The Middle Finger Project by Ash Ambirge Interview

by | Feb 11, 2020 | New Launch, Podcast, Podcast 1 | 0 comments


If you need inspiration on how to show up, demand better, have more courage, wit, creativity, spark, exhilaration, and money in life – this book is for you!

Order your copy of The Middle Finger Project on Amazon or from the publisher, Penguin Random House The Middle Finger Project (Hardcover)
Audible: The Middle Finger Project
Penguin Random House: The Middle Finger Project

Or read the full transcript below

Leann 0:58
I am totally fangirling and excited today to finally talk to ash amber Shay, author of the middle finger project book, and it’s also the name of her company. Thank you, Ash for coming today.

Ash Ambirge 1:11
Hi, Leann. I might be the loudest author that you get on this podcast. I’m not I’m just gonna preface this with that. Thank you for having me.

Leann 1:24
Yay. So luckily for me, Ash said yes, when she put the call out for podcasters and interviews for her new book. It is coming February 11 from Penguin Random House, and you should preorder it now. If you haven’t already, there should only be a couple hours left by the time this drops. So thank you, Ash and tell me why a book why now you’ve had the middle finger project for years. You’ve blogged for years since like the dinosaur age of the internet.

Ash Ambirge 2:00
Isn’t that terrifying?

Leann 2:03
You have forever. And so now you’re going to put out a book. Wait a minute, Why? What happened?

Ash Ambirge 2:08
I you know what, I think this is great because everyone listening is obviously a book lover. So it’s a really nice change of pace to get to talk about the process of writing a book. I’m just going to be straight with you. I got signed with my literary agency in 2015, October of 2015. It is today, January of 2020. So that was literally five years ago, out of the decade that I’ve been doing this, so I did start a while ago. And then we went through a lengthy process of figuring out what this book was supposed to look like. And it took so many rewrites of sample chapters and proposal writing that I worked with my agency on in New York and they were great and fantastic and so supportive. I never realized that they you know, I guess it depends on agency. But I never realized it was going to be such a hands on process. We did not actually pitch Penguin, and all publishers until well, I guess it was the end of 2017. We signed with penguin in March of 2018. So from the time we signed until now, it’s it’s two years later, it’s just a very long process. Can you can you believe it? Oh, my gosh.

Leann 3:29
So wait a minute, you didn’t already have the perfect book written in the first draft. Just to give listeners a little bit of background. She is a background in creative writing and copywriting and that is where she started. So for first time authors out there, even the experienced one doesn’t start out with a perfect draft is how what happened? Oh, gosh,

Ash Ambirge 3:53
no. And you know what I counted at one time, I gotta go back and look what the number was. I think I rewrote The sample chapters around 30 times. And that is that’s maddening. It’s, it’s actually sick. So you got to be a sicko to this job.

But I will tell you what happened.

Originally, when I first signed with literary agency, you’re like, that’s everyone’s dream come true, right? You’re like, Oh my god, someone thinks that this could be a book. And I jumped up and down and I did a whole video on Instagram about it. I’m so excited. And that’s when it all just, I mean, that was the very beginning. And the agency loved the concept that I had pitched and actually the sample chapters, but when we did kind of a little bit of sampling around with some of their in house folks and a couple of editor friends, the editor friends and in house folks were kind of like, you know what, though, we would really like to see something thing that felt a little bit more xy or z. And so we started tweaking things. And my agency felt very strong about the fact that because I’m a blogger, and I’ve been blogging now for seven years, there was a very bloggie aspect of my book that felt kind of like a voiceover, in fact, and so they encouraged me and challenged me to try to be, I’m going to say more, more earnest in some of the ways that I was approaching some of the material. We had so many conversations back and forth about the different ways that we should open the book. The different ways we should tell this story and bring this you know, memoir meets self help book to life, which isn’t usually done, it’s usually memoir or self help. So this was a whole new kind of beast and And it was hard. A lot of it was working with folks who are very literary in nature, who were encouraging me to write things in scene and write dialogue. And, you know, take the reader with you instead of what I usually do, which is writing and being like, Okay, so once I’m this guy, this guy, he was insane, or whatever. You know, I’m really animated with my writing, and I am very bloggie. And so we tried, and that’s why the process took so long because I really tried and I would kick it back to them. And then they would kick it back to me and say, good,but now try this

or now let’s, you know, expand on this. And ultimately, at the end, from 2015 to 2017. What I ended up with were 30 drafts of a bunch of shit that no longer felt like me. I don’t know. Yeah. And we took a look at it. And it was hysterical. Because I had, I had an editor from penguin who approached me directly, because she had read my blog. And she was like, are you writing a book? Or what? And I’m like, Yes, I swear I am. We’re doing it behind the scenes over here. I promise we’re going to send it to you ASAP. It took almost another year before we would send it to her. And when we finally did, because we wanted to approach them first. It’s my dream publisher. Of course.

