Season 3, Episode 4 – How to Take a Leap of Faith w/ Cynthia Fails

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Show Transcript

[00:00:00.000] – David Maples

Welcome back to another episode of The Buck Stops Here. I’m your host, David Maples. Today, I’m here with Cynthia Fails, someone who has a background in psychology, went into education for years, became a published author, went to talk at a university level, and now has started her own publishing empire. The reason I have her on the show today is because as she has been through this journey, she has been through the ups and downs, the ins and outs of every piece that can happen. If you want to be a metal business, if you want to have the mental, metal, and fortitude for how you’re going to move forward in your business. There’s no better paranematic example than Cynthia Fails. Welcome to the show, Cynthia.


[00:00:52.850] – Cynthia Fails

Thanks, David.


[00:00:54.730] – David Maples

Let’s start a little bit with your background and history. You went to undergrad. You were in psychology, right?


[00:01:02.540] – Cynthia Fails



[00:01:03.330] – David Maples

How did you go from there to educator? What happened?


[00:01:07.050] – Cynthia Fails

There was a summer right before I graduated where I got the chance to work with the Kansas City Freedom Schools. The Kansas City Freedom Schools- well, the National Freedom School program is meant to help underserved youth, historically underserved youth, to find a love of reading. We expose them to all sorts of different types of books and a lot of cultural appreciation, and that almost flipped the switch for me. I was like, I don’t care what it is that I do. There’s going to be some level of education and working with people to help write whatever ship it is in whatever industry. But that’s how I ended up in education. Graduated from Kansas State with my degree in psychology, and that was the first spring semester right after 9/11. Mhmm. You have an idea of what the job market looked like, right?


[00:02:03.810] – David Maples

Yeah, I remember.


[00:02:04.460] – Cynthia Fails

I got to go back to the Kansas City Freedom Schools during that summer. Thankfully, I got the chance to land back home at my parents’ house while I was trying to find work. But the Kansas City Freedom Schools just continued to give me opportunities and tied me over until I could find work, which took a while. But then when I did find work, I actually did a year of service with Americaor Vista, and it was still here in the Kansas City area, but I got the chance to work at the United Way of Wyandotte County as their youth service organizer. So there I got to connect youth usually through the court system to opportunities to volunteer at organizations around the county. My approach was to find whatever it was that they loved to do and connect them to an organization that was doing that so that they would stay beyond the court-mandated hours and continue to volunteer.


[00:03:03.190] – David Maples

For those of you, listeners of the show who might be a little bit younger than I am, there was a recession that happened after 9/11. 2001, 2002, there was a recession. It was a pretty substantial one, but it paled in comparison, obviously, the great recession in 2008 and on. But at that point in time, it was one of the worst recessions we’d had in decades. It did change a lot of things in the environment. You were an education for a while, an educator, and then you wrote your first book. What was your first book called?


[00:03:32.360] – Cynthia Fails

First book is called The Christmas Cookie.


[00:03:34.200] – David Maples

Okay, so tell me about The Christmas Cookie.


[00:03:36.100] – David Maples

The Christmas Cookie is about a cookie that wakes up on a plate meant for Santa on Christmas Eve. He wakes up and he’s like, Wait a minute. I’m going to get eaten if I stay here. He has to decide whether or not he wants to run away or whether or not he wants to serve his greater purpose and go ahead and get eaten so that Santa can continue to go from house to.


[00:03:56.610] – David Maples

House to house. No spoilers here, but is it a happy ending?


[00:04:00.810] – Cynthia Fails

It depends on how you read the book.


[00:04:05.000] – David Maples

In the show notes below this, we’ll link out to the Christmas Cookie. If you would like to get a copy of these books and support Cynthia’s endeavors, it would be wildly appreciated. But yeah, that’s a good point. I guess it depends on your perspective. Absolutely. That’s what literary stuff is all about, though. Absolutely. Art and creativity is, I guess, it’s always that intersection of what the person gets out of it. It’s different for everyone.


[00:04:28.810] – Cynthia Fails

It is. It’s funny about that story on the surface. It’s about a cookie that’s meant for Santa. But at the core of it, it’s about having faith in what you can’t see on the other side of what’s right in front.


[00:04:41.770] – David Maples

Of you. You went from there. Did you publish another book before you went back into academia?


[00:04:47.390] – Cynthia Fails

No, that was the only book that I published. I published a book and picked up quilting and then went right back into academics.


[00:04:55.170] – David Maples

You went to academia. You taught at the collegiate level now. I did, yeah. Then you went off to start your own publishing company. That’s true. Tell me about this journey.


