SPS-397: The Self Publishing Show Live! 2023 (Show Recap)

A couple of weeks after the SPF Live show, Mark and James sit down to talk about how it went, what was shown, and where you can find it if you couldn’t make the conference in person.

Show Notes

  • The happenings of the conference.
  • The programming and all the guests.
  • The nervousness of a first draft.
  • AI controversy.
  • The future of SPF Live Conferences

Resources mentioned in this episode:


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The Self Publishing Show Live! 2023 (Show Recap)

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

James Blatch: Do you think at some point in the future, John Milton might meet Atticus? No. Not even in passing. Just as a kind of nod to the No. Your readers who read both series, no,

Mark Dawson: They, those, those streams won't cross, that's for sure. They're definitely

James Blatch: Not. That sounds really boring then.

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. It's The Self-Publishing Show with me James Blatch

Mark Dawson: And me Mark Dawson.

James Blatch: It's a self-publishing show live Today we're going to be talking about the Self-Publishing Show Live.

Mark Dawson: We are, yes. And we're live now and talking about the live show. So, absolutely. Yes. It's

James Blatch: But we, you and I are live, but when people listen to this, we're, we're not dead. That's something the opposite of not Morning Live. We're recorded. Yeah. I mean, who know? It's been my be, but hopefully not. Yes. Look, we're going to be talking about the live conference we have in London. We've been talking about some exciting possible plans for next year. We'd like to get your feedback on that as a possibility. So we would like to move towards announcing dates and venues for next year. I know that we will actually, I'll tell you what we will do before this episode goes out. I'll give the euro, we will set up a waiting list page to get people, I know people are chomping at the bill. Again, lots of emails saying, so we'll get a waiting list first come, first serve type thing going.

If you want to go to s p s Live, it'll be self-publishing live. And that will be somewhere you can sign up to register your interest in coming to the conference in 2024, but might not be in London. So that is a something talk about Wet Know, we dunno that anyway. We don't know. No, no. We're asking the question what you'd think about that. Well, we'll talk about that in a minute. We do want to look back at the live conference and of course we're going to tell you about the sessions that are included, which is all of the sessions at the conference and bola sessions in the digital version of the conference, which is now live after a sort of mammoth series of of q and as that I did on Facebook.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, you did very, you did very well. I was I was in Warsaw for one of the days and I could see I was keeping an eye on things and see James was online for about seven hours each day doing interviews on live on Facebook and, and really good. So, you know, that was very impressive zero effort for me. But James did all the work, so really, really impressive and yes, really good sessions in there as well.

James Blatch: It was fun. Okay, so the conference itself took place in June, middle of June in London at the South Bank Centre. So the South Bank is the kind of concrete jungle I used to call it, but it's a really vibrant place. In fact, it's really picked up in the last 10 years or so. There was a period, I think after this built, when it became a bit of a a back alley. You wouldn't necessarily want to a walk down, but now it's a thro of tourists.

Mark Dawson: White Ascus, ASCUS Ascus is,

James Blatch: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, the, the buildings themselves are controversial. I'm not a huge fan, but inside fantastic theatres, national theater's amazing. The Queen with Hall, where we have our conference is amazing. And it's really fun to be in there. The especially you get a chance to see backstage, ask for a tour backstage if we go there next year, if we go there. So it's a good place to be. And we had, we had reasonable weather apart from an absolutely torrential storm.

Mark Dawson: Oh yeah,

James Blatch: God Morning, just the open, like from the half an hour before we opened as people arriving. It was the most torrential rain, like tropical rainstorm in London. But the rest of the time was lovely. And by the evening we had our party, thank goodness we all spilled outside which is a nice thing to do. And the conference itself, we always say we want some motivational or practical tips to come out with it. We started then on day one with the session from Bella Andre on translations. So translations is about classic money on the table issue marking. And we have these products, you put a lot of time and effort into writing these books and without translating them, they're not earning that. There's this market there of German language speakers and so on who are not reading them.

So this is a re you have gone down. And when did you first translate? Wasn't that long ago, was it? Actually,

Mark Dawson: Oh, you know, five years, six years ago, but maybe

James Blatch: That long. Well, that's

Mark Dawson: Quite a long time. Six years ago. It is you know, it is in the indie space is is basically between the paleo, paleo kind say that word, you know. Yeah. It's a long

James Blatch: Time. Jurassic. Yeah.

