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SPS-314: Treating Your Book Like a Product – with Nick Thacker

Nick Thacker is fully immersed in the indie author world. He’s an author himself. He offers marketing services to authors as well as an email newsletter service that is for authors only. Today he talks to James about what really matters when it comes to marketing books.

Show Notes

  • How starting with marketing can be the most difficult part for authors
  • The importance of viewing our books objectively
  • How simple mistakes with a book’s cover or blurb can turn potential readers off
  • What job is your book cover trying to do?
  • Why playing the long game is important for authors

Resources mentioned in this episode:

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

WEBINAR: Join Janet Margot for a free webinar about Amazon ads

FREE COURSE: Sign up for Nick’s free 20-week book marketing course here.

MERCH: Are you a ligneous beetle or a yawning hippopotamus? Get your SPF hoodies and t-shirts in the brand new SPF Store.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

SPS-314: Treating Your Book Like a Product - with Nick Thacker
Speaker 1: On this addition of The Self-Publishing Show.

Nick Thacker: Advertising is a force multiplier. You're building success forward. You're putting more products out there. What's happening is, over time, you will have people self-select. You will have readers come and say, "All this lines up with what I want."

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 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 welcome to The Self-Publishing Show with me, James Blatch.

Mark Dawson: And me, Mark Dawson.

James Blatch: If you're watching on YouTube, I'm looking a bit windswept and golf-y today. Look how many layers I've got on. It was freezing this morning, but beautiful.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, it was lovely here too.

James Blatch: It's rare time. So I nipped out and got some fresh air, stupid golf for my stupid mental health, which is a bit of a TikTok trend. Here's me and my stupid walk for my stupid mental health.

Mark Dawson: Right, oh yes, I feel that.

James Blatch: I'm getting quite into TikTok and enjoying it and finding it quite easy, because they're so short, really, the little bits. So once you come latch onto something, it's quite easy just to turn them out quite quickly, and you can batch them as well of course.

Mark Dawson: Blatch them.

James Blatch: Batch them. Blatch them.

Mark Dawson: Yeah.

James Blatch: And the reason we're talking about TikTok is not just idly, because it is definitely a platform that some authors are finding great success on, unusually, organically. So we always talk about pay to play, but there was a day with Facebook when you didn't have to pay to play. It was organic reach would get you all over the place and would start selling you books because you'd be reaching readers easily.

Then of course the platform was monetized and gradually the algorithm worked so that if you paid, you got access to people you didn't know so well, but if you didn't pay, you basically... Not even, you didn't even get to see all your friends. It started to really narrow it down to the people who interact with you organically. So it's a friends thing or you pay to reach big audiences.

TikTok is in its early days, it's in its infancy still. I know it's the largest website on the planet now, but it is still in those early... What we'd call list building stage, I suppose, where they want the platform to be successful. So dive in now is my advice if you're so inclined and we have a course, a module, coming on, adding into Ads for Authors called TikTok for Authors. Of course, it's brilliant.

Going through the editing process at the moment. It's stylish. This is a stylish course, Mark. Look, you can see the way the money's gone in the presentation of this course, like a big Hollywood film with special effects. It looks great. Lots of green screen and looking into phones and stuff because of course TikTok's quite a visual medium. So we do need to do that a bit.

Lila Dubois and Jayne Rylon are the two women who are putting the course together or have put it together. We are now actually putting it physically together and it'll be out probably the end of February, beginning of March. And part of Ads for Authors and Ads for Authors is open, is it not, Mark? It's open now?

Mark Dawson: Yeah. Just I'll just stop the stopwatch. Yeah, that was a minute of James's monologue before I get the chance to say anything.

James Blatch: I've got two more things to say, no go on.

Mark Dawson: Oh good. Yes. It's open as we record this, open last night. So when does this go out, James? Friday?

James Blatch: Next Friday, a week Friday. So it's been open a week and a bit.

Mark Dawson: Yes, so it will be the 21st because there's... It would've been out for a week and a bit and yeah, it's gone very... As we record this, very well. Lots of people have joined, which is always nice to see. As you say, we've got the TikTok module at Facebook, Amazon, and lots more, BookBub, and lovely to see lots of fresh faces in the exclusive mastery Facebook group, which is the one that goes along with the course. It's always great.

And starting to see people dip their toes into the content and starting to experiment with the various ad platforms, which is exciting because it's always the case that someone at the moment who isn't selling very many copies of their books, in six months time will probably be on the podcast telling us that they've just retired their husband or wife, or just bought a yacht somewhere. I was thinking of Marc Reklau or it's just generally has turned their sales around was one of the things we love to see the most. So I wonder who it will be. Could it be J Blatch?

James Blatch: Am I going to be the one?

Mark Dawson: You could be the one. Go get that second book out.

James Blatch: Yes, yes but almost-

Mark Dawson: Rather than going off and playing golf, what you should have been doing is what I did all day and that's been writing. So been pushing out then the next book.

James Blatch: You're assuming I didn't get up early and write this morning.

Mark Dawson: Well, it's possible. I'm doubting you did, given that we all went to bed quite late last night. Not together, obviously.

James Blatch: You would be right if I didn't this morning. I did get up reasonably early, but I didn't write this morning, but I'm I'm literally on the last chapter. Actually, that's not quite true because I did skip ahead in the middle, but having skipped ahead, I'm pretty certain when I go back, what I need to do is basically just cap off where I'd got to, because it was time for the book to move on anyway. So that won't be a big about the writing in the middle of the book.

I'm really enjoying the last part of it. It's a military thriller set in the 1960s with lots of flying in it. Sneakily, it's quite romantic, this book as well. And the last chapter is, I think, so I'm quite enjoy the romance side of it.

Mark Dawson: Well, sounds good. Looking forward to reading it.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: Now what you'll do now, of course, unless you... Hopefully you've learned your lesson is you'll now junk the whole thing and start again. At least three times.

James Blatch: Not this time.

Mark Dawson: Some point in 20, I'll say 2028, the new version of Five will be finished and you'll be ready to go.

James Blatch: Not this time. No, I'm ahead of the game. And my development editor has already read a big chunk of it. He's read about 45,000 words of it and he's happy and we've had a chat about it.

Mark Dawson: Good.

James Blatch: So he thinks it's going to be ready.

Mark Dawson: Well, we'll hold you to that. And if it's, yeah, ready by-

James Blatch: March the first, to him.

Mark Dawson: March the first. Well, that will certainly be before-

James Blatch: Well, March the first for the editor. May the first for the public.

Mark Dawson: May the fourth is the day you should release it, of course, for obvious reasons.

James Blatch: Yes.

