Then to get us started, you have been on the show a couple of times, but never as like just you and me.
[00:02:34] Which means we probably haven't an extensive, deep dive into your entrepreneurial journey. So let's start there. Give us the scoop. How did you get to here now?
[00:02:47] Tasha L. Harrison: Good question. I think I probably, when I was a kid, like now that I'm writing full time, everyone who know me when I was a kid has said that, oh, you've always been a writer.
[00:03:02] Like, this is just something you've always done. But of course it was also hammered into me that writing doesn't make you money. Yep. So when you go to school and you wanna read books, you get an English degree and then you're supposed to teach kids. Didn't like that. Not one bit
[00:03:21] immediately decided no, I'm not gonna teach kids. But then end up homeschooling my own kids for like four years, which was not great, Bob. And then after I went back to work, I went and got a second degree in nursing instead of using my English degree. And, then I quit that . But during that time, I did start writing again and I was, also editing on the side.
[00:03:47] So, and this was around the time that I got involved with your cult called Being Boss yeah. Which encouraged me to, like really work my side hustle and I become fairly well known in the romance community as like a really good editor Attu. But I wasn't really writing much. I was writing probably one book a year and I was taking a lot of time to, write through some difficult topics and stuff like that.
[00:04:16] And then, I just got tired of nursing. I hated it. And I quit that job. And my editing job caught me and a year after I quit that job. To start editing full time. I quit my editing job to start writing full time. And here we're.
[00:04:35] Emily Thompson: Oh, okay. So editing was almost like the training wheels then, right? Yeah.
[00:04:41] To get you from like a fulltime quote, unquote real person job.
[00:04:47] Tasha L. Harrison: nine to five. Right. More than that actually, but yeah.
[00:04:51] Emily Thompson: Yeah. Into writing full time. And was that something that you mindfully done did mindfully did or did that just kind like, was that the goal? What was that like? What was that transition like?
[00:05:06] Tasha L. Harrison: Well, one of the things that, thinking back, like I, I read big magic and one of the quotes in there is she says something about not, telling her, writing that she wasn't gonna force it to feed her. And I was like, Hmm. That's saying something like I don't ever want to, put my creativity into this, machine that's gonna have to feed me.
[00:05:33] I don't wanna change my writing. I don't wanna lose my voice. So, it felt like editing was kind of like a, a writing related job that I could do that would, where I would still be, engaging with, writing in a creative way, but not, constantly taxing my creativity to, to feed me in that way.
[00:05:58] And I think that's probably what, made it easier for me to transition because I, by the time that I decided to quit my job, I was turning away people like my books were full all the time and I had to make a decision. It was like, okay, I can do this full time. Or I can just stop because I can't, it was just getting to be too taxing and I hated my day job.
[00:06:24] So I quit and, I think that being a editor for like seven or eight years was the best way for me to become a better writer. I think a lot of writers now don't spend a lot of time focusing on craft. And, as an editor, that's something that you're always doing. You're always looking at how other people tell stories, reading reference books on how to tell stories in different ways and, Just in general being immersed in words, in a way that you have to comprehend what the word is doing on the page, not just what someone’s telling you, the words are doing.
[00:07:01] So yeah, like I, I, it was, training wheels kind of to quitting, but, also kind of like a needed transition. It wasn't a means to an end.
[00:07:15] Emily Thompson: And what about the transition from editing into full time writing? Cause if I remember correctly, that was kinda a hard, it was hard until it wasn't hard. I feel like once you made up your mind to stop and do it, it was like the easiest thing you'd ever done.
[00:07:28] But I also feel like there was, if I'm recalling correctly, a bit of like difficultness around letting go of editing to focus on writing full time.
[00:07:38] Tasha L. Harrison: Yes. There were two things that make it hard, made it hard, money. Yeah, it's easy money because by this time, I was only, editing romance novels, and that's fairly easy for me to do, I could take on three clients a month and, make more money than I was making it my day job easily.
[00:07:56] So it was money and then it was also kind of like a little bit of, Hmm. Ego. Ah, yeah, because I'd been, I'd become sort of this voice in the community. And most of that was backed up by, my editing work and how people talked about working with me and letting go of that meant that I had to build up my writing in the same way,
[00:08:21] and it felt, it felt like shedding something that I worked really hard on and also, started from scratch. I didn't like that idea, but you're right. Once I decided to quit, it was like, oh, that was. Why did I keep doing that for so long? That was exhausting.
[00:08:39] Emily Thompson: right. Okay. So like timeline then of what year did you make the transition from day job to editing?
[00:08:47] And then when did you make the transition from editing to full time writing?
[00:08:53] Tasha L. Harrison: So 2019, December, 2019, I quit my nursing job. And made the transition to editing full time. And as we know, 2020 was a pandemic and I was, my books were surprisingly full. Like I was. I was deeply afraid, like was like, oh crap, I quit my job.
[00:09:12] And now there's a pandemic and nobody's gonna have any money. I'm never gonna be able to work. And the exact opposite happened. My books were full. But I also found myself wanting to write more and I just didn't have the time. So I was probably like six or eight months into 2020. And I was like, yeah, books are closed, bro.
[00:09:31] We're done no more editing. And it was hard to get people to understand. It's like, oh, well, can you just do mine? Like, it was literally 40 people saying, can you just work on my book? I'm like, girl, you are not the only one here. So it was a lot of turning away, easy money over and over and over again, which is not my, ministry in life because of how I grew up.
[00:09:56] You grow up poor. It was like, does money come to you? Better take it. you don't know what you gonna get anybody again. And I, I really had to just get over that, like, I was building my writing group at the time. And I was like, I just need to get in the right head space. And this will support me in the same way that editing has.
