This week, I look too awful for a video and Joe’s eye is threatening to ooze over the entire world. We are too proud to show their faces, which is somewhat ironic when you consider that this episode is all about the second deadly sin of writing a book: pride. Tune in and find out all about the difference between good pride and bad pride, and how bad pride will scupper you and your book. You have been warned. Also, tune in for a word from Executive Producer Noodle Doodle.
- [3:05] Vicky won in the comedy category for a pole dancing competition!
- [8:15] Let’s talk about pride.
- [9:55] There are two types of pride, the good kind and the bad kind.
- [11:55] How does pride get in the way of telling the truth?
- [14:00] It’s exhausting trying to be somebody you’re not.
- [18:15] Don’t be afraid to talk about the mistakes you’ve made in the past. It will help other people.
- [21:55] Human beings don’t really understand abstracts very well. You need to be clear in what you need/want from others.
- [26:10] Beware of confusing your truth with THE truth.
- [27:35] Is self-publishing less respectable than traditional publishing?
- [30:40] Next week’s sin will be about sloth!
Mentioned in This Episode:
Want to know more? I’ve written a book, you know. You can get your mitts on it here.
Want to read the transcript? See below…
1,000 Authors Podcast Transcription: Episode Two Hundred And Four: Stay Humble, Knobs To That
*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 1000 Authors show. I’m Vicky Fraser and this is my husband, Joe.
Vicky: Hello, and today we’re joined by our executive producer, Noodle Doodle.
Joe: Who is sitting on Vicky’s knees, being a bit of a cuddle.
Vicky: Yeah, if we see if we can get him to purr into the microphone. Noodle? That was Noodle saying hello. Right, this is Episode 204.
Vicky: And the second in the Seven Deadly Sins of Writing Your Book series.
Joe: Okay, so what’s going on? Hang on, hang on.
Vicky: Well, what we’re drinking, we’re drinking pink bubbles.
Joe: Are we gonna tell the story of the pink bubbles?
Vicky: Yes, cheers, but first we’re gonna say cheers.
Vicky: Oh, I’ve just spilled pink bubbles on the producer. And on my keyboard.
Joe: Oh dear.
Vicky: So we’ve got pink bubbles, because last week, what day was it?
Vicky: Yeah, Wednesday? Wednesday, it was Wednesday.
Joe: Was it Wednesday?
Vicky: ‘Cause I was in a panic about not being able to rehearse. ‘Cause that’s why we went to the studio. So Wednesday, there was a lot of barking in the village, and everyone was like, “Oh my god, what’s going on?” Turned out that our lovely neighbors had their sister’s dog with them for the day, and then they’d all gone out. And normally their dogs are fine and they stay, and they’ve got a little shed in the back garden that’s really cozy and they’ve got a little run. And this dog, Mia, had basically kicked down the gates, literally kicked out one of the slats of the gate. And then had started chewing a hole underneath their fence. And she was really not happy. So I’m–
Joe: And barking a lot.
Vicky: Barking a lot. So a bunch of us got together, and like, “What’s going on?” And we messaged the neighbor and she said, “Oh my god, “we’re not going to be back till late. “Could you please?” ‘Cause they were quite a long way away. “Could you please look after her?” And I was like, “Oh, I can do but I’m gonna “have to take it to the poles studio with me, in Hereford.” And she was like, “Oh, that’s fine.” So me and Mia went for a walk and then she came and sat in my office with me, and put muddy footprints everywhere, ’cause she was soaking. And she looked like a walking mop.
Joe: She was super wet when I saw her.
Vicky: And then I took her to Hereford, to the pole studio, where she made lots of new friends and learned all about pole dancing, and it was great. And so then I brought her home and looked after for a bit until they got back, and it was a little thank you for being a good neighbor. They brought us a little bottle of bubbles, which I am going to drink probably half a glass off, and then you can finish it.
Vicky: So that’s the story of my random act of kindness last week.
Vicky: Yeah. And she came and got to watch me do my run through for my competition.
Joe: How did the competition go?
