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Author Sacha Black on How to Write Multi-Dimensional Villains - The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 29

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On this episode of the ROI Online Podcast, author Sacha Black shares the key elements of a good villain and how authors can transform their villains from bland to bold.

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Sacha began as an indie fiction author. She has a natural ability to craft realistic, deep characters: including villains. One night, she found herself ranting on her blog about how terrible many villains are in modern movies, TV shows, and books. She knew something needed to change. What she didn’t realize was that she would lead that change herself.


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After wrestling with the idea of writing nonfiction, Sacha finally decided she needed to take the leap. She wrote her first nonfiction book, 10 Steps to Evil: How to Craft a Super Bad Villain, to help other authors create multi-dimensional villains people love to hate. 

One of the biggest difficulties Sacha faced while working on her nonfiction book was staying true to herself. As a self-declared rebel, she’s never been one to stay in line. But she felt the pressure to change her voice because of fear of criticism. In the end, she kept her writing genuine. Now, she feels good about her work and even laughs at the one-star review her book gets because it uses swear words.

While villains might seem like something you’ll only find in a fantasy story, Sacha believes nonfiction writers can also gain a lot from her book. We all face villains, even in our everyday life. Whether your villain is the bully down the street or the cancer you’ve been fighting for years, showing all the sides of your villain makes your story more relatable, realistic, and engaging. 

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Also available wherever else you get your podcasts.

Learn more about Sacha Black here:

sachablack.co.uk
Listen to the Rebel Author Podcast
Listen to the Next Level Author Podcast

Read Sacha’s books:
13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft a Super Bad Villain
10 Steps to Hero: How to Craft a Kickass Protagonist


Read the other books referenced in this podcast:
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

Get your copy Steve Brown’s book, The Golden Toilet. Also available on Audible for free when you sign up for a 30-Day Trial Membership!


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Topics: Marketing, Podcasts, Story

Sacha Black 0:03
I think it was a genuine rebellion to allow my real voice on the page, which has been a wonderful serendipitous happenstance because now it enables me to be completely free to write the way that I want to write with all of my nonfiction books going forward. But that doesn't make it easy. Because when you are your true self, you're going to get haters and I can assure you I get haters. I have had a one star reviews because I've sworn in my book, literally wonderful content chain about the swearing one star reallygoing to the nonfiction book for like perfectly conservative pros. Are you here for the knowledge like let's be real.

Steve Brown 0:54
Are you everybody? Welcome to the ROI online podcast where we believe you The courageous entrepreneurs of our day are the invisible heroes of our economy. You not only improve our world with your ideas, your grit and your passion, but you make our world better. I'm Steve Brown. And this is the place where we have great conversations with winners just like you while we laugh and learn together. Sasha, welcome to the ROI online podcast. And he very much for having me. Now, usually I like to like, here's all the cool things that this person's done, and why you need to listen to this episode. But in your case, I wanted to kind of go through those things a little bit at a time. But I think it's so fascinating that not only are you a business owner, but you're also an author, and not just an author of one book of many books. So listen Let's talk about the the books that I'm aware of first. Okay, so you got these great books. Now we love story on this podcast, and this is why you're here. Okay? You're a business owner who's transitioned into writing these books for a reason to grow a business. And many of the folks that are listening, that's in the back of their mind, some of them haven't given themselves the permission yet, but it's there. And so let's talk about you've got the 13 steps that which order Did you write these in, by the way Okay, so you've got the this talk about these three first here, the anatomy of pros 10 steps to hero and 13 steps to evil.