Mark Dawson: May the fourth be with you, but yeah, so that's going to be before the conference. So there's a deadline, because if you haven't released it by then, this is the chance for everyone who's going to the conference to give you a hard time at the conference.

James Blatch: Am I always going to be given a hard time?

Mark Dawson: Well, I think you need tough love.

James Blatch: I've had 10 years of that.

Mark Dawson: Some people need codling. Other people need carrot and stick. I think you're more of a stick kind of person.

James Blatch: Anyway. I've got to think of a title, because I don't think I'm going to go with Redneck. Although I do like it, because it works on every level that I like.

Mark Dawson: I quite like Redneck. Whereas potentially not very exciting.

James Blatch: Yeah. And my dev editor, what Andrew said to me, he said, "Really, you've got the final flight and the flight says a lot and final flight... So that's a good title should be working. This title should be working in the same way." So he likes the idea of having the word flight in there, because it's about a precision release of a missile. We could call it Precision Flight, which I quite like-

Mark Dawson: Ooh no that's boring.

James Blatch: You don't like Precision Flight?

Mark Dawson: No, precision is not exactly an exciting word, is it? Precision is somewhere where there's set square sitting down, being very precise. That's not exciting.

You Could Fly is not a bad idea. We have to think about this. I think we can do a lot better. I quite like The Final Flight, or the Last Flight, as it was called. That is quite good, because it tells you why is it the final flight? That suggests a crash, which is quite exciting. Precision Flight, that's... I'll leave the airport at 6:23 and 15 seconds.

James Blatch: It's about releasing a missile at max six in the upper atmosphere.

Mark Dawson: The fact that you have to tell me that is not obvious from the title, is it? So I think we can definitely do better than that.

James Blatch: Well, okay.

Mark Dawson: You've got lots of time to think about it.

James Blatch: All right. I could poll our wonderful Facebook community, couldn't I?

Mark Dawson: You could. Absolutely, yeah.

James Blatch: I'll put a little synopsis in and see what people come up with.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. I did that before actually. I needed a tagline for the print copy of the second Milton book and I wasn't sure. I didn't have any really good ideas. So I actually, I must have had 200 comments with suggestions and some absolutely great ones, really. The one on the hardback is the one that was suggested by, I don't know who it was now, but someone in the community suggested that. It was really good.

James Blatch: Okay.

Mark Dawson: Was it something like To Kill... To Kill A Saint you need a ...

James Blatch: A precision kill.

Mark Dawson: Something like that, yeah. No, basically crowd sourcing that is a very good idea. I think that will help a lot.

James Blatch: Okay. I shall do it. I shall do it after this episode. So look for that in the Facebook community group.

Sorry, just circling back to the course, selfpublishingformula.com/adsforauthors is where to go to read all about what's in the course, not just of course TikTok for Authors, that's simply the latest module, but there are courses on Facebook ads for advertising, Facebook ads for authors, Amazon Ads for authors and so on. BookBub ads.

And on the subject of Amazon ads, we're going to have webinar with Janet Margo next Wednesday. Janet's of course has come from the coalface in Amazon Ads. She was part of the team there. She now works in a different part of the Amazon empire, but she's joined Team SPF to teach... It's her life's ambition to get us all using Amazon Ad effectively to sell our books.

We have a webinar with her, which is coming up and that will be on Wednesday the... No, it won't. It will be on Thursday the 27th of January. So that is next Thursday, the 27th of January. It will be a 9:00 PM UK, which I guess is what? 5:00 PM Eastern time, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. I have to use my fingers. 4, 5, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4:00 PM, I think, Eastern. And if you want to sign up for that, if you go to selfpublishingformula.com/learnamazon. I've made that up, but I'll tell John after this call. Learn Amazon, L-E-A-R-N-A-M-A-Z-O-N or Z-O-N, if you like. Selfpublishingformula.com/learnamazon, and that will be a webinar with Janet Margo, where you will get takeaway tips on how to effectively run Amazon ads. And you and I, Mark, are going to do an episode. I keep saying we're going to do this, but we are going to do an episode. And we're just going to talk about the ads platforms.

We're both running ads. We're both successfully running ads. And we both talk about this off-air sometimes about how to know what ads are being successful and so on. A lot of the detail and they are conversations we need to record, I think, and have an episode about, particularly Amazon Ads, which is not a straightforward platform to measure.

People asking me with one book, how do you make a profit with Facebook ads? Well, I can show you and I can talk through that. And I will do a post to go along with this in the Facebook group, because I've started to set that stuff aside, but I am genuinely doing it. I will show you the screen grabs, but it's a tiny profit. It's basically a break-even. Profit's like 150 quid, I think, up on the year.

Mark Dawson: Well, as we've said before, you are effectively being paid to build your audience.

James Blatch: Exactly.

Mark Dawson: It's a neutral exercise to build an audience, which is a valuable thing.

James Blatch: Yeah, absolutely. And it's spending £500 pounds in ads and they're getting £550 pounds in revenue back. And so it's not a small churn and it's about 250 to 350 books a month being sold.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, it's very good.

James Blatch: Once you divide the KNP by the page numbers. So yes, I'm doing exactly what I set out to do, which is simply to build audience, build interest and I'm getting some brilliant comments actually. I'm really pleased with the comments I get. And the reviews I get have been great and comments on the Facebook ads themselves.

People tell me they're waiting for my next book. So that's the object of this exercise, isn't it? So if you're in my position, if you're yet to release your first book or you've released one book, you're working on books two and three, it might be useful to you to know how I've approached it, sitting at the knee of the master of Facebook ads. And I have learnt from Mark and I've applied them and I'm being effective with them, and not just with my books, but with Fuse Books as well. So we will have an episode maybe next week. Maybe we'll do it next week. We'll record that.

Okay. So we are actually going to talk about book marketing today with our special guest who is Nick Thacker. Nick is a thriller writer. He's topped charts before, but Nick works one-on-one with people now. And he broaches that, I think for the authors, there are lots of them, simply don't know where to get started with marketing. They're good at writing. They love writing. They love being an author. They stare down the barrel of Facebook ads and Amazon ads and BookBub and mailing lists and all these things. They don't know where to start.

Of course there is a fantastic course you can do, from Mark Dawson. But we talk at that. We do talk about the courses that you do need to take. Of course, Mark's is one of them, but we also talk about that mindset shift, which is a really, really important part of being successful. So that is where Nick's coming from. As I say, he works with authors across the spectrum. Let's hear from Nick now.

Nick Thacker, welcome to The Self-Publishing Show. Is that a hockey shirt, for people watching on YouTube?

