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Fiction Author Talk with Michelle Cornish
After spending almost 20 years in the public accounting industry, Michelle sold her accounting practice to spend more time with her family and pursue her dream of writing. In 2017, she published Keep More Money, a guide to help business owners find a trustworthy accountant. Realizing that she wanted to write fiction, in 2018, Michelle published Murder Audit, her debut novel and book one in the Cynthia Webber financial crime series. Michelle also writes children’s books with her sons under the pen name AJ Kormon. When she’s not writing, you’ll find Michelle in small-town Canada cartooning and losing to her kids at Uno!
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Full Length Episode:
Complete Episode Transcript
Today’s guest is Michelle Cornish.
Here is our Job Talk with a fiction author.
Welcome to The Job Talk Podcast, where we talk with people who love their jobs.
Our guests open up about their challenges, surprises and secrets to success in their industries through conversation we explore their careers, past work experiences, and the education that got them to where they are now.
Michelle I’m so excited to talk to you because you had a 20 year career as an accountant and then you made a switch and you became a writer following your passion.
What do you think inspired you to make that switch?
Oh, for sure.
My family and my kids.
That was like the biggest thing of all.
So I made the switch around the time when my oldest son was starting kindergarten and just the thought of being at work.
Like it seemed like I was either at work all the time and having to get my husband to, you know, do picking up the kids from daycare and things like that.
And then with starting school, it just felt like it was going to be even more so that way.
And I was just feeling frustrated, not being able to spend more time with the family.
And the other big thing, too, was I felt like I needed to be an example.
Like I had always thought that I wanted to write a book and I always thought I would do it when I was retired.
And I just thought, what a ridiculous thing to think.
Like, why not do it now?
And what kind of example I’m setting for my kids that what, they can’t follow their dreams until they’re retired.
I mean, that’s just ridiculous.
So that was a huge part of it, too, is just wanting to do the things that I enjoy and love.
You know, now, in the moment, rather than waiting for that perfect time.
As you graduated from high school, what where did you go first for post-secondary?
Oh, to Okanagan College.
So I started doing arts courses.
And that’s in Vernon, British Columbia, I believe.
And then you you were focused on was it a Bachelor of Arts?
Is that what you were working towards?
So I actually ended up going there because I got a full entrance scholarship, and so I thought I might as well use it, but I really had no idea what I wanted to do.
So I just took the basic arts courses that they recommend for anyone that, you know, starting out university like your your English psychology history I think was one.
But yeah, just basic arts courses.
Yeah, for sure.
And then you moved on to the University of Victoria.
Is that correct?
So I took a year off from school completely.
So my grades were horrible.
So I didn’t get to renew my scholarship and I still didn’t know what I wanted to do.
So I took a year off and then I actually went back to Okanagan College thinking that I wanted to be an elementary school teacher and at the time the University of Victoria had a good program for that.
So I transferred down there the following year with the thought of going into education and specifically being an art teacher.
Actually at that time.
How was your experience at the University of Victoria?
It was great, but I was really impacted by self-doubt and especially around the art component and being an art teacher.
And you know, there was all these amazing artists in my classes and I just thought, what in the world am I doing here?
Like, it just I didn’t feel like that was the career for me.
And I also started feeling anxious about having to do the practicum and having to actually teach classes.
So I changed my major to psychology and that’s what I ended up eventually graduating with.
A degree in psychology.
Yeah, a bachelor of Arts in Psychology.
And then what led you to a career in accounting?
Well, when I went to work as the youth counselor at the youth center in Armstrong, and it was it was an eye opener for me as I spent a lot of time with teenagers and also in the like 10 to 12 age group as well, working with them on their sort of as well supposed to be like home and school support is what it was called.
But I did a lot of things like family visits where the kids have been taken away from their parents and I had to go and supervise these visits and it just didn’t fit with my personality.
And I found that I was always thinking about these families and the kids, and I just knew that I had to switch and I was always good at math.
So my dad was an accountant.
And so I just thought, okay, I’ll just give this accounting thing a try.
And I started taking correspondence courses again through Okanagan College and I was doing well on them, so I just sort of kept going with it from there.
But clearly accounting wasn’t something you were passionate about.
