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Kathi Lipp and one of her favorite people, Diane Dokko Kim are helping to take the mystery out of book launches. With so many different versions of what a book launch should look like there can be misconceptions among communicators. Thankfully, Kathi and Diane give us a clear road map and help to take the guesswork out of book launches. You do not want to miss Kathi inquiring of Diane’s very analytic brain and find out her answers to:
- What has been your biggest surprise in becoming an author?
- What was your biggest surprise when launching the book?
- What were you not prepared for?
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Transcript of this Episode
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Communicator Academy Podcast # 194
What I Didn’t Know About Book Launches – Part One
Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Communicator Academy, where our heart is to equip and encourage men and women become the communicators God has created them to be. Joining me today is one of my favorite people. She’s not just one of my favorite authors, she’s just one of my favorite people. Her name is Diane Dokko Kim and she came out, in 2018, with her book Unbroken Faith: Spiritual Recovery for Special Needs Parents. Now, we are not going to be talking about special needs today, even though you are the expert and I can’t believe how many people I run into every single day that I refer to you, Diane, in order to get help, but we’re going to talk about help of a different kind. So, Diane, welcome to Communicator Academy.
Diane – Thank you. I’m always honored to spend time with you, Kathi.
Kathi – So, when I have a particularly good podcast come out, or something, I can almost predict when you are going to send me a follow up email. This is what I love: I love your brain. Do you think of yourself as an analytic?
Diane – I do, yeah.
Kathi – Okay, because I don’t think, personally, you come across analytic. I live with one. I’ve given birth to one. I know what an analytic looks like, but, personally, you don’t come across as an analytic, but you have a very analytic brain. We were recently discussing things about book launches. We started to talk about, holy cow, there’s the movie version of what a book launch looks like. There’s the what-we’ve-heard-from-other-people book launch looks like. There’s the version of what-we-think-our-publishers-should-be-doing book launch. There’s the version of what we think we should be doing. Then there’s reality. So, there are five different versions of what a book launch looks like. So, this book was your first book, correct?
Diane – Absolutely.
Kathi – Yeah. So, I want to ask you a couple of questions. There are a lot of people who are listening to this who, either, they’re getting ready to launch their first book, or they are in their seat, writing the book right now and they’re thinking about launching it. Either they’re super-excited about it, or it terrifies them. So, I want to know from you, what was, first, your biggest surprise about becoming an author? Then I want to know, what was your biggest surprise about launching a book? So, what was your biggest surprise about becoming an author?
Diane – The biggest wallop was, realizing that when you become an author, you automatically become, not just a speaker, but a small business person. You’re not just launching as book, you’re launching a ministry.
Kathi – Right. I don’t think people get that. This is how I used to think about it. “I’m going to write a book and that’s going to be awesome. Then I’m going to go write another book, and that’s going to be awesome, and I’ll just write whatever I’m interested in, and whatever I feel like I have something to say.” And that is not the way to approach prescriptive non-fiction ever again. If you’re launching a book, you are launching a ministry. Or, you’re launching a business, depending on what the angle of it is. So, you wrote this book, and you thought, what? You were going to write this book, and everybody was going to take your advice, and they’d just wait on pins and needles for your next download of wisdom. But, something different had to happen.
Diane – Honestly, I didn’t even have such high expectations of just turning out a book and turning out another book. Honestly, I thought that I’d write this book, I’ll release it, and I’ll just go back to my life of obscurity, and maybe, five-ten years from now, I’ll write another book. It really didn’t turn out that way. Looking back, it’s like birthing a baby. For me, I spent so much time and stress getting the book out, making it perfect, all of that. You prepare for the “birth plan” and everything, but I wasn’t prepared for “parenting” and “raising” this book, and all the nurturing, and all the marketing, and all the backend stuff that goes with it. That’s actually a lifelong process of supporting this “baby” you’ve birthed.
