Episode 114

Blog to Book Deal with Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant

March 7, 2017

Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant shares her journey from blogging to getting a book deal on the Being Boss Podcast. She talks openly about creating a business to help people while still protecting yourself, her journey of writing a book and pitching it to publishers, and making genuine connections with your audience as well as key influencers.

This Episode Brought to You By:
"I want everyone in this world to eat one plant-based meal per day."
- Jessica Murnane

Discussed in this Episode

  • The background of One Part Plant
  • Being diagnosed with endometriosis and finding a treatment
  • Switching your business/passion and when to know it's time
  • Creating a business that helps people while protecting your mental health too
  • Wanting to write a book and making it happen
  • Getting a book publisher
  • Understanding your influence beyond your social media numbers
  • The writing process
  • Making connections with big influencers / celebrities + cultivating meaningful relationships


More from Jessica Murnane

More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Kathleen Shannon 0:01
Hello and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 0:04
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:07
And I'm Kathleen Shannon.

Jessica Murnane 0:10
I'm Jessica renown and I'm being boss.

Kathleen Shannon 0:18
Hey bosses today we are talking with Jessica murnane of one part plant all about writing a book. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot being boss dot club. All right, I don't know about you guys, but sometimes it can be really awkward asking your clients to pay you and this is why I love fresh books. Cloud accounting is so much one. It makes it less personal. It makes it feel like you have your own accountant sending out invoices and they're super professional, you're going to feel completely confident sending your clients invoices, but also what's really awesome about it is that freshbooks helps you avoid having that awkward talk with your client about past due payments. You can automate late payment email reminders, so you can spend less time chasing payments, and more time working your magic and doing what you do best. And you guys if you have any questions whatsoever, freshbooks has award winning customer service. It's amazingly helpful, super friendly and zero attitude. Plus a real live person usually answers in three rings or less. So if you've been wanting to try out fresh books, I want to offer it to you today for free a 30 day unrestricted free trial just for our being boss listeners to claim it go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section. Jessica Moran is a wellness advocate podcast host and creator of the one part plant movement. Her cookbook one part plant is available where books are sold, and it will be released on March 23. In the UK. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, son and lots of palm trees. Let's go ahead and jump in. Jessica, thank you for joining us. Hi, thanks.

Jessica Murnane 2:09
I have one mission in this podcast. And it's get it is for it to be silent. And then I get a from Emily. When something really resonates with her She goes, huh. And it's like I always like Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 2:29
I love that

Emily Thompson 2:30
love. Good. I think that's a beautiful goal. And I will I will try to hold space for deep resonation resonance, I guess the word we residents making up words. All right, good luck. Okay,

Unknown Speaker 2:44
go ahead. Okay, so

Kathleen Shannon 2:47
Jessica, let's go ahead and jump in. For our listeners who aren't familiar with you or with one part plant. Tell us a little bit about your path as a creative entrepreneur and what led you to getting a book deal for one part plant? Yes.

Jessica Murnane 3:02
So just a brief background background I is okay if I don't look at you. Okay, it feels weird. I'm looking at my little Duda. So for beat so for brief background background, my former self as a graphic designer, that's what I got my degree in. And then I had so many jobs. I owned a stationery company, I opened a bar, I ran a celebrity clothing line, I worked at magazines, and I just kept on top. It's like every single night I would go to bed and think what's my thing? What's my thing? What's my thing? And then I started one part plant because I have endometriosis. And I really just started it because food had really helped me with my endometriosis. I was supposed to get a hysterectomy. And I just thought had I have to share this information with people. So I started one part plant. And not really as an idea to make money because I didn't want to start a blog I just wanted I always said it's not a blog, it's a website. So and that made me feel okay with the fact that I wasn't making money from it. So I started a website. And then it just started to grow and people started connecting with it. And it's funny because I actually had another book that another book proposal out for something called so how was your day? And it was a completely different website that I did on the side again, just for fun, but a publisher saw it and they said we're not interested in this book. But is this the same girl from one part plant as like what cuz that's actually what I want to do with my wife is this but I didn't really think that that could be a career. And then it did come my career.

Kathleen Shannon 4:58
Okay, wait. So let's rewind a little Tell us a little bit about what one part plant is like, what is your mission behind it? What specifically helped you with? Yeah, sure this, like, what is the focus around the website?

Jessica Murnane 5:12
Well, do you know what I mean? You know, when you feel like you don't want to become a blogger, and there's nothing wrong with bloggers, but you're just like, I'm trying to create something different in the space. So, so yeah, so the website, not the blog, but one part plant is an overall mission. It's not just a website or a book, or it's, it's this, I want everyone in this world to eat one plant based meal a day. That's, that's my mission in life. And I think that that is an attainable goal. I'm not asking people to become vegan, or vegetarian, or paleo or raw. I just want them to eat one plant based meal a day. And, you know, with that, I changed to a plant based diet. It's been six years ago. And I mean, I went from, you know, it says, on my website, my diet consisted of Sour Patch Kids and Diet Coke. And like, that's pretty much what I ate. And so changing my diet was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. So, you know, I know how hard it is. And that's why I created this mission of just starting with one meal, because I feel like it's an approachable way to start.

Kathleen Shannon 6:19
Yeah, it sounds like it's more about adding really great food into your diet, less than removing things. Yeah. You know, like, if you start to fill up your plate with vegetables and plants, there's not going to be as much room for the Sour Patch Kids.

Jessica Murnane 6:35
Right, exactly. And the more plants that you eat, you'll start to notice that and I didn't believe that this could happen. But it did. your tastebuds start to change. And you you start craving those things less. And it's amazing when people don't know what's making them feel bad. So if you go out and you eat a big sandwich that has deli meat, cheese, bread, everything and then your stomach hurt, you have no idea what's hurting it. But if you kind of like start to slowly and I know what, Kathleen, I think you're into the whole 30. Yeah, so like for paleo, but but at the same time, that same concept is you know, you're kind of taking away some things to kind of see what makes you feel good and what doesn't. So at the end of your whole 30, you can look back and say, Wow, so I actually don't really feel bad when I eat bread. But I do feel really bad when I eat cheese. So maybe. So I just I just don't think it has to be all or nothing. Exactly. So

Kathleen Shannon 7:36
how many years ago did you start one part plant? How many years ago? Did you start the website?