Sacha Black 2:47
Say the Fastback was 13 steps to evil how to craft a super bad villain. And yeah, the second book was 10 steps to hero how to craft a kick ass protagonist and my most recent book is the anatomy of prose 12 steps to sensational sentences. And I have to say that's a real test. I have not written enough books, but trying to remember all of the phonetic finicky details can be troublesome for my brain. But yeah. All right, so the 13 steps to evil how to craft a super bad villain. So what what I loved about what I started reading your book is the humor and the little sidebars and the things that make a book interesting and unexpected. Our brains desire to to an area that's familiar, but has to be a little bit unique or different. And that's what your writing does. Why do you write that way and where did you like get the Moxie to just start to own it. I think This is a really interesting question. And that I mean, there's a real difference between author voice and character voice. And those in in nonfiction in particular. So for your audience, I assume they will mostly be writing business or marketing or mindset, you know, industry specific books. They will be writing without author voice. And for me, I wanted to be me but like on steroids. So that is basically what I do, I try to condense the the most me elements of me onto the page. Now, the interesting thing is, a lot of people who know me in real life or who listened to my podcast or who watch webinars I do or whatever they say they actually hear me speaking when they're reading it. Now, the way that I do that is by as I've mentioned, I think about the things that are most me. So I my whole brand, my whole ethos, the whole thing that I put out into the world is based on three values or three principles. So they are in no particular order either being motivational, being knowledgeable, and being a little bit rebellious, okay? And I allow those three things to influence me and what I write right down at the sentence level. So for example, instead of writing and say the definition of ROI, as well, it's the return on your business investment that you have put in with the money that you have spent in blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I'd be allowing that rebellious You know, motivational, knowledgeable self to affect and influence the word choices that I'm making. So yes, I would still have the core definition of what ROI is and what it means. But I might be a bit sarcastic. I might throw in a Am I allowed to say naughty words on this podcast? Or is this a clean podcast?

Steve Brown 6:22
Yes, you can say naughty words. My mom's heard them before.

Sacha Black 6:27
One of my biggest listeners, so go for it. Okay, so I might throw in a deck jack or I might throw in a word or we might explain it in a cheeky way. What because the thing is, so many nonfiction books are super dry. And if you want people to learn and to truly solve the problem that you're trying to solve with your nonfiction book, being dry is not the way to do it. Boring. Boring. Exactly. So I tried to I I try to throw in humor and it might be a tangent it might be a whimsical story, and it might be a made up swear word I am known for making up swear words okay like fudge bang in Cali wobble it's completely nonsensical word but bucket, I threw it into my book, you know? So yeah, like I know my values I know my three principles and I always try to put those at the sentence level of my marketing copy my my books, my workbooks, whatever it is I'm doing I try to always have and you can't always do it. You know, some people have five principles or two principles. And sometimes you can only have one or two of them. But for the most part, I try to always have all three and if I embrace embody those even down at the sentence level, then You become the most you on the page. Yeah.

Steve Brown 8:04
So you're talking about vulnerability. Okay, so you started off writing, writing fiction. And at some point you, you started to self identify as I'm can start teaching people how to write better fiction. So now I'm going to do a nonfiction book on how to write better fiction books. But there's this point as a leader or as someone that's going to teach that you have to be comfortable being vulnerable. And then when you declare your values, that's one of the things that make you vulnerable, but what you're doing is setting, drawing a line and making people that go, I admire that. I want to get closer, I want to learn more. I want to buy into that and other people go, oh, and then they'll be repelled by that word. Where did you come cross the line where you said, Okay, I'm totally fine being vulnerable. Now, I can declare these and be more, more polarizing, not in a well and a rebellious way. But also, it's just if you study successful people that's in their business model. They all have a declaration of values. Where did you Where did you like, Okay, I'm gonna I'm gonna own that. What happened?