Accounting is a so you can have a lot of work, which was that was actually one of my goals when I decided to go into accounting is I thought, I will always have a job because I had I never really found an accountant to be unemployed.
So I thought I’ll always have a job working as an accountant.
So that was another reason why I decided to go into that field.
And there’s also, you know, many opportunities.
You can go into public practice.
You can work for a company specifically in industry.
And so there’s lots of opportunities that way.
But as far as the work goes and me thinking I’ll always have a job, it felt like that just, you know, came through a thousand times over.
Like I was just working all the time, you know, especially during tax season.
You work long hours because of the deadline and everyone having that same personal tax deadline, the amount of work is just overwhelming.
And so for a while I actually worked in corporate tax only thinking maybe that that would sort of balance things out.
But then corporate tax has their own deadlines as well in their own rush.
And I remember I was working in Calgary and I ended up working till two in the morning.
I called my husband, I’m like, Can you come pick me up?
I don’t think I should be taking public transit.
And so then I tried to remedy that by moving back to the Okanagan and going back to work for a smaller fir and thinking that it would help.
And then I ended up working for myself, for my own firm again and thinking that would help.
But it really what it came down to is me not being able to set those boundaries and not being able to say, No, these are my work hours, these are my home hours.
It felt like when I was at home I was thinking of the clients that I had work to do and when I was at work I was thinking about my family and how I was not there for them.
So yeah, it just it just sort of came to a head there when my son started kindergarten and I was like, No, I need to make a change.
So that’s what happened.
That’s and you’re brave to do that.
Did you start to write while you were accounting?
Did you start the process of Yeah, okay.
So about a year before I actually sold my accounting practice, I had the idea that I was going to sell it.
And then I just got cold feet and I thought, No, no, I need to stick this out.
I need to keep going.
But during that year, I started exploring writing.
And what happened was I actually saw an online course by Chandler Bolt.
He does the I think it’s called a self publishing school.
And I saw his ads for his course and I just thought, Oh, why don’t I take this course and see what the self publishing is all about?
And then at the time the course he was running was for nonfiction.
And so I thought I would write a book about how to find an accountant.
Kind of a weird thing to write a book about.
But I think because I was thinking of leaving selling my practice, the book sort of just sort of tied into that.
And so I started writing at that point as well.
And then once I did eventually sell the practice, I focused more on just getting the book finished and out there.
Let’s talk about some of some of your work.
How many books have you written?
Oh my goodness, 15 or 17.
Somewhere around there.
I’m hoping to get to 20 this year.
So and they’re nonfiction and fiction books.
Are you now focused on writing fiction?
I do mostly write fiction now.
I do have I think it’s four nonfiction books and I do have an idea for another nonfiction business book.
So we’ll see.
I’m not sure if there’s enough material to make an entire book out of the idea, but yeah.
So for now I’m mostly focused on fiction and there’s short, so my books are probably like a third of the length of a typical average book that you would find on the market.
So that’s another goal of mine, is striving to write longer books and meatier plots and things like that.
And are these one off books or are you writing a series as well?
Most of them are series.
The book I’m writing right now is actually a one off, but all of my fiction right now, they all are a part of a series.
Yeah, but not so.
Not all 15 within one series.
I have a few different series going right now.
Where do you get your ideas for?
Oh, my goodness.
I swear, there’s like, ghosts or something in my head.
Like, they just randomly pop in there or I’ll see something.
There’s a sweet little guy that used to walk by our place all the time, and then when he stopped showing up, of course, I make up these stories as to what happened to him and just weird things like that.
Or I’ll hear people talking and something will jump out at me and I’ll I’ll make a note of that.
Even headlines in the news, you know, how how could you spin this into a story that would be interesting to people?
And yeah, my first novel was obviously it was around the time when I had sold my accounting practice.
So it’s about an accountant, which is probably why nobody wants to read this.
That’s do I’m guessing.
About perhaps maybe.
Sorry I cut you off there.
No, that’s all right.
So it’s mostly just from life and then random things that pop into my head or weird dreams that I have and things like that.
Do you base any of your characters on real people or is this all from your imagination?
Yeah, I know most of my characters are actually based on people, but not in such a way that that person voted to recognize that.
So going back to my first novel again, so the boss in that novel is the the worst boss you could possibly imagine.
