SPS-325: Fat Vampire: From Book to TV – with Johnny B. Truant

Johnny B. Truant has been writing and publishing for over a decade. Now, one of his very first books is being turned into a television show starring an actor from the Spiderman movies.

Show Notes

  • On the changes in focus at Sterling and Stone
  • Writing in multiple genres
  • On the differences between writing for the page and the screen
  • How co-writing with a partner works
  • The process of having a book produced for the screen
  • The interesting place book inquiries have come from
  • The ins and outs of working with Hollywood producers
  • Contract elements to think of when someone is buying your intellectual property

Resources mentioned in this episode:

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

MERCH: Check out our new 2022 hoodies and t-shirts in the SPF Store.


SPS-325: Fat Vampire: From Book to TV - with Johnny B. Truant
Speaker 1: On this edition of The Self-Publishing Show.

Johnny B Truant: I was a minor celebrity on set. It was amazing. And nobody knows who you are because, unlike the stars, you don't usually have a recognisable face. So there's usually this moment where you get to know them and then somebody says something and their face changes. It's like, "Oh, you wrote the books that we're all working on."

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: I hesitated for a second then because I've been playing around.

James Blatch: Have you?

James Blatch: ... I've been cheating on this podcast by co-hosting another podcast in the self-publishing space.

Mark Dawson: Oh. Right. Okay.

James Blatch: And I almost said, welcome to the Sell More Books Show because, that's what I was thinking about. But I didn't because I know which podcast I'm on and I'm back in the room.

Mark Dawson: Yes.

James Blatch: I want everyone to know they have my full attention.

Mark Dawson: This is COVID messing with your brain.

James Blatch: Probably is, yeah. So I sat in with Brian Cohen on the Sell More Books Show this week, and we had a fun time actually. So he does these news items, always done them back in the day with Jim Kukral, long ago. I haven't realised it's been going for eight years, that show. Doing very well.

Mark Dawson: Eight years?

James Blatch: Eight years, that's what he said, eight years, yeah. What he said to me.

Mark Dawson: I'm going to ask-

James Blatch: ... unless he's making stuff up, but I think he's telling the truth, longer than us.

Mark Dawson: Hmm. Okay.

James Blatch: I mean, that one, when he was doing it with Jim, that was a long time ago. I do remember.

Mark Dawson: It was.

James Blatch: Anyway, it's 416 episodes, something like that.

Mark Dawson: Oh wow. Okay.

James Blatch: And yes, he has this new section at the beginning and we have our banter section at the beginning-

Mark Dawson: You do.

James Blatch: ... slightly less formal. But nonetheless, we do talk about important things. Now, I want to talk about something and I'm slightly wary about seeking advice on this, because you get so many opinions in the end you don't know what to do with all the opinions. And I think you have to trust your instinct on this.

I think I told you, I don't know if I told you, that John Major lives up the road from me, the ex-PM and he read my book. He was very kind about it. And I've taken a year to do this, because I thought when I first wrote my book and published it, I had no idea whether it was completely rubbish. And I don't want to drag, sully his standing and his branding, if I asked him to do a favour, like given me a cover quote.

So I've left it a year, but I've had enough feedback now in the book, enough lovely letters from people who were in the RAF from the 60s and lots of reviews on Amazon that I felt confident to say, "Okay, this book's not terrible. John, you liked it. Would you mind giving a cover quote?" So he's very kindly, very enthusiastically given me some quotes to go on the front cover of the book or the back cover in the marketing and so on, which is superb.

I had a chat with him on the phone, and he asked a lot of questions about my next book, set wholly in America with American characters. And he actually said at one point, "God, it's not going to be in the U.S. English."

Mark Dawson: Oh, right.

James Blatch: And I said, "Well, actually it is, because it's wholly set in America, with completely American characters. And I know I'm a British author, but I felt it should be," but it's really played on my mind.

Mark Dawson: Haven't we talking about, spoken about this before?

James Blatch: We have spoken about it before, but I think I'm about to flip.

Mark Dawson: So what-

James Blatch: But not flip out.

Mark Dawson: So what's the moment? Are you spelling in American?

James Blatch: I am spelling in American.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, that's not a good idea.

James Blatch: That's what John Major thinks.

Mark Dawson: That's not a good idea. He is right and well, in my opinion, this is what I would do. And what I do do is, I spell in the Queens's English. So colour has a U et cetera and if my characters are American, they would not refer in dialogue or in their kind of written thought, they wouldn't refer to a car park, they would refer to a parking lot.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: They would refer to a sidewalk rather than a pavement. So it's a kind of compromise between the two because at the end of the day, you're English.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: As the author is English, I think the author should spell in the language that is local to him. But I think the characters can and should refer to things by way of the terms that they would understand.

James Blatch: Yes. That's a given and the vernacular for speech and even description is going to... because there's always a POV of an American character so it's going to be a parking lot and a store, not a shop and so on. That's a given for me. It really is just about the spelling. And I guess in the old days, I guess when Ian Fleming wrote James Bond, they had a print version for American, and a print version for the UK, and they probably did different spellings.

Mark Dawson: Well, actually, for The Cleaner, the two editions, the American edition has been Americanized.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: So colour would have no U, but it's difficult to do that on Amazon because you have the one ASIN so I wouldn't recommend having an American edition and the UK edition. That's just complicated. And, potentially, also I think that might be in breach in terms of service because it's two ASINs and someone could buy it twice.

James Blatch: It would have to be something, I think, that Amazon introduced as an option, which they could do.

Mark Dawson: For me, I think you'll get a lot of flack, pun intended, from your English readers who we know be mostly English readers at the moment, because you write about the RAF and things, where you'll have some U.S., I bet if you looked at your numbers, you'll find a big skew in favour of the UK.

If you suddenly start spelling in American, you'll get definite complaints. And that you will hear in the reviews. When I don't think you'll get that, if you write in English, English. And I don't think Americans will complain because, I suspect, they will, by that stage know that you are not American.

James Blatch: Yes.

Mark Dawson: I very rarely, almost never get complaints from Americans saying that I've spelled colour incorrectly.

James Blatch: Okay.

Mark Dawson: But I did get a lot of complaints from English people saying, "Stop writing in American."

James Blatch: Yes. And that's what I felt I was going to get. And I think my particular audience who do notice that I landed an Anson on its nosewheel and an Anson doesn't have a nose wheel, they are the sort of readers, and I love them for it, who will pick up on things and will say to me-

Mark Dawson: You'll definitely get bad reviews, I think.