Jessica Murnane 7:43
I think maybe three or four years ago?

Unknown Speaker 7:47
And were you blogging every day? Or no,

Jessica Murnane 7:49
that was like, maybe once a week. And really, you know, there was a big restaurant component to it, to where, you know, the driving force was partnering with restaurants for them to carry one plant based meal a day. So I had them, I considered it as a resource guide on my site. So I didn't feel like I had to update it that often. Because it's like, hey, it's still got information on it. But yeah, I just, I don't know, it's just blogging is just not something that I necessarily wanted to do. Like, I didn't want to have to buy a super nice camera and take food photos. I it's just it's just not like this is actually funny. My friend had an little intervention with me because I wasn't posting any food photos to Instagram because I felt like it seemed cliche. You're trying to help people eat better. You have to post photos of food. And I was like, okay, you're right. You're right. You're right. Right. So I have now really embraced it more, but I did fight against it in the beginning.

Emily Thompson 8:57
So I want to go back to the health journey, though that led you to creating this book. So you know, six, six years ago you said he started eating plant based he started the website three years ago what was the like personal journey that got you to caring about plant based when you really love Sour Patch Kids? Well,

Jessica Murnane 9:17
I mean, I don't know if you guys are familiar with endometriosis, but it's when the the type of lining that is on your uterus can grow outside of your uterus and it can grow into other parts of your body. And one in 10 women have it but I would say maybe one in five actually know that they have it. And so that endometriosis it I wasn't diagnosed with it until I was 28 and it just became increasingly so bad. I had multiple surgeries for it. I tried everything possible. I took painkillers, I smoked weed, nothing was helping the pain. So my doctor said I need to get a hysterectomy and I got a second opinion. And that doctor said the same thing. And so a friend actually came to stay with me in LA. I mean, when she lived in LA, and she came to stay with me in Chicago, and she saw me, like, I had to hold myself up on a table, because I couldn't even stand up. And so when she got back home, she started doing research on our own for on my behalf, which makes me want to cry, but, um, yeah, she she sent me all this information about how a plant based diet can help my endometriosis and I didn't think that it would work. I really had kind of zero faith in it working. But I also felt I'm kind of a people pleaser. And I thought, Okay, well, I'll try this because she sent it to me. And within a matter of weeks, it worked. And I never got hysterectomy.

Emily Thompson 10:51
I love that. That's awesome. I love hearing stories like that when people have these health issues and go to the doctor, because I'm all about like, crushing the establishment. Yeah. And doctor sort of saying these things, but there are there are alternatives. You just have to dig deeper and look past pharmaceutical companies and all those fun things. So I love that you get political up in here. There's not politics.

Jessica Murnane 11:16
Well, I mean, it's true because no, there is no cured and Dimitri osis, and there is no cure to a lot of things that plants can help but you can't get in bed with the kale industry. There's no it's not if there's no money in that for doctors. So a lot of doctors aren't going to tell you Yeah, change your diet. That's the answer. No, they're gonna prescribe you medicine to change it.

Kathleen Shannon 11:39
So did you go back to those doctors that told you that you would need to get a hysterectomy and say, Look at me I did, I actually

Jessica Murnane 11:45
brought one of them doesn't plant based cookies. And he just sort of as like, kind of just disregarded it. Um, the other person, the other woman that told me to get a hysterectomy, I kind of had a soft spot for her because she was the first doctor that actually believed my pain and did diagnose me. So I kind of wanted to give her a second chance in a way and say, Look, this helped me. But she just wanted me to get back on the pill and take medicine. I'm like, I can't, I can't I'm not going to do that anymore. I'm sorry. So I stopped seeing her. But yeah, women out there, man. It takes women an average of 10 doctors to get diagnosed with endometriosis. It's just it's in sane. And it takes most women they're not diagnosed until they're 30 years old. So if you have symptoms, and your periods aren't normal, like you should not be curled up in bed, it's not normal to feel that pain. So sorry that we keep on that. So no, it's no good.

Kathleen Shannon 12:49
I mean, I think that a lot of our listeners struggle with health issues and feel like there are not doctors that have their backs and have to go to figuring out their own answers, whether that's alternative medicine or their diet or trying things like acupuncture. But um, I think it's really cool that you continue to advocate for yourself and that your friend had your back and that you actually tried it and it worked. Okay, so then I want to talk a little bit then more about the capturing and shaping and sharing your journey for public consumption. So you start the website have to have restaurants carry plant based food so that you have stuff to eat,

Unknown Speaker 13:35
just kind of selfish.

Kathleen Shannon 13:39
But then at what point does it start to transform into a place where you are blogging and where you are starting to think like Okay, wait, this is something more than just a website and at any point was there like what day job were you working at that point? And was there a leap that you made where you were like I'm going to take this gig full time?

Unknown Speaker 13:57

Kathleen Shannon 13:58
are you still working a day job?

Jessica Murnane 13:59
No, I'm not I probably should be working a day job but I'm right now I'm living off the rest of my book advanced because I'm trying to figure things out but no, but I I didn't know I was still doing graphic design. When this was happening. I had a stationery company and so I was still doing that. But my heart was just not in design anymore. And I think a lot of that came from the fact that design gave me a lot of anxiety and I don't I know you guys are design people. But when you go to bed at night and you're like you can't sleep because of a weight of a paper and an ink color be like being like a shade off like and no one else would notice but you I just kind of felt like it just it just gave me it was just giving me too much anxiety. I didn't think was worth it anymore. So I that is fascinating. Like I Think obsessing because I have gone to bed obsessing over paperweight and ink colors and all of that print jobs.