And he’s based on several bosses that I’ve had in the past.
It’s just sort of my way of kidding, that little bit of anger out of these, you know, cruel bosses or even stories that I’ve heard people talk about their bosses, so might not even necessarily be a boss that I heard, but something that I heard somebody say and I’m like, oh, that would be a good characteristic for that person to have.
It’s almost like therapy for you then it is.
And actually a lot of my characters have parts of myself, so I recognize where it’ll just be like a little, little snippet of something that’s within me.
But then I like blow it way out of proportion in the character, which is super fun too, because that is really therapeutic.
Do you ever write any secrets in in these books or Easter eggs in a series for your readers or readers?
I should say?
I don’t think I have, but you know that I probably have.
And I just don’t realize that I have.
So what is your writing process like?
Do you set an amount of time that you’re going to write every day?
Do you write on an old typewriter?
Do you do you write it pen and paper, or how do you write?
What is the process like?
I use Google Docs.
It would be super fun to write on an old typewriter though, but I feel like it would go slow.
I feel like the keys would be so clunky and slow, but just the noise of it like.
So I really like typing, which is why I don’t write by hand.
I just typing is just so fun for me and it’s like a challenge to see how quickly.
It’s almost like putting your hands on autopilot because the more you try to think about what letters to type in the word I find, the slower I type.
So if I just try to think it and let it come out through my fingers, I find that’s kind of a fun little challenge.
So as far as amount of time per day, I’m horrible.
So I’m still working on getting a defined process that way.
So usually my day goes something like this.
I spend a couple of hours procrastinating and wasting time in searching for random stuff on Google that I think, Oh, maybe I could use this in a book, but it really has nothing to do with my current book.
And then I’ll go and I’ll sit down to start working and one of the kids will come in and they need me to get something for them or do something for them.
Okay, so then I go do that, sit back down, and then one of the dogs needs to go outside.
So then if you that sit back down again, I’m like, Oh, I could really use a snack so that I can.
So usually, you know, by like after five or after dinner, I’m like, Oh, I better get my writing in for today and then I’ll just sit down and try to pound out as much as I can.
But yeah, so that part of my process is really horrible.
I need to get better at setting some time aside.
I’m really bad at jumping between projects as well.
I just have too many, too many things that I want to write, and I have comics that I write under a pen name as well.
So then I want to do some drawing and do some fleshed out some ideas on that.
And so that I’m just constantly jumping back and forth and often it just feels like the day comes to an end and I’ve got nothing done.
But I do always use Google Docs and I always will edit in there and then I’ll usually download to word and edit again in word because they’re two editors are different and they pick up different things, which is awesome.
And then I’ll go from word.
I’ll import the document into my e-reader because I read on my phone and I find with such a tiny screen, it really helps to pick up typos and things like that.
And I’ll notice where, you know, one sentence up here, I’ve used a certain word and then like two sentences later I’ve used the same descriptive word.
It’s really easy to pick those things out on the phone.
So then I’ll do that and then I start to really refine it from there.
Do you do you ever record like if you’re out and about during your day and an idea, do you do you write it down or do you do you record your voice as a memo.
If it’s an idea.
So an idea for maybe a future project, I will type it in Google Key.
So I have tons of little sticky notes in Google Keep or I have all these random ideas.
If it’s something where I’ll hear like a line of dialog or something for a current story that I’m working on, then I’ll go into Google Docs and use the voice to text feature and I’ll just start writing it in my voice, which usually that doesn’t always come out as to what the actual words are, but it’s usually close enough that I can figure out what it was at the time.
I used to try to do more writing that way as well, using the voice to text feature just because it increases the speed as well.
And I can get more written in that time.
It kind of just depends on my mood because sometimes it is so mixed up.
After that, I have a hard time figuring out what it was I was trying to say other times is pretty good.
Like if I edit it right away, it usually works pretty well and I would like to do more of that again, just to help with the volume and the speed of writing and getting used to telling a story verbally.
It’s so much different than when you’re typing it.
Yeah, I did a Google search on interviewing an author for for today’s interview and they mentioned one of one of the things they mentioned was do not ask an author if they ever experience writer’s block.
But they mentioned I can ask you if you believe in writer’s block.
