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The Published Author Podcast - Episode 0005

DON’T TRY TO WRITE A BOOK, WRITE IN CHUNKS, ONE CHAPTER AT A TIME

After enduring a couple of bouts of writer’s block, author and journalist Blake Snow has learned not to sit down with the intention of writing a whole book.

Instead, he breaks a book into chunks, accomplishing one chapter at a time. Talking to Published Author Podcast host Josh Steimle, Blake says: “For any of your listeners out there wanting to write a first book, it is a big challenge. 

“But one thing that did help me, despite my writer's block, was this whole concept of don't try to write a book, write one chapter, and then the next chapter,” he explains. “Try to break it up into bite-sized things you can accomplish. That was way easier for me to do with the second book than the first. But that advice, I think stands regardless, and for anyone that's interested in publishing a book, you have to break it up.”

TOP TAKEAWAY: YOUR BOOK MUST ENGAGE AND INTEREST THE READER

Blake says that if your book isn’t engaging and interesting to a reader, it simply won’t sell. He says the hallmark of an amature writer is to think that a business book needs to be stuffy and formal. 

No, he says, explaining that entrepreneur-authors should write the way they talk, in a way that’s interesting for people to engage, listen to, and interact with.

Blake has written as a journalist for half of the top 20 U.S. media outlets, including CNN, Wired, and USA Today. He also advises Fortune 500 companies on their content strategy. He’s a blogger and author of two books: Log Off: How to Stay Connected After Disconnecting, and Measuring History: How One Unsung Company Quietly Changed The World, which is the story of National Instruments, a company you probably haven’t heard of, but which has had a global impact on lives big and small, and is explained in the episode.

Despite being a professional writer, Blake has experienced a couple of debilitating episodes of writer’s block, the first one when he was working on Log Off. The struggle lasted for about eight months until it finally dawned on Blake that the successful approach to writing was breaking a book into bite-sized pieces. 

“Instead of writing a book, it was: ‘Let's write 1000 words today’. So anyone can do that, and you can break things up,” says Blake. “What I found with writing two books—as with most all things in life—it really is about momentum. 

“If you can keep that momentum, you won't stall out as long as I did, or as hard as I did in my first book. So it's all about that momentum, creating bite sized chunks, just sticking to it and not being afraid to fail.”

As an experienced writer, Blake says: “First and foremost, I write for myself. If I know that I don't like it, I'm pretty sure no one else is going to like it. And so that I use that as a litmus test of like, How good is my current writing, the page right in front of me?”

This isn’t guidance for a new writer, who should instead work with an editor to determine the quality of their writing. However, after time, everyone who writes a lot can learn to quickly determine what’s good and what their audience wants to read. 

Finally, Blake encourages all entrepreneur-writers (or ghostwriters) to read a good range of classics, from Mark Twain and Herman Melville through to Alexander Dumas and Victor Hugo, as well as Charles Dickens or Thomas Hardy. Novels such as theirs, says Blake, will simply make you a much better writer.

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ABOUT THE HOST

The Published Author Podcast is hosted by Josh Steimle, founder of Published Author. Josh is a book author himself and his article writing has been featured in over two dozen publications including Time, Forbes, Fortune, Mashable, and TechCrunch. He's a TEDx speaker, the founder of the global marketing agency MWI, a skater, father, and husband, and lives on a horse farm in Boston. Learn more at JoshSteimle.com.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Josh Steimle

Welcome to the Published Author Podcast where we help entrepreneurs learn how to write a book and leverage it to grow their business and make an impact. I'm your host, Josh Steimle. Today, our guest is Blake Snow. Blake has written as a journalist for half of the top 20 US media outlets, like CNN wired USA Today. And he advises Fortune 500 companies on their content strategy. He's a blogger, musician, he loves to travel. And he's the author of two books.Log Off: How To Stay Connected After Disconnecting and Measuring History: How One Unsung Company Quietly Changed The World, which is the story of National Instruments, a company you probably haven't heard of, but which has undoubtedly, changed your life. We'll learn a little bit more about that. Blake, welcome to the show.

Blake Snow

Josh, thanks so much for having me. I love writing books, and I love talking about books. So it's just I feel at home and. I'm excited for our discussion today about this book. And yeah, kind of what I've learned through this process.

