Episode 184: The 10 Commandments of Writing a Book

Episode 184: The 10 Commandments of Writing a Book

Joe and I fail to create a xylophone out of glasses and milk bottles, but subject you to the cacophony anyway. Then we dive into this week’s podcast topic: my 10 Commandments of Writing A Book. There’s also a cautionary tale about wearing your glasses in bed, and a bit of a rant about the patriarchy.

Key Points

Episode Transcript

Business For Superheroes Podcast Transcription: Episode One Hundred And Eighty Four: The 10 Commandments Of Writing A Book

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*In an industry stuffed with marketing bullshit, empty promises and shiny-suited liars, one woman’s had enough. She knows what it’s like to have the wrong clients, no money and no time for fun, but she also knows how to fix it, and, on the Business For Superheroes Show, she promises to tell the down and dirty truth about business, sales and running away with the circus! Here’s your host: Vicky Fraser…*  

Vicky:  Hello, and welcome to the “Business for Superheroes” show, I’m Vicky Fraser, and this is my husband, Joe.

Joe: Hello.

Vicky: Before we start, I’ve got tears running down my face because we’ve just spent probably the better part of three entire minutes rearranging various glasses of milk bottles on the table in order to try and get a glockenspiel-esque: Ding-ding-ding. So we can do a Dingle update. And what we actually ended up with was: So, I don’t think it was really worth all of the effort.

Joe: It was not worth the effort.

Vicky:It was not worth the effort. So, instead Joe, would you like to tell us what we’re drinking this evening?

Joe:  We’re drinking the very last of the rhubarb gin.

Vicky: Cheers.

Joe:  Because I like it, with Schweppes tonic. So, it’s fairly straight up tonic but fancy gin.

Vicky: With ice.

Joe:  With ice.

Vicky: You can hear it jingling. I’m gonna throw gin everywhere. So, yeah, we just wasted three minutes of our lives rearranging milk bottles.

Joe: They’re everywhere.

Vicky: We need an actual glockenspiel.

Joe:  Is it glockenspiel or are they the wooden ones?

Vicky: Glockenspiels are wooden ones, I think. Xylophones, xylophone.

Joe:  Is it not one of those things?

Vicky:  No, that’s a, shit. Joe was just moving his hands in and out. Oh god, we did this last week. By the way the word that we were looking for last week was bandana.

Joe:  Bandana.

Vicky: Thank you, Natasha.

Joe:  Hi, Natasha.

Vicky: The word we’re looking for this week if anyone wants to help us out with it, those musical instruments where you squeeze them. And they make an unholy racket.

Joe:  If you were my Auntie Angela, hi Angela, that would be a piano accordion.


Joe:  Accordion.

Vicky: Yeah, there you go. Anyway.

Joe:  What the hell. What’s happening here?

Vicky: So, we are, I don’t know if we’ve really got a Dingle update ’cause I’ve mostly been away and so have you.

Joe: Yeah, we’ve done some stuff though.

Vicky: What have we done?

Joe:  Well, you won a competition.

Vicky: I won my trapeze competition. So, in all of the past few months where I’ve been talking about competitions and–

Joe:  Face planting.

Vicky: Bruises and face planting. I won!

Joe:  Yeah!

Vicky:  Was I okay?

Joe:  Well, you were the best one there.

Vicky: Aw, thanks. Thanks, Joe. So, yeah I won my competition. There is a concrete slab down in the garden ready for my office to be built on it, which is extremely exciting. And I’m trying not to look at it too much because I’m actually gonna explode. All the funding’s in place and ready. It’s very, very exciting. Can I just move this makeshift glockenspiel?

Joe:  Glockenspiel?

Vicky: Xylophone.

Joe:  Pile of crap. 

Vicky: And yeah, so I also, I need to apologize to anyone who listened to last week’s podcast, all the last podcasts that we did. And then went to the Webpage that we mumbled our way through and found–

Joe:  Found it didn’t exist.