[00:10:15] I just need to give it the same energy. And that was, yeah, that was the hardest part of it. The, the ego and the, the around telling people no. Because everybody likes me. of
[00:10:29] Emily Thompson: course they do. But I love that you bring up ego because quite often when I'm talking to bosses, there's can be, for every boss that struggles with so many fraudy feelings that they like cannot move forward.
[00:10:43] There's just as many bosses, I think, who struggle with ego who will not let themselves move forward. Right. And so even just addressing that, that is just as much of a block for progress as the fraud feelings that are holding you back is this idea that like, you worked really hard to make this name for yourself doing this thing, and you are really great at it.
[00:11:04] And it provides for you financially, but also, sort of creative fulfillment and all the things like to step away from something like that can be just as difficult, if not, maybe more difficult, I think sometimes than an overcoming faulty feelings. So what was it for you that. That pushed you, that pushed you over the edge.
[00:11:30] Tasha L. Harrison: Going back to that same, that quote from this Gilbert, it was like, yeah. I, I, I made a promise that I was always gonna write is what she said. It's like, no matter what I was gonna write, no matter what happened, I was always gonna write, but I wasn't gonna force it to feed me. And I was like, well, I'm in, in, like a really ideal circumstance to take a chance on my writing in a way that I haven't before, like, to be, just dive all the way into it.
[00:12:01] Instead of worrying about what sells, what, what is on the market right now? It, it just gave me a little bit more freedom to play around with things. And because, like my, I, I banked so much money. I knew that I could just stop doing the editing and focus on my writing. I. I don't think that there was really, I think I always really just wanted to be writing full time, more than editing full time, but it was hard to balance.
[00:12:31] So yeah, I, I, I, there was no real catalyst. It was just like, okay, I have to, I have to stop. This is, this is the thing that I'm doing this for. Yeah. Basically. It's like, if I'm not writing, what is this? What none of this other stuff makes sense. Right. It makes no sense to do any of this other stuff to support my writing.
[00:12:47] If I'm not writing.
[00:12:50] Emily Thompson: Amen. That you've brought up something I li okay. So just for context for everyone, a couple hours ago, or recorded another episode with Kathleen that actually comes out in two weeks after this one goes out there's podcast, production schedules for you. And one of the things that we talked about in, or that we will talk about in her that you'll hear about in her episode is this idea of being.
[00:13:14] In integrity with your relationship, with your own creativity. And I feel like that's something that you prioritized so much and like held it as like a personal value through the lens, through which you made these decisions in your career. Sounds like, have you feeling really good about your decisions and about your relationship with your creativity along the way?
[00:13:43] Tasha L. Harrison: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think, and this all goes back to how, how do you perceive success? Like, what do you feel like makes you a successful author? And I think a lot of people don't think about that. Like I knew what type of, I knew my voice. I knew what type of stories I wanted to write, but I wasn't dedicating the time to it because I felt like I had to make money.
[00:14:08] And it was always like, okay, this thing I'm doing on the side has to support it. But once it started encompassing, like making, being my whole career, I, it was necessary for me to take a step back. And also I think there's a big piece in there about, and I'm gonna give myself some credit here is like, just deciding, oh no, I don't wanna do this anymore.
[00:14:32] Like being okay with that in every, and I made some big, pretty big transitions, like in the span of a year. So it's like, oh no, I don't wanna work for anyone else anymore. Oh no, I don't wanna work on anyone else's writing anymore. I wanna work on my own work and coming to that realization. And the way that I did, I think was just because I gave myself time working a day job hustling on the side.
[00:14:58] Taking my time with it instead of immediately diving in and expecting it to be this, this is my dream day. This is my dream career. I didn't even really know what it was. That was just like some fantasy that I created before. I started writing every day, so go, I'll get up and I'll make my coffee and, sit down and, look at my to-do list.
[00:15:20] And then I'll write for three hours. Like this is not realistic even for what, how I work now. Yeah. Like it was just a fantasy and as I was working through, all the things, it was like, oh no, I don't wanna do that. I don't wanna do that. And just saying no, no, no. Finally getting to my yes.
[00:15:37] Emily Thompson: Yeah.
[00:15:38] Ugh. Well, it sounds like you made yours way there for sure. You mentioned a minute ago, your writing group, because I, this is sort of a piece of the puzzle that I wanna get into as well. You started putting together a writing group. Tell me about when, why, why is that important to you? And two, what that has grown into.
[00:15:57] Tasha L. Harrison: Writing groups, number one, writing is such a solitary, vocation, and it's got kind of this reputation for being, this is lonely. You're never gonna be able to, have anyone with you on this journey as you're, as you're creating. And it's kind of something that all writers accept. It's like, Ugh, this process is just a lonely thing and we're gonna have to suffer through it.
[00:16:22] And I decided that was bullshit. So I just don't believe that you have to be alone in writing. I think that there's ways to be together in a group and also, pursue your individual goals. It started with a writing challenge. That was just a hashtag on Twitter and like a zoom link, like crazy who does that?
[00:16:48] Emily Thompson: Wait, wait, wait, wait. You were tweeting a zoom link. Yes. Ma'am oh my God. That's like no showed up naked.
[00:16:57] Tasha L. Harrison: chaotic. No one showed up naked, but we did have like a few weirdos. It would be like, I bet someone would show in and be like, we gotta kick you out, bro. That sort of thing. But it was never, it, it was never bad enough for me to be like, oh, I'm never gonna, I'm never gonna share.
[00:17:13] Yeah. I did that for like six months, just sharing a random link on the timeline and people jumping in chaotic. That's wild. And yeah. And then, I moved to Facebook, which didn't last more than a month. And from there we moved to mighty networks. And I credit them with number one, getting me through the pandemic.