I certainly believe that some people get writer’s block for myself, I think it’s just my procrastination taking over.
Yeah, like I would never say that I’m blocked because the ideas are constantly coming through.
So for me it’s more that something is preventing me from getting to the actual writing.
And usually what it is, is fear of my ideas being terrible, my stories sucking, something like that.
It’s usually and usually when I’m procrastinating, that’s what it is too.
It’s not that I’m being lazy, but it’s that I’m afraid to write because I think whatever it is that I’m working on is going to be horrible and that’s usually what’s stopping me.
So I guess some people would say that that is a block, but for me, I just know it’s my own mind working against me.
And if I can just get the mindset right and get past it, then I know that I can keep writing continually.
Yeah, but I think for sure, absolutely.
Writers get writer’s block.
You mentioned that you had you have a couple editors that you work with or just one editor.
I have used a couple of different editors.
I used a couple of different ones in the beginning as well.
So it’s it’s hard to find an editor that you work well with and that also is doing what you want them to do.
And oh, that sounds kind of weird, but there’s so many different types of editing.
So there is developmental editing, which is looking at your story and whether you have, you know, the big events happening at the right spots in your story and you’re building up to those events and things like that.
And then there’s also line editing or proofreading, which is looking more at the specifics of the grammar and the spelling and punctuation and and things like that.
And so when I was first starting out, I didn’t really realize about all the things to ask about when working with an editor such as have they worked on stories in your genre before?
And that’s super important when you’re working with an editor as well.
And so what I found recently is that what I need the most help on is the developmental stuff and making sure that my story makes sense and that I haven’t just jumped from one scene to another without really leading up to that.
Like all of a sudden, boom, you’re here.
It’s like, okay, well, how did you get there?
So yeah, I have a couple of editors that I really like working with on that.
That particular type of editing, and then for the grammar and spelling, I usually do that on my e-reader myself because I have worked with Proofreader before, but then when I’m rereading the story myself, I will still find more things.
So I find that I can usually pick out things just as well as a proofreader.
Or maybe I just haven’t found that that proofreader, that’s just so picky.
That would be the perfect person for me.
Do you lean on your family and friends to read what you’re working on and then offer you constructive feedback?
I used to.
So I used to give my stories to Scott and my husband and he’s just too slow of a reader.
He takes way too long to get back to me.
Or maybe he’s not really that into the story and he’s just not willing to tell me that because I do.
With the he read the first two novels in my Cynthia Weber Thriller series, and I kept saying to him, I’m like, You can tell me if it’s horrible.
Like just, I’m not going to be mad.
Just tell me.
Because if I can’t trust you to tell me that it’s horrible, who can I trust?
Because obviously my mom’s not going to tell me.
That is horrible.
But perhaps my husband might.
But yeah, he’s just too slow.
So what I will do is if there’s a scene where, like, he knows a lot about guns, he’s a hunter.
And so if there’s a scene where it has something to do with guns or and then I want to make sure that I haven’t used the wrong terminology, then I’ll just get him to read that chapter or that scene, rather than giving him the whole book to read, like what I was doing before.
Yeah, but my mom is awesome and she’s read all of my books and she proofread is the way I do it.
So she will find those little picky things and she’ll let me know about every little thing that she’s noticed, which is awesome because that really helps me to get it more fine tuned before I hit the publish button.
So yeah, my dad has read a few things, but again, he’s kind of slow too.
So yeah, yeah.
Do you reach out to content experts if you need specific information on on something that you’re writing on?
Yeah, for sure.
If it’s something that I don’t know so far, I’m just trying to think of.
I’ve had any books where I’ve had to do that.
Most of them I’ve been able to find a really good research in other books, like in nonfiction books, there was one author, Mark Zolki.
I’m not sure if I’m saying his last name correctly, but he’s he’s an authority on World War Two battles.
And so I had reached out to him when I was writing a World War Two novel, and he was he was really helpful, really awesome.
I had read a couple of his books as well.
So yeah, for sure.
If it’s a subject matter that I’m I’m not sure if what I’m finding online is accurate or something I just have no idea about.
And absolutely, I would reach out to somebody.
What’s the what has surprised you about being a writer?
Have you have you experienced anything that you didn’t expect when you were first starting out?
Yeah, there’s been a lot of things, actually, that are surprising.