Mark Dawson: Jurassic. Yeah. So yeah, no, I did it in Germany and I've, I think I've probably got over 40 books in German now. And we've mentioned before that it's definitely worthwhile. And it would probably be, I think now it would be the thing I did before, even audiobooks, I think that German is, is really for, not for every author, but for for plenty of authors. It would be something that you'd be crazy not to do now. So, and some would show that I've, I've now I've got four books in the works in French. So doing the, the first four Miltons in French at the moment. So that's, we'll see how that goes. because And that was Villa basically inspiring me to, to do that. because She's done very well in German obviously, but also in French and Spanish and Italian I think. So, yeah, I don't want to leave money on the table. And I think those markets are becoming mature now. I mean, Germany is, is a mature market. I think France, you know, in, in terms of eBooks on Amazon is becoming more viable. So I want to be there as that becomes, yeah, more and a way to sell books to readers in France. If that, if that is now kind of coming on stream a little bit more, then I want to be there at the start.

James Blatch: Yeah, I think France is a really interesting one. because Traditionally France is a very French country, which really odd thing to say. But then they buy French cars, they eat French products. they celebrate French culture. They're patriotic in that sense.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. Yeah.

James Blatch: And that definitely has fed into culture as well. The French film industry is an amazing film industry. One of the most vibrant outside of Hollywood and probably the uk, but very French. Again, some often things say about France, it causes French, but you know what I mean. But we had a French author on recently who packages up her books as if she's American because there is now a growing number of readers. This is probably down to TikTok and, and social media younger people who, who don't just want to read French culture. They probably do that, but they also want to read American and UK books. And so that is suddenly happening in France probably to the chagrin of the older generation. But it's definitely happening for us becoming a vibrant market. So Bella Andre's romance author though, mark. So you know, they, you're expecting that that's what's happened for her will happen for thrillers people like you and me in France.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, I think I say it is definitely something that we should be thinking about. And you know Bella is an expert in that. And when Bella, that was one of my favourite sessions, listening to Bella talk about that on on stage was, and she was very frank about numbers and Yeah, yeah. The, the, and the amount of money that she's made and the, and the cost of it as well, which is interesting. I think you could, you could see some people, their jaws dropped open and as she mentioned, the, the money she's put down, but then, you know, looking at the money she's made back is you, the investment was worth it for her

James Blatch: Speculate to accumulates all that. Yeah. Yeah. So Bella went into a lot of detail in that session. It was 45 minutes of breaking it down and also showing process so that you can replicate that. She is actually doing an online course for us at the moment to the early stages of that. But that session is available of course, as part of the digital package. If you've not already watched it, please go and watch that. If you're not enrolled, you can enrol and you get everything that we're going to talk about today and loads more for ridiculously cheap $99 at self-publishing Okay. next session was Damon Courtney, beginner book marketing Building your book funnel with Book Funnel. So Book Funnels a an organisation that has obviously solved a problem for authors in trying to send out their free books in, in the old days, using spreadsheets and emails. And it was very laborious and time consuming and slow for the reader. And now it's an instant automatic thing thanks to Book Funnel. But I'll always I'm always reminded by David when I talk to him and go to look a book funnel that it does a lot more than that now. And you can run a small publishing empire using Book Funnel. You

Mark Dawson: Can, yeah. So he's, he's, he's built on it on a very good idea to start with. He's built things on top of that since then. And, you know, book Funnel for finding readers with kind of joint giveaways is a very popular way to use that service. And he can, he handles delivery for having your store. So I've done that a few times using pay Hip to take the money and then book Funnel automatically sends out the, the book once the money's been received. So things like that. He's, he, he's, he's great and, you know, audio as well doing is doing that as well. So Damon is a always worth listening to. Got a lot of experience now and, and you know, has, well, I don't know, hundreds, probably thousands of authors use, use BookFunnel now. So he, he has his finger on the pulse when it comes to what's working, what isn't working.

James Blatch: Yeah. And audiobooks, which you can upload to BookFunnel and he will distribute them, even have own audiobook player. So I'm exclusive in my two audiobooks I've had done so far. But I'm thinking about coming out of that. I've given that a long, long run inside Audible, but I own the copyright I commissioned book. So that's, you know, moving over to direct selling. I dunno if I've spoken in detail about our trip to Book Vault, but it's got my mind worrying about direct selling and setting up a more robust system. But having potentially my audio books distributed by book funnel is definitely an option. you keep all that money to yourself. Those largely, it's much bigger. Then we had our panel on regional crime, now you could talk about this because you're on it.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. So I mean, regional crime's big big genre right now in the uk in terms of the amount of readers. You just look at the, the, the top 100, there'll be a dozen probably regional crime stories in there. And, you know, I've, I do that too with ATUs is a regional crime series set in Salisbury. But we had four other authors on stage with me and just for Duffy doing the moderating and, you know, lots of interesting discussions were had and some good questions that we answered just as to why we took the commercial decision to write in that that genre or why we felt we, that was what we wanted to do. Follow, follow the Muse. But yeah, in interesting discussion with Jasper, who yeah. Who publishes quite a lot of successful regional crime authors, so it was it was a fun one to be on.