[00:17:40] It would've been very hard for me to write. If I was writing alone, then. And also Being Boss was great during that time too. Like those, those Monday meetups, Ooh, child were like therapy sessions. During that first year, everybody was crying. Don't know what to do.
[00:17:58] Emily Thompson: Just barely holding it together.
[00:18:00] Right. And I even wanna go back to this idea, like, I know that you've done writing groups, like even in person writing groups, even before this, like this has been a part of your writing process for a really long time, this idea of creating community around you, otherwise getting together to do something that you're right.
[00:18:20] Is a very solo practice. Like, And I guess you don't really want people in your writing group who are like reading what they write out loud while they write it. They feel like that's a, don't do writing groups. FAPA for sure. But you've really prioritized this in your practice and then you've sort of begun, you've begun holding space, both for yourself, but also for others in facilitating a writing group.
[00:18:46] Tasha L. Harrison: Yeah. The writing groups that I was in before, weren't like this at all. This is exactly the kind of writing group that I always wanted. Like we literally just get together and write, and then we talk about what we wrote and then we get off zoom. The writing groups I was in before were more, geared toward chatting about writing and, I don't know, like it just wasn't really very business focused.
[00:19:10] It wasn't about doing the work. And I found that frustrating, but I did find the fellow writers in those groups. So that, that I ended up having like these little coffee clutches with, and that's pretty much what word makers is. Like, we get up every morning at 11 and we get together, we drink our coffee and we write, and then we talk about what we wrote and then we all go about our day.
[00:19:32] So yeah, that I designed it to be exactly what I needed and apparently other people did too. They needed it as well.
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[00:20:40] I'm sort of, I wanna go back with one question then I wanna move forward with what we're super here to talk about today. All right. The go back question is how did you find yourself into romance or into writing romance?
[00:20:55] Tasha L. Harrison: Okay. and this is funny too, because whenever I talk to romance, podcasters, they all have this sort of different journey into romance. Like it's through like body strippers, like historicals with Fabio on the cover and all that kinda stuff have never read any of those books, have no desire to read any of those books.
[00:21:18] My no shade. But I mean, yo yeah, shade. a little, I have no desire. They were, I mean, they were super white and they were, kind of, Ty or Royal or just like situations. And I just I'm like, this is interesting, but I really don't care about how these two people get together, cuz it doesn't seem realistic to me.
[00:21:41] But what I did read a lot of was black women's fiction, which is what my mom was reading and those were romance heavy and I never understood why they weren't considered romances, but I gobbled them up. Gobbled them up. But when I went to school, , there's this whole thing where you do, you have to write serious things.
[00:22:03] You have to write serious things, you have to read serious things. And like when you're black, like it has like this whole other layer of like, do good things to promote the culture type stuff. And, a lot of that is tied up in not writing, like genre fiction. Like you sure you can write fiction, but it can't be genre fiction.
[00:22:20] It's gotta be literary. It's gotta be like Maya Angelou or Richard Wright or somebody, some, some way that you can be in that category. And so I tried my hand at writing those stories and the sexy times kept getting in . So after a point, I was just like, okay, fine. I give. I give up
[00:22:44] Emily Thompson: I love that you couldn't even not.
[00:22:47] Tasha L. Harrison: like literally, like I wrote a story about, police brutality, like the, the, the hero was a cop and the, the heroin is, an activist. And like that could have been a totally different story if I hadn't included the romance, but I could not. So it's in there. I just, couldn't not apparently.
[00:23:07] And also we were just talking about this in word makers. A lot of us got messed up in the head around books early that we shouldn't have been reading like VC Andrews or, in rices sleeping beauty trilogy, like eighties parents. Did not much care what you were doing as long as you were being quiet and not bugging them.
[00:23:31] and I was reading above grade level for quite a, quite a long time. So till I got to the point, my mom was like, I don't care what you read. If you have any questions, just ask me. But I mean, like if you're reading flowers in the attic, what ki there's, there's a laundry list of questions. Yeah. Like what, what do you ask
[00:23:48] But yeah, so like those things, reading, reading, adult fiction, when I was younger and impressionable probably made it easier for me to write romance, but then made it harder for me to be like a quote unquote, serious writer. Yeah. So that's why romance, I love writing about interior stories. I like, like how people relate they're, like on emotional level, not necessarily big plot driven things, but just, How people work through their bullshit.
[00:24:17] Do I believe any of this romance stuff is for real? No, this is fantasy just like Indiana Jones but I think I, I just find it more interesting to write those type of interior dynamics.
[00:24:31] Emily Thompson: Yeah. And what's more interior dynamic than a romance. I also just love that this is another example of how you're just saying, so incredibly true to your creativity of like expressing it in the most like, aligned way possible.
[00:24:47] It's just another example of that.
[00:24:53] Good job. Good job on something. Okay. So what I most wanna talk to you about today, and first of all, thank you for sharing all of that. I'm very sorry that it has taken me so long to bring you on to like, talk about that. It's just, I know you so well that, like,
[00:25:09] Tasha L. Harrison: it just never just seems like we had already had it, like had the combo
[00:25:11] Emily Thompson: 18 times before mm-hmm
[00:25:13] So now that it's shared with everyone, one of the things that I hear you talk about passionately relatively often is this idea of building an author business with air quotes around author, business
[00:25:30] , and how you are in the community. You've literally built your own community of other authors. You are in it. You are teaching and holding space and, and, and working with. In some capacity, other authors, and I think it hurts you , it seems as if it hurts you when an author has a really hard time seeing the larger picture of turning their writing into, into a business or into like a larger functioning organization that feeds them.