Nick Thacker: It's a hockey shirt. This is my Colorado Avalanche shirt. Sweater, I guess, is the technical term.

James Blatch: Sweater? It's actually not one they wear on the ice, but it's a... From the shop.

Nick Thacker: No, this one's a fake one, but the ones on the ice, yeah, they're real sweaters, they have little tie and everything. It's cute.

James Blatch: So randomly I have actually been to the Avalanche. I went skiing at Winter Park and we went for a day trip into Denver. We went to the stadium. I didn't see a game, unfortunately, but I did buy a Letterman jacket with Avalanche on which I wore for years.

Nick Thacker: Well, they're doing really well now. So they're fun to watch, but I've been a fan of them since we moved here in 2012.

James Blatch: There you go. I haven't been to an actual game for many years. I have to go at some point, when we can start travelling properly. Right, Nick, we are not talking about ice hockey or sport.

We are going to be talking about book marketing with you, but as always, I do love to dive in a little bit to you and your writing and your background. So why don't we start with that?

Nick Thacker: Yeah. How much time do we have? No, no one really cares about the background as much because that's not as fun. But so the 30-second version is I never wanted to be a writer. I don't even know if I want to be a writer now, actually, but I fell into writing books because my grandfather passed away and I wanted to write a book for my dad, his son. And I thought, "How hard could it be? I read all these books and some of them are great. Some of them are good. Some of them are not so good. How hard can this really be?"

It was very naive, but like most things in life, I think if I knew how hard it was, I never would've done it in the first place, but that launched everything. Everything from 2011 on which obviously is a lot of books, a lot of fiction, I write thrillers, but it's also this marketing side of things, because at the time I was working for a marketing company, that was my whole background.

I have a music degree, but then I switched to business toward the end and really loved talking about marketing and doing the marketing tasks and thinking strategy and tactics and all that. And so it was very natural for me to market books, right, because I came at it from a marketing perspective. I thought, "Well, I can't write to save my life, but I can certainly market the hell out of this book. And we'll see if we can get it to sell."

I think I've improved a little bit as a writer over the years, but one of the things that's always remained true is that I'm not afraid of the marketing. I know some other authors are, especially the newer authors who don't necessarily want to put that hat on. And so that's what I've been talking about lately is how to market books and what it means to market a book. And generally just how to approach it from a marketing perspective.

James Blatch: Okay. So just on your books for a second, so you chose thrillers because that was your genre that your father read or your grandfather, you said, inspired by him.

Nick Thacker: Yes. I can dive into a little more. Just the three of us used to trade paperback novels, and they were all in the thriller genre. These are Dan Brown, Clive Cussler, Robert Ludlum and Michael Crichton. And so these were the authors that I read. And so I thought, "Well, I'm going to write a book," when naturally it was going to have to be something that I knew a little about, and that was thriller. So that's how I got into that.

Now, I still only really write thrillers. I've done some sci-fi and all that, but thriller is really my bread and butter. But it's action adventure, all the way to techno thriller. There's some history, but it's all firmly in that thriller category.

James Blatch: Yeah. Well, that sounded like the list of the books that I read, not just because I've read them over the years, but specifically when I was trying to work out how to write my own thriller, having done a first draught and then started reading Ludlum and Crichton. And I mean, Ludlum in particular-

Nick Thacker: Your book is right in that same category too. You've done it better than the rest of us, I will say, but you've done it slower than the rest of us.

James Blatch: I'm just slower. Yeah, that's for sure. I did feel, have that list you gave, I found reading the Robert Ludlum books was the most illustrating for what a genre, a thriller genre fiction book is, because it's not necessarily... I think I probably prefer reading Michael Crichton and Stephen King. But Ludlum has that ability to write a book that is just one that gets turned... The page turned on the tube, on the subway-

Nick Thacker: Absolutely.

James Blatch: And then by the next one, the series, and I'm not going to be Stephen King, I'm not going to be Michael Crichton, but actually, potentially, could write Robert Ludlum-style books. I think it's accessible to more of us as writers. That's what I felt anyway.

Nick Thacker: I would agree with that. I think it's simple, but not simplistic, in his writing. I think Dan Brown is the same way. It's approachable from a writing style. I think the negative side of that is people would argue that there is no style. It's just words, but I'm fine with that because in thrillers, it really is plot driven, and character driven with a strong plot. And I know, from reading yours, absolutely I would agree with that. I think you could be the next Ludlum. He's already dead too.

James Blatch: Yes, he is.

Nick Thacker: I think you've knocked him off, and you can really just usurp his throne.

James Blatch: That's very kind of you Nick, I'll hold you to that. Yeah. I think Robert Ludlum is one of these authors who's still writing books, despite the fact he's no longer with us.

Nick Thacker: He's very dead, but he's also very prolific, somehow. Clive Cussler's in that as well.

James Blatch: Yes. Clive Cussler as well.

Nick Thacker: Yeah.

James Blatch: Okay. There we go. Look, let's talk about marketing then. And I think specifically, I do get asked this lot. In fact, I had a conversation earlier this afternoon, a techy conversation about a guy's going to do tech work with us, and as it transpired in our getting to know each other, 30 seconds at the beginning, said his mom has written a series of military sci-fi books going back about 50 years.

I looked her up and her ranking's in the telephone numbers, but the reviews are really good. And he said she does it as a hobby. She's terrified of marketing, has never started. Doesn't know who we are, SPF. And just writes, has now long given up of ever selling the books.

That's not an unusual position for a lot of writers to be in. They just don't know where to start, right?

Nick Thacker: That's very true. That's pretty much the exact, almost verbatim what I hear from even authors that are very prolific, very good, better than me. They don't know where to start. They don't know why people seem to like the book, the reviews reflect this love of their writing, but the sales certainly don't reflect anything. They're just dead.

And that's a difficult thing to unpack sometimes because it involves looking at your art from this objective point that marketers aren't afraid to do. A lot of times a marketer will come in and market a separate product. They didn't create that product. So it's not their baby, but with books, no one else is marketing our books for us. We have to look at them from this objective standpoint.

I always urge authors before they really start trying to market, and put that in quotes, to do the activities that we call marketing, like pay for ads or get on social media or do whatever it is, to look at their own book and try to be as objective as possible because there are very often very simple things that we can change to improve them, not to improve them from a you're not a good writer standpoint, and here's how to maybe be a better... But from a product standpoint, from somebody who wants to go click a button that says, "Buy this book and start reading it." There's a lot of psychology there that has to be kind of kind of like dominoes, knock them over in the right way. What I'm getting at, and to be more specific instead of being vague, is things like the book cover.