James Blatch: Yes. Okay. Well, that's our decision made. So I've only got, luckily it's only 71,000 words, this novel, not 135 like last time. And so I can go through. I do have an American proof editor, which is still important for me, regardless of the spelling, he'll be happy.

I know he does U.S. and UK English. He'll be happy with that decision, and he is there primarily for all the other things, for the vernacular, for car types and just, I think probably what I'm hoping to get from Layton Wingate, sounds like a great name, is, an American wouldn't say that to his friend. The sort of thing I just simply wouldn't know because I haven't been born and brought up there. So I'm looking forward to that, again that from Layton Wingate, which my other editor Andrew says sounds like a Chris Morris character from the comedy series in the UK.

I have to apologise. This is most I've spoken for a bit. I've had COVID and I'm completely over it, feel completely back to normal, but I've just got this lingering, slight tickly cough, which I think happens a lot and so sorry if I get-

Mark Dawson: I should also apologise there. People here in the background, Lucy's wrapping something at the moment, very loudly. So I think there's bubble wrap being un-wrapped or something like that.

James Blatch: Someone's birthday coming up?

Mark Dawson: No, no this isn't Halloween, isn't it? She's selling a saddle.

James Blatch: Saddle, God, that's heavy thing to wrap, isn't it?

Mark Dawson: Yes. I think it's quite heavy.

James Blatch: Blimey, okay, good. Well, that's, that decided then? So thank you for your opinion, if you're shouting at the podcast right now, but I suspect most people would agree with that. So we'll go with UK English, spelling and at the moment the manuscript is in US English. So it's been slightly annoying having to write, realise, obviously I switched word over, so I didn't flag it. Have to switch word back. Good, so I've put my book on pre-order my second novel.

I did make a slight error, I think yesterday. And this is just something to think about. First of all, I don't email my list very often and I've emailed them two emails quite quickly together within a week.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, I know.

James Blatch: And the second email announced the winner of a competition. And I think a combination of two emails in quick session and the words winner and competition in the subject line, has meant, I've got a lower open rate on that probably in a few spam, one person, at least a regular has emailed me. So it was in their spam folder usually, right.

It's just sort of thing you have to think about. If it's a big announcement, like a pre-order that you want to get some reaction from, just make the email about that, I think is probably good advice. An actual fact, the open rates are very good. I get 65% on average on my-

Mark Dawson: Yeah, That's excellent.

James Blatch: My emails, but this one's 53 at the moment. So it sounds.

Mark Dawson: Still fine.

James Blatch: Still fine. Yes. I should just sit back and watch the millions rolling in now. On my way. And I have decided, I think I'm going to do a novella next. I think it's time now can breathe a little bit, have my two full length of novels out there, add a novella, which will become a main list builder, such an important thing to build that main list, build it faster than it's building at the moment. And also I think I, from a writing point of view, having done two full length novels in a row I'm looking forward-

Mark Dawson: To, oh, you poor baby

James Blatch: Looking forward to writing 25,000 word story about military aviation.

Mark Dawson: Get the world's smallest violin out that's, you've written two novels in a row over the course of what, ten years. And now you want to write a novella. Where's your stamina?

James Blatch: You're supposed to be supportive.

Mark Dawson: I've done my best. There comes a time when I need to pull you up. I think that's not a bad idea actually, to kind of just clear your throat a little bit again, pun intended. And yeah, just get something that you can then use as a magnet in the end of your novels and also on Facebook and things like that. That would be quite good. So yeah. It's a good idea.

James Blatch: Yes, I shall do that, right. We have a special guest today, Johnny B Truant. Great name, great guy. Many of you all know Johnny, because from the early days of podcasting and self-publishing, he was one of the three Kings of Austin.

Mark Dawson: In Austin at the time?

James Blatch: No. Where were they at the time?

Mark Dawson: I don't think they were in Austin at all. He was Cincinnati. I think Dave was in Florida and Sean was Hmm. San Diego? But yes, they-

James Blatch: I do remember the split screen when they started doing video. The three of them.

Mark Dawson: I think only, I think Sean and Johnny had, it might be in Austin now, but Dave, as far as I know, he's still in Florida. I think they've given up on moving Dave. He hasn't even told anyone where he lives.

James Blatch: He's in the basement. So in the basement, doesn't matter where he is. He doesn't emerge above ground anyway. So I've never met Dave to this day.

Mark Dawson: I've never met Dave.

James Blatch: Oh, there you go. Well, I was asked this week actually by Bryan Cohen. He said what we were talking about defining success. And I said some people it's going to be seeing their book in a big bookshop in the front of the window, something like that. I have to say for me, the dream always would be it being turned into a TV series or a film. Visiting the sets of people interpreting a story that you'd created, characters you'd created in their own way would be just, I think the most amazing experience.

Our guest today, Johnny B Truant has just had that experience. He's just been to Canada, and been on the set of Reginald, the Vampire, a series on SYFY I think coming up.

Mark Dawson: SYFY. Yep.

James Blatch: Yeah, no, announced release date as it stands at the moment, but this is an adaptation, one of his early series, actually Fat Vampire. Have you read any of Fat Vampire books?

Mark Dawson: I haven't, but I know, obviously I used to listen to their podcast a lot in the early days. So I know that Johnny wrote that and I knew that he's had it made to there aren't that many authors that I can think of that you will with-

James Blatch: Yes, of course, Hugh Howey.

Mark Dawson: Well, that heads into production, as I know, I've seen pictures of him on set, so that's certainly being made. So Johnny, that's another one I can think of maybe four or five maximum who've actually got to the stage of not-

James Blatch: Just in indie authors.

Mark Dawson: Yeah.

James Blatch: Andy Weir famously of course.

Mark Dawson: Andy Weir, yes, certainly. And I mean, you could say 50 Shades can't remember her name now.

James Blatch: EL James.

Mark Dawson: E.L. James. Yeah. So that, I mean, technically that would also have been at the start self-published subsequently.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Mark Dawson: So there have been a few, but definitely not many.

James Blatch: No. And, the trad world was more, I mean, I'm reading, I follow Neil Gaiman actually on Twitter at the moment. I think he's quite invested in the latest adaptation of his books. So okay. Let listen to Johnny B now, if you are wide or exclusive, you will be one of those two things. If you're published, there's quite an interesting little bit about getting visibility for your book that Johnny has a theory on in this interview. So I'll tease that and hand you over to Johnny B. Truant.

Johnny B. True, welcome back to The Self Publishing Show. What delight to have you back here.

Johnny B Truant: It's always fun to come back. I did Joanna Penn's show recently too, and I hadn't talked to her in a long time, so it's so fun to revisit some old friends.

