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SPS-400: 400 Episodes of the Self Publishing Show

After 399 episodes of the Self publishing show, James Blatch quizzes Mark Dawson on some of the early episodes of the show. Does he remember the guests and reccomendations from 300 episodes ago? Do they both still stand with their advice?

Show Notes

  • Looking back on the show.
  • The early days of SPS.
  • The changes in platform preferences.
  • James and Mark on AI.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

400 Episodes of the Self Publishing Show

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

Mark Dawson: You can't reverse it. It's out there now anyway. If you tried to reverse it, it might decide that doesn't make us anymore and destroy us all so well,

James Blatch: It's going to do that anyway. Mark. There's only one place this ends with the robots killing us all, but

Mark Dawson: Well, we'll all be batteries and yeah,

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, first time author, James Blatch as they shine a light on the secrets of self-publishing success. This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Hello and welcome to a very special edition of The Self-Publishing Show with me, James Blatch

Mark Dawson: And me Mark Dawson.

James Blatch: Happy birthday. Mark Dawson.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, 400 today. I don't look a day over 399.

James Blatch: No, this is episode 400. Can you believe it? We've been going for 400 years. That's what it feels like. Four

Mark Dawson: Oh weeks. Yeah. That's quite impressive.

James Blatch: Yeah, it is quite impressive. And I think we can probably say that we are on the landscape of indie publishing as a show.

Mark Dawson: I would've thought so.

James Blatch: I say so leading because there's some good shows out there as well. But we're up there and I think the people who listen to their Indie Publishing podcast, we're definitely on their list. We've done a lot of interviews. Most of those 400 episodes have had interviews in them. I've spoken to a lot of people. Anybody who's anybody has been on the show, some people multiple times. We've done some masterclasses, masterclasses masterclass over the years and we'll do more of them. We've done some out and about shows. We did a couple from London Book Fair did that twice in a row. Actually we did an episode from New York, actually you weren't there. I've got a stand in present with Thomas.

Mark Dawson: I was once, we've had multiple episodes were, yeah, we done more than once at ThrillerFest.

James Blatch: We did a live episode at nnc, which is one of my favourites to

Mark Dawson: Record more than one. Two.

James Blatch: The two of those, yes, two of those last time it was on the main stage. It was really fun doing that recording with a live episode, a live audience. We'll do that next year. I think this year's got away from us a little bit towards the backend, so we haven't be able to plan that, but we will do that for next year. And yeah, I, I've got a quiz for you.

Mark Dawson: Oh, that sounds exciting and ominous.

James Blatch: It's a sort of way of just going back over some of the stuff we've done, highlights and stuff, but I want to see you've been paying attention.

So my first question is, how many of the first 10 interviewees can you mention? But I'm going to tell you now, three of the episodes, two were from L B F and one was a masterclass. I've actually only got seven interviewees in the first 10 episodes we ever broadcast.

Mark Dawson: I would guess Nick Stevenson, Joanna, Penn, Bella, Andre, Hugh, Harry, who else? BookBub. How we doing? That's five.

James Blatch: You're doing quite badly.

Mark Dawson: Oh, oh dear. I dunno.

James Blatch: Okay, so you've got a couple there. I'm going to go and reverse order then. So episode 10 was Bella Andre, episode nine was Ricky Woolman.

Mark Dawson: Yeah.

James Blatch: Eight and seven were from L B F, episode six was Russell Blake.

Mark Dawson: Russell Blake. Yeah,

James Blatch: Russell Blake. He was a character. Still is a character. If he's still gun running in South America, whatever he does for a living. Episode five,

Mark Dawson: He does say, is he still alive? He is still alive, yeah. I think he is. Anyway, I'm not

James Blatch: Completely lifestyle. He lives. Episode five was Sean Platt.

Mark Dawson: Yep.

James Blatch: One of the boys in self-publishing. What were they called? Self-publishing show. Well with a self publishing show.

