To Your Writing Success

Episode 36 - Alexia Vernon

Alexia Vernon – Step Into Your Moxie – 036

How to Amplify Your Voice, Visibility, and Influence


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Alexia Vernon is the author of the book, Step into Your Moxie: Amplify Your Voice, Visibility, and Influence in the World. She is also a sought-after speaking and leadership coach to executives, entrepreneurs, media personalities, and changemakers who want to spread their ideas, positively impact people’s lives, grow their businesses, and advance their thought leadership.

What We Discuss with Alexia Vernon:

  • What got Alexia to write her book
  • Creating the structure for her book
  • How she got her book published
  • Showing up on the page by writing personal stories
  • How she managed not to have a writer’s block and turn in her manuscript 3 weeks early
  • Getting the book proposal together and finding an agent
  • Being a “bunny” about publishing
  • Why it’s better to write a book first before speaking or presenting
  • How to market your book and some secrets you need to know!

[00:55] Why She Wrote the Book, Step Into Your Moxie

More than just a book, Step Into Your Moxie is a brand and movement.

Alexia became a speaker of a social enterprise conference over a decade ago. The event also had a PitchFest where all attendees get to have a couple of minutes to present their big idea for how to harness entrepreneurial solutions to solve a big social, economic, or environmental problem.

The finalists got voted on by the other attendees in the room. They were composed of 50% male and 50% female, 25 years old on average. However, not one woman’s voice was picked. This got her so curious.

She came up with the word Moxie — which meant “how to find your authentic voice, how to be unapologetically themselves, and speak the truth — but doing this in a way that causes people to take action.”

Two weeks after the event, she rehauled her coaching business and created the brand Step Into Your Moxie. Eventually, she’d wake up in the middle of the night having a vision of what the book version of the workshop would look like.

[08:10] The Book Writing Process

Prior to this book, Alexia had already written two other books. When she got to this book’s chapter pieces, she realized she didn’t want to put herself in the box of prescriptive nonfiction.

She wanted the book to be an integration between the practical and poetic philosophical. Alexia also wanted to get her memoir on and use her story for the reader’s transformation.

[12:00] Getting Her Book Published

She went to her publisher and as they were shipping it, Jen Sincero’s second book (You Are a Badass at Making Money) was coming out on the heels of her first book. So they were able to show that books have done really well specifically from coaches who are sassy and great storytellers.

Some of the publishers she ultimately didn’t go with asked her to just either do simply a memoir, or simply prescriptive nonfiction, or the traditional self-improvement women’s book. But she knew this was not what she wanted to do.

She also didn’t want to compromise on her title Step Into Your Moxie, as she couldn’t find another word to encompass what it means. But there are other compromises obviously.

[16:10] Showing Up on Your Page

It took Alexia a long time as a speaker to share her personal stories as she got used to hiding her expertise behind facts, figures, research, slide decks, etc —  rather than being seen as imperfect and messy, and using her stories as an opportunity for people listening to her to “read” themselves into them.

Alexia found this process a lot easier in the book. She got positive feedback from clients and participants.  But it was harder for her close family members to read pieces of their story.

Many speakers feel more comfortable with the writing as a medium before the speaking. But when you write a presentation and when you speak, it’s going to sound like something that is meant to be read.

Writing her book, she knew from the start that she wanted to have a powerful audiobook and she had this vision so strongly that she was offered the audiobook deal. Hence, she spoke a lot of the book out loud and then she would sit down and transcribe. She wanted what people were reading to sound like what they would hear her saying.

[22:10] How She Got to Finish Her Manuscript Three Months Earlier

Alexia got her manuscript done three weeks earlier than it was due. At that time, she also had her own TED Talk and a couple of keynote speeches.

She finds travel to help her get ahead in her writing. She’d also give herself 4-5 weeks a week where she would have a pass not to write.

At that time, she also had her husband onboard her business so she knew she didn’t have the luxury of just letting things slide and just focus on her book.

[27:05] Getting an Agent

There are so many resources to be able to create a great marketing plan. But agents would really ask you to have a clear plan on how to sell your book, not just a great idea. Agents expect you to have 50,000 email subscribers and a large social media following.

She got introduced to one agent by someone from her mastermind group who didn’t need those numbers! However, Alexia began being a “bunny,” an archetype characterized by apologizing and not claiming space for yourself and your ideas. This was what she was doing about this project.

She spoke to a second agent. And this time, she had done her research vs just doing “pitch and pray.”

[36:20] Book First, Talk Second vs. Talk First, Book Second

Sometimes we don’t know how we present our book until we’ve done it as a keynote or TEDx or a signature presentation or workshop.

Some people think the book is the permission slip for the bigger stuff but it’s actually better to go the other way around.

[39:05] Marketing the Book

Even people close to you who said they’d help you need so much handholding to follow through on anything and everything.

Have a bunch of other strategies in your pocket such as podcasting and having book ambassadors.

Show up fully. Do your best. And release attachment to a lot of outcomes that are outside of your control.

Make sure to educate yourself including some nuances related to Amazon reviews.

Episode Resources:

Check out Alexia’s book Step into Your Moxie: Amplify Your Voice, Visibility, and Influence in the World

Watch the Step into Your Moxie book trailer.

Join Alexia’s Spotlight Speakers Salon Facebook Group: 

Alexia’s digital guide 9 Mistakes that Coaches, Consultants, and Experts Make and How to Avoid Them

Listen on iTunes and Stitcher.

Learn how to find your idea, outline your book and establish daily writing routine with just 20 minutes a day.

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