BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR SPS LIVE 2024 CLICK HERE

SPS-391: Germany: the 3rd Biggest Book Market – with A.D. Wilk & Freya von Korff

The three biggest book markets of the world are America, China, and Germany. In the last couple of years, Germany specifically has seen a major boom in ebook popularity. Join two indie authors native to the German market, Freya and Andrea, for a chat about the changes they’ve seen!

Show Notes

  • The German market and it’s development.
  • The German writers community.
  • Translations and tools and AI.
  • The changes coming to the publishing industry.
  • Marketing in the German market.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

THIS WEEK’S GIVEAWAY

SPS LIVE: Get your digital tickets here

THIS WEEK’S BLOG POST: How to Protect Your Author Business From AI

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Germany: the 3rd Biggest Book Market - with Andrea Kuhn & Freya von Korff

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

Freya: I think we are in the middle of a change, basically. And I think nicely put on an edge, which I think is really exciting. But I think things are still about to take off. I don't think the real takeoff has just yet happened.

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 Blatt 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. It's me, James Blatch

Mark Dawson: And me Mark Dawson.

James Blatch: Got to stop wobbling my laptop, making people seasick if they're watching on YouTube. Yeah, if you're not watching on YouTube, it's looking different. I'm in a different location. I'm in Sunny New Yorker in the Mediterranean Sea. It's the ocean as all the American people who are here keep calling it. I keep saying it's the sea, which makes me very popular in the bar. And yeah, I'm at a conference a mastermind conference of high earning authors. What are you doing there? Black? Someone might ask. Yeah,

Mark Dawson: Well, exactly. Yeah. A mastermind, author, mastermind of high earning authors. And you

James Blatch: And me. I am here for Fuse books and, and my own books. I've picked up loads of stuff, so we've had lots of good conversations this week. I'm not going to go into all now, but it's a bit of a tie in with our blog this week, which is on how to protect your author business from ai. And AI clearly has been a big discussion point amongst the people this week. We've also talked about direct selling, which is really sort of gaining some currency a bit more than it did a couple of years ago at the moment. As well as lots of other things. So we've had the usual crowd here. I think Dan Wood from Draught of Digital has been here, and then I've met some of the some of the bigger authors from the planets. But you are not here, you have been to this event before when it was in the Indian Ocean, I think. Was it the Pacific? I don't know where Bali is.

Mark Dawson: Yes. Yes. It's in Indian Ocean. Yes, I was,

James Blatch: I was there about

Mark Dawson: Five years ago, so that was, that was fun. But yes, it's been so busy. I can't really afford to take another holiday date mark. That's, that's what you are doing. It's lot.

James Blatch: It's a lot of holidays. It says as he drinks his drinks,

Mark Dawson: Yeah. So it has been very, very busy. So no, not least our own conference last week, which was rather good, I think went extremely well. Very nice weather, which is always helpful. And 700 or so authors, I think it turned up 750, something like that came to the South Bay Centre. for some really good sessions and fantastically organised great speakers, really good feedback. We have a little kind of feedback box where people can leave their thoughts. And generally speaking I think it went down better than last year, which is, is encouraging given that we, we did listen to people's comments last time and made some tweaks to take those into account. And we'll do that again for next year if we decide to have one next year.

James Blatch: So a lot of people have been saying, cause you and I were very kind of reticent on the stage at the end, but the truth is we are very likely to have it next year. It's just, you know, with Catherine who did all, you know, a huge amount of the, the, the legwork for that conference and me and you and we're all a bit jaded at the end of the conference, it's probably not the right time for us to think we just start all this organisation again. But the reality is, yeah, it's been our best year and that's what people have said to me here is it was the best year best. And it got, it gets better and better, which is not surprising. We get a bit better and we understand what, what works and what doesn't. I thought the qualities sessions was very good, went off technically without a hitch, which was great.

And it seemed to be doing what this conference is, is doing as well as that people talking to each other. And so what, what people have said to me here is they basically come with their shopping list of what they'd like to see at, at a future conference. So I'll, I'll write those down and, and you, me and, and Catherine and the team will sort of look at some of those ideas. One of the, one of the problems you have is pitch, you know, because you, it's difficult to pitch a conference for someone who's hasn't published their first book yet. And for someone who's two series in. And so there is a way, obviously bigger conferences, like 20 books will have a choice of sessions you can go to. But there's something we might be able to do on that front that we can have a think about. Make it work across the board. But s SPF generally does work, I think at the, at the first couple of years, first few years of your existence. We, we do offer definitely training material on a more advanced front, but people join us and come here to learn how to self-publish and that we need to stay, stay honest to that.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, there is, there are a few things we could do at the venue that we haven't done before. So we have to think about, I'll think about another, another track perhaps. We'll have to have a think about that. But yeah, it's, it's, there are some options. So we've, we've, you know, and we've got plenty of time to think about it cause I'm not thinking about it at all now for the next couple of months.

James Blatch: It's like on our Slack channel the next day with people going on about delivery, the digital, I think, can we just decompress for a few days?

Mark Dawson: Oh yes, that's true. Yeah. We got the, we have the digital conference, I think, think about. So yeah, we should probably say at this point, if you want a digital ticket I, I think it's the, I think it's sps, I'll start again. Self publishing informant.com/digital, I think

James Blatch: That is correct. Yeah.

Mark Dawson: And it's, so yeah, all, all of the sessions have been, I mean, they're very well received as we've just said, but they were, they were professionally recorded. They're being edited at the moment and we're adding some additional content this year from speakers who couldn't perhaps attend because they were different parts of the world not able to get across. So we'll have some extra stuff. So everybody went to the show, bought a ticket, will get that all for free. And if you are, if you couldn't come to the show, then you should grab, grab that digital ticket and you'll get the conference and the, and the extra stuff when we release it. Probably. Well in fact, definitely in August.