Mark Dawson: Podcast. Self

James Blatch: Podcast. Yes. S P P. Yeah. Four was a masterclass, three was Marie Force.

Mark Dawson: Ah yes. Marie Force.

James Blatch: Our second interviewee was Pat Flynn. Big name and kind of world of passive income and number one was indeed Joe Penn. So I think you've got Joe Penn and Marie Force. I don't think anyone else, but yes, it was quite surprising actually, looking back at that. And Ricky Woolman very high. So written word media, but bargain books obviously a big thing back in the day. Still we're now partners with them.

Mark Dawson: Well, they've been a big thing for a long time. Yeah, as I said before, we've known Ricky for Ages actually met her for the first time this summer with her family with Ferrell and her kids came over to South Southward whilst we were there and they were on a, a trip, a holiday to the UK and they actually quite amazing. They came from London to Southward on the train, had a couple hours with us. I took them back to the train station, they went back to London and then went to see Matilda in the theatre and the evenings. That was a packed day. I think they all worked, but yeah, it was very nice to meet them.

James Blatch: But that's not the first time you met Ricky.

Mark Dawson: It is the first time I met Ricky. Yeah, we've spoken lots.

James Blatch: Did you not come to N one year then? Because I met her in nnc. Maybe you didn't come to NNC one year? Can't remember.

Mark Dawson: Possibly. I think I missed one, haven't I? Yeah, so yeah, possibly first time I met her, I met in Vegas last year and that's where we started talking about hooking up with Hello Books and written Word Media. But yes, it was the first time I met her, but no, it was, yeah, they've been around. They've been around for a while. One of the store warts.

James Blatch: Okay, so you did marginally well there. But we had some really good early episodes of the show and actually everything is there on YouTube. It's on our website as well. You can

Mark Dawson: Go back. When you say really good, what you mean really is really bad. You remember in the early days we decided it'd be great if I was involved in the interviews as well. So you have lots of instances of Paul Marie Force, for example, struggling to be interviewed by both of us, which we very quickly realised wasn't going to be sustainable. It made much more sense for you to do the interviews given also that that's one of the things that you're good at. And I

James Blatch: Honestly dunno how good I was in those early days. I hesitate to listen back to those early interviews when I didn't know what I was talking about from the start, which comes from a journalist background where that doesn't matter because every day you're given subjects, you dunno what you're talking about. But I know a lot more now and I think my interviews are better now than they were then, which is the right way about it. Who else have we having in those early episodes? So you can look back. We had Barbara Hy another huge name in indie publishing. I've spoken to Barbara actually for a while perhaps could catch up with her. There's Mads, she can never hear me. But now I've met Mads. She's waving. If you're watching on YouTube, Mads has just delivered Mark's coffee. One of Mark's members of staff, Encore Nagpal we've had on, he was a sort serial entrepreneur who started a teachable platform. We still use, I dunno what he's onto now, he's onto something else. I do,

Mark Dawson: His name pops up. It's got a company called Art Show, I think it's called. They do financial advice for entrepreneurs. So it's kind of online learning for American based. So things like 4 0 1 Ks. I think that's the thing. We don't have those, but yeah, people talk about those all the time. But yeah, that's what he does now. Completely irrelevant to what we do. But yeah, he's a good guy.

James Blatch: The reason I know what a 4 0 1 k is, Shane s Silver's told me once that he emptied his 4 0 1 k without telling his wife to buy our

Mark Dawson: Course. Oh, that's right. Yeah, he's filled up again since

James Blatch: He has filled it up against, it was a throw of the dice, but

Mark Dawson: Actually we should probably add that sounds like our course costs about a hundred thousand dollars.

James Blatch: Yeah, no, he only had four, $400 in there or something at the time. Yeah, it wasn't a lot. Okay.

Well the next thing I've got is we did a very early masterclass, which caught my eye called must do actions for new authors and we had five must do actions for new authors. Can you Mark Dawson name those five?

