Chris Ducker’s Virtual Freedom and free advice

Chris Ducker is a busy man. Many things on the go, and always looking to squeeze more out of them all. And he also has a lot to say. (When we interviewed him recently for our top-rating podcast, So you want to be a writer, he sent the run-time of the episode 10-15 minutes longer than usual!)

In 2014, he released his non-fiction book, Virtual Freedom, and devoted this year to promoting and marketing it. As a result, he’s found a lot of success, and believes the lessons can be applied to all areas of writing and business.

Here are FIVE gems from the interview. To listen to the entire thing, or to read the transcript, go here.

  1. Blogs are good
    “I think blogging is incredibly important. I went into the writing process as a blogger. I was a blogger first and an author second. I think if you’re writing a book, writing a blog post is a million times easier. When I accepted that book offer I genuinely thought, ‘You know what? I can get like 60-70 blog posts, stick them all together — boom, there’s my book.' How wrong was I? How ridiculously insane was I to think that? It was way harder. The writing process was way harder for me than I thought it was going to be. Once I got into my groove and I started knocking out a couple of thousand words a day it didn’t take me very long to complete the first draft of the manuscript. It was tough at first.”
  1. Hire an editor BEFORE sending to your publisher…
    “As good as that first manuscript was, I knew that if I had somebody else’s eyeballs on it that I could get more out of myself by their feedback before I got it to the publishers… I hired the guy, it cost me $3,000 and he came back with 312 comments on my Word document, almost all of them were developmental comments, hardly any grammar or spelling or punctuation, Word does all of that stuff for you. I spent about another two weeks reediting, rewriting, dumping certain parts, putting ideas together… Then I sent it to the publishers and the publishers came back to me and they said, ‘Your manuscript is so strong already, we’re just going to straight to line edits. We don’t feel like we need to do any developmental edits with you.' So the $3,000, for me, was money well-spent, because now I’ve impressed my publisher as well, which is saving them money, which means we can get the book out quicker, and so on.”
  1. Aim high
    “The highest rank we got [for Virtual Freedom] on the whole of Amazon, millions of books, the highest rank we got was 113 out of all of them. I was so gutted…  I was genuinely gutted because I really wanted it at 100, I was just like, ‘Oh, please, somebody buy 1,000 copies.’ … I really wanted it at the top 100, because they say that amazing things happen when you hit the top 100 on Amazon. It was like, ‘OK, let’s shoot for that.’ So that was the highest we got, 113, which I’m not baulking at, don’t get me wrong, but I was a little gutted at the time.”
  1. Traditional vs self-publishing
    “I think as a first time author I really wanted to go down that traditional route because I don’t know, maybe it was an ego thing, maybe it was just a goal that I wanted to achieve, whatever. I don’t know. Now I’ve done it and I know plenty of people that have gone the self-publishing route and they’re killing it…I was the one that drove all of those sales. The entrepreneur inside of me screams out when I realise what I could be making if I self-published it rather than traditionally published it. There are pros and cons, the distribution is tougher with a self-published book, but you can still get it if you’ve got a good enough platform… They’re making so much money. Just call me old-fashioned, but I like making money. Do you know what I mean?”
  1. Speaking connects you with your readers
    “It’s not an ego thing. I know a lot of people say, ‘Oh, he likes to be up on stage because he likes all of the attention.' A lot of speakers are like that. I know a lot of speakers and they are all ego whores, they really are. Particularly this year, since the book has come out, I’ve been able to experience when I meet people who have read the book and I talk with them and they tell me how the book has impacted their lives, that for me is the buzz that I get. A guy came up to me in New York and said, ‘…I just want to say your book saved my marriage.' I said, ‘What?' He said, ‘Yeah, I was doing 15 hours a day, six days a week, my wife was that close to leaving me and we hired a VA in the Philippines and she’s doing great and now I’m back to 40 hours a week and I spending more time with my wife. We have a date night every week now and she loves it. You saved my marriage!'”

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To listen to the whole interview, or to read the transcript, go here.

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