SPF-047: Masterclass: Building a Mailing List part 2 – With Mark Dawson

List building is one of the most strategic and powerful activities you can engage in as an indie author. That’s because it’s the one way that you’re able to build a list of people who have willingly expressed an interest in the type of books that you write. And it’s YOUR list. One that you control and can sell to any time you like. That’s a powerful weapon to have in your arsenal when it comes time to launching a book, running a promotion, or just reaching out to your list to build the relationships required to fuel your author career long term. This episode is part two of the list building series in which Mark and James address the use of paid advertising to capture the email addresses of prospective buyers. You won’t want to miss the plethora of career-boosting tips shared within it!

List building through paid advertising. Did you say ‘paid’?

The words “paid advertising” might make some of you shudder. But try and remember that your author career is a business and in order to grow any kind of business you will need to invest money in it eventually. Mark and James talk about how to get started with paid advertising without breaking the bank and underline the rewards of getting it right and seeing that email list grow.

Facebook Ads is one of the most powerful lead generation tools for list building.

Mark’s Advertising for Authors has become a go-to course for many indie authors looking to exploit this marketing option. Mark and James touch on some of that course’s content and share some of the basics of lead generation using Facebook Ads. The tips learned here have been used by many other authors to successfully explode their mailing list. It’s powerful stuff!

The lowdown on Twitter Ads and YouTube Ads.

Two of the less popular advertising platforms out there that you might want to consider are Twitter Ads and YouTube Ads. Both are featured as bonus modules as part of the Advertising for Authors Course. Whilst they’re not as effective as the Facebook platform, James explains why they shouldn’t be written off – and maybe just the thing for some authors.

Did you know that Amazon Ads can be used to by authors to build lists?

You’re now able to use the power of Amazon to get your books in front of more readers by targeting people who have already demonstrated through their Amazon purchases that they are interested in the exact genre or type of book that you’ve written.So how does it work? Worry not! Mark and James briefly walk you through the Amazon Ads option and show you how you can use it to promote your books – and successfully build your list through opt-ins.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:22] Mark’s latest epiphany – he’s been writing 2 books, not 1.
  • [3:44] Resuming the email list instructions, what to expect on this episode.
  • [6:28] James’ progress in building his list since last week’s episode.
  • [11:27] Today’s focus on paid advertising to build your email list.
  • [15:10] How to set up a Facebook lead generation campaign (and why Mark spends most of his money on these).
  • [21:23] How to dial-in the targeting functionality on Facebook ads.
  • [27:08] Why you need to give targeting and ads time and how you can learn as you go.
  • [29:52] Ways you can defray the cost of your advertising.
  • [33:04] Twitter and YouTube ads. Possibilities and returns you can expect.
  • [40:41] The basics about Amazon Ads (anyone can use them, not just KDP select)
  • [46:45] Bookbub promotions and deals.
  • [49:44] Upcoming episodes in this series and on detailed additional topics.

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SPF-046: Masterclass: Building a Mailing List part 1 – With Mark Dawson

At Self Publishing Formula, we often bang on about the importance of building an email list. It’s the most important piece of digital property you’re ever likely to own as an author – perhaps even more than your books. That’s because your email list is the jump start to every book launch. Up to now we’ve never really gone in depth to tell you exactly what comprises a list and how to build one. That all ends today. This episode of The Self Publishing Formula is the first of a series of podcast episodes that will unpack the mystery of mailing lists and teach you how, step by step, to build your own. It’s the crucial component of a successful author career so listen carefully!

So what IS a mailing list?

A mailing list is a collection of names and corresponding email addresses that you own and are able to send correspondence to. But there’s more to it than that. The kind of email list we’re talking about on this episode is one where the people who are on your list have CHOSEN to be on the list. They have asked to be added because they’re interested in the type of things you promise to share through your list. That’s a powerful thing! It enables you to engage with readers without fear of spamming or bothering them. They want in on what you’ve got to offer.

List Building is Career Building!

Your mailing list will allow you to start creating long-lasting relationships with readers that will pay dividends not only when it comes to book launches but also with regard to research, feedback and writing inspiration. Getting the relationship right is key. Mark offers up some clear advice on how to go about this.

Build your first email list.

Mark and James take a hands-on, practical approach in this episode, walking you step by step through the process of building an email list. The first thing Mark suggests you do once you’ve decided on the method you will use to collect your subscriber information is to reach out to 10 people you know personally – family or friends – and tell them what you’re doing and ask if they would be interested in being part of your list. It’s an easy but often overlooked way of getting your list started.

Keep it going.

There’s never a time when you should feel that your email list is large enough, no matter how big it gets. Mark and James discuss the various ways you can build your mailing list on an ongoing basis – with more tips, tricks and advice to come in the weeks ahead.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:23] James and Mark introduce this episode about mailing lists.
  • [5:33] This is the first of 3 episodes about mailing lists – how it’s going to work.
  • [9:02] Why SHOULD you have a mailing list?
  • [12:55] What tools can you use to build your mailing list?
  • [20:01] How to begin building your list.
  • [25:44] The importance of growing and maintaining the relationship with your list.
  • [29:16] How often should you send email to your list?
  • [33:01] Using social media to grow your mailing list.
  • [42:30] Additional methods to give people opportunity to join your mailing list.
  • [47:00] The challenge for this week: Get 10 subscribers by the next episode.

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SPF-045: From US Marine to Self Publishing Success – with thriller writer Wayne Stinnett

In the final SPF podcast of 2016, James briefly looks back at a year that held much promise for indie authors trying to advance their careers. It was also the year that the long-awaited Self Publishing 101 Course was launched with over 1000 students taking a step closer to becoming full-time, successful writers.

Talking of which, in our last author interview of the year, James chats to thriller writer, Wayne Stinnett, whose career path alone could form the plot of a book! Wayne has exploited his experiences as a US Marine and used them as inspiration for a book series that is now delivering handsome returns and allowing him to live that dream as a full-time author. The interview was conducted in Florida in September 2016 when the SPF team were attending the NINC conference there. Happy Days.

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SPF-044: Make Money Teaching Through Self Published Books – with Million Dollar Author, Joseph Alexander

The million dollar guitar tutor.

It’s still quite rare to hear of an author earning $1 million in book sales. But it’s extraordinary to hear of an author earning that amount from sales of his instructional books on guitar techniques. James chats with guitar tutor and author Joseph Alexander this week to unpack the way he’s been able to leverage his teaching to make money in a way that wouldn’t be an obvious option for most music teachers. Joseph’s self-publishing journey is nothing short of remarkable and you will be inspired with new ideas from listening to what he’s achieved.

Who is the guitar teacher behind this $1 million author career?