Now I personally don't believe that book cover sells books. I think the only thing a book cover can do is lose a sale. And what I mean by that is we, as readers, as anyone who's browsing Amazon or whatever the bookstore is, we don't really care what the book cover is.

In the thriller genre, I can say confidently, and I think this is true for other genres as well, I don't care what the book cover is. I only care that it's good enough. I only care that it reflects my expectation of what I want to get out of that book. And so that means it has to be professional. It has to look like the other books in that genre. It doesn't necessarily need to be generic, but I don't want it to stand out with crappy typeface and weird colours and things that aren't true to that genre.

The reason I'm sounding vague about it is that that's different for every genre. What we almost have to do as an author is the first... This is the first thing I would recommend to any author in that position is go find other authors, not your friends necessarily, unless your friends are USA Today bestselling authors that have sold books and know what they're talking about, but go find real authors. You and me, for example, would be good at this, to look at their book and give them objective feedback. That's what that author needs to do is say, "Hey, well, what's wrong with this book? Is there anything wrong?" There may not be. There may not be anything wrong with it. It may be fine. Cover may be working great. The description may be fine, but there's a chance that they're missing some objective feedback that they just can't see themselves, because it's their baby.

James Blatch: Yeah. So with this, we're talking really about the package. The book package is an expression that covers the cover, the title, even I think in the blurb.

How often do you find when people come to you with no marketing background, don't know where to get started, that they do have fundamental problems with the book package? Is that a common thing?

Nick Thacker: It is. I would say that that's why I'm saying that there's a chance it could be perfectly fine, but the majority of the authors that I see that are in this position, they've written one book, maybe two books, there's usually always something wrong. And I don't say that as they're terrible of course. Or they're just not good writers, but there's something not letting that psychological trigger be flipped with the buyer.

And it's often very simple. It's often, hey, well, you're using this font, this typeface I should say, that just doesn't work for whatever reason. It's serif and everything in your genre's sans serif, these are things that you wouldn't necessarily know to look for unless you've looked at thousands of book covers and you've approached it from the standpoint of a marketer. The good news is you don't have to have looked at a thousand book covers. You just go find people who have. That's why I said you and I, Dawson, anyone who's been in this world for a little while can pretty quickly identify those things.

So the good news is you don't have to pay a professional marketer go do this for you, but have some... Like I say, a group of people, maybe three or four or five people who are authors, who have been doing it for a while, go look at your package and say, "Hey..." The book package, I should clarify. And say, "Hey, this is what's wrong with your book. Let's try to fix these." And then try doing all those other marketing activities.

James Blatch: And that looking at other people who are in the same area. That's helpful. I think what is also helpful is some understanding of the role of the cover for instance. People who don't ever think about this or ever have a conversation about this, they've just written a book. They live slightly isolated world from the sort of groups and communities that we inhabit. I wonder what conversation they have with a cover designer. Particularly if it's not a dedicated book cover designer. They say, "Well, this is the story. This is all the rest of it," but are they thinking, what is the role of this cover? Whereas I think a lot about that now. Much, much more.

Now, the only reason I think about it is because other people have had this conversation with me over and over again. And they've said, "Your cover is not to look good on an art gallery or look good on your wall, or it's not to tell the story that's in your book or to show exactly how big or small the character was. Your book cover is to tell people what genre your book is."

Nick Thacker: Precisely. And just to be real quick with this, because I know you've got other things we want to cover too. Again, speaking from the thriller genre only, because that's really my only area of expertise as far as marketing goes, there are things like your cover should reflect the tone of the book. Is it dark? Is it gritty? Is it edgy? Is it humorous? Is it light? Because these are expectations that need to be met otherwise that psychological trigger won't be flipped by the buyer. And so it needs to express the tone, but you're exactly right. It shouldn't express the whole story.

If there's a lighthouse in the closing scene and an aeroplane fly... It doesn't necessarily mean we have to see a lighthouse and an aeroplane. We just need to get the tone. Maybe a little bit about pacing. Somebody's running rather than standing still. Okay, that says probably more action than walking through life and letting things happen to them.

That's important in thrillers. All we're doing though, and by talking about all this, so many times and just kind of doubling down on all these points, I think a lot of people hear me say the book cover is so important. It's how your book will be sold. And again, I'm going back to, I don't think that's the case. I think the only thing your book cover is going to do is lose a sale. All you're doing by getting these tonal things right... Sorry. My dogs are losing their minds, as usual.

James Blatch: That's okay, love dogs.

Nick Thacker: They saw the calendar, they know I'm on a call. All you're doing is making sure that you're checking these boxes for the potential buyer. If they're coming to your page knowing they want a thriller, now they may not be able to clarify that they want it to be gritty and edgy with a touch of humour. But they're going to know when they see it and if they don't see it, they're not going to buy it because that's not what they... They don't want to read something that's light and cosy, necessarily. So you're just making sure you get people through that sales process and the first place that happens is with the cover most of the time.

Even with ads, you see the book cover, you may not even have a description in that ad, but you see the book cover. So it is important, yeah.

James Blatch: That thing you really don't want is a mismatch or to confound a reader expectation, for them to look at a cover and a title and think one thing, then read a book and get something else because that's a recipe for bad reviews and low sales.

Nick Thacker: Exactly. Yep, yep. Or if they buy it or use the look inside on Amazon, for example, and read through, oh, this is a little bit more tongue in cheek humour. I really wanted something gritty and dark so this isn't really it. They're going to see that right away in that look inside. So you'll never get that sale.

James Blatch: Let's just talk about the look inside a bit, because I think it's just something people don't consider that often. Although we do talk about it in our book lab episodes on this show, but there's a good point there that your look inside does have to reinforce the genre again, doesn't it?

So if you've got a thriller, but you're doing something creative and clever with the first chapter, some sort of historical scene set, that's not going to serve you well, is it?

Nick Thacker: It's not going to serve you well. Again, it's just another potentiality for people to not purchase your book. I, as a browser, as a reader, I use Amazon because I'm a Kindle Unlimited subscriber. And so I read through Amazon and I browse Amazon. For some strange reason, I never look inside any of the books. That's not part of my buying process. However, I think I'm probably the outlier.

I think most people who are buying Kindle books specifically will look at the look inside. Not all of them, but some of them and in order to make sure... All we're really talking about here, James, is the optimization, right? We just need to optimise everything. The book cover isn't an art gallery piece, but we need to optimise it. We need to make sure that we're catching the right eyeballs at the right time and the right place.