Vicky: An error page. Because, yeah, I just simply didn’t have time to do it. I went to Poland and it’s just been a whole thing. However, this week I can give you the actual URL: moxiebooks.co.uk/preorderthebook.

Joe:  Cool. Pre-order the book all one word.

Vicky: Pre-order the book is all one word, yeah. So, that’s very exciting.

Joe:  Nice.

Vicky: That link will also be in the show notes.

Joe:  So, is this a link that you’re gonna make work before the podcast is released or is this a link that does actually work right now?

Vicky: Does actually work right now. And also when you’ve bought the book, look at what page you go to Joe.

Joe:  What? That is a terrible picture of me.

Vicky: It’s an amazing picture of you. So, you know what guys, just one very good reason for pre ordering my book is that you get to see the most amazing photograph of Joe because–

Joe:  What is going on there? You look great and I look awful.

Vicky: I don’t look great, I’m all teeth. I look like a horse. Anyway, so that’s, yes, all sorts of my insecurities coming out there. I hate my teeth. Which is why I’m spending a small fortune on fixing them. Yeah. So, today’s been a difficult day. Anyway, right let’s. Let’s move on to what we’re talking about this week.

Joe:  What the hell are we talking about?

Vicky: We are talking about what we promised we would talk about last week which is a novel thing for us to do.

Joe: Wow, really?

Vicky: I know.

Joe:  We’re following on from last week’s next week?

Vicky: Yes we are.

Joe: Jeepers.

Vicky: I know. We are talking about the 10 Commandments of Moxiedom, the 10 Commandments of Writing a Book.

Joe:  Okay.

Vicky: These, you will find these in the very beginning of my new book. Which you can pre-order from: moxiebooks.co.uk/preorderthebook. I’m channeling rapport right now. And yeah, so, this is gonna be a fairly short podcast because–

Joe: Well, I mean.

Vicky: There are only 10 commandments.

Joe:  10 commandments.

Vicky: I don’t know, I might round them a bit.

Joe: We can normally spin 10 points out to be, like, a series of five podcasts or something, didn’t we?

Vicky: Well, maybe we will in the future, Joe. Maybe we will. Because that’s actually, that is something that we can talk about a little bit now. Business For Superheroes show is going to be changing– Very soon, I know. It might look like I’m stabbing it to death but I’m actually, it’s probably looked quite a lot like I’ve stabbed it to death over the last few months. But it is changing, I’m not killing it. I am changing it into, it’s basically gonna be the same format. It’s gonna be Joe and I rambling–

Joe:  Talking nonsense.

Vicky: But it’s gonna be very much more focused on writing books and then using the book to market your business. So, it’s not gonna be wildly different. The topics aren’t gonna be wildly different. But it is gonna be a lot more organized. Oh, how very dare you.

Joe: Yeah.

Vicky: I’m gonna plan it out in the seasons and–

Joe: Really?

Vicky: Yeah.

Joe: Really?

Vicky: A series, little series, yeah.

Joe:  We’re not just gonna hit record and start talkin’?

Vicky: I mean, there’ll be some of that as well. And I’ll be interviewing people, more people. And yeah, so, it’s going to be unveiled and rebranded and all the rest of it. So, please keep listening.

Joe:  So, our one subscriber is gonna have to–

Vicky: I’ve got many subscribers–

Joe:  Subscribe to something different.

Vicky: I don’t, well, yes because this will be up as it is. And I’m going to be, yeah, pointing people at the new podcast.

Joe:  Cool.

Vicky: Which is gonna be very similar to the old podcast but just rebranded. Because that is how I roll.

Joe:  Okay, cool. Cool cool, cool cool, cool cool, cool cool, cool cool.

Vicky: Also, I have a TV show recommendation because you just reminded me. The Brooklyn 99 is hilarious but I think made by the same people or produced by the same people is a TV show called: The Good Place, which was recommended to me by Jen, hi Jen!

Joe:  Hi Jen.

Vicky: I watched a couple of episodes but they’re like, mm, not sure about this. And then Ed, hi Ed!