[00:05:07.260] – Cynthia Fails

Yeah. It was an interesting journey because when I went back into education, I actually had the chance to help students learn how to ramp up their skills so that they could be collegiate level ready and stay and graduate, which is important. I was doing that during the day, and then at night, I was writing and publishing and illustrating my own stuff. I’m putting it out into the world. Then because of where I was working, you work in academia. There are a lot of professors and staff that are interested in publishing their work. They started using me as a resource, and I was helping them to get their work out into the world as well. Oddly enough, my supervisor saw what I was doing, she knew at the time how much I loved the work that I was doing during the day, but also what I was doing at night. She asked when I was going to take a chance on myself. When we had the conversation, it was immediate for me. I was like, Right now. It was something that I had been considering. It was something that I had been trying to talk to my husband about at the time as well.


[00:06:11.400] – Cynthia Fails

Her question was right on time.


[00:06:14.760] – David Maples

Think about how rare that is in business to have a supervisor, manager, or a boss, for lack of a better term, who sees that your best destiny does not lie within the confines of their organization. Yeah. That’s a real gift. It really was. You went off and started, was that when LaunchCrate was born?


[00:06:35.270] – Cynthia Fails

That’s when LaunchCrate was born.


[00:06:36.910] – David Maples

Tell me about LaunchCrate.


[00:06:39.040] – Cynthia Fails

LaunchCrate was born… Well, I started full-time in 2017, the middle of 2017. But the second book that I published myself, I published under the LaunchCrate brand. LaunchCrate is really meant to give a platform to people. You think about a soapbox, right? We’re trying to give people a platform so that they can share their ideas with the world, and that’s what LaunchCrate is for. But we have gone a step beyond just helping people share their ideas. We’re doing so in a way that makes sure that creatives are getting fairly compensated for their work. And that was a result of me publishing The Christmas cookie.


[00:07:17.850] – David Maples

I’m going to go ahead and go for a minute. I have a background in book publishing that no one knows about. I worked for a games company years ago, and we were publishing books. The model there was there were a couple of different models, and I don’t know if this is across the publishing industry, but you could go send your book to Random House or Penguin. You could send your manuscript or whatever it is and they like it, they take a chance on it, etc. If you haven’t published anything before, it’s really, really hard. You’ll have rejected dozens or even hundreds of times in some cases. It’s that last envelope you send that’s always the most important it feels like. But in our industry, what we discovered was that you would print a book or create a manuscript or book. You’d either write it yourself, they would either publish it for you. But then you had to have distributors to get in the hands of people. The way it worked is, let’s say the book is, I’m just going to use a number, I’m going to say the book is $20. It costs you $5 to print it, hypothetically speaking, if it’s illustrated with color, etc.


[00:08:12.500] – David Maples

This is a hard-bound book, obviously. $20 book, I’ve got cost of five, and I get it to a distributor, they buy it for 10. Then it goes to the stores. The stores get it for seven. I, as an author, have squeezed it between somehow the publishing company and whatever the book costs. I might end up getting it, I’m not going to say a nickel, but I might get 50 cents per book I sell.


[00:08:37.820] – Cynthia Fails

That would be great.


[00:08:39.030] – David Maples

Well, that would.


[00:08:39.960] – Cynthia Fails

Be great. Under that model.


[00:08:41.530] – David Maples

Under that model. But I’ve seen that’s a big model out there. When you looked at it, you’d have a book. We had a book that sold, I think, 30 or 40,000 copies, but we didn’t make money. We were broke as a company because we couldn’t… That didn’t work because I think we were clearing a buck. However we’d worked out, we’d work out something that cleared us on a dollar. But when you look at that, that’s not a lot of money for two years. You can’t support your staff or anything else.


[00:09:04.480] – Cynthia Fails

And nor can an author support themselves on that as well.


[00:09:06.970] – David Maples

Tell me about your journey or what you see. Because self-publishing, when we were involved in this back in 2001 or 2002, self-publishing wasn’t really a thing. Tell me about the different models that exist out there right now for authors.


[00:09:21.720] – Cynthia Fails

There are quite a few models that exist out there. There’s the traditional publishing realm, which is what you just described. There’s the hybrid publishing world where you pay, and I usually tell people don’t do this, where you pay for a publisher to publish your work and you’re splitting the profit.


[00:09:39.160] – David Maples

I’ve seen that. I’ve seen that where they’ll come in and say, We’ll publish your book. You pay us 10 grand or 15 grand. I don’t really know what they do for that. But it’s not like you get an editor, right? No. Okay, so that’s another model. That’s another model. You want to be an author and you have 20 grand just burning a hole in your pocket. You can do this, but you’re not probably going to be successful.


[00:09:59.200] – Cynthia Fails

Well, it depends. It depends on a lot of factors, right? Okay. If you are a social media influencer and you have a lot of people who follow you and support you and are looking for more information from you, self-publishing, not hybrid publishing, self-publishing could be a good way to go, as is going with a smaller boutique publisher as well. You don’t necessarily need the big five. And a lot of the smaller indie publishers like Launch Crade and some of the other publishers that I’m connected to, we found a way to do it so that authors are getting more compensation for their work than what they would have done before. But what you’re looking for is reaching critical mass and selling the book in bulk. Not a copy here and a copy there. We’re trying to sell the groups, we’re trying to sell to large organizations who will continue to spread the word so those ripples continue to.


