The Everyday Author

For authors who can't quit their day jobs...yet

Month: February 2015

The Everyday Author guide to self publishing podcasts

UPDATE: Since we originally wrote this post, we’ve discovered even more must-listen podcasts. See part two of this list here.

There’s a ton of great self publishing resources out there and one of my favorite ways to learn more and stay updated on the latest news is by listening to self publishing podcasts. If you’ve got a long commute or need something to listen to while you’re running, exercising or doing housework, you can’t beat them. Here’s a breakdown of the self publishing podcasts I listen to and a little bit about what you can expect from each. If you’re not interested in self-publishing, they all still provide lots of great news about writing, the book industry and book marketing — things that every author needs to know.

SPP LogoThe Self-Publishing Podcast
Tune in here
The lowdown: This was the first podcast I started listening to and one of the longest running. Although I didn’t tune in until after I read Write. Publish. Repeat., I made sure to download all of the backlist episodes as well. The Self-Publishing Podcast is definitely NSFW, but Johnny, Sean and Dave really know their stuff. You’ll have to sit through 20-30 minutes of introductions (including some really awful, hilarious ad reads) before they get around to the topic, but the guys are always good for a laugh. In addition to sharing their own experiences, the Self-Publishing Podcast also has regular guest stars from the community. The show usually runs for just over an hour and you can watch it live on YouTube every Friday at 1 p.m. eastern.

CreativePennPodcastButton_240x2402The Creative Penn
Tune in here
The lowdown: Joanna Penn, the host of the Creative Penn podcast has been in this business for quite a while and is always on the cutting edge when it comes to self-publishing strategies and tactics. She’s also released two great books: How to Market a Book and Business for Authors. Before becoming an indie author, Joanna started a number of different businesses and does an excellent job discussing the entrepreneurial side of self-publishing. Like the Self-Publishing Podcast, the Creative Penn features guest stars, many of which come from a traditional publishing background. If you’re serious about becoming an “authorpreneur” you’ll want to listen to the podcast and take advantage of all the great resources her website offers as well. Joanna usually does a 15-20 minute introduction where she gives industry news and personal author updates. Shows run between 50 minutes to 75 minutes. The Creative Penn airs episodes at least twice a month.

rsplogoRocking Self-Publishing
Tune in here
The lowdown: Although I’ve only been listening for a couple of months (shame on me) I can’t get enough of Simon Whistler’s podcast. The thing I really love about Rocking Self-Publishing is that Simon interviews more “midlisters” than any other show. The result is a range of people from all over the self-publishing spectrum that offer unique views and great advice on their personal journeys as indie authors. Due to Simon’s interview process, you’ll have to listen to each author talk about their books before they get into tips, but I’ve picked up some great new reads because of it. Rocking Self-Publishing offers the most varied look at the industry and Simon’s newsletter provides even more resources. He also has a great book out:  Audiobooks for Indies. Episodes are audio only and usually stay right around an hour. Rocking Self-Publishing comes out every Thursday.

Sell More Books Show LogoThe Sell More Books Show
Tune in here
The lowdown: I confess, I’ve only been listening to the Sell More Books Show for about a week (shame on me again), but I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve heard so far. Out of the four podcasts mentioned, the Sell More Books Show is the newest (only about a year in) and also the most unique format. Hosts Jim Kural and Bryan Cohen do a top five news list every week with the goal of packing as much content as possible into a 30-40 minute block of time. Self-publishers looking to get just the news without entertainment will appreciate their concise format. If you’re looking to stay up to date with the latest book-selling tactics, don’t miss this the podcast. The Sell More Books Show comes out every week on Tuesday or Wednesday.

What are your favorite writing and publishing podcasts? Let us know what we’re missing out on in the comments!

 wpid-imag0065_1-e1410915663557-960x913Derek Alan Siddoway ( D_Sidd) always thought he wanted to be a paperback writer. Instead, he broke into the self-publishing world in 2013 when he realized there had to be a better use of his time than writing queries to agents. Converted by the fellowship of indie authors, he never looked back. Now, he’s the Founding Father of Undaunted Publishing, a hybrid publishing house combining the best of traditional and self publishing, and the author of Teutevar Saga, an epic/historical fantasy series with a “medieval western” twist. Learn more at derekalansiddoway.com.