Mark Dawson: Oh, definitely not. Well write a book would be the obvious one.

James Blatch: I think we can assume that they're an author and therefore there's a book either written or in progress. That's not one of the must do actions. It's more marketing I suppose.

Mark Dawson: Right? So it'd be things like seven mailing lists that's got to be on there.

James Blatch: Yes, that is number one.

Mark Dawson: I imagine build a website.

James Blatch: Yes, that's number two. You're doing well, much better than you were the interviewees.

Mark Dawson: What else would I say? Possibly start writing the second book. Would that be one

James Blatch: That's not in this? Let's notes

Mark Dawson: What advertising maybe work about

James Blatch: A step before advertising. Number three is social media.

Mark Dawson: Well, yeah, okay. Set of social media platforms. Yeah.

James Blatch: Yes. So we went through that with Facebook profile being a page being one of those.

Mark Dawson: Well that's changed. The detail has changed. Now the advice would be the same, but it might well now be, it'll build a TikTok presence or

James Blatch: Yes, and a group probably for your followers. And the last two, I dunno if you'll be able to second guess these, but they will make sense when I tell you. So number four was treat it like a business. So this is somebody else's notes on our podcast. Actually they helpfully summarised it, but you talked about being a sole trader and realising that was a very efficient and you set up a company and got your copyright sorted out and basically, as I said, treat it like a business because that's what it is, not a side thing. And number five is be professional, employ proofreaders editors cover designers book format as illustrators. I think you said in the episode something you've repeated since, which is your book should look indistinguishable from Arthur Collins on the bookshelf. So those were the five must do actions for new authors. I think they still stand. Yeah,

Mark Dawson: They still stand definitely. Yeah.

James Blatch: Yeah. So the data, the details changed.

Mark Dawson: They wouldn't be anything. I'd say none of those five are no longer relevant and they're probably still about as important as they were whenever I waffled on about those 400 episodes ago. So yeah, I think that would still be quite a bit of advice. Well done me. Yeah,

James Blatch: Well done. You and the website is an important one because it's your bit of real estate thing. It's the point we made at the time. Okay, so I've got another one here. I'm going to make sure I don't cover up the screen. I'm going to keep it over here. We did an episode very early on, well 135. This was number one called the Indie Author Talker. This is the indie author toolkit. That was the must do action.

So the indie author toolkit where we listed the top 10 tools that indie authors should have and there's some honourable mentions outside the top 10 I'll come to afterwards, but how many of these can you get? So 10 tools that we recommended to authors two and 65. 365, no, 265 episodes ago.

Mark Dawson: Before I do that, it reminds me of, have you heard of the band tool? You probably haven't.

James Blatch: No,

Mark Dawson: Not your cup of tea. They're quite well known band of people who playing musicals in I like Tool. Yes. James Maynard Keen, really good singer. Been in a perfect circle as well. Anyway, I bought a t-shirt the other day and it just has tool on it and my kids think that's hilarious because that is his tool. Again, of course I wear it. I understand the joke. It's fine. I absolutely fine. You

James Blatch: Wearing your eyes open, James Maynard Keynes. Keen. Keen. Okay. Not John Maynard Keynes. Okay.

Mark Dawson: No, he's not an economist. He is a really good singer. Anyway, so tools. So I would say

James Blatch: Now I'm going to have to go up and down this list as you're talking.

Mark Dawson: Well, I would say probably Scrivener.

James Blatch: Scrivener is number one in the list. Congratulations. Good start. Standby. I've got to go back. Word is number four in the list. You've got two so far.

Mark Dawson: Veem might not have been out when we did this, but Veem would certainly be in the

James Blatch: List. Are you going to go for Veem or not? You've got to make a decision there.

Mark Dawson: That's exciting. Yes, I will.

James Blatch: Number three. Vela is number five in the list. That is your third. You're on a roll, Dawson. Doing well.

Mark Dawson: Facebook.