[00:10:54.800] – David Maples

Spread and expand. This is like a large book seller who’s going to buy 10,000 copies of your book or 50,000 copies of your book. Could be. Okay. Tell the audience real quick what is self-publishing look like, and then what does the launch crate model look like?


[00:11:08.790] – Cynthia Fails

Self-publishing is when you are responsible for making sure that your idea comes to fruition and turns into a book, which means you’re responsible for writing the manuscript, you’re responsible for editing, you’re responsible for book layout, for typesetting, for the cover design. Whether you are doing it or paying somebody else to do it, you are responsible for turning your idea into a physical book and either doing bulk copies in print runs or print on demand. Either of those models I’ve seen be really effective for authors. For LaunchCrate, what we’re doing is for those that we traditionally publish, we’re coaching them through the process. So maybe it’s the first book that they do with us and the second book they publish on their own. Ultimately, for me, what I want are authors who feel well equipped to go out and do it themselves the next time because that’s how you start to change the game. You get them well-versed on marketing, you get them well-versed on how to sell their book, you get a product that looks and rivals the big five and what they put out, which we have access to now because we have the same technology that they’re using, and we can do things differently in how we publish books as well.


[00:12:23.650] – Cynthia Fails

But ultimately what we’re trying to do is turn the publishing industry on in. Those who traditionally published with us, 60% of the profit is going back to the creatives, whether that is just the author or an author-illustrator combo, and then 40% is coming back to launch crate so that we can continue to create ripples of change.


[00:12:43.620] – David Maples

So why would why wouldn’t you just keep them as a captive audience? Why wouldn’t you keep them as your people as you move forward through it? Why would you want to equip them so they could do the next book on their own? What’s the rationale for that?


[00:12:55.110] – Cynthia Fails

The rationale for me is if you are changing the industry, if you’re changing a system that’s broken, the more people who are equipped out there with knowledge to do it themselves in the right way, the more leverage you have when you’re trying to change that system. If the system is broken, why are we trying to navigate and work our way through a system that needs complete obliteration instead of… We’re trying to patch the system instead of… We, generally speaking, as people are trying to patch the system instead of starting over. For me, if we can equip people with the knowledge and the understanding of how to do it themselves, we don’t need the system. We are the system.


[00:13:42.950] – David Maples

At that point. So this is true disruption because you, as you disrupt the system, you’re not concerned about how it affects launch creative. If they don’t come back to you in the future, that’s fine, because there’s another 100 people you can affect and make change with.


[00:13:55.760] – Cynthia Fails

Absolutely, yeah.


[00:13:56.110] – David Maples

Each one of those ripple effects has a compounded effect long term on the industry. Am I correct in that?


[00:14:01.510] – Cynthia Fails

That is correct, yeah. Okay.


[00:14:03.350] – David Maples

Why are you doing this?


[00:14:05.500] – Cynthia Fails

It’s a part of who I am, I think.


[00:14:08.490] – David Maples

I’m being serious about this. Why would you take this on?


[00:14:12.770] – Cynthia Fails

Yeah. Sometimes things are funneled through you. Sure. This is one of those things that was being funneled through me. Education, equity, everything that has come to me. I’m using all of the skills and all of the lessons that I learned trying to be patient through all of the recessions that I experienced and just everything that I have learned along the way. I’m pouring into LaunchCrate in a way so that we can essentially ride the ship. In thinking about the America in which I want to live. I can say that I want it to look like this or I can do things to set it up.


[00:15:02.900] – David Maples

Talk is cheap, right? There’s a lot of people out there talking heads who say the things, and then when you pull back the curtain, there’s no action. Here’s my question for you. Sure. This is The Metal Season about having mental fortitude and adversity. I want you to talk about some of the challenges you faced along the way. Because here’s the thing, the Big Five, your industry is dominated by the Big Five. We don’t need to name them. You can go Google that and say Big Five. We’re book publishers in the United States, and you’ll find a Google result. That being said, what are the things you’ve seen that have been challenging for you? You moved from… I’m sorry, you moved from an Ivy Tower. You were in academia. I was, yeah. You had a good job with a paying thing, and you jumped off. This is one thing on The Buck Stops Here: we love people who have jumped off that collective cliff. If we don’t flap our wings, those rocks are very real. What are the things along the way that you have seen have been challenging for you? What advice would you give to other business owners on how to navigate that?


[00:16:01.310] – Cynthia Fails

Yeah. The first two and a half to three years were the toughest because you are proving your model. You are reaching out to people who are interested in publishing and sharing your expertise with them and trying to share your vision with them in a way so that they understand. But I don’t ever want to bring on somebody kicking and screaming along. I want to find the people who are like, Yes, that’s a part of who I am as well. Let’s go make change together. It was hard pivoting and finding those folks, which means income is low.


