Does your book launch feel a little like being in a whirlwind of to-do’s, emotions and exhaustion?
Kathi Lipp and her angelic co-host Michele Cushatt tell how to avoid being the “Bridezilla” of our book launches and tame our inner tantrums. Michele gives us 5 ways to launch a book without losing your soul because it’s absolutely vital to the message God has given you to stay sane.
In today’s episode, you will know:
- How to tame your book launch to do list.
- The truth about prioritizing time for yourself.
- Michele’s secret to keeping the important tasks and losing the rest.
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Transcript of this Episode
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Communicator Academy Podcast #180
Launching Your Book without Losing Your Soul
Kathi – Well, hey friends! Welcome to Communicator Academy, where our heart is to equip and encourage men and women to become the communicators God has created them to be. Joining me today is my angelic cohost, Michele Cushatt. Hey, Michele!
Michele – Hello there. I’m laughing, everyone, because before we started recording, I told Kathi a confession. I’ve been a heinous human being today.
Kathi – I don’t even think this is possible. I really don’t.
Michele – No, it is most definitely possible. Lemme tell ya. Have you ever seen the show Bridezilla?
Kathi – I have not.
Michele – Have you heard of it? Know the premise of it?
Kathi – I have. Wait! Wait! Have you seen it? That’s the question.
Michele – You know I’m not a TV person, right? So I’ve only seen clips as I’m flipping through. I saw enough to know.
Kathi – I just want it noted in the…how do you say it?
Michele – Annals of Communicator Academy.
Kathi – I was afraid I was going to say a word that I shouldn’t say, there. I want it noted that Michele has watched more of a show than I have, and it’s not football.
Michele – And Bridezilla, of all things. But I’m talking seconds. I watched clips.
Kathi – Still more than me.
Michele – Stop talking. All I want to say at this point is, I have discovered that there is such a thing as a Book Lauch-illa.
Kathi – Bookzilla.
Michele – Bookzilla.
Kathi – So, you’re not being a Bookzilla, like many authors are, where they’re trying to shove their books down our throats seven hundred times a day, and begging us to buy it?
Michele – No. I’m just doing it at home with the people I love most. I’m not laughing because it’s funny, I’m laughing because it’s sad. Book launches are hard.
Kathi – They are.
Michele – I’m six weeks away from launching a book, at the time of this recording. It’s been a couple of years since I launched my last one. It takes me that long to forget the pain.
Kathi – Just like childbirth.
Michele – Just like childbirth. Every consecutive book, the time between gets longer, because I remember more. I’m going to make everybody listening not want to launch a book. But, anyway, I’m launching a book. I’m very privileged, very honored to do this, but it is hard. There are so many things going on. Working too many hours, and all of this. I’m not sleeping well, because my mind is going through my book launch task list, right? All the things I have to do. Let’s just say that my patience level for the ordinary hiccups of everyday mothering and wife-ing and everything else, it’s kind of non-existent.
Kathi – I think that we’ve all been through that. I don’t have as much going on at my house, but today, I’m officially relaunching a book. It’s not the same as a book launch. Let’s be clear. I have showered, so, you know.
Michele – I have not.
Kathi – That’s okay. It requires a level of, I don’t want to say pushiness, but pushing outside your comfort zone. You’ve been working on this book. You believe it can help people. You want to get it into people’s hands, but you don’t want to be that person. It’s a lot. Also, it plays on your worthiness. It’s the worst game of Am-I-Sitting-at-the-Popular-Table? ever invented.
Michele – Ever. Of course, there are millions of people launching things at the same time. It’s all of that at once, while you’re trying to do your normal, day to day life and everything else. I got to thinking about that today. This isn’t just about book launches. Anytime we launch a new book, or a new ministry, a new podcast, a new product, a new team, whatever it is. Whenever we start a new project, it’s so easy to lose ourselves in the list of to-dos. All the expectations and hopes and goals and everything. Before we know it, we’ve turned into this Bridezilla of book launches, or podcast launches, or whatever. This is counterintuitive, right, to what we’re trying to do.
Kathi – So, how do you not become a Launchzilla?
Michele – I had to think through this, today. “Okay, I need to recalibrate. I need to get back to my center. Get back to my core and not be operating on fumes. So, what do I need to do?” So, I came up with Five Ways to Launch a Book without Losing Your Soul.
Kathi – I love this. I think we should all be taking notes. The good news is, we will have notes in the show notes. So, give it to us with the dose of pain and reality that we need, Michele.
Michele – Exactly. Well, to begin, you need to Set Realistic Goals. This happens before the book launch. My problem, right now? I have to go back and revisit them. Remind myself of what I’m really aiming for. What happens is, there’s more and more things to do every day. We do project management in Asana on my team. Well, my Asana task list is doubling almost every day. So, every time I check three of four things off, I get eight more. I need to go back and remind myself: Who am I doing this for? What are my most important goals? Reevaluate that, so I can let go of everything that’s not directly contributing to the goals I set initially.
