A Day in My Life as a Publisher/Tech Lawyer/Start up and Author

A Day in My Life as a Publisher/Tech Lawyer/Start up and Author

06878b64-877e-4bd1-a917-f5c09a344da4 (1)Inspired by NPR‘s three-week Twitter series, Day in the Life of Blacks in Tech, and nudged by a fellow I follow on Twitter, I thought I’d share my day too.

I know and have worked with several of the people featured and have been enjoying following their days and look forward to following others. It’s such a great idea!

Although I am not a techie in the traditional sense (I don’t code), I’m still very much in the industry. I am a publisher of several digital magazines and websites. I advise start ups and I read about, tweet out and social network about tech and to those in the tech space all day while periodically authoring some political columns I write, and running a small boutique law firm. I do this all while seeking out venture capital to fund a mobile app I am developing with a small team here in DC.

Also, as a Founding member (since 2011) and active director of a relatively new organization created to be a hub and nurturing ground for underepresented groups in tech, the National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs, it’s become more and more part of my daily life.

Instead of sharing my day from dusk to dawn, I’m going to start now, as I am preparing to head to bed. It’s close to 2 am. I typically head to bed between 2 and 3 am every night.

1:30 am – I finalize a re-write of a book query I’m putting together on behalf of myself and a notable co-author. I had drafted our initial query letter, gotten a few bites, sent interested literary agents a follow-up full non-profit proposal and was eventually advised to polish the pitch more. So I’m doing just that.

1:20 am – I email my co-author to let him know that I’ve identified 10 publishers that have reached out to me, separately, over the course of the year asking that I review books their authors had written and/or include them as an expert in a future post. I author and publish a popular parenting site. The beauty of the digital age is that anyone who can write decently and has a bit of drive can launch a digital magazine. Back In journalism school in the 1990s at the University of Maryland, a good friend had said she wanted to launch her own  print magazine. I always thought that was such an ambitious plan. Little did I know back then it would be this easy to do and I’d be doing just that – but in an online only format!

1:00 am – I Finish going through about 200 emails I’ve gotten since this summer from various publishers and author publicists. I  decide to take one for the team and agree to read a few books hoping they’ll reciprocate the favor by passing on my project to whomever it is in their shop that considers unsolicited submissions. You always get a better shot when it is directed from someone in-house than if a pitch comes off the street.

Just a week prior, my co-author and I had decided that we’d try to skip the literary agent route altogether. It’s a risk but my co-author has a great lawyer and is represented by a top-notched agent who reps entertainment industry personalities. We should be good. We hope.

11:30 pm – midnight – I beam with my husband at how accomplished I feel having finally registered two eBooks, and submitted them to the US Copyright office for intellectual property protection. I wrote  on how to survive law school five years ago but never published it. Back then, I even wrote a query letter and a full nonfiction book proposal that I never sent off to agents. Life and other projects got in the way. And even though I’ve published works in legal journals and have published over 100 news articles, columns and features, and even appeared as a contributor to a book compilation last winter, it wasn’t the same.

Registering the eBooks made me feel really official– like a true author!


9pm-11:30 pm – Communicate with the woman who is designing two eBooks I’ve authored in recent weeks.  She needs my ISBN and associated Barcode and for me to decide if I want to go with full-justified or left justified for the text. We go back and forth on cover design and other fine details.

I realize I don’t like her cover design for the second book and design it myself using Powerpoint.

What do you think?

Bellyitch 100 cover

8pm -9pm – Blog

Write some Blog posts. Social Media network some past pieces in Instagram. Pin some posts on Pinterest. Tweet. Update various Facebook Fan page audiences. Share some articles with Facebook friends on my personal account. All this social networking has dual purposes: to connect and chat with the outside world (given I work alone) and to promote articles I’ve written while driving traffic to my various websites.

A photo I shared on my Facebook page to engage Page Fans/Followers today.

This slot of time is also usually my time allotted to attend mid-week industry Meet Ups and other events, if they are on the books.

7-8pm – Dinner and unwind the kids. (This time is also slated a part of the networking with real humans hour(s), if the opps exist)

5-6pm – Blog

I package some prizes (books) that some readers had won in previous blog contets and prepare to mail them out in the morning

Update my Editorial Calendar with some ideas my sister who contributes to my blog called me about. Notice a blog subject’s Instagram photos and plan to blog about her the next day.

4-5pm – Homework with the kids at the local library.

Send an Email to a woman I’ve hired to help me social network and promote blog posts. I also want her to monitor HARO (Help a reporter Out) and send me opportunities to promote my blog, self and brand. I will have her pitch my evergreen stories to local TV and radio stations. As a publisher of a few online publications and sites, getting press is good for site and brand awareness. I tried to do this all myself but cannot. Not enough time in the day. I really need to get help.

3- 4pm – Drive to the kids’ school. Run the Track in front of the kids’ school for 3 miles to get in some cardio exercise. Pick the kids up  when school lets out at 3:45 and head to the library

2-3pm – Blog. I have a major promotional holiday campaign going on now on my most popular blog property, BellyitchBlog.com. I blog 4-5 times each day there. For the campaign, I’m featuring 1-2 prize donors per day.