Vicky: I won!
Vicky: So I was in Pole Theatre UK, in the comedy category, the instructors comedy category. It’s a really prestigious competition. And it’s really difficult to get into. And I have dreamed of entering it for years. And so I was really delighted even just to get through, let alone to perform. And then we went on Saturday, and there was about 14 of us are all together. ‘Cause I was performing with Dan and Janet as my assistants.
Joe: 14 of your lot.
Vicky: Yeah, and then Anna was performing with Dan as her assistant. And she did amazingly. She didn’t win, but she did amazingly. She moved people to tears. And then there was the Pure Demons. And that was a group of 11 of them, all on stage at the same time doing this incredible performance that I can’t really describe, because it’s not really very family friendly. But it was absolutely incredible, and everybody loved it. Again, they didn’t win their category, but they were incredible. I think they were the crowd favorite for their category. And it was just fantastic. And yeah, I won my category and I’m really proud and delighted. And yeah, just yeah, it was awesome.
Joe: Good work.
Vicky: And now I’m exhausted.
Joe: Yeah, it was a long day, wasn’t it?
Vicky: It was, I was up at 5 am, drove for three hours, spent all day, ’cause the briefing was at half 10. I was on at half past seven in the evening. The Pure Demons are on at half past 10, in the end it was, and they were the last ones on, and then it was prize giving. And then I drove home for three hours. Luckily I had Dan and Ruth with me, which was fantastic.
Joe: Hello Dan, Hello Ruth.
Vicky: Hi guys, Hi Ruth. Ruth is, this is Ruth!
Joe: You’re listening!
Vicky: And Ruth was just the most delightful car companion. So thank you so much. I love Ruth so much.
Joe: And thank you for keeping her awake on the way home.
Vicky: Yes, so yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing all weekend. It’s been brill.
Joe: Nice, but now you’re knackered.
Vicky: Now I’m knackered, which is why there is no video for this week’s podcast, ’cause I look like shit.
Joe: You don’t.
Vicky: And you’ve got a sty.
Joe: I know, I got somebody filthy elbow to the face, last Tuesday, and over a few days it kind of felt like a bit of a black eye and wasn’t that much of a problem.
Vicky: And then it just blew up like a balloon
Joe: And then my eyelid has blown up like a balloon, and it’s just generally gross.
Vicky: It’s not gross, it looks sore.
Joe: It’s horrible, it has been sore, it’s not sore anymore. I’m hoping this is the signs that it’s all going away now.
Vicky: Good, good. So let’s get to the podcast, shall we?
Joe: Podcast, what are we doing? Seven Deadly Sins of Writing a Book.
Vicky: Yes, but first we do, what are we reading? What are you reading Joe?
Joe: Oh god, we all know the answer to this. I’m reading still, The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan, book number 53. It’s, yeah, I kind of feel like I’ve committed so much to it that I’m suffering from–
Vicky: Sunk cost fallacy.
Joe: Sunk cost fallacy. But they’re gonna make a TV series out of it. And I’m going to be ahead of the curve. I’m gonna wait for that. I am reading The Long Walk, by Richard Bachman, which is part of the Bachman book, book, big book, which Ruth has lent me. Thank you, Ruth, and I am loving it. So the first one was Rage. I have a feeling, that was a really interesting book. I wouldn’t say that, I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed every minute of it. ‘Cause it was one of those that’s really good, but it’s not really an easy read. And The Long Walk, I’m really enjoying, I’m not very far into it. I think either this or the next one was what the Running Man is based on.
Vicky: Oh, the Arnie film.
Joe: Yeah, the Arnie film.
Vicky: Yeah, we should watch that, in our Arnie series coming up.
Joe: Yeah, I’ve seen it a long time ago. So yeah, I’m reading that, and I’m really enjoying. I’m really enjoying reading, ’cause I’ve never read any Richard Bachman books. Richard Bachman being Stephen King, by another name. So what’s the thematic difference between Stephen King writing a Stephen King, and Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman?