Sacha Black 9:28
No, I think JC JK like I come from a super rebellious family. My great grandmother was a total rebel. My grandmother is a rebel. My father was a rebel. And so I think there is some genetic rebellion in me, but and where did where did it come from? I think I think they made a mistake with my fiction. In that I tried to write what I thought a genre wanted and genre that I love to reading. And I love the fiction that I've written so far, but I it doesn't sit comfortably with me. And when I started so the way that I came to writing my nonfiction books was a complete accident. I started, I like, senile, and if I don't write down the things that I'm learning, I forget them. And I am a very studious student, I will continue to learn my whole life. And I was learning all of these writing things I needed somewhere to put these craft lessons down. So I just I just put them online without really thinking about it. And because I wasn't really thinking about it, I was just letting me be me on the page. And so I swore and I was making jokes and I was just me and so though I so at that point in my journey, there was no conscious decision to be like that. As my, my website and my content started growing, there was an acute awareness that I was polarizing people and I would get some snide remarks and some snide comments. And I still remember a conversation I had with a very prominent indie author. And they said, you have to make a choice either when you publish this book, you you choose to be you and you go the whole hog or you turn it down. And the more I thought about it, the more I was like Actually, I already made that mistake with my fiction. I'm not going to make the same mistake with my nonfiction. Um, so it was a conscious choice and if anything, I was probably I slightly over corrected with with the villains book just because I was like, wow, whoa. You know, I'm not going to be told what I can and can't write in my book and the jokes that I can put in there. So I think it was a genuine rebellion to allow my real voice on the page, which has been a wonderful serendipitous happenstance because now it enables me to be completely free to write the way that I want to write with all of my nonfiction books going forward. But that doesn't make it easy. Because when you are your true self, you're going to get haters and I can assure you I get haters. I have had one star reviews because I've sworn in my book literally wonderful content, shame about the swearing one star, really, really going to the nonfiction book for life perfectly conservative prose, are you here for the knowledge like let's be real um, and and That's hard and it's continuous and the more you embody yourself and the more you continue to be you in your books with your voice and and you choose actively choose to be polarizing. The more you're going to get this out, but I have definitely come to a what's the word like an equilibrium, a place of contentment over this because I now have found my tribe and therefore I'm completely okay with irritating some people because they're just not my people, and they're never going to be my people. And I think that the more I focus on this voice, this persona, this this part of me, the more I am delivering exactly what my tribe want. So I think yes, you know, if you if you have this value or principle or part of you and your business that's slightly controversial or perhaps polarized. Or, you know, very niche then you do have to accept that you are going to put some people off and that is okay. If anything is brilliant because it means you're over delivering value to your niche audience who want it and and when you do that you create superfans.

Steve Brown 14:18
You know, there's this band called the providers and the bass player. He does these teaching exercise exercises, videos on YouTube for bass players, and his framework. First you imitate, then you assimilate and then you create. And that really resonated with me. But there's this pressure that society has that they society wants you to conform don't color outside of the lines. And the way to kind of break through that barrier is to go through this overly rebellious stage where you push and and it's because you you're not set Then your confidence and so you you overreact or you overcompensate. And you become more rebellious. But as you start to settle into that you have this unique value, this unique perspective, this unique voice, you start to settle into it and it becomes a part of you, and then you can, you can defend it, and you can be confident in it. And then it's more from this area of peace and confidence as opposed to over compensation. And so we're hearing you describe your process there as you described that beautifully where you got into an area where, okay, I'm okay. They're going to give me one star, but what is that person doing? They're advertising to the audience that goes, Oh, I don't want a boring book. I'm totally okay with that. I'm going to check this out. I wonder what those words are. That was a beautiful compliment in a backhanded way. Really? Yeah.

Sacha Black 16:00
And finally you say about her being a compliment. I didn't choose those words. So yes, I think I've always embodied those words. But my audience gave me those words, literally, because I ran a poll to say, Okay, guys, who, what, when you read my work when you hear my podcast when you think of me, what is it that you you think of? And so what if my audience helped to frame what I probably already knew? But yeah, those were the guys who gave me those words, which I just that I think there's so much power there because it was what I was doing already, but it helps you give it a point of reference a, a set of values from which I can then create this the story and persona of me.

Steve Brown 16:50
So when you're 13 steps, 10 steps 12 steps. Why? Why those exact numbers Did you really haveStretch to get to 13 steps for evil? Or is that like a tie in to 13? Or are there really 13 legitimate steps to get to have super bad villain?