Joseph has been a guitarist and expert music tutor for over 20 years. His guitar instruction books are published in four languages and have sold over 200,000 copies. He’s authored over 30 guitar guides and is very generous in sharing how he’s exploited his niche, including his marketing approach and more. It’s all on this episode.

You could very well make money teaching a subject you love, just like Joseph Alexander.

If you are a teacher of any kind – languages, music, yoga, cooking – you have the possibility to create a self-published book empire just like Joseph. His terrific teaching ability lies at the heart of his business but it’s self-publishing and self-taught marketing processes that have triggered his high income. Get outside the box of what you thought was possible by listening to how Joseph has creatively leveraged his teaching skill to build a sizeable income for himself and other instructors.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:22] Welcome and introduction to this episode.
  • [4:19] Introduction to today’s guest, Joseph Alexander: $1 million author.
  • [7:37] How Joseph started putting his guitar teaching into written form to publish.
  • [9:10] Why guitar teaching has become a very lucrative career for Joseph.
  • [10:47] How Joseph has marketed his instructional books.
  • [17:46] The systems Joseph uses to manage his email list and deliver his content.
  • [21:38] Exploring the possibilities of online courses.
  • [26:52] An example of how Joseph does his instruction.
  • [31:39] The practical side of teaching guitar.
  • [41:10] The history of Joseph’s book publishing journey.
  • [48:23] Using Amazon marketing to distribute his books more widely.

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SPF-043: Legal Hazards for Authors and How to Avoid Them – with Attorney David Burgess

Defamation of character is not something an author wants – or expects – to be sued for. But as you’ll hear from this week’s guest, attorney David Burgess – a specialist in publishing law – it’s more common than you might think. Most self-published authors write without thinking about the possible legal implications of their published work. Given that a legal action could end up costing you thousands of dollars and threaten your livelihood, it might be worth giving David a few minutes of your time. Expert legal advice rarely comes as cheap as this!

Character defamation and other legal pitfalls

James and David chat at length about the issues of character defamation – both in fiction and nonfiction works – and how careful research and mindfulness during the writing process will help limit potential legal threats. Privacy is another hot potato of an issue. How do you know when your work has stretched beyond the limits of what’s deemed acceptable by law? David provides a useful outline of how privacy laws are viewed in both the US and the UK with tips on how to sidestep problems from the off.

The problem with having a high profile

With writing success comes an increased profile. And that might make you more of a target for unscrupulous lawyers and fortune-seekers who want to cash in on your success. David explains how his work as an attorney helps authors safeguard themselves against such attacks.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:24] Summary of last week’s recording experience and gathering.
  • [1:55] The importance of the “legal” side of self publishing and introduction to today’s guest.
  • [6:13] Why the legal side of publishing can become a big problem if you’re not careful.
  • [10:20] What steps should authors take to prevent legal troubles?
  • [17:30] The issue of privacy: How authors need to protect themselves from lawsuits.
  • [23:23] How legal counsel can be accessible to the everyday author.
  • [26:00] A situation in James’ book he’s probably going to change for legal reasons.
  • [34:19] What happens when authors reject legal counsel they might receive?
  • [36:22] Do you need a disclaimer passage in your books?

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SPF-042: Self Publishing 101 – The Lowdown – With Mark Dawson

It’s been on the slate ever since The Self Publishing Formula came to be: to create an easy to access course that indie authors could use to have the myriad of options and processes involved in launching or sustaining a successful author careers explained to them in plain English and easy-to-follow tutorials by someone who’s been there and done it. After months of painstaking research, writing, recording, editing and multiple revisions, that course – Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing 101 – is now available for a limited period. Pre-launch beta testers and early adopters are buzzing with excitement about it and you’ll hear – and see if you watch our podcast on YouTube – their enthusiastic feedback for yourself on this episode of the podcast.

Who is this publishing 101 course ideal for?

With a name like “Self Publishing 101,” you might think that the most basic steps about writing, formatting and publishing a book yourself are what’s covered. And you’d be right. But this particular course doesn’t stop there. Mark and the team have included steps for helping you establish yourself as an author brand, how to find your audience, how to use social media effectively to promote yourself and your books, how to gather emails and build a list of rabid fans. And the list goes on and on. Tune in to learn more about the exciting, jam-packed course curriculum.

They told me I didn’t need the course because of my experience. They were wrong.

One of our beta testers for the Self Publishing 101 course is a woman who’s been writing and publishing her own books for many years. Her writer friends decried her use of the course telling her she’d be wasting her time. But what she discovered was the same thing that is true of many experienced authors: the platform on which she had built her career was shaky. Through the course, she’s now been able to make some major refinements and tweaks to the way she operates as an indie author. You can hear more about her reaction – and why she thinks the course is woefully underpriced – in this episode.

When a self-publishing course is not just a self-publishing course.

It’s one thing to include the basics of how to write, format, and publish a book on your own in a self publishing 101 course. It’s an additional step to take you into the brand building and fan attraction machines that every successful author needs to master. It’s even more valuable when the course provides tangible examples of the resources and tools you can use to make your life as an author and entrepreneur easier. But with access to a large supportive community of fellow authors coming as part of the package, the team at SPF are convinced that they’re close to achieving their main aim with Self-Publishing 101: to make it the gold standard course in its sector. But they’re not alone in thinking that as you’ll hear from the guests on this week’s show.

The best pricing on the Self Publishing 101 Course is NOW.

The SPF team has created the Self Publishing 101 course and it’s AVAILABLE NOW for a very limited period (until 14th December at the latest). The current price is $397 as a one-off purchase or by way of 12 monthly instalments of $39. Whilst SPF are planning a second launch sometime well into 2017, they can guarantee that it will never be available again at this starter price. Purchasing the course provides you with lifetime access to the course, the associated communities and a host of VIP bonuses (that are worth more than the price of the course). Future updates to the course will also be free. So for $400 you’ll be getting a proven, long-lasting, evergreen set of instructional materials that will add rocket fuel to your self-publishing career. No wonder the guests on today’s show are so excited!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:21] James’ introduction to the group today, Mark, John, and James.
  • [1:10] The overview of this episode: The 101 Course unpacked.
  • [2:38] Mark’s thoughts about the way the course has turned out.
  • [5:12] The response from the online course community.
  • [6:50] Who this course is ideal for.
  • [11:06] Beta tester testimonials and feedback for the course.
  • [12:30] “I didn’t expect it to be as comprehensive as it is” ~ a beta tester.
  • [16:30] “a very compact DIY kit for self publishing.” ~ beta tester
  • [18:40] How this publishing 101 course cuts your learning curve down.
  • [20:13] The pricing of the course – and why it’s at its lowest price ever right now..
  • [23:00] The interactive groups and support associated with the course.
  • [27:05] “It really does guide you through the steps you need to take…” ~ beta tester.
  • [28:21] “It’s not just the individual areas that are helpful, it’s the depth in which they are addressed.” ~ beta tester.
  • [29:55] “Mark is teaching me how to swim through the shark-infested waters of self publishing.” ~ beta tester.
  • [30:52] “I had quite a few people tell me that I didn’t need the course, but that’s proven not to be true… I had built the house but my foundation was shaky.” ~ beta tester.
  • [32:00] “This course covers it all.” ~ beta tester.
  • [34:12] “For $400 it’s an absolute steal!” ~ beta tester
  • [35:50] “If you don’t know it and you can’t find it in this course, it doesn’t exist.” ~ beta tester
  • [38:16] The refund on the Self Publishing 101 course is always available – and once you buy it, it’s yours for life and will be updated as things change.