The editor was like, what, what the hell is this? Where is Ash? Where did your voice go?

Right there. This is not the same girl that I know. And it was this moment of truth where I was like, Okay, I humbled myself and we tried some things and I really stretched myself to become, you know, again, grow as a writer. But at the end of the day, I knew what I had to do. I talked to my literary agency. I was like, Look, we tried it this way. Now we’re going to try it a new way. I’m going to go back to the drawing board. And I’m going to take a week. And I’m going to rewrite these three sample chapters. And I’m going to do it the way that I would have done it, and with my, you know, table of contents, and it’s going to be crazy. And I’m not going to, you know, censor myself, there’s going to be the word fuck all over it. It’s going to be me. And we’re going to resubmit it. And we did and that same week, I had a multiple six figure book deal.

Leann 8:33
Wow, that’s just so there’s so many levels in this one. The I think the first question or the first thought I have is, Wow, she’s been blogging since the dinosaurs. Yet still, she calls writing a book hard. And I think for the folks I know and and people I speak to who are trying to write a book and expect it to sound good in the first second. third, fourth, maybe even fifth draft, tend to get frustrated early. Why did you keep going?

Ash Ambirge 9:08
Because I am a crazy person.You know, I knew I would, I would get it eventually.

I think that’s a conversation that I have oftentimes with entrepreneurs and freelancers, actually, because I have this girlfriend named Chelsea, who has a wedding planning company in Costa Rica. And a lot of that she actually does beautiful gourmet cakes as a part of that. So one day, she was saying to me, you know, sometimes clients come to her, and they want this extravagant cake that she’s never made before. And so people say to her, Well, like, how are you comfortable taking on those orders if you’ve never done it before? And she’s like, Oh, I mean, like I never done I’ve never done it before, but I know I’ll figure it out. And we had to come We’re about how that is a very entrepreneurial mindset of just trusting yourself to figure it out along the way. And because I’m an entrepreneur, I think that helps me so much with my book writing, because I knew that eventually I would figure it out. It just was going to be a matter of tinkering, and time and iteration. And so much of the work I do as a business owner is about iteration. So I just get that on a certain level.

Leann 10:25
Iteration my favorite word!

Ash Ambirge 10:27
Yeah. It’s necessary

Leann 10:31
Necessary evil, and everyone wants it to be done. And you know, they’re trying to manage their internal anxiety about is this book and it good. Did it help that you had already written for an audience and found your voice and had at least some exposure with the outside world did you? Do you think that’s helped any in the process?

Ash Ambirge 10:53
I am sure I’m sure it has. I know that I have so many awesome emails from people around the world who have who have said to me consistently over the years, the thing I love about reading your writing is that reading your voice helps give me mine. And I think that’s our job as writers in a way. I think that Gosh, if you are struggling finding your voice, you just I’m going to encourage you to go with the one that feels the most right to you. That feels like the most you do not hold back. Do not try to sound more professional or more literary Just do your thing. And I didn’t think so I think that probably was very helpful. I can’t say that. It wasn’t. I knew that I had a lot of people who didn’t already enjoy my writing and i i thought that it would produce a pretty cool product. Yeah.

Leann 11:48
Very cool. I think this is a good segue into the first quote of you back at you, which I guess is going to be a theme for this podcast. So I’m looking at your book, the middle finger project, and she writes this book is intended to be a bad influence, but a bad influence in the best way. Because the argument here is, is simple, radical self reliance comes from following your most dangerous ideas.

I love that.Like that needs to be a T shirt very, very busy t shirt. Is that who you’re really writing this book for?

