My New Book! “WORK THE SYSTEM; DON’T BE TOO MUCH YOU”
I am so next level FURIOUS at myself right now, I don’t even know where to start.
Is it really possible that I am IDIOTIC enough to make the SAME fucking mistake again; to be seduced in the same way again, for the promise of an outcome I don’t even actually GIVE a fuck about?
And please know, before you get ready to tell me I’m not an idiot, that I know I’m not an idiot. I actually think quite highly of myself 🙂 … in fact, that’s the precise reason why I’m able to see what a blooming IDIOT I’ve been.
Well, that’s one way to look at it …
The other way feels nicer, and that is this:
I just ‘got to’ learn a fabulous $50,000 or so lesson.
About not chasing gold stars I don’t care about.
About thinking that I need to be validated by the SYSTEM and the normal people in order to be good enough, prove myself, feel WORTHY, when my entire fucking THING is, well –
Fuck the system.
Kinda funny, when you think about it –
That I rail against the system SO hard, but yet here I was – again!!!! – praying it would bestow blessing on me, and willing to bend over and take it up the ass, as far as INTEGRITY goes, and alignment to my MESSAGE, in order to receive said blessing.
What am I talking about?
I did the thing.
Of agreeing to filter my God damn WRITING, and the way I get it out there.
In order to get to ‘best-seller’ status; this time a campaign for the Wall Street Journal.
“You can write whatever you want!”, he said –
He being the book agent who I already walked away from at the start of this year, because the whole thing about pursuing the NYT best-seller was SO distasteful to me that I couldn’t sleep for the taste of bile in my mouth.
(In case you weren’t aware –
It’s a system. The best-seller thing.
Follow the system –
Do it right –
‘Invest’ in a gajillion copies of your own book, and / or ask your friends to do the same in order to hit the markers –
Oh, and no you don’t even have to WRITE the book, hahaha –
Somebody can do that for you; what has WRITING got to do with being a New York Times best-seller? You silly child )
So, I walked away.
RAN, more like. Once I finally got up the COURAGE to be honest with myself about how VILE the whole thing was, and about how I always KNEW I’d get there … anywhere … everywhere … on my terms.
Wrote about it several times in my private groups, in NO uncertain words. RELEASED THE DEMON. And the 100k+ or so lesson, too, but really – the price worth paying, I believe, to finally REMEMBER TO BE FUCKING ME.
A month or so back.
I wrote about it publicly. About how part of what I couldn’t stomach was that I had to conform the actual WRITING (oh yes I DID WANNA WRITE MY OWN BOOK. #shocker) … it had to fit the ‘right’ way.
And, my agent contacted me –
“I’ll help you publish ANYTHING you want to write!
Let’s do a campaign for the WSJ this time … ebook to start, then pitch it to publishers, then LEVERAGE that in order to angle for a NYT book on your terms”
I agreed almost instantly. Wouldn’t you? Maybe you’d be stronger than me … but we all have cracks.
One of my BIG ones is anything to do with being VALIDATED as a writer.
Funny how I didn’t see until TODAY how desperate I’ve been to be validated by a system and an entire PEOPLE group I actively don’t wanna be PART of!!
But yes. Cave I did. Write what I want? Get the title and status? Bounce from there to the NYT?
I wrote the book in 4 days.
Sent it through.
NERVOUS AS FUCK … scared it wouldn’t be good enough … worried it’s too ‘crazy’ … too ME … but KNOWING it was my true work.
It’s funny, what a slippery slope it can be, walking away from your truth.
Don’t you think?
Have you ever noticed how it can just creep up on you? The conformity? The giving in? The CRUMBLING?
I didn’t even notice it.
Except … of course I fucking did. There was that TASTE OF THE DEVIL IN MY MOUTH THE WHOLE TIME.
But on the surface of it, I was so magnetized by the dangling gold star, being a REAL best-seller; finally, that I didn’t even notice –
“In terms of organizing the book, I’m wondering if you could create a Table of Contents with the chapter titles and 1 paragraph description about each chapter. This would allow me from a high level to see and understand the current structure.
… So that I understand, will you please email me what the big idea for the book is, and what is the hope? Tell me who this book is for and who its not for. Tell me why someone would want to read the book, i.e. whats in it for them?
1) Who is this book for?
2) Who is this book not for?
3) What is the big idea (what’s new surprising or different)
4) What are the features of the content to the reader
5) What are the benefits of the content to the reader?
6) whats the hope?”
Nothing unreasonable about that, is there? Not at all! Why SHOULDN’T there be a description for each chapter … that makes sense … we’re talking mainstream, after all …
Said my continually wannabe-rebel mind.