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SPF-041: How Do You Define Success As An Author? – with Author and Self Publishing Coach Elizabeth Lyons

How do you define success? Is it in the number of books you sell? Is it in the money you make or the raving feedback you receive from fans of your books? Or is it simply that you got your book written? As you can tell there are a number of ways different people might define success as a self-published author and none of them are wrong. But asking and answering the question is crucial if you are going to have a sustained and personally fulfilling career as an author. Today’s guest is Elizabeth Lyons. The mindset issues that fuel her writing have led her to write about and coach authors extensively on the importance of developing a clear sense of WHY behind their writing. You’ll learn a lot about the serious and confident mindset that fuels Elizabeth and many other successful authors from this conversation.

Why you need to define your own brand of success as an author.
If you don’t know what you’re looking to achieve as an author you’ll never know if you’ve hit it. You’ll also not be able to weather the storms of negative response, missed deadlines, editorial feedback, and a host of other things that make it difficult to persevere as an author. This conversation could provide that missing sense of clarity you need to push you forward over the edge.

What to do if the creative side of writing makes it hard to treat it as a business.
Writing is inherently creative. There’s no doubt about that fact. It’s for that reason that many authors find it difficult to make the mindset shift that is required to effectively approach the business side of their writing. But it’s absolutely necessary if your books are going to make any kind of financial difference in your life. Elizabeth has some great advice for those authors who find it hard to make the switch between creative and business person. Her advice could help you get over the hump and finally start seeing yourself and the work you are producing as things worthy of other people’s money. Curious yet? Find out more on this episode.

How do you define success if you never get started?
Unspoken behind the concept of self-publishing is the fact that the author himself or herself is the one doing the work of getting the book published. That can take on a variety of forms but the fact remains that the end result is due in large measure to the author’s work and nobody else’s. Because the “getting started” phase of self-publishing can be intimidating for those who have no experience at publishing the team The Self Publishing Formula have put together their “Self Publishing 101” course. It’s packed full of step by step instructions to help you get off the ground and walk your book project all the way through the final draft, publication, and promotion. Find out more about how you can get the course on this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:22] The Self-Publishing 101 course is LIVE!
  • [1:17] The feedback being received from Beta users of the course.
  • [2:10] Today’s guest, Elizabeth Lyons and the issue of mindset behind your writing.
  • [4:20] Introduction of Liz and the importance of having meaning behind your author career.
  • [7:10] Why it is OK to say, “I’m writing to make money.”
  • [9:21] The mindset approach self-publishing authors need to develop.
  • [15:07] Advice for those who feel uncomfortable running a business.
  • [17:56] What it looks like to build relationship with customers in the digital world.
  • [23:46] How Liz has learned to be herself from writing non-fiction.
  • [28:04] The challenge of living with negative responses.
  • [35:01] The tools Elizabeth has created to help authors.

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SPF-040: Personal Branding For Authors – with Branding Expert Chris Ducker

Personal branding. If you spend any time with online entrepreneurs (and you should if you’re an author) you hear that phrase all the time. But what EXACTLY does it mean, and how can it increase book sales and advance your career as an author? There’s nobody better to explain it than our guest today, Chris Ducker. He’s a fellow Brit who’s made quite a name for himself as an online entrepreneur, author, podcaster, and brand expert. You’re going to get some very practical tips from Chris on this episode so be sure you set aside the time to listen and learn. Then take action!

Why being different is more important than being better.

The role that personal branding plays in your marketing arsenal is not about positioning but differentiation. And that is where a focus on branding yourself as an author is worth gold to your career. Chris unpacks why being different is more important than being better on this episode of The Self Publishing Formula.

Why you need to begin creating online content. Now.

When asked how authors can get started building a personal brand Chris said that one of the most important things they need to do is to begin creating a repository of online content. Blog posts, videocasts, podcasts, ebooks – anything that might prove helpful to the people who are interested in you or your books. It’ll help you to be seen as a unique resource and authority on the issues that they actively engage in. Chris says that too few authors take this seriously, and too few of the ones who do take it seriously actually do it well. It’s a simple way to stand out in the crowded self-publishing space.

Relationships should be treasured, not used.

When Chris talks about building a following he makes it very clear that you should never see people as a commodity, even though it is people who pay for your living as an author. The relationships you have with your audience are important for their own sake and you need to be clear about that. People can sense if you really care about them, if they matter to you – so you want to make sure you have this issue settled in your own mind and heart. Chris says that relationships (even with fans) should be treasured, not used. Find out more about how you can build the right kind of relationship with your fans in this episode.

People are happy to pay for access to experts. That’s why personal branding matters.

Most authors think that the only way they can make money as an author is through book sales. But that’s the furthest thing from the truth. On this episode of the podcast, Chris gives a handful of examples of how he’s helped authors build a significant income from their writing without it being solely through book sales. Are you curious? Chris draws from a wealth of information and experience and you’ll find his approach extremely helpful, so be sure you take the time to listen.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:34] James and Mark introduce this episode with Chris Ducker.
  • [1:17] A special announcement: The winners of our Reedsy giveaway!
  • [2:52] Mark’s latest speaking opportunities.
  • [5:45] Update on the 101 course production.
  • [11:25] Who IS Chris Ducker?
  • [13:20] The changes Chris has seen online since he first began.
  • [15:48] The importance of building your brand as an author.
  • [18:00] Practical steps to brand building that authors should consider.
  • [20:24] Do you really want to give away a ton of free content?
  • [22:28] How would fiction authors handle this issue differently?
  • [25:22] What should authors look for in terms of virtual assistants?
  • [29:50] Chris’ perspective on what’s going on in the digital business world.
  • [34:07] The only change entrepreneurs should be focused on.

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SPF-039: The One Stop Shop for Formatting and Distributing Books – with Draft2Digital’s Kevin Tumlinson

The SPF team has been very impressed with the platform and service of the team at Draft2Digital. Their service has a two-pronged approach to help self-published authors with some of the most important aspects of self-publishing – and the service ensures that no financial investment is required until a book actually sells. On this episode, James chats with Kevin Tumlinson, a self-published author himself who works with the Draft2Digital team. Together they lift the lid on how D2D works, what it can do for self-published authors, and how the pricing model makes it easy for anyone to submit top quality ebooks to every digital platform.

