042: How the Scribe Method Helps Authors Get Their Stories Written with Jevon McCormick
JeVon ‘JT’ McCormick shares how his experience working with Scribe Media as an author led to his joining the company as its CEO. He shares that everyone has a story to tell and Scribe Media has a process to make that happen.
The Scribe Method: The Best Way to Write and Publish Your Non-Fiction Book by co-founders Tucker Max and Zach Obront, guides potential non-fiction authors through the fears that can become obstacles on their journey.
He informs listeners that Scribe Media turns away 30% of the people who come to them because they either are seeking fame or don’t have enough content yet. He shares that many authors do not sell over 100 copies, but their books lead to valuable opportunities and build high credibility.
In this episode, JeVon shares insight into what it takes to become a non-fiction author using two questions from the book. JeVon discusses the ways Scribe Media helps people write their books. Scribe Media offers many services from author workshops to in-person interviews. Jevon mentions the importance of having goals along with knowing your niche. He explains how one of the questions in the book asks the authors what success looks like for the individual.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Overcoming obstacles to achieve goals
- Unlocking the world’s wisdom through literature
- The freedom of transparency
- The initial discomfort of having your story public
- Defining what success means to you
Resources Mentioned in this episode:
- Scribe Media
- JeVon McCormick’s website
- I Got There on Amazon
- JeVon McCormick on YouTube
- JeVon McCormick on LinkedIn
About the Guest:
JeVon McCormick was raised in Dayton, Ohio. He started his career by scrubbing toilets, but he hustled and worked his way into better opportunities. He became very successful in the banking and mortgage industry. Then lost his job and all of his money, but JeVon used this setback combined with what he learned to eventually become the President and CEO of Scribe Media. He formerly served as President of Head Spring systems, and is the author of the book I Got There: How a Mixed-Race Kid Overcame Racism, Poverty, and Abuse to Arrive at the American Dream.
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Hey, folks, our guest today again is JeVan “JT” McCormick, President and CEO of Scribe Media, which is a company who helps experts, executives and entrepreneurs turn their ideas into books we shared last time how he formerly served as president of head spring systems. And he is the author of the book, I Got There: How a Mixed-Race Kid Overcame Racism, Poverty, and Abuse to Arrive at the American Dream. JeVon, welcome to the show one more time.
Ahhh Steve, thank you, sir.
Well, I enjoyed our conversation learning last week about your professional journey, scribe media, how it came about, and even more specifically about the Culture Bible. So for those of you that have not heard the episode, we encourage you to go back and listen to that. Because it definitely does account for the core of our theme for the podcast. That’s a Culture of Creative Firms.
But today JeVon, I wanted to dive into a little bit more, because you we mentioned as you we learned last time that you are first an author that wrote a book through Scribe Media, and then from that, you actually got your job as CEO, because of some of those encounters kind of share with us a little bit about what that was like for you.
Oh, wow. So I told the story before, so I won’t bore you with all of it. But yes, I was at the software company. And I was traveling quite a bit. And I remember specifically, I was on a plane ride home, and I’m not a big fan of flying, and we hit a lot of turbulence. And I remember thinking to myself, Oh, man, if something happens to me, my kids aren’t gonna know right where I came from. And you know, it was one of those moments.
And so as soon as the plane touched the ground, I’m on the phone, I’m like, Hey, does anyone know anybody, then they can help me write a book. And I got introduced to the two co-founders of at the time what were Scribe and they were 13 months old. And Tucker and Zach, the two co-founders, Tucker comes over to my office at the software company. And he’s sitting there with me, and I’m telling him my background, my story where I come from, and he goes, Oh, you definitely got a book.
And so as we’re wrapping up, and this is important, he says, Man, you’ve built a great company here. And I said to him, I go, no one person builds a great company. It takes a team of people to build a great company. And he said, Will you give me feedback on our process? As you go through the process? I said, Yeah, sure, why not? And I think he thought I was BSing, and like, I wasn’t gonna follow through. And so I get my first email from the company from Scribe, and I call up Tucker. I said, Hey, you still want feedback? And he’s like, Yes, I was like, man, I swing hard. And he was like, go for it.
