SPS-166: Collaborative Writing: 10,000 Books to Glastonbury – with Mark Stay

In late 2016, Mark Stay and his friend and writing partner Mark Deveaux started the Bestseller Experiment podcast. Now, more than two years – and one bestsetlling book – later, they’re reflecting on lessons learned and mistakes made so that they can do things differently the next time.

Show Notes

  • A teaser about a new writing course from SPF
  • On Mark’s start in playwriting and drama
  • On Amazon’s dedication to keeping their customers happy
  • Starting the Bestseller Experiment and challenging podcast listeners to get involved with their own books
  • The experience of co-writing a book across the Atlantic Ocean
  • Lessons learned from writing and publishing the first book
  • Mistakes made and recovering from that
  • Looking at our books objectively when it comes to marketing
  • The big challenge to sell 10K books by the end of June 2019
  • The importance of an author community to assist with learning about marketing

Resources mentioned in this episode:

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

LIVE EVENT: Mark will be speaking in June at Slaughter in Southwold

Transcript of Interview with Mark Stay

Speaker 1: On this edition of the Self-Publishing Show.

Mark Stay: I can see the bigger publishers becoming much more risk-averse. I can see lots of authors, really good authors who sit on the mid list, who are going to be thinking, “Well, what do I do next?” If you’re going to survive in the 21st Century as a writer, particularly if its some genre of fiction, you’re going to have to embrace this stuff. You’re going to have to get your head around it.

Speaker 1: Publishing is changing. No more gatekeepers. No more barriers. No one standing between you and your readers. Do you want to make a living from your writing?

Join Indie best seller, Mark Dawson and first-time author James Blatch as they shine the light on the secrets of self-publishing success. This is the Self-Publishing Show. There’s never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Hello. It’s the Self-Publishing Show. My name is James Blatch.

Mark Dawson: And my name is Mark Dawson.

James Blatch: We are smooth as a baby’s bottom in the way we do our openings and closings now. We’re there, I think.

Mark Dawson: Oh, my goodness. This could get even more dodgy than normal.

James Blatch: I think the tradition we’re taught is yeah, a baby baboon, which I think is a Steve Martin, gag from somewhere or other. Okay. Let’s get straight on with it.

We’ve got a packed show and a good interview this week with another double act in the Indie podcast sphere. Are they as funny as us, the two Marks?

Mark Dawson: Um, are we funny? I think that’s the kind of starting point. I’m not entirely sure we are. So, bearing that in mind, they couldn’t be more funny.

James Blatch: We’ve got an interview with the bestseller experiment crew today. With one half of the double act coming up and it’s a really good interview. So, stay tuned for that as they used to say on the radio.

First thing I’d like to do, Mark, is to welcome our new Patreon supporters who have gone to patreon.com/selfpublishingshow and they are Greg Evans from Wangara in WA, in Western Australia. A D.E. Haggerty, Adam Loche, Jeremy McCay from Vancouver in Canada and Peter Lacey. So, Greg, D.E. Haggerty, Adam, Jeremy, and Peter, thank you so much indeed for supporting us on the podcast. It means a lot to us.

Vancouver in Canada. I’m hatching a secret plan that we may get to Vancouver in Canada in the autumn, Jeremy, and we’re going to perhaps host a mini SPF get together one night, because I know we’ve got a lot of people in that area. And we’ve got a few interviews to pick up in that area. So, who knows? We may even stick a camera in your face.

What else are we going to talk about? You’ve got a PA. Do you know what a PA is in the industry?

Mark Dawson: Well, I do, because we were quoted this yesterday before my camera packed up. So, a PA is a personal appearance I think. And yes, I’ve got two actually. What was the first one?

The first one I’m actually doing what I think our American friends would call a Commencement Address at my alma mater in English my old school.

James Blatch: So, you’re giving a speech at your old school.

Mark Dawson: That’s pretty much the top and bottom of it. I’m going back there in May. So, that one is not open to the public. That will be me talking to a lot of bored 16, 17-year-olds about why they should consider writing rather than what their teachers have taught them to do.

The other thing I’m doing is called Slaughter in Southwold, which is a very odd title for a Crime Convention. Very, very pretty small town, large village near where I come from on the East Coast of the U.K., otherwise known as Chelsea by the Sea, because it’s very expensive. Lots of Victorian terraces changing hands from bankers in London for six and seven figures.

They have a lovely library there and they’ve got an annual Crime Convention and this year will be attended by people like Val McDermid who is very well known as a crime writer. Mick Herron. He writes kind of slightly off-beat espionage stories. Who else? Nicci French and six or seven others and me.

I’ll be speaking, I think it’s the 16th. Sunday the 16th of June I think it is at ten o’clock in the morning in Southwold. So, if you’re in the area or if you fancy a trip to the seaside. Come and say hello to me.

I don’t have the URL right now, but if you do Slaughter in Southwold, Google will help you out and if we remember we’ll pop it in the show notes as well.

James Blatch: Yes. That would be good. Go and press the flesh. Meet the Dawson on his PA. I’ve heard you’ll turn up at the opening of an envelope.

Mark Dawson: I will. Actually, I didn’t tell you this. I’m going to one tonight, actually. I’ve been nominated for an award. The Wilshire Life Award. I can’t even remember what category I’m in. I think it’s kind of an artistic category. So, there’s me and three others. A theater. So, me against a theater.

James Blatch: A bricks and mortar building.

Mark Dawson: Yeah.

James Blatch: Is this a black tie event?

Mark Dawson: It is a black tie event, yep. So, I’m going in my monkey suit and Mrs. Dawson will be looking lovely in her posh frock. So, we’re off there at half six tonight, so the kids are taken care of and I don’t think I’ll win, but that’s fine. I don’t normally expect to win these things, but it’s a cheap night out.

James Blatch: Excellent. Well, pictures or it didn’t happen. Tomorrow.

Mark Dawson: Yes, this year I will try and take some pictures.

James Blatch: Stick them on the community group. Good.

We’ve got our 101 launch out of the way. We’re starting to turn our minds to some revisions and preparations for Ads for Authors opening up and in somewhere I think in May we’re scheduled for that. But I have been doing something exciting this week.

You and I started talking to Suzy Quinn last year. Now, if you cast your mind back a long time. Back in the old days when we were just called a podcast. We had Suzy Quinn on. She’s a very successful romance writer. Well, not romance. Sort of a chick lit actually. Not romance. I hope we can call it chick lit.