James Blatch: Facebook of course is there. It's number six on the list. Oh, he stilling time with

Mark Dawson: WordPress.

James Blatch: WordPress, WordPress. That doesn't ring a bell with me. Note WordPress is your first fail

Mark Dawson: Excel.

James Blatch: Oh, and it's all going wrong for you now. I don't think Excel's there. Excel should be in the top 10 actually. That's an absolutely vital tool that I use every day with my publishing, but it was not in our top 10.

Mark Dawson: I'd say something to do with accounts and record keeping. I dunno, I would probably add this in now, but we use it.

James Blatch: I think you're missing. Yeah, that's not that you are missing some quite big ones we'd recommend to authors,

Mark Dawson: Some quite big ones that we'd recommend to authors. Well I think like Amazon, that's too obvious.

James Blatch: No, that's too obvious. But if you wanted to give away a book, for instance, something we recommend early on.

Mark Dawson: Okay, yeah. Book funnel. Yes. Okay. Fair

James Blatch: Book Funnel. There we go. Squeeze it out of you. That was number three in the list and number two in the list.

Mark Dawson: Oh, MailChimp or em S doesn't have to MailChimp, I mean

James Blatch: Or ESPs, email service providers, whatever you want to call them. And we talked about specifically MailChip, Madeline, and Can ConvertKit's called three options at different price levels there, but that is number two. So let's see what you've lost. You mentioned Velon, you have not mentioned Canva. I do not use Canva. I'm a Photoshop person, but I know lots and lots going to use Canva and Canva has adapted itself. It's not really aimed at authors, but has a flexibility there. I actually find Book Brush does a very good job with some of those things. Yeah, we probably would put Book Brush in there now I think.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, I'd say it would be in there somewhere. Yeah.

James Blatch: Eight is book report and Tall. I don't use

Mark Dawson: No book report tends, it's still around, but I don't use it anymore either. So it pulls the Amazon data back and enables you to cut and slice and dice your reports to show various things from sales and orders and kit and page and all that. Amazon has kind of pulled the rug from under it a little bit by doing a lot of the things that it did, so I don't use that anymore. There are other services that do what Book Report did and still does. I mean things like Scribe Count as Randall's, a friend of the show, so he's Randall Wood in the States. We'll probably see you next month. But yeah, he's brought something in. And what's John Logs in's? Author Helper, is it called?

James Blatch: Yes, the Author Helper.

Mark Dawson: It's similar. There are suites of products now that enable you to do things like that and also and some that work with Amazon advertising and Facebook ads enabling you to identify the effectiveness of your ads and stuff like that. Yeah, okay. That would be a good one. Facebook Ads Library I'd put in there. Probably didn't put it in there before, but I certainly have that in there now.

James Blatch: Yes. Yeah, yeah. The author Helper is John Loon's suite of tools. There are two left that you haven't mentioned and they are number nine K D P Rocket, which is now known as Publisher Rocket, but is something very, very useful indeed. Particularly as category changes have happened recently on Amazon. You probably know that that is the case and

Mark Dawson: Oh, have they?

James Blatch: Yeah, Dave Cheen, he's the man. He is the man on planet earth outside of Amazon who can talk with authority about those categories and metadata and stuff and it's nerds, nerds alert, but it's great. It's a very, very useful tool to have one I definitely do use. And number 10 was writing aid actually in this list, so that's an interesting one. I mean pro writing. I remember in the interview we did about P W A and I can't remember what episode that was, but you can search for it on the website. This was probably three years ago and he was talking about machine learning from the way authors write to help with the writing process. And of course that is now with AI accelerated forward and is controversial as well. We will talk about AI I think a little bit on this episode before we go in, just the hot topic at the moment, and there were some honourable mentions.