Kathleen Shannon 15:08
I mean, I was more freaked out about the permanent see of like print design and making a mistake. But I would think that that kind of, well, anxiety, for lack of a better word is actually maybe showing how passionate you were about design, or was that not your experience? Was that not a passionate anxiety was it just,

Jessica Murnane 15:29
I mean, there's definitely passion there. But I just I remember this very specific moment, my friend and I shared an office space and I was designing a logo. And I put two logos up on the screen together. And I'm like, which one which one, which one and she's like, I do not see a difference between the two at all. And I'm like, okay, that are is a 16th of an inch different than that are she's like, girlfriend, you need to go back to your office, and you need to like, relax, because no one can see the difference between these two things. And so I think it was a passion, but I just think it was just, I don't want to feel that anxiety about being perfect, I

Kathleen Shannon 16:08
guess. So do you not feel that kind of anxiety though, with one part plant and getting the perfect photo? or making I don't recipe is like to the tee. Yeah, I

Jessica Murnane 16:20
mean, I definitely I felt that way with, I felt that way with the book. And I felt that way. But I guess I just started, I guess I felt like there's a bigger purpose to this. Or I just I guess I just felt like, I care about it. Like me putting a recipe on a website. It feels good. It I don't know. And I think that there. I don't know, it just feels good design just didn't feel good anymore.

Emily Thompson 16:50
I think I think all of us like creative passionate passionate people have have our own, like neuroses almost like we all have these things that like, either make us Twitch, but at the same time, make us Twitch, like the right things and like, even get into a profession that like feeds that for good. And then there are other things that you can do that will feed those things for bad. And so and that's something that I've like, every time I've made a switch, I feel like I find myself like spiraling into something that's no longer good. And so having to like refocus that energy is what makes it worth it again, I don't know. I feel like that's kind of

Jessica Murnane 17:27
I Oh, I totally, I think that that totally makes sense. And, you know, if the designer that designed my book at Harper Collins is listening to this, she can attest to like, this bitch still cares about design a lot. Like probably the worst person ever to work with because I would email back and say, Hey, could you move that about a 16th of an inch? Or can you move that point five down and type size. So I still love design. But I think stepping away from it sort of what you're saying, Emily's I can see now that I prefer directing or creating an overall brand as opposed to getting in there and actually creating a logo or actually, you know, creating a poster or something. I just, I didn't enjoy that anymore. I

Emily Thompson 18:16
totally get that. All right. I want to talk about the book, though, because I was listening to some things earlier. Are we really talking about the book, Kathleen, I'm ready to

Unknown Speaker 18:24
talk about it.

Kathleen Shannon 18:25
But I mean, I have more things I could say about design. And I just want to share one thing about that for our listeners. Because I think that whenever you are on a path to becoming a creative for a living, I think that a really great way to start is to be obsessed with your craft. And I'm definitely hearing that from you, Jessica. Emily, I know that you've been really obsessed with your craft in coding perfect websites. I've certainly I still my eyes still get twitchy whenever I see letting that is off or bad.

Emily Thompson 19:03
I was starting tweeting this shit that Kathleen says to me about kerning and justification and all of those fun things. Just Emily m underscore Thompson, on Twitter.

Kathleen Shannon 19:15
I think it's definitely this. I think that the this dedication to mastering your craft is super important. But when you start feeling like it has no purpose, that's whenever it's time for that craft to become a tool in your tool belt. And to be become something that helps you create what it is that you're supposed to be creating. So I think for all of us even today, use our design skills and our coding skills and this craft that we've learned to create the thing or really to share the message that we really want to share and to create the brands that we want to create. So that's all I'll say about that. So if you guys listening have anything like where you're starting to feel like I don't want to Just be designing for design sake, or I don't want to just be sketching or drawing or illustrating for that sake or coaching for coaching sake, like really start to think about what is it that you really have to say, and what is it that you're really working for. And Jessica, it sounds to me like you found what it is that you're really working for, through this personal journey of starting one part plant, and letting it grow into something beyond just a design project, or just even maybe a food project.

Jessica Murnane 20:28
Yeah, and I think definitely, towards the end of my design career, I was taking on less jobs where it was sitting down and doing a logo and always taking on a bigger job, like doing restaurant branding, like the overall look and feel. But even that just felt like I don't know, my whole life. All I have wanted to do is I know I've wanted to how to have a job to help people. But I was never sure how to do that. And I think I know that I'm what does that call to the overly sensitive person? What is that the highly sensitive person HSP, whatever. I know, I'm one of those. And I knew that I take stuff home with me. And I knew that like working with certain groups, I'd be too sensitive to do that. And I know that might sound crazy. But food felt like a safe space to help people. Is that selfish to say that?

Emily Thompson 21:25
Hell no. That because we all have our we all have our thing. We don't choose it. Like, sometimes I.

Unknown Speaker 21:39
Sometimes I

Emily Thompson 21:40
think about like telling people what I do. And then I have to laugh at myself, but also at their faces and like, you don't choose how you just or even what you're sharing. You just have to do it. So no, it's not selfish. just own it. Okay. I'm telling people, I'm a podcaster. And you're like, hey, like, it's like an online radio show? What station? Oh,

Kathleen Shannon 22:06
I hear you're saying Jessica, because my neighbor is a social worker. And I work with you know, and I work with some people who are doing some truly noble hard work. And whenever I think about that, whenever I think about the kind of work that social workers do that work for DHS, or whatever it crushes me, like I, I would be a sobbing mess all the time.

Jessica Murnane 22:29
Because you're a high I think you're you're a sensitive person, like I am to like, I think you like I've heard podcasts, and I have this problem that you feel compelled that you have to respond to everyone, which I do too, because I never want to hurt anyone's feelings. And like, and I think you're that same sensitivity where you see your neighbor doing this work, and you're like, wow, I want to help people. But at the end of the night, could you go to bed because all you'll be thinking about is that kid that didn't have a home and and I've had to like reckon with the fact within myself to know like, it's okay, if you're not cut out for that work, even though that's the work that you would like to do. And I think that's one of the big reasons why I decided to do it with food because it's like, I want to do something but I have to protect myself to

Kathleen Shannon 23:20
Yeah, and at the same time, I think that if we were all just out doing social work, or the work that we find most noble, I think that teachers is another one. Like, I have so much respect for teachers, I could never do it. I can't even home I can't even imagine homeschooling my kid right like that is so far outside of my realm of skill sets, or scope or attention span all of it. Anyway, all of this to say, this is why I love this ecosystem and economy of creative entrepreneurs because we're all doing wildly different things and contributing in different ways. And it's all of it is super important, even though to some of us it's like well, except that you know that social workers doing way more important than work then podcasting. You know, maybe not necessarily right, like we're all contributing to the quilt that is life. tweetable.