Vicky: I think Stephen King is horror, and I think Richard Bachman was kind of straight fiction. Because Rage was not horror, it was disturbing and interesting, but it wasn’t horror. It was more psychological. And The Long Walk, so far, hasn’t been horror either. It’s like a dystopian future type, not even dystopian future, it’s like a dystopian alternate present, but it’s not horror, so far. I don’t know what’s gonna happen. And my nonfiction book, I am almost finished Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. And I’m really gutted that I’ve almost finished it because it is just, it made me laugh out loud on the train so many times, it is a book on writing and on life, instructions on writing and life. And she just writes beautifully. She writes in such a way that I read it, and I’m like, “Oh, yeah.” So she writes about envy in a way that just blew my mind and just delighted me, because she was talking about how, when you see somebody do really well, that you like, you’ll be like, “Huh.” and “Hmm, I know, I should be happy for them. “But actually, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad “if something small and unpleasant happened to them “such as their head exploded.” And it’s just really, really funny because she just verbalizes the unworthy thoughts that pop into your head at times like that, and it’s just, but she just she’s really charming with it. She’s just not afraid to speak truth, and I love that.
Joe: Okay, cool.
Vicky: And truth is a bit of a theme for this podcast and probably for a lot of the upcoming podcast as well. Yeah, so yeah this this podcast episode is Seven Deadly Sins number two, Pride.
Joe: It is pride.
Vicky: Pride, well it’s number two in my list. Probably, it’s not number two probably in the Bible. Do they list them out in the Bible?
Joe: There is an order in the Bible, because clearly they were etched onto the stones in a particular order by god, on the mountain.
Vicky: Not by–
Joe: When Moses was up there
Vicky: People who had, that’s the 10 Commandments.
Joe: Oh, no, you’re right. When did the seven deadly sins come from?
Vicky: Your like, you spent all of your formative years as a Catholic. How did you? Are you messing with me?
Joe: No, I’m not. Where did the Seven Deadly Sins come from? Who invented those?
Vicky: I don’t know
Joe: If you know who invented the Seven Deadly Sins, and how they came about, and which tablets they were carved onto, on which Mountain, do let us know.
Vicky: But I really, I like the seven deadly sins because I think they are, I understand why. I understand why they were put down as seven deadly sins. And it’s really funny, ’cause as I was researching this, and as I was thinking, how can I shoehorn pride into a seven deadly sin of writing a book? I was thinking, oh yeah, the whole pride comes before fall. And that’s one of those little wisdom nuggets that I hate, because I think it’s one of those sayings that tries to keep people small. And tries to keep people overly humble
Joe: Keep people in their place.
Vicky: Keep people in their place, yeah. And what it should be is, arrogance comes before fall. Because there’s definitely a difference between pride and arrogance. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pride. If you’re good at what you do, and you care about what you do. There is nothing at all wrong with being proud of it.
Vicky: So there’s two types of pride, I think. There’s the good kind and the bad kind. And the good kind is what I’m talking about now, which is, you don’t have to feel guilty about feeling proud of what you do, and about shouting about it as well. If you really are sure that what you’re doing is worth doing, and that you’re really good at it. Go and shout about it from the hilltops, because other people aren’t going to do it for you probably, certainly not at the beginning of your career anyway, because nobody will know who you are yet. So you’ve got to do it yourself. And there are some people in your life who might try and tell you you’re arrogant, or that you have too high an opinion of yourself.
Joe: And that pride comes before a fall.
Vicky: Yeah, and I’ve had those people in my life, and they’re shit-heads. They’re not in my life anymore. I mean, you can take a good look at yourself in the mirror and just check whether or not they’re right. But I don’t think most of the time I don’t think they will be. Sorry our executive producer is looking at himself in the window now.
Joe: Thinking about leaving?
Vicky: Yeah, don’t know how he’s gonna do that. We’ll wait till he starts wailing. Okay, so the second type of pride, that type of pride is fine, and good. And you should cultivate it and use it.
Joe: Genuinely useful, happy, positive pride in the things that you do, is not a bad thing.