James Blatch: In August, yeah. It's worth the price alone to watch Mark and he's here, which is he's always so fun. And I gave a little talk this morning on running a nonfiction business and this, there was a little love in towards SPF in it, which was lovely, it was unprompted, but we just talked about talking about the early days, how we started and what we focus on, how we, we how we run the business. And mark just stood up and say, I just have to say again, I owe everything to sbf and a few other people joined in. It was so lovely. And always good. He's such a, he's such a, he's like a, the juris old bunny, isn't he?

Mark Dawson: He's a very nice guy. Yeah. And again, well, very well received this time. We gave him an extra, extra session this time rather than the half an hour he got the last year. And, and everyone really loved his session. He's just a funny guy. I think there's something, he's a naturally funny bloke and he does it all in a German accent, which is, is

James Blatch: Kinda a, which if you, if you're British is, is in itself just comedy.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. It's like there's, there's, there's a, there's a, a comedian called Henning, something about that in, in the uk. He's a funny looking bloke, which I think probably he's got very, very spaced out eyes on his face. It's, he looks a bit weird. I mean that in the nicest way. And, but he has a very funny accent. I think it is. There is just something f just quite funny about a funny German. I'm going to shout now cause I'm, I'm basically turning into black, I'm insulting a whole country, so

James Blatch: It's normally me who goes down the 1970s comedy route. But yes, he's very, I I've seen him alive. He's a very funny guy. Yes. good. Okay, well look, we will properly start going through the conference in more detail of what we learned there and some highlights, we'll probably dedicate an episode to it before we release the digital version of it. But we are at the moment getting back to our, our day-to-day jobs, which are multitude of jobs. I suppose the one thing we could mention Mark, is the merger with, with Hello Books and written Word Media, which I don't think we've covered in any detail on the, on the show, but we could just mention it now that something that was announced in the, kind of the lead up to the conference and there was a session at the conference itself.

Mark Dawson: When are we having the episode with Ricky coming on?

James Blatch: Well that will be soon.

Mark Dawson: So it may may be best to Yes. Let's wait, wait for that. I think. We'll, that's true. Yeah, it'd be much more natural to do it then, but yes, we are working with, with written word reading now, but we'll, we'll kind of leave that to the,

James Blatch: And all the slots have sold out, so hopefully by the time we I was trying to get a slot myself yesterday, that's, they all sold out. A lot of them are sold out. So yeah, we will perhaps in a couple of weeks things might be better to talk about that. Alright, okay. We'll part that for the moment. So, talking of hilarious Germans. Mark, do you like my Sieg? Sorry, segway. Segway. Yeah. Today's interview is with two more Germans in addition to Mark. So this is going to be a great episode for our German audience to listen to Mark mocking the German accent. And now we are going to be hearing from no, You said you find it funny. Andrea, Andrea k and Freya who are two fantastic, energised, funny and enjoyable company authors from Germany, I should say that Germany, and it's been mentioned this weekend actually in, in, in this conference.

I'm in Inka a couple of times at Germany is the third biggest book market on the planet which is amazing. And it's you know, it's a country where they like reading. It's a country where British and American authors are making serious coin, including Mark Dawson of this parish. And so there's a lot of talk about translations. It was one of the big sessions we, we covered at at our conference and it was very much in the mix here as well. But freya and Andrea both writing in German as well as doing their own translations, they have a background in a bit like you. Mark Fryer was traditionally published and had a bit of a dismal experience, and then was delighted when self-publishing came along and they are to quite energised people. So I spoke to Frank ULA, is it Ula? I think Frank he comes over Ula, yeah, ULA who, who who is head of K d P for Amazon in Germany. And he's, he's aware of of these two. And they're, they're sort of emerging in the indie marketers, community leaders. So let's hear from them. Let's hear from Andrea and Freya and then Mark, and I'll be back for a quick chat.

Speaker 1: This is the Self-Publishing show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Okay. Andrea and Freya, welcome to the Self-Publishing Show. We're going to talk about all things German self-publishing, which is an exciting growing area. I know Mark is a big fan of the German market, but I think we need to start with the two of you.

So who wants to go first and give me a bit of your background? Freya, why don't you go first?

Freya: Okay, sure. Hi, I'm, I'm Freya. My, my pen name in German is Freya from Fourth, and I am an urban fantasy self-publishing author. And I also published Crime and Thriller. And I was a very young traditionally published author. I was traditionally published when I was 17. And I did not, I think I, I did not have the best experience with the publishing house, so I took put writing aside for a while and went into a different direction. So I went into law and I discovered writing again when I was about like 31 years old. And I sat down and wrote a book, and then I immediately knew because I wanted to, to have a different experience to I wanted to do self-publishing. And so I started out, had no idea what I was doing and but was very lucky early on to meet Andrea actually. And tagged along for her ride and learned a lot from her. And now we are kind of bouncing each other's backs of each other's backs. And so right now I have published five books that are going very well. I have taken the As for Authors class, which has changed my life literally. And yeah, and I'm, I don't know, kind of, you know, growing along and my, my my author business is growing and I'm really happy and excited to be here.

James Blatch: Well, I'm excited for you. I could feel that enthusiasm. That's, that's brilliant. So you were published when you were 17 and that didn't work out and you went into law that sounds very similar to Mark Dawson. He had a, a not dissimilar experience and then he discovered self-publishing. He also hasn't looked back, so yeah, how exciting.