Emily Thompson 24:14

Kathleen Shannon 24:16
Beautiful. Okay, but let's get into the book. I'm ready. I'm ready to get into the book. Did you see you've got this book coming out now. Wait, why wait,

Emily Thompson 24:26
wait, I need to talk about another part of this book that I find hysterical and amazing. And that is the fact that you had two proposals out at one time. I had the one proposal

Jessica Murnane 24:35
out and then when someone said is this Jessica from one power plant, I was like, Alright, let's just do the one let's let's get the one part plant thing. Oh, so they had just seen my website? Um, gotcha. Yeah, I mean, I had a very small following. Like I had 500 Instagram followers like, I my agent didn't think that it like that could even protect essentially be a book like for maybe ever or a long time at least. So um, but once that person said that I was like, I don't want to do that other thing I want to do this thing. I'd rather do one part plant. Okay, wait,

Kathleen Shannon 25:15
I need some I need some, like clarity around this. So you had the proposal for what was that one called?

Jessica Murnane 25:21
It was called. So how was your day? It was a website.

Kathleen Shannon 25:23
So you had a proposal out for? So how was your date? You were working with an agent? Yes. On that book proposal? Correct. And your agent was like, I don't think so how do you approach your agent and said, but I have this other thing called one partner? No, no. So then you were approached by the agent for so how is your day actually? Like how it?

Jessica Murnane 25:43
Yeah, let's go. Let's go get back. No, but we'll go back on a logical go back even more. I really wanted to do an entertaining book. So I made a proposal for an entertaining book. Wait, what

Unknown Speaker 25:55
does that mean? What's an entertaining book

Jessica Murnane 25:57
and entertaining book because I felt like at the time, that there was really, really high end entertaining books, you know, it's got recipes, and like

Kathleen Shannon 26:06
throwing a party like that correct,

Jessica Murnane 26:08
or like inert, yet entertaining, you had really high end, and then you kind of have like, the preppy Kate Spade situation. And then you have this super DIY. It's like, Where's the middle ground? Right? So I put together this really great proposal for that. I a friend linked me up with that person with her agent. And the agent said, this book, this proposal is amazing. No one buys entertaining books. So I was like, Oh, so my idea. It's just that no one buys it. It's just not that there's a hole in the market. So she said, but I think that you have a book in you. But it's not this book. So then I started. So how was your day? And a year later? I said, Is this a book and she said, this is a book. So we put together a proposal for that. And then that did not end up being the book. But one part plant was my book. So I've written three proposals.

Kathleen Shannon 27:03
So pause here for a second did apparently at one point, you knew that you wanted to write a book.

Emily Thompson 27:11
This is what I wanted to get to exactly

Kathleen Shannon 27:14
right as the book always been a part of your big vision, like so you love books, where you like, I'm going to write a book one day, and then you were just kind of like, Is this it? Is it like, Have you always been searching for the book in you,

Jessica Murnane 27:26
I've always been obsessed with books like, and the my face didn't need to be in the book. My name didn't even need to be in the book. I just wanted a book that I produced. Like that is all that is definitely a mission that I had. And I remember I went out to dinner with my friends. This is probably like 10 years ago. And we were talking about like our master plans in life. And I said, My master plan. And I'm not kidding you. I actually said this. I've never told anyone. That's the only two people that know what are Allie and Emily, but I said, I'm going to create a brand. I'm going to get a book deal from that brand. And then I'm going to create products from that. I don't know what these things are yet. But that's what I'm going to do. And I mean, 10 years later it happened. And it's not an anything I thought it would be in. But I've always wanted a book.

Unknown Speaker 28:19
I love that is how you use your imagination.

Emily Thompson 28:22
Right? Exactly.


Kathleen Shannon 28:26
Oh, thanks for sharing that. Because I think that that's how a lot of us in our careers. I think that's how a lot of it works. Like, you know how sometimes people talk about dreaming about their wedding day from the time they were five I bet like all of us were five year olds who were like, Okay, what can I what kind of boss Am I going to be? What kind of brand Am I really, and it seems silly and almost even frivolous that really young, perhaps even naive dream could turn into a real thing. But I really do think that's how it works.

Jessica Murnane 28:58
But why also and maybe I'm the only one Why did it Why did you Is there a little bit of fear or embarrassment for telling that story? Like I felt a little bit of anxiety like telling that story, even though I don't think people would feel anxiety thinking, Oh, I know exactly that I knew exactly the kind of dress I wanted for my wedding. But I felt anxiety saying and then I said I'm gonna have a book, you know what I mean?

Emily Thompson 29:24
It's just a complete vulnerability, like not only talking about like, sharing stories like that period, no matter what they're about, like causes some serious vulnerability, but also being very forthcoming about what it is that you want is something that makes most people's skin crawl.

Kathleen Shannon 29:41
And they seem to want something that's outside of the social norms of I want the dress or I want the babies or you know, like something that's outside of the social conditioning for women in general to say I want to brand I want to book I want products and I want to make bank. We're not conditioned to feel okay saying those right,

Emily Thompson 30:01
right and to have no idea how you're going to make it happen, like just a want it without any plan in place.

Jessica Murnane 30:08
Yeah. And I thought I thought it was gonna be the entertaining book. And it wasn't at all. I mean, at that dinner, I was probably stuffing my face with food that I would never eat now. Not knowing that in the future, it would be a book that is so not about that food.

Kathleen Shannon 30:28
That's okay, so you got hooked up with the agent, one part plant came to surface that this was the book. Did you ever think about self publishing? Or did did you kind of start to go down the route of traditional publishing? Because you got the agent? Or is that kind of always a part of your vision is that you're going to have this book that's traditionally published and kind of have the clout that comes behind that?