James Blatch: Do you think this regional crime is big in the States? Is is in the uk?

Mark Dawson: Well, I can't speak to kind of regional US regions you know, whether you get kind of Florida mysteries, you probably do. Well, Carl Hyen is, is a good example of, of that. But I, I don't think, I doubt that kind of the regional crime stores would sell as well in the US You don't often see you know, kind of well, well big selling like JD Kirk, you wouldn't see him high in the charts in the US I don't think. Right. But that doesn't matter. I mean it's, you know, still, you could still do exceptionally well in the uk. I mean, Atticus is, has been a really big success for me over the last six months especially to the extent that I can see Atticus taking, you know, an equal standing with Milton in, in terms of, you know, once I've got, I've only got three books in that series, but they're selling really well. So if I had 10 books, I think that could be, you know, could really, really good. So not necessarily selling as strongly in outside the uk, but not, not really a problem.

James Blatch: Yeah, they are, they are hugely successful in the UK and they often get conversed into TV series mm-hmm. . And we all love that. You know, my wife and I look always casting around for the next series to watch. And those regional detective miniseries Valley was the, was the most recent one are definitely know they're, we're drawn to them.

Do you think at some point in the future John Milton might meet Atticus?

Mark Dawson: No. They, they'll

James Blatch: Not even in passing, just as a kind of nod to the no readers who read both series.

Mark Dawson: No, they, those, those streams won't cross, that's for sure. They're definitely not I've thought about that. That sounds,

James Blatch: That sounds really boring then they could just, it doesn't have to be, you know, thematically you don't have to change the title of the book. No, no.

Mark Dawson: For

James Blatch: Me, they can just meet.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. For me it doesn't work that way. They, they're two distinct worlds and, and I don't, there's no kind of linkage between the two. So I,

James Blatch: There're real world,

Mark Dawson: There's plenty of kind of Easter eggs in the Milton books with other characters, but that's, for me, that's as a writer, it's integral to me that those two have to be remain separate and distinct. So no, it wouldn't have.

James Blatch: Okay, so we then had a session on Craft, which is was going to be from Christina Stanley, but she had a nightmare. Planes, trains, automobiles, automobiles, a nightmare getting across the She did, yeah. She founded a fiction area and this was the five step forward to Perfect your story. So it was a craft stor a craft session delivered by Shane Miller on, on Story structure, always used for was something we want to listen to. And if you want to hear the Christina version it's part of our bonus content. We actually have a q and a with Christina. And so that's currently in the process of being added to the bonus content to the digital session as well. So hear from Christina herself and we talk, you know, I think Christina and Jenny Nash, I love talking to both of them.

They talk very similar language of course because it's basically in one way to write, you know, one way a story works, different ways of talking about it. But really useful session for all of us at whatever stage we are in our writing. The afternoon of day one, Dave Chessen constructing the Perfect AM Amazon sales page, and Dave's a great example of someone who's just dialled into one area of our, our work, the kind of metadata and Amazon side of things and made it his own.

That was a useful session. Mark, did you see much of that?

Mark Dawson: Yeah, I saw a bits and pieces of it and I've, I've seen some of the, I, the recording and yeah, Dave Dave's got a lot of experience now in looking at the kind of the data that underpins book listings on Amazon, so he's always worth listening to and yeah, lovely to get him over from the states to, to come and do a session for us.

James Blatch: Yeah. Dave is definitely worth listening to a really good guy and getting those details right. There's lots of margins in our business. You've gotta get lots of details right, to really get it as a frictionless episode as possible for a potential reader. And Dave is somebody who's listened to on, that's a really good 45 minutes again, of instruction on that. There had Craig Martel pearls of wisdom from Craig Martel, what's not to love of Craig who's been there and done it. He is one of the leaders in our industry and always entertaining.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, great, great. And I mean, that went down really well as kind of a more motivational and I think fairly kind of get out your own way session, which is sometimes you need to hear that and you know, delivered by an ex-marine. Always always good and, and I, I got lots of positive feedback as I was walking through the, the foyer after Craig's session. So, you know, that was, that was a good one.