[00:26:10] And I think even, drawing a parallel to what you were talking about earlier, this idea of, of not wanting to make your writing feed you like that, even sort of flavors this conversation a little bit. What let's just start, I guess, with what, how do you define an author business and how is that different from just being an author?
[00:26:36] Tasha L. Harrison: And author business. I think that there's a lot of misconceptions about what it is to be a full-time author and a lot of that is, it's just
[00:26:46] Emily Thompson: coffee and play dates, right. It's just
[00:26:48] Tasha L. Harrison: like, yeah, we just hang out and read books,
[00:26:50] Emily Thompson: library through the
[00:26:51] Tasha L. Harrison: fields. Yeah. Taking trips and book, like book tours and all of a sudden they're bullshit.
[00:26:57] You like, there's like this whole fanciful idea of how the process works. And I, I it's shrouded in mystery and I think that's by design for traditional publishing to continue to, exploit authors.
[00:27:10] Emily Thompson: Because if y'all knew. Y'all
[00:27:12] Tasha L. Harrison: would not right. And because it, it was like, it it's like once the, the scales have fallen away from your eyes, like you really can't trust that you will ever be able to build a business based on, solely pursuing traditional publishing and the way that they have it designed.
[00:27:28] Yeah. It just doesn't make any sense. And then even in that, like another layer to that, because they have lied to authors for so long, about how they can become, that one breakout star that has like a million dollar deal. There's a lot of, authors that think that they can just quit their day job and, keep pursuing, like keep submitting work and that's gonna be able to sustain them.
[00:27:54] And what they don't realize is that most of these successful authors have side hustles. They’ve found other things to support their writing. And because no one is really being honest about where their money is coming from. They think that, oh, this I can do what this person does. I'm like, no number one, you don't have the work ethic.
[00:28:11] They do or two, they probably have something else going on that you don't know about that's that's feeding them and keeping a roof over their head. And that all of that is, is related to number one, how they, define success for themselves. And also, thinking of, of themself, not just as an author, but as a business.
[00:28:33] I think the creative, the creative process fosters this whole thing of making everything that you make precious. Right? . And like, I don't, I don't condone anyone, giving their stories to traditional publishing. It's a racket. Um but if you do plan to do it right, I think that you have to approach it
[00:28:56] like this is me creating content for this specific publisher. They know who their customer is, who their client is. Don't go to them with your heart song and say, here's my heart song. Please publish it. They're gonna be like, oh no, cut this out, cut this out, move this, delete that. And then we can sell it.
[00:29:13] And then you become their product, not your own product. You haven't, you haven't determined what type of author you are, what your voice is. And a lot of these people, like first thing they do is submit. So they're getting shaped by this industry versus taking time to figure out who they are as an author.
[00:29:33] And that changes your voice, anyone who, it started off in self-publishing and then just switched completely to traditional publishing anyone. Who's been reading their books from the beginning and now read their traditionally published books. They always say, something's missing, it's not the same, blah, blah, blah, because they're not writing for themselves anymore.
[00:29:51] They're writing, they're not writing for their reader. They're writing for random houses, reader, Harper Collins is reader. They're not writing for their reader. And I think it's most, what's most important in this process that a lot of people skip is just figuring out, okay, what type of author do I wanna be?
[00:30:07] Do I wanna be a best selling author? Do I wanna be a famous author? Which those aren't the two the same thing. Do I just wanna make money and. Be known by anybody, which is like mid list, which only exists in self-publishing. Now you can't even do that in tra like you have to decide at the beginning, if you haven't sat down to say, okay, this is the type of author I wanna be.
[00:30:29] This is what success looks like for me. You end up getting manipulated by the, the system and then end up being a disgruntled writer. And you're one of those people who sit on Twitter and just complain and complain and complain and complain and complain and never figure out that. Oh, I'm part of the problem because I don't know who I am.
[00:30:46] Yeah. And that's the author business. It's that's the foundation of it. Like if, if you don't know who you are as a writer and what you want to write, then you don't know how to sell yourself. You don't know how, to find your reader. You're relying on a publisher to do that. And they, that's not their job.
[00:31:05] They do not care they do not care. So, yeah. And I think that's like my main complaint. There's so many misconceptions about what published traditional publishing is gonna do for you and how it's gonna work out. And no one is asking any of the real questions. Even when you volunteer information, they're just not soaking it.
[00:31:25] Emily Thompson: I think that even comes from this, one, either like lack of knowing and two lack of accepting. The fact that when it comes to being an author, let's say you do want to become a full-time author. You wanna spend your, your life writing and frolicking in the forest, or whatever that looks like.
[00:31:50] There is this idea that there is only one path for you, right. And that is to get a deal with a traditional publisher for your heart song, that they then turn into a four part series that should have been two or three . And you're gonna get rights, the deal. Yep. And right. And you, and that's how you're gonna do it.
[00:32:12] And that is like, that's I wanna compare that to someone who wants to like, get big on Instagram. Right? So like in the author business, that is the only way. And the like social media game you recognize is like, that is the best way. But you also see that there are a million other sort of avenues. And even if that is something you aspire to in the social media game, you have an understanding that that's like a one in a million sort of situation.
[00:32:42] But I feel like in the author world, that's just how it happens. Or at least that's what they think.
[00:32:47] Tasha L. Harrison: They really all think they're going to be the next big deal. Yeah. And like you see these, like every year, there's like this camp of debut authors for every genre and they get on there. And they're super excited because they've been waiting for two years for their book to publish.
[00:33:02] That's the other thing mm-hmm, , they've been waiting for two years for their book to publish. They've probably gotten paid like $14,000 for all the words and all the time that they've dedicated. And it's like, finally, my book is in the. And then nothing crickets, because they're waiting for the publisher to figure out who their reader is because they haven't spent any time doing it.
