SPS-172: How to be a Productive Author – with Craig Martelle


By the time his early 50s rolled around, Craig Martelle had already had a military career and a stint as a lawyer/consultant. Now he’s the best-selling author of dozens of books, and a partner in 20 Books to 50K with former Self-Publishing Show guest Michael Anderle.

This week’s highlights include:

  • The possibility for a UK SPF conference in conjunction with Amazon
  • Changing careers from military man to lawyer to author
  • On self-editing a 100,000K word book 20 times
  • Advice about writing in one genre if you can
  • Getting into the black after 13 books published
  • On working with Michael Anderle and the start of a lucrative partnership
  • The value of consistent improvement
  • Where the idea of 20 Books to 50K came from
  • The value of building relationships at in-person events

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Limited offer to buy Craig’s book  ‘Become a Successful Indie Author’ at a reduced price until June 8th 2019: USA UK Canada Australia

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

SURVEY: Give us your opinions about a possible live SPF event in 2020

Transcript of Interview with Craig Martelle

Announcements: On this edition of The Self-Publishing Show…

Craig Martelle: There are people making six figures, who don’t like the business side, but they tolerate it. But if you want to make seven figures and beyond, you need to really embrace and say this is the business and manage that business like a CEO.

Announcements: 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 bestseller Mark Dawson and first-time author James Blatch, as they shine a 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 and a Happy Friday to you from James Blatch and…

Mark Dawson: Mark Dawson.

James Blatch: Hello, how are you, Mark Dawson?

Mark Dawson: I’m all right, James Blatch. Yes, I’m not too bad. I’ve had quite a long day today. Lots of things going on today from writing to doing a new book coming out, so I’m sending it out to my advanced readers, possibly today, maybe tomorrow. Oops, someone just liked us, over my shoulder.

James Blatch: Oh, yes.

Mark Dawson: And what else am I doing? Loads of things going on, so yeah, busy day.

James Blatch: Good. Excellent.

We’ve got a couple of Patreon supporters to welcome, so I want to say a very warm welcome to Zee Dammerel, from Victoria, Australia. And Stephen Thompson from Huddersfield, UK. Now, I could have launched into accents for both of them.

Mark Dawson: Before you do that, aren’t there two people from Huddersfield? I think it’s a husband and wife.

James Blatch: Is it? That’s not what it says on my notes, but you know more than me.

Mark Dawson: Let me have a little look.

James Blatch: I’ve got Stephen Thompson from Huddersfield, UK, is that actually a husband and wife team, is it?

Mark Dawson: No, I think they were two names. I remember seeing that.

James Blatch: I love the professionalism of us.

Mark Dawson: No, I was wrong.

James Blatch: You’re making stuff up.

Mark Dawson: It is just the one.

James Blatch: Everyone who becomes a Patreon supporter gets a name check on The Self-Publishing Show and sometimes you get a little bit of extra attention, whilst Mark decides that there may have been something else involved with you. But anyway.

Mark Dawson: Or sometimes if you’re from anywhere in the world, you could get abused as James murders your accent.

James Blatch: You get abused, you get accents murdered, name pronunciations murdered.

We’ve got a good reason to be a member of patreon.com/selfpublishingshow and support us for as little as $1 an episode and that is, the Self-Publishing Formula University, not a real university, which is in full flow at the moment.

We had a webinar this week, which as we were recording this, is just ahead of us, but will be just behind us when this goes out, with the woman who literally wrote the book on Scrivener, Scrivener for Dummies, Gwen Hernandez and I’m very excited about that.

And that goes into the archives. Anybody who becomes a Patreon supporter is enrolled in this university, a perpetual university of life. You never actually get a degree and all that material is immediately available to you.

I’m hoping that we are going to make that a real thing in the indie publishing world, because it’s something we do out of the goodness of our hearts. I mean it’s part of the stuff we just put out there to people.

There’s a slight catch in that you have to be a little bit closer involved in SPF to get access, but $1 an episode is not a big ask. Anyone who buys a course from us is enrolled for life automatically.

I think that’s becoming quite a little valuable nest of information building up there, Mark.

Mark Dawson: I do yes, also the people who are supporting us on Patreon help us put the podcast out, so it’s not cheap to put a podcast out at the quality we aim at, especially with the show on YouTube and all that kind of stuff. There is a lot that goes into it.

James obviously needs a new wardrobe every time.

James Blatch: I need a razor, run out of razors.

Mark Dawson: We do appreciate it very much. It’s lovely to see new patrons joining us and it does make a big difference. So we are very grateful. I’m very grateful. I can’t talk for James. He’s not grateful for anything.

James Blatch: I’m very grateful. I’ve done two interviews this week, they have both been excellent with Yumoyori, who’s a big fantasy author and a very, very happy, bubbly, smiley person. It was quite late at night that interview.

And I said to her, Yuma, you’ve set me up for the next couple of days and I can’t wait to meet her at a couple of conferences, because she’s just one of life’s natural enthusiasts, that’s a really good interview coming up.

And a productivity interview last night. We talked productivity with an author who writes 9,000 words. I think 9,000 words a week. Yes. 45,000 words a month.

Mark Dawson: Is it Amanda Lee?

James Blatch: That is Amanda Lee.

Mark Dawson: She does more than 9,000 a week.

James Blatch: No, 9,000 a day.

Mark Dawson: That sounds more like it.

James Blatch: 45,000 a week.

Mark Dawson: She’s amazing.

James Blatch: Yeah, that’s what she does. That’s why I was hesitating because I thought nobody writes 45,000 words a week, but I did the interview last night and that’s exactly what she does do.

Mark Dawson: She gets richly compensated for that. She earns way more than I do. She’s one of the biggest selling indies in the world. So that’ll be a good one to get her on.

James Blatch: Yes, she was a nurse and is not missing the nurse’s salary, although she was quite a well-paid nurse. I did talk to her about that.

Every week we put together more interviews and they’re all coming up and I’m looking down the list now, we’ve got a load of good stuff ahead of us. And today, just a little preview, we’re going to talk about something else in a moment.

Today, we have a bit of a star in the indie world and that is Craig Martelle, famous from the 20 Books organizations. In fact, he is the organizer behind the conferences, more than anything else. And really interesting author in his own right, so a good chat with Craig coming up in just a moment.

But before then Mark, we’re not exactly announcing this, but we’re announcing this as an embryonic idea. And it’s quite exciting, isn’t it?