Sacha Black 17:12
I couldn't possibly tell you that now. Jackie. Um, so I definitely wanted to use the number 13 because it's a play on mine, you know, 13 being seen as superstitious or whatever. Do I have to stretch it? Um, no, if anything, I had to condense it and take things out. Because I was adamant I was having 13. And so yes, I would Yeah, no, I don't think I stretched that when I think I pulled stuff out, which I may or may not use in a later book later on. In terms of the other two that was much more natural. And the hero one what I didn't want to do was have another book that was 13. So I try to avoid having the same numbers. Once I have a few more books, then maybe if I have another number, then fine, whatever. But um, Yeah, I tried to I try to avoid having the same number. When I started the anatomy of pros, I think it was more like 18. And yeah, I just over the course of writing it and structuring it and restructuring it, because nonfiction, the hardest thing to do is the structure. And I just stripped stuff out because it's a beast of a book. It is, you know, it's, I think it's close to 70,000 words, which is far bigger than the other. It's like almost double the other two. So, yeah, this is this is more than enough steps I need to push out. But um, yeah, yeah, it was just mostly organic.

Steve Brown 18:37
So when what's interesting to me as far as the book on villains, is really the reason you want to write a really strong villain is to really highlight your hero. You can unless that hero has a significant villain than the hero is going to be in the mech boring. namby pamby Where did that epiphany come from? For years like I got to him better villains?

Sacha Black 19:10
Yeah, I think. I think it's twofold. I think. For me personally and one of the drivers behind the book, it was rage. And I was just ranting in my blogs about how crap all of these TV villains were and how cliched they were and all of this stuff. But if but the story reason it comes from a frustration. So all story is about change. Okay, that is at the heart of every single story. Doesn't matter if it's a fairy tale, if it's a Hollywood bestseller movie, if it's if it's if it's a literary fiction novel, every single story is about change. And you don't get change unless you have somebody Kind of a driver, some kind of a pushing force that will push your hero out of their comfort zone and force change. Humans are exactly the same. We don't change unless we have to. We are lazy bastards like that is just sick, we don't change. We don't fix it if it isn't broken. We just we are habitual creatures and so are heroes. So if you don't have a villain in your story, you aren't going to have a change in your story. Your villain is the driving force, your villain will put conflict in the story they put. They put obstacles in the way they are the conflict that forces and pushes your hero to change who they are in order to defeat them. So yeah, like you You can't have a story. You can't have a good Hero unless you have a good villain with solid motivation with Yeah, like you just and so that is why I find it so frustrating and lots of lots of people then also worry Oh, well, I don't have a what's the word? I don't have an overt, tangible villain in one person. I'm like, that's okay. As long as you have conflict or a something that's pushing the hero, it could be an inner in a flaw an inner demon a personal wound from your past that is a villain, conceptually, because it is driving the conflict and the change in your hair, right?

Steve Brown 21:41
I have this friend and she's been fighting an health issue that's been undeclared, and they've struggled to figure out what's causing the issues that she's dealing with. And it's so she went and did Finally got to do these very deep tests. And she came back and was energized, because she finally got a name for the pain. They were able to identify the villain, and it really energized her and, and so when I think about marketing coffee, when I think about a business, you have the solutions that you're providing. But the only reason that it comes to your potential customers mind is because something's happened to make them confront the issue. So to be able to put a very good name, and understand the villain that they're fighting, helps you relate and connect. Yeah.

Sacha Black 22:51
And I would add one more layer to that as well. So with each villain, you also have a theme. In your book, or an emotional journey, so the emotional journey will be the journey that the hero goes on. But if you're talking about this in terms of business, then you should be looking at your marketing copy in terms of the emotional journey that you want your customer to go up. So if your villain is to think of a single business problem, and let's say, Oh my god, you don't know how to create a website, right for your for your business, okay, let's do this, you know, kind of in around your business. So the the villain is technology, it's it's frustration. It's software. It's, it's all it's knowledge that you don't have skills that your customer don't have. So the emotional journey that they're going on is they're probably frustrated. They might be angry. They will definitely be they might be upset so you have a scam. Have that emotion where you come to a thing that you can't do either you're angry, you're frustrated, or you're crying. So you have to convey that, you know, you could be as blunt as saying, Are you frustrated with your website are you trapped, you know, have you struggled to set up your WordPress or whatever and, and it's the emotion that readers connect with in fictional stories, but it's exactly the same in your marketing copy. It's the emotion in your marketing and prose your marketing copy that your customers will connect to. So you need the problem which is the villain in that you are going to solve that your heroic business is going to solve that your your customers are also your heroes are going to go on this journey with you. And you need to lead them from the their original negative emotion. To the positive solution that your your company, your business, your services will solve for them and how they will feel at the end once they have interacted with your product. And yeah, if you can do that in your copy, you're going to sell some stuff.