James Blatch: Who are, is it? Who are, that's what they say.

Mark Dawson: Bless you.

James Blatch: Bless you. Thank you. Actually talking of getting out of your own way and motivational session. Kate Pickford was up next and she does talk about that you are the mountain as one of her things. Kate has again, a very strong line of wisdom of, of understanding and not being put off by the things that are difficult, which is, you know, what happens to us. And I've got, I've got a friend just starting to write now and you know, she's very down on herself about her styles just not good enough. She keeps saying that, and I'll keep writing this rubbish, but we all think that, right? Ernest Hemingway thinks that or thought that. And it's easy to give up. It's e the easiest thing to do, but the best thing to do is to work out that this is normal. Part of the process is when you start writing a first draft, however experienced you write can be poor. But you get there and you get there by putting the graft in and rewriting and revising. I mean, I think a lot of experienced writers, and I'm going to include you with this now, probably write a pretty neat first draft, but you are 40, 50 books into your writing career.

Mark Dawson: Yeah. And, and, and to feel kind of unsure about the quality of your writing is completely normal. And I get that actually, weirdly enough, I just I sent the new Milton out to my advanced readers on Friday and, you know, and I was thinking, this is the worst book I've ever written. It's rubbish. They'll hate it. And, and I've had about 15 of them come back saying, this is the best one you've ever written. So it's completely, it's normal. I I, I get it. Even after, you know, doing this for 10 years, I still feel that way. So don't worry about it. And, and, and Kate's session is a, is, you know, is a good antidote to those kinds of negative and completely understandable feelings.

James Blatch: Did they love that scene where he finally met at gun? Mm-Hmm.

Mark Dawson: No, I hated that.

James Blatch: Okay. And now we have a, a, a less controversial session on artificial intelligence. So we have a session, a discussion with Stuart Bish and Hannah Lin and Dan Wood, where we just talks about AI for authors. And it is a very, very controversial subject. You were saying you've been looking through some of the the discussions on social media. Incredibly vitriolic. A lot of authors, a lot of authors find themselves in the canvas simply against the whole idea of AI being involved in any way, shape or form in publishing. I think there's probably a, a minority who are gung-ho using it for writing which is very controversial. And then there's a middle ground. And I would include myself in that, to be honest. Where I'd see the tools in marketing, you know, fighting targets in Facebook and using chat G p T for that, helping me with copy.

I put my copy lines in there so I can give you variations on that. Just bits of copy that go into ads, but not going any further than that, than that. In terms of writing. And personally, I like Mid Journey. Stuart base talks very authoritatively about whether it's stealing images from people and he thinks it's not because of the way it works. He's looked really closely into it and actually built into Photoshop. Now is is a level of AI filling, which is becoming normal anyway. So, so we have all of that going on, but that does not stop this being an incredibly hot topic. And very controversial.

And projects are springing up and then being burned down by public opinion at the moment, aren't they?

Mark Dawson: Yeah, it's, it is, we're not going to get into it here because we could talk about this for two hours basically, but it, there is as we record this, there is a service called Pros Craft that was basically taken offline by it's creative last night after a fairly vitriolic backlash on Twitter standard for Twitter, I suppose, or x whatever you want to call it now. Yeah. where whereby

Mark Dawson: Yeah, there was, there was some, it wasn't, I don't think it was ai, but it was close enough to, for people to think that it was, and that's enough sometimes. But there were, there were certainly some questions as to where the books that he, he was using for his kind of text analysis tool were coming from. And there's the suggestion, I dunno whether it's true or not, that they may have been pirate to copies that he scraped and, you know, so all kinds of stuff there. But the response was, you know, e even people just have this, this mindset about AI that, you know, most people, most authors I think just hate it. And that's fine. I, I, I guess, but sometimes they hate it without really understanding. And I, I include myself in this. I don't really understand some of how this has been done.

And I, I think that's probably most of us, we don't really know exactly how chat G p T was trained. We don't exactly know how it was, you know, how the work was fed into it, where it came from. We got some ideas and, and you know, what we've been told by, by the developers, but, you know, is that true? Who knows? Images the same. There's all kinds of stuff that we hear about that. And, and the law also is very, very confusing. And, and frankly outdated. because The law is, law is, was not, hasn't had a chance to catch up with developments which are moving very, very quickly at the moment. So that's all to say that it's, it is a very fraught area with a lot of hot blooded responses and kind of hair trigger reactions all the time. So it was a, it was an interesting that we put on. And I think all of the presenters had a degree of nervousness before they went on stage. because You just don't really know what kind of reaction you're going to get. But it's, we, we can't, we can't ignore it. You know, it's no, it's coming. Nothing. The Pan Pandora's box is open now and, and it is not going back in the box. So we've either got to kind of deal with it, adapt, adapt or die. Basically. That's, that's the way I see it.