Mark Dawson: I don’t think. I’m not even sure I’d call it that, James. She does lots of things.

James Blatch: She does lots of things, but she writes really funny books about women. There you go and she’s brilliant. She understands her craft. She’s been hugely successful and she has put together coursework. So, we started talking about that she came to us with the idea. And I’m not midst editing this course.

It’s called How to Write a Bestseller and it is sensational. It’s brilliant. It should be required viewing for authors and publishers. She really sets out why the industry works as it does at the moment and how we can approach writing to get it right commercially to sell books. And it’s layered.

I’m really excited. I’m intrigued editing it. So, this has been my exciting thing to do this week. And we’re going to get this done in the next few weeks, and then we’ll talk about how we’re going to launch this.

It’ll be a stand alone course. It’s not something we normally do. In fact, you deliberately held off on doing anything on craft, ’cause you felt it just wasn’t something you could personally teach.

Mark Dawson: I probably could teach it, but I just don’t have time really and I think to teach that successfully you need to really analyze your process and I’m slightly reluctant to do that. I don’t want to jinx myself too much. I’ve got a system that works pretty well for me, and I almost don’t think about it too much.

It’s something that’s instinctive now, and I think if I started to work out exactly what I do when I’m writing it might make it less magical. That kind of sounds terribly pretentious, but it’s kind of how I feel about it. I have some ideas.

I’m looking forward to seeing Suzy’s course. I haven’t seen it yet. I know it will be high quality. We don’t put anything out with the SPF badge on it if it isn’t high quality. So, we will make sure it’s top notch. I’m definitely looking forward to getting a bit more information about that course out there.

James Blatch: One thing we will do is definitely do a webinar with Suzy and get her to dive out some of the secrets, a lot of the secrets in a webinar so people can get a good idea of her teaching style. She released Don’t Tell Teacher this week and it went into the top 50 within three days of launch. So, another best seller to her name.

She is somebody like you, Mark, who walks the walk as well as talks the talk.

Mark Dawson: There are a lot of people who don’t do that. Plenty of people who are doing courses these days. If you look at their sales rankings and they’re not actually selling any books, you might reasonably ask the question, what can they teach me?

But Suzy isn’t like that. I’d like to think I’m not like that either. So, there are certainly some good stuff coming down the track from us.

James Blatch: Excellent. Right. Should get on with this week’s interview. It’s is with Mark Stay from the Bestseller Experiment, talking of bestsellers.

Mark Dawson: I was going to do a … see, then you beat me to it. I could have said, and talking of bestsellers, James.

James Blatch: It’s just like listening to radio too. What did they call it on Radio Smooth on the Smashy and Nicey?

Mark Dawson: Smashy and Nicey. That would mean nothing to our American friends.

James Blatch: No, right. There’s YouTube. You can get some Smashy and Nicey action on there.

The Bestseller Experiment. It started probably three years ago I’m going to guess now, and it really was as Mark Stay explains in this interview, he and another Mark just having a conversation just realizing they both enjoyed writing. Mark Stay’s got a fantastic film credit to his name. I think Julian Anderson was in it and someone else big as well. I should have looked it up before the interview. I’m sure he mentions it.

Mark Dawson: So professional.

James Blatch: I’m so professional. Not like you, Smoothy. And they basically have blogged their journey in setting out to write and sell a bestseller and it’s something they have achieved as well. They are now in the second stage of that now. It’s a fascinating story. A really good listen.

They’re not quite as funny as me and Mark when we get going, but they put the effort in, which is good. Good. All right. So, let’s listen to Mark Stay. And then Mark, you and me will be talking again off the back.

James Blatch: Mark Stay from one pod, podcaster, podcaster, a pod … do you know what a podcaster is? It’s a combination of a broadcaster and a podcaster and I can see you’ve got a BBC news windshield on your microphone.

Mark Stay: Well, I found that in the gutter at Oxford Circus. This is a weird, weird story. I won a raffle to meet Jeremy Vine at BBC2. And my wife and I got off the Tube at Oxford Circus and we were crossing the street and I saw this microphone muffler in the gutter and I thought, “I love that.”

James Blatch: Yes.

Mark Stay: It’s a conversation ice breaker. It’s a conversation starter for moment. But yeah. It’s great. I love it. I want to go back. It’s amazing what you’ll find in the gutters in Oxford Circus.

James Blatch: Just outside the BBC. Strange that. Yeah. Why not? Well, look, Mark, from the Bestseller Experiment, welcome to the Self-Publishing Show.

Mark Stay: Thank you.

James Blatch: We’re both doing the same sort of thing in the same space and the first thing to say is what a fun community self-publishing used to be and isn’t it?

Mark Stay: They’re fantastic. It’s absolutely fantastic. I’ve worked in book selling and publishing for you know, 25 odd years now, and people could be very, very snooty about self-publishing.

I must confess that back in the day I was one of those people, but having seen it evolve into something that is not only legitimate, but is actually something that I’ve embraced and something that I think has a great future and I would classify myself as a hybrid author. I’d like to do a bit of both, working with publishers and publishing my own stuff. And frankly I think that’s how the future’s going to be.

I can see the bigger publishers becoming much more risk adverse. I can see lots of authors, really good authors who kind of sit on the mid list, who are going to be thinking, “Well, what do I do next?” And so, I think you know, if you’re going to survive in the 21st Century as a writer, particularly if its some genre of fiction, you’re going to have to embrace this stuff. You’re going to have to get your head around it.

It is a fantastic community. Like, yourself, we have our own listener community. We share stuff on our Facebook page. People chip in with the most amazing advice and encouragement. I’ve learned tons from it and I know our listeners have. It’s one of the reasons why we’ve kept the Bestseller Experiment going.

James Blatch: Yes, we’ll come on to that, but later, but you basically achieved your aim amazingly and it’s a good reason to keep it going. I think now to inspire other people to do what you did.

But before we get there, I just want to delve into your background a little bit, Mark. So, you said you came from traditional publishing. I think you had quite a long stint.

Talk to me about what you were doing in the industry at that point.

Mark Stay: I wanted to act. I don’t know how far back you want to go, but my wife and I both got places at drama school.

I was working at Waterstones at the time, which I thought was going to be a Christmas job and I said, “Well, look. You go to drama school. I’ll stay at Waterstones, help pay the rent.” Blah, blah, blah.

I love reading, like a lot of people. I love writing and we started our own theater company once Claire left drama school and I wanted to do a Johnny Speight play, but he had passed away and I couldn’t get the rights. So, I had a theater booked and no play.