James Blatch: Yeah, mate, it's really cool. And it's been quite a while since we've sort of been in the same room for various reasons. And I should say, I'll forget to introduce it. I've just been for a run, which is why I look terrible. But I have noticed I'm in sort of Ukrainian colours, aren't I, by accident, which is a nice thing to support.

Johnny B Truant: Sure. There you go. That was totally intentional. I'm sure.

James Blatch: Totally intentional. Yeah. Blue background, yellow. T-shirt so yeah. Okay. Look, let's crack on with this and leave that side of things out of it for the moment.

Johnny, let us catch up with what's been happening in your life. Think the last time you and I spoke with probably on your podcast where you did a kind of state of the industry series, which was really good. Sterling and Stone, you and the guys, not everybody will be familiar with who you are, the legends that you are in the, in the indie community.

Why don't you give us the kind of skinny on your recent past?

Johnny B Truant: I think the last time we talked to you, we were doing a lot more, we were split between two major things. So we were doing our own fiction writing. We were doing our own storytelling and book publishing. But then at the same time, we were also teaching, like you guys are doing, but you do it so much better.

It was always something that we enjoyed doing, but we were never as pro at it or as good at it as you guys are. We have since moved out of a lot of that and are now just telling stories, which I think is the reason that our paths haven't crossed much. We still have our books that are still technically out there for sale, but we haven't been doing any of our meetups or instructional summits, writing more nonfiction, any of that.

We're storytellers now, and with specifically an aim toward the audio visual side. So we weren't doing that either. So we've traded off our education and moved into video, selling stuff to Hollywood essentially.

James Blatch: Yeah. Sort of adaptation, which I think is a really good area for us to talk about. Right from the beginning, I'm interested to talk to you about whether you write books from the beginning, with that in mind. And then how you moved it on and get a deal and so on. And we'll talk about that.

You've done so many different things. You were the first podcast I used to listen to on indie publishing and wouldn't miss it every week. Sort of felt you gave the whole indie community a sense of community, I think you guys. Which was really great. We spoke for a while.

You had your story engine idea, which I was quite excited about. Because it was just like nothing else that anybody had tried. And was a very new kind of project. Just let's do this, let's try and try and get this going. Where you would have the kind of bare bones of a plot and take some of the grunt out of the difficult hurdles to get going on writing a book and present somebody with a package where they could sit back and enjoy the writing.

Is that still going or is it run its course or?

Johnny B Truant: No, that wasn't, we've taken a lot of shots. And when I say we, I mean, largely Sean, I would, left my own devices, I would just tell stories. Sean likes to push the boundaries. And some of them work and some of them don't. So I think that was a really good idea that it never really found its legs.

We did one major push and there were some other that people got into kind of along the way. But after that it just wasn't really sustainable. But the people who did it seemed to enjoy it. It was called Stories To Go, was the name of that. We aren't really doing that anymore.

James Blatch: I think probably a book, wasn't it? So, but you've done your books, I've got one of them here, which I read a couple of years ago. And more recently then, as you say, for you're back to the writing, I mean, you've always been writing.

You've got a hundred odd books, I think I read somewhere to your name.

Johnny B Truant: Yeah. I think I've been using that figure of a hundred. Because I knew it was almost a hundred for a while and now I'm using around a hundred. It depends on how you count it. But yes, I would say I've written around a hundred books.

James Blatch: And in terms of genre, Johnny, how much have you changed over time?

Johnny B Truant: We've always been when I say we, so just for anybody who doesn't know, I have written a few books on my own, but most of what I write is with is co-written with Sean Platt. And so we have been multi-genre almost from the beginning. It was one of the things that we kind of put our stakes in the sand from the start.

Our first together project was called Unicorn Western, which was this Gonzo fantasy Western. And the second thing was The Beam, which was hard scifi. So we do specialise in scifi, we have more scifi than anything else.

Fat Vampire is comedy horror, but we've written literature and steampunk and a little bit of fantasy and thrillers. And so we kind of round the bases.

James Blatch: So the only one I haven't heard there is romance. You've never attempted.

Johnny B Truant: We have just not under our own names. We were not good romance authors, just saying.

James Blatch: I don't believe that. Okay, right. Well, let's talk about adaptation then, which I know is something you have been gearing yourselves towards in the last couple of years. So we'll talk about Fat Vampire.

When you start writing books today or in the last 24 months or so, are you writing them from the beginning thinking this is... I need to write this in way that I can pitch it later?

Johnny B Truant: Well, you're going to get a middle of the process answer from me. And I would suggest, just as a first glance on this, that if you're really interested in learning about adaptation for the listeners, you should have Sean back on, because Sean has done a lot of that and knows a lot more than I do. It's something that I've just kind of started to get into.

Famously in Hollywood circles, writers, prose authors make bad script writers. That's just kind of something that they all believe. And the reason is because prose writing and screenwriting are so different, and they're using different skill sets and you don't have that ability to go deep into a character's head and motivations and explain things in scripts. So it's very different. To answer your question. we have had that in mind for a few projects, but it's very quickly forgotten.

So what I mean is this will be something that will be put on a film at some point it's going to be sold. There's one in particular that I'm thinking of, that I don't know if I'm allowed to mention names, but it was just this real quick buzzy sort of story, an action paced thing. That we intentionally kept it short so that it would be more easily adaptable.

We kept it with a single point of view, which tends to make a clearer single storyline. Which is one of the things that becomes cumbersome and at is trying to do too much at once. Just as a side thought, my favourite example of this is anybody who's seen that second Fantastic Beast movie. She's writing that like a novelist. She's trying to do 20 different storylines at the same time. As a result, it's kind of a mess.

Whereas successful stories that are adapted for film are usually one main thoroughfare, that have a few entry points and stuff. So we have kind of kept that in mind, but once we get into the creative process, I forget about it. And I just tell the story. And the book is always in some way, meant to be the inspiration for the translation to another form. But sometimes it's translated a lot and sometimes it's a small transformation.

I'm still learning that we've done it as a studio, meaning that I haven't been involved in some of those, that they've done a lot of script and that sort of thing, just for features, by the way. For TV, we have to take an entirely different approach.

James Blatch: Right, and because you write with Sean a lot, do you inevitably write your POVs or do you, do you swap and change writing the same POV?

Johnny B Truant: Well, the way that Sean and I work together is we take turns, where we're assembly line rather than parallel. So now Sean and Dave wrote a few stories. Yesterday's Gone was their first big project together. They had a smaller one, but this was their first big one. And they chose three characters each and they each wrote three POVs, sort of parallel.