James Blatch: Yeah, I mean, what we don't really know how much AI is involved in a Google search now behind the scenes. And it will soon be part and parcel of a Google search. You'll be able to type into Google to sort things. You can type into chat G B T and that won't be that far away. And then it'll be being used by everybody around you. And if you're still saying, I'm never going to touch ai, you're going to find it increasingly difficult to actually live like that, I think. But so we will need to come to some sort of accommodation on it. But at the moment it's a raw subject for many. But there's a very good discussion if you go and watch that it's a 50 minute panel discussion. Stuart does some demonstrations. Hannah then has written a book on the subject. Dan Wood is an authority on many aspects of publishing.

So really good discussion panel on AI for authors help or hindrance. Okay. So that was the main day, all those sessions available on the digital version of the conference. And then we have three sessions added to that just for the digital conference side of things. One of those is an hour long session called Digital Authors Call Toolkits a Websites in an Hour done by Stewart Bay, Astrid Stewart Grant to Stewart's. And he uses the Wix platform and shows you how you can create a very professional looking website in under an hour. And talking of ai, Wix have introduced an AI based tool for authors, actually, I dunno if it's live yet, but it's going to be live. because Stuart's on the inside of that, where basically you can say, I'm a thriller writer, I want a red colour palette, and it does the design for you and just hands it to you and then you tweak it. And that's so either, either available now, available soon. So shoot, it's all over that. There's a session from BookBub on how to promote any book with BookBub ads. Hello Mads. And that's Mark's tea arriving I guess, or coffee. Own mug.

Mark Dawson: Coffee.

James Blatch: Yeah, coffee of course. Book bub. I've done two sessions to go into the digital conference, a house book, any book with book bub ads. And Steve Higgs has made making millions of marketing. So Steve is a dynamo in in self-publishing and he, he tackles and gets hold of almost every new thing in publishing and makes it work for him himself. It's a bit of a, an all rounder session there. A bit of a motivational session. So they are part of the bonus content. And in addition will be appearing in the next week or so, will be the Q and as with BookBub among others, where we deep dive into some of those areas. And you get to, you got to ask your questions directly to BookBub. And we answered them in our Amazon lives, our Facebook Lives, I should say yesterday.

Okay. We're halfway through. We are on to stay two. We're going to have a quick mention of what was there and what you can expect if you sign up to the digital conference. The first session was Mark Relow, failure to Fortune The Essentials. So Mark was a big hit at our conference last year, and he's another dynamo, but he's somebody I think who has this ability to cut through the bss and basically say, this is why you're successful. And if ever there's someone who illustrates there's no magic fairy dust about this, it's what you do that gives the results. It's mark ER's talk, right?

Mark Dawson: Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, mark is, is is great. We love Mark. He's a lovely guy and a really good speaker. And again, another I deliberately programmed him in this year because I wanted people to kind of feel infused after they've, they've finished listening to him, his, his talk. And I think, again, the comments I got in the foyer afterwards, he was extremely well received. So you know, this is definitely one, if you're feeling you need a little bit of momentum, a bit of a a, a pat on the back, then this will be one session that you should probably schedule first of all.

James Blatch: Yeah. Next up it was you Mark with on Ross talking about the big indie author data Drop Insights to Independent Author Income and Growth. This was on the back of a traditionally published led survey that was very doom and glue about author earnings has never been a worst time to be a writer, whereas we advocate there's never been a better time to be a writer. And so we set out to do a bigger survey that included d and d population and the results were as we predicted differently.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, exactly. So money is going down for Tradd authors and going up, up for India authors. So we knew, we knew that would be what we found. And you know, we didn't prejudge it. It was independently administered by independently analysed by the same company or same academics that looked at the society of Authors Survey. But yeah, all, and I just took the opportunity to, to go on stage and just talk about the the the headline findings. And, you know, it's interesting. We, we kind of we pushed it out to press contacts hoping that we might be able to get the same kind of coverage that the, the the first survey got. And we didn't get anywhere near it. They're just not interested. It's just, it's so weird. And it's one of those things I, I should be in new to this by now, but I don't know whether it's just because it's not bad news, bad news, sales, newspapers, maybe.