Communicate with some brands that have donated products for my blog’s end of the year campaign and giveaway. Clarify the quantity and value of the prizes.

Bellyitch Favorite Things

Giveaways are great to promote your site, drive traffic, promote partners and affiliates, entice future partners, and further establish your site and brand in the industry among competitors and potential affiliates. It’s also like flexing your peacock feathers, showing what you are capable of. It’s also a great time to reconnect and build a community of repeat visitors which is essential and the most important thing any blog or website needs to ever truly grow!

1-2pm – Conference call with a brand new ad network platform. They are in LA. The owner/founder is French but their facilities are based in Germany. This is a global partnership. I’m anxious but nervous about moving off the current platform. It served me well for so long, but I need to make more money from the site and I think I’ve outgrown the old platform anyway. It’s for the best.

Reply to the publisher who offered me a publishing deal to publish some excerpts from my blog as a book. I tell her I need to decide which are most book-worthy. A lit agent had already warned me that compilations don’t do well. But I am also aware that certain popular blogs that that have published some of their best posts have done well (Pregnant Chicken, Awkward Photos, Texts from Last Night, Shit my Dad  and several Others, for example )

11:15 -11:30am – Research and reply to the principal of a venture who tells me his marketers found my project on Gust. This is exciting as I started a profile 6 months prior but only recently completed it and published it for potential investors to see. I like Gust more than Angel List because you seem to have more control over who can see your project. I still have the fear of someone beating me to the punch.

11-11:15am – Reach out to a small eCommerce client who I am representing as she sells her business to an investor. She is reviewing a Letter of Intent and draft Agreement I put together for her. She is looking to close this week. I’m anxious for her to as well. I have another major law project on deck.

10-11am – Participate in a conference call with a new legal client and its advisers. Communicate in several follow up email communication about the next steps. It’s a new project, one that is exciting and I’m happy to take the lead because I like this type of work.

While I launch these book projects and work on getting angel and/or venture capital funding for my publishing properties and the mobile app I am developing, I still have to do bread and butter and accept word-of-mouth clients. It’s still a struggle out here.

I’m fortunate to get a few leads trickle in now and then to keep me afloat and help subsidize the family household.  I estimate I’ve had to forego a 6-figure salary as a seasoned attorney to focus on my start up. It’s been a couple years since I decided to take it to the next step, graduate from a hobby or side gig. It’s been really really hard but hopefully worth it in the end.

9:45-10:00 am – Promote in social media an Etsy shop I just opened, my first one. My sister and I are hawking some vintage finds we pick up at consignment, thrift stores and estate sales over there. Go buy some of our stuff! (smile)

photograph items to sale
Some of the stuff I’m selling on my Etsy shop

Tune the radio to my desktop version of Sirius XM so I can keep track of the news while I work and listen for some inspiration to blog or write a column on  over at The Washington Times where I write or on this site (Jeneabspeaks.com) or at UrbanFaith.com where I write law and politics.  I also listen for interesting fun things to write on over on my less serious platforms like my tumblr blog, Lemonademaker or on my BuzzFeed community contributor page.

9:30-9:45 am – Record a Vlog. I’ve started a new YouTube Vlogging Series where I address pop culture, policy and current events that I discuss initially in social media, specifically on Twitter. I call it “Beyond the 140 characters” or “Jenebaspeaks After Twitter.”

I’ve produced five or six 6-9 minute videos so far but am contemplating switching to the Vimeo platform since it allows users to swap out videos where YouTube does not.

The plus to YouTube is that it has AdSense built-in and is easier to make money off of and more people are on that platform and will find you while looking at other videos. I may do both. We’ll see.

9:00-9:30 am – Catch up on & reply to  Emails from the previous day.

8:30-9:00 am – Read some news articles online.

8:00:-8:30 am – Listen to SiriusXM Morning Briefing on the way back to the home office. When I arrive, Tweet at Tim Farley, the host and/or Tweet out stories I heard that I think my followers would like to know about. Share the same on Facebook. Send out a morning devotion meme or some other inspiration image to friends on Instagram and/or Pheed and/or G+.

Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt  JenebaSpeaks  on Twitter
My most active Twitter account is @Jenebaspeaks. I also tweet at @JJGhatt, @Bellyitch, @Right_of_Black, @Namdedotorg and on an anonymous Twitter account

7:45-8:00 am – Pick up coffee at the Starbucks. Check in on Foursquare.

6:30-7:45 am- Wake, Meditate and Pray, Dress, Get ready and Take the kids to school


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Jay Jay Ghatt is also editor at Techyaya.com, founder of the JayJayGhatt.com and JayJayGhatt.com where she teaches online creators how to navigate digital entrepreneurship and offers Do-It-For-You Blogging Service. She manages her lifestyle sites BellyitchBlog, Jenebaspeaks and JJBraids.com and is the founder of BlackWomenTech.com 200 Black Women in Tech On Twitter. Her biz podcast 10 Minute Podcast is available on iTunes and Player.fm. Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks. Buy her templates over at her legal and business templates on Etsy shop!