I’d always dabbled in playwriting. I’d written tons of sketches at school, but never written a full length play. And I wrote a play in about eight weeks. We wrote it, rehearsed it, staged it, and it went down a storm. It was just brilliant.

A friend of mine who worked … he was just a cable basher at the time on things like Tier Five Friday, but he makes documentaries now. We’re all sort of starting out together. He said, “There’s too many actors, but not enough writers and you can write.”

That was that moment of validation that I always needed. Again, we hear this from our listeners. You just need someone to tap you on the shoulder and say, “This is good. Keep at it. Keep doing it.”

So, we did a play a year for a few years and one of those plays I turned into a screenplay. That got optioned. I met a few producers. I met a filmmaker called John Wright. He and I worked on a couple low budget ideas and one day out the blue he come up with an idea for a film called Robot Overlords, which we wrote together and that was made into a film.

In parallel to this, I still had a day job. I worked at Headline Publishing for a while, and then about 15 years ago I joined Orion Publishing and for over ten years I looked over the Amazon accounts and my day to day was looking at Amazon, looking at the back end of Amazon through what they call Vendor Central, which is a lot like Amazon associates, which a lot of you listeners will be familiar with only much more complicated and messed up.

First of all I started selling to Amazon, but of course, we’ve all stopped selling to Amazon. Most of my day was spent putting out fires on Amazon, because following the self-publishing boom, the catalog on Amazon is just enormous and things go wrong with it all the time. Again, as your listeners will know, my job was to go in there and fix stuff.

So, I got a very good background in how Amazon works, the kind of stuff that they do, the things that can go wrong, how you can fix them, which has served me well. But even so, it’s different when it’s your own book.

James Blatch: That’s interesting though that you had this view of the professional backend of Amazon, the industry. Without breaking any confidentiality agreements you may have signed at the time, do they get any kind of preferable terms? Is there kind of a them and us between you and I setting up and uploading our book on KDP and thinking well, there’s my 70% or whatever it is?

Is there is a different deal done for big publishers?

Mark Stay: No. I think the key to understanding Amazon and the way Amazon deals with everyone and this is absolutely key to understanding Amazon is that they do everything for the customer. They have a word that whenever I’ve been to head office, you see this word on posters, it’s customer centric.

A bad day for them is when a customer is unhappy and everything is geared towards delivering promises for the customer, which is why … if publishers ran out of stock of a particular title, you’ll see a message come up saying, “Unavailable. Should be back in stock one to three weeks”, which was so frustrating, because we knew stuff was coming in tomorrow. We’d had a reprint. We knew it’d be with them within a day or so. Why not put a couple of days?

Amazon will not keep a promise that they themselves cannot keep. So, you get authors understandably very, very frustrated by this. But it was all geared to making sure that Amazon delivered. So, when the book does arrive in a couple days, the customer who has previously seen one to three weeks, gets the books, goes, “Oh, aren’t Amazon good?”

Which is why people keep coming back. Everything, every time they’re being difficult, every time you think they’re causing problems, they’re generally not. They’re generally doing everything for the customer, because they live in fear of losing a customer.

I’ve experienced that on the traditional publishing side and on this side of the fence as well. It’s one of the reasons they’re so keen on print-on-demand is that they want to be able to control the distribution of everything. So, that’s why they’re so keen on SinPub, because they want to say, look, if a book is coming on X date, why can’t the customers get it on Kindle, on audio, on paperback, on hardcover, whatever format they’re offering.

Why can’t it be seamless across. I want to put down my Kindle and pick up and pick up with my old book where I left off. All of that thing is all geared towards making that customer environment, that customer experience as good as possible and it doesn’t matter how big you are, it all comes down to that.

James Blatch: It’s a formula that’s worked extremely well for them and undeniably in black and white and the organization has grown. As a consumer I look forward to that SinPub day as well.

In fact, it’s all technologically possible now and it should be seamless and there may come a time where Amazon starts to say to somebody, if you’re going to publish, you need to publish it and make it a bit more forced upon you. But we’ll see. Okay. We’re coming on to some nitty gritty stuff in time.

You’ve gone through traditional publishing. You’re there at an interesting time as e-books happen.

Mark Stay: Yeah.

James Blatch: And you see the backend of Amazon. And then at some point, you think about writing.

Is that whilst you’re still there or did that come after you left?

Mark Stay: It started –

James Blatch: Obviously after the film, I don’t want to say that’s not writing. That was absolutely brilliant of you to have written that and get that film made, but I’m talking about the novel.

Mark Stay: Well, I mean, the, probably the best thing I did in retrospect is write the novelization of Robot Overlords. We were in post-production and the producers were getting very excited. They were saying, “Oh, we can do a game. We can do this. We can do a book.” “I’ll do the book!”

Immediately put my hand up. I’ll do it and I know who can publish it. And actually, Gollancz took a lot of convincing to publish it. I had to write like three sample chapters. I had to do a little PowerPoint presentation with some of the previews from the film just to prove it was real.

They took a risk. They did say, “Look. We don’t publish stuff. We don’t publish mates. You’ve got to prove that this is good enough.” So, I wrote about ten thousand words of stuff that wasn’t in the film, sort of precursor to the film itself and off we went. So, I had to show it to Gillian Redford, who was just amazing.

And unlike a lot of tie-in novels which are written by someone who had nothing to do with the film in about six weeks, I had about eight months and I was heavily involved and we were in post-production. So, I could see what the visual effects were looking like. I knew of all the changes to the script. And there’s all kinds of stuff in the book that’s not in the film, that weaves in and out.

It was a great experience. It’s nice to see customer reviews saying, “This enhances the film” or works as a stand alone book. And that’s what put me in touch with Mark Devaux, my co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment, because he came out of the woodwork.

We’d known each other when we were teenagers. We didn’t go to the same school, but we had lots of mutual friends. And Mark is one of these guys who is always doing something extraordinary. He started the first, I think it was the first online real estate company in the U.K.. He’s been project manager in charities in all sorts of extraordinary projects and you bump into people and say, “How is Devaux these days?” And they’ll say, “Well, he’s DJ-ing at Glastonbury.” “He’s what?!” You know, stuff like that.

So, we had this conversation where he said, “You know what? I’ve always wanted to write a novel, but I’ve never got beyond 20 thousand words.” And we both love podcasts and we were both saying there must be a lot of people out there in the same boat. A lot of people who’ve started a novel, got stuck, didn’t know where to turn, didn’t know where else to go.