Or they still, after 10 years of seeing being slapped around the face by authors like me saying that there, there's another way. They just don't seem interested. And I, you know, I don't care. It's it's annoying, but when those things get, get used to it. But the, yeah, takeaway from this session is that if, if, again, if you are feeling doubtful that you've made the wrong choice or that you, you kind of secretly wish you were traditionally published, you should definitely have a look at this session because you should, if you, if you analyse it, if you, if you listen dispassionately with an open mind you will go away. I think feeling a lot better about the decision that you've made. You know, as I've said before, being turned down for my third book was probably the best thing that have happened to me. because I don't think we'd be doing this podcast now if I, if I, if I was still traditionally published, I probably would've a second job. I couldn't afford to, you know, live off being an author. Whereas, you know, at, at the way that I've chosen to do it is, you know, it's just amazing. So, you know, it's a, it's a good session.

James Blatch: It is frustrating, isn't it? How the indie world is still sort of in the shadows. I don't really understand quite why it's not, it's not looked at as being as vibrant and rock and roll as it actually is. It's a hugely exciting dynamic world. Yeah. But I'll tell you what is happening is that organisations that have operated in the traditional published space for a while, and we visited Book Vault I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, are switching their attention and their focus to the indie world rapidly. And more and more organisations are doing that. Yeah. The guy interviewed last night, who's coming up on our podcast soon runs a service and he's now completely thinking I've been overlooking the indie spaces where, where it's happening. But you know, it's still not got the, the leeway. I interviewed Lloyd Richards Devereaux yesterday and interviewed coming up.

Him and his daughter, his daughter did a TikTok on him. He wrote one book 11 years ago, published by Thomas and Mercer eventually got Thomas and Mercer to publish it, but it didn't do very well, did nothing, had no sales in January this year, although that is 10 years later to be fair. But he wrote the sequel and his daughter made a little TikTok of about 16 seconds long saying how proud she was of him, that he hadn't given up his dream. And he writes, because he loves writing and he wants to tell this story. And that TikTok got 50 million views were absolutely viral. Everyone bought his book. He was number one in the store, the overall store for a month. This year it was all the newspapers, it was on every TV show going in America and even in the uk. During that time, they very kindly came on the podcast and interviewed that.

And at one point I did just say, because he's now written Book two and he's been picked up by Harper Collins and Harper Collins, a publishing book, two Thomas and Mercer apparently very gracious about it because it was always his dream to be published. And I did say to him and his daughter, you know, you did so much of this yourself. Do you not consider self publishing? And Margarite said, dunno anything about it. And which is a very typical answer for so many people. And I guess that's the reason why the trade industry doesn't like talking about indie publishing. They don't want writers to know about it's the truth of it.

Mark Dawson: Well maybe take anyway, whatever, maybe.

James Blatch: Okay. last session on that morning of day two was with Matthew Perry, not that one, but from TikTok, Matthew Perry, equally famous. And they talked about selling with TikTok shop and a bit about how to use TikTok to sell the books. Obviously very hot topic. That was an hour talk. They brought in two authors who were doing very well. Not in re neither of them were romance actually. Which there was interesting. And some really good tips from the horse's mouth from TikTok themselves and the UK TikTok are very dynamic, very into indie publishing, and they are the ones who are working hard to roll out new features. They do get to the States eventually TikTok shop with Linked With Authors now in Book Top. You can list your books in the UK and sell them directly on your toss with a link which I'm doing actually.

But it will be rolled out in the US soon, I'm sure. Again, that was the end of the first morning of day two. And the last afternoon of the conference, we have three sessions started with Brit Andrews building a fandom, and Britt came on for another live q and a as part of the digital release sessions that will be included in the bonus. Always fun to talk to her. And she's, again, she's a, I mean she talks in practical terms about running Facebook groups and the Assing with your, your readers and how to turn your fans into Superf fans and so on has been so important for her and her world. Her, her publishing building, but in, in her own right, I think is an inspirational character.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, she's done, I mean, I mean, I mean, I heard some of the story. I, I listened to her presentation in the hall and some of the things I didn't know about her, and there were a few, you know, I think there's a few people kind of they're slightly damp dpi Yeah. At, at a certain point. So yeah, Britt's story is, is really cool. And we, you know, we are very pleased to have play a tiny part in that. But she's successful because she writes great books and she knows how to foster her founder. And, you know, I'm, I'm very impressed with what she's done and, and it's, and she's lovely. So it's, it's, it's been, it's been a privilege to watch her go from go from nothing to, to go to a significant, very, very significant career as an author.