[00:33:19] They just assume the publisher is gonna do it. And they get very upset and disgruntled about that. And it's like, well, why is this person? I'm a better writer than them. And why is this person getting so much energy? I'm like, have you looked at this girl. Have you seen all the work she's doing?
[00:33:35] Have you noticed that she writes like four or five books a year? Not just one, This is not a one and done thing. If you're gonna be doing it full time, it requires a whole lot more work than you would think it does. And if you don't wanna be forcing your creativity to pay you, then you need to figure out another side hustle or keep your day job.
[00:33:55] Yeah. And treat your day job. Like it's your benefit beneficiary, like your, your patron, like. This is the, my job is paying me to write and that's just change your framework because otherwise you're gonna be poor.
[00:34:12] Like, seriously.
[00:34:13] Emily Thompson: Yeah. I mean, if, if you definitely go into, into authoring with the idea that that one path is just the inevitability, if you can like master the, infa, that's a word I just made up feet of completing a book in the first place. Then you're setting her itself up for sincere disappointment.
[00:34:35] And what you are talking about is this alternative. Going into this life of authoring with this idea of you actually need to set up yourself and your creativity equals your writing into a whole sort of business organization. And that can be incredibly small or it can be, I think, is VA like, make your own movies, do your own theme park.
[00:35:02] Tasha L. Harrison: There are people who do that. And whenever I see him do, I'm like, wow girl, that's amazing.
[00:35:10] right. People like it's like, wow, wow, you crazy.
[00:35:16] Emily Thompson: that is kind of crazy
[00:35:17] Tasha L. Harrison: a lot, but I know people who are doing it and it, it, it works out for them. I, I still, it in the back of my mind, I was like, I would like to have an agent to do that stuff for me, but not for me to make my money. And that's probably why I like self-publishing so much, like the rights are mine.
[00:35:35] Yeah. I can sell them as many times as I want to. Reformat, republish, resubmit other places. It's, it's old content at this point. Like I'm still making money off of content that I wrote 11 years ago, because I have reused that content in different places. It's not something you can do with traditional publishing.
[00:35:55] You can't even run a sale on your book in traditional publishing until they say so that to me feels like a limitation, not like, a gift, which is what they like. , like getting chosen, like, like, Simba , you know?
[00:36:16] Emily Thompson: Yeah. I mean, it's funny as we're talking about this and as someone who has traditionally published, like I had that wool taken from over my eyes a long time ago and like it's, it's something.
[00:36:29] It's something I see as like maybe the last great illusion of creativity, like in the world of creative entrepreneurship. And it's like, it's still a great effing illusion. Like there are people who are still so under its spell and like, so vastly that I think it's gonna remain an illusion for a while, even though we're here telling you these things.
[00:36:53] But that the power really does lie within each individual author in terms of the ability to really craft the kind of career that is realistic that is truly realistic for creating, some sort of ongoing, revenue generation from the work that you create.
[00:37:12] Tasha L. Harrison: Yeah. And I think that, as far as like the illusion remaining in place, I think all tiers of publishing play into this, there's right now, As of yesterday, today is what, May 24th.
[00:37:27] On May 23rd. someone released the results of an anonymous survey they did for editors and agents on what authors can do to make the process easier for them. And , and like the title of it is already wrong on its face. The, I, I don't know if you know this, but there's been like a big, like big resignation as far as it goes with, editors and agents quitting their jobs because they're so underpaid and overworked.[00:38:00]
[00:38:00] And now like, there's this whole tone that's going on? It's like, oh, okay. All of this needs to be shifted to the author. The author needs to make sure before they submit their work, that it's edited to the, the best of it, their ability. And I was like, well, that's free work. Number one. And then two, when they submit it to you, you're gonna ask them to rewrite it.
[00:38:21] 1 2, 3 times. So that's still more free work before you ever even talk about money. That's one. And then, there's this thing where they don't wanna be emailed, they don't want you to follow up on emails. They want you to do the marketing team, wants you to do all of your own marketing. And I'm just like, at this point, it's like, well, why are you involved at this point?
[00:38:43] If I'm already paying someone, I have to go and find a freelance editor to teach me how to write, because that's a lot of what goes on in those, like when you submit a work, yes, you may have a good bones of a good story, but you might not know the, the mechanics of storytelling because no one is paying attention to craft these days.
[00:39:02] They're just reading all these books on like how to get rich quick as a romance author, that sort of thing. Like same thing that happens in the entrepreneur world. Everybody wants a shortcut. So. That is how they're sending in these, these manuscripts. And now the editors are saying, no, you can't send the manuscript that way.
[00:39:17] It's like, okay. So there's, there's $2,000 right there. I'm gonna have to pay for a, a dev edit and then probably another three 50 to have like a line edit done. And then you want me also, after the book is published to pay for ongoing advertising, why are you involved, involved
[00:39:35] Emily Thompson: printing and distribution only.
[00:39:37] Tasha L. Harrison: That's it.
[00:39:39] And if you can get past the point where you don't feel the need to have your book in a Barnes and Noble, like if that is not success to you, which there's ways you can get your book in there too. Anyway, if you're self publishing, if you're really dedicated to it, but if you get past the point where number one, you're not looking for a publisher's weekly review for someone to give you a pat on the back for your book.
[00:40:01] And you're, you're not trying to go into a Barnes and noble, so you can have that. Ooh, look, this is my book moment. And you're, you're focused on being a business person who writes this is a totally different path. Lots of different decisions can be made, but if you go the traditional publishing way, that's literally their game.
[00:40:24] You're playing their game.