Mark Dawson: It is, now if you were a professional, you could have seen very naturally Craig from organizing conferences to one that we might do. So we, Craig and 20 Books and Michael Anderle and those guys have had a UK conference a couple years ago and there’s one this summer in Edinburgh, that they’re organizing. And then I don’t think they’re doing any more over here.

And it just feels to me like there is, we get asked quite a lot for, obviously, we travel to the States and I speak, I’m at Vegas this year speaking at NINC as well, I’ve spoken at RWA, all over the world, really.

It’s easy for us to do that, because usually I’m getting paid to go. But it’s not quite so simple for other authors in the UK or indeed around Europe, who want to go over to the States to go to a conference.

So we’ve been thinking for a while that there is definitely scope for a conference over here. And we’ve started to look into practicalities of how that might come about. So I had a chat with Amazon at the London Book Fair this year and it’s really early and I’m absolutely definitely not promising anything.

They may tell us that they’re not interested, but at the moment, they do seem interested in exploring the possibility of putting on something together, which might mean that we are able to hold that conference in their London HQ, which would be totally amazing.

I’ve been there a few times and it’s a great building and it’d be really fun to have it there. And of course, we could have lots of Amazonians there, we can have people from all different aspects of their business, so KDP to Audible to ACX to KDP Print to Amazon advertising, tons and tons of potential there.

And also, really great content. We can now reach out to people in the traditional and in the independent sphere and get them to come and talk.

We had a quick survey, which we will mention in a minute and people have been suggesting names like Neil Gaiman. And we could ask Neil Gaiman, it is not impossible that someone like that could come and other people that kind of nature, Michael Anderle has already said that he’d love to come.

I’ll do something, Joanna Penn, I think we could get to do something. There’s lots and lots of potential there, we could get people like Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, friends of the show to come over and take part in the conference.

So we’re thinking about, the date, I think, top of my head, I think it’s a 10th of March. It’s the Monday before London Book Fair. And one of the things that we would try to do is to tie in either a free ticket to LBF or a reduced ticket. So you come to London and then go to our little conference and then go off to LBF and have more conference fun.

And we’re going to try and make it as effectively breakeven. So the price point we’re looking at is 99 pounds, which I think is really fantastic, especially when we’ll try and chuck in LBF entry. And we’ll definitely have an SPF reception on that Monday evening.

So we’ve given it loads of thought. And it would be very helpful at the moment, if people who are interested either they’re in the UK or they could get to London, would go to a really quick SurveyMonkey survey that I’ve put together, three questions, it will take literally 30 seconds to fill out. And just by filling that out, we will get an idea of what the level of interest is.

And also, there’s a chance to request speakers and suggest ideas and things like that. So I think the link that we’ve got is, handing over to you, James.

James Blatch: Yeah, selfpublishingshow.com/survey, selfpublishingshow.com/survey.

Mark Dawson: Is it Self-Publishing Show or Self-Publishing Formula?

James Blatch: Secretly, it’s both, but Self-Publishing Show is the brand. It’s our forward facing image. And I think, as a live event, Self-Publishing Show would be a good way.

Mark Dawson: I agree.

James Blatch: So both will work, we always do that, but it’s selfpublishingshow.com/survey, it won’t take, it’s not like one of these customer satisfaction surveys that drains your will to live. It won’t take very long.

Mark Dawson: It takes 10 seconds. Really, it’s three very quick questions.

James Blatch: That’s very exciting. And I think the world needs our comedy duo on stage, does it not?

Mark Dawson: No, it doesn’t. It needs more John Dyer, we can certainly roll out the Dyer.

James Blatch: He could do the warm-up, couldn’t he? He could an hour standup before we get going.

Mark Dawson: That’s a terrible idea. There’d be no one left. It’ll be like tumbleweeds by the time everyone comes on. Anyway, there’s loads of things we could do there.

We were also thinking, we’re not sure yet, I know you have some reservations. But that’s fair enough, we may record it as well. So we’ll at least look into whether that’s practical, so that people in the States, for example, who can’t come, can also take part in that as well. So we will see, there’s lots of potential things for us to think about.

But at the moment, it will be great to get just that expression of interest.

James Blatch: I think that there’s going to be, if people are going to be in London, they’re going to go into LBF, so there will be those instructional sessions at LBF. We are going to think about how to make this different and value-added, I think as a kind of motivational day, would be an important thing for us to achieve, for people to feel good about being in the indie community, to feel motivated to go back and write more and be successful, as well as picking up practical tips.

Mark Dawson: The main thing about these, is not necessarily what you learn, it’s finding your tribe and going and being around writers, doing exactly what you do, interested in getting better as independent authors. Being around them for a day, making contacts, those are the things that are, very valuable from those kinds of events, is what you get afterwards, not necessarily just what you get on the day.

So anyway, just before we move on, we sent out, the survey link went out with the email that we send every week to discuss the show. And it went out about two hours ago, we’ve had 216 responses already and 75% of those people would come. So pretty good and people who were asking for people to come, lots of people want me to come, which is very nice. But I think I probably would be there.

James Blatch: There’s a reasonable chance you would be there.

Mark Dawson: Joanna Penn, JK Rowling, the usual.

James Blatch: Enid Blyton. Peter James, actually, he would be great.

Mark Dawson: Oh, he’d come, he can come to the opening of an envelope.

James Blatch: Yeah, but he’s always fun to have around.

Mark Dawson: He’s lovely. Yeah. Good idea. I hadn’t thought of him.

James Blatch: J.D. Barker would be one of my choices as well. I think he’s somebody who speaks very intelligently on the industry, but we can make all these decisions if we go ahead with this. And if it’s something that’s going to work for Amazon as well, but that would also be a unique thing.

I’d be very excited about being in the Amazon HQ.

Mark Dawson: Literally, they have robot vacuum cleaners. Big ones. So if you’re in the canteen, you’re sitting down eating your lunch, a big robot, like waist high will come out and it starts cleaning stuff. It’s good. And rumors that Bezos has a rocket ship docking station on the roof cannot be confirmed or denied.

James Blatch: It’s like the SpaceX rocket landing.

Mark Dawson: Exactly. It does entries, doesn’t it? It could land there.

James Blatch: Good. Okay, look, that’s it. So we’ll talk about that from time to time and keep you up to date with progress on that front. But we very much hope it’s something that’s going to happen in 2020. It’s our 2020 vision, if you like, someone must’ve used that already.

Okay, now, we have got a guest here, who knows all about organizing conferences and somebody we will talk closely with in the run-up to anything that we organize.

Craig’s more than just a conference organizer, I think, isn’t he? He’s a personality in the space. He’s a very sober, reflective voice on this indie publishing and he’s just one of the people who like you and others, who has had their careers made for them by this revolution that’s happening in publishing.