Josh Steimle

And full disclosure for the audience. Blake is a friend of mine, we go way back we met in Provo, Utah. I think we are probably still both students who maybe just recently after graduation

Blake Snow

Right out. Yeah, right out of college. It seems like I think I met you, Josh. It was it was mid-oughts. I think I would say, mid- to early oughts. I think it's when I met you. And so the audience knows, Josh has always been a very generous, giving guy, as you've probably seen him on the podcast and with his work and his lifestyle. And so that certainly has permeated through my 15-year relationship, knowing Josh so.

Josh Steimle

Now the funny thing is that today, we're both writers, we've both written for all these big name publications. We both have books out. But when we met, I'm not sure either of us saw ourselves as writers. So for the audience's sake, give us your story a little bit. Where do you come from? What's your background? Where did you grow up? And how did you become the writer that you are today?

Blake Snow

Yeah, that's a great question. Josh. I I was, I was born to a college professor, and a homemaker, my mother. And my dad has always been in academia. So he grew up in academic writing, which I have been in arguments with him. It's very stuffy and boring. And I want to like tell him the ways that I write, but I think you can do way better academically, but that's neither here nor there. So I was raised by a writer, I didn't know that I liked writing or wanted to pursue writing until my final semester of college. I grew up in Oklahoma and Georgia. Spent my childhood in Oklahoma, my adolescence in Georgia. And then I after, after serving a mission for my church for two years in Brazil, went to school at BYU here in Utah and Provo, and I had some really bad English teachers in my undergraduate studies. I just I never connected and so early on, I felt like I don't like writing. This isn't for me. I don't want to touch this. And so I had to do one last writing class for college. And it was I deferred it to the very last semester, it was a business writing class. And I deferred it because I thought I wouldn't like it. I didn't want to do it. So I just procrastinated. So I get in this class, it's college professor says, you know, for this class, I want you to write what about what interests you what topics and subjects interests you, you can write about whatever you want, I just want to help you pursue those topics and help you be a better writer and not just kind of flip the switch for me, I just changed everything. I was like, well, I got a lot of passions and hobbies. And let's write about those. And so I started doing that. And this is again, this is like, this is early ought. So blogging was like, was like, you know, the cool thing back then. And so I started writing, I started a blog, and I was covering all these topics that I that I was interested in mainly technology and entertainment. And yeah, so I after that, I started blogging six months after that, I was hired by a company called AOL, which used to be a pretty big deal, you know, online and in content,

Josh Steimle

A tiny little company that some people may have heard of called AOL. It's kind of funny how it's faded from our consciousness, right?

Blake Snow

It's not what I used to be a big deal. They would throw the old schoolers out there, you know, they send those I think it's they some they sent like, something like 100 million CDs per year during the, you know, the the early web days. And so they were a huge deal. So I got hired by them to do blogging. And I did that just kind of moonlighting side hustling for, I want to say about a year full time and then I jumped full time in 2006. To freelance writer. Did that for the next three, four years for mainstream media, news media, and then the great recession hit about 10 -11 years ago, and all those freelance budgets just shriveled up. And so at that time, I was like, man, I, I still want to write, I gotta do something. And content marketing started becoming a thing. And so I was I started getting hired by Fortune 500 companies to do very similar pieces of work, feature articles, explanatory journalism, how AI works, all that kind of stuff. I just started doing it on behalf of companies that align with those topics. And so I've been doing that. Ever since, like you said, in between, then I wrote a couple books. And that's, I think that's kind of at least how I got to where I am today, the short version, at least professionally.

Josh Steimle

Was there a day where you kind of stepped back and you're like, oh, my goodness, I'm a writer. I never thought of myself as a writer before, was there like a day when you? Or was it more of a gradual thing?

Blake Snow

Um, I think? That's a great question. I think I wrote so much at the beginning, just for free on my blog just says I was honing my craft and cutting my teeth. And I knew I was getting good, because there was, you know, I started a few blogs, and I was getting a following. So I know, I knew I was able to connect with people. But it was probably that first check. I think it was like, I don't know, for like, $700, or something from AOL. And I was like, I mean, I busted my butt for that. $700. But that's when it really dawned on me that like, wow, like, I'm getting paid to ask questions and right, this is ridiculous. It was amazing. And so that was probably the first time that it really dawned on me it was it was a proud moment. And to be honest, Josh, anytime I get a check, or someone pays me to write, it's just, it's like a dream come true. Because I would do this for free. And I still do it for free. I have a blog that I don't have advertising on, and I just, it's like a labor of love. And so to be able to get paid for something that I do and would do for free. It's just it's an awesome, it's a really self-gratifying experience.