Steve Brown 25:18
Yeah, I want to pause here just for a moment and talk to you about a program that we have just released called ROI. quickstart Academy for authors. Every day, I talk to business owners just like you who struggle with quickly getting their fundamentals in place. We want to create a great foundation and we want to grow our business, but the things that are in our way, our lack of knowledge about the specifics, we should put in place, what kind of technology what kind of messaging and what kind of campaigns and that problem exists for authors as well and we just chill so good with authors because well I'm an author. And I understand everything that you struggle with you have a great idea you have a great book. But what do you want to do? You want to get your book in front of more people, you want to make it easy for them to find you learn how they can schedule a time to talk with you hire you for a conference, or maybe sign up for the services that your book promotes. So what is the Quickstart Academy for authors? Imagine working with a small group of like minded authors, and the experts from the ROI quickstart team. It's a great way to get your messaging clear to be confident with the technology in your marketing automation, and how to run a strategic campaign to get you more of what you want from the investment of your book. To learn more about the Quickstart Academy for authors, you can visit ROI online.com or click in the link in the show notes below. And now, back to this episode. So that's cool. So when you were talking about boring villains cliche villain villains, it's was the typical external obvious things. They're, they're rude, they're obnoxious, whatever. But when you want a better villain, you have to get more into the villain needs to really poke at your internal self doubt, your internal failures, the insecurities that you have. So that villain needs to go, Oh, he's, he's really struggling with he failed his dad. So we need to tease him about what he's not. You failed your dad and that really? Now you're building a villain that's starting to like really get to us. But the other thing is, is the philosophical application. So it's here I'm building a business. I'm having to adopt this technology. that's frustrating. The obvious things, but it makes me feel like a loser. I've built this business. Now I feel like a loser if I don't get this technology implemented. But you know, what's even worse is the philosophical thing. It's not fair. This is out of my control, that the world is going to a place where we need them embrace this technology. And I have to figure that out on top of everything else. Do you know how hard it is just to run a successful business. And that's what I love about your your villain is that you're starting to go right we got to poke. The villains got to be naughty, and really kind of read us and understand this more than we want to be known.

Sacha Black 28:46
See, one of the things that you touched on there is something that I think is so important and people often get wrong. And that's the specificity required to poke and really dig into Someone's worried. Lots of people when they come to marketing, copy and nonfiction books, they try to solve the world's problems. And that's not that's not how you solve anybody's problems. The more general you are with your villain or your problem, the fewer people you're going to help. So one of the things that I think makes the greatest villain is when you are highly detailed and highly specific, because then you get to excellence and you get to you then, okay, you don't solve everybody's problems in the world, but you're going to solve some people's problems extremely well. And then, if you can convey that, it also means you're then connecting to the right people because the right people are having identifying that your product is the right product for them. So I think there is Yeah, an element that lots of people get wrong with their villains and that is to try Try and be a villain for everybody. Don't try and be a villain for everybody just try and be a villain for a very niche section of people. And then you can be a really good villain.

Steve Brown 30:10
Totally, you need to demonstrate. So when when I have conversations, let's focus on this podcast. What I love about it is that we're having conversations that we never would have at a bar because we'd be interrupted or other people would be there. So we wouldn't get to go very deep. We're going to laugh and joke about different things. But we're not going to have this one on one to talk about nerdy stuff, because we're going to talk about things that the other people aren't going to relate to at, and it's like, oh, I'm not weird. Sasha is nerdy about this. So I'm not weird. There's other people like me, when you're demonstrating you understand the deeper challenges that people are facing with this change. That's what you're doing. You're relating on a deeper level. They trust you because you've been there. Oh, I'm not crazy. You've been there. So I'm going to lean in and listen more because you're pinging the deeper struggles that I have that most people wouldn't understand.

Sacha Black 31:15
Absolutely. Yeah.