Joe:  Hi Ed.

Vicky: Was like: You need to watch it. So, while Joe was away in Thailand I watched the entire first season. And then since you’ve come home we’ve been watching it. It’s frickin’ hilarious.

Joe:  It’s very good. Very good.

Vicky: It’s very good. So, I watch The Good Place and the Brooklyn 99. Yeah.

Joe:  Yeah.

Vicky:  Right. So, Vicky’s 10 Commandments of Writing a Book. I got very squeaky then.

Joe:  You did.

Vicky: ‘Cause it’s exciting. I really hope that this computer doesn’t die by the way because there was an actual explosion earlier before Joe got home.

Joe:  Yeah.

Vicky: An actual explosion and then everything went dark and I was like, oh, crap, you know, it’s the end of days, zombies, blah blah blah. It’s the, you know, the power cuts are back again. And so I, you know, I did go up and I restarted the fuse box and all the rest of it. And then I waited until Joe came home. And we discovered that the charging block, is it the charging?

Joe:  Yeah.


Joe:  Charging brick.

Vicky: Charging brick thing.

Joe:  The adapter. Power adapter, whatever you wanna call it.

Vicky: Yeah, had blown a fuse, I didn’t know fuses banged like that.

Joe:  Yeah, fuses’ll bang.

Vicky: It was a big bang. Yeah, I noticed that my laptop wasn’t charging. And now I, yeah, the fuser was blowing it ’cause we tested the plug, we tested the socket. We tested all sorts of things in a scientific manner. And it’s not my laptop thankfully. It is my charging block.

Joe:  But we’ve basically got only a few percent to get this podcast recorded.

Vicky: 48%. And this is quite an elderly MacBook, this is. So, the battery does run down–

Joe: So, if this podcast just mysteriously finishes, like, .5 or halfway through a sentence it’s probably because we ran out a juice on this laptop.

Vicky:Yeah, there may be zombies. You may be witnessing the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.

Joe:  Might be the start.

Vicky: So, right, anyway.

Joe:  Right, geesh.

Vicky: Vicky’s 10 Commandments of Writing a Book.

Joe:  Writing a book.

Vicky: Commandment Number One. I was trying to sound–

Joe:  Mosaic.

Vicky: Mosaic.

Joe:  What?

Vicky: What?

Joe:  What?

Vicky: What’s that?

Joe:  Like Moses.

Vicky: I’m not sure it’s mosaic, is it?

Joe: How would you like to say it?

Vicky: Mosean. I don’t know.

Joe: I think I’ve broken you.

Vicky: Yeah. My brain’s gone on Biblical safari. And it’s not coming back. I need some gin. Joe, what’s the first commandment?

Joe:  All right, hmm. The first commandment, if you write, then you are a writer. You can do this.

Vicky: Yeah, ’cause one of the most common objections or worries or whatevers.

Joe:  Barriers that people put up.

Vicky:  Barriers that people put up is, “Well, I’m not a writer.” And, if you write anything regularly, then, you know, you are a writer. And I know that sounds like a facetious thing to say because it’s like, oh, well, you know, even if I’m just scribbling a reply to an email it’s like, okay maybe not. But if you are creating any kind of content and you’re writing it down, you are a writer. That doesn’t mean that you’re claiming to be Stephen King or J.K. Rowling or anything like that. But–

Joe: Dan Brown.

Vicky: Dan Brown. But um–

Joe:  Not sure he’s a writer. 

Vicky: You see, mm, you see, no, I have a problem with this because Dan Brown is an absolutely master storyteller.

Joe: Yes.

Vicky: Because his books, I couldn’t put them down. The writing wasn’t great. He’s not the best writer in the world. But he’s a master storyteller. And he’s probably stinkin’ rich. So, you know, you don’t have to be a perfect writer, you have to be a compelling storyteller. And that’s super-important.

Joe:  Yeah.

Vicky: There’s a lot a people out there. So, that’s, consider yourself told off.