Ash Ambirge 12:25
Oh, man, I’m writing this book for the small town girls for the women who have been knocked down and kicked on the ground. I’m writing it for anyone who’s going through a hard time, who doesn’t trust themselves who isn’t sure of themselves, who wants to do something more with their life and their work, find their passion, find some more meaning, but everyone’s telling them that they should just be grateful for what they’ve got. They don’t know if they should take the risk and move forward on this idea that they may have been kind of like running around in their mind. I’ve written for every single woman who just needs a Big Sister, and someone to tell them like, Look, grab my hand. We got this thing. And yes, it is a dangerous book. Because I think once you read it, you are going to do dangerous things with your life.

Leann 13:16
And danger doesn’t come from a place of safety. So I know you’ve told the story over and over, but I’m going to ask you to tell it again. There were many parts in your book where I started crying. And of course in the beginning, it’s the Kmart store.damn Kmart parking lot.

You wouldn’t mind again, for our listeners this time. Tell us the Kmart parking lot story, please.

Ash Ambirge 13:43
I would be happy to if I could just start a little bit before that and preface the story with the fact that i

i was someone who the woman I just described is who I am used to be. And the reason is because I grew up in rural small town, Pennsylvania, in this trailer park with a mom who was clinically disabled with severe social anxiety. I never met my dad. And then my mom passed away right before I graduated. And so this put me in this very unique position of being all by myself and on my own in this trailer, and having to decide what to do next. And I had a couple of different options, one of which could have been, you know, stay there and work at the ice cream stand that I’ve been working at for the last eight years of my life, and maybe eventually upgrade to like the Dollar General or something, or take a chance and take a risk on myself. So what I decided to do was, I sold our trailer to pay off my mom’s debt, and I went to the city of film adelphia on this grand mission,to figure out what itmeant to live a good life and do work that you’re proud of. It was never something I saw being modeled back in sesqui, Hannah county work and passions were things that were frivolous. And they were like a luxury actually, if you wanted to follow your passion, very blue collar kind of background. But I was so curious because I didn’t want to become my mom. And so I set out to Philadelphia, essentially on what I would call them the middle class project.

To become a member of middleclass society and figure out what it meant to be normal, because I had this image of all of these other people in places like cities, doing work that they were inspired by and having it all kind of figured out. So I started my career. You’re in a traditional marketing role. And then I moved up to advertising sales for a magazine. And I was doing very well at one point I built a new construction home with a guy who was a very stable human being he had like a 401k was crazy at the time we were in our early 20s. Yeah. And you know, of course, you can all tell where this is going. It became the biggest heartbreak of my life. The fact that normal was such a disappointment. And not only was it a disappointment, but I felt really disappointed in adults in humans, I saw so many things that I wish I didn’t see, I realized that no one actually does have it figured out. And everyone is just guessing every single day of their lives, even people are way more experienced than I did. And no one really knew what they were doing. So I then took a twist at some point in that journey, so Several years in and decided that I was going to run some experiments on my own life. I had read a book called the geography of bliss. Did you ever read that book by chance?

Leann 17:14
No, but I have to now.

Ash Ambirge 17:17
Oh, it was a good one. And it did come out some time ago, but it was great.

It was an NPR, NPR correspondents book, who essentially set out to measure the differences in culture, and how that correlates with happiness. And, you know, I read the book, and I thought to myself, well, if humans have figured out all these different ways to speak all these different languages, and then certainly, there are all these different ways that that we can all be happy and so I started looking in Philadelphia for other cultures like literally like subcultures within Philadelphia, I started going salsa dancing. And I started going to all sorts of ethnic restaurants and trying really hard to interact with other people who maybe had different cultural belief systems and maybe that informs the way that they lived and what they thought. And as a result, I met a very, very good looking man.

I did and we moved in together because by then I had now thrown my job to the wind, I decided I was gonna go full force and become this freelance writer. I was going to follow my passions, I was just going to do it. And when you do that, you don’t really take into account that you have to really make money and it doesn’t really work if you don’t have any. And I didn’t I made some foolish stupid decisions as a 20 something girl. I racked up credit card debt and I eventually found myself in a precarious situation with this guy who turned out to be a complete imposter talking about imposters. He was, he was crazy. He wasn’t who He said He was. I found all sorts of different IDs in his drawer that had all sorts of different names. His real name wasn’t his real name. He wasn’t from where he said he was from. And this was the moment where I’m going, Oh, shit. Oh, no, this is very bad. And as a result, I ended up sleeping in my car in a Kmart parking lot. After I discovered those IDs, I didn’t have any more money to my name, and I didn’t have anywhere to go. And so that’s how I ended up there. And that was the moment when I had to figure out how to take a skill that I had, which was writing How to turn that into an income right then and there. I didn’t have time to worry or not. If it you know about the kinds of things we usually worry about, like, Is it really going to work? No time for that? Just do it.