I told myself:
It’s for a higher purpose; for alignment, for my CALLING!
I sat my ass down.
I did the thing.
Well, that’s not true – I couldn’t stomach it, so I had one of my Content Ninjas on my team, Sam, do it. And for the answers for the questions I audio’d them out, and she transcribed them.
Back to flow.
The whole time as I was audio’ing I was thinking –
What a crock of shit.
Not MY people.
Do it for the cause, Kat! The NORMAL people need to underSTAND things; y’know! I’d forgotten at this point how ridiculous it was that I was trying to market to normal…
But next –
“A couple of quick questions, around editing, how much editing are you willing to allow?
As my team and I go through to see what needs to be done, we can see several different levels.
I want to respect your artistic process, and I also want the book to be successful.
An example would be, the book, tone and style appears to be written to your existing audience, but, if we do our job, and bring in additional audience for you (in addition to your launch) the current book (even if reorganized to be clearer) will be hard for someone who doesn’t already know you to follow.
Would you allow us to edit the book so its clearer for audiences that don’t know you?
Another example would be the style, the writing comes off as though you were talking (I’m guessing you either write like you talk, I do the same, or you transcribed and edited things you said in one of your broadcasts). As you know, normally the written form and the spoken form are very different. As an example, run on sentences are very common in the spoken form, especially when you are excited. But, in the written form it makes understanding what your saying more difficult (and to new audiences, who don’t know you, it likely will not paint you in the best light). So, if the tone can be kept, would you allow the book to be edited into a writing style that would appeal to new readers?
And note, I’m not talking about the use of swearing like Fuck and Shit, just the presentation of the ideas, structure of sentences etc…
Its your book, and we can essentially do what ever you, I also want the book to help expand your business.
Two other quick points, the swearing can be acceptable in the book, but, amazon/kindle is known to not publish books when the table of contents include swearing. Obviously we need Kindle/Amazon to allow the book to be sold on the site, so, can we adjust the table of contents, so that we do things like BS instead of Bullshit, or F*ck instead of Fuck.
On other question, if you do intend to sell the book to a publisher after it becomes a best-seller I have a few other suggestions, almost 5% of the book are cuss words, 25% of the book are the words I and me. I’d like to suggest we reduce swearing to 1% for emphasis, and that we adjust the copy so that its more about the reader then you. And, one fun way to keep your tone and style, and even your conversational way of talking/writing for existing customers, while adjusting the copy for new readers while illustrating, what we could do is have the majority of the book in a normal written tone, but then have a section thats an “Inside Kat’s head” or “What Kat’s really thinking”. You have so many powerful things to say, and by separating and emphasizing your big/main points in this way, will both allow you to keep your personality, style and artistic way, while meeting the needs of the readers (and making it easier for me to sell the book to publishers after it becomes a best-seller).
Again, please note, beyond the TOC request above, we’ll work to publish the book however you like, I’m asking the questions to gain insight into what you are open to and what your not.
I fully respect and want to allow you to keep your artistic freedom, I also want to maximize all of this books potential, so please let me know what is acceptable and what’s not.”
It’s a slippery slope …
The path to becoming ONE of them.
I read this email while my videographer Zack was with me. I basically bashed my head on the table about it reading it out to him, on film for an upcoming show or some such thing … the content never stops!! … and then I audio’d my agent my response.
I agreed to what he suggested.
It makes sense, right …
And besides, he SAID he’d respect my artistic talent, and that I could do what I wanted if I wanted … and his points made sense.
So, I gave in. I agreed.
I am angry as FUCK right now, but let’s be clear – that anger is directed at mySELF for being so easily swayed from what I know is right inSIDE of me.
It’s funny re-reading this now –
On the one hand, why would I NOT agree to his expert recommendations … they’re perfectly rational … based on the book INDUSTRY … etc etc etc
On the other hand –
My NATURAL tone might not paint me in the best light?
He thinks maybe I transcribed the book? (not a word)
Edit my style to appeal to new readers??
Well, fuck me –
I don’t know how it is that all these years I just keep getting new SOUL ALIGNED READERS all the while being fully me!
Must be luck!
And yes –
I KNOW –
My #culttribe online ain’t the same as ‘official world approved best-seller WITH a cherry on top’.
Oh I know!
But anyhow, I agreed.
And then today, I get an email.
About the (astonishingly high and previously never mentioned, I MIGHT add) extra costs for editing –
But also, re-capping what I myself had agreed to.
HELL YES this is on me.