It’s a very curious industry, so I’ll just start from the beginning.
So with my first book, the thing that surprised me was how the characters will take over.
Or at least for me, they did in that book.
They would sort of take over the story, like I would be writing about the bad guy and all of sudden he would do something.
And I was not expecting him to do that at all.
And it wasn’t something that I had planned.
And it was just the weirdest feeling, like this character is running the show.
So I’m like, okay, that’s, you know, like it’s like that feeling.
Like people talk about the muse coming in and you’re like, just this vessel for the muse, right?
Like it was.
It was really weird, but also super cool because I just, I was like, wow, I didn’t think that could happen.
And I hadn’t read about that happening to authors before.
But since then I have read that it does.
That happens a lot to authors.
So I thought that was really interesting.
And then another huge thing.
So last year I just decided that I was just going to write and I put all these books up for preorder on Amazon.
So essentially I created these deadlines for myself and it was an insane schedule.
I think I published nine books last year and really what it was is I just kept saying like, I can do this.
Like it was a total mindset trick like and it totally blocked out that procrastination that I was talking about earlier and just not even caring, like saying, I’m writing this for myself.
I don’t care if people like it because that’s a huge thing for me.
It’s like, Oh, what if people don’t like this story?
I was just writing the story to write the story, essentially, like writing it for the characters almost, and not caring if people were going to like it or not, just wanting to just get it out there and go for it.
So I was really surprised just how that sort of mindset switch really helped me to write a lot in a short amount of time.
And then the other thing that surprised me a lot is just how the industry is just so all over the map.
Like there’s no as far as I can tell anyway, there’s no clear path to success.
There’s no clear way that if you do X, Y and Z, you’ll make a living as an author.
There’s just no it’s just a crapshoot, right.
Because you have no idea who’s going to pick up your book, who’s going to like a who’s not going to like it.
What they’re going to say about your book.
So you almost have to tune out all that stuff and just do it for the sheer fun of it and have another plan for how you’re going to buy groceries and things like.
Yeah, because there’s a lot like I was really surprised to learn that there a lot of authors that aren’t making money as an author and they have a side job and that’s how they make their living, you know, other than the big names who obviously that’s how they’re making their living because they’re so popular and they can do that.
But when you go down to, you know, like the mid-level and the beginning authors like, it’s very rare that they don’t have a job or some sort of side hustle or something like that.
What are some of the pros and cons between self-publishing and then going through the mainstream publisher route?
Yeah, so with self-publishing you have complete control, but you also have complete responsibility.
So you’re the one that has to find your cover designer, you have to find your editors, you have to do your own marketing.
So it’s essentially you running your own show, which can be difficult, especially if you’re new to the industry and you don’t know who to ask for recommendations as far as cover designers and editors, because there is also a huge range of costs.
So you can get quality work that’s, you know, $100 for a cover all the way up to $1,000 for a cover.
And you just you know, you have no idea really where to go for that information.
And the same goes for editing.
And there’s really not any standards sort of governing that and covering what people can charge.
So you have to be really careful that you don’t get into a situation where you’re hiring somebody that’s not going to complete the job or that’s going to charge you way too much for what the job is worth.
So then with traditional is kind of the flip side of that.
So you’re either going to be working with an agent or a publisher, and then that publisher is going to be paying all the costs.
They’re going to be the one that is finding the editor for you.
They’re going to be in charge of your cover and you may or may not have any say into your cover.
I know that some traditionally published authors do have a say, but others don’t.
They just get stuck with what the publisher decides that their cover is going to look like.
So yeah, as far as advantages and disadvantages go, I think the biggest advantage is the cost.
So with traditionally published authors, you get paid in advance upfront if someone decides to publish your book and that can range again.
It’s such a huge range and range in the industry, but it can be from $500, all the way up to like the big names are getting, you know, million dollar advances and higher.
So it’s just a huge, huge range there.
But with traditional publishing, you should never have to pay to have somebody publish your book.
So that’s the other sort of thing to be wary of with self-publishing coming into the industry.
And it’s obviously been around for a long time, a lot longer than what I thought.
But because of that, there are people taking advantage of that.
So there are people that they will publish your book for you, but of course you have to pay them to do that.