Steve Brown 31:17
your your copy can. When you've started to write these three books, you decided to write those books because you read other books and you thought those are superficial, and they're not really addressing the real problem. So use started to sit down and start going deeper. And that's what your marketing copy, copy. That's what you're marking marketing. I can say this I swear. That's where your marketing copy can really convey deeper value. Yeah, absolutely. So Sasha, your last names black, your book 13 steps to evil there was some foreshadowing He's like, one time I was asked. So Steve, your last name is brown. And was that little foreshadowing that you're going to write a book about? a toilet? And so I was like going look, her name's black. So I'd love i'd love this talk a little bit more about this rebellious. This rebellious family you come from?

Sacha Black 32:25
Um, well, it's funny you say because Sasha black is not my real name. It is a pen name. And I did choose black because I am a black sheep and black is my favorite color. And so yes, there was some foreshadowing in that whether or not it was foreshadowing that I was going to write a book about villains. I don't know. But when you're a kid and your favorite film is Beetlejuice, it's probably indicative that you're gonna write quite a few book when you get older. Um, but yeah, my my current My mother was great. My grandmother sorry, was very controversial back in her day. And you know, I've got photos of her holding Tommy guns in hotels and, you know, she Yeah, she she funded. She was quite a wealthy lady and she funded a lot of the black jazz musicians in New York. And, and yeah, there's just my dad, you know, he's very naughty boy. He got kicked out of lots of schools, got arrested on my birth, my birth the day of my birth. Well, he was drunk. He was wetting the baby's head and got a bit too carried away. So yeah, I just come from a very rebellious family. I have always had an issue with your authority. And what else? I mean? I've never, you know, I'm not. I'm not about to go out and do horrible things and get arrested but my rebellion comes in the form of things like Seeing rules I don't like and purposely trying to break them. So for example, I had somebody I used to work in, in the corporate rat race, very corporate Conservative government department, and I was told I wasn't dressed corporately enough. And I was like, hold the fire. What is what I'm what I'm wearing got to do with my ability to turn up and before in a meeting or type emails or write reports. So I went to work and leggings and converse, the following day, I Converse trainers and I went the day after that, and the day after that, and every day after that, I refused to wear any suits any corporate anything, because that is utter nonsense, like so. Yeah, and obviously, I got lots of cut. You know, I was told I would never get any more senior in in that organization because I wouldn't play it again. And yet, every time Will person who worked with me said I was phenomenal at my job. And so it you know, there again, the polarizing thing we were talking about, you have to make a choice with your company and your business and your branding. Are you going to tow the corporate line and play the game? Or are you going to be the black sheep in the organization? I was the black sheep. And yeah, so that's, that's where that came from. And I suppose that is, you know, one of the reasons that I was also an indie author, because I'm not gonna have a publisher tell me what to do. And therefore it made a lot of sense, I think, to then incorporate that into my branding, because it's so much part of who I am.

Steve Brown 35:41
I think that's a common theme among entrepreneurs. There's a version of that story. And I always say that, you know, my heroes, the people that I see are the heroes are the entrepreneurs. They're actually the invisible heroes of our economy because they confronted some Story similar to what you just described and said, You know what, I'm just gonna go start my own thing. Even though I'm not totally prepared, even though I don't have an MBA, even though I don't have all this money, I'm just gonna go start it and what happens? They start to get customers, they start to get employees, they start to provide products and services that people appreciate. Because they just wanted to do it their way. And so I see my job or my agency's job as we're supposed to help them navigate the gauntlet that they're going to have to go through because they have to grow up and become good business people whether they're rebels or not, they still have to compete in the most competitive game of all business. So are we're supposed to come along and support them, I help them avoid some ditches that they would Step in they get out of it, but we could save them some time and some frustration. What? Where did you get you've got a natural inclination towards branding and style when you look at your book covers and in the way that you approach stuff, you have workbooks, you have a podcast and you have a natural inclination on how to grow a business. Where does that come from?