[00:16:49.950] – Cynthia Fails

Thankfully, I had a partner who was working full-time, which gave me the chance to fail.


[00:16:55.130] – David Maples



[00:16:55.740] – Cynthia Fails

In a way that helped me to get to the audience that I’m looking for. Fail, learn, recoup, do it again, do it again, do it again until I can get to a place where we’re now making money. As you mentioned, book publishing, even with the model that we have, you’re still not bringing in that much money with the percentages, right? 60-40 split.


[00:17:21.370] – David Maples

I guess it depends. If you hit a home run, if you get a Stephen King or a JK Rowling or something like that, a million books is real, but most books sell less than what is it, 5,000 copies? Yes. How do you do that?


[00:17:37.800] – Cynthia Fails

For us, we are marketing the books that we have, but we have not only the traditional publishing, but we also offer publishing services. For those authors who are interested in self-publishing, we give them the same tools that we’re giving our traditionally published authors, but they are paying for the services. At the end, they come out with the book and the skills to do it themselves multiple times over.


[00:18:03.990] – David Maples

I did check you out a little bit online and try to figure out what you’re doing. One of the things that makes you very different than most of the publishing houses, and I have, I don’t want to name the big ones, but as being in those rooms a long… Man, two decades ago now. That’s so weird to think about. Anyway, but being in some of those conversations in those rooms, you’re offering everything from social media help and training to you’re actually providing video for these authors to get their information out there. I don’t know of any of the big ones who were doing that. Am I wrong?


[00:18:35.290] – Cynthia Fails

No, I don’t either.


[00:18:36.320] – David Maples

Okay. It’s very different. But you have a vested interest in it because you do want to break the system and replace it to something more equitable and beneficial to everybody. You’ve got this. The first three years of any new business, when I do consulting, I always tell people, Take whatever your income numbers are and cut them by 70%. People don’t do that. I sit around tables with people in new business, they’re like, We could make $8 billion next year. I’m like, No, no, no, no, no.


[00:19:06.310] – Cynthia Fails

You could.


[00:19:07.480] – David Maples

You could. I’m a man who’s 5’7 or whatever it is. I could walk on to an NFL football team tomorrow. You never know. You never know. I’m not a betting person, but I would not bet on that. Right. Okay, so you survived that. What other things across the way have you run into? You got the model, you had extra income behind you from those things when the times are lean. Actually, one of the things that’s really cool about LaunchCrate is you’re helping these would-be authors. You’re helping them get in there without having… Self publishing is fine if they’ve got money to do that thing. But if they don’t, you’re basically taking a percentage and you actually have a vested interest in them being successful. I think that’s very interesting compared to the current models out there in the ecosystem. For you, what are the other challenges you had to overcome? You said, I never knew this was coming, or I never expected X.


[00:20:07.520] – Cynthia Fails

Gosh. I think the biggest challenge, and this is something that I’m still working through right now, for me, is trusting other people with… This is like my child, right? Trusting other people with my baby and seeking help, which you get to critical mass. You get to the tipping point, and it’s either going to make you or it’s going to break you. If you have to ask for help, you have to ask for help.


[00:20:39.310] – David Maples

I always tell people that going from one to 10 is a giant leap. Going from 10 to 25 is a giant leap. 25-50 and then from 50-250. I always tell people once they cross the 10-person threshold, you have to look at your next hire needs to be better at the core function. The thing that made you the best in starting this company at 10, when you’re managing personnel and things like that and moving beyond there, you have to find someone who could do that core function better than you can, and you have to check your freaking ego. I don’t know if you’ve run into that as well as you’re growing this thing, right?


[00:21:11.680] – Cynthia Fails

Not yet. Not yet. I am fully open to finding somebody that is better than me because ultimately that makes the business better.


[00:21:19.530] – David Maples

But that’s ultimately it’s about working. Great things only happen in… I’m going to go and say something that’s probably not popular on Buck stops Here, but great things, I think, only happen in teams. No persons on the island. The idea of the self-made individual is largely a… I don’t know where the myth was born. I don’t know if that’s Prometheus or something back in the collective consciousness or something like that. I always wonder, where do we get these myths and why we keep… We have baggage. Why do we silo our kids with them? I have no idea. Same thing with these myths we have in business about the self-made individual, and we line eyes these people. Oh, this is the first X, Y, Z person to cross the threshold. Asking for help, how did you get through? That’s a hard thing to do, especially when you’re very competent. How do you ask for help?


[00:22:04.990] – Cynthia Fails

I got a coach. Okay.


[00:22:07.860] – David Maples

No, that’s a very… We actually talked about in one of the episodes, we talked about how do you hire that executive coach? If somebody who’s hired three bad coaches and one good one, it’s a challenge, right?