And when I was looking for an agent, I had somebody write back to me and they said they were really interested in my book and it would only cost me $20,000 to get it published.
So you just have to be very careful if you’re going the traditional route, you shouldn’t have to pay at all.
You will be getting paid, you should get an advance upfront and then afterwards, if your book earns the advance, which so if I got paid $500 to publish my book and the publisher sold enough copies that they made that $500 back then after that point, I would get paid royalties on the book sales going forward.
So yeah, you should never have to pay.
But with self-publishing you do have some of those costs in order to get the book to market.
And then you also have the responsibility of being the one to sell the book going forward to.
What are some of the obvious challenges that you experience while while you’re writing?
Well, for sure, with the novels I mentioned earlier how my novels are so short, so technically they’re novellas because they are so short.
So for me that is a big challenge, carrying the story for the full length of a novel.
And when I’m reading, I like things that hold my interest, so I get bored quite easily.
So I feel like when I’m writing that my readers are going to get bored easily too, even though that might not necessarily be the case.
But that is a challenge for me to make the story interesting.
But without throwing in these crazy elements, like all of a sudden something blows up just because I want to make it interesting.
Like it still has to flow with the story.
So that is a big challenge for sure.
And then just continuing because the novel is such a big project, just continuing on.
So I mentioned about jumping back and forth between projects like that.
I like to do that because I like it when things are new and exciting, but that can hinder me as far as completing the novel because then I just may not want to go back to it.
So just keeping my own interest throughout the whole project until it’s finished, like start to finish, it rarely happens, but it is something that I am working towards.
How about marketing of your books?
Is that a challenge?
Have you have you found a good process that way and are your books offered on Amazon?
Is that where we can find them?
Yes, most of them are on Amazon and all the other major retailers.
So Kobo Apple, Barnes and Noble, Google play there.
I think there’s just three books that are exclusive to Amazon, but the rest are available wherever you can find ebooks and then the paperbacks.
All of them do have paperbacks except for one book, but those are all on Amazon for the paperback.
So yeah, marketing is a super challenging thing.
I think for most people, regardless of industry, marketing is a tough thing just because you’re having to sell yourself and it’s hard to it’s hard to really know the point of you or yourself or your product.
So in my case, my books that people might find attractive and how to really put those out there so that people are like, Oh, I should check that out.
So last year I did a bit of experiment meeting with paid advertising, which was in my mind a failure, but not so much a failure because you still learn from the experience.
So I learned that that’s just not the way to go for me.
So my paid efforts didn’t result in enough sales that it recuperated the costs of the advertising.
So if you’re a person that’s experimenting with that kind of thing, I think you just want to make sure that you’re spending an amount that you’re comfortable with potentially losing and not getting any sales from that.
So I did get some sales from my efforts, but just not enough that they recovered what I had spent.
So you just kind of have to be aware of that.
And I think that that goes for any industry as well.
Advertising can be such a big experimental process.
And for me, I had heard this is another really interesting thing with the publishing industry and I was saying before about there’s not really a clear path to success and there’s no guarantee that you are going to make money in the industry.
And the same goes for marketing.
So I had heard that if you have a good book cover, a good book description, so this is your blurb that’s either going to be on the back of your book or on the sales page on Amazon and that kind of thing.
That if you have those two things, then you will have sales.
But I guess the trick is knowing, well, how do you know if your book cover is good and how do you know if your blurb is good?
Like just because I like the cover and I think that it fits with the genre of the books that I’m trying to sell and I like the blurb.
And again, I think it demonstrates the genre.
It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to hook somebody into reading my book or even just grabbing it to check it out.
The other thing with that too, is you need to know how people discover their books.
And so for me, it’s usually I buy most of my books through Amazon, so it’s usually just on the Amazon website.
Something will randomly pop up.
So it’s not necessarily that people might even be searching for a book like mine.
They might just see something that happens to pop up.
And so how do you compete with that when you’re trying to market?
Like, how do I make sure that my book is going to be the one that pops up when somebody is looking for a new book to read?
So keywords are a big factor as well.
And I’ve been experimenting with that and I haven’t had much luck as far as finding the right types of keywords that lead people to discover my books.
Or again, maybe they discover the book, but the blurb or the cover just isn’t quite what they’re looking for, so they don’t take that chance to buy it.