Okay, Freya, thank you Andrea. Well, let's hear about you.

Andrea: Yeah, I'm Andrea. I publish romance and crime and non-fiction books for authors. And I started writing in 2017, even though I've always written stuff. And when I was in school in, in, in, in, well high school in Germany, I even tried to to write stories and sent them in, into contests, but I didn't win, so I gave up . But I, but I've always wanted to, to write a book. And then in 2017 I read I listened to the Memo of Craft from Stephen King, and he said, when you write a thousand words a day, then you can finish a novel in, in, in three months. And I was like, okay, well I can do that. And I, I really felt this excitement. I still remember I was running around the lake and I, and I felt, well, this was a life-changing moment.

And then I started writing, and then I heard about self-publishing and then everything just felt so right. And I felt like coming home in a way. And since then I've written 25 books. I've published 23 of them. I'm a bestselling author in Germany. And I, I really enjoyed this and I really enjoyed to, to, to, to, to give on or give, give my my what I've learned my experience to other people. And I really feel like this is this is, this is my life. This is what I want to do. And yeah, I, it's, it's, it's so inspiring and I just want to give on this an inspiration to other people. So,

James Blatch: So you write

you write romance as well as thrillers, is that right?

Andrea: Yes.

James Blatch: Okay. And I think romance is your main pen names Aidie Will. Is that the, that's the, yes it is. Most books you've done. Okay. Well, I mean, what's really exciting about this is we, we have had a French author on recently. Cause we, we talk about UK and American authors a lot. And when we talk about France and Germany, normally what we're talking about is somebody translating their books from English to German. But here we have, we had a French author doing well in France, and we have German authors doing one in Germany, which is a real sign to me that this is the whole indie thing is gathering pace, not just outside the big English speaking countries where it perhaps started. Which is really exciting. And, and, and I know lots of ears will be pricking up for our listeners because there's, there's markets there that need to be exploited. Do you want to, exploited is a horrible word, isn't it? There's, there's readers there. There's readers there who need to be served Yes. Who need to have the opportunity to read books.

Let's, so let's talk about the German market Freya a little bit. Your, you know, you say your bestseller in Germany. So German market is a good Kindle market ebook market as well as physical books.

Freya: Well, yes. The thing about I think the, the whole ebook world is, it's kind of maybe in Germany it's kind of separated, I guess from the whole print book world, which is basically because, you know, bookstores, local bookstores in, in Germany are still very much, you know, keen on just displaying traditionally published books. But when it comes to the eBooks I think lots of publishing houses just a few years back, they didn't really believe in the ebook as a product and they really were protective, you know, of the print book as a product. And they did not think that eBooks could actually soar in Germany and while they were wrong, really. So you have this very big ebook market actually, where people are basically kind of devouring books, you know, and Kindle Unlimited is something that is very, very popular with readers, especially for fiction readers.

And and you, you don't only have kind unlimited, you also have Toino, which is, I think, I don't really know whether this is a company that's also international. But this is a different e-reader basically where you can also download and read eBooks, which is really, really popular. So I get regular emails. Emails, yeah, yeah. From, from from people who are complaining, like, why are you only publishing on Amazon? I I only have a tool, you know. And so you have this basically you, you, you have this different market when it comes to the eBooks and in the ebook world, self-publishing is hugely popular and it's growing popular and it's a, it's a true opportunity for writers actually to, to to step into the market and to make a living as an author. And something that the publishing houses basically kind of left, you know, just out there. And so it's and it's, it's ever growing actually, even more and more people are basically, you know, buying an, an e-reader and are starting to read eBooks. And so self-publishing along with it becomes more popular.

James Blatch: Yeah. that is exciting. Andrea,

I know you, you're quite well networked in Germany, so you are getting a sense of German authors of a movement towards indie authors growing in Germany.

Andrea: Well I'm- Mainly connected to, to self-published authors to in the authors. But yeah, I think so because when decades ago when you published with the publishing house, you, you would stick with that publishing house and they would they would publish one book after the other from you when, when there went well. But now it's like you, you have that contract for one book and then you have to see if you get another contract for another book. And so I think a lot of authors are really annoyed with their publishing houses because still they have to do all the marketing and, and it's really hard to really make a living from, from publishing and publishing houses. So since self-publishing is getting more, more, more, more common and more and more, you know, even though traditional publishing is still the main thing in Germany, kind of, you can see that's that readers open up because the quality of the book is, is is really improving, like, on and on. And I think quite often the self-published books are even more beautiful, which is a really big thing in Germany. We really love these beautiful books. It's, it is really important here. And we are able to do that in self-publishing now. It's not that it's not something that only publishing houses can do anymore. So yes, I think such

James Blatch: German indie authors talking to each other, obviously you two have met.

Is there a community like Facebook groups and so on in Germany of German indie authors?

Freya: Well, so you have the basically the self-publishing union, I can guess you can call them, which is like this, this Union of authors. And you also have book fairs that are very open to self publishers, which is really awesome because then you can really go ahead and sail the, the physical book. And also with the book, big book fairs, like in lipstick and Frankfurt. You also have sections where self publishers are, are allowed to display or where the union does stuff. And so you are actually able to meet people and you have this actually a really amazing community that I entered via Instagram, though this is how I met Andrea, where you where you meet people and where where you kind of bounce off each other's backs and really help each other. And yes, there is an active community.