We set ourself a challenge to not only write a novel, but top the Kindle charts within 12 months. The key thing that we did, the thing that I think really helped get the podcast going was we said to our listeners, “Beat us to it.”

There’s bound to be people out there with a half-written novel in a drawer or an idea or maybe they finished a book and just need to revise it. Beat us to it. We’ll get great guests on every week who will talk to us about the craft of writing and insider knowledge on publishing and they did. They absolutely did. So many of our listeners have now got deals.

It started out people just saying, “Oh, you know what? I finished my book. It’s fantastic. Thank you.” Blah, blah, blah, which was great. But now we’ve got people getting three book deals with Gollancz, with Hero, with Avon, with HQ.

We’ve got this great alumni of listeners who’ve not got great deals and that’s one of the reasons we’ve kept it going, because we just love hearing their success stories and we love talking to authors.

James Blatch: That’s brilliant. And you sat down then with your colleague, Mark, it’s another Mark Devaux.

Mark Stay: It’s another Mark. Mark Devaux.

James Blatch: How did you approach the actual genre and the work split, because there’s no guarantee at the beginning of this process that you’re both interested in the same things.

Mark Stay: No. We’re both blokes from Surrey with a similar sensibility in many ways. Certainly at the beginning as well, and this is still there to a certain extent.

He’s a life coach. That’s what he does now. So, his day is telling everyone, “You’ve got a dream. I can help make that dream. Anything is possible.”

Whereas I was cynical. I had been working in publishing for nearly 25 years and I was like, “Look. More books fail than succeed. This could be a complete and utter car crash. There’s no guarantee this is actually going to happen.”

We went in eyes wide open with the possibility that it could completely fail. And we put together a spread sheet of all the things that we liked. The things that put a fire in our belly. The things that we hated. The things that made us angry, that we were passionate about, and we put together a kind of Venn diagram of what we both liked. And we ended up with science fiction, humor, music.

And what also became apparent during our early conversations with guests on the show is that of the readers out there women are much more voracious readers. They’re also much more likely to tell their friends about a book.

Blokes tend to latch onto an author and collect everything the author has. If they live Clive Cussler, they’re going to buy all the Clive- if they like Jack Reacher, they buy all the Jack Reacher.

Women go to book groups. They swap books. The talk about books all the time. And they make up the majority of readers. So, we needed to write a book that appealed to that market primarily as well.

So, we had a female protagonist for our book too. And we started putting together the book that became Back to Reality, which we pitch as sort of a Back to the Future meets Freaky Friday. And we did a lot of outlining. A lot of outlining to start with, which led to the infamous Ben Aaronovitch episode of the podcast, which we call the … can I swear on this?

James Blatch: You can.

Mark Stay: We call it the Ben Aaronovitch Bollocking, which he discovered our outline was 50 thousand words long and his yelling at us has become the stuff of legend. But it gave us the kind of fright that we needed.

We were six months into the project to actually get on with the actual book. And the way it worked from then, I was the much more experienced writer, so I would write during the day, and ’cause Mark Desvaux is in Canada, he would read while I slept and he would make notes and essentially do an edit.

It was like having live-in editors. Every author’s worst nightmare, but it was fantastic, because the next morning, I get notes from him and suggestions and he’d write bits himself, and it got bigger. And you’d wake up, you’d go, “Yeah, that doesn’t make sense, does it?” And you’d rewrite that and then you’d write a little more and it actually worked really, really well.

It was very, very frustrating. It was a new way for me to do something and waking up every morning being told what you’ve just written is wrong. But it worked. It really, really worked.

Then we gave the book to our editor. We also gave it to our beta readers as well who gave us all sorts of notes. And it was a hair raising process, because it was right up to the last minute. We were formatting until the night before publication. And it was spotting typos at the last minute.

It’s not an exercise I would ever want to repeat, let’s put it like that, but I’m so glad I did it. Then we had a launch day, which was October … exactly a year after October 16, 2017. And we started getting reviews in, which is great.

We had a day-long YouTube live podcast. All our listeners got involved. We got the first little orange bestseller tag around about mid-morning in the U.K., and that was first of ten across the world. So, we did it. We did it. It was great. We did what we set out to achieve, but what we discovered, of course, is only the beginning.

We were wiped out by the experience. We had not put really enough thought into how we market the thing post-publication. And what happened next was we had a pretty rotten year. Poor Mr. Devaux, his wife became very ill and she went into palliative care and he has a family and so he spent much of 2018 looking after her. Sadly, she passed away. So, he had just the worst year ever.

I had a choice, which was do I keep the podcast going or do we market the book. I couldn’t really do both and have a full-time job. And so I kept the podcast going mainly because I love talking to authors and editors and I love the process and I’m learning stuff from it myself all the time and we kept the thing going and Mr. Devaux is now back on the show. I was made redundant from Orion just before Christmas, so I’ve got a lot more time on my hands.

We’ve set ourselves a new challenge in 2019. Our book climax is at the Glastonbury Music Festival. We’ve challenged ourselves. I can’t believe I’m saying this out loud. We’ve challenged ourselves to sell ten thousand copies of Back to Reality by Glastonbury weekend, June 30th and we are doing that by marketing the socks off it.

I’m doing Mark Dawson’s course. I’m working my way through that, crash course. Steep learning curve. It’s definitely helping. And again, we’ve challenged our listeners.

This was the other thing that was missing from our second year. We’ve said to our listeners. If you’ve got a book out and we know a lot of them do, beat us to it. Let’s learn from each other. And again, that’s already working. We’re already getting the best advice from our listeners and it’s become part of my day. I write in the morning and then I’m marketing in the afternoon. We’re learning a lot. Still got a hell of a way to go, though.

James Blatch: The power of a deadline though. When you set a deadline, and although it takes its toll on you, and we should just say that our hearts go out to Mark Devaux and it dwarfs everything else that you and I will talk about when that level of life intervenes and so our thoughts are with him, of course, and his family, from that episode, but he’s back.

You’re moving on together now and as you say, the shift and emphasis on the podcast is from craft and writing, although you did talk about marketing. More about this sort of marketing techniques and where you’re going with that.

Have you made any big, early discoveries?

Mark Stay: We should have written a series.

James Blatch: Uh-huh. (affirmative). Yep.