Kathi – This sounds terrible, but I’ve had to kill some of my “babies”. ‘Cause it’s not what I’m doing anymore. I’ll go in and give them a little life support, feed them a little bit, but I now know that my ministry is decluttering, organizing, then preparing. That’s my ministry. It used to be marriage. It used to be parenting. I don’t do that anymore. So, other people have taken up the mantle for that. Other people enjoy it more. I have found my sweet spot. So, when I write a book, I have to figure out, “How does it fit into this paradigm? How does it fit into the ministry that I’ve created?” So, this is really interesting. I’ll tell you what I feel like my biggest surprise is, that I’ve just learned, even though I’ve been doing this for a long time? Probably 14 years at this point. What I’ve just learned is, how much I learn about the subject after the book comes out. I knew a lot about decluttering. I knew a lot about organizing. I knew that, but the questions that I get from people, show me a different struggle than the one I was addressing. To me, that’s how the best next book is birthed, because it’s the application or it’s the thing that I didn’t personally struggle with, or were easier for me, so I didn’t write about them. So, then, I learned the next thing. So, when you’ve done your job well, and I know you’ve done your job well. I’ve read your book. What it does, it brings up more potential for ministry and business than you could have ever imagined. Is that the truth for you?
Diane – Absolutely. I thought, you know, it’s a niche topic, special needs parents. It’s even in the title, “For Special Needs Parents” and I just thought, this is a book for a very small segment of folks. I had no idea, first of all, the response that I would get from that audience, but then, it actually birthed a whole second audience, where the real needs happened. So, for example, I thought this would just be addressing parents, but I really was not prepared for the church ministry leaders that would all of a sudden rise up and say, “Hey, can you train us on how to love these families? How to take care of these families?” So, first of all, I wasn’t prepared for the reader response, and I wasn’t prepared for the second audience that came up. That second audience is where the bulk of the speaking engagements, the requests to do podcast, the request for articles and stuff came out. I really wasn’t prepared for that whole second. So, that whole second audience, they’re the ones that actually drove the content for my second book. You actually just released a podcast about that. They’re the ones that kept asking the same questions. “How do you do this? How do you do this?” And I thought, “You know what? There’s not enough of me to go around.” And that’s why books get written, to meet those needs.
Kathi – Absolutely. It was so interesting. I was just speaking at MOMCom, which is the MOPS International thing, and we were talking about, “You have to know your ‘why’. Why you are decluttering your house?” It was interesting. Every session I spoke in, someone said, “I have a special needs child, and that special needs child needs to know where the pencils are, every single time. That special needs child needs to know when dinner is.” So, even as someone who is not in a special needs ministry, is not in a capacity at a church, I’m like, “Oh, wait. There’s something I can speak to in the special needs community.” I do have a child who is considered on the spectrum, but it wasn’t a huge part of our lives, because we didn’t know about that stuff back then. We’re learning more and more. It’s interesting that this whole other thing has risen up for you and you’re able to address it. It’s not just a book, it’s a ministry and a business.
Diane – Absolutely.
Kathi – So, what was your biggest surprise about launching the book, actually being out there, doing the work, getting the book into people’s consciousness?
Diane – I think, just practically speaking, as I was preparing to publish, you’ve got launch teams. I’d never been part of a launch team. So, I really regret that I had not been a part of another author’s launch teams, because, by the time I had to lead my own, I didn’t know what I was doing. Blind leading the blind. So, I think, practically speaking, I wasn’t prepared for that piece, and that’s a significant piece. That’s your birth plan for this baby. Preparing to receive and birth and deliver this baby well. That’s one. The second piece that I wasn’t really prepared for was how to do media. When you’re with a traditional publisher, your publicist will line up podcast interviews, maybe even television or radio. I’d never been in that experience before, so I didn’t know how to do those. So, I actually was really appreciative that Communicator Academy, you guys had actually come up with podcasts for that, and you teach that at Leverage, so I didn’t know how to do media. It’s a different format than speaking.
Kathi – Yeah, and I think that’s so interesting. I’m so glad you mentioned Leverage, because that is part of what we want to do is prepare people for when they are launching their books. How do I talk about this without sounding self-serving and with really serving my audience? That’s the big thing. I think people feel so skeevy about promoting their book. I’m like, “There is zero reason to feel skeevy if you are showing up to serve your audience.” If you’re showing up to serve your audience, there’s zero skeevy factor, ‘cause you are trying to help them with a problem they either know they have, or didn’t know they had. It was very interesting. I went out to lunch with Diane and my pastor at Church on the Hill. Part of what we’re doing in our education of the ministry is saying, “You don’t know that you have a problem, but let me help you address the problem you don’t know.” One of the things you said, and I don’t even know if you remember this, is, Scott (who is great and wants to serve families and community) goes, “We don’t have a big number of special needs families come to our church.” And do you remember what you said to him?