So marketing is for sure a challenge and a big experiment as well.
Yeah, you mentioned you write children’s books as well and I believe you do the illustrations for that as well.
Yes, I do.
So I started doing that with my kids, just a sort of a fun project.
So we have this dog named Bandit that we call him Scruffy Muffin and he’s like, just he’s just he is.
He’s just a scruffy muffin.
He is got he’s one of those dogs that has a long fur that needs to have his fur cuts.
And he he just often looks crazy because of his hair.
So we’re like, how we should write a book about Scruffy Muffin?
So we ended up writing Scruffy Muffin Loses His Money because I also wanted to write books about money for kids that are young enough that they would be reading picture books.
And mostly it was just a fun process.
The kids have such amazing ideas and I would be sharing the story with them and they’re like, Oh, and then these crows should come along and steal the money because it’s shiny and birds like shiny things.
I’m like, That’s a good idea.
So then we work that into the story and, and I wanted to do some more drawing.
So that’s why I ended up doing the illustrations myself as well.
What a great thing to collaborate with with your kids on.
I bet that’s that’s really fun.
It is a super fun.
So our pen name is a made up name.
That is all of our names sort of melded together.
And my secret hope is that maybe one day it can be like a family business.
But I don’t want to pressure the kids into like joining me in writing and drawing, although they are both I mean, all kids are creative, but they both are really into art and that.
So who knows?
Yeah, for sure.
What advice would you give the person that was in that is in the same similar position that you were in their thinking about becoming a writer there they maybe are in a career that pays the bills, but they don’t love it.
What advice could you give to that person to make the leap to become a writer?
I would say to make sure you do your research.
So when I made that leap, I just put all my faith in the fact that this very first nonfiction book that I was writing was going to sell.
And I had the crazy idea.
I think Chandler Bolt is like an expert marketer because he’s the guy that did the self-publishing course that I took by taking his course.
I really believed that I was going to make income from this book, that I could make a living just from selling this one book.
So, yes, that does happen to some people.
I didn’t want to squash anyone’s dreams.
If you believe that you can do that, then by all means go for it, but also have a little bit of pessimism in there that perhaps it might not work out and your first book might not sell.
And just, you know, as much as you may not like that day job, just think of it as a source that’s supporting you until you can afford to leave that job to make a living with your writing.
So be very careful of the products that you purchase.
So if you’re looking to learn about writing and you’re looking to buy some courses to teach you that, just watch out.
Because there is lots of people out there that know there are so many people that want to write a book and so there are people taking advantage of that.
And so just be very cautious, try to get feedback from people who have done the course.
Hopefully that course has some testimonials.
And then also just keep in mind that once you do make that leap.
So as an author, you are an entrepreneur and any business owner knows that it takes time to really build up your business.
There’s a reason that they say that most businesses fail in the first 3 to 5 years because it’s true.
And I think as an author, it’s going to take even longer than that to really build up to the point where you can say that you’re making a living as an author.
So you’re an entrepreneur, you’re responsible.
Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published.
You are still the person that is responsible for the decisions in your author career.
You’re the one that needs to pay your taxes.
So even when you’re traditionally published, you get paid royalties, but the publisher is not going to hold back tax for you.
You need to make sure that you set that aside yourself.
So you want to make sure that you understand what it means to be an entrepreneur.
And yes, it’s great that you have total freedom as far as making your own schedule and working on the products that you want to work on.
But you also do have that responsibility side where you need to think about taxes and if you need to do marketing and that kind of thing as well.
Well, congratulations on, you know, not pushing the idea for too long.
You jumped into it.
You’re doing it.
It’s an important step because if you push things off, you may never get to that and you will not have done it.
So that’s very true.
And I feel like now that I, I did go all in on that first book, now it’s like, okay, well, there’s no looking back now.
Yeah, for sure.
Got to keep going.
No matter how long it takes to, you know, get that earn that living.
Well, Michelle, thank you so much for spending some time with us today.
I got a lot of good advice out of you today.
Thank you, Kim.
Happy to talk about being an author.
And and I love that you’re doing this podcast because I wish there was something like this when I was trying to decide what to do with my life.
All the many times I was trying to decide.
Yeah, thank you.
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