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[00:41:17] Okay. I wanna talk about then sort of the difference between, or more like more nuanced differences between author business and just authors. So let's say someone is listening to this and they're making that transition of going like, okay, author business. I need to think about this a little bit bigger than just, just doing the thing and finding a publisher instead thinking a little broader about what it looks like to create literally a business model around your authoring.
[00:41:49] Where does one begin and maybe even like, let's talk mindsets, like what is one of the big mindset shifts you have to make between being just an author to thinking more like an author business author?
[00:42:01] Tasha L. Harrison: The biggest mindset shift is getting out, getting it out your head that someone else is in control of your career, that you have to wait for approval for someone else that you have to wait for someone else to tell you when to start, you can start.
[00:42:13] Now, if you're gonna be a business, you can start now. That was the biggest mindset shift that I think I had because there's so much built in so much rejection in waiting on getting chosen, built into, pursuing a author career that once you decide, you know what, I'm not gonna do that anymore. I'm gonna write for myself, I'm gonna be a self-published author and I'm gonna treat this like a business.
[00:42:40] That's the biggest transition you can make. Second thing, stop looking at people who are Uber, Uber successful as self-published authors. If I could, if I could. And I remember Kathleen saying this to me, she was like, once people start selling courses on how to do the thing that you're interested in, it's like that's already dead technology.
[00:43:02] Like they can't, they cannot repeat those results. Even for themselves. They're selling you something they did six years ago to become successful. And there's no shade to these other authors. Who've made themselves an author business by selling their knowledge, but there needs to be more realistic, expectations for what your outcome is gonna be.
[00:43:26] You're not gonna take an ads course and do everything they say into Facebook ads course and get the same results. You're not going to, follow someone exact business plan. It's like, okay, I'm gonna, write six books and I'm gonna, quick launch them one, one after the other blah, blah, blah.
[00:43:45] And I'm gonna be hugely successful. Following someone else's model is not the way to success. You have to figure out how it, it's absolutely fine for you to try. It's just like, there's some girl on, YouTube. It's like, I wrote like Steven King for 72 hours. This is my results. That sort of thing.
[00:44:05] Try it, try everything, see what works, but don't keep pursuing this one avenue because this particular author is doing so well because a lot of them aren't completely honest about how they got there. There was a gold mine in self-publishing, especially in romance in 2012, everybody was making money.
[00:44:23] Everybody was making money. Kindle had just came out, Kindle unlimited, came out in 20, I wanna say 20 16, 20 17. So those people who were already in the game, then they made a lot of money fast. And that's how they got to be big names. That's how you know who they are. Not because they employed this Facebook strategy that they're teaching to you now.
[00:44:49] So yes, like don't compare your beginning to someone's end, which is universal. And, what was the other one I said?
[00:44:59] [00:45:00] Just do it, just do it. Just make a decision, just make a decision. Choose yourself.
[00:45:05] Emily Thompson: Yes. Choose yourself. Yeah. Yes. You make the de yeah, it was, I do feel like publishing is one of the in or authoring is one of the, the industry, maybe again, one of the last industries where you were literally waiting around for someone else's approval.
[00:45:20] And like in the creative world, like we're not okay with that anywhere. Except in authoring we're often like, well, these are just how games played. So I'm just gonna weigh around.
[00:45:27] Tasha L. Harrison: And not only that, just like this assumption, that just because you got chose by a publisher, that your story, these stories are better.
[00:45:35] Emily Thompson: Yeah.
[00:45:36] Tasha L. Harrison: And they're not.
[00:45:37] Emily Thompson: Yeah. I wanna add one to this and I think it is similar, but for me, it's sort of re it is releasing the assumptions you have around how you can get paid as an author. . Because I think like the one way you get paid per everyone, traditionally is you get a book deal.
[00:45:59] Whereas y'all the internet has such cool tools. that can get you paid to write. I mean, and whether you're starting a paid newsletter or a paid blog or you're monetizing, or yes,
[00:46:13] Tasha L. Harrison: or you're doing serialized work for somebody like radish or iReader or you're writing game, like romance game fiction, or there's so many ways that are out there now that for you to make money on your words, that don't require you to wait for someone to read your book.
[00:46:36] Yeah, the tools out there are amazing to me, like as someone who started off in like the paleolithic era of soul publishing when there was, there was no information and we were all just kind of like, how do you formatted Microsoft word?
[00:46:51] Emily Thompson: Oh, my God.
[00:46:52] Tasha L. Harrison: Can you please
[00:46:53] make my someone make my book covered in MS Paint? It wasn't that bad making a paint. I making a Photoshop, but like as someone who came from that time where there was like no books on it, no courses, none of that stuff, seeing what's available to people now, like software wise and how easy it is for me now, just like to upload anything that I write when it took days, if not weeks before, there's really no reason to, there's no reason to do go traditionally, unless you absolutely want to have your book in a bookstore distribution.
[00:47:28] That's the only thing I can think of really? Yeah, because the pay is not.
[00:47:32] Emily Thompson: No. And even thinking like, sort of offshoot things like merch , or like you have your word makers community, or like, there are so many ways even outside of that, but for some of those, if you were being traditionally published, you'd be shafted in the ability to do that.
[00:47:50] Because you couldn't do your own mech. You'd have to wait around,
[00:47:53] Tasha L. Harrison: not compete, not competes, not only that, I still am gobsmacked by the fact that you could sign a deal and the publisher can tell you, not only can you not submit to another publisher during this time, you also can self-publish anything of your own during this time.
[00:48:12] So like for a year and a half, you can't even write anything to, this is your skill and they're telling you no, this $14,000 is buying your time for two years. Absolutely not.