Vicky: Yeah, but try and avoid using the phrase, I pride myself on. Because for reasons that I can’t quite put my finger on, it gives me the absolute rage and makes me want to punch things.
Joe: And for that reason, everybody should not use it, just because it upsets you?
Joe: I think you might have to find more reasons for people not to use that phrase, other than it upsets you and makes you grind your teeth.
Vicky: Well, no, I’m comfortable with, I’m comfortable with that. I’m not claiming to always be reasonable, Joe. Um, but yeah, if you want me to, if you wanna make me grind my teeth then use that phrase at me, weaponize it. Anyway, the second type of pride is not at all helpful if you want to write a good book. The second type of pride gets in the way of telling the truth. And if you’re not telling the truth, there is no point.
Joe: How does pride get in the way of telling the truth?
Vicky: Good question, Joe. Joe’s laughing because he managed to read out the bit of script that I just wrote.
Joe: Without you pointing at it and gurning or anything
Vicky: I know, and then you ruined it by laughing.
Joe: It’s because we’re like professionals.
Vicky: Oh, whatever. Okay, so if you’re writing a book for your business, it’s probably going to be all about how to help people in one way or another. Even if it’s like a business memoir, you’re probably going to want some, you’re probably gonna want your readers to get something valuable out of it.
Joe: Nuggets of wisdom, and pitfalls to miss.
Vicky: Or just, other people have been in the same boat as you.
Vicky: You’re not alone. And so there are lots of reasons that you might want to write a book for your business. Maybe how to solve a problem, achieve a goal, stay sane, be fulfilled, lots and lots of reasons. But generally, I think it’s to help people. And to do that you’re going to have to tell stories about yourself. Those stories aren’t necessarily always going to paint you in the best light.
Joe: No, you might want to be telling people about the mistakes you’ve made,
Vicky: You might want to be telling people about the time that you’ve got a load of client books printed with a spelling mistake on the spine.
Vicky: I know.
Joe: Who’d do that kind of thing?
Vicky: I know, can’t imagine. In other words, you want to tell stories about your failures and failings as well as your successes and your wins. And it’s really, really important to do that because otherwise you’re a one dimensional Disney cartoon.
Joe: Yes, you’re a surface shallow, successful fakery.
Vicky: That nobody will really believe because nobody really believes that anybody is perfect, even though we do tend to hero worship people who put those perfect personas out there. And you might be thinking, well, if those people put those perfect personas out there and they’re successful, then isn’t that a good strategy? You know what, that’s fine. If you want to be that sort of person. I am not gonna sit here and tell you not to do that.
Joe: But that is not your way.
Vicky: But that is not my way. And I don’t think really, if people are honest, that’s their way. I don’t think most people listening to this podcast, I don’t think most people really want to portray themselves as something they’re not. And another thing, I think it’s exhausting. I think it’s exhausting to try and be somebody that you’re not. And I suspect that if you, I’m thinking specifically of Instagram here, because that’s a particular place where you can paint a really perfect picture of who you are. And I think the people, and I’ve actually read articles and things about people who have done that. I think it’s exhausting for people to try and keep that up.
Joe: It must be stressful to be totally filtering and trying to view your own output through the eyes of other people, and to tailor it in such a way that they only see the good. It’s just more stressful than it needs to be in it.
Vicky: And I am painfully aware of the irony that we are recording this podcast without any video because I think I look like shit. But there are degrees of shitness to which I will expose to the public, and this is below my threshold. You know, there’s podcast out there where I haven’t got any makeup on and my hair’s a bit of a mess, I’ve had to wear a whole hat, and that’s fine. But I’m here in my, I’ve got big bags under my eyes ’cause I’m really super tired and I’m wearing my dressing gown. So, no, I’m aware of the irony and you can stick the irony up your bum. Okay, anyway, back to being a real person. It’s when you’re telling stories, it’s really tempting to gloss over the dirty details and tell stories in such a way that makes us look better than we are.
Joe: Make yourself look brilliant, and clever, and witty.