Josh Steimle

So we were talking about this before, I mean, this COVID thing is kind of a dream come true for antisocial people who like to hold up and just stay in their home office all the time. But it kind of has been that for me, like, I'm kind of like, you know, I don't really want to say this out loud. But I'm kind of loving this. Like, I don't have to go to any meetings or anything. It's great. But for you, you were saying that's not exactly your lifestyle to be a shut-in? Like some of us other writers? Oh,

Blake Snow

No. Yeah, I mean, yeah, I'm an extrovert. I'm a social butterfly. So this is this, like, this kind of prohibition on touch and socializations and really tough for me. Um, but like you, I mean, there have been some really good things that have came out of this isolation, and I kind of feel like I've been able to kind of embrace my, my more introverted side, which I think all of us have, I have been able to curate and, you know, nurture that side of my personality and do some things that otherwise I wouldn't have done had it just been business as usual, 20 20. Like your second boo, right? Do what?

Josh Steimle

Like your second book, or did you?

Blake Snow

Yeah, like that was already in, in the works. But the I probably say, the second half of it, or a big run of it was finished. Um, you know, in this new year, and I actually finished this, like I said, before the show, Josh did I actually finished this book. On the day the world at least America shut down on March Friday, the 13th was kind of when I finished I mean, obviously had a lot of revisions and editing work to do after that, which, you know, brings us here the fall, I had to do a lot of that the summer. But yeah, the bulk of it was was done at the start of this year. Yeah.

Josh Steimle

So take us through your first book, what was the inspiration for writing Log Off?

Blake Snow

Um, the first book is, it's a self-help memoir. Josh, I think you've read it, we talked about it. Um, that book, I kind of say that book changed my life. And that, you know, before, there was a time in my life, like many, you know, self-employed, or entrepreneurs or, you know, early 20 somethings, I was addicted to my identity as a professional. And so, I was a workaholic, I couldn't break away. I'm just consumed by it. I think by my last count, like I was online, and like working probably for over three 3000 consecutive days. It was like years of just an addiction to that lifestyle. And so something switched, I took this vacation, his family vacation up in Montana, just outside of Yellowstone. And, you know, there's still spots in America where there's no cell service only dial up modem, speaking of AOL. And that was the experience for me about 11 years ago, we went on this trip, and it was it was a week long trip, and at first I thought I was gonna hate it, but then that should change. And I was like, I want to be able to do this. What can I do? What kind of changes can I make my life to, you know, kind of capture what we've captured here on this vacation. That's basically start like killing all my alerts and notifications, turning my smartphone into a dumb phone, and just really setting strict boundaries on when I work. And so then I, you know, I tested all these things and I wrote them up in a kind of self help memoir called Log Off where I talk about the things that I did to get what I argue is offline balance. And yeah, just better fulfillment, better productivity, just a much more happier state. I mean, a lot of people have found this path, but this is, this is the way I found the path. And that's what the book that first book is about.

Josh Steimle

So what was your process like for writing that? Because you have all this experience blogging and writing articles, which are shorter form content? And then you're writing this long book? Are there things that were unexpected? Or that surprised you? Or that you found that you had to adapt to? Or was it pretty easy to make the transition?

Blake Snow

Yes. For the first book, especially Josh, it was going from, you know, short to medium form, writing to a long-form book was harder than that you know, like, when you write a short when you write a web article? Yeah, there's, you try to do a beginning, middle and the end. But it's, it's much more easy to do that, if it's condensed into 600, or 1000. Words are 1200 words, or whatever it be, you can kind of see that picture and that story arc a little easier in that short-form. So yeah, I mean, I start I had when I had the idea for the book, I started writing it. Basically, the the first few chapters remained untouched. That's what I wrote. And I did that. And then I hit a wall, I hit writer's block, I didn't know how to take this long form story through act two. And then I kind of knew where I wanted to end on Act Three, I just didn't know how to bridge the the starting and ending act, if you will. And so I think I went probably a year or two, Josh right. didn't even touch the first book. It was it was really tough.