[00:22:20.750] – Cynthia Fails

Yeah. Well, I only hired one good one.


[00:22:23.070] – David Maples

Thank you. I need to listen to you. Can you coach me on how to do that?


[00:22:26.780] – Cynthia Fails

I got really lucky.


[00:22:27.830] – David Maples

No, that’s a big deal.


[00:22:29.450] – Cynthia Fails

Yeah, it is. But the coach that I worked with worked to heal some of the stuff that was inside so that I could get outside of the need to feel like I had to control and do all of these things. And once you work through all of that internal stuff, then the rest of this becomes, I’m not going to say easy because it’s still difficult, but it’s easier to do.


[00:22:51.300] – David Maples

But you always have to do the work. You have to do it yourself. No one can make you do it.


[00:22:54.320] – Cynthia Fails

And you have to continue to do the work.


[00:22:55.940] – David Maples

I have a question about the future now. Sure. We are entering this brave new world of artificial intelligence. We’ve already seen Amazon. There’s been a raft of published books on Amazon that in some cases are literally lifting other people’s wholesale. They’re being written by machine. Most of them are not good. I’ve read a couple. I bought one because people, I think the review said this is the worst piece of, I regret to call it literature, but this is the worst piece of anything written you’ll ever put on your nightstand. I was like, I have to buy this book. It should have just been blank. They were right. It was terrible. It was terrible. I feel like we should do a poetry night where we do a spoken word thing, and I could read excerpts from this book. I will not name the book. But yeah, so you’re seeing artificial intelligence entering the industry. We’re seeing artists being artists. I’m calling authors artists. I know that authors don’t always think of themselves in those terms. But any creative exercise is artistry.


[00:23:57.370] – Cynthia Fails



[00:23:58.330] – David Maples

How are you thinking about artificial intelligence as it will change the industry, et cetera.


[00:24:03.900] – Cynthia Fails

Yeah. I actually have a book on my bookshelf called I Forced a Bot to Write This Book.


[00:24:11.880] – David Maples



[00:24:12.520] – Cynthia Fails

Yeah. It’s somebody that is giving you an overview and then sharing what the prompt was, and then you get to read what the bot wrote. And some of it is decent, but ultimately there is something that the robots, that artificial intelligence just cannot do that we do so uniquely humanly. And it’s that piece that I think I want to encourage people to continue to lean into. Even if you feel like an AI can help you with your book outline, or AI can give you reference for something that you’re writing.


[00:24:53.520] – David Maples

If it’s-If they don’t make it up, sure. Hypothetically speaking.


[00:24:57.360] – Cynthia Fails

Yeah. You get the opportunity to go in and double check the research to double check the information that they give you. You should be doing this. I’m going to say that again.


[00:25:07.810] – David Maples

You should be doing this. I don’t know. I don’t know.


[00:25:10.940] – Cynthia Fails

There are a lot of people that aren’t doing it. But ultimately, I think of AI as a tool just like any other tool. It can help you with your outline. It can give you a first paragraph that you can then go back and modify, and maybe that first paragraph brings you into an entire chapter, or three chapters, or an entire book. But you get the chance to use the tool how you think the tool would be most useful to you. You get to shape that.


[00:25:39.890] – David Maples

I have some pretty strong feelings about what’s going on. On the Bucks Stops Here, we don’t talk about, I did a three-part series on AI last season. We’ll link to that. The show notes if you want to see it. It’s actually holding up okay. First episode has got some age on it now, but it’s eight or ten months old now at this point. So it might as well. In the AI world, that’s like two decades.


[00:25:58.380] – David Maples

But it held up okay. I just cut minute two to minute three, 50, whatever it is. But that being said, something I’ve been thinking about a lot is that the way these staccatic variable systems do is they generate the average of the next best word, etc. When you talk about really good literary ideas or really good things, these themes that make a great novel, there are some unified themes, like supposedly those 35 basic storylines, person versus nature, all those literary things. But the things that make great literature right now, connecting these disparate points that make you human, they’re considered great literature or great works of writing because they’re not just saying the same thing everybody else has said. I’m not sure, maybe the machines will get there in a decade, but at this point in time, I think what you’re seeing is, I think it’s largely correct. I don’t think they’re even close. We can say A leads to B, but when you start talking about really what makes your book unique, your individual voice, your individual perspective. If I could distill Cynthia down into an algorithm, I might be able to get to the outcome. But we are not even.


[00:27:12.340] – Cynthia Fails

Close to that. No. It’s funny. Actually, I was writing a medium article and was struggling with the draft of it, and I asked ChatGPT to write the article in the style of me, CL Fails. You? Yeah, because I just wanted to see what it would… And it was close, but it was still AI and what they’re generating now is based off of what has been done. It doesn’t lead us forward into new ideas at this point. And so that’s the piece that’s missing. So it’s somewhat in my voice, but as I’m reading it, I’m like, I wouldn’t say it like that. So here’s the piece that I like, and here’s the piece that I like, and let me double-check these references. Now how do I take this framework that I’ve created based off of the prompt and the text that I get from them, what was generated? Now, how do I take that and turn it into an article that is in my actual voice that is sending the message that I want to send?