Leann 20:15
I love it. I cantalk for years about babba interrupt your flow. No, no, I I think one of the things that comes across very clearly in the book is you don’t believe you’re any more special than anyone else. And you’re always encouraging us to just do it. You know, when this guy and she goes into much more detail about what happened in the book, when the sky scared the living shit out of you, and all you had was a car in a parking lot. You didn’t curl up into a ball. Do you have Do you remember at all what that was like for you? Were you even tempted that even cross your mind? Or do you just walk around all the time with This great radiant sense of self confidence.

Ash Ambirge 21:03
God forbid No, I definitely crawled into a ball for at least five minutes. And I remember hitting the steering wheel, I was crying. It was a mess. I was really, really scared. I was very scared of weird things to like, I thought maybe the police were going to come by and pick me up for loitering and maybe they’re going to take me downtown. Or maybe they would think I was just some dumb, you know, drunk girl in her sleeping in her car. Or maybe you know, some bad people were going to come along and bashing my windshield. I didn’t know. But I will say that, of course I thought about going back to that guy that night. I really didn’t know what options I had. Then that is the scariest thing that I know so many women go through when you are at that point of desperation. It forces you to make decisions that you wouldn’t normally make. And I didn’t want to do that. So for me it was I had more dignity sleeping in a Kmart parking lot than I did. Going back to that situation. Andthat was when I,I turned on the radio and I actually had a notebook in my backseat.

And I was actually trying to write my way out of it in that moment trying to write down. Okay.

What are my options? What can I do here? I think much more clearly on paper. So I was writing, what can I sell? What can I do? And I feel like most people could sell family heirloom or sell a bond or maybe even sell their car. But I couldn’t do that because there were so many miles on this car that the dealership actually wanted me to pay them $2,000 to take it from me.

SoI didn’t have anything to sell. And then the radio guy came on and he said said something that profoundly changed the course of my life. And he said riana has a new album, and it’s available for pre order. And that sounds so silly on his face. But when he said that, it just it clicked for me that art was worth paying for that was her art. And that maybe that art did not need to be finished yet, in order to exchange it for value. And just it sparked something in my mind that made me realize that I didn’t have anything physical to sell. But what I did have, were my ideas. And that’s all that books are, aren’t they their ideas packaged in this beautiful little container that we can now ship around the world or people can download around the world and essentially transmit one brain to another. It’s really Wild, and on an idea is a product. And when I realized that I knew what I had to do, and I turned to the Internet, and I made the world and offer to preorder a book I had not yet written. And I made my first $2,000 that night in 24 hours.

Leann 24:20
That certainly helped.

Ash Ambirge 24:25
No, it was great. I definitely did not expect it. And then once that happened, I was like, oh, okay, this is game changing moment. And I it was a complete, you know, it was it was a self published book that I just decided I was going to write about the same things I had been writing about on my blog for the it was one year old at the time. I had about 2500 subscribers, I think. And I knew that they were buying my writing in the way of their attention. Maybe they would want to buy it in a different format to and so having already trusted myself enough to Write online without needing permission from the New York Times or from any kind of publisher, anyone who is going to tell me that my writing was good enough, paid off tremendously later when I decided that maybe selling my ideas in this new format could work too. And by golly, did it. I love it.

Leann 25:23
Just all that so yeah, whole book, it has a great balance between go get them suck it up. Let’s do this. And be kind to yourself, which is extremely rare. Usually it’s one extreme or the other, either, you know, let’s go do this very, very run roughshod over your emotions are very, very soft.

Ash Ambirge 25:49
Gotcha. Yeah.

Leann 25:51
Does the balance between soft I in your book I think you mentioned it being your own mother and let’s go Do this was that a hard balance to come to for you?

Ash Ambirge 26:04
It’s a really great observation – look at you go, you have a really great observation. And I’m thinking about it as you’re asking me this question, and I don’t think it was hard. I really think that that is probably the best illustration of really just who I am. I think that there’s a lot about me that is very tough as nails and no excuses. no pity. Let’s do it. And then there’s also a lot about me that is so empathetic. I am a total empath, and I emphasize I can completely have compassion for everyone in anyone, including myself sometimes. And I think that that’s hard. So I think it was probably an accident, to be honest, I think it really just encapsulates who I am And so much of that is a function of no go going through the hard but then also figuring it out along the way. You get this nice balance between, I’m tough, I can do it. But also like, I don’t, I don’t have to be fighting every day of my life, either.