Author Origins: Sean Platt

seantwitter_400x400“The Alchemist” of the Sterling & Stone trio, Sean Platt is also the founder of Guy Incognito, co-founder of Collective Inkwell and Realm & Sands and a co-host on the Self-Publishing Podcast. From designing story worlds to Sterling &Stone’s website, he does a bit of everything. Sean loves it all, but telling stories is his favorite, and he considers himself lucky that he gets to do it with his best friends Johnny and Dave. Sean lives in Austin, Texas, with (best friend) wife, Cindy, and two amazing children, Ethan and Haley. He’s trying to get the guys there as fast as he can.

Introduction: Tell us who you are, how and why you decided to be an author and where youre at right now in your career.

I’m Sean Platt. I decided to be an author about fifteen minutes after I read an email that told me my “vocabulary was too rich for children.” I’d written some stories for the students at a preschool I ran with my wife and submitted them to an agency. Hearing that, I figured I would go online, build my own audience, and do things my own way. That was six years ago. Now I’m a full-time author with over five-million words published across six imprints and multiple genres. I love what I do and am lucky to do it.

What was/is the hardest thing about balancing writing with everyday life and/or a day job?

Prioritizing on which projects I want to work on. I have over a hundred ideas in an idea file, each which could be fleshed out into anything from a short story to a full book to a sprawling series. Figuring out what I want to do next when I want to do it all is a constant struggle. That’s the difficult balance for me. The home life stuff isn’t that big of a deal because I work from home and set my own schedule. Yes, I have shit tons to do always, but I love what I do so it’s also my hobby.

Tell us about your schedule and habits from this time (or what youre doing now if it hasnt changed).

I’m not sure which time you’re referring to, but my schedule and habits basically build off of each other. Right now I’m waking up at 5:30, getting my writing done, then getting my beats done, then moving into editing and polishing, before tidying up lose ends through the rest of the day (usually that starts around noon). Every day at two o’clock I have either podcasts, story meetings, or interviews like this one. On the rare day when I don’t, I record videos that answer reader questions.

If you dont mind, would you tell us how your sales first started out? How many books did you have out before you started seeing traction?

 Dave and I had written Available Darkness and needed to develop a marketing plan for it. We ignored that instead, and wrote the first season of Yesterdays Gone. We started getting traction on that title around two months after its release. So, two books, but seven titles because we put the episodes out individually back then.

At one point in time did you make the decision to support yourself/your family as an author? What was that decision like and how did you feel afterward?

About three years before I could afford to. It was dreadfully difficult. We lost our house, took a lot of crap jobs, and did whatever we needed to do to keep our heads above water. But I felt great doing it. Despite the difficulty, I always believed I could do it (and so did my ever loving wife), and being my own boss and telling stories for a living was a big enough reward to justify the risk. For me. That’s not advice I would ever give anyone.

What is one thing about your author career that not many people know of? Alternatively, what are some of your other hobbies/interests outside of writing?

I don’t know. I talk about everything, so at this point I’m not sure there’s really anything that not many people know of. With a couple hundred hours of podcasts there aren’t many unexplored corners. As far as hobbies, I love spending time with my family but most of my hobbies are directly related to my work, which is why it doesn’t feel like work at all. Writing is less than 10% of my job. Telling stories is a huge part of it. Watching TV and movies, talking to my friends, really just about anything I love to do feeds into that.

Whats the single best piece of advice you have for authors who cant support themselves with their writing yet? What should they be focusing on?

Building a catalogue. Use every single molecule of available time to write, write, write. You cannot do this enough.

Lessons on creative branding from Eric Church

At one point or another in every creative’s career, he or she learns the business/marketing side of things is just as important as the act of producing.  When you get down to it, all creatives — whether they’re painters, poets, authors or musicians — want the same thing: to get people to notice their work and turn those people into fans. I’ve followed Eric Church for some years, but it wasn’t until the release of his latest album and seeing him live for the first time that I truly appreciated the genius behind his creative branding.

Part of this post was inspired by an interview Eric did with Spin last year. It’s a great read and one I recommend you read in its entirety here.

The show goes on.