Formatting your book can be a nightmare. Draft2Digital makes it easy for free.

In case you haven’t noticed or you are a brand new author looking to self-publish, all of the online ebook vendors (Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, etc.) have differing digital requirements for books submitted for distribution on their platforms. That means you’ve either got to format the book yourself or you hire it out to someone to do it for you. But not anymore. The Draft2Digital team has created an online manuscript conversion tool that will provide you with all the major ebook formats – and it’s free. If you want to learn how you can use the tool, what it’s capable of doing, and how it integrates with the D2D submission system, you’ve got to hear this episode.

Get all the self-publishing goods up front without paying a thing.

As writers themselves, the team at Draft2Digital understand the particular pain points authors experience. They also know that many self-published authors don’t have any real marketing budget and that their time is one of their most valuable commodities. That’s why they’ve arranged their platform in such a way that you can both format your books professionally and have them distributed to ALL the major platforms – without paying anything up front. Find out more details about how the platform works on this episode.

Digital income makes a nomadic lifestyle possible for self-published authors.

Finally, Kevin and James get to talk about Kevin’s new venture which will see him and his wife travelling the US in their newly purchased RV. One of the main motivations for doing this was to stimulate his creativity and thinking for his own writing by getting out to experience more of the world. He knows that new places and new people generate new ideas and he’s excited about the possibilities their travels could have for future books. You can hear how Kevin and his wife are getting on in their adventure on this episode. Who knows, maybe it will spark you to go on a nomadic adventure of your own!

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:23] James and Mark welcome you to this episode with guest, Kevin Tumlinson.
  • [1:00] Update on the upcoming 101 course development.
  • [3:40] James’ invite onto Radio 4 in the UK.
  • [8:08] James’ introduction to Kevin Tumlinson and the Draft2Digital platform.
  • [10:15] The formatting issues authors face and why they are important.
  • [14:30] The nightmare of trying to get your book onto the online retailers, and how D2D helps you do it.
  • [18:01] How Draft2Digital can help you with the income and tax side of author income.
  • [19:34] How D2D makes their income through these services.
  • [22:00] Why the platform only charges authors after the book is successful.
  • [26:02] Kevin Tumlinson’s work as an author.
  • [31:29] Kevin’s experiment with mobile living.
  • [34:46] How the new living arrangements impact Kevin’s workflow and podcast.
  • [43:33] Mark’s story about working with the Draft2Digital team.

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SPF-038: How iAuthor Can Give Your Books Greater Visibility – with Adam Kolczynski


One of the best things about self-publishing is that anyone can publish a book. One of the worst things about self-publishing is that anyone can publish a book. The marketplace is getting more and more crowded with new authors appearing on Amazon and other online book outlets every day. How do you stand out from the crowd? There are a handful of effective ways but Adam Kolczynski has taken a different approach with the creation of his free platform iAuthor. On today’s episode, you will hear how authors and readers alike are using iAuthor to discover and promote books with very impressive results.

iAuthor is not your typical book listing service.

There are many places online where you can make your books available, but when there are already numerous books and authors vying for visibility it’s hard for a new offering to become known. Adam and the team at iAuthor are making that problem much easier to deal with through their unique way of making books available to their user base. You can promote your book through typical genre listings but also through themes – a unique way of telling a bit more about your book and who may find it enjoyable.

A new twist on the Amazon-type book discovery models that seems to be working.

When you list your book on iAuthor you’re able to categorize it like normal but also make it a part of broader thematic searches within the system. The site can work very much like a social media network where users are able to follow authors and other readers, interact about books on the platform, make comments and have discussions, and much more. Adam explains why he created the platform and how it can help you get your books discovered by people who are eagerly searching for new books.

The iAuthor platform treats self-published and traditionally published authors the same.

James and Mark have long talked about a move they foresee where traditional publishers will be forced to work alongside indie published authors without forcing them to give up their publishing rights. It’s a move that will gradually blur the line between traditional and self-publishing. iAuthor already works along those lines, not even asking or considering whether the book you submit is traditionally or self-published.

The Self Publishing 101 course is coming!

Mark, James, John, and the entire Self Publishing Formula team have been hard at work on the videos and modules that will make up the 101 course – and though they are eager for you to see it they also want to make sure that it’s got every single step and resource you need in order to self-publish your own book. On this episode, James and Mark discuss the challenges of putting the course together and provide some insight as to what it’s likely to contain when it launches at the end of this month.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:57] Our introduction to the topic of visibility and today’s guest.
  • [2:50] Mark’s latest feedback from his editor.
  • [5:30] How feedback from an editor is typically handled.
  • [7:30] James’ editing process as it stands presently.
  • [11:43] The latest progress concerning the upcoming course.
  • [13:29] The need for visibility done right.
  • [15:00] Adam’s experience as an author and author service company owner.
  • [16:30] The problems that contribute the the visibility problems authors face.
  • [18:10] The ways Adam and his team are attacking the visibility problem.
  • [21:30] How authors can use the platform to promote their books.
  • [31:58] Utilizing the paid features of the platform to get even more reach.
  • [35:20] How the platform is laid out for beauty and exposure for authors.
  • [43:02] Blurring the lines between traditional publishing and self publishing.
  • [46:10] What you need to be able to do to make use of iAuthor.

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SPF-037: Writing Against the Odds – with Author, T.J.Garrett


What you’ll hear on this episode of the Self Publishing Formula is nothing short of empowering. Tony Garrett is a new and very successful author, (writing as ‘T.J.Garrett’), pulling in over $30K per month in book sales. But in order to get to that point he’s had to overcome a degenerative disease that makes it almost impossible for him to see. When Tony discovered that technology could enable him to read again, new doors of possibility were opened for him. On this episode, you can hear Tony’s story from his own lips, how technology and the help of friends and family made all the difference, and how resilience and determination enabled him to teach himself how to successfully market his books and generate sales.

Self-publishing changed his life forever – and that’s no overstatement.

Tony was entirely supported by public assistance due to his degenerative eye disease when he discovered that his electronic tablet could place white text on a black background and increase the font size – which in turn allowed him to be able to read for the first time since he finished his schooling. Halfway through reading “The Hobbit” Tony felt inspired to write. His success has been truly amazing. He’s been able to get off public assistance, finance his kids’ education, and live a lifestyle he never thought possible. He details how he worked to improve his writing, get it published on Amazon and promote it successfully.

How did a self-published, blind author promote his books so effectively ($30K/mo in sales)?