Mark Stay: We probably should have written a thriller, ’cause that’s where all the good money is these days. No, we’re discovering the granularity of it and we’re discovering that we need to build our audience as well.

The problem we have in the podcast is our audience from the podcast are all writers, and some write romance, some write thrillers, some write science fiction, some write fantasy, YA, all kinds of stuff. So, the book doesn’t necessarily appeal to all of our listeners.

We need to find a new audience out there of people who love comedy, contemporary fiction, you know, with a little science fiction twist. I remember doing a presentation, talking about our book and saying, “You know what? There’s not a single book out there like it.”

Rowan Coleman put her hand up and said, “Actually, The Summer of Impossible Things, which is a Zoe Ball Book Club book, is a lot like that.” And I read it and I thought, that’s our audience. That’s our readership.

And we got the cover completely wrong. Completely wrong. Looking back at the original cover for our book looks like a self-help book. We even have a shout line, what if you could change your life.

We are completely revamping the cover. We’re going to have a cover available for that very soon. And it’s a lot more in that contemporary women’s fiction market. So, that was a big lesson for us.

And again, that was something we did. We got a great designer on board. He worked to our brief, but we didn’t have that separation. One of the thing publishers do really, really well, is they will give you separation. They might give you a cover that you might think, “Well, that’s not the cover that I wanted.” But very often it is the right cover for the market, ’cause they do know their market.

And that’s where someone like Demunz was very good, because yes, we completed a brief, but it was a very, very thorough questionnaire and they gave us four very different styles of covers. But there was one very clear winner. ‘Cause we have some kind of distance between us and the original book now where we can actually look back at it and go. Yeah, we were completely wrong on that. That cover is actually killing us. So, hopefully new cover will help those sell soon.

We’re doing tons on metadata and keywords. Just that basic front store stuff. Constantly changing it. Again, this is stuff we just never had time to address or do properly. And of course when there’s two of you, you think it would be easier, but of course, you have to agree everything before you can go ahead and do these things as well, you know? So, it almost slows things down a bit.

But, yeah, Mr. D. is back. He’s an incredible person. I don’t know where he gets his drive from. He is back and he has a very canny business mind as well. So, yeah. It’s a challenge. I’m not sure we’re going to make it, but we’ve always said to people, part of the fun of this show is it’s always promised to be a car crash of a kind. So, just join us and enjoy the ride. And like I said, beat us to it. If you’re out there, beat us to it.

James Blatch: The Bestseller Experiment is itself a thriller with jeopardy. Who knows whether you’re going to make it or not the first time. It’s not quite a ticking bomb on the train, but nonetheless.

The cover obviously is absolutely crucial. We talk a lot about it on this podcast is the scan time somebody has on Amazon. The number one thing it has to do is say what it is to you. Doesn’t matter how pretty it is or the rest of it. If at a glance, it says something else, then the book is obviously … it’s such a significant problem for you to move forward. That will be an interesting cover reveal.

Are you going to show the also-rans as well?

Mark Stay: We have a private Facebook group for our Patreon supporters and we did some extensive polling with them and we got a ton of feedback. A ton of feedback, and it was interesting. You hear the same things again. And when you hear those commonalities.

It’s like when you get an edit back from an editor, you pick out the commonalities, or beta reader feedback, and see where the bumps in the road are. The comments that come back might not chime with you, but you have to appreciate there’s some kind of problem, but there was one very, very clear winner. Head and shoulders above all the others and it was the one we really liked as well.

I’m sure we’ll do that, but there’s a part of me that thinks how does that help us, if we’re already putting it out there? But we are probably going to do variations on the cover that we’ve chosen.

There’s little things. Just basic things like, do you have capital letters for the title? Do you have lowercase? Little things like that. Little things bits of positioning of the shout line we want to change constantly and tinker with that. And again, that’s something publishers do and deal with this all the time and these things can make all the difference.

And who knows? In eight months time you might find the cover might already feel a bit old hat. So, you might have to do it again. Particularly contemporary fiction. It’s a market that’s always shifting. Always moving forward. So, you really have to keep an eye on the competition and see what they’re doing.

James Blatch: And you mentioned separation, having that separation was helpful because I mean, that’s something else that’s unique really to self-publishers and in traditional publishing you get somebody who’s got how many books on the go at one time, I don’t know, but have your books suddenly in front of them and they say, okay, we’re going to do this genre. We’re going to do this, that and the other and they have a very clinical business-like … it’s not their baby approach to it.

Mark Stay: Yeah.

James Blatch: Which is exactly what your writer needs to do in the afternoon.

They need to look at that book they’re writing in the morning, forget it’s theirs, look at it as a marketing asset, and work out what change they’re going to do. It’s difficult.

Mark Stay: Yeah. It really is. You’d think it’d come more readily with experience, but when it’s your baby. The big lesson I’ve learned is not to worry about the specifics.

I read Rowan’s book, which is a wonderful read and it’s about a woman, a British woman who time travels back to the 70s in New York. There’s a Saturday Night Fever thing going on. It’s 1977. The streets are kind of dangerous. And then you look at her cover and it’s two women and a tree. I remember mention of a tree in maybe one chapter.

Where’s the disco? And of course, those aren’t the things that hook that readership in. The things that hook that readership in are relationships and the colors and a great image and a great shout line.

So, for our one we had all kinds of clutter on the cover that we thought oh, it’s important. We need to represent that. Oh, and we need to represent that and this is important. And it ended up almost pebble dashing the cover with too much info, so we simplified and we went with a gray image.

We were very keen that we would get the right color scheme on there. The right kind of font. Those are the really important things and of course the shout line and the copy, which again, you can change at any time, but it was something we thought long and hard about.

James Blatch: Just a quick question on the Bestseller text that you got, the Irish text. Did you seek them out by placing in certain categories in the metadata and so on?

Mark Stay: Oh, yeah. Definitely. We did a lot of research beforehand looking at … ’cause you know, obviously the odds of you getting fiction general number one, you know, eh, and we definitely went down that Douglas Adams Neil game and Terry Pratchet route quite strongly ’cause one of our favorite number ones, it was a weird one … we were in science fiction humor. Number one, you know?

And of course, I’m there with my heroes Terry Pratchet and Neil. I’m at number one and they’re at number two and three, which is just you know, that’s wrong. That’s completely wrong, but it made our day. We did Tweet Neil and he replied to us and re-Tweeted us, which is probably the best part of the whole day.

We did think long and hard about that, but of course, the fact is that readership is looking for something where that genre is a bit more full on, whereas us it’s quite lightly spread.