Josh Steimle

I remember that. Because I kept bugging you about it. I was like, when are you gonna get this book done? You're like, yeah,

Blake Snow

Yeah, exactly. And yeah, like you, I had other colleagues that were bugging me, and it was good, it was helpful. So then, I kind of, I figured out, Oh, I got it, I know where I want to go, I started writing again. And then there was another bout of writer's block as well, probably not quite as long, but maybe six to eight months. And so it was tough for me. After that, I crushed it, I finished the book. And like, I want to say, I want to say I did 50%, the remaining 50% of the book in like, I think it was like maybe four or five weeks, just, it all just flowed out. And so that first book was the process of learning how to do long-form, not so much with this with the second book, like it was, it was a lot, a lot easier, it may have given one book under your belt, you're kind of like, Oh, I'm an author now. And so I identified as author, and I knew I could offer a book. And so it's much easier. So for any of your listeners out there, you know, wanting to write a first book, it is a big challenge. But one thing that did help me, despite my writer's block was this whole concept of, don't try to write a book, write one chapter, and then the next chapter, try to break it up into bite sized things you can accomplish. That was way easier for me to do with the second book than the first. But that advice, I think stands regardless, and for anyone that's interested in publishing a book, you, you have to break it up. Now granted, you're gonna have to, you're gonna be forced to, you know, draft a compelling outline or a story arc and how you want to get there. So that that is tough, you can't really break that up into bite-sized chunks, and you got to have some good foresight in terms of where you need to head. But you can break things up. So instead of writing a book, I was like, let's write 1000 words today, write 1000 words, this thing, so anyone can do that you can break things up. And what I found with writing two books is and most as with all things in life, it really is about momentum. And if you can keep that momentum, you won't stall out as long or as twice as I did, or as hard as I did in my first book. So it's all about that momentum, creating bite sized chunks, just sticking to it and not being afraid to fail or, you know, throwing stuff out there was I mean, there's a several chapters that I would start, sort of liked it. And then I was like, No, this is wrong, you have to just delete and start over. And that's, that's totally okay. And that's normal. And you're human, if you do that. And so even for me as a writer, and I'm sure you've been through that as well, Josh. So those are some things that really helped me finishing these two books.

Josh Steimle

So I've heard people say, and this seems to work for me when I actually follow this advice that your first draft should be junk, it should be a trashed draft that nobody else sees, and that you should not edit your first draft as you're going along. I really struggle with this because I have a tendency to edit everything I write as I'm going along through it. Yeah. What How did you apply or not apply that with your first book? Did you just get everything out? Or were you editing as you went?

Blake Snow

I disagree with that advice. And I understand that some people make sense and it's basically what works for you. But for me that that doesn't work for you. Now, I'm not a big fan of like nitty gritty editing Josh, but I am a big fan of like writing something that I'm proud of that that entertains me or that speaks to me like, first and foremost, I write for myself, if I know that I don't like it. I'm pretty sure no one else is going to like it. And so that I use that as a litmus test of like, How good is my current writing, the page right in front of me? So while I don't do the nitty gritty, granular editing, copy editing, I'm okay, making typos and all that I do need the flow and sentences and the structure to be compelling and interesting for me to want to read it. And so that's the approach I take, I actually do write a chapter in a way that is not junk, I'm trying to maybe not necessarily, this is the final chapter, the final piece, but I'm certainly trying to write something that's compelling that I want to read and ultimately share with someone. So that's the approach I take when I, when I write when I write chapters, and I've been asked this a lot like what is a writer and I feel like and I'm sure you've seen this dude, Josh, where you just, I write, I basically like to say I write sentences for a living, that's really, if you want to get to the nitty gritty of what I do, it's writing sentences. It's it's that words wrong, this words wrong. And so it's constantly reworking those sentences. And there's a lot of famous writers that talk about that. But there it's all about the sentence structure and then adding a sentence onto another another and you create a paragraph and then you move to the next sentence. So that's the approach I take when I when I write, whether it's a book or an article,

Josh Steimle

Who are some of those favorite famous writers that you look up to?