I, I, I'd say, and you have like really big authors I think it was one instance that Andrea mentioned she's a huge self-publishing author, but she's also part of the self-publishing community. So it's, it's someone you can talk to basically If, if we dare to, sometimes we, I don't know. But but yeah, we have, we have a very active community, which is very supportive and competitive, but not in a way, in that we are not, you know, that you're jealous of each other's success, but where we are, you know, pushing ourselves. And this is this has been a life changer for me too. And this is how we are collaborating. So it's something that really is worth getting into as well.

James Blatch: In terms of English language Andrea, lemme ask you this. The, you know, Mark's obviously translated his books into German. They've done very well. Some, I, I haven't done that yet. So I do sell my books in English in Germany. Is there a lot of English, I mean, you obviously both speak excellent English.

Would you buy and read a book in English? Is that very popular in Germany, or would we really have to look at translation?

Andrea: I just said at it in, in, in Germany, at least in Berlin children learn in third grade in elementary school, they start learning English. So basically everybody in Germany is or should be capable of reading English and, and, and, and, and it's getting better. And I personally prefer reading books in English that are written in English originally because I don't quite often, translations are not that good, but , and I think a lot of people do that. So there is a market in a German book market for English books. When I was in on the London Book Fair, it was so funny. I, I went to to to a supermarket and there were three people talking German, and I, I was just like well, I have to say hi because I speak a language. And it turned out there were the big buyers from, from, from a huge bookstore chain in, in Germany from Talia, and they went to the London Book Fair to, to look for English books they can put into their store. So basically every bigger bookstore in Germany has a English book section. So yeah.

Freya: But, but still, I think, you know, in terms of like what people read most, I think people are, Germans really love German too, and I think book translations have done very, very well in Germany. I think, you know, like the, the most famous ones for, for instance, Harry Potter, which had a great translation, by the way. I've read it in both languages actually. And people actually love translated books, international books, so they don't mind, you know, if a book takes place, for instance, in London or New York City. So it's an actually an English speaking book, but it's translated into German. It's something that the Germans are very used to and are actually really liking, you know, because, you know, sometimes, especially when with books, you want to have like every nuance in the language and you want to get it right. And this is something that you might not be able to do if you haven't been lucky enough to live abroad, for instance, or have a very, very good English education. And so lots of people do speak English and understand English, but when it comes to grasping those nuances, they might be missing something. So they might be more drawn to translated books, actually, because then they feel like they really can handle the language. So I think there is this market for non-trans related books, but I think if you really, really want to make it in Germany as an author, I think you should look at translation.

James Blatch: Yeah. which is absolutely what lots of people are doing. Although it is obviously quite expensive per book to get that done.

Are you doing that in reverse? Are you having your books translated to English?

Andrea: Yeah, just about to, we're just starting out. I have translated two books into, into English. One is an novella, which I use to, to attract people to my newsletter. And the other one is that's actually my debut novel in German, but it's like, it's this one. And I yeah, and I'm just playing around with the cover and stuff, and I'm looking for, for bloggers on Instagram and on TikTok. And I want them to read them because I'm really well, I'm really insecure. I'm a little insecure about the translation. I really want to have a lot of English native speakers to have read it before I publish it. And so I plan only to publish it in, in, in in October for that. I'm really sure that it's a good translation. And I've put off the platform before that.

James Blatch: Have you translated it yourself?

Andrea: I've translated it with deep or deepL l I don't know how exactly to, to, to pronounce that. And is that, it was

James Blatch: And, that's an ai is it?

Andrea: That's an ai, yeah. It's an amazing, I, I, Freya told me about this and, and I just tried it out and I was like, that's not possible. It cannot be that good. And then I myself edited it, and then I gave it to native speakers and, and, and to an editor of course. And they actually didn't really get that it was a translation. If they hadn't known they would, they, yeah. It was amazing. And then I gave it to, to, to, to bloggers without telling them that it was a translation. They, they didn't, they didn't realise until I, I, I told them. So that was, that was incredible. I would say if you go with that, you either have to know the language quite, quite well and in, in which you are translating, or you have to have some, some some people to, to read it after and, and edit it. But it's possible to

Freya: Native, native speakers. Yeah, yeah. Native

Andrea: But that's a big, that's

James Blatch: Potentially a big cost saving. It's going to cost $10,000 to translate a novel. But if you've started with the ai, having it go at it, and then the translator simply reading through the Ai making corrections, I hope that would be a bit cheaper than $10,000. So that, that summary of course, starts putting it in within, within reach. I think

Freya: The, the great advantage that we are kind of at is that we, you know, when we translate into English, we, we both speak English and we read English. So it's something so we can, you know, We recognise when something is off, I suppose. We are not native speakers, obviously, but still it's something different. You know, if I were to translate a book into Italian, for instance, I would be much more insecure because I don't know a word in Italian besides si I guess . And yeah, here you go. But so this is something that puts us probably at an advantage. And I think when looking at it into translations, it's always good to have some knowledge of the language that you are translating into.

James Blatch: Yeah. I'll be a bit, stuck with German,

Andrea: We talked to Nick Zacker and he translated his books into Dutch, and he doesn't know word Dutch. And he, he put in front of the book, he put the sentence this, well the, the words, this book has been translated by, by ai, if you find a mistake, please tell me it, it wouldn't be out there in your language if I had to do it with a, with a translator, because I just couldn't afford it. So. I think that that's really smart to do it like that.

James Blatch: Yeah. And then you'll probably get all his editing done for free when readers just email him and tell him . Yeah. I'll crowdsourcing it. I like it. , so you're on, it feels like you're on the, on the, on the edge with AI and other things. You're on the edge of the German Kindle market in particular. And, and, sorry, ebook market exploding.