There're quite a lot of them actually. I'll just go through them. Would we still recommend 'em Lytics and on the episode? Yes, absolutely. You said Lytics and I didn't know what Lytics was, but I do know now know what Lyss wants. Another nerd alert, but genius Alex Newton or nyha I think is his name. Alex does an absolutely fantastic job in analysing Amazon and finding the gold so you can find popular genres that are well read but underserved by writing. And you can equally find the genres that are overserved by writing and are going to be very competitive to get into. That's the sort of thing you get from him. You get really good deep analysis on your genre, thoroughly recommend k-lytics.com story shop?

Mark Dawson: Oh no, not so much. That's the SS p P Self-publishing podcast guys had a thing called Social, which doesn't work anymore.

James Blatch: Twitter, we probably wouldn't. I mean there's a guy direct messages to me all the time saying, you can sell your books on Twitter. I'm selling 500 when I do this, that and the other on Twitter. I'm just unconvinced about it and have got bandwidth from the moment to look into it. But not for

Mark Dawson: Selling. It's good for if you're in nonfiction or if you just want to make connections with authors, it's still pretty good for that. If to swallow your ethics perhaps a little bit there. Some things, it can be a fairly unpleasant platform. I still use it a lot, but it has its challenges. But I don't think for sewing, I don't think it's ever really worked for that

James Blatch: X, we should say it's called

Mark Dawson: X. Yeah. Yeah.

James Blatch: Evernote. I've never used Evernote.

Mark Dawson: Yeah, I don't use it anymore. And there are other options now, but that's a fairly sophisticated note-taking piece of Apple or piece of software that you can use across devices. But yeah, I don't use that anymore.

James Blatch: I use notes, use Evernote. Yeah, calibre, which I

Mark Dawson: Calibre is useful. Yeah, I mean there are ways around that now, but if you wanted to take an epub and amend it, you can use Calibre to convert it into a Word file. So obviously it has kind of nefarious applications as well, but it was one of those tools, it's really, it's not the tool's fault that people use it to do things like that, but it is useful if you wanted, say you lost a file, you didn't have it, but you were still on Amazon. You could download the epub, put it into Calibre, and then convert it into a Word file so you

James Blatch: Wouldn't, can you download UB on Amazon? You can download the H T M

Mark Dawson: L. You can, yeah. Okay. If you want me to show you how to do it later, you tell me. Yes,

James Blatch: I do actually. And this is not for nefarious purposes, but we don't always get all the manuscripts with Fuse books and I do like to have the manuscripts there, so I'm going to give Tina probably the job of preparing the manuscript. So she might You

Mark Dawson: Can, you can pull this back.

James Blatch: She might know how to do it already, but okay. Instagram definitely would still recommend Instagram both for advertising and for social presence particularly. Romance seems to do very well on Instagram, Google Docs. I'm not a huge fan of Google Docs, but it's a useful tool for passing inform, well

Mark Dawson: It's, well Google Docs, if you were writing something, say you didn't, well say you wanted to write something on various devices or on your phone. If you're on the bus, you say it as a Google doc. Obviously iCloud does the same thing, but you can drop,

James Blatch: I use Dropbox

Mark Dawson: Or Dropbox. But yeah,

James Blatch: Dropbox is the next one on the list. Yeah,

Mark Dawson: Yeah, yeah. Again, Dropbox still useful for me. With Scrivener, you can auto back up into Dropbox and that has saved my bacon twice in the last 12 months. So made a bit of a booboo not too ago, had a Scrivener file open on this computer here and went travelling and took my lightweight MacBook, my Mac Air, took it on the plane, opened up without realising and got a document conflict and I thought I'd lost the work I'd done whilst travelling, but it had saved it into Dropbox and I was able to pick it out. So yeah, that's useful. And I think actually having multiple redundancies is a good idea for that. So crash plan is a good thing to have one in the background as well.

James Blatch: Yeah, yeah, I have that as well. So Dropbox I use, and you do have to remember to close Scrivener down. I had this yesterday actually, but luckily my laptop was in the house and I was sitting here, so it wasn't a big deal. But had I been on the train to London, it would've been a pain. As you say, Microsoft excels also on that also mentioned, I think we probably expand this list to 20 now and put quite a few of these in as everyday tools. Dragon dictate we put in as an honourable mention using. Yeah, probably.