Joe:  All right, I’m chastised. Suitably chastened.

Vicky: So, yeah, first commandment, if you write, you are a writer and you can do this. And, you know, the number of people who said: “I can’t write a book because I’m not a writer. You can write a book. If the writing itself, if the act of kind of. You know, typing puts you off then you can dictate, there are many ways to write a book. Many ways to write a book. So, that’s the first one. You can do this! If you’re thinking: “I would really like to write a book but I can’t, I don’t think I’ve got a book in me.” You have, I promise you. All you need is the lady balls or boy balls to do it. Anyway, numero two.

Joe:  Numero deux. Do not edit as you write. You should write freely and write fast.

Vicky: Yes. So, one of the biggest obstacles that stops people from making progress in their writing is as they write, they’ll be like, “Oh, I’ve got a spelling mistake there, oh there’s a typo there, aw, that sentence that I’ve just written doesn’t read very well.” Don’t do that. Stop, stop it, stop stop stop. There is time later to edit. Editing is super important. If you try and do it while you’re writing your first draft you will never finish your first draft.

Joe:  Right.

Vicky: Never ever.

Joe:  Just put the words on the paper.

Vicky: Yeah, just vomit the words onto the paper in whatever order they come out in. Because the other thing is, if you are editing as you write you will lose ideas. It’s like, you know when you think: “Oh, I’ve got, I’ve had this really great idea, I’ll remember it tomorrow” and you never do, you never do. Which is why I keep a notepad and pen by my bed, so that if I wake up with, like, the best idea in the world I can write it down. Quite often I’ll look at it in the morning and be like: Wow, that was, what. But, yeah, don’t edit while you write because it destroys your flow, you will lose your ideas and you will also, you’ll hate the process and hate yourself and it will sap your confidence.

Joe:  Bach Bach Bach.

Vicky: Johann.

Joe:  Kept. Johann Sebastian kept a notepad and pen by his bed so that he could write down any marvelous ideas he had in the middle of the night. The interesting bit to this story is that he slept in his spectacles because he was frightened he would wake up with a bright idea, a pen and a paper but not be able to write it down ’cause he couldn’t see. So, he slept in his glasses.

Vicky: That is such a good idea and I’ll tell you why. Because when I was in Poland the other day I had to get up at four o’clock in the morning for a horrifically early flight. And I’d asked them for a wake up call as well as my phone just to be on the safe side as well as my Fit Bit just, you know, ’cause I, you know, didn’t wanna miss my plane, that would be bad. And so, they sent me a wake up call at four o’clock in the morning. And you know what it’s like when you wake up in a strange place?

Joe:  Mm hm.

Vicky: And I couldn’t find, I couldn’t find the light. And I was like, shit! And there were, like, multiple alarms going off and I was just spinning. I was like, where is the phone? I couldn’t see the phone ’cause I didn’t have my glasses on. And I went to turn a light on, still couldn’t see a phone because I literally am blind as a bat without my glasses. And I just had these eyes. I could, I turn my phone off and then I was like–

Joe: But the hotel phone was ringing.

Vicky: The hotel phone was ringing. I was like: Where is it coming from? I was freaking out so much. And then it stopped. I was like, thank fuck for that. And I picked up my glasses and put them on. And then it started again. And I was like: Seriously, where is it coming from? And it was coming from the phone in the bathroom. And so, I had been spinning around my hotel room in a blind panic being like: “I have literally no idea what’s going on and I think the world might be ending.” And it was a phone, I didn’t even know there was a phone in the bathroom. All I could think was: “If Joe was here he would be absolutely wetting himself right now.” Anyway, so yeah, wear your glasses in bed is the moral of the story.

Joe:  Wear your glasses in bed.

Vicky: Mm hm, mm hm. Okay, so yeah. Don’t edit as you write.

Joe:  How did we get there?

Vicky:Commandment Numero C.

Joe:  Create a detailed outline before you start writing.