The look inside is the same way. And one of the easiest ways we can optimise it, and this is going to probably sound obvious for some people, but if you're new and haven't considered this, look at what will show up first in that look inside because Amazon won't necessarily automatically place that look inside at 10% they're going to see, or whatever it is now, at the beginning of your book where the actual prose begins. They may start it with the table of contents, if you've got one or the copyright page.

And for this reason, a lot of authors, and I recommend doing this, will put all of that stuff at the end of the book rather than the beginning. So the first thing you do when you click the look inside is you get words that you can read, you get the story. There's no dedication, no acknowledgement. Because the reader's not going to read your book because your dedication is really well written. That's never the case. So you can still have all that, but put it at the end of the end of your book so that you've optimised the look inside for people who are interested in this type of story.

James Blatch: Yeah. That's a really good tip.

Nick Thacker: And again, you don't want to be selling your book. You don't want to be marketing your book to people who don't want to read it in the first place. That's another thing. We don't want to optimise everything for the whole world. We want to optimise for that specific reader who likes, again, going at the same example I had before, edgy, tongue in cheek. I don't even know what I said before, but all these different labels for types of books that people want, optimise everything in that sales funnel for that particular reader. And you're going to find that those readers will self-select.

James Blatch: Let's say someone sat down with you and you've instructed them on the book package and they've sorted themselves out and that you are saying to them, "Now that's a great cover, love the title," bullet point or whatever. The title is going to spell out the genre, like the blurb, where do they start next?

Their biggest scary thing in front of them is probably the next step, isn't it, of paid ads or marketing or something.

Nick Thacker: It could be. And that's really the problem is there are so many the different things we could do. The challenge I see most authors trying to overcome is not which one should I focus on, but how do I possibly do all of these things? Man, I know newsletter swaps work. I'm going to go sign up with Story Origin or Book Funnel. Hey, that's really great, but that's a lot of work. Don't do anything else.

Focus on that for a few months and really understand that system and that universe. Even just picking one of those two options I just said, it would be a good thing. That's a lot of work to just focus on building that newsletter mailing list right off the bat, which I think is an important task.

I think you should do that. Don't at the same time say, "I'm going to learn Facebook ads. I've enrolled in this bloke named Mark Dawson. He has this weird course that no one's ever heard of before." No, "I'm going to go enrol in that and learn Facebook ads." That's a huge endeavour. So if you're going to do that, just focus on that.

I think what people think is, "If I can somehow become a God among men and learn all of these things at the same time and spend so much effort doing all of the things at once, this will happen faster." And I don't think that's the case. So that's really the second lesson here. If I'm sitting down with someone, I'm going to say, "Hey, I need you to understand. We're talking about long term success here." I don't think that if there is a silver bullet, I would probably know about it because I've tried everything. I've tried all the silver bullets before. None of them worked.

So we have to prepare ourselves for a long slog of learning some of these tasks. But the good news is, at this time, in this juncture with indie publishing the way it is, the information is readily available, whether it's a paid course like Dawson's or something for free, and following somebody on Twitter, there's all sorts of ways we can get at the particular information we need to get.

So the decision is what do I do? What's the next best thing? And if you don't have a mailing list, I would always say, that's the next thing to look at. Start that yesterday, basically. Go to storyorigin.com, Book Funnel, whatever it is. I run a company called Author Email, which is an email newsletter, email service provider, not here to self promote that, but again, get some sort of mailing list and set that up and start working on finding those readers who are interested in that.

Probably the best way to do that, and the cheapest way to do that, in 2022, is by doing newsletter swaps with other people in the genre. Just start building some trajectory toward success.

James Blatch: Once you've got that foundation set up, and this is something you mentioned the course with it, obviously Mark covers this in the course, is you can then pile on the next thing. So if you do have a good setup, you've got your landing pages and stuff, and don't worry if you don't understand this language, you can learn all this stuff. You've got your main list ready to grow. You've got your links here and there. Then you can think, do you know what? I've got some capacity now. Let's start looking at Facebook ads.

Nick Thacker: Absolutely.

James Blatch: And when people take our course, they say, "How long will it take to do the course?" And I think, "Well, there's Amazon ads, Facebook ads, BookBub ads. There's now going to be Booked Up for authors. How long does it take to do the course? Give it six months to do one bit."

You're exactly right. You master something. And at some point you will know you've got the capacity. You're getting a bit of spare time. That's becoming a little bit easier. That dashboard that looked bewildering to you at the beginning is now making sense to you. You can start picking up the next thing, but there is a lot, right? There is a lot.

Nick Thacker: Yeah.

James Blatch: So making this first is a good, good tip.

Nick Thacker: The challenge is there's so much, and it's all potentially really good, helpful things to do in the marketing world that we want to do it all. And it's all fun in some sense, Hey, I'm learning something new. This is great. We all love to learn.

But the challenges is, again, to realise that just by doing a little bit of everything, that's almost worse than focusing on one thing. And what I mean is, if I'm going to say, I'm going to build my newsletter, but I'm also going to run Facebook ads, I'm also going to run Amazon ads. I'm going to learn all these different tools that I can use, that other people do use very successfully, but you're not giving any of them your full attention or time or effort, or in some cases, money, you're going to just be throwing good money after bad because you're not able to figure out what went wrong with the particular campaign because you're already over here learning Amazon ads instead.

Or you have to worry about this group promo. So yeah, it's just basically simplifying everything you're doing so that you can spend a good month or two learning the ins and outs of your email service, whatever you use, MailChimp, MailerLite, whatever, figure out those relationships with other people in your genre. Start building those, start sending out and start building that mailing list.

Pretty soon you'll say, "Ah, okay, I got this. I can keep this running. I'm not going to stop doing this, because it's important, it's foundational, but I can keep this running while I go learn from Dawson through his course or while I go learn Amazon ads." And then you can focus on that thing. The point is you don't ever stop doing the previous thing you learned. And that's where we get caught up.

We think, "I tried Instagram ads for a month and it didn't work. So that doesn't work. I'm going to go try Pinterest ads." No, no, no, no, no. It's probably going to take you six months to really foundationally understand whether or not it could work, maybe another six months to actually make it work. And it's hard because all these things take time.

And as far as money is concerned, I think it was Seth Godin who said, "We know that half of all advertising works. We just don't know which half." And that's the bane of my existence, but it's so true.

James Blatch: Yeah. That old one. You get people, "So what, Facebooks don't work, Facebook ads don't work or Amazon ads don't work." You're talking to an author and then you delve a little bit deeper and it turns out their sole experiment lasted about week and a half. And you think, "Wow, in a week and a half, I barely knew how to log into Facebook ads' platform."