Kathi – I think that’s so important with the realistic goals. I think that is the key to as much peace as possible during this time. You know, I used to think, “Well, my goal is to become an Amazon or New York Times best seller.” Because those are super realistic. I think often, what we have to do is say, “Okay, it’s not my goal about what the book is going to accomplish, but what can I accomplish. What can I realistically do, at this point in my career, with the resources I have? What can I do?” I think that’s great. We talk about Outcome Goals vs Output Goals. “What’s the output I can do to get the best outcome that I want?”
Michele – One way we did this on my team is, we took a long list of all the dream things that we would like to do, but then we divided it into ‘A Priorities’, ‘B Priorities”, and “C Priorities”.
Kathi – So smart.
Michele – Only the ‘As’ have to get done. So, if I’m feeling spread thin, guess what? The ‘Cs’ and the ‘Bs’ are gone. We just chuck them. We’re done.
Kathi – Mental health is more important than ‘B’ and ‘C Priorities’.
Michele – What happens is, if I don’t revisit those priorities, ‘As’, ‘Bs’, and ‘Cs’ all blend together and I try to do it all. So, I need to go back, look at my list of ‘A Priorities’ and say, “These are what I’m doing. Everything else, at this point, is going to wait until 2020 or never, but the ‘As’ I will get done.” That’s really helpful.
Kathi – Let me fall in to that, too. One of the things we try to do, is we say, “Well, this worked for Suzanne’s book launch, so I need to do it.” Often times, one, you and Suzanne are writing totally different things. Two, Suzanne has gifts you don’t have and vice versa. Maybe your friend, Suzanne, has written a million blog posts, and that’s great for your friend, Suzanne, but that thought makes you want to sit in a corner and rock back and forth. But, maybe Suzanne’s not a gifted speaker, and you are. Maybe doing a million podcasts sounds exciting and it’s fun for you. Lean into that. That is a realistic goal. Okay, not a million, but doing twenty podcasts could be a realistic goal for you.
Michele – Absolutely. The point of all of this is that, if you go back to your goals, it will keep you from playing the social media game. That’s what you want to do. You want to let the goals guide your decisions, not the whole online/internet/comparison black hole.
Kathi – Amen. Okay, so that was number one. Set realistic goals. What’s number two?
Michele – Number two is: Lean into Daily Rituals. I talk about this a lot with clients I coach. When life gets busy, when our work gets very full, very busy, and we have more than we can do, the first thing to go is usually our daily routines, our daily rituals. Things like, getting up in the morning and reading your Bible and praying. Going for a walk. Eating a healthy meal. Showering. You know, the basic things. What happens is, we get so busy that we’re like, “I don’t have time for that.” The reality is, those daily rituals are what keep you grounded and secure your peace. When you throw those away, you open yourself up to all kinds of chaos. So, I was thinking, I need to make sure I am going right back to my very important daily rituals. After I finish recording today, I’m taking my puppy for a walk. Whenever I’m outside, I feel so centered. I feel so peaceful. So, lean in to those daily rituals. The last thing you need to do is get rid of them.
Kathi – Amen. You know, you sleep better when you ritualize your morning and your evening.
Michele – Absolutely true. The third way to Launch Your Book without Losing Your Soul, then, is to Book Recovery Time. So, right now, every day, requests are coming in for me to do podcasts or radio or TV interviews, and what happens is, my calendar gets really full, and I forget to book recovery. So, one thing I thought of this morning. I need to go into my calendar, before everything else fills it, and I need to book time to recover. That’s going to look like an hour or two some days. Somedays it’s going to be an entire day, but I need to book recovery time on my calendar, when I’m intentionally not doing anything related to the launch.
Kathi – You have to get some perspective. Otherwise, what happens is, your work goes up, but your productivity goes down.
Michele – Your excellence goes down. The quality goes down. When I book recovery time, time to read a novel, to play a game with my kids, to take a nap, I actually am sharper when I come back to work.
Kathi – It’s interesting. I used to just block three weeks off for a book launch, and do nothing else, and now, people will say, “Let’s go out to lunch, but we can do it after your book launch.” And I’m like, “No. Let’s do it smackdab in the middle of the book launch, ‘cause I’m going to need to talk about something besides this book.”