You ever hear about the people that are addicted to drama?

Leann 27:15
Yes. Yes, yes. And I run into many of them. Thanks.

Ash Ambirge 27:23
Oh, gosh, well, someone was saying recently to me, I was at a conference and they were talking about not necessarily that addiction, but folks who have had to fight their entire life, for whatever reason, needing to keep fighting because that’s who they are. And it’s so connected to their identity, that if it’s easy, then they feel kind of worthless. And I resonated with that a little bit. But then I thought about how How great it is. And some of the some of the biggest things I’ve accomplished, have come with ease instead of me fighting it all the way. So I don’t know, I think I think the book turned out the way that I hoped it would. I’m really glad that penguin was so awesome about letting me write the book, how I wanted to write it. And they really gave me a lot of freedom with it. I don’t actually think that they changed much of anything. Just cool.

Leann 28:32
I’d like it at the end of the book when you give your accolades and shout out to folks who helped you I love the comment with thanks for the authors and editors who helped otherwise the entire book would just say fuck, buck, buck, buck, buck buck. relate to that, because I

Ash Ambirge 28:49
think that’s how my book would sound like I don’t know.

Leann 28:53
Yeah. So you manage to write words other than the F word. Although you do Use the other F word feeling throughout the book. Tell me more about the feelings you’re having now, prior to launch. It’ll be a little snapshot of time for you that, you know, the book is coming. The book that you have thought about since at least 2015. When you signed? What do you have goals for? Do you see it taking you somewhere that you haven’t gone before? Tell me what you’re thinking right now.

Ash Ambirge 29:33
Um, the first word that came to mind was surreal. I think that’s probably true for most people. Unless you’re publishing a book as a business move. I think anyone who takes the time and effort and and total total

effort to do something like this. It’s going to feel surreal. It feels surreal. It feels

exciting. I Feel like I finally get to enjoy the fruits of my labor and all this promotional stuff is fun for me. I think that they say that once the book actually, once you’ve submitted your manuscripts, that’s when the real work starts.

You’re not kidding about that at all.

It has been a whirlwind ever since. And there’s so many weird things that you have to do that you wouldn’t even realize you have to do between, you know, helping your new publicist, write all the media kits, and then the publicist is ideally, getting you articles placed in different magazines and different news outlets. And a lot of those want original content that you then have to sit down and write for or, of course, podcasts are huge, so every one of those is an hour. And then you have to factor in the time that it takes to even get ready to get on video. You know, you can’t just be a slobby author like you were the last three years. You’ve got to them coordinate I’ve got also, Penguin, UK is publishing as well. So they have a whole other team of people and hold a team of publicists and things that they need for their promotional stuff. You’ve got the marketing director and those marketing folks who are coordinating things like book signings and trying to figure out if you want to sign book plates and, you know, doing something with like, books on the subway in New York is a really cool company. I’m just, I’m in awe of their business model. It’s these girls who are just so brilliant. Their business model is, hey, if you pay us money, we’ll take 100 of your books, and we’re just going to scatter them across the New York City subway, for people to find and read. Oh my gosh, it’s so cool. And you have to be accepted for them to do it. And we were accepted. So that’s going to happen February 14, I believe who is it the 14 amount say my gosh, Uh huh. And Like all of these little things have to be coordinated, you have to have a lot of meetings about these things. You have to be writing content for your own platforms and promoting the book yourself. That’s a lot about pre orders. And then you’ve got we did the audiobook recording, which took a solid three days in a studio.

Leann 32:18
That only took you three days only. I mean, I saw your Instagram photo, but I figured that would be a two week project.

Ash Ambirge 32:28
You know what it was three solid days from about eight to five, but oftentimes, we really didn’t even start till 11 so really only took 11 to five every day.

Leann 32:37
Wow, okay, right there. Nevermind, you wrote a book and you publicize? Did you read your own book in three days to me is amazing, because I know how long it takes me to record a stinking podcast so

Ash Ambirge 32:49
well, you know what?