[00:28:21.060] – David Maples

I have a follow-up question.


[00:28:23.290] – Cynthia Fails

I’m going to ask. Yeah. How do.


[00:28:25.340] – David Maples

You, as a published author, feel about the fact that they have scraped the content of your books because that’s how they were able to generate stuff close to your voice. How do you feel about that? Did anyone ever ask you? Did they call you up and ask you if it was okay if they ate your books?


[00:28:39.700] – Cynthia Fails

They didn’t.


[00:28:40.530] – David Maples



[00:28:41.160] – Cynthia Fails

At the same time, a human could do the same thing. They could. They might like the style that I write in. But they.


[00:28:48.080] – David Maples

Couldn’t do it in.


[00:28:48.700] – Cynthia Fails

30 seconds. They couldn’t do it in 30 seconds, but they could still.


[00:28:51.230] – David Maples

Do it. I guess maybe that’s the part that makes me mad. If you had to read my book and buy my book, I might feel differently about it. You read it and it took you a couple of days to read it. Then I might be like, Oh, you put the time in. But if you did it in 20 seconds, I think it’s going to.


[00:29:06.110] – Cynthia Fails

Make me angry. I mean, it is.


[00:29:07.650] – David Maples

What it is. I guess. I don’t know.


[00:29:09.510] – Cynthia Fails

There might be a human being out there somewhere that can read. Maybe not in.


[00:29:13.870] – David Maples

20 seconds. No, not yet. Probably at some point, right?


[00:29:17.310] – Cynthia Fails



[00:29:17.660] – David Maples

Don’t know. I’ve got to give a talk in a couple of weeks at this Intellectual Property Summit. I’m not talking about me, but I’ve been struggling with. I’ve been playing devil’s advocate myself as an attorney lately of how I would make the arguments that they’re not doing copyright infringement. I’ve got some pretty novel arguments, and I’m hating myself because of them. I’m really having a hard time with it. I’m having a hard time with it because I think we all need to, with the new technology, struggle with it. For you, you’re seeing it as a tool. You’re seeing this as an opportunity. Absolutely. In the long run, how can we make this… Let’s spin this forward into the future a little bit. How can we use the artificial intelligence or force the tools to bend our will that speed up the acceleration of your disruption in the industry? Because maybe that’s the best outcome. How do we do that?


[00:30:05.140] – Cynthia Fails

That’s a good question. I don’t know that I have the answer to it right now, but yeah, that’s a good question.


[00:30:10.650] – David Maples

We can think about this and come back to it. I just think it’s really amazing. If you could go back and talk to yourself a decade ago.


[00:30:16.860] – Cynthia Fails

Okay, a decade ago, how old would I have been?


[00:30:19.580] – David Maples

Okay, a decade ago. I don’t have to do that. I can do 2017. I could go back to… Let’s go back. It’s so weird that pandemic era is just like, it doesn’t exist. It’s like these three years that are just a.


[00:30:29.920] – Cynthia Fails

Blank spot. But the pandemic was great for a….


[00:30:33.390] – David Maples

I’m really confused about this right now. Tell me about it.


[00:30:37.280] – Cynthia Fails

Okay, so the pandemic, everybody is locked in their house.


[00:30:40.840] – David Maples

They are locked in their houses.


[00:30:42.170] – Cynthia Fails

Things are changing rapidly for people, which means they stop and they reflect on their lives. That book idea that they’ve been sitting on, now it becomes priority, where before priority was, Oh, I have to work. I have to do this for these other people. Well, now I can do this work while I’m at home. I also have the space and the capacity now to do my own thing as well. A lot of people were coming to me for help publishing books during the pandemic. We also, because of my coaching, we also made a pivot into a new service that we offered called idea to editor, where we take people through this master course. They have an idea for a book, they sit down with us for eight weeks, and then by the time the eight weeks is up, they have a manuscript that’s ready for an editor.


[00:31:29.880] – David Maples

Now, is this an in-person course? Is this something somebody can sign up for online?


[00:31:33.170] – Cynthia Fails

This is something they can do online. But so far, we have Zoom sessions, so it’s all live.


[00:31:39.400] – David Maples

If they wanted to get involved with this right now, where would we… I’m going to let you pitch it. Where would I go to find out about this?


[00:31:44.950] – Cynthia Fails

You’d go to, click on idea to editor. It should be up in our menu bar and it’ll take you to all the information that you.