Mark Dawson: No, not now. The Mac is pretty good. I think we both have Apple, Silicon, Macs and the latest version has, it used to be you could get 30 seconds worth of online transcription, so you could transcribe and it was quite good, but it would shut down after 30 seconds and you had to be online to do that. The axe have offline transcription and for as long as you want. So I do often, I don't dictate paragraphs, such paragraphs, but if I'm doing a couple of sentences, I will sometimes dictate them and it's getting quite good. Now

James Blatch: Can you do that in Scrivener? Would you have to be a word to do?

Mark Dawson: Yes. No, you can. Yeah, anything. So I mean basically on the Mac probably you'll find if you hit a function three times, that will switch on your transcription. You can change it obviously to whatever you want the trigger to be two times or something else and then you can start transcribing. It's pretty good. And obviously you can do it on phone as well. I mean iOS transcription is pretty good now. So I often transcribe emails, it's just a pain, the little keyboard sometimes and my softy fingers, it's kind of like, ah, that's annoying. So just dictate it.

James Blatch: We hit function three times after the show. Don't say Beatle G three times. Yeah.

Mark Dawson: So yeah, that works pretty well and I'm seeing that is getting better and better. So not surprising really, given that things like Siri must be drawing on what it's drawing on the language model that Siri uses.

James Blatch: Of course, yes, indeed. We put down Grammarly similar to prior aid, but not as dedicated I think to authors. Photoshop put down, I use Photoshop every day. Novel factory writing software. I think that was one that I was using at the time, helped me in my early days, found it very useful. They were the honourable mentions in that list of toolkits. I think what we might add to that, I mean I would add mid Journey to it, which is an AI image generation tool for advertising images. I will say right at the beginning, I don't intend to do my own covers using ai. I think some people might do, I won't. I'll be using Stuart for that. I think it's a skillset to do with composition and blending and font is beyond me. But absolutely for things like a plus content, if you go and have a look at my page, James Blatch books on Amazon, you should see my A plus content. I've used AI to generate those images and for Facebook, so I would put that in there. Very useful in conjunction with beta version of Photoshop, which has a bit of generative fill in there as well to enable you to resize and move the compositions about and chat. G P T I think is becoming a tool, again, not for writing mark as such, but for doing a lot of the ancillary work that we end up doing as authors and making life more efficient.

Mark Dawson: Well, it's not for writing for me or for you, but it is others people are using it to write now and that you can use it. Well, we will have a chat at some point about the ethics and legality of AI because it's an interesting subject, but some people are using it to generate chapters or books and then I mean a lot of people are using it and then just posting it as is, which is a terrible idea. Other people are using it as a foundation and then working on that and editing, which I think is probably not a great idea either. But whatever they want to do is fine. Other people will use it for research or paragraphs or sentences. I use it for things like blurbs. It's very good for blurbs only as a starting point. You have to do a lot of work on it, but it will do a pretty decent first draught.

It's good for marketing. So taglines, headlines, ad copy, again, not usually without any kind of input. You do need to kind of massage it quite a bit, but it is very good for generating ideas. Even things like book titles, if you tell it what the story's about, it will come out with. And after 20 titles, 19 of them will probably be awful, but one of them might be something you could work with. So as a prompter, you prompt it, it prompts you. I think it is quite well, it's extremely useful. And obviously as the models are iterated and we get to version five, which will be out quite soon, it's getting more proficient all the time. And at some point we are going to have an interesting problems when it starts to be good enough. And it's not there yet and I don't think it's even close yet, but when it will be at some point good enough to start writing more than possible text and that's when we'll have an interesting discussion about what might come next. But