After Tony overcame the odds and successfully published his first book, the real work began. He knew that the only way his books would sell and be a financial success that could support his family was if more and more people became aware of his books. That’s when he took to promotions, Facebook Ads, building an email list, and much more in an effort to get his book in front of as many sets of eyes as possible. The result is a highly successful career as a self-published author. You can hear more of Tony’s tips for successful book marketing on this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:11] Introduction to this episode by James and Mark.
  • [2:00] What’s going to be inside the Self Publishing 101 Course?
  • [7:18] How you can join the FB groups SPF offers.
  • [8:05] Who is T.J. Garrett?
  • [10:49] The difficulties Tony had reading, much less writing and how things changed.
  • [12:43] Steps Tony has taken to improve his writing.
  • [14:51] Tony’s first published book, summer of 2015 – 10 books since!
  • [15:50] How Tony built his audience and marketing channels.
  • [18:30] The emotional impact of Tony’s writing success.
  • [21:07] Tony’s recommendations for new authors.
  • [22:45] The kind of help Tony has found in various places.
  • [25:21] The role Kindle Unlimited has played in Tony’s success.
  • [26:40] The encouragement Tony gives to those with disabilities.

Resources & Links Mentioned In This Episode

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SPF-036: Working With Your Spouse as an Author Business Team with Natasha Boyd and Charlotte Byrd


Working with your spouse may not be your idea of a perfect work environment, but many authors are discovering it’s a natural next step once success comes knocking on their door. If you’ve listened to the Self Publishing Formula you know that Mark and James often speak of the real work it is to become self-supporting as an author. It’s a reality that our guests on this episode have come to realize – and they’ve enlisted help in sharing the workload. In both cases, their husbands have come on board the business bus to help with marketing, launches, and more. On this episode, you’ll hear from successful authors Natasha Boyd and Charlotte Byrd as well as their husbands, their new partners in business.

If you’ve considered working with your spouse, this should be encouraging.

Today’s episode features two successful self-published authors who are not only making a living via their writing but are also clearing enough income on a monthly basis to enable their husbands to quit their 9 to 5 jobs and come on board as part of the business team. You’ll hear the struggles and the triumphs involved in making that kind of transition and why both couples feel it was the best move they could have made on a number of different levels.

The business side of being an author can easily swallow up the time needed for writing.

That is exactly why Natasha and Charlotte – successful writers and businesswomen in their own rights – have decided to bring their husbands into their writing businesses as full partners. Both discovered that they simply weren’t having the time to produce the great books their fans had become accustomed to because they were too busy figuring out how to market, build email lists, interact with fans and everything else that goes into building a business as an author. You can hear their stories and get insight from their husbands about what it’s been like to come alongside their wives to create an even more effective business.

It is entirely possible to make a substantial living through writing.

If you’ve always wanted to be a writer but have wondered if it’s really possible to make a living doing it, the answer is a clear and emphatic “YES!” But… you have to understand that it doesn’t happen simply by writing a great book, putting it on Amazon, and watching the money come in. Charlotte can attest to that approach not working out, which is why she’s taken the time to learn what it takes to build a business that promotes and supports her writing.

A successful writing career depends on more than a talent with words.

The self-publishing space is becoming more crowded by the day which means that authors with genuine talent are becoming more and more common. How do you stand out? How do you find the fan base that can support your writing full time? It’s through the business side of a writing career – through marketing, sales, list building, and much more. Listen in as James chats with two successful authors who are just as committed to making the business side of things work as they are writing excellent novels.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:01]How you can win $3,000 from Reedsy!
  • [1:55] Why Mark recommends Facebook LIVE to connect with readers.
  • [2:44] Who does Mark’s business stuff for him?
  • [6:12] Natasha Boyd’s self publishing journey.
  • [9:40] How Natasha got an agent so early on in her career.
  • [12:05] What Natasha has come to understand about writing faster (or not).
  • [20:05] Natasha’s husband Stephen has joined her business through marketing.
  • [23:10] Why Natasha views her writing as a career and business.
  • [26:41] Introduction to Charlotte Byrd and the launch of her career as a writer.
  • [30:20] How Charlotte’s husband has gotten involved in the business.
  • [35:13] The reality of a substantial living through a writing business.
  • [40:21] How the family business is a throwback to the past.

Resources & Links Mentioned In This Episode

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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-034: How to Format An Ebook The Easy Way with Brad and Brad From Vellum


If you haven’t gotten far enough in your self-publishing career to worry about formatting your ebook, you’ve got some learning ahead. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s quite complicated. Instead of there being one format that all of the ebook platforms use, each of them has their own file type that they use. But before you go off and do that we’ve got a great solution for you. Brad and Brad are the creators of some great Mac software called Vellum and it takes all the difficulty out of the ebook formatting process to allow you to easily submit books in every format you’ll need. You can hear how to get and use Vellum on this episode.

Does your ebook need to be in ePub, MOBI, or PDF? Yes.

Every book publishing platform out there – iBooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo – has its own preferred way for you to submit your book for publication. Some of them even require their own technical format or file type (such as Amazon’s MOBI files). If you want your books to be available in the broadest possible way you’ll want to be able to submit them to all platforms. But you don’t want to become a software coding genius in order to do it. Enter Vellum, a powerful and beautiful piece of software that takes all of the guesswork and headache out of the formatting process so you can stay focused on your writing and be confident that once you decide on one of their pre-installed formats and make your own customized tweaks to it, your book is going to come out just as it should. Learn more about Vellum on this episode of The Self Publishing Formula.

This has got to be the easiest way to get pictures that work into an ebook.

They guys at Vellum have worked very hard to figure out the technical aspects of what it takes to place images into the content of ebooks. That’s because the two of them are former software designers for Pixar who decided to create their own book formatting software to make it simple for authors to produce beautiful books every time, no matter the publishing platform they use. That includes books with images. Find out how you can test out Vellum for free, on this episode.

Here are the options for formatting your ebook.

There are tons of tutorials on Youtube showing you how to use MS Word to create and format an ebook. That’s fine. You can go that route. When you do, you’ll wind up making a series of adjustments to your final product to dial everything in and have it come out looking how you want it to look. Alternatively, you can use a free tool (there are many of them online). That’s fine too. But wouldn’t it be better if you had one amazing tool to format your ebook perfectly, with great headings, drop caps, headers and footers, and images? You can do exactly that with Vellum. Find out more from the creators of Vellum on this episode.

Would you like $3000 worth of free editing and creative services for your book?