Sean and I don't really work that way. The decision to have however many POVs is to some degree incidental to the writing process, because then when it's first draft time, I'm writing it from a to z, whether there's one or 50 points of view.

James Blatch: You write the first draft.

Johnny B Truant: Yes.

James Blatch: The whole, I think I remember this from last time.

Johnny B Truant: Yeah. Every collaboration is different and Sean is infinitely malleable. He'll work with whatever his collaboration partner is interested in. So Sean will either come up with the idea in whole, I would say almost always. And he's giving me a package that includes, it's actually very similar to what you were referring to earlier.

James Blatch: Yeah. that idea. That's where it came from, obviously

Johnny B Truant: With the exception of the plot, because in our particular case, we've learned that too much plotting too early on for us, as a particular pair, it just gets in the way. So usually we do a setup, we have a general bones idea, like a pitch idea of sort of where it's going, and relevant world background and locations.

And we still do casting usually, which means that we're choosing a Hollywood actor that we think would be good if this were a movie. And then I take that package and I write it from start to finish in first draft, and Sean and I meet along the way to course correct, or, well, what do you think about this problem? How should we solve it? And then after I'm done, he takes over and does the editing passes.

James Blatch: So you'll write it from beginning to end before Sean sees it. You don't discuss it with him during that drafting process.

Johnny B Truant: I do discuss it with him, yeah. We've done it a few different ways. We've done ways where he tries to stay right behind me, sort of doing a first pass edit, maybe a week behind where I am live. And then if we have meetings, I'll catch up, hey, here's what happened since you last read. So that he's on the same page.

Sometimes I have to more and more, we started discussing holistically. So rather than I have this specific story problem that I need to solve, it's more like, let's just talk about what's going on in the world. What might happen? Big picture ideas, conceptual stuff, because it got so hard to get into the nitty gritty. Because Sean would be like, well, I don't really understand what you're talking about because I haven't read it yet. So it's a clumsy process that you'd think after ten years we'd have it greased and we kind of do, but also kind of don't. We're always experimenting,

James Blatch: But you live in Austin's. Where does Sean live?

Johnny B Truant: Also in Austin. We live about a mile apart.

James Blatch: Oh great. I was going to say, because this helps I think when you're physically in the same place.

Johnny B Truant: Yeah. And the third Sean's so just for anybody who's following, the Sterling and Stone saga, I am no longer Sean's business partner in the way that I used to be. We used to co-run the business, and now it's Sean and Niamh who I don't think you've met. And Niamh used to live in Ireland and literally about a week ago moved also to Austin. So all three of us are down here now.

James Blatch: Wow. What's Dave's role in the company?

Johnny B Truant: Similar to mine, but less, even more distance I would say. We've been using the term flagship author for me, which probably is just a way of making me feel better for being one of the initial people. It sounds impressive. And I like those things and Dave is, would also be one of... He's an author, so we're both authors, but I have my fingers, I would say a tiny bit more in management when required, when requested. But we're basically in the same place we're writers who have, let's say a favoured deal in position with our publishing company.

James Blatch: I've never met or spoken to Dave. I think he's avoiding me. We had one call together once and he disappeared after about five minutes.

Johnny B Truant: Oh, well to be fair, he avoids just about everybody and nobody knows whether he really exists. He's like a Bigfoot.

James Blatch: Yeah, that's what Mark said, don't take it personally. I will meet him one day and I'll give him a big bear hug, which will make us both be weird.

I want to talk to you a little bit about your writing process before we talk about the film. I'm always fascinated. I know people who listen to the show are as well about how people, everyone approaches their writing. So during your first draft, first of all, what's your writing routine?

What do you write on when do you sit and write and how, and where?

Johnny B Truant: I write first thing in the morning. Somehow over the past few years I've gotten lazier and lazier with waking up in the morning. I used to get up at six and sometimes before, now I typically wake up at seven, and I have this weird window period between when I wake up and sit down at my desk.

When my kids go off to school, they're 13 and 17, I don't need to be watching over them. But that said, when my son goes down to the bus, we usually walk with him because we take the dog on a loop. It's just a good cue to take the dog on our morning loop.

That window is this weird kind of it's not long enough to really sink in. Sometimes I'll do brainstorming, just kind of getting ready, getting organised during that time. And then when I come back, it's usually 8:15 ish. I would write about from then until noon, 12:30 and that's first draft writing time.

If I'm in the groove, that will be six or more thousand words. Sometimes it's less, if the words come harder. And then the afternoons, I then take a mid-day break and work on a different kind of creative work afternoon. So script work, that sort of thing.

James Blatch: That writing session, is that nonstop? Do you take breaks within that?

Johnny B Truant: It's generally nonstop just to run to the restroom, or get a new cup of coffee, or if the words are coming hard, then I will find many ways to procrastinate. But it is intended to be a more or less non stop period, yes.

James Blatch: Yeah. That's good. And how, what do you write on Scrivener or word or?

Johnny B Truant: I use Scrivener. I think that we're still exploring, trying to find, because we're highly collaborative and Scrivener, I don't know if people have had this problem, but sometimes the Dropbox sync will be a little off, or there's just something that's a little off, it's really good. It's really close to perfect. And there are just a few little things that we wish it included, but we haven't found anything better. So we're sticking with Scrivener and yes. So Scrivener is the short answer to that question.

James Blatch: Good. Okay, well look, let's talk about it's Fat Vampire, isn't it, which is the one that's been picked up? Is that the expression been picked up?

Johnny B Truant: It's not just picked up. It's actually being shot, which it's funny because I look back and only in retrospect do I realise how incredibly fortunate I've been to have something that has gotten this far.

James Blatch: Tell us about that, when did it first start?

Johnny B Truant: I think that we're probably coming up on three-ish years from when had my contact. I received an email out of the blue from, it was somebody actually at the BBC, but I think he was more of a connection maker because it never, I don't think it ever really passed the BBC's desk. I think it was like he knew some people.

Through a series of phone calls hooked us up with this company that did end up doing the production. They're called my Modern Story. I believe they're Canadian. I believe the company is Canadian, the two guys are not necessarily. And they optioned it and renewed that option a few times and then we hit Coronavirus and that slowed things down more.

And then just about a year ago now. So we're recording this in March 2022. So in March 2021, I got the word that it was officially green lit for production.

At that point, things still could have fallen apart. They could have decided not to actually do it, but that was when they said, okay, this is officially a green light. And by November they had officially started principle photography. They'd done all their casting. They were getting people together to go up and shoot it. They shot it in Victoria, British Columbia, or are shooting; it's still going on. And that was when it was kind of real, that was when I actually went up and I to being filmed and I said, okay, this is really happening. They're going to air it hopefully this year.