James Blatch: I mean, it makes me laugh a little bit, A lot of hand wringing about this in the community and some people very cent about it and saying, well absolutely, you are an awful person for touching AI and I want nothing to do with you. I'm leaving the group and everything. And fast forward a couple of years, there will be major online retailers for readers where readers can go in, specify what sort of book they want, roughly what the plot is, level of language and violence and sex and so on, and press a button and AI will produce their book for them and that will be happening whether we like it or not. So you've got two choices here. You can put your head in the sand like the Luddites did and pretend that the machines aren't there, or if you get an opportunity to go in with an axe and smash one up. Or you can use the tools available as ethically as you want so that you are comfortable with to improve your work as an author. And again, it's not for me to use it for writing, I don't want to do that. A lot of people won't want to do that. And I think there will always be a market for human writing of course. But to put your head in the sand and say, I'm not touching anything to do with ai, I don't think is the right stance to take at the moment.

Mark Dawson: No, me neither is a very interesting and complicated debate with a lot of, I'm somewhere in the middle of it, so I'm not as, as some people I know are and installing it. And this is the future. And I'm certainly not as, I'm not smashing the looms up on the other side of the spectrum, but somewhere in the middle I think pragmatism is sensible because there isn't really any option. It's not going to stop. Even if governments at some point will probably have to legislate to update copyright law, woefully inadequate right now, but even if they did that, I still can't see. Well, you can't reverse it. It's out there now anyway. If we tried to reverse it, it might decide that it doesn't make us anymore and destroy us all so well,

James Blatch: It's going to do that anyway, mark. There's only one place this ends with the robots killing us all, but

Mark Dawson: We'll all be batteries. And so yeah, we'll continue to get into that. And when does this episode go out, James? Is it going out? Friday

James Blatch: Goes out a week today.

Mark Dawson: A week today. So we will be having a webinar as we launch ads for authors launches in early September and what is it, 13th of September?

James Blatch: 13th of September. Wednesday, 13th of September.

Mark Dawson: So we think we're going to have a webinar on the 30th of September, which I think we better get a little landing page up for this. But yes, I think it's going to be quite popular. Going to talk about, I think the way we are using AI in our advertising and our marketing. So James has done, I mean is underselling how good he's got on Mid Journey. So some of the things he's doing with Mid Journey now are really impressive and is, if you wanted, let's just say you wanted to run some Facebook ads and you wanted to run a dynamic creative testing, so you want say four images, you can generate those images within about half an hour. Whereas otherwise, unless you had Photoshop skills, it would involve a much longer process to get those images. It's a real pain point for testing. So we'll look at generating images using Mid Journey.

We'll look at using Photoshop to manipulate those images so they're ready to be used on Facebook. And I'll probably talk about using generative AI to look at things like tags and copy and maybe even some, sorry, Facebook, Chad, g p t is pretty good at recommending targeting options, headlines, primary text, all of that kind of stuff. That is, you could easily spend a couple hours working on that you, it's not really to go generally all the time, but it'll give you a really good place to start. So what we will look at is using those tools to put together the foundation to build ads that are working. And we've been using the images in S P F ads for a couple of weeks, maybe a month now. And we've found that the cost of those ads or the acquiring new subscribers has gone down and the only thing that's changed is the images. So that's probably the reason. So that's going to be good. So what's our landing page going to be for this? I think

James Blatch: We're going to call it self-publishing formula.com/ai marketing.

Mark Dawson: Okay. AI marketing. Yeah, that works. So I suspect the webinar will be at nine o'clock on UK time. Wednesday the 30th of September. But that will all be on the landing page. And also I would sign up, if you hear this is the first time we've mentioned this, I never know for sure, but I think this is one that will fill because it's a very interesting subject and quite valuable. So I think it might be one that we kind of bump up against our top limit on the software that we use. So do get in and reserve your seat.