Vicky: Yes, because otherwise it’s the equivalent of saying: Let’s go on holiday. And then just setting off without knowing where you’re going, why you’re going there or how you’re gonna get there. And it’s a tired old cliche ’cause everyone’s like: Oh, have a blueprint, have a roadmap. But it’s good advice. You need some kind of an outline. And also, it’s warm up time. So, it’s like, I would never ever get on the trapeze and perform a routine without doing a load of warmup first. Never because that way lies injury and woe. And it’s the same with trying to write a book. If you dive in and try and just start writing a book without any kind of warmup or road map your head will explode.

Joe:  And, I mean, the road map as well. You can kind of, it’s quite easy to generate, well, here are the things I want to talk about, here are the topics I want to do. Then you can shuffle ’em around and put ’em in a sensible order and you can think: Well, okay how do I expand on this. And you can do all that outlining. And it’s a really good way of getting you past a blank piece of paper.

Vicky: Yes.

Joe:  If you just kinda go, right, I’m going to start writing my book, chapter one. A long time ago I was born. You’re just gonna be like: What the hell am I doing here? And you got no idea what’s happening and it’s a mess.

Vicky: Yeah and you won’t even get to a long time ago I was born because you’ll be like: Well, that’s total shit. And then you won’t write anything.

Joe:  And then you’re into editing as you write. So, you’ll cross that out and start again. And then you’re, ah, then you, before you know it you’re surrounded by crumpled up bits of paper. And it’s just bollocks.

Vicky: Put it in a drawer and you’ll never look at it again. And you’ll declare war on the whole thing. So, yeah. Create a detailed outline before you start writing. It is so important for so many reasons.

Joe:  And there’s processes in that. And they get you past the blank page. And it sorts out all of your thoughts. And it’s daisy.

Vicky: Yeah. I have a detailed process for how you can do that in my book which you can buy–

Joe:  Proof.

Vicky: Right anyway. Commandment Number–

Joe:  IIII.

Vicky:  II.

Joe:  No, it’s IV isn’t it?

Vicky: IV.

Joe:  IV, can I have an IV? Protect your writing time and space fiercely.

Vicky: Yes, treat your writing as if it was a client. So, if you say: I’m gonna fit my writing in as a when you will never fit your writing in.

Joe:  Yeah.

Vicky: If you say: Aw, I’m kind of gonna block out this amount of time here. And then you allow other people’s circuses–

Joe:  Mm hm.

Vicky: Other people’s monkeys to invade your circus then, again, you’re not gonna write your book. You need to do what I do which is I have time blocked out. Like, today in my bullet journal I’ve got time blocked out for the dentist ’cause I had to go to my dentist. And then I had time blocked out to work on my client’s book, then I have lunch blocked out. And then I had time blocked out in the afternoon to work on my business. And nothing has got in the way of that because it’s booked in.

Joe:  And it’s the priority isn’t it?

Vicky: It’s the priority. You’ve gotta look after yourself before you can look after anybody else. It’s, again, a cliche. Put our own oxygen mask on first. But it’s a cliche for a reason.

Joe:  Or as the great Ru Paul one said: If you can’t love yourself–

Vicky:  How the hell you gonna love anybody else?

Joe:  How are you gonna love anyone else?

Vicky: Yeah.

Joe:  Look after your own business.

Vicky: You have to look after your own business so that you can take care of your clients and customers. So, yeah, protect your writing time and space. Set aside time for it, ring fence it, protect it. Do not let anybody in. It’s like if you’ve got kids and a husband or a wife or a partner or whatever, you say: Unless the house is on fire you do not come into this office between the hours of here and here. And it’s like, you can’t spend more than an hour working, you know, solidly anyway. So, you can come out and you can grab yourself a drink or pop to the loo and make sure that nobody’s on fire. And that’s fine. And, you know, if you think: Oh, but what if my clients need to get a hold of me? There is nothing so urgent that it can’t wait for a couple of hours.

Joe:  Yeah.