Diane – I don’t remember.
Kathi – That’s okay. I didn’t know if it was one line that you pulled out all the time. You said, “They’re not coming ‘cause you’re not ready for them.”
Diane – Right.
Kathi – I didn’t mean to put you on the spot.
Diane – If you build it, they will come, but unless you build it, they can’t come.
Kathi – Right. ‘Cause they already know it’s not for them. They’ve already preselected out. I love that he’s thought more about that, and we’ve talked more about that. It’s going to be a process for our church, but here’s part of the ministry and the business that people don’t even know they need. This is with clutter, too. They think, “Well, my house just looks like everybody else’s, so I guess this is just how people live.” And I’m like, “Yeah, but you don’t have to live that way. You don’t have to live that way. Clutter doesn’t have to be your default.” What we’re doing is, we’re educating people that there are solutions to questions they don’t even know they have. So that’s why I love your ministry. Okay, so a couple of things. We’re going to come back with Diane, ‘cause there is just too much to talk about in just a few minutes. So, a couple of resources. Diane has put together this download. It’s a New Author, Speaker, and Solopreneur Resource List. So, tell us a little about that, Diane.
Diane – Your first question was, “Diane, what were you not prepared for?” And I said, “Basically, they whole backend, that you are launching a business and a ministry.” So, if you’re launching a business/ministry, there are all these pieces that you haven’t thought through. So, I found myself, after launching the book, scrambling to set up a business. So, I kind of explained it to my husband like this: Say I just had a hobby of baking cookies, and suddenly, the world found out that I’m a great cookie baker and I have tons and tons of orders piling in. Of course, I want to make people happy, but I don’t have enough ovens. I don’t have enough workers. I don’t have enough mitts. You need to get industrial sized mixers. So, I just found myself scrambling, so I put together this list of resources that were super helpful to me in setting up that kind of infrastructure. We’re talking about leads management, file management, accounting, resources to develop your speaking. I didn’t know that I had to get a tax license to deal with sales tax on books. How do you get books to a speaking event? All these practical things of infrastructure and systems.
Kathi – Oh, I just love that. Okay, guys, I want you to come back and join us, because Diane is really talking about the practical things of book launch, but also, what was she prepared for? What did she get right? What did she wish she had been prepared for? What do you wish that you had known better, so you could do better? We also have another resource. I am super excited because at our first year of Writing at The Red House, we had author and book launch manager, Anna LeBaron.
Diane – She’s awesome.
Kathi – She is amazing. Tonya Kubo and I spent one hour with her. We’re like, “Our brains are broken! There’s too much information!” But, she breaks it down so it’s actually doable. So, we are going to be having Anna come back for a week at Writing at The Red House. This was our fastest selling retreat, so we know that it’s going to be that again. I will put the information at the bottom of this podcast resource page, so you will have that. So, we are going to give you instructions on how to download this resource from Diane Dokko Kim about New Author, Speaker and Solopreneur Resource List and also information about Anna. Diane, thanks so much for being on Communicator Academy. We’re excited for you to come back next week, to continue the conversation.
Diane – The nitty gritties.
Kathi – Hey, guys, you’ve been listening to Communicator Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. You’ve been given the best message in the world. Now, go live it.
Meet The Guest
Diane Dokko Kim
Disability Ministry Consultant, Speaker, and Author
Meet Your Host
Author, Speaker, Communicator Academy Creator and CEO
About The Podcast
The Communicator Academy Podcast is for those who love God and want to share His story through writing, speaking, social media – and yes – even marketing. Hosts Kathi Lipp and Michele Cushatt are both “communication nerds” who love talking about God’s message and how to share it better. Their refreshing and honest take on the “industry” do’s and don’ts as well as insight on what makes you stand out from the rest, will not only entertain, but will serve in helping you propel your career to the next level. If you are looking to clarify your calling, you will want to hang out with these two.
Learn from their years of communicating (as well as the mistakes they’ve made along the ways,) and be inspired to get out there and create. Welcome to the podcast!