Sacha Black 37:24
I don't know. That's a very good question. Um, I think I'm not sure about their natural ability, but I think that I have purposefully and intentionally studied business and I have listened to podcasts from the beginning. And I have listened to the mistakes that other people have made. And I have, I have read mindset books and branding books and and you know, business and listened to other authors in the industry, and also I've kept my eyes open. And I've been observant and intentionally observant, because I think a lot of people go through life and with respect to many people in my generation as a millennial, they have their face glued to a screen. And, yes, some of that, you know, that is where life is happening, unfortunately, at the moment, but I try to be very observant of the detail that people are doing with their businesses. So and it's so funny because I'm not really a detail person. But I think because I'm not a detail person, like on my Myers Briggs, I'm an N off the scales. So I don't know if people know what Myers Briggs is. But basically, it's a continuum and either you get your energy so you're introvert or extrovert, but in terms of where you derive your energy, and your detail person or your strategic person, you are a As an emotional decision maker or a very logical rational decision maker, you're a planner, or you do things last minute, a bit more spontaneous. And I basically have zero ability with details, but I think because of that, I overtly and intentionally spend more time on details. So I, I like to deconstruct, I deconstruct every book I read, whether it's fiction or nonfiction, to look for lessons that I can take away. When I go to some of these websites. I geek deconstruct what they've done. When I look at somebody's series book series, I deconstruct what they've done. How How do I know they're all linked books? How do I know and what colors have they used to identify across across their series? When I go into a bookstore, I will intentionally look when you go into a bookstore, you can see you can identify Your favorite genre, buy the field and look, just have the books in that area, they all share something. And it should be the same in your business. When people come to my website or my podcast or my facebook group, people should be able to feel we're talking about emotions, again, feel the same things wherever you go. And, and I think that's where it comes from. It's just I go, I am a super nerd and I will go down into forensic levels of detail. I've had people describe me like that before you go into forensic levels of detail. And, and that is something that goes into my books as well. So the anatomy of prose is a forensic level, look at sentences and gives you a developmental edit in US innocence. And yeah, it comes from this observational skill, I think. Yeah, I think that's my answer.

Steve Brown 41:00
You're sticking to it. Have you read the books? Save the cat by Blake Snyder or, okay, so he talks he puts these how to write them. logline? Yeah. Yeah. And that's one of the things that you do, but he puts them in genres like monster in the house. Yes. And dude who has a problem? I love how he categorized those things. Now those are those are types of stories that have a common common challenges and themes in them. Is that the way that you're approaching your your villain, for example, the 13 rules to your villain would be an in that do too as a problem or monster in the house with a different type of villain I would imagine. But are there like genres that your villains excel in?

Sacha Black 41:59
They're all artists. So in terms, so I'm not sure how I would relate this to business and marketing but in terms of fictional villains, there are what what you would call archetypes. So you have your and femme fatale. So Basic Instinct, for example, your bunny boiling, crazy woman you have and you have the overlords, for example, who are like sour Ron from Lord of the Rings. You know, Lord Voldemort is an overlord. Not a very comprehensive motivation for what they're doing, but they are all powerful. That's another type of archetype. And you have the jealous type. So somebody quite often seen in more contemporary books, romance, perhaps somebody who is better and jealous, perhaps you stole their boyfriend or whatever. So yes, there are and there are different archetypes and types of villain and I am sure that you could relate this to business. And in terms of the ice, it would probably be more in the types of problems that you're trying to solve. And I haven't necessarily thought about it in those terms. But absolutely, I think you could, and you could put your villain in buckets and yeah, sorry, that's not a very good answer.

Steve Brown 43:24
No, it's it's good. You, you have a quote in your book about villains slyke. That's goes along with the quote, behind every good man. There's this good woman, right. But behind every good hero, it's more important about having a really good villain and I love that comment, and it's, it's smart. And it would make sense it's a theme that you need to acknowledge and pay attention to not drop the ball there.

Sacha Black 43:56
Yeah, and if you want to relate it to business, behind everything, Marketing solution as a problem.

Steve Brown 44:02
Yeah. Yeah. And so you need to be better at identifying where that problem is poking them. Mm hmm. So who's, who is your hero? As far as someone that does what you do really well that you crush on or follow or learn from.