Vicky: And if there is, you know, unless you’re a doctor on call or something but I’m assuming you’re not, you know, you’ve got to protect your writing time and space otherwise you will not do what you–

Joe:  And if you drop all of your priority things every time a client phones you, then you’ve already gone wrong. You’ve trained yourself and your clients into bad behavior.

Vicky: Yeah, yeah. And ’cause, you know, more often than not a client who wants to get a hold of you immediately if they can they’ll solve the problem on their own. So, there you go. Okay, right. Commandment Number Five.

Joe:  Embrace the shitty first draft.

Vicky: Yes. This is related to Commandment Number Two which is: Don’t edit as you write. You need to get comfortable with the fact that your first draft is gonna be a little bit shit. And it has to be because your shitty first draft is the preparation for what’s gonna become your magnificent book. And without it you are not gonna have a magnificent book. It is. And I first heard that term when I read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. And she talks about– 

Joe:  Hi Anne.

Vicky: I would love it if she was listening. And she talks about the shitty first draft. It’s important. You have to be able to allow yourself to write absolute crap. And another writer put it absolutely beautifully. Let me see if I can find the quote. A woman called Shannon Hale: I’m writing a first draft, I’m reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles. And I love that. I absolutely love that because it perfectly embodies what you’re doing with your shitty first draft. You are just shoveling your ideas and your words onto the paper so that later you can edit them and shape them into something that’s beautiful. It’s really really important. In fact, if you can’t get your, it’s the one thing that I really encourage my students to get their heads around more than anything else is: Embrace the shitty first draft because you have to let go of your perfectionism in everything you do because otherwise you will never do anything. It’s really difficult.

Joe:  It’s really difficult.

Vicky:Really difficult. So, all right we need to shuffle along ’cause that’s nearly 20 minutes–

Joe:  In, 20 minutes in. 

Vicky: This was gonna be a short podcast. Commandment Number Six.

Joe:  Six: Do not sit and wait for inspiration to strike. Go out and grab it.

Vicky:Yeah, this is kind of related to motivation. People think that they need motivation in order to take action. But actually it’s the other way around.

Joe:  There’s gonna be some Damassine moment where the big idea hits you in the face.

Vicky: Doesn’t happen. It’s like, aw, I haven’t got any motivation. If you want to be motivated you need to take action. Motivation comes from action even if it’s only small. So, you need to take that first step. And it’s the same with inspiration. Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration. The rest of us just get up and go to work. That’s totally stolen from Stephen King, but he’s right. It’s like, inspiration strikes when you go out and create circumstances in which it will, it can–

Joe: Yeah you stir the big pot of soupy ideas. And then you’ll go: That’s what we should talk about. You have to do the work.

Vicky: Yeah you read stuff. You watch films, you talk to people. You go out and look at the world. Maybe it’s how you see a sunbeam on a wet leaf that maybe that will spark an idea, that kind of thing. That’s what I saw this morning and it was lovely. And then I saw the big pile of McDonald’s crap that people had left in the road and picked it all up. Yeah, rage. Anyway, so yeah, don’t sit and wait for inspiration to strike. Go out and make it happen.

Joe:  Go and do the work.

Vicky:Do the work. Commandment Number Seven.

Joe:  Understand whom you’re writing for. Understand whom you’re writing for. And crawl inside their head.

Vicky: Yeah super-important. This will make writing your book a lot easier. It’s another technique for beating the blank page of doom, is really understanding who you’re writing for and what problem you’re solving for them or what you’re giving them, what you want them to take away from it. And you really need to understand what they’re thinking, what they’re afraid of, what motivates them, what they love, what they hate, what they want to get out of reading your book. And that will help you write your book.

Joe:  And again, that’s a process. There’s a way, there are multiple methods of doing that, one which is available in the book.

Vicky: Mine’s best. Which you can get in the book which will be available to pre-order. Commandment Number Eight.

Joe:  Give yourself permission to be wholly and unapologetically yourself.

Vicky: Oh my god and I can tell you a story now.

Joe:  I’m gonna tell you a story.