James Blatch: Okay. So I have some questions. So the BBC guy, the fixer guy as it turned out where did he come across it? How did he know about it?

Johnny B Truant: He found it. We've actually had inquiries on a few of our books. This is the only one that has gone this far, but the inquiries we've gotten come - and I think this is important for your audience - have come through Apple, not from Amazon. And the feeling I've gotten is that the discovery on Amazon is a lot less common, just because there's so much stuff. It's hard to sift through the noise essentially.

So I think that when things really take off, people who are looking to adapt things do look there, but we've gotten the impression that a lot of people consider Apple to be a more curated environment, and they just came across it. I think the title was Fat Vampire. And I think the guy might have been into something supernatural and he came across it and he said, well, I can't not look at that. It was intriguing. And he looked and then, and then sent us an email. So, but everybody has found things through digitally through Apple books.

James Blatch: Wow, that's really interesting. And in terms of the company who are the production company, so if I get this right, often the people who buy an option, which is basically the right to make it a contract between you, the right to make it, which should expire at some point you do get some money for that. So even if it doesn't get made-

Johnny B Truant: Yes.

James Blatch: We can talk about that. If I get this right, that's not always the production company. That's very often a production office. And then they'll sell it into someone like HBO whoever who make it or so what, what does that look like?

Was this all the same company that's basically bought the option and is physically themselves making it?

Johnny B Truant: No, I'm still trying to figure out what producer means. Because producer means about ten different things, and there's about ten different kinds of producers. So the company that optioned it or originally again, their name is Modern Story and the guys behind it are Jeremiah Chechik and Harley Peyton.

James Blatch: Good names.

Johnny B Truant: Oh yeah, totally. And it's funny because they're shots of them and the Hollywood Reporter, whatever they look like, the same guy, it's so funny, they look like it. Why is this guy in here twice? So they are the guys who I've had the most close connection throughout with the two of those guys. So those are the two.

Jeremiah actually was directing the block that I saw when I went up there. And Harley is the executive producer, the show runner. And, but they acquired it and then sold it. They made a package and a show Bible and everything. And then they pitched it to various companies. And it was NBC universal that bought it. NBC universal decided to put it on SYFY, which is one of their networks.

So the money, the muscle, the storytelling muscle, whatever it is, the crew, getting everything together, running the business of it. I get the impression that the logistics are kind of set up by Modern Story. And that comes from NBC and guys are kind of like, okay, we have a property here that we can gather talent together and develop it.

James Blatch: Right, and how much, what was your involvement? Obviously, you had the initial conversations and you would've agreed to a contract for the option at the beginning. And does that option contact spell out what you'll get if it goes down the various stages?

Johnny B Truant: Yes. I had a very thorough option contract. I don't know if this is standard, but I did have an entertainment lawyer who did tell me that this is sort of the way that it's done, is that the option says you have the option and it spells out the stipulations. You'll give me this much money, for this much time, here's what happens.

But it also, if I'm remembering this right, and I'm pretty sure I am, the how much will you be paid? What will be the conditions of ongoing relationships if they want to do other properties in the world, that's all spelled out in that initial option contract. So it's just a matter of advancing the proceedings to the next step rather than needing a new contract.

James Blatch:x Okay, and you don't have to share the actual figures. It's probably confidential anyway, but can you give us a ballpark in terms of your other earnings, has this been an impactful and very well worth it session for you?

Johnny B Truant: Well, yes. So it's been worth it in a few different ways. So basically there, and I don't think any of this violates kind and confidentiality at all, because this is just sort of standard stuff. Usually you get paid in three different ways. So the first is the initial, the actual option payment, which depends on who you are, but that's typically on the scale of say four figures, right? That's a thousands of dollars sort of thing. But it can be less. And I think that if you're established, it can be much more.

And then there's the rights purchase, which is the second way that you make money. And that's a much larger figure. That is impactful. That did make a difference. And then actually there are four ways, then there's an episodic royalty that sometimes people get, which would just mean that however many episodes are made.

So it's a way of calibrating for future things that are happening. And then the last way that, and I'm just giving you a general, I'm not giving you specifics about mine.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Johnny B Truant: And then in general, sometimes there's a percentage of profits on the back end. If you're lucky that they may give you a token of what the producers make. But yes, it has been a big deal in terms of the actual dollar figures.

But even more important is that for us as a studio, we have multiple things that we're trying to pitch. And pitching the first one is the hardest. So even if we made nothing on this first deal, and it was a success, and people knew about it would really be worth it to us because then the second one gets easier.

James Blatch: Yeah. That's a world of difference.

Isn't there someone standing in your office before you, who've got a successful show behind them?

Johnny B Truant: Yes.

James Blatch: Or one of the other billion people in the world who just want to do that and haven't done it yet.

Johnny B Truant: Yeah. And, and that's a lot of people. So it cuts you to the front of the line.

James Blatch: Yeah, that's really good. And here's something I was thinking of. I'm ready for when that BBC guy phones me about my novels and this is what I want in my contract, because I self-publish obviously you published through Sterling and Stone. I want to have permission to use their artwork and graphics and branding, they come up with for their show on my front covers. Which you do see trad publishing doing all the time.

Hunt for Red October was out for a few years before it got made into a film. And of course, there's now a major film tie-in cover with Sean Connery on the front or whoever, Alec Baldwin. That seems to me something as a self-published that you might forget to ask for, but could be incredibly useful to you.

Is that something you can use? Can you repackage your book now using whatever branding they're coming up with and the pictures of the actors and so on?

Johnny B Truant: We're stepping into territory where I don't know and what I'm allowed to say. I do know that we asked for that. I don't know the answer, and I don't know if I could tell you if they did answer and, or I'd have to kill you or one of the two, right?

James Blatch: Yes. Okay. Appreciate that.

Johnny B Truant: But that is something that we considered. Especially, and it's so funny because I actually feel weirdly bad about this, even though it's nothing that I did wrong, but there's another book called Fat Vampire. And, I feel the need to differentiate. I feel like that dude probably feels like I stole his idea. I swear, I did not. I swear it just a coincidence, but the need to have a cover that differentiates from the incorrect story does feel important. So I know that we're asking for that. I don't know if we've gotten it or going to get it.

James Blatch: Yeah. Okay. Shortly you can say now a NBC series on the top.

Johnny B Truant: Yeah. And we do, we've definitely done that. And I think that we're the phase where publicity is going to.

James Blatch: Start.