Sacha Black 44:22
And there are so many people, and Joanna pen is probably the biggest. Not Joanna pen is the original one. So I fell into as I was falling into the indie sphere. I came across her I don't remember how I stumbled upon her now probably because she has an excellent author ecosystem for her business, but yeah, so I have been listening to her podcast, definitely the longest and learned the most. For the longest time from her.

Steve Brown 44:51
You were on her podcast, too.

Sacha Black 44:54
I was Yeah, that was mind blowing. I can't tell You, too. I've now been in a very fortunate position to have had dinner and met her several times. And but yeah, that was very surreal that when I got to go on her podcast, but yeah, so she's definitely one. And there's another couple of authors Jay Thorne and Rachel Heron, who have this wonderful podcast called the rights as well. And it's so philosophical and thought provoking. And they both I love the ethos is they're very free spirited, and very much about independence, which is what entrepreneurs are about. And they're both entrepreneurs in their own way in their own fields. And I love that they both have multiple streams of income, and they are not just what an author, they have a business and they run retreats and all of these things. So I love what they both do. And I'm very fortunate that I'm now co writing with Jay Thorne, which is just mind boggling. And yeah, because you know, I've been there listening to their podcasts wherever as well. It's very weird once you've been in this industry for a long time you use Yes, you have your heroes, but actually if you're in if you do something intensely for long enough, you become, you know, in that ecosystem. And who else who else who else? I mean, there's just so many people on Eros again, so she is the director of the alliance of independent authors and the founder of it and she changed my life. And you know, I have an awful lot to thank her for and and yeah, if it weren't if it weren't for her, I wouldn't have been able to leave my job when I left my job to do this full time so I absolutely have to give give her her props and her credit. And then also Christina Stanley because she is just a fucking powerhouse of a woman. She is so inspirational and I She is such a feminist, a strong woman and so, so clever when you listen to her talking, and so yeah, I absolutely have to Say hi to

Steve Brown 47:01
awesome. So that's how you and I got connected. I interviewed her for this podcast, and she'll be on an episode. We'll be publishing that very soon. But she suggested that I meet you. And I'm glad she did. This has been a fascinating conversation. I could go on for another hour, but we have to wrap up here. So your podcast is called a rebel author podcast.

Sacha Black 47:28
And I also have a second one called max level authors, which I have all this free time.

Steve Brown 47:34
So we're going to do so what's the I'm sorry, interrupt, what's the name of your other one?

Sacha Black 47:40
Next Level offers and it's a jointly hosted one with a good friend of mine. Okay. And then you're also a speaker.

Steve Brown 47:49
You have another book coming out is that what is there something going on that I were not aware of that you might want to share?

Sacha Black 47:57
Um, so I so I just released the anatomy of praise. That's the one that came out the most recently. And I've got two collaborative books that I handed off yesterday, which I can't talk about just yet, unfortunately, which is spot bad timing, but there will be Yeah, I mean, I will continue to write nonfiction and fiction. So there will be hopefully at least another one or two by the end of the year.

Steve Brown 48:22
So your website is

Sacha Black 48:25
Sasha black.co.uk. And that's Sasha with a C and not an S. So s, a CH a black, the color black, typically rebel spelling there, of course, always on brand. So if if they want to send you an email and get on a list so that they learn about these things you can't tell about us right now, where would they email you? So you can if you go to my website, Sasha black.co.uk and there is like a pop up and it will pop up on the screen and you can see Sign up and find out more. And yeah, about about what I do.

Steve Brown 49:06
Well, you do great as a guest on a podcast about business and marketing. This has been excellent. It's been pithy and edifying and all the big words I know. So happy to have you and thank you for being a great guest on ROI online podcast. Thank you so much for having me. All right, that's listening to another fun episode of the ROI online podcast. For more, be sure to check out the show notes of this episode. And feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn where we can chat, and I can help direct you to the resources you're searching for. To learn more about how you can grow your business better. Be sure to pick up your copy of my book, The Golden toilet at surprise, that golden toilet.com I'm Steve Brown, and we'll see you next week on another fun episode. So dub the ROI online podcast

Transcribed by https://otter.ai