Does that, I mean, in some ways that might worry you is you've got the market to yourselves at the moment, but in the o but we, we do know that the more people take up eBooks vastly more books they'll need to read

Andrea: Mm-Hmm. .

James Blatch: So you're, so you're, you're on the precipice of something big in Germany. Is that what it feels like?

Freya: Actually yes, it does kind of because I think it's, it's kind of interesting when you are within the publishing community, you realise that publishing is changing a lot. There is a lot of change happening with, you know, actually traditionally published authors taking the indie route because it's such, it's much more lucrative. And because, you know, they have built a brand and because this relationship between reader and author is, is about to change actually. Not just in terms of that people are reading more eBooks, but also that they are sticking with an author and their brand and their idea of what books are, and not with the publishing houses. Before it was, people were very, you know, stuck with publishing houses and the, the kind of kinds of books that they put out. And, but I think this has not, you know, it's, it's not very common knowledge yet.

If you talk to someone on the street about, I don't know, publishing or books, they always assume that you go with a publishing house, that this is something done for you. And so being an author is very much associated with sitting down and writing a book and handing it over to your publishing house. And they don't really realise that self-publishing has, it has gone this far. And I have people regularly at my house picking up my book, and they're like, Hey, which publishing house is this? ? I'm like, it's none. It's mine. And so I think I think we are in the middle of a change basically. And yeah, I think nicely put on an edge which I think is really exciting. Mm-Hmm. , but I think things are still about to take off. I don't think that the real takeoff has just yet happened. Yeah.

James Blatch: Mm-Hmm. let's talk about marketing in Germany. I mean, I'm very familiar with the US and the UK marketing, which is where most of my effort goes, which is Facebook ads and Amazon ads, mainly with the odd book pub and free books in Hello books.

What does it look like in Germany? Is that, is that similar? Andrea, do you want to say that?

Andrea: Yes, I would say this is rather similar, but we, we do a lot of, of, of marketing with social media as well, and we work a lot with bloggers. So the, the bloggers sphere here is really big, and it's really it's really part of your network. As an indie author, you have a lot of bloggers around around you that's brought you when you publish a book. And that's really huge. And what we are just getting into is, is TikTok. I think this is just starting off in, in Germany. And we are doing the TikTok for authors course from the self publishing launch pad. And we're really excited about this. I, I, I tried to to start that like a year, year ago, the TikTok thing, but I was just reposting stuff I posted to YouTube or to to Instagram, and I just realised you cannot do it like that.

You really have to that. That's really special. Tiktok is really special, but I, but I love that. I like that. And I think what Freya said that, that, that readers are really going with the author. I think this is the, the really important thing here. Of course, you have to, you have to find those readers at first, but, you know, making these super fans and really telling those people, that's me. That's really what, what what marketing is about for me at least to to, to really get to know them and get them to know me so that I can yeah. You know, I think that's, that's, that's the more, the more the, yeah.

James Blatch: Well, that's, that, that's, that's the, the author as a brand and which is something we talked about recently feels like it's, it's as important in Germany as it is anywhere else, but perhaps even more so with the market being growing.

And is that the same for you fryer, the you know, Facebook ads, Amazon ads? Are they, they're something that the work in Germany as well?

Freya: Yeah, I would definitely say so. So I am I took the ad for authors course as I mentioned because Andrea recommended it to me basically. And I had I, I don't know, I, I, I, I think actually wrote before I, you know, I think before I booked the course, I think you have this offer that you can write and have, and people have a look at you and your author career so far, whether it makes sense for you to take the course. And I don't remember who wrote back to me, but someone wrote to me, yeah, you are basically perfect for the course. And it turned out it was just like that. So I took the course and and I started to run Facebook ads and educated myself on them through the course and through other sources as well.

And I can honestly say they are working, so they are actually really creating traffic on my Amazon page, and people are buying the book and they haven't done so before. So this is something that is is working. And I'm, I'm not as successful with Amazon ads, though. I think Andrea has more success there. So I'm basically just focused on Facebook ads at the moment. And this has allowed me, you know, for ins, like I mentioned before, to, to cut back on my actual day job because I create a part of my income now solely through writing, and it's increasing actually. So this is something that is working just as well in Germany, I suppose, as, as in the English speaking world.

James Blatch: And Andrea, there must be a growing service industry around in Indeed, like there has been in, in the states in the UK when BookBub and, and free books in Hello books are three that I've mentioned,

but there's lots of other services that perhaps aren't targeted to Germany at the moment. I imagine there's quite an enough lot of opportunity there.

Andrea: Yes, there is. We have like those marketing services like, like Book Pub, but they're quite smaller and well, I, I don't use them anymore because they're either really expensive and you get not really something out of it, or they're not that much expensive. But then the readership is really small or the, the, the subscribers a number is really small, so I don't use them, but in, in other, in other fields, there's, it's just popping. You have like so many new editors who are in the editors now. So the whole in the industry is, is really growing. Like so many freelancers are just starting out to work. For instance, bloggers they, they now are editors and you can, you can work with them. I, I think that's how Freya started with her editor, right? It

Freya: Was, yeah, it was actually fun. Funny. She was she, she, she was taking part in this thing on this basically social media for books. It's called Lovely Books in Germany. And she she read my book,

Andrea: Ishmm. It's

Freya: Good. Yeah, exactly. Basically, exactly. And, and she, she read my book to give me a review, and she loved my book, and she kind of because I had just started out and I hadn't properly edited, and then she edited my book for free and offered to do the other books of the series for me, which he did. And she did an amazing job. And this actually encouraged her to to open up her own business. So she is a free editor now because of our collaboration at the very beginning, and she's still editing my books and this doing a fantastic job. And yeah, and you have, and I have heard stories like this over and over again. So this is something that is really indeed like, like Andrea said, growing.