Johnny B Truant: Yeah, because they've been really soft. Only until recently they hadn't decided on the name for the show. Because it's not going to be Fat Vampire, unfortunately. I wish it was, but it's not. In other countries, maybe it will be, but not on SYFY

James Blatch: Have they announced its name?

Johnny B Truant: They have, and I don't think it hurts anybody to tell you all that. I do not like this name, but whatever they're going to do, what they're going to do, it's called Reginald, the Vampire, which-

James Blatch: Reginald the Vampire? I quite like that.

Johnny B Truant: No, I kind of hate it.

James Blatch: Do you? It's a Shaun of the Dead type name.

Johnny B Truant: Maybe it'll catch on because you're absolutely right. You're the first person who said that, but I really like Shaun of the Dead, but Shaun of the Dead does play off of Dawn of the Dead. And Reginald the Vampire just sounds like here's what this show is about. It's about a guy named Reginald who's a vampire.

So many people have assured me that even though Fat Vampire is this really catchy title that doesn't automatically make people go, I want to know more. That the title doesn't matter nearly as much today as it might have in the past, especially with some star power behind it. And-

Jacob Batalon, who plays the lead, his star's on the rise. And so I think that we can ride a lot of that.

James Blatch: Yeah, definitely. So that's a really interesting thing. So they've come up with a new title.

Again, if I was publishing my book and they came up with a new title for it, I would want to republish my book with that title to tie in.

Johnny B Truant: I wonder if you could do that. I know that I'm going to get a title card, I've started paying attention to these sorts of things. And if you watch a show that 'based on the book by' is usually right before directed by, it might be the final thing or the show runner. And so prominently based on the Fat Vampire book series by Johnny B. Truant, it's probably worth a lot.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Johnny B Truant: And it does say Fat Vampire and it's going to be on every single episode okay. By itself.

James Blatch: Okay.

Johnny B Truant: So my hope is that, and plus it is still a really catchy title for the book.

James Blatch: Yes.

Johnny B Truant: But yeah, that's what they're going for.

James Blatch: Tell us about the story Johnny, where did the story come from? And is this something, because you did this, we talked about your collaboration with Sean, this was a solo project, right?

Johnny B Truant: This was solo. And it was, I had my initial book, which was the everyone says your first book is kind of clearing your throat and putting all your neuroses into the book and every idea you had. And so in that way, it's this perfect little time capsule that whether it's good or whether it's bad, it's its own thing. And it needs to be on its own shelf in a weird way.

So past that, Fat Vampire was the first book that I wrote. So literally the second felt like the first. And that was 2012. And the story was, it was actually started out on a joke that on our old podcast called Better Off Undead. It was one of the first few episodes, it's still out there somewhere. And that show started as in theory, a horror podcast, because our thought was that we would talk about horror topics and then people who liked horror might want to read our books.

It lasted that way about ten episodes. And then we just started making fun of Dave all the time, and that became the show centre. And so in those first episodes, one of the prompts was something about what kind of a supernatural monster would you be or something. Dave's a big guy. And so he made a joke about if he was ever turned into a vampire that he's like, well, I wouldn't be able to catch anybody to feed on him. He just went into his, all his stereotypes.

I thought I wanted to write that book about an underdog, just sort of an average Joe who gets turned into a vampire accidentally. It's that his maker changes him to save his life. And he then has to contend with a world of Twilight style, fancy vampires, who are just immaculately dressed and beautiful and thin and perfect all the time. I thought it'd be really funny to have this misfit who didn't work in this world, but he has his own powers that it's kind of a beauty is more than skin deep sort of a thing.

Reginald on the top level doesn't fit in with the vampire society at all. They don't like him and they're trying to get rid of him as this quote unquote inferior representative of their race. But then he has all these powers that they don't have, because he's had to delve deeper in his vampires essentially. So it's an underdog story.

James Blatch: Yeah, sounds hilarious. That's a really good concept. And there is something about that all the superhero fantasy comes back often to us thinking about ourselves, why urban fantasy does so well, isn't it? And the idea of being Spiderman and being able to take out your enemies. So I think the closer you align it to some of the issues that we face every day, which for some people is being surrounded by the young and beautiful and not being able to do stuff. That's great. Good, great concept. So one book, was it one book?

Johnny B Truant: It was originally one, but then people wanted a sequel. And so I actually wrote six. Then I started a side series about, so Reginald is the main vampire in the Fat Vampire series, but his maker is named Maurice. And so I started a spinoff series with Maurice, because he's 2000 years old in my version. And so it's his through time, where he's his adventures basically.

James Blatch: Okay.

Johnny B Truant: I think there are three of those, three or four right now.

James Blatch: When did you write this?

Johnny B Truant: Over time. The first one was written in 2012 and I think I had the original six finished maybe early 2014. I don't remember. I called the Vampire Maurice series, which is a playoff of the Vampire Lestat. And so that I think we started, I started three years ago, something like that, but I'm going to close that one soon. Although since I haven't closed it, watch the show take off and then I'll be like wait, I don't want to close that. I'm going to keep writing those books.

James Blatch: So this has been published and out there all that time.

Johnny B Truant: Yeah, and I think that's the one tip that I can give to people because I have talked about this on a few interviews so far, is just time, time and exposure. So that book has, it's been ten years now. It's had a whole bunch of BookBubs and just other advertisements. And so it has its tenderals out there world in ways that we as authors don't have any visibility to.

We just know that a hundred thousand people downloaded it on BookBub day or something like that. And you don't know where those go. You don't know if people open them, but we have had, I've run across all the time. People saying, oh yeah, I've read that book.

Or there was one meeting that Sean and Niamh took with a producer about a totally different project. They're meeting with producers all the time. And Sean mentioned that we work with Johnny B. Truant and the guy turned around and on the bookcase behind him said, you mean this guy? And he had a paperback of Fat Vampire. You just never know. Those books are out there somewhere and people are reading them.

James Blatch: I think you've been up and visited the set?

Johnny B Truant: Yes. That was just a few weeks ago, actually. It was in Victoria, BC.

James Blatch: What was that like? Standing in a set, looking at all that equipment, all those people, all that money based on something you just sat and wrote?

Johnny B Truant: It's exactly the way that you described. When we originally had the option, it kind of glanced off me like, okay, well that's interesting. Then when the rights were purchased, then when I got paid, you'd think these were, are things that would've really been making it click for me. Hearing the cast announced.

But none of clicked until I got on set. And I saw that there's 200 people or so, and not just on set, but in offices, in the legal department, the art department. That their full-time job right now is based around this story that I sat down in my office one day and told. I'm talking to actors who are trying to figure their motivation and everything for like characters that I created.