So a great person to talk to. He lives a million miles away close to Father Christmas, it’s always fun talking to him. I think technically, it wasn’t too bad getting hold of him. So let’s hear from Craig and Mark and I will be back for a chat off the back.

Craig Martell, welcome to The Self-Publishing Show. I gave you a start there. Look, you’re joining us at 5:00 in the morning or something like that from the wilderness.

We should tell people who don’t know that you live in as far away from civilization as it’s possible to be in America.

Craig Martelle: I do. I live 150 miles from the Arctic Circle. And it does get kind of cold up here. So you see me, I’m wearing a sweatshirt in my own house, because it’s kind of chilly. And it’s dark and it’ll be dark for four more hours. And that’s just how it is. It warmed up though. It’s warmed up all the way to seven degrees Fahrenheit.

James Blatch: Well, that’s positively balmy, because I know you send pictures every now and again. And it’s properly frozen up there. I mean you must have all sorts of bits of equipment to allow cars to run and things like that.

Craig Martelle: Yes. We have the engine heaters, block heaters for both of our vehicles. I tell people, when people ask me about, how do you live up there, I have a $200 mower. I have $5,000 in snow removal equipment. So just to keep things in perspective.

James Blatch: So you spend that money, but then you do get to see the Northern Lights.

Craig Martelle: Yes. And this morning they were out. So I got a little show. I’ll get coffee and I’ll go outside in my shorts and my sweatshirt. And it was seven, so it wasn’t too bad. So I was able to stand out there for a little while, but it did get cold.

But they were out and they were dancing and they cascade up in the northern horizon.

James Blatch: That’s a bucket list for lots of us to go and see the Northern Lights at some point.

I’m looking forward to 20 Books Alaska when that happens.

Craig Martelle: I think that’s viable. I need to go down and stop by the big resort hotel in Fairbanks. There’s only one of them and see what they can accommodate. But that’s likely. March of 2020 is when we’re looking. Mark Dawson already said he would be in, he would come for that.

James Blatch: I’d definitely be in as well.

We’re going to come on to the whole 20 Books thing, revolution. Craig, in a very short period of time, you’ve gone from writing the first word down on a draft novel to being front and center of this indie revolution, which makes you a great guy to talk to. We’ve got lots to get through.

But a little bit of background, the skinny on who Craig Martelle is.

It all started, sir, yes sir, with a short cropped hair cut and serving in the military.

Craig Martelle: You bet. I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps and then what do I want to do when I grow up? After I retired, I went to law school. And like Mark Dawson, got a job doing the legal thing as a business consultant and I was gone all the time. And it was fulfilling in the beginning, but then it became a drag.

So I vaulted over, always wanted to write a book. And I had read thousands of science fiction novels in my life and said, hey, I can do this. I wrote the first one and I looked at it and I said there’s sections here that are pretty good and there’s sections that, man, you probably shouldn’t be allowed to write anything.

But I fixed those and it took me 61 days to write a 100,000 word book. But I was doing it full time, no distractions.

And now same thing, I write, I try to write every day, but I’ve got so many other things with the 20 Books and helping others out. Even though I am publishing a book a week right now, thanks to a number of co-authors.

James Blatch: Unbelievable. We’re going to talk about that collaboration and speed of business later. Two things there, so first of all, you took I mean a considered jump, a bit of a leap of faith at that point.

You obviously decided the law was not going to sustain your interest any longer.

But to decide you’re going to be a full-time writer, that sounded like a gamble.

Craig Martelle: I had already retired from the Marine Corps, so I did have a little bit of a crutch in that. I already had my expenses covered. I had a year’s worth of war chest, of a financial war chest, so it wasn’t that big of a risk. I could hobby it.

My wife is a professor at the university. I don’t need to work, but I do like the standard of living that working provides. So it really wasn’t a risk in that regard.

People with young families who then jump to writing full time, like Mark he jumped over to writing full time after he already showed that he could do it, had a little bit of a war chest, but still it was a risk, because he had a family to support and I was not in that situation. Because my son had already graduated with his master’s degree, before I took that leap to write full time.

James Blatch: So you started your writing, your 100,000 words, 61 days, first draft.

Did you just sit there thinking I’ve got some sort of idea or in your mind did you have a fully formed plot?

Craig Martelle: I did. I went through step by step, even though I didn’t plot it out, I just wrote it, because I wanted to tell the story of survival in Alaska. And the story kind of generated itself as it went. I drove, I did on-site visits for places that I wanted to reference in the story.

And then I looked at it, in one of my 20 edits, self-edits, which 100,000 word, editing that 20 times that was extremely painful. And by the time I finally published it, it’s like I’m just publishing this. I don’t care if there’s typos still, because I didn’t have it professionally edited. I did the cover and it just shows that you can accomplish these things.

It wasn’t great. It wasn’t going to be a bestseller. But what it did was it provided visibility on the capability of the writer, that there were moments that the story was great and overall, the story resonated. And it got visibility and that story became a four book series with a traditional publisher, who then was bought, you can find it on Simon and Schuster now and in Barnes and Noble and bookstores throughout the country.

James Blatch: And that was, yeah, a bootstrap start, I guess is what you call them. People often ask the question, how much do I need to start? And you can do it, but 20 revisions, I mean four revisions, that must have killed you.

Craig Martelle: Oh my God. Yes.

James Blatch: How did you sustain your motivation through that? Because we all have that, I’m writing my first book now. And there are those days where you just think this is all junk. I can’t even open Scrivener.

But you sustained yourself discipline wise through that.

Craig Martelle: I was writing another book during that time. I would set aside so much time to edit and I was doing nothing else. So that’s all I was doing, was working on the first book. And I set it aside for a month and I wrote my second book, which is in a different genre, which was a science fiction adventure, space adventure.

I would go back and I would spend three or four hours a day reading through, fixing sentences that just ended in the middle and things like that and clearing up plot holes. And then the next day, I’d go write the other story for a while, and then I’d come back.

So after a while, it’s like, oh my God, I can’t believe I’m still finding things every time I read through it. But also, I was able to clear up the language.

And then I wrote the second book, I wrote the third book, which was a follow-on to the second book. And then I wrote a fourth book, which was in a completely different genre. In Bali, I handed that one to Mark and I’m like please, can you read my suspense terrorist thriller book?

I think it’s my best book out of the 60 or 70 that I have, but it didn’t sell very well, because it’s only, it’s all by itself. So a recommendation to new authors, do not write your first four books in three different genres. That’s just, don’t do that. Stay in one genre, until you can establish a readership and a style.