If you’ve watched Back to the Future, you can read our book. You don’t need to understand time travel, you just need to understand it’s a story about a woman and her dreams and her daughter and her mother. That’s the core to the whole thing. And again, like Rowen Coleman’s book, you know, the science fiction is never explained. No one has to sit down and explain how. It just happens. It’s just one of these what-if scenarios. Much like sliding doors as well.

And you know, that market I think you need something different to hook them in. You need the relationships. You need the promise of something a little bit deeper than a bit of a fun romp. Those are going to be the slightly more difficult genres to conquer if you like, but that’s where I think we’ll find more readers.

And again, those kind of readers that we talked about in those early episodes who will evangelize and hand the book around. Of course, we haven’t done a print version of this either. We didn’t do print on demand. We’re going to be doing that as well. So, just, it’s so much easier just to hand someone a book and say, “Hey, you’ll really like this.”

It’s still a lot of unknown variables, but like I say, we’re learning every day.

James Blatch: It’s unfolding in front of us.

And you’ve written another book, Mark. You’ve had a traditionally published book this year?

Mark Stay: Yeah. It’s at the time of recording it’s out in three days.

James Blatch: Oh, okay.

Mark Stay: It’s a fantasy novel. It’s called The End of Magic. It’s published by Unbound.

I had to crowdfund that. That was another experiment and I learned a lot doing that as well. But it’s a fantasy novel that I put aside for the first year of the podcast. It was what I was working on when Mark Desvaux called me, and I had had a draft done. And I thought, okay, I’ll put it aside for a bit and see how this goes, and of course, as you know, podcasts are all consuming.

So, I had to put it away for a year, but then I got back on with it. I said to my agent, “Look, where can we place this? Who can we get this to?” And he mentioned an editor who I’d known in the past, a guy called Simon Spenson who has worked with authors like Scott Lynch and Richard Morgan and he’s a really, really nice guy. He had moved to Unbound and I said, “Great. Let’s go off to Simon. I like Simon. He likes me. I think he’ll like this. He’ll do a great job on this.”

And my agent said, “One catch. With Unbound you have to crowdfund.”

I had to raise about five grand in 90 days, which was yeah, again, a very steep learning curve. But I did it and the book … Simon did a fantastic job with the edit and I have an amazing copy editor called Lisa Rogers as well. Unbound put the most amazing cover on it too. It’s out this Thursday. It’s fantasy. It’s called The End of Magic.

We’ve all heard that story of how the young ingenue discovers they might have some magical power and they meet a mentor or a wizard or they go to wizard school and they learn and they usually have a face-off with some kind of dark lord.

James Blatch: I’ve seen Star Wars.

Mark Stay: Exactly. I wanted to completely reverse that. I wanted someone who’s had magic for some time who’s become reliant on it, who is somewhat cocky about it, is somewhat privileged, and I wanted to take that away from them and then torture them for about 350 pages, which I do.

It’s about a mage to a king, who is a very powerful mage, has everything done for him, lives a very, very cushy life and yet still he complains. He’s about to go on a quest that would have been difficult with magic and is now impossible without it and then magic goes. Everything in this world, the magic is gone. And it’s about how he copes with that and how he discovers who he really, really is.

James Blatch: Is this a Brexit metaphor?

Mark Stay: It’s so weird you should say that. About halfway through the second draft Brexit was really happening and I was thinking, oh, is this –

James Blatch: End of magic.

Mark Stay: – about a big change in society, but it’s as much about privilege as anything else.

I’ve always loved fantasy. I’ve always wanted to write fantasy and fantasy’s going through … science fiction fantasy, like most genres, is going through a big change where you’re seeing much more diverse writers coming through and a lot of that is down to self-publishing as well.

But things like Wattpad and things like that where people who might not have felt they could approach a publisher are now going out on their own, and that’s fantastic. I did sit down and think what the world needs now is yet another fantasy novel by yet another white middle class, middle-aged bloke. What can I bring to this that’s different?

I saw the film Headhunters, which is based on the book by Jo Nesbo, where you’ve got a character who’s got everything. A guy called Roger, he’s an art dealer and he’s very rich, got a beautiful wife, beautiful house, he’s very wealthy, and he’s just not happy. And Jo Nesbo tortures him for about 350 pages.

I thought that’s what I need. I need an anti hero. I need someone who had always had it his own way. And if you’re a white bloke, you’ve always had it your own way and let’s take all that away from him, and that’s what it became about to get a little bit A level English literature about it.

But that’s what I wanted. I wanted to take someone who thinks they’ve had it their own way and then just grind them down and see who they really are.

There’s a couple of other characters as well. There’s a freelance maid who has a very high moral code and can you still have a moral code when you don’t have magical powers, when you can’t lord over people? And then there’s a young boy who’s completely, he has no voice. He is mute. And with magic he changes more than anyone, and it becomes about him having the power all of a sudden and what does he do with that power?

Sounds bit heavy going, but it’s fun. It’s fun. There’s dragons. There’s big battles. There’s you know, all kinds of … it’s page-turning stuff. So, I had a great time writing it and the early feedback I’m getting already has been really, really good.

James Blatch: We definitely with you luck with that, Mark.

Mark Stay: Thank you.

James Blatch: It’s just a few days away now. I’m not sure when the podcast will go out, so it will definitely be available in all good retailers by the time the podcast goes out.

So, to round us off, your challenge for this year, if people want to listen along on the Bestseller Experiment podcast, is to get 10 thousand copies of the book sold by Glastonbury, which is a big music festival in the U.K., which is when? August is it?

Mark Stay: 30th of June. No, I wish it was August.

James Blatch: Oh, it’s early. Early. I thought it was the halfway point of the year, okay.

And so you’re – I’ll be polite and say – knees deep in Amazon advertising and Facebook ads now?

Mark Stay: Absolutely. Like I said, I’ve been doing Mark’s course. It’s been really helpful. Really, really helpful. I gotta say though one of the most helpful things is going on the Facebook group and just talking to people who’ve done it as well. Just having those conversations.

It’s one thing seeing a course on a screen and making notes, but just having a conversation with someone is invaluable. You know, “Does this happen to you as well?” “Yeah, all the time.” “Oh, good. It’s not just me being rubbish. There is an issue with this. There is a problem with that.” “Have you tried this?” “No, I haven’t.”