Jessica Murnane 30:53
Yeah, I I think self publishing is amazing. So I'm not knocking it. But I there is no way I was interested in that at all. And I think that comes from being burnt on design. Because I knew that if I self published a book, I would design it, I was had zero interest in doing that at all. And yes, you could probably hire someone to do it. But I wouldn't have been able to hire someone to do that. Because I would have felt like I had to do it.

Kathleen Shannon 31:21
That is exactly why we are conditioned.

Emily Thompson 31:25
Because if we were self publishing, it would never go to print. Like we wouldn't tweak that currently every day for the rest of our lives.

Kathleen Shannon 31:32
Well, and there's also this like amount of guidance. I don't know if you felt this, Jessica, but this amount of guidance of going through something new like okay, how many times can we put ourselves through going through the next new thing and having to figure it out for ourselves? Like, wouldn't it be nice to just have a little bit of guidance whenever it comes to writing, designing, publishing, distributing, promoting, that you've never done before?

Jessica Murnane 31:57
Yeah. And I think that's the thing is, I definitely think that you can look at your publisher as your distribution arm, because I probably could have hustled for a year to try to get in Barnes and Noble. But I didn't want to hustle for a year because I wanted to hustle to write this book and make it beautiful. And so yeah, I think self publishing is amazing. It's just not something I was interested in. Okay, so

Kathleen Shannon 32:23
tell us a little bit about shopping the proposal then to publishers and getting Harper Collins.

Jessica Murnane 32:29
And by the way, I think I told you, but the new podcast I have about the cookbook deal chronicles the entire year. So I'm excited for people to hear that. I mean, I really reveal everything. There's some not so like nice moments in it. But um,

Unknown Speaker 32:46
wait, where can our listeners find that

Jessica Murnane 32:48
it's gonna be at the cookbook, deal.com and it will be on iTunes. But um, but yeah, I chronicled the whole year. And I actually chronicled doing the pitches in New York with publishers and I met with 15 publishers, which was just, you know, in the podcast, I talked about how I went into all these meetings like a robot and I was like, I was so on my hair looks so good. My and then, after the last meeting, I went outside and I threw up because it was just like, everything flooded up at once.

Kathleen Shannon 33:22
But I like it. And you literally threw out. Yeah,

Jessica Murnane 33:24
but but in those meetings, I killed it. Like I had. No, I was not nervous at all. I was like, I am doing this. And then I went outside. I was like, okay, you did it. Now let it all out.

Kathleen Shannon 33:39
And like you, you're left in the street. I

Jessica Murnane 33:41
mean, it was like a little puke. It wasn't like drunk puke.

Kathleen Shannon 33:46
I have a phobia, dear listeners, right here. Throwing up scares the shit out of it's not a pretty thing. I have a phobia of it. So like, you tell me that. And I'm like, my heart's racing. I'm like, Wait, you're okay, not to non to focus the conversation on that. So you you are super put together, you're doing this in person. You have 15 publishers interested in your book? How did you land and land on HarperCollins? So

Jessica Murnane 34:14
I don't know if you're, I don't know if your listeners know. But a lot of times what will happen with a book is that it goes to auction. And so when it goes to auction, you know, it's kind of a crazy system. And it's not, you know, my agent standing in front of a room saying like, do you $1 million for Jessica's book, but it's like it's done over the phone and email. But um, you know, they won the auction. And that's who I wanted to go with. Anyway, they were my first choice. So it actually ended up to be great. But yeah, it's, you know, there was I met with three different imprints of HarperCollins. And just people don't know what imprints are. It's a publisher within a publisher. So most publishers have they Could have up to like 250 imprints that focus on a specialized genre of books. And so I ended up going with harbor wave, which does a lot of more wellness and food and cooking books. So I mean, I couldn't, it was my dream. And I actually mentioned this in the podcast, there's this moment where I'm talking with my agents after the meetings. And I said, You don't understand. I just walked into the offices of the people that made my favorite books in my entire life. And like, you might take that for granted. But even if I don't get a book deal, that was enough just to walk into those offices. And I don't care, like if that sounds cheesy, because it meant a lot to me, you know?

Kathleen Shannon 35:43
Yeah. And I think that's highlighting a big part of what we believe here at being boss is enjoying the process, you know, the process of pitching the book could have been full of anxiety and stress and a lot of like negative feelings. But instead you enjoyed it. You were like, yes, like this is a win. Right? Just be able to pitch the book to 15 publishers. That's amazing. So yeah, whenever you're talking about going to auction, and whenever we were pitching the being boss book, and we had publishers interested in it, it almost felt like a blend between I've never rushed for a sorority. And what I hear because you're kind of interviewing each other, right? You're trying to see if they're a good fit for you. They're trying to see if you're a good fit for them. It's kind of a blend between rushing for a sorority, and then also buying a house. Yeah, where people are putting in their bids. And but

Jessica Murnane 36:41
I think what I think the craziest thing, too, that I mentioned again, in the podcast is that it felt like one of the first times in my life where I wasn't trying to prove myself, like they wanted to meet with me. And that I went into those meetings feeling like I would almost have to defend that I didn't have a lot of Instagram followers. And that, you know, I do know these people, and I would leave the meetings and I would tell my agent, I God, they were so nice. And she's like, yeah, they wanted to meet with you. And I think that as sometimes as a business owner, or as a creative, you're constantly trying to prove while you're awesome. And it felt so good to sit back and think like, Oh, you already think I'm awesome. That's why I'm here. So it felt good to.

Emily Thompson 37:28
Yeah, I think definitely one of one of my very biggest boss moments was sitting in some publisher calls and like same sort of experience where you're sort of put on the spot for knowing your shit. And if you're doing it, you know yet, and that feels.