The thing about that first book, when the traditional publisher bought it, because they were shifting over. So that was luck, a little bit of timeliness. I sent them the manuscript and they said, this is really a great story. It needs editing. Okay, I knew that part. It needs a new cover. I knew that part. It needs a new title. I’m like, okay, I know that part too.

So some of the framework to help sell a story, they brought, but it doesn’t take away from the story, which referencing Michael Anderle and his Kutherian Gambit series, the first book, he didn’t have it edited, he did the cover himself as well. But the story resonated with the readers.

If you tell a great story and tell a good story in a great way, the readers will come on board and they’ll stick with you. And then you throw a good cover on it and a great blurb and you get people into it, then that’s how you start expanding your readership.

James Blatch: Yeah, so the core is getting that story right, that page turning…

Craig Martelle: Unputdownable, as somebody might say.

James Blatch: Somebody might say, something people can immerse themselves in. And now, you hinted at it there. Scores of books to your name now, Craig. At what point did this become, so this is going to be a kind of money machine, a strongly commercially minded author career, I need to get more and more books out.

When did you start thinking in those terms?

Craig Martelle: When I was arranging covers and when I was arranging my editor, I had to get things set up a month in advance. And the first book took 61 days, the second book took 28 days and the third book took 24 days. And that’s just writing and it’s like, hey, tell the story and you can get it done.

I was doing I estimated, I put on the calendar, a book a month and I was getting there. And the stories were getting better and better, because now I was getting feedback from readers. And okay, now I need you to change this language, oh, don’t use this word, use these things. I’d also get feedback from my editor.

It went from having to reserve her time three months out to then I put her on salary. And now, I have a priority, I can give her a book and she gives me feedback within a week. And that makes a big difference to velocity.

James Blatch: You employ your own editor.

Craig Martelle: Yes, as a subcontractor. I just pay her at the beginning of the month, here’s lots of money, edit my stuff when I have it ready.

James Blatch: Wow. So you are really a one-man publishing house now.

You met Michael Anderle at some point and this has become a power combination, the two of you. When did that happen?

Craig Martelle: The End Times Alaska series, which is what my first book became in August of 2016, something like that, whenever I published first, that one was a bestseller, it was on the charts, gave me a ranking.

And in September, Michael Anderle, he was taking his series and he had a 150-year gap. And the main character that he wanted to fill that gap on Earth in a post-apocalyptic environment was a former Marine.

So he knew exactly one former Marine, who wrote post-apoc and especially since I had bestsellers, it was pretty obvious. He sent me an email saying, hey, I got a problem. I need to fill this time. Would you like to write with me in this universe?

I said, okay, I’m looking at my schedule here. I can start it in December. I can start writing it and we can publish starting in January.

Well, because I got stuff done early, I wrote it in November, we published in December and the rest is history. But December was also my first, I made almost $10,000 that month with all of my own stuff, before joining Michael and that made a big difference, because that also, I started in January and it took till December before I got in the black.

That 10,000 vaulted me past my expenses and I was able actually to deduct, pay taxes on a little bit of extra money that I made. So it helped.

And then from that on, the revenue has been pretty solid and pretty good.

James Blatch: When you got to 10k, that 10k a month, how many books did you have at that point?

Craig Martelle: I had 13 published at that time.

James Blatch: So 13 was the kind of payoff point, although you should say that’s capital, if you like, investment paid off. It was an operational profit, as we say, in business terms, you were making money at that point through 13 books.

Presumably, you were making operational money, kind of month to month money before that point with fewer books.

Craig Martelle: Yes, I was making enough to pay expenses. But one of the things that I was able to do from the start was, you act like you are what you want to be. And so the initial covers, I wanted to find a cover artist, but I was having a hell of a time because I was nobody. I didn’t have anything published.

And then I thought finally was able to hook up with Tom Edwards. I sent him a copy of the book. I’m like, here, Tom, look at the book. It’s a good book. Can you make a cover for me because my covers suck?

He looked at it and said, sure, I can do that for a four cover set. Here’s your price. And I’m like, here you go. I’ll pay and let’s get those covers going.

That made a big difference, getting professional covers. And since then, always the absolute best covers I can get for my books. They don’t have to be expensive, but they have to be a good cover.

James Blatch: Were you running a mailing list from an early stage?

Craig Martelle: Yes, I started that right away. It took me a while to build up and mine is mostly organic, still. I’m at 4,400 or something on my list and it’s mostly organic. I did one Insta Freebie and I didn’t even import those names. Because it didn’t work for me.

James Blatch: You talked about the feedback you were getting from readers. This is people just organically contacting you, having picked up your book.

Craig Martelle: That was through some newsletter swaps with similar authors in similar situations, with their genre and getting exposure and then strangers reading my book.

It doesn’t get better than that, when you have strangers reading your book and giving you a great review and then giving you feedback, as well as emailing and saying, hey, I saw this in your book and you’re like, oh my God, how did I miss that? Like changing somebody’s name from book one to book two. I’ve done that more than once, unfortunately.

James Blatch: Yes, what George RR Martin does every other book, so his readers point that out to him as well. Okay, so then the Michael Anderle introduction happened.

Did you know Michael before that?

Craig Martelle: I did. I was one of the first people who came over from K Boards with him. And that was just pure dumb luck, with the timeliness of I published my first book, I had no idea what I was doing. I wanted to learn and there wasn’t a whole lot of resources at the beginning of 2016.

Where I am, what people didn’t see as the half hour of technical difficulties to get up here for this podcast. I can’t watch podcasts. I can’t download videos, because I don’t have the bandwidth.

So there was some information out there, but it was in podcasts and videos and unfortunately, I can’t take the SPF classes either, because I can’t download the videos.

James Blatch: We will send you a disc.

Craig Martelle: Man, it doesn’t get any better than that. I’ll ask Mark for it in 20 Books Vegas. Are you coming this year?

James Blatch: Yes, for certain. We’re just actually sorting out our travel plans this week and 20 Books Vegas is very much in the calendar segment. So Michael and longtime listeners of the show will know that we had Michael on, what is now probably an historic interview, because he was getting his stable going at that point and starting to work out how this could work. And now it’s huge.

So Michael was somebody who was good at publishing, good at getting the marketing right, good at finding readers for books and became a pioneer indie publishing house, small publishing house, effectively. So I like to think of it more as collaboration than publishing. I think that’s what it is. It’s probably how you would describe it.