[00:31:52.640] – David Maples

Need to know. That is wild. It’s LaunchCrate. That’s L-A-U-N-C-H-C-R-A-T-E. Com and idea to editor. That’s really fabulous. You have a whole online curriculum with this thing you’ve built out. That is amazing. I think that needs to be in the hands of every author who’s aspiring, especially if they don’t know. I guess in the process of doing this, they might decide maybe they don’t want to write it.


[00:32:13.200] – Cynthia Fails

Maybe they don’t want to, yeah. What happens is the folks who go through the live course with us, they see instant results and it scares them because they’re like, Oh, no, do I really want to write this book?


[00:32:25.720] – David Maples

Because now you’re out there. Now you’re in it. You could do it. You could do it.


[00:32:29.870] – Cynthia Fails

Yeah. Part of the benefit of having the course as a live course is that they also receive coaching from me. They have the one-on-one coaching. When they hit that wall and I can identify it, I can see it coming usually. Within a few days, I can predict when they’re going to hit.


[00:32:46.830] – David Maples

That wall. For those of you listening, there’s something here I don’t know if you figured out. Cynthia is herself a coach within the context of her specialized domain, and she herself also has a coach. Then for those of you out there who are wondering if coaching works, the answer is yes.


[00:33:03.890] – Cynthia Fails

The answer is absolutely yes.


[00:33:05.320] – David Maples

Absolutely yes. With the right coaching.


[00:33:07.250] – Cynthia Fails

Absolutely, yeah.


[00:33:08.130] – David Maples

But going back in time to 2017, we don’t want to go back a decade. That’s fine.


[00:33:12.290] – Cynthia Fails

Sure, we can go back a decade.


[00:33:13.710] – David Maples

What would you go back and tell yourself? Either a decade or six or seven years ago now? What would you go back and tell them, that younger version of yourself? What would you tell them to get out of your own way and do? What advice would you give to yourself?


[00:33:27.900] – Cynthia Fails

I think whether it was 2017, whether it was 10 years ago, whether it was 20 years ago, I think I would give myself the same advice, and that’s do it. It’s going to be okay. Just do it.


[00:33:40.690] – David Maples

Do it. It’s going to be okay. Yeah. How do they know it’s going to be okay? What do they have to trust.


[00:33:44.060] – Cynthia Fails

In that? They have to trust themselves.


[00:33:45.680] – David Maples

Have to trust themselves. Would you say that enough people don’t trust themselves?


[00:33:49.620] – Cynthia Fails

Yeah, I think we doubt ourselves regularly.


[00:33:52.310] – David Maples

Is it that imposter syndrome thing?


[00:33:53.900] – Cynthia Fails

What is it? Sometimes it’s imposter syndrome, and sometimes it’s coming from the outside world as well.


[00:34:00.020] – David Maples

Since you launched LaunchCrate, what is the thing you’ve been most… I’m going to go ahead and say this. What are you most proud of having done this? This is not about Pride or hubris. You look at and you say, I am so happy that we did that.


[00:34:16.710] – Cynthia Fails

I was trying to pinpoint it, though. Well, if you had to pick.


[00:34:21.460] – David Maples

One, if you want, top three, that makes it easier, right?


[00:34:24.200] – Cynthia Fails

Top three is that we infuse tech in our books. You’ve interviewed Candace McField. She has QR codes in her book that take you to the exercises, so you can see.


[00:34:34.630] – David Maples

The exercises. Now, that is wild. We interviewed her for a companion podcast called the KC Leaders Podcast. She’s a fitness guru for lack of a better term right now. Really amazing. I’d be glad to link to that in the episode stuff, but a really cool lady. You put QR codes in her actual book.


[00:34:54.730] – Cynthia Fails

Yeah. We used QR codes in her book. We started using them with the book that I wrote about my grandfather’s life. You scan the QR codes, and now you are transported to the couch in his living room. You can hear him telling you his life stories. Wow. We’ve used QR codes to embed a course within a book as well that we just released last year. This was actually the person that coached me. I got to coach him through the process of writing his book. Love with No Place to Land is about navigating your grief journey. He’s got his parts of the book, and then there’s an online course as well. We’ve fused the two together.


[00:35:28.420] – David Maples

Okay. This is I did not know we were going to talk about technology on this episode, which is great. You literally are disrupting an industry you think needs to be disrupted, but you are changing the way that books are written and published. What you’re saying is… This is more of a… It’s almost like an interactive medium to some extent.


[00:35:49.410] – Cynthia Fails

We’re pushing the bounds of books. Absolutely.


[00:35:51.290] – David Maples

Are we going to get to that Harry Potter place in the movies where you can see the stuff moving in the books? I don’t know. Does that change what books are?


[00:35:58.880] – Cynthia Fails

I’d love to see that.


