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SPF-035: Dealing With Criticism from Editors and Readers – with Dr. Debra Holland

As an author, it’s a given that you’re going to have get used to dealing with all kinds of feedback on your work. But don’t get downhearted by the negative words. For a start, new authors should quickly get used to the fact that you simply can’t please all of the people all of the time. And bear in mind what Woody Allen once said about keeping your creative talent on task: “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” If it takes someone else’s words to make that clear to you, so be it. Take note – and don’t take it to heart.

The smart author will always make the most of the constructive criticism that comes his or her way and use it to refine their written output. They also know how to identify the less useful pieces of feedback and process them without feeling the need to hide under a duvet for a day. But how to do that exactly?

In this week’s episode, James and Mark discuss strategies for dealing with criticism and feedback – a very timely discussion given James’ feverish wait for feedback from his editor on the manuscript of what will hopefully be his first novel (you can read more about that here).

They are joined by author and psychologist, Dr.Debra Holland, whose professional insight into the issue adds an extra dimension to the discussion. As usual, there are plenty of tips to be had for both established authors as well as those, like James, who are looking to kick start their self publishing career.

Are you ready to win $3,000 in book services from Reedsy?

The Self Publishing Formula team and the great folks at Reedsy have teamed up to give you an opportunity to get some of the more costly editorial, design, and formatting services for your book absolutely free. The contest will be running only for a short time longer so you’ll want to enter soon. And the good news is that you can enter more than once. If you’d like to get your shot (or many of them) at this great prize package you can listen to this episode of the podcast to get all the details and enter for your chance to win!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:01] Your opportunity to win $3,000 in services from Reedsy.
  • [1:56] The process James has been going through with his first book.
  • [6:00] Getting into your reader’s shoes. It’s not so easy.
  • [8:00] How Mark approaches the task for writing the first draft.
  • [10:55] Choosing the right mindset about receiving editorial feedback.
  • [14:58] Mark’s tips to make the best use of editorial feedback.
  • [16:39] Is there a difference between a developmental editor and a structural editor?
  • [18:51] James’ blogging process of his book writing process.
  • [20:27] How Mark responded to his very first editorial feedback.
  • [22:18] Dealing with negative reviews on your book once it’s published.
  • [26:58] Dr. Debra Holland (live interview at a conference).
  • [32:07] The difference in dealing with reviews on fiction and nonfiction books.
  • [33:01] How can authors deal with isolation and introversion.
  • [34:16] How beginning writers can join helpful writer’s groups for support.
  • [35:22] Dealing with the uncertainties of the financial side of writing, psychologically.
  • [41:10] How you can win $3,000 in services from Reedsy.

Resources & Links Mentioned In This Episode

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SPF-012: How to start really selling books – With John P Logsdon

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It’s always beneficial and encouraging to hear from someone who started from nothing and built a successful writing career from the ground up. Even more so, it’s encouraging to hear the story from a person who is following the exact same procedures and school of thought that you’ve adopted. That’s what you’ll hear in this episode with John P. Logsdon. John is a student in Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula course and he’s followed Mark’s systems and approaches to achieve stunning success with his playful series of science fiction books. You’ll get the full story on not only his unusual genre and style but also how he’s leveraged Mark’s approach to great success on this episode of The Self Publishing Formula podcast.

Success in self publishing discovered through a spiteful response.

John had already written his first novel and was having a terrible time getting it noticed and promoted. Everything he’d tried by way of building a mailing list had failed (he had only 7 subscribers). When his wife pointed out the Self Publishing Formula course that Mark had created, John was very cynical. When he finally got tired of hearing his wife talk about the course he decided that he would follow it step by step just to prove to his wife that it wouldn’t work. That was his golden mistake! You can hear John’s hilarious story of spite turned to success in this episode.

5000 words per day using a script writing tool.

When John followed the advice of many of the traditional writing manuals out there he found himself stymied at every turn. It took him far too long to create character sketches and outlines of every scene and he was getting discouraged. He finally decided to approach his writing in a way that he felt was a better fit for his personality and way of thinking. In the end John wound up using a scriptwriting tool (in the links for this episode) to create rough scenes and situations, writing the dialogue first, and filling in the gaps as he went. The result is a blazing word count of over 5000 words a day on most days. John goes into detail about how he works this approach to his advantage, on this episode.

Working with a co-author in a way that maximizes each of their gifts.

John wrote his first novel without his co-author, Christopher P. Young, who had said that it wasn’t his thing. But Christopher came around – and John’s so glad he did. The two of them have unique gifts when it comes to the book publishing process, and though Christopher does not fancy himself a writer, John is happy to have his name on the books because of the great things he brings to the process. You can hear how this atypical partnership works and how it might spark your own creativity.

Why Facebook advertising, aimed at building a mailing list, is the way to go.

Many self published authors have tried Facebook advertising with little effect. They ignore the possibilities offered to build solid, long-lasting relationships with readers through mailing list opt-ins. That’s what John finally did with his Facebook campaigns and the result was an amazing email list over 10,000 strong. John has come to realize that the relationship and interaction he has with his readers is what enables him to be a successful self published author and he believes that you can do the same thing.

Outline of this great episode

  • [1:25] Mark’s process of recording every step of his new book launch.
  • [2:13] A quick preview of Mark’s newest John Milton book.
  • [4:15] Why connection with people in the self publishing community is helpful.
  • [6:23] The new SPF Youtube channel.
  • [6:43] Who is John P. Logsdon?
  • [9:21] How Mark’s course got John rolling in his self publishing career.
  • [11:52] How John writes at least 5000 words a day using processes.
  • [18:44] The secret tool in Scrivener that helps you know how fast you’re writing.
  • [22:53] John’s back catalogue of books.
  • [24:35] How John works with a co-writer.
  • [28:42] The marketing approach John takes to his self publishing career.
  • [29:22] What is a launch team and why is it such a powerful thing?
  • [33:15] John’s journey from 2013 until today.

Resources & Links mentioned in this episode

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SPF-003: Interview with Hybrid Author Marie Force

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In podcast number 3, Mark and James are joined by the sensational Marie Force. Marie has developed a seven figure publishing operation with a mix of both self publishing and traditional publishing deals. They discuss her marketing tips as well as Marie’s advice to authors setting out to build a platform for better sales. They also discuss her unique approach to reader relationships which involve annual gatherings in her native Rhode Island.

Show Notes

  • In the introduction Mark talks about the ways he uses Scrivener writing software, and about his latest book launch.
  • Marie Force shares the strategy she had from the beginning of her writing career of connecting with her readers and staying in touch with them.
  • On the genesis of Marie’s Reader Weekends and the events that take place at this annual gathering.
  • Also the ROI that Marie gets from the event.
  • Marie’s beginnings as a writer and her early struggles with frustration, and her progress from there to running a multi-million dollar author business with several employees.
  • On Marie’s writing process and production, her monthly word count and the tools she uses.
  • Marie’s thoughts on working with a traditional publisher.
  • The marketing strategies that are most successful for Marie, including TV advertising.
  • The one piece of advice Marie would give new authors.
  • On genre specific covers, and learning new lessons all the time.
  • Why a long-term outlook matters to indie authors who want to build careers.

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