You work together and have an equitable split of the income and that’s worked pretty well, we should say.

Craig Martelle: It has worked phenomenally well. One of the things I needed was three-dimensionality of characters. The characters in my second series, the science fiction adventure were pretty good. But they didn’t have that depth that I was able to gain under Michael Anderle’s tutelage and mentoring, as we talked through plots and various characters and situations as I wrote them.

He was very much engaged and hands-on with the first couple books in that series and then he backed farther and farther away, where he would just read sections. He’s like, hey, what do I need to read? And I would send him page 85 to 95. And he would jump in and read that, so yeah, great section here. Let me make a recommendation here and there. And that helped my writing immensely.

Plus, he was able to introduce me to his team of beta readers and editors. And they also provided that in-depth feedback to help me… I have a continuous improvement mindset. I haven’t written my magnum opus yet and I’m trying, I want to get every word needs to better, every story needs to be a little bit better and more gripping.

That’s what I try to do. And that feedback loop helped me immensely. So now, I publish, geez, eight or nine books with LMBPN, which is Michael’s publishing company for every one or two that I do of my own.

James Blatch: Wow, it’s amazing. And that’s really great to hear that it’s not just a positive relationship in commercial, marketing terms.

It is a positive relationship in writing and editorial terms, what Michael brings to it for you.

Craig Martelle: Yes and when we talk about collaborations in Bali and Kevin J. Anderson was able, him and Rebecca Moesta, his wife, the key with collaborations, first, you need to know why you’re collaborating. And second, what do you get out of it?

The thing that Michael and I get is, we both get to be a little bit better, he gets some more volume in his stable of publications. And I get that feedback. I get to make better books.

And now, that gives me the ability to collaborate with other folks separately and help them write a story that might be a little more gripping, that might sell better, based on the story arc or the emotions that you can engage with.

And if you don’t emotionally connect the story with your readers, then you’re missing out and you’re not going to get good sell through.

James Blatch: You’re open with your figures. I think Michael is as well, I saw you at 20 Books. You both talked about it.

Can you give us an idea of the size of the Craig Martelle empire now?

Craig Martelle: I made just under 200,000 last year and that’s gross, that’s not net, because I spend a lot of money on various things, travel first class and things like that. So it’s a great time to be an indie and this year, looking at the numbers, I’ll probably be upwards of around half a mill with a pretty good profit on my side, even with buying first class tickets and things like that.

And that’s what I told my wife when we went to Australia and to Bali, was that as we’re sitting back in coach, I said I want to make enough money this year that we can buy first class tickets and not have to worry about being back here.

James Blatch: Getting deep vein thrombosis and things like that.

Craig Martelle: The legs freezing up and having to wear compression socks and things like that. No, no.

James Blatch: It’s a priority for us as well I have to say, especially as you get a little bit older and the youngsters on the team, they sit in coach as I used to in my 20s.

Craig Martelle: You bet. I have a lot of miles in coach, but we’re at the point now where we don’t have to.

James Blatch: Well, congratulations, I want to say congratulations, Craig, because it’s a fantastic inspirational thing to hear, in such a short period of time. And you’re so dedicated to this and I love the bit about wanting to improve and still not getting there, which I’m going to predict you probably won’t ever, at any point, sit down and say, that’s it then. I’ve produced the perfect book.

But that’s why you’re successful, of course, part of it.

Craig Martelle: I tell you what, my latest series, Metal Legion that Caleb Wachter is doing the heavy lifting on the writing, I think that’s my best series yet, because it’s a good flow of story and action and engagement and 20 years in the military.

I’ve got enough quips and quotes and off-color remarks that work very well within stories. And how people engage in a combat situation and move forward.

I like that one and that one, it’s there. It’s nice. It’s a great stepping stone and every new book is a new plateau from which to climb higher.

James Blatch: Yeah, absolutely. When I was a BBC reporter, I did a lot of defense reporting so I spent quite a lot of time with the military in the UK and I loved the level of banter that existed. In that environment, where it’s a very purposeful, professional environment, the banter is alongside that in terms of quality, it was brilliant and I loved being there and they loved having me because once they realized I was friendly-ish to them and I was up for a bit of banter myself, I got some good stuff.

There’s nothing quite brings the authenticity, for guys like you, who’ve been there and understand something that’s not always understandable from the outside, how they talk.

Craig Martelle: And that’s what the beta readers bring to me as well. Because sometimes they’ll be like, I don’t understand this. We were going through one of the latest books yesterday, because I said I don’t want him to tear up the warrant in front of me.

And they’re like warrant, what are you talking about? It’s a promotion warrant. And they didn’t understand that as people who hadn’t been in the military, so I’m like, okay, let’s change it to promotion order, as opposed to warrant. Because only military would understand that.

So little things like that, because it made, of course, I mean that was the term I use, because that was the correct term. However, it wasn’t the clear term.

James Blatch: Let’s talk about the 20 Books movement, then. I’m going to call it a movement, because it sort of feels like that. You’ve just got back from Bali. I was in Vegas last year. You’ve had a couple of Vegas conferences now. Last November, we were standing in Sam’s Town hotel with 700 like-minded authors. I was talking to Mark about this on the podcast we recorded yesterday.

What a thrill that was to be, because I spent a lot of my time having conversations with people. And they go, oh, isn’t that vanity publishing? Or don’t you need an agent? And you have to have that whole beginning conversation and you can see them not really taking it seriously.

And then suddenly, you’re standing with knocking on 1,000 people who get it, who understand it, who are part of this, you don’t have to have those initial conversations with them. You can go straight into, how are you writing your book, how’s the Facebook going and all the rest of it.

Just being in that environment was the best conference I’ve ever been to.

Craig Martelle: When we first floated the idea of doing a conference, I told Michael, I’m like, I’ve run five or 10 conferences before and it’s okay, gaming conventions and Marine Corps balls and things like that, that had an organization bring a group together for an event. And I said I can do this.

So we ran a poll on 20 Books to 50k Facebook group and we had like 100 firm responses, yes, I would come to a Vegas event. So I contacted Vegas and with Michael’s wife, Judith Anderle’s help, we found a place and said how about 150 people? And that first show in 2017, we had 420 people show up, thanks to some scalability that we built in, because we wanted a lot of space. And then all of a sudden, it wasn’t a lot of space. It was a lot of people in a medium sized space.

And then last year, we got the big room and this year, we’ve got the big room and two other big rooms, we will have about 850 this year. It is a great thing because even though a third to a half have never published before, they’re aware, they’re aware of the terminology.