Vicky:Yeah, and you might be all of those things. But there are times when you’re not those things. And it’s okay to own that. And another way that I’ve seen people do this is that they seem to start off telling a story about their failures, but actually it becomes about other people’s failures. Does that make sense? So you kind of get the blame-thrower out, of this, like, “Oh, this is that time I screwed up, “but actually it was his fault.”
Vicky: And even if that’s true, that kind of storytelling can make you look like you’ve got the blame-thrower out.
Joe: Yeah, or maybe another example of that is when people kind of admit their failings, like people doing interviews where they, “Oh, so what’s your biggest failing?” And they kind of go, “Oh, well, actually, “sometimes I get over invested. “And I just can’t finish work until I’ve done everything.” And it’s just, it’s like, It’s not really a failing is it? And you’re just trying–
Vicky: Well actually it is a failing, but they’re trying to paint it as a virtue, disguised as a failure.
Joe: Yeah, you’re gaming the question really, and it’s so patently obvious is ridiculous.
Vicky: I’m talking about. I’m talking about the times when you have screwed up. And you know, you’ve screwed up, just own it. ‘Cause we all screw up, and it’s really useful. So from all of the mistakes that I’ve made over the years, I have compiled a checklist that I give to my clients, and I do not let them send their book to print, or if it’s me doing that, it doesn’t go to print until they have ticked everything off, signed it and sent it back to me.
Joe: Sure, so in order to cover a failing, or multiple failings in the past or whatever, those, you’ve systemized it.
Vicky: And every time I fuck up, I add a new checkbox to that list, because you don’t always think of stuff until it happens. And that’s the thing, and that’s okay. You don’t always know. I didn’t find a print checklist, like the one that I’ve got. I couldn’t find one online anywhere, so I made my own. And that, by the way, is available as a free resource for people who bought my book. I make that available because it’s a really valuable thing. And there’s a bunch of stuff like, fonts. Have you got the consistent font throughout, because I’ve before noticed that one chapter has had a totally different typeface from the other. And A, I don’t know how that happened. It’s just like a quirk of technology. And B, it shouldn’t have gone to print like that. So that’s now one of the things that I check. That was in one of my books, not somebody else’s. And then there was a spelling mistake on the spine, because like–
Joe: That was a big one.
Vicky: That was a biggie, and four of us missed that. Four people missed that, so these things happen, and you don’t always notice them, especially because you see what you expect to see. And spines, book spines are not, I discovered that you don’t, when you’re the writer of the book, you don’t scrutinize them as carefully as you perhaps should.
Joe: So if somebody said, please proofread this book. The first thing you’re not going to do is check the spelling on the spine.
Vicky: Well until you send a book out with the wrong spelling on the spine, and then it’s the first thing you check. But that’s kind of my point. So yeah, if you’ve screwed up, or if you’ve wronged someone, own it. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend talking about a mistake that you made like yesterday, in the present tense. You can save that story up for a couple of years time. But talk about the mistakes you’ve made in the past because they will help other people. If you’ve made those mistakes, and you’ve now got a way to not make those mistakes. You’re gonna help people not make those mistakes as well.
Joe: Yeah, and it’s prideful, isn’t it? To try and hide anything that’s not great about yourself. That’s kind of the point, and it’s unnecessary.
Vicky: People want the truth of you.
Joe: Yes, it’s un-genuine, disingenuous ,
Vicky: People really do want the truth of you, they are not going to be put off by hearing about some of your mistakes and failings. Quite the opposite. They don’t want the some glossed over airbrushed version of yourself. They want the real you. Nobody really believes in that stuff anyway. So that is by far the most important, I think, point that I want you to take out, it’s okay to write about your failures, and not just okay, but absolutely crucial.
Joe: Yeah, the best relationships are honest aren’t they?
Vicky: Yeah, totally. But the best reactions that I get from people are the stories where I’m totally honest, either about some way that I’m feeling that’s maybe really difficult or awful, or something that’s delighted me, like properly delighted me, and had me jumping around, like winning the competition. Or where I’ve really screwed up and made a mistake, and I’m like, “You know what, I really screwed this up. “And I’m really sorry.”