And I go, Okay, this is great. This is great. Keep doing that. What were you thinking here, stop this immediately? And I don’t know what you guys came up with this. He goes, you got all that from an email? And I said, Yeah. He said, Would you sit on our advisory board? And I said, why not? And then, you know, a couple things kept going back and forth with them. And I’d give them more insight. And then they invited me to an executive meeting. And I gave him feedback there.
And then one day, I get invited to Starbucks, myself, Zack and Tucker, we sit down, they said, Hey, if we give you a ton of equity in the company, would you come be the CEO? And I said, Yeah, why not? You know, I was President of a software company. I can’t code may as well be a CEO of a publishing company and I can’t spell. So here I am, man. And it’s been great. Four and a half years later, it’s been a great ride, and I got my book done. And so Mission accomplished.
Yeah, I would say so I can think of like, you know, when you have that first impulse of like, I need to write a book. And you know, for you, as you said, you kind of spread the word that you needed some help doing that. What were…
Needed some hell, that’s an understatement Steve.
Well, I mean, to that point, like, you know, when you started to actually get into the details of the process, what were some of the things that could have potentially been a stumbling block? Because I know for me like, I think I have five books in me, right? I think there are a lot of people out there that believe and aspire to write a book. But frankly, we don’t.
And I don’t know, what are some things that either one that you experienced in terms of those fears about writing a book, or even the obstacles? What are some of the things that stand in the way for an author to actually write a book.
So I’ll lead with mindset, since you ask, and then I’ll give you many others that come from authors. So for me, the biggest roadblock was in and I’ll share a little bit of personal at 15 years old, when my mother took me to be tested academically, I was testing on a fifth and sixth-grade level. You know, I taught myself how to hold a pen as a kid, I still don’t hold a pen or pencil the right way, whatever the right way is to me and do I get the job done, and that’s right.
And so, but academically, there’s not a lot going on in my head. I can’t spell can tell you an adverb from an adjective. And I laugh, and I joke about that, but there’s no way I ever could have written a book. And so for me, the process of how we do it, which we express to our authors, one of the hardest things to do in life been factually proven is to think and write at the same time.
So we want to do is to take the actual writing out of it, we want you to sit back, grab your beverage of choice, you know, water, wine, whatever in between. And let us pull the content from you. Let us ask questions that are going to bring out the details to those stories that are going to make for great book. And then that way, all you have to do is focus on your words, your content that you’re sharing, then it’s up to us to make sure that book flows correctly, it’s structured correctly, that the tone, the voice, the content is your book.
And that just appealed to me like no other I thought, wow, I would not be able to get this book done had it not been for this process. So that’s how I got here and it’s one of those things a lot of authors struggle with is time to even write a book. I mean, think about this deep.
There’s a reason why Ernest Hemingway went off to Sun Valley, Idaho for six months to write a book. Because that focus that concentration, well, most of us don’t have that time, we can just leave for six months to go write a book. So our process gives you that time to just sit back, let us pull the content and you don’t have to worry about the actual writing of it.
Yeah, I mean, I think there is probably a romanticism that we have about writing a book. And we think of, you know, the Ernest Hemingway going to Idaho, or we think of finding a cabin out in the woods, where we just toil every day over you know, the back in the day, the typewriter, or the computer.
And I just think that there’s even an ego that we might have just fantasy of like I am the genius and out from me through my mind, and my fingers will flow this masterpiece, and I just don’t think that that’s the way it is for it will be for a lot of us. Is there anything that you guys speak to about that, that you know, that solitary genius in the in the woods that they fantasize about.
I tell people all the time is that, I believe you’re more in love with that moment that you’re putting together than you are in actually writing the book. Because if you really consider this, let’s say you did sit down and you typed out all the information on the computer, great. One could challenge Ernest Hemingway may come back and say, oh, but you did it on a computer. So then you’ve got that challenge.