It's taken me months and months of failure and failure to start generating success with that platform. And yeah, you do have to stick at things. I guess that's the other thing. So mindset things where you started really, when you said you got to look at your books as products, kind of detach yourself off on them a bit, but you've also got to have a mindset to master a particular area of marketing.

Nick Thacker: You do. And you have to be willing to give it the time. And I say time is money, right? Well literally, in advertising, money is money as well. And so we have to be willing to not only give it the time to learn something, but for it to play out, for it to build the traction. Unless you're coming at it with a million dollars, you are not going to be able to have nearly enough money invested in a quick amount of time to be able to understand the variables, the trigger, the thing, the switches we can switch, right? We can flip.

What that looks like is somebody will say, "Hey, I've got $500. I got a Christmas present from my parents and they want me to market my books and get the advertising running. So I have $500 to spend. I think I can do this. I'm going to learn. I'm going to take a month and learn ads."

And it's like, "Great. What are you going to do the next month? Because it'll take you a month in $500 to get your ads building, to figure out which ones didn't work to build your CBO ad or whatever the case is. And then next month, you're going to be looking for more money because you're going to have an idea that these ads might work a little bit better. So I want to spend more and hone these. And then the third month and then fourth month. So do you have $500 every month for the next six months to really put this to the test?"

And then there's the other problem of, well, I don't have five... I'm going to do $5 a day and it's... Hey, that's great for learning how to run ads. It is not going to work for a marketing campaign in this day and age. And of course, we know the reasons for that. If anyone is curious as to why that doesn't work, it's not just about competition, although that's part of it, meaning other advertisers, whether they're authors or sellers or whoever, but it's just the sheer fact that there's not enough motion, but that could be the problem. There's not enough motion.

There's not enough happening. If you're spending $5 a day and, let's say, each of your clicks is 75 cents. I don't math, but that's probably somewhere in the realm of six to seven clicks a day. And maybe one of those converts, if you get a really, really great book package on Amazon. You've had one sale. That's not nearly enough to tell Amazon who's buying your book.

They only have one sale. They only say, "Well, this one person bought their book." So will they, okay, they also bought a cutting board and they bought this romance novel. There's just not enough information that Amazon can use to build that also boughts at the bottom, right? So $5 a day, even if it's being run for a month, it doesn't give them enough information to give you enough information.

The challenge is, well, you also don't want to just go through 500 a day if don't know what you're doing. So that's where the time factor comes back in. So do the $5 a day ads, whether it's Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, whatever you're trying to learn, only once... I mean, only one at a time. And then run that for a month so you learn the platform, you learn the ropes, you learn a little bit about how ads are built and served, and then start increasing your budget, 10, 15, $20 dollars a day. You can start getting some good data back from Amazon or I say Amazon to mean any marketplace that you're you're focusing on.

James Blatch: Yeah. I do agree with that. And with Fuse Books, which it was my first serious Facebook advertising, I obviously advertise my own book now, but started with them. I actually wrote off £1,000, which is about $1,400 at the beginning, because I knew I needed to learn the platform and it took the pressure off me. And I said to Mark, "This is investment money, that's not going to be profitable." And it was about right, is about right for me to then start making profit in month two to month three. I've now got that.

But I still do that with new series. We take on a new series from people, I still write off £500 which is like $700. And I say at the beginning, that $700 is me working out what's going to work with this particular series.

Now this is the sort of thing that does scare people. People seeking at home listening to this thinking, "I do not have $700 to throw at something," but I don't know what you'd say to them, but I would also say they are very few businesses that don't require any investment at all. And this is an investment, doesn't look or feel like it sometimes.

At the time feels like you're just spending money and not seeing a return, but it is an investment.

Nick Thacker: It is. And that's a great way to look at it because it truly is an investment. It's not gambling. You're not putting your money in a slot machine. You actually are doing something that potentially could be a boon for your career. However, I do also want to make sure that people understand, advertising is a force multiplier. And this goes way back to the first thing we talked about with the book package.

If something isn't working, you're multiplying that by putting a dollar, a pound behind it, whatever it is. You are multiplying whatever you've built initially. So this is why people say the best marketing is writing the next book. Haha, tongue in cheek. But guess what? It's true because you're building success forward. You're putting more products out there and you're letting... If the book packaging is taken care of, all the things we talked about, description, blurb, look inside, cover, whatever.

If all that is great and in place and you keep doing it by adding more and more books into your back list, or into a series, even better, what's happening is over time, you will have people self-select, you will have readers come and say, "All this lines up with what I want. This is perfect. This is exactly like Dan Brown, Clive Cussler, whoever it is, like in my genre. I'm going to read this guy. I'm going to read this Nick Thacker guy." And then when I want to advertise, it's so much easier.

That money can be spent, that investment can be invested better because I already have a pool of people who have self-selected to be my marketing guinea pigs essentially. I've already got it. This plays out on Facebook with the lookalike audience. I now have people who have read my book. They're on my mailing list. I can use that to build a lookalike audience and start from there, the top of Dawson's funnel, right?

This is the very wide net that we're casting. If you don't have anything to go off of, you don't have a force to multiply, right? So good or bad, advertising is a force multiplier. You can be multiplying a bad force, which is a book that hasn't been packaged well, or you've missed some something, or you can multiply your success and make it even more successful. This is why people who post on the 20Books group, and, "Hey, I made $2 million last year, but I spent 1.5 million." That's terrifying for most of us. That's a lot of money, especially if you're a sole author.

This isn't a publishing company. It's absolutely terrifying, but that's why they're able to do it. That 25% ROI that they're showing, or I think that's right, whatever it is, doesn't look like much when we're spending a dollar and we made a $1.25. That doesn't seem like our advertising's working, but those are the exact same numbers. They're just the force multipliers is just bigger.

James Blatch: Yeah, we don't have to spend a million and a half at this point, but... And I should also say about the 500, the $700 that I've put in expecting to lose. I'm starting to see results quite quickly through that. This is not $700 that that goes nowhere. This is every penny spent, every cent spent, trying to cross my currencies here, is valuable intel.

I only progress if there are signs that things are going to work or I'm making a positive decision to stop one line of attack and start something else. But yeah, this is scary.

I want to address that for people listening, who shudder at this prospect and $5 a day, as you say, you're not going to get the traction. $10 a day, probably you are going to get some traction.

Nick Thacker: You get some traction. Sure. That's what it seemed. It does seem like the cost per click has been going up, especially on Facebook, the iOS 14 updates have changed things. So all these things are true. I would generally expect to spend more next year than less.