Joe: We’re going to do what we can to fix it.
Vicky: Yeah, exactly. And people will forgive mistakes. They won’t forgive bad reaction, they won’t forgive you trying to cover up mistakes. It’s not the mistake. It’s how you go about trying to fix it that is important. So other ways that pride can get in the way of a great book, related to what we’ve just said, is trying to make yourself look clever. And this comes from not having enough confidence in your abilities. So this is why it’s important to be proud of what you can do and who you are. Because if you are confident enough to teach something, or to tell something, you can do it without using big fluffy overblown words. And that’s one that that’s, I think, is one of the consequences of the bad type of pride. So we don’t believe our, we don’t believe that we’re good enough, or smart enough, or enough to do what we’re doing, to write the book that we’re doing. If you’re the expert, you don’t need to puff yourself up to seem more clever than you are. ‘Cause you’re already clever enough. And so whenever I see kind of fancy and overgrown, overgrown?
Joe: Overgrown writing?
Vicky: Well, overgrown and overblown. Really tall bushy words, that get in the way of the message. Actually that’s a pretty good metaphor. So I know that the writer is struggling with their confidence if I see that. Even if that’s struggling unconsciously, they might not realize that they are. But that’s how it manifests itself. And you see this a lot in corporate bullshit speak. Like anyone who talks about opening the kimono should be actually thrown out of a window. Unless they’re being ironic about it. Disclaimer, I did not mean that literally, maybe like a ground floor window. But yeah, words like utilize. Utilize has a very specific meaning that most people get entirely wrong. Just use the word “use”, utilize the word “use”. Facilitate is another one.
Joe: Facilitate is another one.
Vicky: Fucking hate that word.
Joe: Yes, I have… Hi, Sam, banned my HR department from using the word support in my presence.
Vicky: Ah, Solutions. Carry on.
Joe: Why support? Well, because everybody in my department is an engineer. So they are like, reasonably bright people who live with problems, sort them out, and get on with their day. And whenever somebody says, “Oh, we can support you.” They all just go,” What do you mean? “What are you actually going to do? “What does that involve? “Use your words to explain what you mean.” And the word support is just vague. It’s like, “Oh, well, you know, we mean well, “and we’ll sort of, you know, be helpful if we can ish, “but you know, we’ve got no idea “how that might actually manifest itself.”
Vicky: And you know what it sounds like an empty promise.
Joe: It’s rubbish. It’s like, “You know what? “I will agenda all of these meetings, “and I will run the meeting for you.” Or, “I will look after this when you are not here.” Or, “I will update this every morning.”, or whatever. But don’t use the word support.
Vicky: This is a really, really good point actually for writing that Joe has just made, because human beings find it really difficult to think in abstract, we don’t understand abstract right?
Joe: Engineers do not understand abstract.
Vicky: People don’t understand abstracts. So you can abstract, you can just think back to a lot of school for me. People throw abstract facts at you, dates, and names, and blah, and this happened, and that happened. But they don’t give it any human context, there are no specifics. And that’s a real problem. And it’s why, and we’ve talked about this before, I’m just gonna mention it a little bit now. That’s why we glaze over and switch off when we hear stories about a million people dying in a famine. On a detached level, you can think that’s horrific. But you switch off and you move on, because the numbers are too big. You can’t get your head around that number of people dying. But when you hear about one specific person and their family.
Joe: Stories of this family here.
Vicky: Yeah, and it’s like, okay. And people might say, well, but you can’t just focus on one family. You have to focus on one family because that one family becomes the representation of all of those million people who have just died. And it’s really, really important to do. So that’s why when you get letters from charities, they will talk about, Simba the elephant, or, I was about to mangle an African name, I feel really bad about it. But you know, an African child who is now an orphan because the whole family has died. The reason they do that is because we try and care about the big abstract numbers, but we can’t do it, it’s too big, it’s too much. So when they give us an individual to think about, that’s when it becomes real. And it’s exactly the same in your writing. And that is exactly the problem with words like utilize, and facilitate, and that kind of windy language that people use when they want to cover up the fact that they don’t feel confident talking about what they’re doing. Use really simple words, simple language to get your message across.