I have to say it was this weird thing that happened because sometimes when I’m just talking I feel like my brain doesn’t want to recall the words I feel like the older I get. It’s like there’s something wrong with me mentally what is going on. But when I was reading that book, it was like, my brain just knew there was going to be no fucking around. And we were going to read this book. And it almost felt like I wasn’t there. Like I was watching myself read this book. And my brain took over and read the sentences so perfectly. I wasn’t stumbling. It was great. And the guy said to me, the producer said like, you’re weirdly good at this game. And I was like, Huh, no, I did win the oral reading conscious in the second grade. Maybe this is paying off. But they said to me that some authors get up to their 1000 take, you know, like they actually say like they do in the movies like, you know, take to take through whatever I had my most on one day was 13 I think that’s why it went fast.

Leann 34:03
Okay, just total fangirl now, total all that that was really, really quick. Do you feel like you have done as much work to publicize it as it did to write the book, which is more?

Ash Ambirge 34:15
No writing the book has been way more. Okay. Now it’s to the point where I have to do more work to publicize it. Yes.

No, this is the fun part and you also have publicists of the publisher who are doing a lot of the heavy lifting, too, which is great.

Leann 34:33
Has your mind gone on to start writing book 2,3, 4? Or are you going to stick with copywriting? Or do you have any idea where you want to take this?

Ash Ambirge 34:43
I have not started thinking about book 2,3, 4.

Leann 34:49
I have not

Ash Ambirge 34:50
but I do know that I’m really grateful the publisher it was it was them who were like you know what? We’re going to argue with you You don’t want to name this the middle finger project.

And that was something that had to be decided to like, what was the title going to be?

Leann 35:08
Now, I know you said the middle finger project is slightly cringy. That wasn’t exactly what you wanted to name the company. But to be on brand that would have to be the title of the book.

Ash Ambirge 35:20
Well, yeah, no, I, it’s hard sometimes when you are running it as a company, because if you want to run social ads, let’s say you get banned a lot of time because sometimes they think it’s offensive to the general public. So it’s, it has its challenges, but I think it served me well as a brand in general and I I am really grateful that we named it that and they wanted to name it that because I think that for the long term, this is going to be really helpful for me, because I think a lot of authors, that’s their end goal is writing the book. And for me, that was Yes, my personal angle. I really wanted this to happen. But bigger picture. This is essentially the world’s best lead magnet to get folks to come and visit my site and visit what we’re doing and, and try to get involved with the community and the people that we’re helping and the women and all the resources that we’re going to have. We’ve got a really fun new thing coming up. It’s going to be completely free called the quit your job store. No, it’s like if you’re thinking about quitting your job, you can just go online and pick out like this the resources that you need to figure it out and do whatever you want. It’s going to be fun. Oh, it’s mostly like, right like you read the book, you’re inspired. But now what so if that’s an avenue that you want to pursue, but I think that it’s helpful having done internet business for 10 years, because I i understand the systems that need to be in place to now take somebody who read the book, new dig the book, to become an actual reader. Then hopefully become part of the community and then hopefully become a customer of ours and keep it going from there. And I’m so grateful to have that back end business to support the book and the book to support the business. And I don’t think a lot of authors have that have thought that through of what they could now sell on the back end of their book, so that’s where we’re going with this. I’m going to play with it and see how this affects our company as a whole.

Leann 37:24
And I know you offer copywriting classes and obviously Creative Services for businesses. So is the book. Are you hoping to open it up to maybe beginning authors or authors who need help managing this entire process?

Ash Ambirge 37:41
Ooh, no, no, you know, I won’t be doing any more services. I haven’t done services in a few years now. Because I wanted to write this book and it was just too mentally demanding to actually be doing client work and this, but again, I’m really fortunate that I have this, this other side of the company that sells You know, like workshops that I do online or different online courses or digital kits or downloadables, that it’s just it’s so scalable and so cool. These are all different little containers that you can take your ideas and place them into, to share them with the world. So no, I think that there’s going to be a heavy focus now on helping women find their voice to build whatever the fuck they want to. That’s kind of been the goal all along, I really hope to to, to be able to connect more with small town girls, and all the women that I talked about before, who are curious about maybe taking a talent or skill that they have and learning how to use that to sell themselves and sell that talent because I think that it is the best skill anyone could ever have. If you decide you want to quit your job later, great. You’ve got this other thing to fall back on. If you want to go freelance create now you know how to sell your ideas. And that’s really been kind of the whole thing behind all of my work is Learning how to sell yourself and earn money so you have control over your life.