Vicky:  I want to tell you a story. I went to a thing a long time ago. And when I was at the thing it was full of kind of, you know, uber A-list celebrities in the world of, you know, business. And I was like, this, I wanna be part of this world, I want to be one of these people. I want to be part of this world.

Joe:  Mm hm.

Vicky: And I discovered that that world is grubby and filthy, unfriendly to women and I want no part of it. And that was really interesting because that means that I no longer have to worry about fitting in to that world.

Joe:  Mm hm.

Vicky: I no longer have to worry about being, you know, playing the bro game. And, you know, being one with the boys because I have no interest in that kind of nonsense. And I didn’t realize it until I got there and kind of saw a little bit behind the scenes of what it was like. And it was just very freeing actually ’cause it was like, you know what, I can just go and do my own thing. And this is super-important. I talk about it a lot, it’s the whole, like, flamingo your business idea. Be yourself. It’s a lot easier said than done especially when you think you want to be part of something else. And so, I say, go start your own thing. If you want to write a book and you want a business that people are gonna look up to and you want a business that can change lives and you can lead people you need to start your own movement. You need to be yourself. And you need to be confident enough to just not apologize for who you are and not allow other people to stomp all over your dreams.

Joe:  If you’re a bit strange–

Vicky: Embrace it.

Joe:  Then be a bit strange, yeah.

Vicky: Yeah. So yeah. Have a think about where you want to be. And who you want to be and who you want to serve. And how you want to do it. And then go do it. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Don’t worry about what the establishment’s doing. Don’t worry about the games that are played elsewhere and the politics that happen because every business has its politics, every industry has its politics. And it’s established, boys’ clubs. Don’t worry about it, go do your own thing. Create your own group. Create your own following. Create your own movement and then go move people.

Joe:  I think importantly is becoming comfortable with the idea that some people are not going to like what you’re doing, some people are not gonna like you. Some people are gonna have opinions. And–

Vicky: That’s okay.

Joe:  That’s fine. If those people are not important to you then who cares.

Vicky: Yeah, absolutely, cool. Okay, Commandment Number Neuf.

Joe:  Pay attention to the details. You are not an amateur so don’t act like one.

Vicky: Yeah, super-important. And this is something that I see a lot of business owners’ independently published books are let down by is the lack of attention to detail. You know, sometimes you make mistakes. Mistakes are made. I have made mistakes with my own books, with client books before. I’ve always gone and fixed them. But I’m not talking about making mistakes. I’m talking about paying attention to the small details. Look at how traditionally published books are, look at the way they look and the way they feel. And then aim to have your independently published book look and feel the same. It’s really important. Just because you are self-published doesn’t mean that you need to look amateurish.

Joe:  Yeah, it doesn’t have to be on cheapy, horrible paper and it doesn’t have to have a terrible typeface. And it doesn’t have to have a cheap cover. And it doesn’t have to feel like crap.

Vicky: Yeah and just bear in mind as well that people will judge you on that. If your book looks and feels cheap and amateurish people will assume that you are cheap and amateurish in your business. And, you know, they’ve got nothing else to judge you on. The whole point of writing the book for your business is that it’s gonna be a showpiece for you. It’s gonna open doors. It’s gonna introduce people to who you are. And, you know, would you cut corners in what you’re do in your business? Of course you wouldn’t. So, don’t cut corners when you write your book either because people will make assumptions.

Joe:  Yeah there was one that we picked up at an airport a few weeks ago.

Vicky: Oh god it was terrible.

Joe:  Well there’s a whole podcast in this but it was awful. It was like the, it was printed too close to the spine so you couldn’t, you had to, like, really wrench the spine around to be able to read into the corners. The font was horrible, the paper was horrible. The cover was horrible.

Vicky: It was badly edited.

Joe:  It was badly edited. It was pompous, it was nonsense, it was, you know, the page numbers didn’t work. All kind of like just little technical things that had that person got a bit of sensible advice–

Vicky:Do you know what–

Joe:  It would a come out well.