Andrea: And would that also means that also means that you can work with a lot of beginners, and beginners are a lot cheaper. And when you're starting out, you really need need to, to, to, to consider where you put your money. And when you have these beginners who are really good then you, you can really, you know, you can have better covers and editing and stuff, and you can get all this stuff for less money than

Freya: Yeah. And you build very nice relationships as well with your editor, for instance, like an editor, you need to get along with your editor . I guess. And, and so you can build these very deep, long running relationships that are very, very that I appreciate a lot. And I, I guess other writers will too.

Andrea: Yeah. I found my editor like this as well, and we're working together for almost five years now, so on 24 books so far, so,

James Blatch: Yeah. Very important relationship.

So it makes it feel like mm-hmm. Makes me think we should probably come to Frankfurt to the book fair, or Leipzig next year feels like we're missing out. Is there, if I go there, will people speak English to me?

Andrea: Yes.

James Blatch: Oh, thank goodness.

Freya: Definitely. Don't worry. Frankfurt is like a very international city, and you will, you won't have any trouble there. I

James Blatch: Don't reckon Zi Deutch, unfortunately. Apart from that, that's all I can say. , yeah. So, so this, this is obviously a bit of a revelation. I most people listening to the podcast obviously will be probably American, well, we know mostly American UK and then other countries, Australia and South Africa and so on after that, but mainly English speaking. But this is, this is a, another wake up call, I think that another market is emerging. And a few years ago, this wasn't the case, Germany, I,

I know a few years ago, Germany wasn't that vibrant when it came to eBooks. So this has happened quite feels like it's happened quite quickly last two or three years.

Andrea: Well, we have du du Direct publishing since 2012, but it really picked up like, it like, well, I, I, I published my first book in 2018, and it's, I think this was really, it was a good point to start, but every, every, every time it's a good time to start, right?. And yeah, so yes.

Freya: But I think still, I think the last, I, I think Corona changed a lot mm-hmm. when it comes to people reading eBooks, actually, because the bookstores were all closed, but Germans read a lot and I think the German book sales are a third of the American ones, even though the country is much smaller. And so I think yes, I, I think so the Germans read a lot and the, the fact that they couldn't go to bookstores and get print copies of their books has really brought this surge in ebook reading. And so I think the market has grown quite a bit lately. And it's something which is like, it's, it's a present for self-publishers really, because like, like I said, publishing houses, they, they do offer eBooks for their titles, but those eBooks are oftentimes very expensive. They're not with Kindle Unlimited or other services. So this is something where self-publishing really that a really great push forward, I think.

Andrea: Yes. And we just looked up the numbers and Germany's the third biggest book market in the world After America and China, and it's, it's, I think it's more than two times bigger than more twice the size of the UK book market, for instance. So there's a lot of potential.

James Blatch: Wow. We obviously don't read enough. You're so well read in Germany, , that's why you, that's why you're better at everything, including World Cups and industry.

Andrea: I wouldn't say that, but we read a lot

Freya: Germans love books. I I can, this is something that you really need to keep in mind. Germans love. Yes. You have to books and,

Andrea: And you really have to, to, to know that because we love how books look and we love how books feel and we love how books smell. Smell.

Freya: They're all these

Andrea: Important. We, yeah. We and find how we have podcast on becoming self published international bestselling authors. And we have a season there about the German market. And in one of those, in one of these episodes, we talk about the print book and how important this is to, and, and, and we compare, kind of compare print books to, to American print books we could buy in German stores. And they're just often, they're really different. So Yeah.

James Blatch: Right. I should remember that. I've, I've always felt I should, my book should smell a little bit of like an old aeroplane and a bit of a , bit of oil and grease in there just to evoke it. Cause maybe that's the next thing we should be looking into. Smell is such an important thing. Is it?

okay. So what is next for you two, Andrea? I know you do a bit of nonfiction as well. You write four authors, I think.

Andrea: Yes, I do. I, I started with one book, which, which was 108 things I wish I had known before. I published my first book. And, and then I went on with write your book and how to plan your book. And I have a, a YouTube channel in Germany about writing and about self-publishing and about following your heart and about inspiring. And, and I, yeah, that, that's, that's really important to me. It is really important to me to connect to other authors and to, to, to share experience, not only mine, but to, to, to, yeah. To to know the experience of, of other authors and other people from the book world. So this is really important to me. But, but still, I'm, I love writing Romance and sometimes thrillers not that often because I'm, I'm, I'm a heavy person . So, and yeah. And, and, but, but now I, I've just written a book about a girl who sails around the world, and this is will be my first time I try out Kickstarter in Germany, which is not that established as in, in the English market. So I'm really, really curious about that. So I'm, I'm always so curious about everything. I want to try out everything. I love AI and stuff, so yeah. It's never boring for me.

James Blatch: . No, you are not boring. I love your enthusiasm. I love it.

Freya. So you, what's next for you? You're going to continue, obviously with your, your newfound career?