[00:48:21] Emily Thompson: Yeah, right. So I think, I think that's, that's a really big mindset too, is just reimagining what it looks like to make money as an author.
[00:48:30] I think if you can open up your mind to the possibilities there, you've taken the first giant step and I'm so proud of you. so proud. Okay. Let's talk about boundaries then, because again, I think huge sort of different skillset here when it comes to you showing up and deciding to do this and taking full responsibility for yourself, your writing and your future.
[00:48:53] Tasha L. Harrison: Boundaries.
[00:48:55] What are those? Yeah. I do struggle with boundaries and a lot of this is just because, like, I think that I come from a camp where it's like, okay, I, I have all the hats. If anyone, if I have any information, I'm gonna give it away. If, anyone needs help, I'm gonna try to help them. The boundaries around my work, The one thing that I do hold sacred is my writing time.
[00:49:23] I don't give that to anyone. It's like, there's gonna be three hours in the middle of the day that I'm gonna write. Am I gonna write again later? Maybe, you know that sometimes. Right. Very, very late . But like I, like you said, make an appointment with yourself. It's like, this is the one thing that's gonna keep this career going.
[00:49:42] You have to do the writing work. That's the one thing you have to do. Definitely. And everything else, that's pretty much, like, everything else will fall into place if you get the writing done. And that's the biggest boundary, a lot of people will say, oh, well, I don't have time. I have kids, I have a husband, I have blah, blah, blah, blah.
[00:50:00] Like, well, okay, so you can't be an author if you can't find the time to write.
[00:50:06] Emily Thompson: Period.
[00:50:07] Tasha L. Harrison: Yeah. Period. There's that was like, okay. I don't have time to write. Okay. I don't have time to read. Okay. So you don't wanna write. Yeah. You don't want to.
[00:50:18] Emily Thompson: For sure. I often hear people and I think I'm even guilty of this, of like desiring to go the traditional publishing route because you have that contractual deadline, like you have that accountability built in to actually sit down and write the book that outside accountability.
[00:50:37] But I love that what you are saying sort of fixes that, like, if you have this sacred time daily or every other day or whatever it looks like for you where you're just sitting down and writing, you're gonna make progress on your own accord. Congratulations.
[00:50:53] Tasha L. Harrison: It's mostly about building the habit. Yeah.
[00:50:56] You have to build a habit and you have to set that time, that boundary around that writing time, whatever time of day it is for you and hold it sacred, like you said, as long as you're showing up, then you're gonna, you're gonna, you're gonna make the deadline. Of course. There's also ways that you could put in deadlines, like by securing an editor early.
[00:51:17] Booking, booking, advertising early so that, there's like, oh, by this time I need to be finished this, so I can do that. Do that, do that. And when you're working with, independent contractors, it's pretty much, yes, I do have deadlines, but also my deadlines don't start until I'm done writing so yeah, it's just about doing the writing work.
[00:51:37] I don't think that anyone, a lot of people come in, worried about what happens after you finish the book, but you have to write the book first.
[00:51:45] Emily Thompson: Yeah, I do feel like there probably is a lot of, I don't know what to do next, but like, how about you just do what you gotta do right now? We'll think about next later
[00:51:53] Tasha L. Harrison: yeah, yeah, exactly.
[00:51:55] I, I tell people that all the time it's like, oh, well, what do I do about advertising? How do I find like, oh, Did you finish writing your book yet? no. How far along are you in your book? Oh, I haven't even started. Oh, okay. So come back when you're done. Yeah. Then we can talk about that other stuff, because all of that is just anxiety inducing and, and it it's so much information that you just it's procrastination period.
[00:52:19] Yes, yes. Yeah. Yes. You're, you're studying and getting all the knowledge so that you don't have to write. And then you, you punk yourself outta writing. Yeah. Because you're afraid of what's gonna happen after you finish it.
[00:52:30] Emily Thompson: I'm wondering what it looks like for you. Unlike the business side of things, of like, are you doing more planning than a traditional author?
[00:52:37] Does, like how far ahead are you planning? What does it, what does it look like to do any sort of planning or reflection through that? Like business author lens, author, business
[00:52:48] Tasha L. Harrison: lens. I do plan more than a traditional author. Does. How can you plan if you don't know when someone's gonna get your book?
[00:52:55] Emily Thompson: I mean, I know that.
[00:52:58] Tasha L. Harrison: How, how can you make a plan for that when you don't even know what's gonna happen?
[00:53:02] I do plan a lot more and, I have a, a better idea of how long it takes me to do things because I've set, this is, I track my time. nice. I track my time. I know how long it's gonna take me to do things. I know how long it's gonna take my editor to get something back to me. So it's easy for me to say, okay, I'm gonna sit down and write four books this year.
[00:53:26] I actually said six I've written three books, and I've only taken one book off of my publishing schedule. I don't know how that happened yet.
[00:53:34] Emily Thompson: Yo it's may.
[00:53:37] Tasha L. Harrison: It's may literally just finished a book today. Literally just finished a book today and like, OK, this is publishing schedule. What's coming next. And I was like, wait a minute.
[00:53:45] How have I only wrote one book on this schedule? But yeah, it's like, I can, I can plan. I can, I can plan out a whole series and know when I'm gonna release it and not have to wait. Like, oh, will the publisher get this next book? I don't care. I can, I can write it if I want to. And even if I know, Hmm, this might not hit, like this is a book I wanna write, but it might not be a book that everybody wants to read.
[00:54:10] I can still write it anyway. and then write something else behind it. So yeah, I definitely do plan a lot more. And I write a lot more probably than a traditional published author does because, I, you see a lot of things like, oh, I have to wait for an intuition. Like, no, it's a job. You show up, you show up at the desk.