So instead of $10, next year it might be 15 to get that traction. But the point is it, there is a load number that works to build that traction. I hesitate to put an actual round number on it because every platform's different, where you can run an auto campaign for $5 a day. And some of those are very successful on Amazon. Mine never are, but sometimes that'll work. And so I think it's important to just realise that that really low number is good for testing and learning, figuring out a new platform, you don't want to be spending bad money for no reason.

So just spend as, as little as possible up unto the point where you feel like you've learned what you're doing and you know how to build an ad. And you've got a pretty good idea that your book is packaged well, now you're ready to go. And you turn things on, and maybe that's $10 a day now, or 15 or 20 or whatever it is. I think that's when you start to build that traction and actually get the ROI, but don't look at the ROI before that because just be disappointed.

James Blatch: Working out whether your Amazon ads are actually working or not is in itself an art form. Mark and I had a long conversation about that today. I think we're going to do an episode on it soon because you do have to understand the role of benchmarking. It's not a dashboard that's going to give you a lot of information about whether your ads are working or not.

Do you think generally people come to you and need more mindset help, or do they need more sort of technical help in so... Not technical help, I mean help with the... Like you've got a change of cover. You've got to have this account set up.

Or are you working more with them about their attitude and methodology?

Nick Thacker: That's a great question. And it's so funny. The answer to that question is people think they want the practical. They think they need that when they really need the mindset shift. They really need to understand this holistic marketing approach before they start doing anything practical.

Just to keep it very simple, the approach is of marketing... We, as authors, tend to think, "Okay, I'm going to put this hat on now. I'm going to change. I'm a writer, and then now I'm going to put my marketing hat on." And I'm like, "Hey, there's no hat. You're just a person who's created something that there are other people in the world old who would love to see." This isn't creating a product that nobody wants. And then trying to jam it down our throat using really strategic Facebook ads, because people do that.

And there's companies that certainly thrive on that, but that's not what you are as an author. No author that I know is that way. We have this book that we wrote, and even though we're unique snowflakes, no one's like us, there's a lot of people who would really like to read that book. There's a lot of people just like us in their reading sensibilities.

We need to find those people because they want to hear from us. That's the first mindset shift that I want people to make, because a lot of us approach this as this scary I don't want to do marketing. It's weird. I don't get it. I don't like selling myself. I don't like to put myself out there. And it's not really about getting turned down. I don't think people are necessarily afraid of that as much.

There's possibly a little bit of it. They don't want to get told no, but I think we're really trying to fight the mindset of, I don't think there's anybody out there that wants this. So I feel like I'm selling... I'm sleazy. I'm scamming, I'm scamming some. That's not it at all because we know people want to read books.

A lot of people sell a lot of books. And so our book is like some of those books, and there is a market for that, however small. There are people who want that. So get out of your head and realise that there are people who are clamouring for that. They just don't know how to find you. You just need to make marketing... It's just making it as easy as possible for the those readers.

James Blatch: There's got to be some belief in yourself, which is the difficult thing, I think, for some people as well. Most of us think... We'll go through phases of thinking, "My book is terrible. No one wants to read it," particularly when you're drafting. And then occasionally thinking, "Oh, maybe it's not too bad," but we as humans perhaps err on that first side.

Nick Thacker: Yeah. I always say, you're your own worst critic until you get married. The 25% mark, you're like, "This is trash. No one's going to read this." 50%, and you're like, "Well, I'm 50. I got to finish now. It still sucks, but I got to get through it." 75%, you start to go, "Well, okay. I could see this being a ," and then you finish it and you read it back. And you're like, "Oh wow. It was better than I thought it was. Maybe somebody will buy this thing." At least that's my experience every single book and lo and behold, a lot of people buy my books and they seem to enjoy them. So we know that's true.

James Blatch: Dan Brown has his critics. You mentioned that earlier, a lot of people, very sneery about Dan Brown's books. And some of them written for 13 year olds and my goodness, he has many, many, many, many millions of dollars in the bank to show that there are people who want to read his books.

Nick Thacker: Literally this morning, I watched a video... I think it was John Oliver, is a nine minute rant on DaVinci Code. And it was funny. He's brilliant. It was funny and I laughed and all that, but also DaVinci Code is the reason I got into writing. That was the book that my dad gave me that said, "Hey, this is good. Read it." And I would love to write a book as terrible as DaVinci Code-

James Blatch: Exactly.

Nick Thacker: If I get the sales from it. I would to be that terrible of an author.

James Blatch: I always listen to Jenny Nash talking about Dan Brown, who... She's one of his biggest fans and said, "You want to understand writing? You want to understand page turning writing? You start studying Dan Brown."

Nick Thacker: Have some Grisham.

James Blatch: Yep, yeah.

Nick Thacker: These are the guys.

James Blatch: Just before we go, I talk a bit about Author.Email. It is your service, I know you set this up a few years ago, so this is a bit like MailChimp or ConvertKit or whatever. This is your version of it.

What's the USP of Author.Email?

Nick Thacker: It's way cheaper. That's the unique selling proposition for us. It's cheaper. The point is it's not any less good either. That's the best part. And in some ways I think it's way better. I don't want to get into the details of that because it's technical and all that, but it's all cloud based, which means...

The issue that MailerLite had a few years ago, MailerLite's a great company. Those guys that are doing good stuff, but these services are maintaining their own servers. They have a literal room somewhere full of computers. And if one of them gets hit by a Russian bot or something, they all go down. And that IP address is ruined essentially.

By having all of our service services on the cloud, cloud infrastructure, cloud architecture, we can not only bounce around different IP addresses and not actually be in one location, we get to build that reputation over time because we never have that happen to us.

If something happens to one email address goes bonkers, then we just move that IP address somewhere else. And we're still good to go. It also is true that because we don't have to maintain a group of longhaired engineers that keep the servers running and pay them big bucks, like people do, we can keep it a lot cheaper. So our lowest package is 10.99 a month. And I think it's just under 10,000. 900, 9,999 subscribers, which is unheard of.

And the reason is it's just as simple as I said, it's we don't have the computing overhead that we need, or that companies otherwise need, we found a way to work around that by doing cloud architecture and stuff. So it's no less safe. It's actually a little bit better. Deliverability reputation tends to be right in line with the best of the best of these other companies.

And another reason for that is we are exclusive to authors. Authors typically are not spammers. We're not sending out internet marketing crap. We're not going on JV websites to get joint venture products and send us... We're not doing any of that. We're just selling our books. We're just talking to our readers. And so we're able to keep things very clean, which translates to much better reputation. The deliverability is high and all that.