Freya: Yeah, I'm, I'm continuing, I'm actually writing my next book as we speak, which I'm going to publish in German, in Germany, in, in the fall. And on the other side, I'm, I'm, right now I'm taking the TikTok course because I'm really, I think book tok is like the thing to go. I've talked to various people who are really emphasising on that book tok is something next to Facebook that is really taking off because it really creates sales for authors. And then the other thing that I'm eyeing at right now is of course translating my, my urban fantasy books into English, because they have done very well in Germany. And I have written them always with this kind of thought in my mind, to publish them internationally because they have an international setting and the characters actually do speak English, even though the book is written in German. And so I always had that in mind and I really want to follow up on that. And so I think I'm this year I'm going to focus on the translations and then the publishing next year. So these are like my, my big projects to take on, which are really exciting because it's, it's taking up more and more of my time and, you know, and I'm creating more and more income. So I'm actually really looking forward to making this a full-time job very soon.

James Blatch: you can see that in your future. That'll be a full-time thing for you.

You are, you're on that part. Are you still working in law?

Freya: Yes, I am. I'm, I'm a judge actually. , I'm judge.

James Blatch: Oh, you kept that quiet freya's a judge! ,

Freya: She always does. Well. Well, well, yep. Well, it's different in Germany because you can, you know, straight out of law school basically you can become a judge. It's, it's different I think in the uk. And so people, I, I, when, however, I said I think I had a once a very lovely chat with someone at Heathrow Airport and she was asking me what my job was and I told her and she was looking at me ,

James Blatch: Yeah, you're far too young,

Freya: And we had to talk about that. And I love the law, but I don't know. Right now it feels like when it comes to self-publishing and writing books, this is, it feels like Destiny is calling and I really want to go with that.

James Blatch: Well, I think you should write some some, and we really need legal thrillers. Yeah. Okay. There you go.

Freya: Really need more time to do stuff together, . Yeah, definitely.

James Blatch: Great. Well, look, it's been fantastic hearing about the German market. It's very enthusiastic from both of you. And obviously it's an, an important market. It's only going to go one way, isn't it? And I think getting everything right for, for authors who want to publish into Germany is going to be a big thing. I can imagine you two playing a role in that actually sort of evangelising for, for people in, in the UK and the US of how to get Germany Right. Would be a, a role for you, but good. Yeah. How exciting. Congratulations, both of you. Thank you very much indeed for coming onto the show. And thank you, by the way, for having me on your show last week.

Freya: Thank you so much. Best for us having us, and it was a blast. So ,

James Blatch: I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Speaker 1: This is the self-publishing show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: There you go. So after us and China, Germany is the third biggest market. So we had a presentation just about Germany here at this mini mastermind conference. And we had a whole session dedicated to translations from Bella Andre Atal conference. So obviously it's interesting to hear from two German authors. Brilliant. Hear from them, and I thought they were great. But it's of great commercial interest as well to, to me, I think my military thrillers would go down very well in Germany if I'm sure they would. I don't, it sounds, sounds immodest, but they sell in Britain and I think they'll sell in Germany, is what I mean. And you've certainly found that with your thrillers.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, absolutely. With Germany's a very, very vibrant market for me, as I've said lots of times before. And looking at France now in Spain so we've got some books actually French first, we're all going to try that. And yeah, had a great session with Bella at the at the conference. And as Bella mentioned a couple times on stage, we're actually working with her now on a, on a course that will teach you how to sell in a foreign language. So from translation to editing to where you find your team to advertising, formatting, promotion, marketing, ev, everything that Bella has done. And I suspect some of the things that I, I do as well, we, we'll have similarities there. We're putting that together at the moment and hoping to have that ready in six or seven weeks. So it would be very good to see that one out there. Cause I think it could be quite popular.

James Blatch: Yeah, definitely. Yes, it's it's, it's one of the, the shortcuts to expanding your income and your bottom line. It's just been one of the buzzwords around here is, is, you know, you can write in the next book, of course, you'd always want to be writing the next book. And you've been, you've been very dedicated to writing recently. I know that. But it's hard, you know, writing books is hard and what's a bit easier is exploiting books you, you've written in the past and yeah. Not, not leaving money on the table, what are the expressions you want to throw at it? But maximising your income from the products you've ex you've got already. And that's starting to happen. There's a lot of talk about ai audio AI translations. There might not be there yet, but these things are coming down the line. There will be, it will be one way or another.

It's going to be easiest to do this stuff in the future than it is now. Although we have to be cautious in all those fronts, but getting your books translated is well, depending how big your back list is, it's definitely something we all need to be taking seriously. I think I need to get going on it, because you know what, one of the conversations I had this year around here is people who have 25 books and 25 times $10,000. I mean, you can do the math, it's a lot of money. Well, I've got three and a half, I've got two and a half books. Now's the time to do it, to keep up with that and not leave myself when I've got six books and think, actually it's a big chunk of change, getting 'em all done. So that's my thinking on it.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. Also, and it's is the German market is some way behind the English speaking markets, just in terms of they've been, they've bit more mature, so there's less competition at the moment. It's kind of like what it was like in like 20 15, 20 16, when it was much easier to make an impact when you get started. So if you've got books that are ready to go, you can put 'em in the market, you are going to give yourself a headstart over the other authors who are quite not at that point yet. So yeah, I, I wouldn't wait. I, I would yeah, I'd be looking to get that, get that done.

James Blatch: Can't wait for Bella's translations course. It's going to be I'll be the first one. Well, yeah, I will be, because I'll probably be editing it, but

Mark Dawson: Yes. Yeah, exactly. One of the first ones up there. So yeah, I definitely recommend that.

James Blatch: Well, I, I never looked back after editing our TikTok course. I sort of took it as I went along in Yeah,

Mark Dawson: That's right.