Kathleen Shannon 37:44
So, those 500 Instagram followers, because I know for us, whenever we were pitching our book, looking at our assets was huge for our agent and for publishers being interested, or at least that felt huge. Like, you need to have so many Facebook followers and Instagram followers and newsletter subscribers and all the things right. Because the same age, I think that a lot of publishers really want to see that you have a good, like promotional vehicle already put in place for whenever the book comes out. So tell us a little bit about your Instagram following when you pitch the book now you have over 16,000 I checked this morning as

Jessica Murnane 38:24
well. I want to tell you something about that. I have I definitely have thoughts about that. No, I actually knowing that we were going to get on this call and knowing that that might be a topic that we were talking about. I looked at my proposal. And in my proposal it I had 2000 followers when I pitched the book. And for my podcast I had I was I felt like it was like an over 40,000 downloads. And I was like yeah, look, I mean, that's so I've grown so much because I have way more than that now. But just to show you I didn't have that many downloads. And I didn't have that many followers. And when I say that many in the scope of people that I'm appear with, you know, you know, because most of the people in my space have 100,000 Instagram followers or more.

Kathleen Shannon 39:15
Yeah, totally no big deal for them.

Jessica Murnane 39:17
Right, exactly. And they've got a blue badge next to their name. And they're like what, exactly, whereas there's other people that don't have a podcast or an or a blog or a website or whatever and have 200 Instagram followers and they think 1000 is a lot so it's all relative, but it's not relative when you're trying to get a book deal you should have a lot. So I think that I got the book deal with that low amount for a couple of reasons. One, I had a concept, a very concrete concept of one part plant having one plant based meal a day. I didn't pitch another plant based book with chock full of recipes easy for your family. It was a very concrete concept. And I positioned it in a way as being the new Meatless Monday. And I think that the way that I positioned it gave it legs outside of it just being a book. So that was important. I also think that Guess what, before Instagram, people had influence, and I and I definitely have a really great network of friends and family that are influencers outside of social media. And I, you know, I just the number game drives me absolutely insane. Like, it makes me sick, because some of the coolest people I know are not on social media. And they are just as influential as the person that has 100,000 followers, because they're charismatic and cool and smart and have good ideas. And so. And in terms of that, 16,000 number two things, and I was going to actually ask your advice on this, you guys, I'm one. I was at 7000 followers when Lena Dunham Instagram me, I about me, and I immediately in 24 hours got 7000 more

Kathleen Shannon 41:15
weight. So how did Lena Dunham? Is she one of your offline influence friends? Like how did that happen? Let's

Jessica Murnane 41:21
get back to her because I do want to ask you guys about this Instagram thing real quick. Um, okay. And then I got a bunch more because I'm not going to say who but someone I know, in the wellness industry decided to buy followers. And somehow, I knew that she did, because I was getting these floods of light of floods of new followers. And I was looking at each person and each person. They also followed her. And I'm like, this seems kind of weird that all of these new followers are get the only person in common is me and her. And so I text her and I said, What's going on with all of these new followers that we're getting? And she said, I am so embarrassed to admit, but I bought followers. And I'm like, Okay, well, now it's affecting my account. And it feels really gross and icky, because I didn't buy followers. So how do you get rid of those? Is there like an app or a program or something? Because I actually don't like my happy place was having 3000 really engaged followers. And especially with algorithms and things like there's a 5050 chance people are going to see your shit anyway, if you have a shit ton of followers.

Kathleen Shannon 42:45
I know, you know, I feel this way with our being boss Facebook group, because Facebook started promoting the being boss Facebook group, just like on a sidebar. So people would see Oh, this is a group for creative entrepreneurs not even knowing about the being boss brand. And then coming in and diluting our Facebook group with spammy sales messages or with negative fights or whatever it might be. Right? And, and it's really super frustrating, because I'm with you, where whenever that Facebook group, if I remember, even at 3000 people, we were like, this is huge. But everyone was super engaged. And that's actually how we ended up pitching our book and selling it without a huge following. We have a good amount of download numbers from being in the iTunes top charts. But whenever it comes to social media, we're not in that 100,000 Club, right? We're not in the six figure club. And so we really sold the book by letting our agent and our publisher know, Okay, listen, we don't have a lot of people. But the people we do have are loyal, they are smart. And they are loud, like they live out loud. And we have no doubt that they're going to buy and share this book with me. Because if so, yeah, their following is only 100

Jessica Murnane 44:03
each, you know, like they have all like trust and believe each other. So we love that if someone sits down and listens to you talk for 45 minutes. That is an engaged audience member. And that's you know, that was a big part even though I didn't have huge download numbers for the podcast. I mean, the podcast really did help sell the book too. But going back to that Instagram thing, if anyone is listening and know some sort of app or something that you can get rid of fake bought followers, I do not want them in my I don't like having them It makes every time I open up my account. It just feels icky because I did not do that I did not buy these people that are sort of messing up my game with the people that I really do want to engage with.

Kathleen Shannon 44:52
I think that I mean my recommendation, Emily, I'm curious to hear what you think is just to continue to engage the people that are Really they're right. And um

Jessica Murnane 45:03
but at the same time and I I'm not being negative and I like that but because of the amount of followers it's given me because of the algorithm the people that are my people won't see

Emily Thompson 45:14
it any Yeah, I mean that's totally messed up your Insta game like legit which sucks I have no idea I think we should all go on a search or like start bombing Facebook with emails about how this is messing up our game maybe not I feel like there are better activism things to do with your life

Jessica Murnane 45:33
but but this business you know when I yeah, so anyway I'm just throwing it out there there has to be something to get rid of those fake bot accounts there

Kathleen Shannon 45:42
has to be well in this whole conversation is just a good way to show people if you're thinking about buying fall don't feel like the numbers aren't Rianna

Jessica Murnane 45:53
can mess with your friends. And it all makes me livid.

Emily Thompson 46:01
Right? Oh, I can tell. Good it should it should everyone feel her anger? help her out.