They can speak the language and the good thing is that most indies are introverts of some sort. And they get in a big group of people and they don’t want to talk, but this is your tribe and especially putting the genre on the badge has helped a lot.

So urban fantasy, you’re urban fantasy. Oh my God, I recognize your name. I targeted your books on my AMS ads. That’s a great thing for everyone to get together and talk about things that are important to them, without resorting to small talk, the bane of introverts’ existence. Hey, how are you? How about that weather? Oh, look at that.

James Blatch: Let’s step back a second and tell people who don’t understand or haven’t really got an in-depth knowledge of 20 Books to 50k, where the concept came from, because this was Michael’s idea, wasn’t it, from the beginning.

Explain where it came from.

Craig Martelle: Michael had his first three books published and he was looking and he said, okay, I’ve got three books, they only need to make $7.50 a day each. And if I had 20 of those earning 7.50 each a day, that would make me 50,000 on the year.

So 20 books to 50k, it wasn’t 20 books in a year. It was just overall, if you have 20 books and they’re earning, simple math and he said if I moved to Cabo San Lucas, $35,000, a year I can live pretty well. In a place like Cabo and 50,000 gives me a little extra, gives me a cushion.

So that was the whole concept of 20 Books to 50k.

James Blatch: Was it Michael’s retirement plan?

Craig Martelle: Simple as that, to retire to a lower cost place. You don’t want to write books and then move to San Francisco where you need like 20 grand a month just to break even.

No, move to someplace inexpensive on the beach, relax, enjoy and not kill yourself. 20 books to 50k, that’s the entirety of the concept. It was a retirement plan for Cabo.

James Blatch: And I think Michael did tell us at Vegas he’s exceeded his 50k a year, hasn’t he?

Craig Martelle: Just just a little bit. I think he makes 50k in the first four or five days of the month.

James Blatch: I think that’s about right, with what he’s done. But the concept is there for the rest of us. And I love that as well.

I love the fact that people have that to aim at, because having a sharpened commercial aim, sharpens, everything else that you do. There’s no whimsy anymore. And if you’re halfway through a book and you realize I’m writing this for me, no one’s really going to be interested in this, fine, as long as you’re aware of that and that’s what you want to do.

What you don’t want to do and we do meet people who’ve written the most obscure little book with a bad cover and they don’t understand why it’s not selling.

It’s moving away from that and knowing what you’re doing.

Craig Martelle: That’s right. You have to have that balance of the artist, I want to write a story. I want to write a story that I want to write, as opposed to I’m just going to grind out words and make money. The readers will pick up on that.

Nobody is that good that they can write what they don’t like and write what they don’t want to write in a timely manner and the readers say, my God, this is a great piece, a great story.

I don’t know that person, if there is somebody out there doing that. And you write what you like but it also needs to be marketable. And from the people I’ve met, Joanna Penn and Mark Dawson and Michael Anderle and some of the other heavy hitters in the industry, is that they love the art side of the business, the telling the story. But then they also really embrace the business side.

There are people making six figures who don’t like the business side, but they tolerate it. But if you want to make seven figures and beyond, you need to really embrace and say this is the business and manage that business like a CEO. But then you get over here and you create three-dimensional characters that the readers love and that they want more of.

I know the book is going to sell, but here’s how can I sell it really, really well and make lots of money, cut my overhead, do this, whatever it might be, those business concepts.

James Blatch: You talked about moving over from K Boards with Michael, originally, one of the early guys. Was that the creation of 20 Books?

Craig Martelle: It was right after that. I was one of the first 50 people that came over from K Boards, the first day, second day that 20 Books to 50k as a Facebook group existed.

James Blatch: So he started 20 Books with its own environments online and you were at that point, a member of the community. But at Vegas, you were prominent because you basically organized the Vegas conference.

Craig Martelle: Yeah.

James Blatch: Michael said that when he got on stage, he said, the only condition I lay down is I’m not involved. I don’t have to do anything. I can turn up and smile.

Craig Martelle: That’s right. He did actually reserve a limo from the airport for me. So he did that. No, he’s there. He commits to presenting, we stay in touch, I keep him up to date on it. He gives no guidance on it. He’s like, oh, no, you’ve got this. So running the show.

And it’s good to be the director, because I don’t have a staff or a board of directors. So we might want to call it a beneficial dictatorship. So sometimes I just say, no, we’re not going to do that, because I just look at how much work these various things are going to cause me.

Like the author signing last year. It was neat, but we’re not going to do it this year, because it was a significant amount of effort and I don’t think that much gain.

If we do something like that, it’ll be a separate event with somebody else organizing it. I’m not going to take on that umbrella or that mantle. So it’ll be a show from Tuesday through Thursday, we won’t end at noon, we will end it like 4 p.m. on Thursday and get in some more sessions, get in some more specific roundtables.

I do listen to the feedback from the crowds. I know that the genre specific roundtables are one thing they really wanted more of, maybe narrower genres, subgenres, specifics. We have bigger rooms, we’re going to… and something that we do as well, because since this is all about giving back, is we video feed the main presentations and we’re going to have three simultaneous main presentations this year.

The big room and then two other rooms that will hold about 200, 250 people each will live stream those as well and then record them for people to pull up later, because not everybody can make it to Vegas. But they can at least get the presentations, but they won’t get the face to face and those things, those relationships that help people vault their careers
forward.

James Blatch: I can see that. I can name people now I know, work, collaborate together, keep each other inspired and are moving forward together because they met at 20 Books a year and a bit ago. And it’s definitely worth it for that.

I think holding it in Vegas is good as well.

Vegas is not necessarily everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s a cheap place normally to live in and to get to, cheapish. And I guess that’s one of the reasons for doing it.

Craig Martelle: Well, 120 cities fly directly to Vegas. It’s really hard to beat that. We got the rooms this year. The first 350 rooms were $42 a night. So we got that. If you Uber, it’s $25 from the airport to the hotel and then at the hotel, you can eat cheap, they’ve got the buffet, you get the frequent player card, you can eat as much as you want and you’re not going to put out a whole lot of money.

My personal goal was less than $1,000. So somebody could fly from pretty much anywhere in the States, get there, stay at the hotel, eat, attend the convention, because this year it’s only $139.99 is all we need to charge to cover all of our expenses for the show. So come eat, go to the show and then go back home for less than $1,000.

So that’s not a significant investment in your own business, especially when you look at the people you can meet, the stories you’re going to hear. You go listen to that presentation live, you can watch it, but then you get the opportunity to go ask the guest speaker, hey, I’ve got a question about this thing that you said. And it really changes the dynamic of the indie authors as a whole.