Just that back and forth is really, really helpful and lots to learn, lots and lots to learn, but we’ve got some momentum going now. It’s a trickle at the moment, but I’m hoping by the time Glastonbury comes around it will be like a big boulder. So, we’ll wait and see.

James Blatch: Do you think you’ve made your big decisions about how to pitch it and where to pitch it? Or are you still evolving that?

Mark Stay: Constantly evolving. Constantly trying different ads out, different ad sets. Seeing what gets clicked through, seeing what gets a good response. And keeping the faith with some of them as well, ’cause it’s like AMS ads or Amazon ads. You can’t switch it on and expect a big spike day one, you’ve got to wait a few days. You’ve got to wait and see what happens.

James Blatch: You’ve got to let it breathe, someone once said to me.

Mark Stay: Exactly. You’ve got to keep the faith and resist tinkering with them. So, it’s lots to learn, but I’m enjoying it.

The thing is even if we don’t hit that target, we will have learned something. And we will take that onto the next project and I’m working on a couple of new things now for the future. I’ve got a new book. I’ve got a new script I’m working on. And certainly for the books that’s what I’m learning now is gold and it’s a bedrock for whatever comes down the road.

I see a lot of authors on the SPF group and on our group they expect boom, miracles overnight and it’s not. This is a constant learning process. It’s constantly changing.

One of the big lessons we’ve learned is you have to be part of a community as well. You can’t expect to dip in and out. You have to live in that village and ask questions and speak to your neighbors and see what the weather’s like today.

Because things change all the time. Amazon will at a whim suddenly decide to launch something they’ve been working on for years, they haven’t told anyone about. They say, “Ah, we’re going to do it this way now.” And everyone’s, “How do we do this? How do we do this?”

So we all start talking to each other and that’s one of the joys of Indie Publishing I think is that we are willing to share this stuff.

James Blatch: I completely agree and you’ve got to think about the old days and the traditional publishing building, somebody joins the team and their job is to market the books, but sitting next to them is someone who’s been doing it for 25 years and around the corner someone’s been doing it for the last two years, and we don’t have that.

You start this cold. You need to be a member of the community and both of us I think in our podcasts and our Facebook groups are providing that at the moment, which is great.

Mark Stay: Absolutely and it’s the thing I love the most.

I can tell you from working on the other side of things, the big publishers are taking notice of that as well. They know there are communities out there and they have to be part of those communities and it’s going to change the way books are published.

We spoke on the Bestseller Experiment to Girl Friday Productions who are out in the States who are a completely new way of publishing, and there are people who work for the big publishers got frustrated with the way they were working and struck out on their own. And you’re going to see a lot more of that. It’s become much more of a hybrid thing.

There are going to be all these different ways to market, ’cause that’s been the biggest change. You can talk about e-books were a revolutionary format, but the really big thing that’s changed is how authors talk to their readers. It used to be a long line. It would be author, agent, publisher, bookseller, and then the reader.

Now you can either skip over all of those or as a kind of a cracked mirror you can talk to the wholesale. You can talk to the bookstore. You can do all these things. And like I say, if you want to be an author in the 21st Century, you really need to get your head around this stuff.

James Blatch: I think we’ve moved people a little bit closer to it in just this chat, Mark. So, thank you very much.

Mark Stay: Absolutely.

James Blatch: Are you going to Glastonbury, by the way? Is this some random moment you’ve chosen from the year.

Mark Stay: Well, ’cause the book climaxes at Glastonbury, we plucked that out of the air. Devaux keeps talking about going back to Glastonbury. There was talk of streaking across the stage at one point. Just keep listening and you’ll learn what we’ll actually be doing, but I doubt it to be honest, but we’ll see. We’ll see.

James Blatch: Thank you so much indeed for joining us. We should just let people know where they can find the various bits and pieces, mainly of course, the Bestseller Experiment podcast.

Mark Stay: Well, yeah. We’re available on iTunes and Stitcher and Spotify and all the usual places. We’re at
bestsellerexperiment.com. On Twitter and Instagram we’re [email protected] and Facebook we’re at Bestseller Experiment. And you can find me, I’m on Twitter @MarkStay and Instagram @MarkStay. My website is markstaywrites.com So, come say hi.

James Blatch: It’s been brilliant to have you on, Mark. Really good fun. We’ll catch up again in the future. Good luck.

Mark Stay: My pleasure, James. Thank you.

James Blatch: So, that’s Mark and Mark. Well, that’s Mark from the Bestseller Experiment.

Mark Dawson: I’m Mark.

James Blatch: Talk about your Mark.

Mark Dawson: What’s going on?

James Blatch: Talk about the other Mark. There are and then these two podcasts in the Indie space that emanate from the United Kingdom, there are three Marks. It’s like the Marx Brothers.

Mark Dawson: That’s very true and also if you think about the SPF … no, we haven’t got Matthew, we’ve got Mark.

James Blatch: Right.

Mark Dawson: John. We got a Matthew or a Luke?

James Blatch: We don’t have –

Mark Dawson: Matthew, Mark –

James Blatch: We have John … James, John, and Mark.

Mark Dawson: That’s it. So, kind of three disciples.

James Blatch: Disciples.

Mark Dawson: I’m not sure.

James Blatch: Yeah. That’s right.

Mark Dawson: Who knows? Who knows?

James Blatch: I always remember the disciple called James. I thought I was really disappointed to read in the Bible when you’re a kid and you learn these things that he was called something like Peter, but there was already a Peter so they called him. I’m thinking I thought he was a real James.

Mark Dawson: Is that crushing?

James Blatch: It was crushing. I feel a little bit bad. Yeah, we’re looking for Lukes. Who else?

Mark Dawson: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. How did we get onto this, James?

James Blatch: You know what? Because at least once a month somebody emails us to point this out.

Mark Dawson: That’s true. Yes. Anyways, it’s my fault I got us onto this diversion.

James Blatch: Let’s just say other religions are available.

Mark Dawson: They are. That’s right.

James Blatch: Or no religions. We don’t judge. Although somebody might be judging.

Now, let’s talk about the Bestseller Experiment for a moment. So, it’s been exactly the sort of thing that people find useful is to hear the trials and tribulations and you have eluded to this. We had this conversation yesterday and you made the point that was very good. It’s not just about the nuts and bolts of getting it right. It’s a bit more than that when you listen to somebody going through this process.

Mark Dawson: Exactly. It is a good podcast. They set out to write a bestseller when they started, and then they did that. Now, I mean, I’m going to caveat that very, very slightly, then I’m going to kind of undercut that caveat.