The Self Publishing Formula is holding a contest in co-operation with Reedsy to give one lucky winner $3000 worth of publishing services that could include editing, cover design, formatting, and much more. Anyone can enter and you can also get more entries by sharing the contest with others – and when they click on the link you shared with them you are entered into the contest again. This episode of the Self Publishing Formula contains the details of how you can enter to win, so be sure you take some time to listen.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:14] Introduction to this episode of the podcast.
  • [7:41] The topic of formatting.
  • [12:09] Vellum – what is it and how does it work?
  • [13:14] What makes for good formatting in a book?
  • [16:10] How the two Brads got started in business and came up with the idea.
  • [19:36] The varying ways you can purchase the Vellum packages.
  • [23:38] How the guys came up with their pricing model and designed it for authors.
  • [27:36] Any future verticals for the business?
  • [28:53] The variety of looks Vellum can produce for your book.
  • [31:00] Future developments for the platform.
  • [31:53] Available tutorials and other ways to learn the software.

Resources & Links Mentioned In This Episode

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SPF-033: How You Can Win $3000 Worth of Publishing Tools – with Ricardo Fayet of Reedsy


Many of the publishing tools indie authors need to access are hard to find – at least with the quality and trustworthiness you need in order to make your book of the highest quality. That’s why Ricardo Fayet and the folks at Reedsy developed their online platform. It’s a site that brings together editors, graphic artists, and many other professionals who are experienced in the book publication process so that you don’t have to spend days searching the internet to find the tools and professionals you need. In this interview, we chat about the ways Reedsy interface can help you put together a first-class book.

How traditional publishing editors are transitioning into the self-publishing space.

With the changes that have come to the publishing industry in just the last 10 years, many professionals who have worked for decades in the traditional publishing world are finding themselves with much less work than they used to enjoy. Ricardo and the team at Reedsy saw an opportunity in that shift in the publishing world and created a platform for editors, artists, and others to pivot into the self-publishing space. In this episode, you’re going to learn how you can find and utilize the services of all kinds of professionals to make your book shine.

A free book writing tool that takes the hassle out of book conversions.

One of the real pain points of self-publishing is the various conversions that have to be made to ensure your book is able to be read and used on all platforms. ePub, MOBI, PDF – it’s a mind-boggling array of options that you have to learn. Until now. Reedsy provides a free book writing and editing tool that can help you automatically format and convert your text to fit the specific needs of each publishing platform. You no longer have to struggle, search YouTube in vain for tutorials or figure it out on your own. The Reedsy team has made it simple. Find out about this incredible publishing tool on this episode.

Looking for a professional book cover designer? How do you know who to trust?

There’s nothing worse than taking a chance on a graphic artist you’ve never worked with before only to get back a piece of artwork that you’re not happy with. The back and forth of getting it just right is part of the process, but when the design is not professional to begin with the process is much more difficult. Reedsy provides an array of professional, vetted graphic designers who are able to take your book cover concept and make it a reality for you. You’ll find your experience with their cover designers a pleasure rather than a burden. Find out more how you can take advantage of the various tools the Reedsy team has to offer self-published authors on this episode.

Would you like to win $3000 of book publishing services?

On this episode of the Self Publishing Formula podcast our guest Ricardo has a generous offer for one lucky SPF listener. He’s giving you the opportunity to enter a giveaway where the prize is $3000 worth of professional services from Reedsy contractors. That could include editing, cover work, or whatever you feel you need the most – and you can use it any way you like. In addition, there are three runners-up prizes of $600 worth of book design.

Find out how the contest works, how you can enter, and what you can do to increase your odds of winning by listening to this episode or visiting www.selfpublishingformula.com/reedsy.

Outline of this great episode

  • [1:18] Introduction to this week’s episode and interview guest.
  • [2:23] The progress of the new course.
  • [3:09] Mark’s upcoming book launch.
  • [8:15] How and why Ricardo started his platform.
  • [9:20] The key area’s Ricardo’s platform helps writers with.
  • [16:03] Formatting issues in a book.
  • [19:08] What Reedsy actually is and how authors benefit from it.
  • [22:04] The cover design and selection process.
  • [26:30] How the Reedsy team chooses their editors.
  • [29:04] The contest The SPF team is doing with Reedsy.

Resources & Links mentioned in this episode

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SPF-032: An Inspirational Self Publishing Success Story – with Elicia Hyder


Self publishing success stories are becoming more and more common. The opportunity to write and benefit from your books is now very real. During their recent trip to the United States for the NINC conference, Mark and James were able to meet a number of SPF students, one of whom was Elicia Hyder. She is one of the many people who has not only replaced their normal income through self publishing, but exceeded it. This delightful conversation was recorded poolside at the hotel where the NINC conference was hosted, and will serve as a shot in the arm for anyone who’s willing to work hard for their self publishing success. You can do it!

A cancer diagnosis right after being offered a traditional publishing deal.

Once Elicia had her novel written she began making inquiries to a handful of agents, one of whom responded almost immediately. It was a very exciting response that told Elicia that her book truly had promise. But hot on the heels of an offer from that agent came the news that she had cancer. Putting her publishing dream on hold she dug in to fight the cancer and beat it. Once she was ready to focus on her book again she began to see that she had the means to publish on her own more successfully than with any traditional publisher – because she was willing to work harder for her own success than they ever would. You can hear what she did and how she went about it on this episode.

Building an email list and setting up Facebook ads to fuel her book sales.

When Elicia began to market her books in earnest she did so with the experience of her digital marketing background. One thing she knew was that an email list was her first order of business. Through self-study, she learned how to set up the systems to make it happen and began collecting email addresses of those interested in her work. The next step for her was to unpack and master the Facebook ads system. She heard about Mark’s course but decided that she could do it on her own – and discovered that she was missing some key components in the process. That’s when she decided to invest in the course. The results she saw were tremendous and almost immediate. You can hear her entire story on this episode of the Self Publishing Formula.

Self publishing success is entirely possible, but not easy.

As Elicia’s story shows, success at self publishing is entirely possible. But if you listen to what she has to share she’s also very clear about how much diligence and hard work go into the process on a consistent basis. This is a woman who works hard for the success she’s experiencing. If you’re curious as to what that kind of hard work looks like you can hear Elicia’s version of it on this episode. You’ll also hear her pep talk to anyone who’s willing to do the work, and about what they might be able to achieve by self publishing.

Is your self publishing promotion and sales missing a few key components?

Just like Elicia discovered, there are some very important, small adjustments that make all the difference in the success or failure of marketing a self published book. When she was able to understand those things and put them into practice, all her efforts began to pay off. The most vital of those was the Facebook Ads for Authors course that Mark has created. Listen to this episode to find out why Facebook ads are one of the key pieces of the marketing puzzle, and how it can be used for authors, or anyone wanting to promote their product effectively.

Outline of this great episode

  • [1:03] Mark and James chat about their trip to the U.S.
  • [2:26] How the NINC conference works and the benefits of the guys going.
  • [10:42] The power of the Facebook for Authors course: first hand testimonies.
  • [15:30] Elicia Hyder’s story of how she pitched her books: and her diagnosis with cancer.
  • [19:30] How Elicia Hyder first came to know of Mark’s course and why she thought she could do it on her own.
  • [21:05] How Elicia Hyder’s cancer battle has progressed.
  • [22:03] Why she turned down a traditional publishing offer.
  • [23:36] The income figures for her book sales today.
  • [27:30] The things that make Elicia Hyder work as hard as she does.
  • [32:23] How you can connect with Elicia Hyder .
  • [32:48] Upcoming podcast episode you can look forward to.