Leann 39:07
That’s just the best way to sum up. I don’t even have to ask you who is this book for you just put it right there. I was gonna say become an unfuck. With a bowl, I’m gonna get that word, right become an unfuck with a bowl you and always be yourself. It’s almost like a compassionate self reliance. And I think that’s the strongest point or teaching you really have in the book for me. I am all about the self reliance, let’s do this. But self care and self compassion is also very important because otherwise we run into blame, shame and imposter syndrome. And I know you’ve been talking about that in the book. Can you give readers who are going back and forth on and I don’t know if I have anything to say, What do you say about that imposter syndrome voice that plays in our heads. Oh my goodness. It’s incredible.

Ash Ambirge 39:59
How How valuable your experiences are to the rest of the world. I think that learning how to reframe it because usually you sit down to like write a book, and you have that voice that’s going well, who cares about what I have to say, or what I went through or what I did. And I think the reframe that needs to happen is to understand that any book is not really about you. As much as we really want to make it about us. It’s not at all about us. It is about the things that we have done and have experienced, and what that means for the rest of the world. what’s the takeaway there? And when you think about it, from that perspective, all you’re doing is providing this incredible, generous service to humanity where you’re contributing to the greater conversation and you’re saying Here’s the stuff that I know. And here’s what I think it means. Here’s what I think it means. That’s the most important part of any book.

Leann 41:10
And that’s the most important takeaway someone could take from this. I really want to thank you, Ash for taking the time to talk to us today. So just in case someone didn’t pick up to find you at the middle finger project, any other places that you’ll know you’ll be any book signings, any cities, anything that you can tell listeners where, where they can find more of you at?

Ash Ambirge 41:34
No, I mean, it’s just absolutely everything’s gonna be posted on the middle finger project website. You know, we’ve got some fun stuff going on there. I haven’t committed to a book tour yet. I don’t I don’t want to do a traditional tour. If I didn’t, oh,

Leann 41:50
boy, I’m shocked.

Ash Ambirge 41:53
You know, it just seems like such an ego based thing to be doing. I’m kind of like man, if I do something and

I take the time to travel around I really want it to matter for other people and not just me and my, my pen over here. I want to do something that’s going to help people, I want to do something fun. So I’m thinking about maybe visiting a bunch of small towns across the nation and across the world. And playing with that, because I think that some of those women are the ones that really need to hear it the most.

Leann 42:17
That matters, and I will be buying a pile of these books and just handing them out on street corners around here.

Ash Ambirge 42:25
Please do. Someone said to me just yesterday, she said to me,wouldn’t it be funny if you just went out kind of like street interview style? And you just had your book and you started asking strangers on the street like videotaping them? Like, hi, I just published a book called The middle finger project. What do you think it’s about? Perfect. You have to do that. Be Awesome. So, you Yes, let’s let’s start a straight team.

Leann 43:00
Oh, you could totally okay, this give me ideas. Because again, that’s something where women across the nation across the world could just literally walk up and already know what to say to complete strangers with a camera in their face. The middle finger project, what do you think this is about?

I can only imagine the answers.

Oh, boy. Well, and the explanation for where the middle finger project idea came from is in the book, and I’m not giving it away. You have to read the book to figure it out.

Ash Ambirge 43:32
Oh, yes, it’s a very dirty story. And it involves it involves taking photographs and bathrooms that you should never be taking

Leann 43:39
and making deals with men. You should not have

Ash Ambirge 43:44
that’s absolutely true. What See? That’s a

Leann 43:50
good cliffhanger, Leanne. Good job. Well, thank you very much, and I am so looking forward to this launch. Take care and I’m going to continue to finger Thank you.

Ash Ambirge 44:02
Thank you so much for listening to us all the way to the end. I see I told you I was gonna be the loudest one here.

Leann 44:07
Hardly. Take care. Thank you.

Ash Ambirge 44:10
Thanks Leann fight.

Leann 44:15
A big thank you for everyone listening to this episode of shovelware books. You can find me at www shelf hyphen That’s shelf, dash aware, calm. And you can also find me on slash shelf. underscore aware. underscore. Yes, double underscores. Don’t forget I want to hear from you. You can even leave a voice recording asking me anything you want about books or situations that you’re trying to read your way out of. You can go to my website shelf dash aware, calm and leave a voice message on speakpipe and remember shelf care is self care.

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May Reviews

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