James Blatch: Yeah, definitely self-publishing formula com slash ai marketing to register. And it doesn't guarantee you a place, but it gives you a link to join us on the night if we get to a thousand on the night, that does lock people out. But we'll do a replay of course the next day. But if you want to be there live for that, jump onto that quickly. This'll be a week today, so 25 plus 7 32. It'd be the 30 2nd of September. Of August.

Mark Dawson: Well what you're talking about now,

James Blatch: I was going to say what date it is today. This is going out, but it's the 2nd of September, I guess. Something like that. I can't, my calendar, it's going to cover up the screen. The day

Mark Dawson: Today is the 25th of August, so this is going to go out on the 31st. So it will be

James Blatch: 31st. A mass is terrible.

Mark Dawson: Yes, it is. Well, the 2nd of October that, so as this goes out, it'll be about 10 days. So it'd be yesterday.

James Blatch: Of course it's not plus seven is it? Because it is Friday, so it's plus six more days. That's why it's 30. I

Mark Dawson: Still dunno talking

James Blatch: About not the 30 2nd of August. Okay. Now in the future we are thinking on the podcast, we might do more episodes where Mark and I choose specific subjects to drill down into stuff that we are doing at the moment with our marketing and we're looking into, direct selling is huge at the moment, so we may have fewer interviewee on in the future and we know that people quite enjoy, we call it the banter, but we try and do make it as useful and as productive as possible. So that might be a slight change in tone from episode 400 onwards. And I'm also in the process finally of getting the opening voiceover redone. So we'll say goodbye to Huey from Fund Loving Criminals and we'll get a new voice where I'm no longer a first time author.

Mark Dawson: Well, yes, I'm sad about that. We need to get Huey back. But yeah, he's part of the brand now. He's been with us for about 300 episodes.

James Blatch: Maybe we can, I'll have a look if it's easier. We had to go and meet him, which was great. It was fun to go into a recording studio with

Mark Dawson: Him. We can send Yang tom Yang. Tom can do it. That's

James Blatch: True. We can send young Tom. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll see how much he costs as well. He was a nice guy though. Good. Okay. I think that's about it.

You got anything else?

Mark Dawson: No, but there may be probably not, Pat's not for this episode, but we are going to have some changes to the podcast as we get past episode 400, some changes. We've got something quite exciting, in fact, extremely exciting that we've been working on for about six months that we can't talk about yet, but it's coming quite soon. That might mean one of the podcasts in the month is a little different and we tried to give James a bit of a rest from interviewing hundreds of people. So maybe slightly fewer interviews. I might do a little bit more myself. So perhaps a monologue episode or kind of me just rambling on about stuff that I think is interesting. Maybe once a week. But we're still kind of formulating that and we'll talk about that maybe next week. See where we get to.

James Blatch: Sure. There's an echo in here.

Mark Dawson: Echo, echo, echo.

James Blatch: Okay. Okay. Right, right. Yes indeed. We'll do all of that. Well look, thank you very much indeed. If you've been with us from the beginning, wow. I mean there are people listening, mark, who've been here since episode one, that Joe episode, which is

Mark Dawson: Amazing. I sorry to those people. I can only apologise.

James Blatch: We thank them and it's always fun. Come and say hello to us. We're getting up to travelling season for us. September and November will be in Florida and then Vegas and I do have that thing. You probably get it as well. I think you are more recognisable than now, but people recognise my voice. So I'll be in an elevator as they call them in America, chatting to someone and someone will just turn around in front of me, say, I know who you are. They recognise my voice and that's always a delight. Always fun. So do come up and say hello to us. They will give you more details about our drinks.

Mark Dawson: You told me you hated it.

James Blatch: I did not hate it.

Mark Dawson: You said you hate it. You said I know you. I'm not joking. You didn't say that.

James Blatch: He's joking English humour. Yes. I mean, I don't like it when I get physically assaulted, touched. Well, I'm repressed male English. Exactly. Middle class. Okay, look, that's it. All that remains for me to say is a goodbye from him and a goodbye from me. Goodbye. Goodbye.

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