Resources & Links mentioned in this episode

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SPF-031: Creating a Bestselling Book Cover – with Stuart Bache


There are many book cover creators and designers out there but none with the expertise and experience of today’s guest on the podcast. Stuart Bache has not only designed books for Mark Dawson but also for many other bestselling authors such as John le Carre and Stephen King. On this episode we chat with Stuart about his own journey into book cover creation and pick his brain about the steps new and aspiring authors can take towards creating their own book covers. You won’t find a person better qualified or gifted at doing what Stuart does. That’s why his willingness to share his experience and thoughts on the podcast means so much to us.

The road to becoming a professional book cover designer.

Stuart was still in college when a mentor began pulling him into some design work for clients creating, amongst other things, book covers. It was during that time in his life that he began to meet and work with some of the best-selling authors of the day. His approach has always been to make the book not only attractive but have the cover design trigger immediate and long-lasting engagement with potential readers. In the digital world of self-publishing, provoking this kind of response is crucial. Find out how and where Stuart begins his book cover creation process, on this episode of The Self Publishing Formula.

What does a book cover designer need from an author to fashion a great cover?

When Mark began working with Stuart on the creation of book covers for his novels he was asked a short series of questions about his books. What’s the story synopsis? Who are the main characters? What are the locations of where the book is set? From there Stuart set off to create a book cover to represent the entire story arc. On today’s episode Stuart generously shares the types of things he does to make a cover stand out – from imagery to shading and typesetting. Tune in for plenty of cover design tips!

Simple rules to follow for a great book cover.

It’s tempting to use all the bells and whistles in a program like Photoshop to create a visual spectacle of a book cover. But Stuart advises you to resist the urge to over complicate your book cover and instead, opt for simplicity. In this conversation, Stuart points out the kinds of things that make for a simple but effective book cover and explains why book cover creators who are successful have mastered the tricky art of keeping it simple. It’s all on this episode of The Self Publishing Formula.

If you don’t want to create your own book covers, here’s another great option.

Stuart understands that up and coming self-published authors might be on a budget, so he’s come up with a way for authors to use his design skills. You’ll be introduced to Stuart’s new design service that offers some of his cool designs in a template style format that can be edited to create a unique cover. It’s a great way to get some outstanding design work for your self-published book.

Outline of this great episode:

  • [1:04] Things to expect from the podcast in the next few weeks.
  • [2:50] The interview topic today: book covers.
  • [6:57] How Stuart approaches his creative process and communicates with authors.
  • [11:03] Multiple concepts for a book cover to start.
  • [15:31] How Mark and Stuart work together to create great covers.
  • [19:17] The tools Stuart uses to create his work.
  • [21:24] How Photoshop can be used by authors.
  • [24:01] The resolution and sizes Stuart creates for book covers.
  • [27:12] Suggestions for starting out with book cover design.
  • [33:12] The process of the work being done on the upcoming course.
  • [35:31] Stuart’s new venture.

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SPF-030: Bestselling Books Made into Movies with Author A.G. Riddle


It’s every author’s dream to have their books made into movies and today’s guest, A.G. Riddle might be about to realize that dream. His best-selling series of books has already had the movie rights purchased and he waits to hear from the studio as to what the next steps will be. But Gerry is amazingly at ease with it all, taking his success and the possibility of a movie deal in his stride. On this episode we talk about the movies and a good deal more that has to do with his self publishing journey, writing routines, mental toughness, and the things he believes have brought success to his writing career.

Two years to write the first book – and very little promotion after that.

It’s not a formula for success that A.G. Riddle recommends to other writers but it’s what really happened in his case. He spent 2 years researching and writing the first book in his series – The Atlantis Gene – then published the book to Amazon, sent out a promo to his email list, and waited. It was slow going at first but over time the momentum increased and his book sales exploded. He’s still astounded at the success that the initial book had and is glad that the follow-up books, and a stand-alone book, have also done well. You can hear what Gerry says about book promotion and marketing at this point in his career and why he recommends email lists as a powerful way to get launched.

Reader interaction and relationships are keys to a successful writing career.

In this new “social” digital age, interaction with readers has never been easier and A.G. Riddle says that it’s one of the things about being an author he enjoys the most. He feels that the depth and genuine nature of the relationships he’s able to establish with those reading his books is a large part of what makes a new release so successful. His loyal fan base is quick to set the initial charge and the Amazon search algorithms take over from there to expand his book sales. You can hear what Gerry does to keep up fan interaction on this episode of the podcast.

Having his books made into movies is great, but he’s not holding his breath.

Gerry is quick to point out that the studio simply has the option to make the movie and that the option is a ticking clock that will expire if further steps are not taken. He knows it would be a great asset to see the movies made but isn’t counting on it. He’d rather stay busy writing and building his fan base than place all his hopes on a movie deal. You can get to know best-selling author A.G. Riddle on this episode of The Self Publishing Formula.

Success in self publishing is not defined by movie deals.

With the recent breakout success of Andy Weir’s book “The Martian” and the Matt Damon movie that was made from it, many self published authors have come to see books turned to movies as the ultimate sign of success. But A.G. Riddle doesn’t agree. Even though he’s got a movie deal in the works, what matters to him is the impact his stories are having on people. In this conversation, he recounts a letter he received from one reader who told him how his books got him through a difficult period in his life and kept him encouraged and hopeful. That is the kind of impact that matters – to Gerry – and to you.

Outline of this great episode

  • [1:42] A get together for SPF listeners at the NINC conference.
  • [3:16] Today’s guest: A.G. Riddle, author of “The Atlantis Gene.’
  • [5:25] How A.G. got his first book release to blow up.
  • [8:40] How Gerry launched the book and promoted sales.
  • [11:05] Why authors need to develop mental toughness.
  • [15:44] A.G.’s daily routine.
  • [20:40] How important is reader interaction and relationship for A.G.?
  • [22:08] The use and benefits of a mailing list.
  • [23:12] The idea of offering bonus content on the website.
  • [24:32] A.G.’s decisions regarding Indie VS traditional publishing.
  • [27:18] How the Atlantis Gene series became traditionally published in foreign markets.
  • [28:57] The films that are being made of A.G.’s books.
  • [31:22] Daily word counts, character development and research, the actual craft.
  • [36:39] Pricing strategies and how they came about.