[00:54:30] When you show up at the desk, intuition will show up to show up to help you out. You don't wait for intuition to find you at the park. you know? Yeah. And I just treat it like a job. It's a fun job, but I treat it like a job.
[00:54:46] Emily Thompson: Yeah.
[00:54:47] I mean, you take it very seriously. which is good. when it is literally how you're making your living.
[00:54:57] No, I think, I think all of that is I think all of that is incredibly valuable information because I don't think that most people who desire to make a living off of being an author. Again, think about the craft in that way. And there definitely is a lot of preciousness that is involved often with the process, especially when, I mean, like how fairytale is it that like, we're gonna be very precious about our process.
[00:55:22] Then wait for, prince charming, traditional publishing house, like comes and kisses, our little frog or whatever. Like, like it, it is a you're mixing fair chance. I am all over the place. It is a very sort of precious ideal for how it is that, your work gets out into the world and it's not necessary literally at all.
[00:55:45] Tasha L. Harrison: And then you assume that everyone's gonna love your work once it gets out there.
[00:55:48] Emily Thompson: Of course it was a frog that turned into a princess.
[00:55:53] Tasha L. Harrison: Like how could you not love it?
[00:55:54] Emily Thompson: Yeah. It was chosen.
[00:55:58] Tasha L. Harrison: By traditional publishers. That means it's good. Yeah, the romanticizing of it. That's it's the one thing that I think I wish people would let go of this idea that, you're gonna have this ideal career just by writing one book yeah.
[00:56:16] Like, or waiting for that one book is like, oh, I wrote the book. When is it gonna hit? No baby, next job. The best way to sell your first book is to write another book and then write another book and then write another book. And there's no other way to explain it to people. It's like, by the time you have 10 books, then you can be like, oh, okay.
[00:56:35] I can rest a little bit. And that's where I am now. Mm it's like, oh, I can rest a little bit. I've got, I've got a deep enough back list where, I can just sell the books that I have. But until you get to that point, you're not making money. You, you have an expensive hobby , cause like you're either paying in time or money.
[00:56:54] Yeah. And it's, it's just, it's expensive if you're not gonna take it seriously. Yeah. Mm, [00:57:00]
[00:57:00] Emily Thompson: what a fantastic sort of peak behind the scenes as to what authoring really does look like in terms of like, if you wanna become a full-time author, unless you are, unless you are the JK Rollings or Steven Kings of the world, like this is pretty much going to reality.
[00:57:19] Tasha L. Harrison: JK Rowling and Stephen King together, Stephen King writes a lot.
[00:57:23] Oh, he writes a lot. You are right. Has over a hundred and something titles. He writes a lot. Is it all good? No, but he, he writes at least three or four books a year JK Rowling.
[00:57:34] Emily Thompson: Right. 10 books in her whole career.
[00:57:37] Tasha L. Harrison: I mean, yeah. Yeah. So I mean, it, it, if you're gonna be looking toward who is making the most money and who is a household name is the people who write the people who are prolific, the people who, know their reader and give them exactly what they want every time.
[00:57:54] Emily Thompson: Yeah. Okay, then maybe let's start wrapping this up. I'd love for you to share. If something comes to mind quickly, a piece of advice that you would give for anyone who's interested in turning their writing into a fulltime author gig.
[00:58:11] Tasha L. Harrison: Self-publish something, it doesn't have to be it doesn't, you don't have to make a decision to be a self-published author.
[00:58:19] Just self-publish one thing. So you can see how the process works. You can see how advertising works. You can see how, marketing and promotion works, or even like how to work directly with an editor, like to build relationships that way you'll meet other authors. Self-publish something. So then if you do decide to submit to traditional publishing, you know what to ask for.
[00:58:45] Emily Thompson: Amen. That's a good, that's a good piece. I was not expecting that, but that's, that's a nice one high five Tasha it's like you're in this industry or something.
[00:58:56] Tasha L. Harrison: yeah, a little bit.
[00:58:58] Emily Thompson: love it. Okay. Then where can people find more about you and what you do, and especially, maybe join that writing group. If they're interested.
[00:59:08] Tasha L. Harrison: Everything you need to know about me, you can find at tashalharisson.com as well as a link to word makers, which is my writing community, where we show up for 90 minutes a day and do the writing work, and then probably do all manner of foolishness after that.
[00:59:21] The community is open all the time now. So come right in, we're doing some new stuff, workshops and, still doing the writing challenge, quarterly book club, trying to get these people to be business people.
[00:59:37] Emily Thompson: Yeah, right. Kind of stuff. Just send in this episode, tell them that crazy rock lady also talks business
[00:59:45] Tasha L. Harrison: yes.
[00:59:46] Also everyone is a crazy rock person in the group and a person in the group. So if you're looking for some woo writers, there's some of those in there too.
[00:59:54] Emily Thompson: Yes. I have come to know several people in your group from our crystal parties and they are quite the hoo for sure. Perfect. Then last question for you, Tasha is what makes you feel most boss?
[01:00:06] Tasha L. Harrison: The nap I'm gonna take after this because a nap is part of my day,
[01:00:14] Emily Thompson: screw, frog in a forest. Y'all
[01:00:16] Tasha L. Harrison: I mean, if I can sleep in the forest, that would be great. I I'd like I'd like to nap
[01:00:23] Emily Thompson: no, I think that's wonderful. You have, you have defined what your dreamy author day looks like and you just show up for it and do it. You earned that right? Every bit I did. Perfect Tasha.
[01:00:37] This has been a treat. Thank you so much for coming and chatting with me. I oh, I'll I'll see you soon.
[01:00:44] Tasha L. Harrison: Marco Polo back..
[01:00:45] Emily Thompson: Yeah. later.
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