They got a bestseller, but some of those orange tags were in let’s say, less competitive categories. I’m not downplaying what they did at all, but what you do see sometimes these days is people will, you know … thinking of what Alex Neaton from K-Lytics told us when he came on. They will look for very underserved categories. Sometimes with a handful of books in them and the example that he gave was –

James Blatch: You missed the best example.

Mark Dawson: I did. The one on the podcast was duck decoys wasn’t it?

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: It was woodworkers for duck decoys and there’s basically one book in there. So, you could release a book tomorrow, sell one to your mom –

James Blatch: And get the bestseller orange tag.

Mark Dawson: You will get the orange tag. And then on the webinar that James did –

James Blatch: Yes. It was a rippled torso, which I could show you, but I’m going to keep my t-shirt on. A rippled torso –

Mark Dawson: Ripped.

James Blatch: Ripped torso, that’s right. Ripped, six pack, seven pack, whatever it is. Obviously you know, steamy romance. Guy holding a monkey wrench or spanner I think we call it in the U.K., and the guy had got a bestseller tag in the woodwork and carpentry list.

Mark Dawson: I like that. That’s clever.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: It’s not particularly bestseller-y, but it is quite clever.

James Blatch: Can I just mention it. I met an author on the webinar. Alex Newton from K-Lytics.

It’s a little bit devious, but is there a marketing benefit to just being able to get that orange tag and use that even if you have circumvented the system a bit?

Mark Dawson: Well, it feels a bit sleazy to me. I think, I mean, technically, yeah, they are a best … that person with the monkey wrench or the person who wrote the book with the monkey wrench, the guy on the cover, he or she would be a bestseller by Amazon’s definition. By anyone else’s definition selling two books, does not make you a bestseller.

Now, that’s absolutely what the two Marks did. They charted highly in some more trafficked categories, but what I think is more interesting is what they’re doing now. And their new project is they’re setting themselves financial goals, which is much more relevant. It’s much more … it means more.

So, you wouldn’t necessarily know how many copies it took to hit, to get the orange tag in a smaller category, but what they’re doing now is kind of what we’ve done in the past is kind of lay out the numbers and actually show people what the numbers are and it’s a much more accountable way of doing things.

Kudos to them and I hope they hit their targets, but it’s a good show and the two of them obviously have fun doing it and that comes through when you listen as well. I’ve subscribed to the show and I will drop in on it every now and again.

James Blatch: Ultimately you can’t pay a mortgage with orange tags.

Mark Dawson: That’s very true. You do need to get some sales. Absolutely.

James Blatch: I just want their focus this year.

Mark Dawson: They’re definitely doing that.

James Blatch: So we are at the end of March and they’ve got until the end of June I think to hit their targets this year, which is I think Mark was gulping a little bit at what lay ahead of them having done it before they know that.

I think that might be it, Mark. I’m off to Center Parcs this weekend, which is the U.K., actually it’s quite a European thing. I think it was Belgian originally or Dutch or something and it’s basically a screaming filled water park and bungalows.

Mark Dawson: In a forest.

James Blatch: In a forest, but I’m actually looking forward to it. Been a busy three weeks for us.

Mark Dawson: Yes.

James Blatch: We can relax and it’s straight back into the edit for the Bestseller Course next week and we’ve got some good podcasts. We’ve been going through the podcast schedule.

The Self-Publishing Show schedule I should say for the future and you’ve got this idea of doing a really brilliant week, which we’re just trying to set up. Very highly targeted, practical week for writers who are in the midst of trying to sell books. So, we’ll be looking at the three key areas that you need to understand, you need to be on top of. I think the idea at the moment is we’ll probably do that within one week, the three shows.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, it will be three shows in one week. So, Monday, Tuesday, no. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, we’ll look at Facebook hopefully with an author who I think is doing very well with Facebook ads. Bookbub, possibly with Adam Croft or possibly with David Gaughran.

Not quite sure yet. One of those two will talk about Bookbub ads. And then Amazon ads, and that will probably be me, I expect. But we will put those together and kind of what’s working and what isn’t working right now on those three platforms.

Also, we’ll tie in, I think actually advance warning, when I go to NINC this year, that’s what they’ve asked me to talk about is what’s working right now in author marketing. Those will be the three main platforms that I address. So, yes. We’re going to put that in the days immediately after the launch of the ads course in May or June. Whenever we decide to do it, we’ll slot those in there.

James Blatch: Yes. And talking of NINC, which is in Florida in September, also hatching a plan to do the Self-Publishing Show live. So, we’re going to have an audience.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. We’re sponsoring it this year. We’re paying for an ad on their program and one of their benefits we didn’t realize we get is use of a room at the conference hotel. So, it might be quite nice.

Not quite sure what we’ll do yet. It’ll either be a live show with like an audience or it could be we invite ten or 151 industry representatives, dump them in a room to go there and have kind of a round table or maybe do both. I don’t know. We still have time to think about that.

James Blatch: I’m planning comedy.

Mark Dawson: Well, you might plan comedy, whether anyone laughs is a completely different question. Give me some accents.

James Blatch: A funny thing happens –

Mark Dawson: You could be Rory Bremner.

James Blatch: I don’t know. Americans don’t know who Rory Bremner is.

Mark Dawson: They don’t. I’m trying to think of a famous American impressionist. Who would be a famous American impressionist.

James Blatch: I don’t know. There must be some.

Mark Dawson: Steve Carell’s pretty good, isn’t he?

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: But he’s … anyway who knows? Yeah. There’s only one Rory Bremner.

James Blatch: Yes, that’s true. Good. Okay, Mark. Thank you very much indeed and thank you for doing this twice, which happens occasionally. Had a little technical failure yesterday, but it’s been … I feel it’s been a spontaneous and as natural as we did do yesterday.

Mark Dawson: Almost. Yeah. It wasn’t quite. It was about five percent less funny today.

James Blatch: Well –

Mark Dawson: Maybe, six percent less funny.

James Blatch: But still pretty funny in my book.

Mark Dawson: Still, by most people’s standards, this is hilarious.

James Blatch: Yeah. Great. Look, have a great week writing and selling your books. Thank you so much indeed for listening. Don’t forget you can go to patreon.com if you want to support us, slash selfpublishingshow, and that’s it. We’ll see you next week. So, it’s a goodbye from him.

Mark Dawson: And a goodbye from me.

James Blatch: Goodbye.

Mark Dawson: Goodbye.

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