Unlike MailChimp, we don't have a free trial because we do have costs. And so we're not able to fund that from our high paying users. I was using MailChimp for many years. Again, a great company. I know Ben. They're good people, but they're not building an email service. They're building a CRM tool. Do you know what I mean? You go in MailChimp and you log in and you have all these weird things that I just would never need as an author. And so I'm like, "Well, we just get rid of all that crap and just send emails, do auto responders, sign ups, all that. That's all we need."

That's what Author.Email is. It's simplified in a lot of ways, but it's also very robust as far as the tools that you need to build auto responders, things like that, are every bit as robust as ConvertKit or Active Campaign, whatever it is.

James Blatch: And where can people find it?

Nick Thacker: Authoremail.com is the website. You can go sign up for that 30 day trial, give it a shot, test it out. Yeah, all the information's there. We've got a knowledge base that's constantly growing. And then 2022 is going to have some pretty cool updates that I can't talk about yet. It's top secret government, clearance level stuff.

James Blatch: Can't even whisper it. Okay. Well, that's great. Well done. Because I know you've persevered at that.

Nick Thacker: Oh God, we can talk about... If anyone's wanting to start an email service provider, just run the other direction, just don't even consider that. But yeah, we could do a whole hour on that, for sure.

James Blatch: But it's been a journey worth taking. Nick, look, we've come to the end of our time. Thank you so much indeed. It's been great talking to you. I did want to focus on exactly what we've talked about, which is that getting started, those obstacles ahead of people and realising most of all, it's probably a mindset thing that you need to get right first and get yourself in the right frame of mind, which hopefully we've addressed a little bit.

Nick Thacker: I think so, too. And if I'm allowed one shameless plug here-

James Blatch: Go ahead.

Nick Thacker: I spoke at 20Books. I'll be speaking again at this year and at Superstars Conference next month about this marketing topic and the best way I've found to do it is sort of to break it into these three big buckets that I think we should be focusing on. And those are, we talked about most of them, advertising, newsletters and social media. And if anyone's interested in a crash course in any of those, I have three email chains. It's a 20-week email course. They're all free, but just go sign up and you'll get an email every week from me explaining one of those things, social media, advertising, and newsletters.

James Blatch: So we'll set up a page to make it easy for people to find that, if they go to selfpublishingformula.com/buckets, B-U-C-K-E-T-S.

Nick Thacker: I like that.

James Blatch: It's going to be a unique URL. There you go. Brilliant. Nick, thank you so much indeed. Lovely to catch up with you. We will hopefully see you again at a conference sometime this year, maybe even here in the UK.

Nick Thacker: We will, and we'll catch a golf game while we're at it.

James Blatch: Love to do that, of course. Yeah. It's been wet and soggy golf. I'm looking forward to some more of that Vegas golf we had last time.

Nick Thacker: Yes.

James Blatch: All right. Okay. Thanks Nick, so much.

Nick Thacker: Take care, James. Thanks.

James Blatch: There you go. There he is, Nick Thacker, who works one-on-one. I don't know if we gave away where he lives, but I'm sure you can Google and find Nick on the internet somewhere if you want to work with him one-on-one. And he referred, of course, to our courses here at Self-publishing Formula. I know he's being a big fan from early days and we'll mention again that Ads for Authors is open for the first time since last June. It's been a long time and it won't open again until the autumn now, we're pretty certain. So now's a chance to jump on, particularly if you want access to the TikTok for Authors module at selfpublishingformula.com/adsforauthors. I do think I have talked quite a lot, Mark, today.

Mark Dawson: You have talked quite a lot. Yes. I'm sure your voice is going. I'll let you talk some more, quite enjoying it.

James Blatch: I'm staying silent and see what happens.

Mark Dawson: Dead air is a crime.

James Blatch: Quoting Alan Partridge.

Mark Dawson: Is that Alan Partridge, or it Dave Clifton who says... That's Alan.

James Blatch: It is Dave Clifton says that, yeah. He says, "Terry's chocolate oranges are available from Rawlinson's." I really do have to say that. Sorry, I think he says in that same episode. Okay. Look, that's obscure British humour. Ah, I tell what we can release, Mark-

Mark Dawson: A-ha.

James Blatch: A-ha. We can finally announce the actual dates of the Self Publishing Show live.

Mark Dawson: Almost.

James Blatch: Almost?

Mark Dawson: We haven't signed it yet.

James Blatch: We haven't signed it.

Mark Dawson: I suppose we can, yeah. I mean it's... Well, we could, well, as long as we caveat yet that as we haven't signed it yet, although we think we probably will be possibly by the time this goes out, hopefully, it is the 28th and 29th of June. Is that right?

James Blatch: It is, 28th and 29th of June. Oh, my camera's turned off. So I'm now on my Zoom picture. That's fine. My hair looks even worse. Yeah. 28th, 29th of June. So that's a Tuesday and Wednesday in June. It's going to be in London at the South Bank Centre.

We haven't actually signed the contract and we're just waiting for one or two sponsors just to let us know that they are aligned with those dates, but it's not, I would say, 90 to 95% is where we're sitting at now and we need to get going with ticket sales. So stay in touch, keep on our mailing list, make sure you're opted in and also make sure you check our Facebook groups and we'll set up a separate one for the conference once we announce ticket sales. Actually we could probably set that up fairly soon. Then that'd be a good place to announce ticket sales and coordinate them. I'll leave that one with you, Mark, but we think it's probably going to be £99 for the two days.

There'll be a limit of something like 900 seats, but we can't sell any more than that. But we will have a separate evening do for those people who can't make them. They are weekdays. If you can't make the conference, you may get an opportunity and we'll see what we can do in terms of numbers at the evening do. See if we can raise that a little bit as well. Yes, I think that's it.

Mark Dawson: I think so. Yes.

James Blatch: I'm going to have to go and talk to the dog because I've got talks today.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. So you go do that and then yeah, I was going to, I don't know, probably do another couple of hours' work. Why not? I mean, into the zone now, so yeah.

James Blatch: Yeah. Well I think I'm not going to write today. I'm going to get on with the TikTok course edit, which I'm enjoying doing, because I'm enjoying doing my TikTok stuff as well. Good. Okay.

Thank you very much indeed for listening. Thank you to our guest, Nick Thacker. Thank you to the team in the background, John and Catherine and John and Stewart and Alexandra and everybody who helps put this show together. We appreciate it very much and we will see you next week.

Don't forget that webinar on Wednesday, selfpublishingformula.com/learnamazon, if you want to sign up for that, they do get oversubscribed occasionally. So get there early as well. And don't forget Ads for Authors is open for a week or so more, that's selfpublishingformula.com/adsforauthors. That is it. All that remains for me to say is it's a goodbye from him.

Mark Dawson: And a goodbye for me. Goodbye.

James Blatch: Goodbye.

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