James Blatch: You know what, I think you can do it for certainly 1,000 pounds from the UK, possibly even $1,000, because I’m doing the figures at the moment. And we may bring somebody along who is going to be sitting in coach. And when I look at those figures, I think you can do it cheap as well. So I think it was something like 375 quid out and 69 quid back on BA at the moment. So if you’re booking in advance, so yes, it’s doable, definitely doable.

Craig Martelle: That’s the great thing about time, reserving well ahead of time. I signed the contract for 2019 before 2018 even finished, because I wanted to get that and working with the rooms. And I just heard from the hotel two days ago, the first 350 room block is sold out. So we’re into the second block of 100 rooms.

James Blatch: That’s great.

Craig Martelle: I’ve already taken care of Mark separately, because he’s Mark Dawson.

James Blatch: He has a very specific requirements for his room. The temperature has got to be exactly 72 degrees and obviously, the green M&Ms.

Let’s talk a little bit about some of the spin-off conferences then, so Vegas is the big one, the big gathering, Bali and you’ve referenced the possibility of Alaska as well. These are, in your mind, smaller.

What was Bali like, in terms of its feel and atmosphere?

Craig Martelle: Bali was an incredible experience for one to one and very small group conversations with people who are already making well into six figures, some making seven figures. And it was a changed dynamic.

The schedule, we went from 10:00 to 1:00, had lunch from 1:00 to 2:30 and came back at 2:30 and went till about five. So really limited, you could look at that and say, well, I’m not getting very many presentations.

It really wasn’t about the presentations. It was about sitting around the pool, talking with fellow authors about things that mattered to you. Sitting in the, what I call, the rapid fire roundtables, where we would pose a question on the screen and small groups of six to eight people within the audience would turn around and get in a circle and talk about them. And then present what they came up with at the end and each group would have a chance to present something.

So building relationships and helping people talk through the business side of being a self-published author, I think, helped immensely, plus, the conversations. We had Kevin J. Anderson and Mark Dawson as our special guests. And they provided insight that you wouldn’t get elsewhere.

Kevin J. Anderson, he’s seen it all. He said, I failed more times than most other people. Because he’s been publishing for 30 years. And he rode one wave and then all of a sudden, that one dropped and so he had to find a different way. And he rode that, now all of a sudden, the royalties, the advanced royalties are not a million dollars anymore. They’re 100,000, for three books, over three years and he’s like that’s a pretty drastic change from what you’re expecting, to what you get.

And now he’s going indie with some publications and titles and working his way back up. So every time he’s gone up to the top, gone down to the bottom, gone up.

He had great insight on why things were the way they were, based on his experience with traditional publishing, his experience collaborating with people like Brian Herbert on the Dune series with Neil Peart from Rush. And what did those things look like and how did he get where he is now?

Incredible personalities, incredible people to talk to.

James Blatch: Thanks for that contact in Bali between Mark, Lucy and Kevin J. Anderson. We’re hoping to get Kevin onto the podcast at some point in the future, because I think I’ve read one of his Star Wars spin-offs. Is that right? He does write Star Wars. I’m sure I’ve read Kevin J. Anderson.

Craig Martelle: He did Star Wars, I jagged him pretty hard on that and he’s like, no, I’ve written Star Trek too.

James Blatch: You’re a Trekkie, are you?

Craig Martelle: I am.

James Blatch: Just so we know where we stand. Okay, good.

Craig Martelle: Also, Man U, I’m sorry.

James Blatch: You’re Man U?

Craig Martelle: If you’re Chelsea guy.

James Blatch: I’m a Cambridge United fan but John Dyer, our third amigo who will probably be in Vegas this year is a big Man U fan, so you can get together with him and share your riches. Whilst Cambridge United struggle to stay in business, by the way, the other end of it.

Craig Martelle: Not nowaday riches.

James Blatch: No, Exactly. Finally on 20 Books what I’m interested about, because we’re a nonfiction business, The Self-Publishing formula and obviously Mark’s a profitable author but my income really is SPF.

20 Books is not run for profit, is that right?

Craig Martelle: Yeah, it’s a registered trademark. Michael did that to protect that brand of not for profit, we make all of our money off our fiction books. I do have a nonfiction book and let me know when this was going to air and I’m going to make that book become a successful indie author. I’ll make it 99 cents. It’s usually 4.99 for the period that you show this podcast. So just let me know, I’ll change that price and make it available.

But we make our money on fiction. So we’re doing this as just our way of giving back and one thing that Michael and I both agreed on was that part of being successful is you have to reach back. You can’t just go ahead and climb on the bodies of the people you killed on your way up the hill. That’s no way to do it.

So we reach back, we help out a lot and I get a lot of personal gratification for it, having been through a couple wars, there are things that it’s good to do nice things.

James Blatch: That’s really good and you put so much time and effort into it. And we want to say thank you for that, because I certainly am one of the beneficiaries of that environment you create, which is brilliant.

What’s next for Craig Martelle? Continuing to collaborate on the series with Michael and your own series coming out, what’s 2019 going to look like?

Craig Martelle: Oh, geez, 2019, I think I have 60 books on tap to publish, about 45 to 50 original books and then the box sets for some of those. Probably half of those we will have turned into audiobooks.

I have a significant new series, it’s a different genre for me, YA, young adult, cozy mystery and that we have 20 book, four books on up, the first three are already written. They are 30,000 words, so it’s kind of, I call it Scooby Doo meets Nancy Drew.

And that’s a little bit different series, but I really like it and the beta readers who are my mil sci-fi people, they like it. They said this is really good. I like this, I like the story. I like the twists and turns.

We’re doing some extra artwork for that, like five extra pen and ink drawings will be on the inside. So it’ll be a different look for books and 24 of those, we’re going to publish every two weeks, for 48 weeks. And we’ve got the mil sci-fi, we’ve got a bunch of other series going.

I’ve got two personally published books coming this Monday. One is post-apocalyptic and the other one is dragons in space. So we’ve got some space fantasy going on, which is what I would call Star Wars. Star Trek has some hand waving in it too, but I like Star Trek.

James Blatch: Your writing, Craig, when you sit down and write, like today after this podcast interview, it won’t even be breakfast time still.

How many hours do you put in at a time?

Craig Martelle: I try to write two or three hours a day and get about 3,000 words. Nowadays, it’s not all that viable, because of so many other things going on, getting caught back up after Bali, because my co-authors are giving me 10,000 to 20,000 words a day to review and go through.