It was, really, really amazing and humbling honestly, to see millions of dollars of work and all of those people out there doing something that revolved around my ridiculous story.

James Blatch: What a great moment though.

What do you say to an actor who asked you? Do you have a lot of thoughts about your characters, even the side characters? Or are you happy to let them interpret things and be interested to see which way they go?

Johnny B Truant: It's entirely their show. So you actually asked me earlier how involved I was with everything. Both Harley and Jeremiah, have both been incredibly inclusive, but they don't have to include me at all. They don't have to ask my opinion on anything. And to be fair, they've asked for me to sit in on the writer's room. They were very gracious and accepting me to in there. But in no way did my opinions weigh more than anyone else's. And, and so what was your original question? Cause I detoured to answer.

James Blatch: I was just wondering what you say to actors, whether you feel strongly that we know this is what I think the characters.

Johnny B Truant: Yeah, no, it's their interpretation. So that's the reason I made the point about being in the writer's room and stuff is they were making decisions. There's a bunch of stuff that isn't even in my books, characters that aren't in my books, scenes, settings, all this stuff. And it's the same with the actors.

If anyone wanted my opinion, I would, of course give it. But anything that they're doing, see, that's the thing. I think that a lot of people don't understand how incredibly collaborative TV and film is and has to be. Because when you write a book, it's a direct line between your brain and the reader's brain and you get to dictate everything other than their interpretation of it. But with TV and film, the producers are relying on the director to have a really good vision.

The director is relying on the director of photography to frame shots in a really good way. And the audio technicians to handle all that. And the DP is relying on the gaffer and the lighting guys. And so it's more like the, from the top, you're coordinating an effort rather than creating an effort yourself. And so when I tell to the actors however they feel that they want to interpret these characters, that's great with me. I trust them entirely and same with the writers, same with the director. I trust them to do their jobs.

James Blatch: Something I notice about American television, we've often had this thing about in the UK series would typically have six episodes per series. And then maybe after two series, I think where we've probably explored it now. And American series seemed to go on for about 25 episodes.

But one of the differences is you'll see the same producer, director, writer on every episode in the UK. Whereas in America, you have this character called the show runner, but underneath that you get a different team. I used the word block earlier. So because a friend of mine works on The Crown here in the UK, and she talks about blocks. So you have a team who work on blocks and so it's compartmentalised, which means, I guess it's only the show runner who has that overall continuity to bring that to the whole series. Otherwise, you've just got different directors bringing their own, thing to it.

Johnny B Truant: Yeah. Actually in features the director has the vision and is responsible for communicating the vision. Now I'm speaking out my ass a little bit here but I think that I'm right about this, but at least in my experience, what I've seen and what I understand is that in TV, it's not that way.

In TV, the vision is the show runner and the director are doing the best to interpret they're one tier below. So the director is essentially reporting to the showrunner's larger vision. So here's the vision I want. And then the director says, okay, within those confines, here's how I'm going to put this together. But they're using the same crew. So the director of photography's going to shoot everything about the same way. And one of the show runner's jobs is to take the individual scripts. So you didn't actually ask this, but the implied question, there are ten episodes.

James Blatch: Right.

Johnny B Truant: And I don't know how many directors they have, but it's not one.

James Blatch: No.

Johnny B Truant: And so the, but it was ten individual writers working with the writer's room, but ten individual writers who wrote those scripts. And so the show runner has to kind of homogenise them.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Johnny B Truant: And make sure go through, make all the continuity is okay. But also the tone, the feel so that you don't have this Kafkaesque episode being followed by some Chris Columbus bright and sunny thing.

James Blatch: Yeah. I'm slightly obsessed with Seinfeld and Curb, and I read a lot about the history of those shows. I remember reading, one of the writers wrote an old photo actually, but here in interviews that they've got four episodes on the go any one time. And there's only really three or four people in the middle in those cases. Like Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld who have that continuity. And the ones who say straight away, no, no, no, this is not going to fit in.

But that's a very different way from in Britain where he just gets one team. It is probably now changing in the UK because we always follow best practise for America. But anyway, that interests me. Very different as you say, so book writing is a solo thing and we worry a bit about writers becoming a bit lonely, or going a bit stir crazy. And yet exactly the opposite happens. But the essence of what you're doing is the same, it's storytelling.

Johnny B Truant: Well, and I think it's worth saying that. And maybe this crew, I actually was told that this production is kind of a unicorn, that it had a different feel than most productions. This is by people on the set. But that said they were very, very welcoming.

James Blatch: Right.

Johnny B Truant: It was actually super cool to be the author on set. I was kind of a minor celebrity on set. It was, it was kind of amazing.

James Blatch: Quite rightly.

Johnny B Truant: And nobody knows who you are, because unlike the stars, you don't usually have a recognisable face. So there's usually this moment where you kind of get to know them and then somebody says something they, and their face changes. It's like, oh, you wrote the books that we're all working on essentially. Very cool moments.

James Blatch: Yeah. Very good, indeed. Okay.

What is the knockoff of this experience? You, are focusing a little bit more on potential adaptations.

Johnny B Truant: Well, the books are always going to come first, so that's actually beautiful. Hollywood likes to direct likes to work with things with existing IP. So the fact that there is a book, I get to focus on books first in other words, because there's a chance where I could see a world where, okay, well let's shift entirely, and we're done with books and let's just work on scripts and that's just not the way it is. So, and you kind of asked this earlier too.

It really hasn't changed the way that I work. Maybe I guess it's in my head a little bit sometimes. So for instance, one of the works that we're looking to adapt right now has a lot... It's kind of a mind bender. And so there's a lot that happens inside the main character's head, and he's by himself a lot.

That adaptation has required re-imagining some stuff, because in a film, you can't just have one guy walking around thinking. That would be the worst film ever. So we have to change things to fit the tools. And I think that sort of thing, maybe a little more subconsciously mindful of at this point. Okay, this is a real introspective sort of a section. And this is eventually going to be a film, so that will be difficult.

But in general, it hasn't really changed a whole lot in general. We've just continued to write the stories we want to write and maybe with a little extra attention before it's written, choice of story, rather than method of writing the story. But even then, we're not only looking at the ones that can be adapted. We're minding our roots. Well, this may be never be adapted, but we want to tell this story. So we're going to tell it anyway.

James Blatch: Are you doing some screenplays then as well?

Johnny B Truant: I'm trying to learn it. It's very hard. It's just such a different style, but that's something that I'm learning. So I think if you ask me a year from now, yes I am.

James Blatch: Okay.