A week ago, after sitting through a really terrible opening act, Church finally came onstage, alone, with an acoustic guitar. He played the opening song and then stopped to say this:

“If you’ve seen our show so far on this tour, you’re probably wondering what the hell is going on right now. Well, so am I. Here’s the deal: yesterday we had the stomach flu strike our band, our crew, everyone. We had no one to hang video, lights, nothing. But I’m still here. I’m still standing. We’ve talked about how every show on the Outsiders Tour is different. Well tonight, will be the most different one. Shit there’s nobody left, its just me. I’m going to give you everything I got. We have a couple band guys that feel okay to get up and down here. Here’s the deal — on Memorial Day we’re going to come back and play the full show. I’m not going anywhere, I’m here to play.”

Takeaways:

  1. Eric Church is a true creative professional. He knows that singing (insert writing, painting, whatever here) is his job. It’s what he loves, but it’s also what pays the bills. There are going to be times when problems come up and everything is an uphill battle. To the true professional, however, the show always goes on. No matter what.
  2. I was a big fan of Eric Church when I showed up at the concert last Saturday night. But because of what happened above, I’m not just a fan anymore, I’m a full-blown fanatic (no, they aren’t the same thing). Even if he hadn’t sounded awesome acoustically (which he did) and even though it will cost him to play the same venue again for free, what Church gained in fan loyalty that night more than makes up for it. After the concert, I told everyone I knew in person and on social media what happened. In fact, it inspired this post! I know hundreds of other people felt the same and Eric Church’s tribe grew as a result. Go the extra mile for your fans and they’ll do the same for you.

No matter how much success you have, create the art you love.

The Outsiders, Eric Church’s latest album, deviated quite a bit from what he’d done before. Probably a full half of the albym couldn’t even be considered country music. But, as Church explained in a pre-release interview with Spin: “We were way left of center (with the previous album, Chief), and all the sudden, center moved left. When that happened, yeah, that freaked me out. I don’t like being there. I never, ever, ever want to be in the middle. I never want to be the standard.”

Although The Outsiders still has mainstream hits, songs like That’s Damn Rock and Roll, Devil, Devil (a personal favorite of mine and one I HIGHLY recommend all creatives listen to) and the title track, The Outsiders were way out in left field — just like Church wanted. A lot of people said the album had too much rock and in the same Spin interview Church admitted that some people would hate it. But he also promised some would love it.

Takeaway:

Trim your tribe. It’s okay to weed out people who only feel so-so about your art. The ones you want are the people who go out and tell everyone about your latest project and devour everything you produce.

Learn how to market all of your creative funnels.

Before he got into music, Church graduated from Appalachian State with a degree in Marketing and he is the first to admit the importance of branding to his success. Part of that branding is his deep and unique collection of songs. Many musicians come out at concerts and play nothing but hits and singles. Sure, they’ll throw in a duet or an acoustic version sometimes, but for the most part, it’s all songs people know from the radio.

I’ve been impressed that Church’s set lists for The Outsiders tour include at least three or four songs that weren’t singles or hits — songs going all the way back to his first two albums. Not only is it refreshing to hear an artist play something that isn’t on the radio twenty times a day, it also exposes causal fans to Church’s unique style. It gives them another entry point to those songs and albums they might not know about. In a time where music sales (for those people who still buy music) is based around single songs, this tactic is a clever way to increase exposure (and, in turn, purchases) of those lesser-known songs and albums Not only will some people hear songs they weren’t aware of before, they’ll also associate that song with their concert experience. When that happens, what you’re selling is a memory, an emotional experience — something much more powerful than a casual listen of Spotify or Pandora.

Takeaway:

Create multiple ways for people to enter your creative funnels — to sample and be converted to fans and buyers. This is made easier by lowering purchase barriers with emotional ties.

The best marketers watch those around them and are constantly looking for ways to innovate their brand.  Don’t limit your studying to just indie authors. There are tons of successful artists out there to learn from.

 wpid-imag0065_1-e1410915663557-960x913Derek Alan Siddoway ( D_Sidd) always thought he wanted to be a paperback writer. Instead, he broke into the self-publishing world in 2013 when he realized there had to be a better use of his time than writing queries to agents. Converted by the fellowship of indie authors, he never looked back. Now, he’s the Founding Father of Undaunted Publishing, a hybrid publishing house combining the best of traditional and self publishing, and the author of Teutevar Saga, an epic/historical fantasy series with a “medieval western” twist. Learn more at derekalansiddoway.com.

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