Michele – Absolutely, and this leads right into the fourth way to Launch a Book Without Losing Your Soul, that is to set really good, solid boundaries and adhere to them. So, opportunity breeds opportunity. The more opportunity you have, the more opportunities will come. So once again, you have to get really good about setting boundaries around your time, your pipeline, your task list. Basically, say, “I am not doing recordings after this time, or before this time.” “I am not doing any recordings during the lunch break.” “I’m not doing anything from Friday at 5pm until Monday at 9am.” So, setting some really good, solid boundaries and actually adhering to them. The success of your book launch isn’t dependent on you selling your soul to it. It keeps bringing me back, every time I talk about this, every one of these ways I’m talking about, I keep coming back to Luke 9:23-25, where Jesus said, “What would it profit a man to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit his very soul?” We call it ‘ministry’, but we are going after the world and we’re losing our soul. That’s not ministry.
Kathi – Michele, I can think of times I’ve done this in a book launch. Where I’ve pushed too hard. I’ve done too much. I’ve called in too many favors. I’ve pressured people. I would not say this has happened in the past five years, but before that, I can think of times where it was more about the book sales than about the book impact, and I don’t want to be that person.
Michele – Exactly. That’s why, even today as I was like, “Boy, I’m not very pleasant right now.” I’m like, “Okay, it’s sneaking up on me. It’s time to get back to my center, to my core. Make sure I’m very grounded, so this book launch doesn’t steal the best part of me.” The fifth way then, to launch a book without losing your soul, is simply to Invite Accountability. You are never going to be so wise, so capable, beyond the need of other people to speak into you. So, invite accountability. That means you tell your team, “These are the boundaries I’ve set. These are our goals. I’m getting back to my rituals. I’m setting time.” I just let me team know yesterday, I’m taking all week off in the middle of October for Fall Break with my family. I’m not going anywhere, but I’m not working. Period. I’m not doing anything related to the book launch. I’m not doing anything. Those seven days? I’m off. I said, “I need that.” They said, “Absolutely.” So, I told them about it. I communicate to my family, as well. I’ve even set some expectations. I told my husband, “The next six weeks are going to be hard. I just want to let you know. I’m going to do everything I can to really stay grounded.” So that accountability then will help your slide into performance mode.
Kathi – Okay, so Michele, it’s just you and me, here. It’s just you and me, right?
Michele – Just you and me.
Kathi – Just you and me. Okay, so I love what you’ve done in mid-October, taking the week off. What else? Give me two other things that you’re doing so that you are not heinous? Her word, not mine.
Michele – It’s true. I wish I could say I was just always nice and pleasant, but, yeah. I’ve got triplet pre-teens here, so it’s a little bit difficult, now.
Kathi – The heinous is baked into your life.
Michele – The truth is, I’m perfectly capable of heinous on my own, so thank you for Jesus.
Kathi – Okay, two other things that you gonna do.
Michele – I told my assistant yesterday. I don’t want anything booked on Fridays. I want Friday off, while my kids are at school, where I can get to a place where I’m in a really good headspace for them to come home and spend all weekend with them. So Friday? No podcasts. No recordings. No meetings. No interviews. Nothing. Friday is a quiet day.
Kathi – That’s my Monday. I do that every week. It is the best decision I’ve ever made.
Michele – Everyone says, “We only record on Fridays.” Well, I’m sorry then. I’m not available on Fridays.
Kathi – I’ve turned down three interviews for Mondays. Here’s what I know, if I interrupt my Mondays? Saturdays are often workdays for me. Sundays are about church and family. If I don’t have one day to quietly get things done? Or if I feel obligated? If I have to put on makeup, it’s all over. I just need a space, and I feel resentful when I have to give that away. You don’t want me on your podcast when I’m feeling resentful.
Michele – Not a pleasant experience, if I did that. So, you said two more things. The other thing is, there are numerous things on my book launch strategy goal sheet that I was trying to sneak in and get done before December, and I just decided it’s not going to happen until 2020. If at all. We are just not doing it. We’re taking it off the list. It’s not happening.
Kathi – I love this, you guys. These are major book launches for Michele, and here’s the list of the things she’s not doing. We can all do this. If Michele can do it? Her books are important, you guys, but know you what? So is her family. So is her own soul. So is her integrity. She can’t talk about these things if she’s not living these things, and that means making hard decisions. Michele, this is such good stuff.
Michele – Thank you! I hope it’s helpful. I think all of us can get sucked into the vortex of wanting to do a good job, right? We have this message we believe in, and we want to do a good job. If a good job means losing your soul, it’s not a good job. That’s not what it’s all about. The five ways again: 1 – Set realistic goals. 2 – Lean into daily rituals. 3 – Book recovery time. 4 – Set solid boundaries. 5 – Invite accountability. There you go.
Kathi – Beautiful, Michele. Thank you so much.
Michele – Alright friends, thank you for joining us today. Here’s hoping that you can get grounded and find new peace in your soul today. You’ve been listening to Communicator Academy. I’m Michele Cushatt.
Kathi – And I’m Kathi Lipp.
Michele – You’ve been given the best message in the world. Now, go live it.
*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned item
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