I read every word and go through and give feedback, as well as I try to get into the story and keep that story viable and keep things straight. As well as ordering covers, artwork and stuff like that, which seems almost like a daily deal.

I’m going to do a reader magnet on that cozy mystery series, because I don’t have a cozy mystery list. I have 25 people or something signed up so far. And so I want to do a reader magnet, about 10,000 to 15,000 words maybe. And with the same characters and with that story, we’re calling it Book Zero.

It’ll only be available on BookFunnel for free and I need to finish that, I need to write that story and get it up there like a month before we publish the first book. So we start building that list.

As Mark will say, your newsletter list is one of the most significant vehicles to establish a baseline of sales. If you can hit your list and you can sell 500 copies of your book that first day, then you know what kind of expenses you can manage for this book and this series, because then you build your read through and things like that and keep building your list, it’s mutually supporting.

But that list is key. And so I need to build that with the reader magnet.

James Blatch: Do you use Scrivener or Word?

Craig Martelle: I use Word. I’m an old military guy. I mean we had Word.

And then in our business consulting, Excel and Word. I’m an Excel power user. So that helps manage the cost elements. I do that from Michael’s business, breaking out, because there’s 25 co-authors that Michael has and each one, each book might have a different percentage royalty breakout. And it’s rather complex, but once you get it set up, it works pretty well.

Today’s the 15th, we will get what we get for the Amazon report from December. So hopefully, the KEMP rate doesn’t go down. Not too much anyway, history says it’s going to go down, but just hopefully not too much. And we’ll plug in all the numbers and see what it comes out as.

James Blatch: It’s always nice working on a spreadsheet when there’s lots of black in it and not so much red, so it gives you the motivation to get deeper into it. I’m a big spreadsheet guy as well.

Craig, I knew it’d be a fascinating conversation and I think people have learned and also will feel inspired. I certainly do whenever I talk to you and thank you again for being such a… it’s a hard working part of the community and bringing the indie industry to life, because otherwise, it’s just a series of individuals sitting in their houses.

Mark and I think SPF play their part as well, but definitely you guys and a very visible part of that is the 20 Books Vegas conference, which I’ll give a shout out to again. I think it’s a great thing to attend.

Craig Martelle: Hey, thanks a lot, James. I appreciate it. And also, I got the live thanks to you and your presentation last year. And it works really, really well. We’ve had some great shows already with it.

James Blatch: Excellent. Thank you so much, Craig, for joining us today.

Craig Martelle: All right, peace, man.

James Blatch: You ever fancy getting away from it all, Mark, living somewhere inaccessible?

Mark Dawson: Not there. I’d be quite happy to live in an accessible island in the Indian Ocean but I really don’t think Alaska is calling to me, particularly. I don’t like winter much and I’ve seen on Craig’s Facebook feed, I’ve actually seen a video, you should probably look this up of his wife with a bowl of boiling water, opening the door, throwing it out and it turns to ice in the air. It is ridiculous.

So no, I have no interest in going there. Actually, saying that, he did say that they’re thinking, I think this may be slightly flippant, but they’re thinking of having an event in Alaska and tying that into the Northern Lights. Now, I could be tempted to do that.

James Blatch: Definitely want to see the Northern Lights at some point. In fact, we were saying that, my wife and I just last night watching something on TV about it. So yeah, that would be good.

I’d love to go to Alaska. But like you said, I think to visit, perhaps at this time of year when there’s a bit more light around than in the midst of winter. I think all sorts of things that they rely on just to survive there, not least is plugging your car in to make sure it doesn’t freeze overnight, but all sorts of other gadgets.

Anyway, talking to Craig is great and he’s a man who’s lived life a bit, marine and all the rest of the bit. Writes prolifically, is energetic and is an important voice I think in our tribe.

Mark Dawson: He’s a nice guy and organizing a conference, I think they suspect they’ll get 1,200 at Vegas this year. Organizing a conference for 1,200 people, different tracks, getting speakers involved, asking people like me to go and do that, that’s lot of work, it is very impressive. And also to continue with his writing, it’s pretty impressive act he’s doing.

James Blatch: He does it all with a chipper smile, because I can remember in the middle of Vegas last time and I had a couple of, like one of the many speakers, I had technical demands and I was up to him, getting him to sort stuff out and I was amazed-

Mark Dawson: Diva.

James Blatch: At how much time he had for anybody who approached him and needed stuff done and did it with a smile on his face.

Mark Dawson: I heard that you stormed backstage with your M&Ms and you were complaining that they were brown M&Ms in your bowl.

James Blatch: I threw them across the stage.

Mark Dawson: I only want red M&Ms. I can’t work with these people.

James Blatch: Exactly. Anyway, yeah. Conference organizing is something we’re going to hopefully learn about. We mentioned at the beginning of the show today-

Mark Dawson: We’re not. Young Tom might learn about it.

James Blatch: We will still feel responsible. I just watched the Fyre Festival documentary on Netflix, which is a great thing to watch as we’re thinking about organizing an event.

Mark Dawson: Oh, dear. Didn’t they all get arrested and sent to prison?

James Blatch: I haven’t got to the very end of the documentary but they’re hoping he’s not going to go to prison.

Mark Dawson: Spoiler. I think he does go to prison.

James Blatch: I think he should go to prison, from what I’ve seen, but it’s a fantastic documentary. Good, okay. I think that’s it.

Don’t forget, you can support the show and you can become an enrolled student in the coolest self-publishing university there is, Self-Publishing Formula University, if you support us at patreon.com/selfpublishingshow.

I know you’re burning, it’s not a real university, the lawyer in you.

Mark Dawson: I was going to say it’s the only university in self-publishing, there isn’t another one. What else can you do? What else would we be very grateful if you did?

James Blatch: If you went across to this URL and answered three very quick questions, selfpublishing show.com/survey. And it’s basically just going to tell us whether you would be interested in a live event in the UK next March, which would tie in with London Book Fair as well, to make it worth your while coming across. As if coming to see us is not worth a trip across America. Or from wherever.

Good and you’ll get to meet John Dyer, young Tom and the whole team.

Mark Dawson: What more can I add? If that’s not good enough to persuade people to come, I don’t know what would be.

James Blatch: I think I sold it. Thank you very much indeed. It’s been a pleasure. As always, we’ll be back next Friday. Can’t remember who it is next Friday, but it’s going to be good, because we’ve got some excellent interviews coming up in the next few weeks, we look forward to seeing you then. And that’s it. So I’m going to say it’s goodbye from me.

Mark Dawson: And it’s goodbye from him. Goodbye.

James Blatch: Goodbye.

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