And as I read that email, I felt the bile rise
I felt the rage build
I felt the FURY
And I LASHED out in my journal, in high prose style, of course –
Am I being seduced again? Or am I just naive about what it takes?
FUCK ALL OF THAT SHIT
I just want to write what I want to write and be ME
Stop fucking CONFORMING
Stop GIVING in to the fucking SYSTEM
STOP FUCKING PAYING FOR PEOPLE TO GET YOU TO RICH / FAMOUS / APPROVED OF
I want to get there myself
I want it to be because I followed my heart .. broke the rules … did it MY way.
FUCK FUCK FUCK
Going against your gut will NEVER fucking work
It doesn’t MATTER how big of a game you’re playing if it’s not the right game
What you feel inside of you is ALWAYS real’
And out poured the blog, which I wrote earlier –
“FUCK YOU, I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME”
At dinner tonight, over fabulous home-cooked Rogan Josh plus ALL the things, at my Inner Circle client Karen’s house; a fantastic evening with her and her husband John, a few wines in I ended up sharing this story.
We’d been talking for a bit about INTEGRITY, about the difference between what I see as TRUE art, and that polished / scripted bullshit; i.e. how people prepare something ‘perfect’ that they then memorise fully, including even intonation and movements and everything, to speak or perform on stage.
We’d talked about how of COURSE that gets an outcome. That shit works!
But what a VILE TASTE it leaves in the mouth.
And we’d touched on amazing artists such as Billy Connelly, or Russell Brand, who are known for ad-libbing, or just plain madness.
This is who I AM as an artist. I ONLY want to be the one who unleashes what comes out in that moment in time, and then EXACTLY how it comes out is how it must be.
And I shared how I myself, despite how CERTAIN I am of my truth, still find myself defaulting, being swayed, falling, into being one of THEM. And about this, about how for the third.fucking.time I’ve agreed to do a book that is not my TRUTH, and also paid impressively for the privilege of it!!
I shared the story, wondering aloud if maybe I AM just naive, and ‘this is how it is’, but as I spoke it was crystal clear to all of us that there is NO way that that process can work for me.
It’s ridiculous … funny, really … that I’d even consider it!
0.01% off alignment, is 100% off alignment; simple.
Of COURSE the only book I wanna write is one FULLY in my style and with ALL my madness, not a SINGLE adjustment and fuck this ‘in Kat’s head’ thing, the whole POINT of the whole THING is that it’s what’s in my head. 25% me and I, so the fuck what?
That’s not the sort of thing you and I concern ourselves with, OR notice, because we respond to the SOUL, not the fucking structure.
5% cuss words or not!
But as I said –
We all have our areas of weaknesses.
I believed when I was told I could do it my way.
I still AM being told I can do it my way … just that it’s not recommended, and may not paint me in the best light.
Well, okay – I could go ahead.
But the problem is that once a stink gets in –
It’s hard to get that shit out.
And on a not so side note?
ALIGNMENT is not just what you create, it’s also about who supports you to do that, and they FULLY GET AND ADORE YOU AS YOU ARE, and fully BELIEVE in you as you are. Not that you come to an agreement on them DEALING with you as you are, even though it’s ‘not recommended’.
So, there’s that.
YEAH, I still want the titles. The NYT thing. Of course I do. Even though it’s a system I don’t actually CARE about; I literally have no idea ever who is on the list, and I never study up or read with interest on how people got there! Give me an indie writer / artist who has made it though, and I’ll scour the whole internet to pore over their story! lol … it’s funny that I can still say I CARE about the ego goal, when I know my soul doesn’t give a single flying fuck. But right now, yeah I want it. 100% ON MY TERMS though, including the FEEL of the whole lead-up has gotta be hell yes.
So, I get to walk away.
And laugh at my foolishness.
And berate myself furiously.
But then get on with it, and even MORE next level back to being me, lit up with FIRE as a result!
“What an IDIOT I’ve been!”, I said –
“I guess I got to learn that lesson AGAIN!”
And I smiled in spite of it all, still shaking my head, but not upset really at all, as everything is ALWAYS perfect and just as it should be. I guess maybe this time I will finally learn?? Please?!
As the story drew to a close, and my youngest child slept in my lap, the clock pushing towards midnight and the evening nearly over, Karen, or perhaps John, asked me what the book was called. I laughed aloud.
“It’s called ‘Screw the Rules; Just Do You'”, I said –
And we all fairly fell off our chairs in hilarity.
“Perhaps you should re-title it ‘Work the System, Don’t Be Too Much You'”, John said.
And then I came home and wrote this.
Don’t forget –
Life is Now. Press Play.