James Blatch: Yeah. We're particularly proud of S B F for two Reasons Well is that she's a foundation winner. Our charitable armed funds authors who are facing hardship but are good writers. And secondly, she attributes ads for authors course for her success. And on that note, the ads for author schools will be open through enrollment mid-September. If you want to try and emulate Bruce and she's doing fantastically well. She is a superstar. We love her. Then we had meet the Kindle Storyteller winners. So the Kindle Storyteller Award is run in the uk. I don't think there's an American equivalent that I've seen. But it's you can enter it when you publish your book in a certain time review for some reason. Kind of spring to end of August, probably now actually I think it's open at the moment. So if you publish a book at this period, you can change one of your keywords to this the Kindle Storyteller hashtag type thing. And you get automatically entered and they shortlisted. You've been a judge in the past, mark, and we had a panel of the winners of this award. How do you judge them? How do you decide just where do you like the book?

Mark Dawson: Yeah, it's completely on the, on the books, you know, which was our favourite book, simple as that. So yeah, Darren from Amazon moderated that panel and so we had, I think all of them were all by one, I can't remember, but certainly all if not all of them then almost all. And yeah, just to see where they've, where they've gone since winning the prize. I mean, winning the prize is, is pretty cool. It's, I think 20,000 pounds. I a deal with Thomas and Mercer potentially. I dunno. But yeah, it's, it's a pretty, it's a pretty good prize. And you know, people like Hannah Lin coming back on stage, David Ledbetter and, and in Sains in Sainsbury or people like that coming, coming back and, and telling us about the things that have happened to them since they won the prize. It's always nice to, to kind of catch up with their success and, and see what, what they're doing now.

James Blatch: Indeed. and the final session of the conference was actually you and Emma Boyer from written word media talking about hallow books. Our collaboration with hallow books was fully announced and we talked about the stacks. So that's one of the big ideas from from Bargain Booksy Free, Booksy, red Feather and so on, is that when you go in and buy a hell of books, and I did this morning actually for one of our books at Fuse, and then you get offered to stack it. So in our case, my case, it was a romance books we're stacking it with Red Feather. And that's a really powerful, once you stack those up together, that becomes a very significant way of getting your free or discounted book in front of readers. And that was, we're happy to announce. That was been another, another announcement actually this week in that Hello Books is now have a, has a second run a week. So a Tuesday we've sold out an availability. I should try. I mean, romance completely sold out. But now with Tuesday you can get a free romance slot, I think in, in August and you can get as old this morning 90 9:00 PM in September. So there's still Saturday out quickly. But yeah, I mean there are new slots

Mark Dawson: Available. They're selling far. So as we recall this, that might be true, but by Friday when it goes out it might not be true. So it, it

James Blatch: Is, yeah, that's

Mark Dawson: True. We've been waiting a while to make sure that the reader audience was sufficient to, to kind of make make it worthwhile for authors to put a deal out on a Tuesday. And we think it is now. We've, we've done some tests, it looks fairly robust. So yeah, it's, it's, it's cool. So Tuesday and Friday now and, and when we think as you, we are investing everything in building the reader audience and as that gets bigger, we'll we'll open a third day, but you know, for now, for the next few months we'll have chooses and Fridays. So it's it's pretty exciting.

James Blatch: Yeah. And a couple of quick things on, hello I get asked occasionally, is it a separate audience now that it's with Bargain Booksy? I get the same, same audience. It is a completely separate audience. They are mm-hmm. , walled, walled off between each other. Yeah. And we build Hello Books audience. It's something that Mark and I do. So that's being built separately from whatever ecosystem they have building a our audience for Bargain Booksy. And the second thing to say is that Hello Books I think is always punched above its weight. Even when the reader list was quite small in the early days, we always got good feedback from people. And Mark and I keep a careful tab on that now that we've merged with Hello Books and the feedback is, is still very, very strong. If, if anything's got better we should expect as the list got bigger as well. So we are, we are really pleased that this relationship that we formed with Red Word Media is, is protecting Yellow Books and growing it on exactly the way that we, we formed it in the first place. Yeah,

Mark Dawson: Exactly. No, they're, they're a great, great team. We're very happy to work with them.

James Blatch: Alright, finally we have a set of bonus content for day two. That includes a session with Brad not Brad Erwin. I spoke to Brad Erwin on the q and a, but the other Brad has done a session that adding heading backgrounds with Veem. Something I hadn't really considered before, but very easy to do and they look great. So, particularly if you're right, I think something like a fantasy book, romance books, you can have fantastic chapter backgrounds as you go into them and they can be different for every chapter. In fact, it gave me an idea to do a special edition, the final flight. Final flight. My first novel is, is done by days of the week. It's sequential days of the week. And I could have a 1960 style calendar as the, as the sort of chapter headings in the background was shown.