James Blatch: I never looked back. Okay, well look, that's it. I mean, I'm, I've got a very, very busy evening ahead here in New York.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. Yes. Listening to, he's drinking a beer again. I've got water, although I'm going to have a beer in a minute. It is kind of, it's half past five here. And I think I'm, I'm, do I, well, I was actually at, as I said to James off camera, I was at a concert last night seeing Muse in Milton Kes, and kind of this was the first thing that's has ever happened to me. I was sitting down in the hospitality area with my friend having a beer, and someone came up to me and said, are you Mark Dawson? And I was like yeah, who are you? And I said, I love your books. And it was actually, it was a reader who I, he recognised me. And that's never happened before in Wow. 10 years, which was, I was kinda like, that's, that's quite weird because Jen, I was saying to someone else, I, if you think about, actually, I think I was saying after the conference, I, I, in our little world, I'm reasonably in u r t, reasonably well known people know what we look like and they'll come and say hello, which is lovely.

But outside of our little world I can walk down the street and no one knows who I am. And, and, and I think that's probably true for almost all authors. Jacob Rowing probably couldn't. Although I, I reckon if you did a, you know, did a, a test with a hundred people, I, I shouldn't think more than the 50 would know who she, what she looks

James Blatch: Like. No. And Lee Trial probably would ju I mean, he would just walk

Mark Dawson: Past people. Yeah. The same James, James Patons, biggest selling author on the planet. No one will, very few people would know what he looked like. So for me, who's not anywhere near the, the, the success of those writers I, I'm, you know, it's never happened in 10 years. So this was the first time, which was really, I, as I say, it was, it was quite a cool moment. And actually my friend was there. Mm-Hmm. And he was witnessed. So he, he thinks I'm famous now. He was like, how much did you pay him to do? To do that? Yeah. And his name was Craig Garrett. Cause I asked him, I said, what's, so this is the first time that's ever happened. What's your name? He said, Craig Garrett. So I'm going to look him up on, I think he's probably on my mailing list, so I'll look him up and maybe name, name drop him in the next next newsletter.

James Blatch: That's great. Well, one of my friends, I was just looking, saw on Facebook today, posted one of his pictures from the be, you know, the pupil arrived at the beach on someone day and posted the picture and relaxed type thing. And there was one of your books on the table next to him. So I, ah, I, I, I mean, I have not seen him for years. He's an old, old friend. But whether he's followed me and made the connection or whether that's just coincidence, I don't know. But your books are pretty widely read. I mean, you do see them around, which obviously I think the book club you stuff you've had recently has started to raise the profile.

Mark Dawson: Well, if, if he's on holiday, he would've gone through an airport and they would definitely have been in Smith's. So he might would just have picked it up. That's entirely possible. He's selling, he's selling, you know, thousands every week at the moment, which is, you know, two, 3000 a week, which is really, really cool. But, you know, even saying that it's, it's not the best selling out of the six books they put in the, in the club. You've got Lisa Jewel is doing huge numbers, multiple, thousands a week. And but, you know, I'm, I'm kind of plugging away. So it's, it's been a, it's been a good experience. And also because first in series, I'm advertising it quite heavily at the moment and it's in prime reading and it's been in the top 25 for about four weeks now. Three or four weeks just kind of sticking out there at full price. So Ascus is selling, the three books are selling really well at the moment. You know, in the uk. Just in the uk. So probably, I don't know, I'm going to say 20,000 pounds this month, something like that, just for three, those, those three books. So that's, you know, that's not Milton either. So that's, that's a new, a new series that looks like it might have legs as well. So it's going, yeah, having a good month.

James Blatch: Superb. Okay. Yeah, I'm not quite doing that, but I did finally check my books for the first time in ages. I'm actually doing all right as well. I'm only advertising my free book at the moment direct to the main list with lead gen campaign. But it's paid for itself, just about, it's just about into profit only a bit. It's basically breaking, even spending about 20 quid a day on lead gen ads and, and selling 20 quid a days worth of books. So I'm just building my main list for free. You're

Mark Dawson: Getting a free, yeah. Sorry. It's excellent. Yeah.

James Blatch: Yeah. So I'm pleased about that, but I haven't really focused on my books for a long time, so yeah, I'm motivated again now. Having had our conference last week and had this conference, I, I've started, started plotting again and for my new book and I designed the cover in Mid Journey Today, which I'm not, yeah, just for fun. But mid journey and AI has come on so much on the imagery front. So yeah, being able to take, take, take, I worked about 15 different prompts in a various prompt to get the cover, I thought would look right, then expanded it in Photoshop, then started putting a title on it. Honestly, it looks pretty good. I, I won't go with it. Stuart will design me a much better cover, but yeah, it looks, it looks damn good. In fact, I'll send it to to John Stone team and fashion out what I've been working on here. Yeah. And I did it, I did it during a session this afternoon just playing about and a couple of people looking over my shoulder saying, how's, how, how'd you do that? But it's so easy. It's really nice.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, it is. Yeah.

James Blatch: Okay. Right. That's it. Sorry about the quality. Probably this week just on a laptop. We'll be back in the studio. I'll be back in the studio next week. And my quality

Mark Dawson: Is as absent as ever.

James Blatch: We we explain that un unchange from you . Unchanged quality sounds like a band. I pop band from the nineties. Okay, great. Thank you very much. All that remains for me to say is, is a goodbye from him and a goodbye from me. Goodbye. Goodbye.

Speaker 1: Get show notes, the podcast archive and free resources to boost your writing career at self-publishing show.com. Join our thriving Facebook group at self-publishing show.com/facebook. Support the [email protected] slash self-publishing show. And join us next week for more help and inspiration so that you can make your mark as a successful author. Publishing is changing. Get your Words world and join the revolution with the Self-Publishing Show.

Leave a Review