Joe: Mm, tell us what you mean.
Vicky: Tell us what you mean. And make it vivid, make it specific. Talk about your feelings, and their feelings, and everyone. It’s not like a, sit on therapist couch and talk about your feelings, but you have to make it real for people, ’cause otherwise they just glaze over. And that’s a real problem. And the other thing is about this using overblown language to make yourself sound smarter. There’s actually research out there and I couldn’t find it ’cause I was on the train when I outlined this podcast. I will try to find it. But researcher shows it actually has the opposite effect and it makes people think you’re dumber if you use language like that, because they can’t understand what you’re saying. They can’t understand the message that you’re setting out.
Joe: The smartest people can communicate clearly.
Joe: Absolutely, they can use simple words and tell you what they mean.
Vicky: And that’s the way it should be. They don’t feel the need to dress things up. They don’t have a point to prove.
Joe: They’re not trying to impress you. They’re trying to convey information.
Vicky: Yes, oh, there you go, that’s perfect. They’re not trying to, no, they are trying to come over. They’re not trying to impress you. Impressing people is not the point of this. And that’s, I think, a really, really, ah, see that, I need you to help me plan these, because that’s the whole crux of this podcast episode, and the whole pride being one of the seven deadly sins. This is not about impressing people. It’s about helping people and putting your message, getting a message out into the world that you feel needs to be out there.
Joe: I’ve got the words.
Vicky: You do have the words. I’m well impressed.
Vicky: Yeah. And finally, I think, I feel like we should end on that. But there are two more points I’ve got.
Joe: Oh, okay.
Vicky: So I’m not quite finally. What’s that word? Penultimately. Be wary of confusing your truth with the truth. So a lot of things are genuinely a matter of opinion. For example, I might love tomatoes and you might hate them. Neither of us are right, and both of us are right.
Vicky: It’s an opinion.
Joe: It is an opinion
Vicky: Tomatoes are neither good nor bad, they are, just they are.
Joe: You have a preference.
Vicky: Yeah, but if you’re quoting your opinion as fact, then beware. So your opinion might be that the world is flat. You are wrong about that. Your opinion might be that the moon landings never happened. You are wrong about that. And your opinion might be that, chocolate is an octave of sunshine. Actually, I don’t know you might not be, that’s just so batshit crazy, I can’t even go there. But if you are putting something out there as fact, you need to go check it first before you write it in your book, ’cause once it is in your book in print, it’s there forever. And you’re gonna look kind of stupid if you’re–
Joe: It turns out the moon landings were fake.
Vicky: Well, you know what, if someone can prove that the moon landings were faked, then I will eat my words.
Joe: Yes, if somebody proves the moon landings were faked, then I will eat the fake moon.
Vicky: Do you think it’s made of cheese?
Vicky: Okay, and finally, finally, finally.
Joe: Actually, finally?
Vicky: Actually, finally. The last version of the bad kind of pride is that self publishing is somehow less than traditional publishing. If you’re holding out for traditional publishing because you think that self publishing is not good enough for you, then I don’t really know what to say to that, other than, that is a level of snobbery that is going to prevent people from learning from you. Because the chances of you getting published traditionally, and then doing really well out of it are really small. They’re really small. And we’ll do a whole podcast episode on traditional versus self publishing, at some point. Probably do a series, ’cause it’s quite a big topic. And you know what? If Penguin Random House approached me and said, “Write me a book.” I’d be like, Fuck, yes, absolutely, I’m going to do that.” And if they do the same for you, then you might want to jump on it as well. And that’s amazing. But don’t be under any illusions as to whether or not it’s gonna actually do you and your business any good. Because when you sign up for a traditional publishing contract, you actually sign everything away.
Joe: Yeah, might pay the mortgage for a couple months,
Vicky: It might do, it probably won’t thought, because the average advance is like five or six grand.