Blake Snow

Oh, that's a great question. I I really like Twain. He probably when I read the when I read Tom Sawyer, that just I was like, this is this is brilliant. And that's just a short book. And he certainly has other books, more problems, even Huck Finn. But that I just that spot that turned me on to this idea that you write it in a way that the you should, like some it's funny people ask me like, like, how do you write and I would argue that a mark of an amateur writer is you try to be formal and stuffy, serious. And this is how writing should sound and I completely disagree. And Twain is the perfect example of that. It's like, No, you should write like you talk you should write in a way that's interesting for people to engage and listen to and interact with. And so that's the approach I take. So he's one, I think, um, I also really respect Laura Hillenbrand. She's she and so I wouldn't call myself a genius writer by any stretch of the imagination, Josh, I think I'm a really good to great writer. But there's that 1% of writers that are genius. And she's one of them. She did yeah, Unbroken, Seabiscuit. And I think she's, I think was the only two books she's ever done. And so she's this genius that pulls up creates these incredible masterpieces and then just releases them. And they blow up around the world because she's absolutely amazing. So she's one of a modern one. Um, I really my favorite web art. My favorite like magazine article of all time is Frank Sinatra Has A Cold by Guy Talese. It's an awesome article written for Esquire, you can just Google it, and you can find it. Frank Sinatra Has A Cold, that is that kind of fly-on-the-wall writing where it's utterly fascinating to read that. So he's just one I think old school magazine writer, there's a lot I mean, I, I do read. I wouldn't say as many as like other people, I have friends that read 100 books a year, I'm more closer to maybe like 10 on average, maybe not quite one a month is what I seem to average out and I don't even watch Netflix or watch a lot of TV. It's just it's kind of what I typically do is about one a month on average that I that I read.

Josh Steimle

So where did the inspiration then come for the second book? There are a few years there in between? Yeah, but it? I'm really curious to get the answer on this. Because this book is a book where when I was reading the description, I was like, why would anybody write this book? Like why would Blake write this book? And yet, I'm sure it's great. And I'm sure there was something that captured you about it that you're like, I've got to write this story. So I'm really curious to hear where the inspiration for it.

Blake Snow

Yeah, so this wasn't supposed to be measuring history wasn't supposed to be mine. My second book, Josh, I got a couple other book ideas. And I was I was actually starting to work on my second book. For you know, that I that I had this idea for and this lady contacted me, she's like, like, I'm familiar with your work. I've seen your first book. I work with this company. And I'm wondering if you consider writing a book about this, this company and I was like, well, I need to learn a lot more. So the answer is no, unless you can help me kind of get some more answers. Because I'm not going to do anything that I'm not passionate about, but I don't believe in that isn't interesting or compelling for me. And she's like, Okay, well, I'd love you to interview our a couple of our founders and just ask some questions. And you can, and you can speak to some other senior executives and just get an idea of kind of work, what the history of this book is. So I, I do my due diligence, I start talking to these people. And when I, when I discovered that this company this little, not little, but an unheard of company from Austin, Texas, has had the amount of influence they've had on the world. I mean, it's anywhere from 60 to 80% by some estimates, according to kind of what daily products are used. I was, I kind of felt like I stumbled on an untold story. And you know, for a journalist or a writer, that's, that's what we live for. I mean, it makes our job easier to be able to have something that not a lot, at least not the wider world knows about to be able to share that with him. So once it became apparent, like, wow, there's an untold story here I was, I was totally on board. And you know, this, this was a way different process than my first one. My first book is that self-help memoir, where I coupled my own personal research, tinkering, my own my own kind of lifestyle changes and behaviors with the story of how I converted, you know, to find offline bounce on whereas this was a lots of interviews I did conducted over 70, kind of formal official interviews with analysts and competitors, and a lot of people within the company both past and present. And then, you know, hundreds of emails and follow-up calls. So this was a lot of, you know, a lot of reporting and original research to get this story told, which was a lot of fun as well. I'd say, with this book, it was supposed to, you know, I planned out mapped out, okay, this will take me 12 months to do it all. With COVID. It actually took me 14, I mean, COVID did slow things up, or a couple months, and it ruined our book launch party. It was supposed to be a big book launch and the signing event, you know, that's all got ruined, but it's getting pushed hopefully till early next year, kind of depending on how, how much the world opens up. So that was disappointing. But yeah, it it got delayed, but I'd say that probably five, six months was just reporting, interviewing, asking questions, follow-up questions, getting the story, right. And in fact, when I started writing in our back checking, I would say is this right, you know, so it was it was a much more collaborative experience to to tell this story.

Josh Steimle

That is fascinating. That's super interesting. So give us the short version, what is National Instruments? What do they do? And what was the untold story?