Johnny B Truant: Right now the answer is I am trying and the company as a whole is, it's just that it's new to me.

James Blatch: What's next for Sterling and Stone? Are you going to do another summit?

Johnny B Truant: No, we're done with those. They were really, really fun to attend. They were not so fun to organise and put on. And we never really made any money on them. They were always a big risk. I did really enjoy them.

One of the things I miss is being in public a little bit. We don't have our self-publishing podcast anymore either. So that entire wing is gone. But I mean, I think it's just continuing to work, to adapt. Sean and Niamh are meeting with a lot of production companies. They've met with, I don't know, 30 to 50 different production companies, and have various things in stages which are being read and that sort of thing.

So we're continuing to push in that direction, because in our experience, and I don't know about yours or Mark's or anybody in the audience, but we're finding that indie publishing is becoming a little bit more, it's a harder boulder to push because it's almost like pay to play.

You have to pay as much in advertising sometimes as you're getting at the back end. And what's what this lets us do is if we can get something that's adapted, not only is that, we call that the million dollar customer instead of the $2 customer, that sort of thing. And the $2 customer are foundational. I still want to be a novelist whose books are known, but we have that. And then that not only gives us a big paycheck, which allows us to keep moving forward, but it also is a new source of advertising that we don't have to pay for. When they start pushing Reginald the Vampire, based on Fat Vampire, there will be press to be done.

I've made it clear that if they ever want me, I'm there. And the more people who know about this, because I mean, again, I just keep seeing more and more Jacob Batalon and that he's got his fans. People are going to come looking for Fat Vampire. We're not going to have to advertise that. And so this new funnel into books, so we're able to make more from the books because we've gotten something adapted from the books basically.

James Blatch: Yeah. That would be great, wouldn't it. If Jacob hits, he gets into Maverick 3, Top Gun, the sequel, which we haven't had the actual sequel yet. But when he hits his big movie, people, the kids just going to be going back catalogue, aren't they?

Johnny B Truant: Yeah. Well, and they keep using him more and more in Spiderman. I saw No Way Home and he's got a bigger role and I swear they're going to do something else with him. It looks like they're seeding more Ned superhero. So we'll have to see, but I mean, I think they would be smart to keep making Fat Vampire while he's on the rise.

James Blatch: Yeah, definitely.

When is it out and where can people see it?

Johnny B Truant: Well, it'll be on SYFY. I know some of the details of potential distribution. I don't think I'm supposed to talk about them, but I do know that it will eventually percolate from SYFY onto other platforms. But originally SYFY, and this year sometime, probably summer. And that's going to be really cool. I'm trying to talk him into, hey, can we do some sort of like Austin premier? I feel like I want to have some sort of a premier.

James Blatch: I always wanted to make it to a summit, but unfortunately couldn't so if you have a premier in Austin, I'll come to that. If you like, if I'm invited or even if I'm not, I'm just going to stand the other side of the street.

Johnny B Truant: There you go. I'll let you know when I know something I'm trying to walk that line between what can I do? And am I too annoying?

James Blatch: All right. Sounds like you're a VIP on the set. So I think you've walked that line absolutely well.

Johnny B Truant: I'm trying.

James Blatch: Johnny, it's been really great to catch up. Time is flown by. Thank you so much. Give our love and regards to Sean and Dave and of, I can't wait to have a beer with you again in person at some point.

Johnny B Truant: Yeah. Likewise, I don't know how often our paths are going to cross if we're not doing summits, but man, I would love that opportunity.

James Blatch: We'll find a way.

Johnny B Truant: Absolutely. Well, thank you for having me on. I really appreciate it, always love doing it.

James Blatch: There you go. I told you a little tease there. Johnny's theory is that books on Apple have better visibility in Hollywood for some reason. And he's got some anecdotal evidence of a couple of people who've had options and things picked up that their books have been seen on Apple. He's not really sure why. But anyway, so if it's important to you is a bit of a long shot and a bit, bit of a compromise if, if exclusive is your strategy, but it's something to think about. Always good to talk to Johnny B. Truant and the boys.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, absolutely. I never met them before actually. I've been on their podcast and we've done bits and bobs like that, but I've never actually met them.

James Blatch: Have you not?

Mark Dawson: No, I didn't get to meet-

James Blatch: You were not at NINC that time.

Mark Dawson: I didn't go that time. No. So yes, you've, met them. I haven't, but yeah, I think, I've had a lot of respect for what they did in the early days. There are three podcasts. I mentioned this before: Joanna Penn, who is a friend of the show, Sean, Johnny, and Dave, and Rocking Self Publishing with Simon Whistler was the in terms of the English interviewer, you've taken up his mantle and run with it further than he managed.

In terms of, I think he had about 150 episodes. We've well, we 350 now. So, so yeah, so those were the three I listened to when I got started all of those. I did wonder wonder what they've been doing, because they don't do the podcast anymore. And I think they're talking about maybe doing another one, but they were certainly important when I got started. So I'm please to see that they're doing well.

James Blatch: Yeah. And they're great guys and they were quite formative for me because those early days, when I was trying to tune into this environment, that was the podcasts I listened to. And by the way, they invented banter at the beginning of the podcast.

Mark Dawson: Yes. They did.

James Blatch: Their intersection was about half an hour. Yes. And it was usually very funny. So yeah, we follow in their footsteps. Good. Right. Well, I've got an entire word document to go through and change Zs into zeds Zs or into Ss in fact.

Mark Dawson: Yes-

James Blatch: Exactly. And add some used colour. I tell what I did do during the book. I very often reworked a sentence to not include a word, just spelling. So there won't be that many examples of it.

Mark Dawson: Yeah.

James Blatch: To get around that. Good, I think I said, it's snowing here. It's been snowing all day. It's really weird.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. I've not had that. It's cold here, but my mum said it was snowing. She's kind of in your area, actually we are heading in your area on Saturday. So we'll be having week in the coast coastal house.

James Blatch: That'd be great. I think I must take you up on your offer to go to that coastal house at some point. Does it accept dogs?

Mark Dawson: It does, yes.

James Blatch: Does it accept dogs. Accepts our dog. Oh, does it? Okay. That's made for dogs that part.

Mark Dawson: Oh yeah, absolutely.

James Blatch: I was very excited. Superb. Okay, look, thank you very much to Johnny B. Truant, and thank you, Mark. And thank you to our team in the background who make this podcast possible. Don't forget, you can go to to help the podcast and also get some goodies at That is it for us. All the remains for me to say is goodbye from him.

Mark Dawson: And a goodbye for me. Goodbye.

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