Joe: That’s a couple of months mortgage isn’t it?
Vicky: It’s not gonna buy you a yacht though, it is?
Joe: Not gonna buy you a yacht.
Vicky: And then once they’ve done their thing with your book, that’s it, they’ll move on to the next one. Because they’re businesses, and they have to keep it moving. So if you want to go for traditional publishing then you go for it, but don’t let your pride get in the way of getting your book out there to many, many more people with self publishing, which is possible, then it would be with traditional publishing. So, what’s her name, E M whatever, the woman who wrote 50 Shades of Grey, I think she self published originally. The guy who wrote Wool, Hugh Howe he self published originally. The Martian was self published originally because nobody would take those manuscripts. Those books, the Martian is now a massive, it’s one of my favorite films, is a massive film. Those books would never have seen the light of day if we didn’t have access to self publishing. So don’t ever think, don’t ever let your pride get in the way of self publishing a book. Because the publishing industry doesn’t always get it right. They’ve got a lot of stuff sent to them and they couldn’t, with the best will in the world, they couldn’t possibly make the right choice all the time. And the guy who published The Martian, he knew he had a good thing. He got rejected a lot, and he was like, “You know what, screw this, I’m going to self publish it.” And it did amazingly well as it should have done. And I think then it got picked up by traditional publishers. ‘Cause they were like, “Oh, shit, missed that one.” So yeah, don’t let your pride get in the way of self publishing a book, just because you think it should be good enough for traditional publishing. And don’t let anyone else make you feel bad for self publishing, because I’ve seen the looks that people give me when they’re like, “Oh, you’ve got a book and blah, blah, blah, and it’s self published, and they’re like, “Oh right.” And I’m like, “Well, screw you. “You obviously don’t understand what’s what.” Just the very fact of writing a book makes you an awesome person, because most people are never going to do it. Right. what’s the takeaway, Joe?
Joe: Don’t let pride get in the way of telling your truth?
Vicky: Yes. Yes, don’t let your pride get in the way of getting your message out there and helping more people.
Joe: Spreading your message.
Vicky: Yeah. Right then. Next week, we’ll be talking about seven deadly sin number three,
Vicky: Sloth. How do you pronounce it?
Vicky: Sloth? Laziness.
Vicky: Yeah. So we’ll be talking about that. I am, at the moment, what’s going on in my world, I am at the moment failing to write. That’s What She Said,
Joe: But you’ve had some lovely interviews.
Vicky: I’ve had some fantastic interviews.
Joe: Lots of researching backgroundy stuff,
Vicky: Which has made me think differently about what I want to do with the book. And I’m talking to my editor on Wednesday, I think.
Joe: Day after tomorrow.
Vicky: Yeah, I’m a little bit frightened about that. ‘Cause I’m hoping that she’s not expecting me to have a big chunk of it written yet, because that’s not how I work. What I do is I procrastinate for a long time and then write a lot, in a panic, in a week. So yeah, that’s gonna happen. I’ll report back next week about how that went.
Joe: Maybe she’s listening, hello.
Vicky: Hi, Emily and Victoria. I think Victoria’s listening. Victoria, I am actually working on the book. I’m doing loads of really cool interviews of people, and I am scribbling notes about what I want to do with it, because the interviews that I’m doing are giving me some really cool insights and ideas. So it’s very cool. So I’m being a little bit flippant, but also not. If you’ve listened to every episode of this podcast, you lunatic, send me your postal address, and I will send you a little silly gift to say thank you. And if you like this podcast, go and subscribe on iTunes. And leave us a review.
Joe: Five stars.
Vicky: And you can also subscribe or review us on other platforms as well. And you can share it, send people to moxiebooks.co.uk/podcast And if you haven’t bought a copy of my book already, go and buy it. It’s How the Hell Do You Write a Book? You can get it from Amazon or you can get it from my website.
Vicky: Yeah. Thanks, Joe. Thank you Noodle. He’s asleep. And we’ll be back same time next week.
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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.
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.