Now someone may challenge Ernest Hemingway before the typewriter and say, oh, but you did it on a typewriter. I wrote the whole thing that the author of War and Peace, his wife, rewrote that book by hand seven times before he approved the final draft of it. Now, if we want to go down to that level of I wrote my own book.
So really, what are we trying to accomplish? It’s still your words, your tone, your voice. You didn’t put your fingers on the keyboard. Does that make a difference? Because when they print the book, it’s not going to be your handwriting anyway.
Right. But I think you know, this is in no way shape or form to go against for those that actually do that for those authors…
Not at all…
…authors that actually do have the ability and the discipline and the focus to work on a book for 6/12/24 months, you know all the credit to them. And I think that’s we love that idea. But I think the reality is that not many of us have the wherewithal for whatever reason, whether it’s time, whether it’s money, whether it’s focus all these different factors to write a book.
And I think to make it more accessible, the idea of getting the message out was, I think, the, the, the message itself, meaning the book is much more important to get into the hands of its readers, rather than the methodology that we use to create it. And I think we go ahead,
I was gonna say, to take that a step further is well, Steve is in fact, there are so many people who just want to write the but we created a workshop for them. And they do a workshop with us, because they want to write, they want to feel that, you know, I wrote this myself, great, we completely support that.
But to your point, there’s a whole other segment of people who either don’t know how, I don’t know how I don’t have the time, or don’t want to, and, and so they just want to speak, speak it out loud. But yeah, we know that there’s a huge amount of people out there that want to write the book themselves. We see it every time we do a workshop each month.
Yeah. And I think what I love about what you folks is you’re not necessarily preaching one methodology of what you described earlier, have some interviews with the scribe, they sort of download all of the book from your brain to their computer, and then they go back and they write and then come back. Now, that’s only one of the ways that you help folks, what are some of the other ways, you know, I think between that guided process and the workshop, what are some of the other forms that you help authors write their books.
So there’s a couple of ways there’s one we talked about in the beginning, and then you even have authors too that, that want to pay a lot of money. And we come do the interviews in person with you. So we show up to your office, we sit in your conference room, and we do those interviews in person. And then we have the people that we do them over the phone, then we have the guided author workshop where we help you, you know, structure, your outline, put a writing schedule together for you. So we have the workshop that that will help you to write the book yourself.
Then we have people who show up with their manuscript already done. It says, Hey, JT, here’s my manuscript, everything that I want in here is done. All I need you to do is proofread it for me, helped me with the cover design helped me get it laid out in the interior layout, and publish it and register it. Great, we can help you with that as well.
So we’ve got multiple ways we help people publish their books. The whole, as you mentioned before, when we spoke last time, you know, our mission, you know, we believe everybody has a story. And we want to unlock the world’s wisdom, and everyone should tell their story.
What was that process? Like for you know, we talked a little bit about what it was like to like, I love the idea of this process. And then when you actually went through it, what were some of the things that stood out for you in that process?
Who man that for me, Steve, on a personal level, it was very therapeutic. And really, just by the nature of my book, I was putting stories into this book that I had never said out loud. There were stories that I was putting in this book for my children that I swore were going to stay locked up in a safe and on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean somewhere and it a lot of tears, a lot of frustrations, a lot of old memories. And yeah, it was tough. And so it was very therapeutic.
And I ran into something many of our authors run into once we had the manuscript done. Once we had the book ready to be published, I actually delayed publishing the book 90 days, because I was like, ah, everyone’s gonna know Okay, this is who I am. And so but at the same time, you say, How did it make me feel what was it? It was very freeing, also.
One of my favorite pages in the book, it says, you know, my name is JeVon Thomas McCormick. I’m half white, half black. My father was a drug dealer and a pimp. My mother was an orphan. I barely have a high school diploma, got a GED. And it was very freeing because all of these years I didn’t want you to know those things.