Blake Snow

Yeah, so they, they make test and measurement software and hardware, that's a fancy word for when an engineer designs a computer monitor, a pair of Air Jordans a basketball, they need instruments to take measurements on if that product is going to perform or live up to what the specifications are, what it was designed to do, like, same thing with an air, you know, an engine on a jet engine or your transmission in your car. So all these examples, and many, many more, use National Instruments to test to make sure that the engineering the product, the manufacturing is working as it was intended to. At the same time people use National Instruments like NASA or, you know, Boeing to make sure that the air the airplane is staying in the air and doing as it's supposed to. And then there's no bleeding red lights, alerting someone to an emergency, or getting a rocket up in space. And so it's both their software and hardware help manufacturer products as they were designed. But also keep running products such as your, your antenna and your smart, your iPhone, makes sure that that's connecting and working properly. And if it's not, it'll send an error to your software. So there are some other companies. But what what put them on the map is they were the first to use computers, in this case, personal computers back in the 80s, to start letting engineers and researchers and scientists do their own tests at a very affordable, cheap, fast way. And so that, that just put them on this trajectory. I mean, even now, if you see some NASA videos, you'll see a little National Instruments logo, you know, on their screen, and I think the new what's the, what's the Tesla guys, SpaceX, like their whole control panel is a National Instruments panel that they helped use. So it's basically nerdy behind the scenes, software and hardware that just makes the products that we use in everyday life, just better functioning and keep them working. And so that's the story is how that started, like where they came up with that idea, what it's done over the past, you know, several decades and then for them as the world's changing, and this is kind of a commodity now, you know, kind of personalize test and measurement. And as we move to mobile, they're facing, you know, kind of an inflection point where they need to decide how they're going to how they're going to change how they're going to adapt to help engineers moving forward. So that's, that's the, I think that's the summation of that story. It's a lot it's really character driven. I'm really proud of it, Josh, that, you know, when they first approached me, and I'm doing all these interviews, Josh, as a writer, and you know, this, I'm like, there's not a lot of conflict here, guys. No, there's not like these, these Steve Jobs personality like they're getting in boardrooms fights and there are they almost risk the company on this huge loan, that it's a, it's a pretty boring, you know, there's not a lot of controversy in their history. So I was like, I need conflict to tell the story. So I'm going to do this. And so I try I tried different paths, like, there's really not a lot of conflict there, I wasn't gonna force the issue. So I decided on this alternating timeline, to tell the story, this narrative where starts in present day, then I go back 40 years, comes back to present day in chapter three, then I go back 35 years. And so I just worked my way up till everything built up to the final chapter, and really paid off really nicely. I'm excited, I'm really pleased and happy with how that alternating timeline really created that, not so much conflict, but the tension to kind of lead the reader along to get to the final chapter. So it's, I'm really proud of that. And I had to use that trick, you know, and that is a trick, there's, there's tricks you'll have to use as a writer, if there's not a lot of conflict, you're gonna have to find an interesting way to keep the reader suspended, or the listener suspended. And that works really well in this book for me.

Josh Steimle

Cool, thanks for sharing that insight. That's something I hadn't thought about before. So that this book was kind of an exercise in long form journalism. It sounds like totally,

Blake Snow

I mean, it it completely is. And right before right before I started this project, I read this great book called Say Nothing About the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Have you heard of this book? Josh?

Josh Steimle

I think I've heard of it. I haven't read it.

Blake Snow

It's great. Yeah, it's a great story on on just the the Irish IRA and how messed up that was, and, and how, like, that's crazy, Josh, that story that, you know, people they look like, they talk, like, there's no racial or inequality and stuff, and they still hate each other, just based on what they believe spiritually. And so it there's a lot of, there's a lot, the reason I bring that up is because that author, I'm forgetting his name, it's a great book, I highly recommend it, um, just had to do a lot of deep, you know, reporting as well, that I had to do for this story. So I, that was a that was an inspiration for me reading that book. And you're certainly right, it is, this was a long-form, you know, journalistic story that I had to tell that required a lot of reporting, interviewing and original research, but that's awesome. Well, that's so exciting. It was awesome. It was awesome. Seeing Josh to see, for example, I interviewed to the two co-founders, and just to see how memory fails the human mind, like, the both of them, like they live this story. And they would slightly disagree on on big issues, but it was like, well, I gotta, I gotta, you know, I got to tell one of these truths, which is the most true and, and as you'll see in the books, there's cases where I just I say this guy said this, this said this, we don't know the real story, but that's where we go from here. And so that was an interesting thing to kind of be confronted with that, you know, your memory fails. Josh mine does, too. It's just human nature, because our brains throw away stuff that it deems is, this isn't really that important. But it is important when we try to retell the the past and revisit the, you know, the history of where we are, how we got to where we are, and so,

Josh Steimle

Yeah, so what's next? You said, you're working on some other books? What have you got in the works?