Kathleen Shannon 46:09
Alright, I'm going to talk a little bit more about I'm going to shift directions here a bit. I want to talk about like actually writing the book. So you pitch the deal. Now you're writing the book. And everyone talks about if you've read read Amy Poehler is Yes, please. Like she talks about how painful it is to write a book. And I certainly felt that writing our proposal and even the first couple of chapters, then I hit my groove. But I'm curious to hear from you. What has like the actual writing process been like? Has it been everything that you dreamed of? What what was really super challenging? What was really super awesome about it? Um,

Jessica Murnane 46:43
I mean, okay, so let me start with challenging because that was definitely the recipes. That was a huge challenge. And I'm,

Kathleen Shannon 46:52
every time every time we're writing, I'm like, we're not writing a cookbook,

Emily Thompson 46:57
right? I have a very practical question. Yeah, sure to buy

Jessica Murnane 47:00
like everything. Do you have like a food budget, okay. This, like, greeting, breakdown so much in the cookbook, deal podcast, you get your advance check that first check is supposed to cover the photography for the book, and the food. That's not possible. I actually ended up actually, I won't reveal this here because I revealed it in the podcast, but I had to borrow money to do the book. And I actually interviewed Michelle Davis from the kitchen. She was making $23,000 a year when she got her book deal at a grocery store. And she had to beg her publisher and her agent and have a very frank conversation with them and say, Look, I don't have enough money to make this book and do my life. So I'm gonna need my advance check like now. So it's um, it is it is really tricky with a cookbook, because you are paying for all of those groceries and you're paying for all those groceries twice or three times or four times when you have two recipe tests. And then if you decide not to shoot it yourself a cookbook shoot can be anywhere from 30 to $50,000.

Emily Thompson 48:17
Good, so cookbooks are that reality where you should be going everyone. I love I still want to do one. Kathleen, one day I'm doing a cookbook. So we No,

Jessica Murnane 48:27
no. So I mean, it's, you know, when it's, I will say, you know, highlights definitely the photoshoot was one of the most magical working experiences of my life, because, because it was because I did suck it up and borrow money to get the photographer I wanted. And that photographer said that I had to hire a prop and food stylist or she wouldn't work with me. So that tacked on another $20,000. Um, and so, you know, but going to that shoot, it was in LA for 10 days, going to that shoot and having a whole team work on your project. And you just kind of stand back and say,

Kathleen Shannon 49:08
I don't like that. I like that.

Jessica Murnane 49:14
It felt amazing by my dad tells the story in the podcast about how he went to a baseball fantasy camp. It was like his dream to go to fantasy camp. And he went to a baseball fantasy camp. And you know, he was still kind of young and still making money. And someone hit it up, hit the ball, and it was a foul ball and he ran after it. And this guy came up to him and he said, You don't get the foul balls here. And my dad told me he was like, stop getting all the foul balls, like let someone else get the foul balls. And that advice was like, You know what, you're right. Like, I need to let someone else help me with this. And so I did and it was the best part of the book was working with that team, but I spent the money to do it. was a huge investment.

Unknown Speaker 50:02
Okay, so are you or are you not friends with Lena Dunham?

Jessica Murnane 50:07
Okay, I were email friends. How did this happen? Okay, so, because I have endometriosis, I knew that I wanted someone to contribute to the book that had indo also. And you know, again, I want to be clear, this is not an endometriosis book. But if I'm going to get to write a book, I'm going to include at least a couple pages about it because it's like my duty in life to do that. And I really wanted to so I reached out to Well, here's a crafty thing I'll tell you guys, I knew that I wanted to include someone with endo. I thought now was definitely the most my demographic and the most outspoken about her disease and just someone that I love. And so I went to the acknowledgments page of her book, figured out who her agent was. Because if you want to find somebody, the best person to talk to is their agent. And usually people think them and the acknowledgments page or their book, and I just emailed my editor, I said, Could you get this person's email address for me? And she said, Sure, but you realize that she's probably gonna say No, and I was like, whatever I'm gonna try. So I just emailed nice that I would love to have her to contribute something to the book. And her agent wrote back, and she said, Absolutely, she would love to. And I was like, Okay, that was easy. But then the craziest thing happened, and I don't think she would mind me saying this, but um, Lina actually had to drop out of contributing to the book, because her endometriosis started acting up so much, and it's documented, you know, she had to drop out of girls promotion to for the book that's happened last February. And she wrote this really beautiful post about how my enemy dress is so bad that I have to drop out of girl promotion, I'm going to take some time for myself. And so our agent wrote me and she said, I'm really sorry, but she can't work on your project anymore. And I was like, I totally get it. And then I had this moment where I thought, okay, but I want to help her feel good. But I also don't want to come across as a star fucker. That's just trying to get to her because so I remember I wrote and I deleted three times, if she ever needs my help, let me know. And I'm like, Oh, I shouldn't send this. This seems creepy. But then I just decided to send it. And our agent wrote back, she said, she would love your help. And I was like, okay, so I just crafted this really big email for her like I would any other woman in my life with endo. And I said, Here's your shopping list, here's what you should do. And then she emailed me back directly, and she was like, Oh, my God, you totally get me. And then she started emailing me her food that she was eating. And so two months after that, she wrote back, and she said, if it's not too late, I'd like to contribute to your book. And so it just felt good, because I will say that when she originally said, Yes, it was exciting, but it also felt like not a true connection to her. And so it was good, but it was awesome. But then, when I felt that true, we had an actual connection. It felt very awesome. And the foreword that she wrote for the book is just so it made me cry when I read it, because it's very beautiful. And there's no way she could have written something like that if we hadn't had a true connection. So So I will say that two authors too, that are looking for a celebrity or someone to write, you're forward and your PR person talks to another PR person. I just think it's not going to feel as good unless it's a real relationship.

Kathleen Shannon 53:50
I love everything about that. And whenever you were sharing that story, thank you for sharing that. And what I you know, Emily, and I feel the same way even with our podcasts, like we have the opportunity to interview really big deals, and sometimes we'll say no, because if we're not personal fans, or if they're not fans of being boss, there's no connection from one side or the other. Right. And so I feel

Unknown Speaker 54:16
really good that you guys had me on.