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SPF-029: Indie Author Support from the Alliance of Independent Authors – with Orna Ross


Like more and more traditionally published authors these days, Orna Ross took her rights back from a large traditional publisher to re-publish her books herself. Because she was the one in charge she was able to do it in the manner she’d always wanted. That was in 2011. At The London Book Fair in 2012, she launched ALLi, the Alliance of Independent Authors. Her work for ALLi has gotten her a good deal of notice. She’s been named in The Bookseller’s “Top 100 People in Publishing.” We are honoured to have Orna on The Self Publishing Podcast and on this episode you’ll hear her story, what ALLi is doing to help Independent Authors, and learn how you can be involved with the group.

Looking for support in your self-publishing journey? The Alliance of Independent Authors may be the place for you.

The ALLi (pronounced “Al-eye”) offers friendship and collaboration for those self-published authors who often feel alone on their publishing journey. The advice and education, advocacy, and representation offered enables authors to self-publish in a professional manner. It’s quickly grown to have thousands of members all over the world. From basic self-publishing help to issues surrounding book rights, translation rights, and sales in foreign markets, ALLi is the best friend of many indie authors. You can find out more about ALLi and learn how you can join the group, on this episode.

There’s an uncommon bond of fellowship between independent authors.

The self-publishing community is an amazing group of people, each person working diligently to write great books and get them to their readers, but also willing to lend a hand to other authors who are on the road a bit further behind them. On this episode, Orna explains how the ALLi membership helps each other through events, website forums, and more – and explains the benefits of coming together in such a supportive community of like-minded authors.

Trade publishing can’t stop what indie authors are bringing to the industry.

The trade publishing industry is struggling to keep up with indies. We are finding more and better ways to write, publish, and market our work in record time – and with incredible success. Orna believes that in time there will be a greater synergy between traditional and self-publishing, but she is hesitant to say exactly what that combination might look like. She can see both sides learning from the other, but how it will happen, nobody can predict. You can get more of Orna’s insights into the industry and the world of independent publishing by listening to this episode.

The indie author spirit isn’t seeking validation, it’s seeking something else.

One of the things Orna loves about the world of self-publishing is what she calls the “indie author spirit.” In her view, it’s a spirit of generosity that’s aimed at giving value and wonderful experiences to the readers while at the same time focusing on the business side of publishing. Indie authors seem to understand the importance of relationships with readers and the connections that make those relationships happen in genuine ways. Set aside some time to listen to this episode. You’ll be inspired by what Orna and others are doing to move the indie publishing community forward.

Outline of this great episode

  • [0:01] How you can get in on the new SPF Beta Course for new authors.
  • [1:20] The Youtube Ads for Authors module is released.
  • [5:59] How Orna’s creation of AIA came about by accident.
  • [8:31] The aim of AIA when it comes to ethics in independent publishing.
  • [12:30] The importance of community and fraternity in indie publishing.
  • [15:36] Orna’s advice to brand new indie authors.
  • [19:22] How help happens within The Alliance of Independent Authors.
  • [21:10] The international nature of the alliance.
  • [23:30] The markets in India and Germany.
  • [26:55]  How you can be a part of The Alliance of Independent Authors.
  • [29:27] Orna’s insights into what’s happening in the publishing industry these days.
  • [36:03] Preview of next week’s episode.

Resources & Links mentioned in this episode

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SPF-028 : Success, Marketing and Writing – With Rachel Abbott


Best-selling thriller author, Rachel Abbott is quick to point out that her success is just as surprising to her as it is to anyone. Her skill and her savvy for marketing and sales have combined to make her the best-selling author in the UK on Amazon’s KDP platform. On this episode, you’ll get to hear how Rachel, after an entirely different career in business, got into writing, how she devised and regularly implements an extensive marketing plan for each new book launch, and what she believes it takes to be a successful author these days.

If you want to be a best-selling author, write a book that impacts the reader

That is just one sliver of the advice Rachel has for those who take the time to listen to this episode. It’s her firm belief that you can’t simply write a story: you have to connect the dots between the story and the human experience being portrayed within it. It’s the connection to the reader made by your story that makes the difference and propels them to read your book – and the next one after that. Rachel generously shares her insights and experiences on this episode of The Self Publishing Formula so be sure to set aside the time to listen.

Building awareness is the most important thing for book marketing

Before you even think about selling books you need to consider how people are going to to get to hear about them. One of the most important parts of book marketing is building awareness that your books even exist. On this episode, Rachel explains how she first got started and how that initial set of experiences influenced her current approach to awareness building. She walks us through some of the foundational elements she puts in place to ensure that it happens across a wide variety of media and social channels.

No best-selling author today attains that status by their writing alone

Many self-published authors these days seem to believe that once they write the book it will somehow magically sell itself. But that’s not the case and it’s something that Rachel discovered early on in her writing career. She says that she didn’t become a best-selling author by writing and expecting sales to follow. She’s taken a very aggressive approach to marketing and selling her books including plenty of social media interaction with fans, building an email list, paid advertising, and other tactics. You can hear how this successful author integrates skilful writing with savvy marketing on this episode of the podcast.

Even self-published authors can use a good agent

It does create a little bit of confusion when you first hear that a best-selling self-published author like Rachel Abbott uses an agent. But it’s not the typical approach to hiring an agent that you’ll find in Rachel’s toolbox. Her agent helps her keep abreast of what is going on in the market that Rachel is trying to write for, serves as a sounding board for the book’s structure, plot developments, themes and much more. You can hear Rachel describe this fascinating twist on the standard author-agent relationship on this episode.

Outline of this great episode

  • [0:24] Update on Mark’s recent webinar with Nick Stephenson.
  • [1:12] How you can be a part of the one on one course beta team.
  • [3:55] A SPF meetup in Florida – September of 2016.
  • [6:05] Introduction of today’s guest: Rachel Abbott.
  • [7:07] How Rachel got into writing.
  • [8:04] What got Rachel into the idea of writing.
  • [10:05] Rachel’s thoughts on writing a book that impacts the reader.
  • [11:27] How Rachel began pursuing publishing.
  • [14:53] The road toward success for Rachel.
  • [15:37] The marketing plan that got her book to best-seller in 4 weeks.
  • [20:19] Rachel’s writing schedule – 1 book per year.
  • [21:40] Rachel’s general advice for those just starting out.
  • [24:50] When Rachel started collecting email addresses.
  • [27:07] Rachel’s launch plan (it’s a massive plan).
  • [29:36] How Rachel uses a publicist.
  • [32:20] The role Rachel’s agent plays in her career development.
  • [35:13] Rachel’s writing routine.
  • [38:56] The tools Rachel uses.
  • [42:04] How Rachel is using Facebook Advertising Boost Post

Resources & Links mentioned in this episode

Rachel Abbott Official Website

BOOK: Only The Innocent

BOOK: Stranger Child

NOVELLA: Nowhere Child



BOOK: Kill Me Again

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