Blake Snow

Um, well, I've been toying with like, this idea of how a lot of people ask me, you know, I've been, I've been working for myself now for close to two decades, about 20 years. And people asking me, how did how did you do it? You know, it seems so hard, kind of like writing a book. I think a lot of people who have never been a self-employed or an entrepreneur, it's just it's like, mind boggling. It's like, it's, it seems like a lot of people that have never done that, like, their biggest concern is like, you know, health insurance. I'm like, Oh, that's the last of your concern. But I think it just shows how different kind of a shift are playing your own. And so for me, it's what how have I been able to do that for the past 20 years, and the big thing that's really blessed my life and my work is just persistence. I do what's called politely persistent. That's what I'm constantly trying to do. And I think everyone does this. Um, at least a lot of people that are successful, they know that, you know, it's your job. It's our job to get out there and ask people and face rejection. Time and time again. So the next book will likely be something around persistence and how that's helped me in my life. I'll also do a lot of, you know, reporting and research on that subject and how people could adapt a more persistent approach to, to work in life. But that's the next thing that at least book idea that I've had. But then I also have, I've got this list of like, here's a few other ideas, I don't know if they are book- worthy, but, you know, I need to, I need to explore them a little more to see if Yeah, there is a story there. And I think there's a book-length of material there to be told. So, um, yeah, I plan on writing lots of books. And so it's a great experience at the same time. It's kind of my editor of my first book, he's edited, like, I don't know, 60, or 70 books. So quite a few books. He's been doing it for a long time. And he told me, and I haven't ever fact checked this, but I have no reason to dispute it. He said, um, book, the number of books being published is something like, half today of where it was just 10 or 15 years ago. So people are still reading but Netflix and you know, episodic content is eating into the mainstreams, you know, consumption of books, so I'm not gonna say it's a dying medium by any stretch of the imagination. It's still very popular. But it is a it's it's, it's it's interesting to see a little sad, I would say, but it's also interesting to see just how reading has kind of dwindled a little. But on the upside, a lot more people are listening to books, audio, audible is a huge thing. So it's not it's not all lost. But yeah, it's it's interesting to see the the industry change.

Josh Steimle

For sure. What's your preferred form of consuming books these days?

Blake Snow

I like it on my Kindle, so I like ebooks. It's short. So I prefer to read it on my Kindle. But I love that I have the Kindle app. If I'm away from my Kindle, I just fired up on my phone and I can it syncs you know, so I'm right where I'm at. And so I can just, it's a really great way to just consume books throughout your day. I feel like I'm reading better that at the same time, I'll still read a paper or hardcopy, my wife still prefers hard copies. I know a lot of people do. I actually don't like audible books. I would rather read it but I get that a lot of people do. I don't really care how you consume my book if you do great. But yeah, I prefer ebook. What about you, Josh? How do you how do you like to read?

Josh Steimle

Well, I think you know that I used to be a huge audiobook fan. Yeah. And that was the only way I consumed books. And I got converted back to print books within the past year. And so my whole bookshelf, if you're watching this on video, you see all the books behind me like these are just the books that I bought in like the last six months. And so I've kind of gotten addicted. And I blame Ryan Holiday for this because Ryan Holiday, his research method for writing his books, is he marks up a bunch of print books. And when I started working on my newer set of books, I realized audio doesn't work for this because I want to bookmark things. And it's not convenient, and I'm out jogging to like, stop, get my phone out market. And then how do I process those marks as like, this is not working. So I looked at Ryan Holidays method. And I thought, you know what, I'm gonna have to do this. And then I got addicted to it. And so now I'm just churning through print books.

Blake Snow

Yeah, that's, and that's something I didn't really realize, like, I actually get a little anxiety when I'm, when I'm reading a nonfiction book. I mean, I take great breaks from my phone, but I love having my phone by me with my Kindle. Because I'm always making these mental notes, writing notes. I'll pursue that. Read more on this subject. And so I that makes sense, perfect sense as to why you converted? That's that's a big part of why I like to read. Um, yeah, either Kindle or paperback. Well,

Josh Steimle

yeah, I mean, paper is just, it's user friendly for some stuff in ways that technology isn't. So I do tend to still listen to a lot of audiobooks, but it's books that aren't part of my research. So I just read Moby Dick, because I watched In The Heart Of The Sea. And I thought, well, I want to read Moby Dick now. I've never read it. Well, I don't need to mark that up. I just want to listen to it. Yeah. And and so that's a type of book that I'm listening to.