Well here wasn’t this book you were going to know these things. You were going to know my mistakes you were going to know I was horrible in personal relationships, and I couldn’t hold a relationship as an adult. So things that I did not want you to know did not want you to judge me by you know, who wants to know the guy whose dad was a black pimp that had 23 kids. But it was very freeing as well to put that out there.
I would imagine that there’s a large part of it. That was you were able to really get to the core of your identity as a person and everything that makes you. It’s almost like we are a product of all the good, the bad, and the ugly, but there’s a redemption of all of those things. And we are who we are. Because we went through those things. And it can be a very beautiful thing to come in touch with that.
It was especially how the book was received, the book kind of took on a mind of its own. I never expected the feedback from the book. I mean, truth be told, when I first met with Tucker, I said, look man I don’t care if this book ever sells a copy I said in fact, I don’t even want the book to be public. I just need five copies for my kids.
And I remember, now keep in mind, we’re talking to the person who has sold almost 5 million copies of books. And he said, Okay, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard someone say they don’t care if they ever sell a copy. I said, That’s not what the books being done for but through a lot of conversations, a lot of support, I decided to make the book public because like I said, at first, I was not going to make that book public.
Yeah, that’s, that’s really interesting. And I, you mentioned that they kind of went, the feedback, you know, was superseded anything that you thought, what were some of the things that came out of the book? Like, what were some of the doors that opened? Obviously, your role at Scribe was an open door as a product of that, but what were some of the other things that came out of that book,
Oh, the biggest, just unforeseen never in a million years, could you have told me speaking engagements, never in a million years that I believed that I would be on stage speaking of people telling people my story, and truth be told Steve, I say this. And it’s important to me. I remember the first time I was offered, you know, I was being offered to be paid to come speak. At first I was very flattered, I thought, wow, they’re gonna pay me to come speak. Well, I never thought this would happen. And then I got very frustrated, I angry, I was, like, mad.
And the reason being is when I was poor, as a kid, and my mother and I struggled, no one gave us any money. No one wanted to give us any money, we struggle. And I remember as a kid going to bed, you know, Friday afternoon, when I got my free lunch at school, that was the last time I ate until Monday afternoon when I got another free lunch. And no one gave us any money. And so here I was now being offered 1000s of dollars to tell you about when I was poor, and needed money.
And just the whole, the irony of that is when I needed it, no one would give us any Yeah, I got all the money I can ask for now. And you want to pay me to tell you about when I needed money. And that whole dynamic was such, it was hard to process, but I’m a God guy, I’m a man of faith. And I thought, okay, if this is God’s plan, and he’s going to use me as a tool to tell the story, I’ll go ahead and accept that. But it was hard at first, I was very upset, and especially the amount of money that people will pay to have me come speak, I still laugh about it.
Yeah, no, that’s very interesting that there are all of these unforeseen consequences or, you know, sort of byproducts of certain things that we do is, you know, the writing the book, I would imagine just the internal journey itself, you know, maybe coming to terms with the identity, being able to tell a story to your kids, but also the open doors that it offered is pretty amazing.
Well, I have the book by your co-founders The Scribed Method, and I was reviewing it, because I think there’s a chapter in there about like, you know, basically, how do you position a book, it’s almost like asking yourself as a potential author, the questions of Do you have a book and you and I think you when you sat down? Tucker, that first time he said, oh, there’s definitely a book.
And I don’t know if he asked you if he had these questions in mind at that time, but I know in the book is it outlines three main questions that a person should ask themselves to determine whether in fact, they have a book in them. And I kind of want to go through them a little bit and see why it’s important for authors to talk about these things. So the first one is, how do you want your book to serve your readers? What are they going to get out of it? Why is that important? And why was it important for you?
So for me, obviously, my book was for my children, so I knew who my audience was and what happens. Yeah. What happens with a lot of people is they have this belief, oh, everyone can benefit from this bone. Okay, great. But who is the primary reader who’s our target audience? What what is success?
You know, we published this book, you got great content, beautiful cover, exceptional book. Great. Define success, you know it for me success was having five copies for some people, you know, and I, we tell people this as well, a lot of people don’t realize this, we actually turn away about 30% of the people who come to us.