Yeah. On my, my list of many things to do. That's a really good session you get there. There's also a session with book brushes, Kathleen Sweeney on animation and ads. I must confess, I don't use animation enough. So I'm going to watch that session myself and start applying some of those. Blood pressure is an excellent tool for generating ad ad content. And then another session with Bob, I said earlier they did two sessions and this is how to boost new release sales with BookBub. So they actually have a range of new release options and a couple of them you need to be aware of because you need to apply for them before your book is released. And then o others are available to you even in the early days of your book being available. And finally a session with Isabelle Knight on how to create your author brand story.

It's something that terrifies many authors, but a very important part of why readers buy your books, why they part with many of your books is because they're supporting you. They want to be part of your story. And that's what Isabel teaches in that session. And we also have a q and A live with her to add to that as well. Should be there in the next couple of weeks. Rights, that's everything available to you on the digital package that has the digital conference, includes all the live conference stuff, have all that bonus content. If you go to self publishing to access that. Very, very well worth it. If you only spend $99 this year on something, spend it on all that's content because there's stuff in there that'll keep you going for months and make a big improvement to the way that you market your books. Absolutely. I feel like I've been talking a talking a lot this week, you,

Mark Dawson: I've been talking a lot this week. That's true. Yes. So yeah, I've been it's, it's a, it's really good. The, the, and the content is very highly produced. Looks really super pro, very, you know, great camera angles, multiple camera angles, you know, excellent sound is, it's something that we spend quite a lot of money to make sure that it, it's as, as good as we can make it. So you know, hopefully if you, if you grab that, you'll, you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. So definitely take a look at that.

James Blatch: Now our last thing to say is what's happening with 2024, which is the most asked question at the moment. So are you going to do a conference next year? I think the answer to that is a fairly firm. Yes. we haven't signed contracts yet, but yes, we want to do the Self-Publishing Show live in 2024. We are considering a change of venue, significant change of venues. So we've, we've had the Southbank Centre for three years. We love it. Big venues very prestigious, but there's a lot to be said for moving to a destination place like Cambridge. So Cambridge is the place we've been looking for looking at in the UK and yesterday I spoke all day with Catherine going through colleges and venues, the Corn Exchange hotels, how it's going to look, what the feasibility of moving the conference there is. So Cambridge is about 55 minutes on the train from London to the north.

You can get to it from from the south, you can get to from north via Peterborough. And I think fire somewhere like York I think took a branch off and it goes to Cambridge. So it is accessible but not as accessible as London, which is like all roads lead to London in the uk. There won't be as many hotels, but they should be cheaper. London hotel prices are cripplingly expensive and they certainly were in June. And when we hold our conference, it's likely to be early July rather than late June next year. But that is up in the air and at this stage we've done as much as we can in terms of feasibility and we know it's feasible, but we can move it there. I'm quite excited about it because I do like Cambridge, but it's your view that counts more than mine.

So Mark has actually created a survey. You should be able to find it in our Facebook group. It'll be a pinned post at the top asking you how you would feel about a change of venue for the self-publishing show live in summer 2024. Would you be happy to go to Cambridge, do a bit of punting see the old world mediaeval colleges, very Hogwarts there or would you ultimately prefer for the convenience and its locations, prestigious nature in London handing over to you. So we'll let that run for a couple of weeks or so and then we'll we'll text stock and make a decision about what we're going to do for next year. But in the meantime, if you want to sign up, get yourself on the short list to make sure you are guaranteed the place. When we do release tickets in the autumn, you can go to self-publishing self-publishing so slash sps live.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, so we will, I'll get that, that survey we'll be up as we record this. So should be ready for, for Friday. Yeah, interesting to see what people think. We haven't really made our mind up yet, but you know, we'll see. But if people are, people are very, very categorical one way or the other, that would definitely help. So yes. You know, we'll, we'll take a look at that.

James Blatch: Okay. Right. That's it. Thank you very much indeed to the team, to Catherine and Tom and Stewart and Melanie, everyone else who helps put this podcast together. And thank you Mark. And thank you to our interviewee. That was me, I guess. No, you in the interview. I didn't have one. And that's it. All the most we say it says goodbye from him

Mark Dawson: And a goodbye from me.

James Blatch: Goodbye. Goodbye.

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