Emily Thompson 54:19
He shouldn't everyone who comes on should

Kathleen Shannon 54:23
truly I mean, you and I have chatted before and and i don't know there's like this certain amount of pressure and like you said, not wanting to come across as like a star fucker. Like you just want to feel like you're a real person having a real conversation. And whenever it's agents just talking to someone else's agent or someone on a press tour, and they're you're just another person that they have to talk to you. They don't even want to talk to you. They have to talk to you for their own press to me their own press needs. And it's just exhausting for them. It's exhausting for you, and I Another thing I want to mention about this that really came up as you're sharing that story is that this can happen with non celebrities too. And this is why it's so important to cultivate your creative friendships in these meaningful relationships and collaborations. Because even if you're not, even if not one or the other of you is super famous, you can still lift each other up and contribute and currently collaborate and very much the same way. And it still feels probably just as good as it did for you to collaborate with Lena Dunham, as it does with someone that's not like you said, he says that, yeah. Well, you would have sent that email to anybody,

Jessica Murnane 55:36
right? Yes, absolutely. And, you know, I think my hesitation showed, but then I was like, You know what, fuck it, like, I actually want to help another woman, like, I don't care who that person is. And I want to add one other thing to that about the whole celebrity thing is, I've noticed on my own podcast, that sometimes the bigger the person, sometimes the obvious, the less shares, because sometimes you will interview a very big person, they're promoting 20 other things. They're not promoting a podcast that they were on. And so I find a lot of times the best engagement that I have with my podcast, and the more that I grow it is with people that are really passionate about their mission, they want to share, and they might not even have that many followers, but they're passionate. And so I just think it's it's good about having people on that, like you said, that you connect with, but aren't necessarily a name. You know,

Kathleen Shannon 56:37
totally. I even think about whenever I came on your podcast, I've never talked about this topic much anywhere else, but I'm super passionate about it. I'll save it for your podcast, guys. When you hear I did an interview with Jessica about something super duper personal, that I don't really share very often. But if truly like just having a genuine conversation with anybody, it feels so much better than just kind of like turning out your talking points. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 57:05

Kathleen Shannon 57:08
Okay, we're running out of time here. Emily, do you have any other questions about the book or writing the book for Jessica? It sounds like you cover a lot of it in your podcast, which I'm super excited to listen to you.

Jessica Murnane 57:19
Yeah, it's, uh, yeah, I recorded the entire year that I made the book. So there, it's just it's a lot of audio recordings and interviews. And then a whole bunch of other insane stuff happened during the year like my step mom got run over by a bus she lived. And then, you know, we lived through a hurricane and a flood. So it's like writing a book plus some sort of shit that happens on TV, not in real life.

Kathleen Shannon 57:48
Because life happens even as you're writing a book.

Jessica Murnane 57:51
Exactly. And you still have to meet the deadline. Yeah.

Kathleen Shannon 57:55
Okay, um, before I let you go, a couple things. One, what makes you feel most boss?

Jessica Murnane 58:04
I would go back to that story. I think other people getting the foul ball. I just like I remember Harper Collins, I, I spoke it they had me speak at South by Southwest do a panel. And there they sent an email me said, you know, here's the car that will be picking you up and it's like, a car. I don't have to try to figure out how to get a cat like it just feels good to be taken care of every now and then. Because when you are being your own boss, it's you just want someone to do something for you sometimes. So I think I feel the most Boston people get the foul balls and help me.

Unknown Speaker 58:40
Yes, yes. Right.

Kathleen Shannon 58:43
All right. And finally, let us know where our listeners can find the book and where they can find more from you.

Jessica Murnane 58:50
Sure, you can find me at Jessica murnane.com You can find me on Instagram at Jessica Runyon and also at one part plant one part plant Instagram is just a big big big inspiration board of ton of plant based meals that you can find the podcast the cookbook deal calm it's also on iTunes and my book one part plant wherever books are sold. Do you know why you're supposed to say wherever books are sold? Why?

Kathleen Shannon 59:17
thing I learned? We're just gonna be like calling you now every other

Jessica Murnane 59:21
that's fine. I listen. I had a handful of authors that had done this before and they were basically my lifeblood during this so I can be yours. I will do whatever you want. But no, they say wherever books are sold because if you favor some published if you favor some places to others, people get mad. So you can't just direct all people to Amazon. You have to direct people to Barnes and Noble and indiebound which absolutely makes sense, but you have to kind of give equal love to everyone. So wherever books are sold now

Kathleen Shannon 1:00:01
Alright, thank you so much Jessica.

Emily Thompson 1:00:03
Politics. I feel like that's just politics by the way.

Unknown Speaker 1:00:06
There we go. There we go.

Emily Thompson 1:00:08
Because I get it, I get it. I'll follow the rules. Hey, their bosses, Emily here and here at being boss. We're all about working smarter, not harder. And I firmly believe that the internet puts us in a special place to practice working smarter, not harder to a whole

Kathleen Shannon 1:00:24
new level.

Emily Thompson 1:00:26
Gone are the days of waiting a week for that piece of mail to land in your inbox or needing to hire people to do every little thing in your business. There are people all over the world using technology and the power of automation to take care of the mundane tasks for you so that you can focus your energy on the work you're best at. This is why we use acuity scheduling. I don't need to spend all day figuring out how to get a meeting on my calendar, accept payments for those appointments, or send reminders to make sure people actually show up. Not when acuities tool does that for me and more. Don't be a dinosaur. Focus on the tasks that matter most acuity scheduling see with your clients your calendar and your cash sign up for your free trial of scheduling sanity, at acuity scheduling.com slash being boss.

Kathleen Shannon 1:01:14
Thank you for listening to being boss. Find Articles show notes and downloads at WWW dot being boss club.

Emily Thompson 1:01:24
If you're a creative entrepreneur, Freelancer or small business owner who is ready to take your goals to the next level, check out the beam boss clubhouse a two day online retreat followed by a year of community support monthly masterclasses book club secret episodes and optional in person retreats. Find more at www dot being boss club slash clubhouse.

Kathleen Shannon 1:01:47
Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin brain, our community manager and social media director Sharon lukey and are being countered David Austin, with support from braid creative and indicia biography.

Emily Thompson 1:02:05
Do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.