Vicky: It was traditionally published as well. That’s what shocked me. So, traditional publishing is not immune from this stuff.

Joe:  It was garbage.

Vicky: Aw, I was, it was–

Joe:  It just felt like a crap book didn’t it?

Vicky: Yeah, it’s not often that I put a book down halfway through, I stop reading it. But I did. I think, did I leave it in the airport, did I bring it home as an example to all bad books everywhere? Anyway, so yes, pay attention to the details. Final commandment Joe.

Joe: Take criticism with grace and gratitude. And use it to become better.

Vicky: Yes. And when I say take criticism with grace and gratitude I don’t mean that you have to stand there and take crap from people who are being mean to you. Because you absolutely don’t. What I am talking about is, ask for feedback, constructive feedback and then receive it in the spirit in which it’s given. Which is usually that people want to help you. And listen. You know, do they have a point? If they do, how can you use it to become better? My book is far better for the amazing constructive criticism that I’ve had from my beta readers.

Joe:  Hello beautiful beta readers.

Vicky:Hello beautiful beta readers. So, I’m extremely grateful for that. And the book that you can pre-order soon. You can pre-order it now actually. The book that you can pre-order as of now is a better book for the criticism. So, take it in the spirit that it’s intended and not as a personal attack. You are not your book.

Joe:  No.

Vicky: Any criticism leveled at your book is not criticism leveled at you. And that’s really really important to remember. It’s important to remember throughout your business as well. If somebody is cross with something to do with your business or a product or a service or they’ve got a complaint it is not a reflection of how they feel about you personally.

Joe:  Sure.

Vicky:It just feels like it.

Joe:  Yeah.

Vicky: So you have to kind of remember that, so.

Joe:  All right.

Vicky: That’s the 10 Commandments of Writing a Book.

Joe:  28 1/2 minutes in.

Vicky: Yeah.

Joe:  Let’s get outta here.

Vicky: So yeah. So, what’s going on in Superheroes land is that you can pre-order my book from–

Joe:  Enough already.

Vicky: No, I’m really excited about it. You can pre-order it from www.moxiebooks.co.uk/preorderthebook  , /preorderthebook.

Joe: Cool.

Vicky: Think it’s in the show notes. And I am really excited about it. I am incredibly proud of this book. I’m hoping it’s gonna be with you in your hands by the end of September, it may be early October. But you can pre-order it now and there will be goodies. There will be goodies for people who pre-order it now.

Joe:  What?

Vicky: I know. Goodies, goodies before the book arrives and goodies after the book arrives. In fact, the first, everybody who pre-orders it and only the people who pre-order it will get a signed copy.

Joe: You’re never gonna sign another copy.

Vicky: Actually that’s probably not true. I probably will sign another copy. But it will be numbered, a numbered, limited special edition and a personalized note to you.

Joe:  Nice.

Vicky: So, when you order it you can drop me an email and tell me why you want to write a book, why you want to read this book. And I will write you a little personalized note in the book and send it to you. 

Joe:  Then when you’re famous it’ll be–

Vicky: Worth at least 40 pounds.

Joe: Nice.

Vicky: So yeah thank you so much as always for listening. Really appreciate it. If you enjoyed this podcast please go and review us on iTunes.

Joe:  Five stars.

Vicky:Rate us five stars. And share it, share it around.

Joe:  Yep, tell your friends.

Vicky: Yeah and next week we will be, I have no idea what we’re gonna be talking about. It’s a big surprise.

Joe:  To all of us.

Vicky: To all of us, yes. I should interview somebody. So, I am interviewing somebody soon. I’m very excited. It’s gonna be our third attempt at having an interview because the first time we had a chicken emergency. The second time we had a power cut. So, I don’t know what’s gonna happen for the third time. So, yeah that’s gonna be exciting.

Joe:  Cool.

Vicky: And we’ll be back same time next week.

Joe:  All right.

Vicky:  Bye.

Joe: Bye.

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If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.

About Vicky…

Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she’s not doing that, she’s hanging from a trapeze by her feet.