Blake Snow

How many stars out of five? Would you give Moby Dick, Josh?

Josh Steimle

Have you read it?

Blake Snow

I have. So

Josh Steimle

yeah, I want to know yours first. Um, so if I'm being harsh, I'll give it four out of five stars. And the only reason I wouldn't give it five out of five is I hated the way it ended because I thought it was too abrupt. I got to the end. And I was like, I didn't know where I was in the book. So I wasn't watching the timeline. I was just out running and I get to the end of the book. And it's like, We hope you enjoyed this Blackstone audio production. I was like, Wait, what? Like it's over? Yeah. It's like,I thought I was like halfway through it and it's over and I was like, it was just getting good.

Blake Snow

And you know, a lot of classic books do that they end so abruptly. Almost someone's like, Guys, you can't Mike drop that quick. You know, you gotta, like let people like processes going on. I agree with that I give it four out of five. A great really important book but slightly overrated I'd say and I love going back to read classics and I think a lot of classics leave me scratching my head. I'm like, how is this so popular? You know, and maybe it was a product of the times I think and a lot of cases read some classics. I'm like, this is absolutely amazing. Like, The Count of Monte Cristo like Alexander Dumas is one of the greatest. You asked me about author's just amazing with words, but at the same time, I read that unabridged version, Josh, at page, I think it's like 775 I'm like Dumas where are you going with this? How did you how did you do this? And I learned Josh, I don't know if you knew this he got paid episodically. So he was financially incentivized to go off on these divergent sidepaths where as a whole work, it does the work a disservice. So you're gonna read Count of Monte Cristo? Do the abridged version and save yourself some trouble? So? Yeah.

Josh Steimle

I've heard similar things about Les Mes stuff. I mean, he goes off for like, 200 pages about this war. And you're like, what? Wow, like, this is a lot of building out the background here like

Blake Snow

Did he get paid episodically to?

Josh Steimle

I heard that I'm not sure if that's true. But I heard a rumor like that. But yeah, but I really actually liked Moby Dick. I came into it with low expectations, I thought it would be boring. And then it turned out to be very funny and entertaining. And his sense of humor just caught me off guard. I was like, this is not at all what I was expecting to get into. And so I ended up really enjoying the end of the jokes.

Blake Snow

I mean, that's great. I love that you read those jobs. That's actually another dislike pro tip that I've learned in my life that, um, don't just stay in the weeds. Like if you're gonna read a business book, I hope you're reading classics. I hope you're reading literature. I hope you're reading novels. Because as you as you expand your what your your intake of reading, you're just going to be a better writer all like all around. And so that's certainly helped me. So I'm a big advocate of consuming all types of writing that and you'll learn tricks like there's times where I've like reading Dumas, I'm like, man, I love how he said that. I'm gonna try to say that, in a story. I'm writing an article, I'm writing a book I'm writing and so I'm a big advocate of don't just stay in your lane. When it comes to reading, you really need to expand and read all sorts of writers, all types of genres.

Josh Steimle

So glad you dropped that tip in here because I agree. 100%. Well, Blake, thank you so much for coming on the show here. Where's the best place for people to learn more about you?

Blake Snow

On my website, Blakesnow.com. There you'll find links to my both books, a lot of my articles I contribute around the web, and just some of the work that I do as a content consultant, writing consultant to a lot of companies and so that's a great star. You can also search me up on Amazon if you look for my books just search Blake Snow, you should pull up there. Yeah. Reach out Say hi, give me an email. You can do that inbox at blakesnow.com. Happy to answer any questions as well. Thanks for having me on the show. Josh. It's great to catch up.

Josh Steimle

You too. Thank you for being here. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to subscribe. And if you want to spread the word, please give us a five star rating review and tell your friends to subscribe too. We're available on Apple podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere else you listen to podcasts. And if you're an entrepreneur interested in writing and publishing a nonfiction book to grow your business and make an impact. Visit Publishedauthor.com for show notes for this podcast and other free resources.

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