[00:36:00.280] – David Maples

I don’t know. I’ve thought about that a lot, especially with the AR and VR stuff. There’s a whole level of… There’s just a whole level of stuff you could do with that. I’ve never thought about that. That’s amazing. That’s really amazing. Is there anything else you would like to tell our listeners right now about your journey or how you think it could help them inform them? No matter what industry they’re in. It could be in book publishing, but it might be something unrelated like, I don’t know, Halogen bulb manufacturing. I pulled that out of nowhere. That’s not specific. There’s nobody I’m talking about, so, Phillips, don’t sue me.


[00:36:31.880] – Cynthia Fails

Honestly, if there’s anything that I could tell people, I would tell them to trust the ideas that are coming to them, even the ones that sound scary and that sound impossible. There’s a reason that they’re being funneled to you. Just trust that even if you don’t know how to make it come true or come to life, that you are going to be connected to people and resources that can help you to make it come to fruition.


[00:36:59.900] – David Maples

Do you think the reason people don’t trust themselves is because that represents a certain change in their life? Absolutely. It’s about having courage and grit when facing the change and trusting the fact that you can get through this. You might need help, and that’s a big part of that journey. What is it? The journey is the important part of it. It’s not just where you end up.


[00:37:23.480] – Cynthia Fails

-it’s not the destination.


[00:37:24.480] – David Maples

It’s not the destination journey. You’re never guaranteed a destination. That’s true. I think this is really good information. No matter what business you’re in, I think this is stuff you need to listen to. This is my no BS segment of this episode as we’re bringing it to a close. If you think that what she’s talking about doesn’t apply to your industry, you haven’t been paying attention. At the end of the day, there are great ideas and you should pollinate whatever you’re doing from wherever they come from. They might come in manufacturing, they might come in education. Everyone’s journey is different and their life experience is incredibly important. If you were going to be open to facing change with artificial intelligence and these other technologies, this week, quantum computing did the thing where they broke one of the big security encryption key. There might not be secrets by this time next year. It’s incredibly important for you to understand that people, no matter what industry they’ve been in and what they’ve faced, there are life lessons to be learned from them and that you need to listen to that. At the same time, you need to ask for help and get a coach.


[00:38:32.090] – David Maples

With that, that brings us to the end of the episode. Cynthia, I really appreciate you on the show today, and I’d love to invite you back for The KC Leaders, an episode later.


[00:38:42.860] – Cynthia Fails

I would love that.


[00:38:43.660] – David Maples

Our takeaways from this episode today are, number one, you need to trust yourself in any piece of this doing. If you’re going to improve your mental metal, your fortitude in facing adversity in your business and change, you need to trust yourself. Those ideas are coming into you for a reason, and you need to understand that if you’re going to find a path through those woods, you have to get on the path and you have to do it. Put one foot in front of the other because if you don’t, you never go anywhere. Number two, if you are going out to do these things, if you’re going out to accept these things and explore these new opportunities for your business, it could be an established business, it could be a new business, it could be a new venture for your business, you need to understand that the revenue that it brings in, you have to have built in a little bit of a safety net for what you’re doing.


[00:39:29.910] – David Maples

In those first 2-3 years, and we’ve seen this time immemorial, you will not bring in the revenue you think you’re going to in these first three years. Look at your projections, scale them back a little bit, find out if you’ve got a little bit of cushion to land on. But at the same time, that’s a smart way through. If you have that cushion, it’s like walking through the woods. If you don’t pack a lot of supplies with you, you don’t know what you’re going to find. If you don’t have the supplies, you’re going to turn around before you get halfway to your destination. The third takeaway here is that even coaches need a coach. If you have not engaged yourself with the right people, you are looking at the problem wrong. What you did to get you here won’t get you there. Sometimes you need that out perspective, that wisdom from that person to help move you along. They don’t always have to be coaches who are versed in your discipline. They need to understand what you’re missing and help you understand how to get there and to trust yourself in the process. Cynthia, I’d like to thank you again for stopping by.


[00:40:30.350] – David Maples

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the audience?


[00:40:32.630] – Cynthia Fails

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for the opportunity, David. If you are interested in supporting any of the LaunchCrate authors, especially our youngest author, who is 12 years old, his name is Trey Glasper, we are currently in a campaign to help him sell 1,000 copies of his latest book so that we can increase literacy. Check us out at LaunchCrate.Com. We’re @LaunchCrate on all platforms. We’d love to help you out if you’re an aspiring author as well. Please come check us out and we’d love to talk to you.


[00:41:04.700] – David Maples

If you liked what you heard to you today, please like and subscribe. You can find it on Spotify, Apple, or any great place that podcasts are done. With that, we’re going to be doing another giveaway in this episode. The Vinyl Album will keep coming. I believe that this one is Master of the Puppets by Metallica. If you want to get a copy of that, vinyl-press copy of that, please subscribe to the newsletter. With that, thank you for your time. Thank you for listening. Thank you, Cynthia. Thank you. Go out there, be awesome, and make it a great day.


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