And the number one reason we turn people away number one, they don’t have enough content for book number two, they say they want to be a New York Times bestselling author, and they want to sell a million copies. Those individuals are looking for fame. So we refer them over to the Kardashians, not our business model. So that it’s very important, you know who your audience is. Because unless you can define success in who your audience is, it’s going to be very hard to position your book.
Right. And I think some of the things that I was reading as part of that explanation was, you know, the, the more niche you can in terms of who that audience is, the better because it’ll become much more personalized to who, you know, what are the things that they’re struggling with? What do they need to hear? What are the problems that you can help them solve?
The second question that is outlined there says, imagine it’s a few years after your book has been published, what has the book helped you accomplish that made the effort worthwhile? So if we’re thinking, you know, five years down the road, after the book has been published, describing what that will look like, in terms of the outcome? Why is that important?
Again, knowing what success looks like, the worst thing that could happen is if you had all of these high goals for the book, and nothing happened, the boat you you printed it in is just a book on the shelf now. And so that’s just damaging. So you want to go forward? And then what does success look like it.
I’ll give you a great example of this, we’ve got a good amount of our authors who have never sold more than 100 copies of their books. But they have all landed six and seven-figure contracts for their business. That was success for them. That is why they came and that is why they did the book. So the goal is to again, I can’t stress it enough. All roads come back to let’s define success. Yeah, be it when the book comes out be two years from now, what does success look like?
Yeah, and I think that’s so important is I think, too many people think that they’re going to make a ton of money from the book. And I think it really the book itself is I mean, there’s benefits to it in terms of one the experience that the author goes through by in the sense birthing that book, there’s a ton of benefits there.
But I think a lot of it is more the intangible as you said, you know, whether it’s the speaking opportunities, whether it’s credibility for a personal brand credibility for company brand, being able to lead to more engagement, especially in this nonfiction, when you’re talking about experts, entrepreneurs, and things like that. I think that’s really the benefits. You know, we live in a world that you need to have something credible for something to believe in. Now, you may not be any different before the book versus after the book, but people’s perception of you can be greatly impacted.
Exactly, exactly. The book does bring a level of credibility along with it. And you nailed it, you please scream that again, you cannot measure success by way of book sales one, many people never know how many copies of book is going to sell. Great example, this the biggest book of the of the last decade, best selling book of the last decade, no one could have told you it was going to be the best selling book of the decade. 50 Shades of Grey, when you actually when you actually go through the book itself. It’s a horribly written book, but it was the biggest book of the decade. And no one could have told you that.
Yeah, I would not have thought that that was the book.
Exactly. Exactly. See now. Now, hey, if someone is a fan of the content, that’s their business. It’s not my place to judge anyone. What they want, but no one could have told you that was going to be the best selling book of the decade.
Well, I want for those of you in the audience that have thought about writing a book, I cannot implore you enough. I can’t encourage you enough to one go out and get this book The Scribed Method. Basically, what you’ve done is you’ve given away all of your secrets in the form of this book, in terms of how it is that you help authors. This is the exact process that you folks use.
But however, as we said before, for us, there’s very few of us that are actually going to be able to do it for ourselves. And that’s possibly a great reason to reach out to you folks. So Javan, if people want to learn more about the way Scribe Media helps authors specifically in terms of the services or where can they go to get that information,
You can go to ScribeMedia.com, you can go to ScribeWriting.com. Literally, we have every asked question that we received on there. We’ve got videos, we’ve got case studies, success stories, parts where you may run into the wall of doing your books, so anything and everything you could want to know about us or know how to do a write your book. It’s there go to ScribeWriting.com.
And if folks want to, they can reach out to me, [email protected] and I can make an introduction as well to the folks at Scribe Media but JeVon, thank you so much. I appreciate you coming on the show for these two parts of our conversation. I really appreciate it. This has been a blast for me.
Hey, Steve, I am truly honored and humbled, Sir, this has been great.
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