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SPF-124: Novel Adaptation – Turning Books into Screenplays with Paul FitzSimons

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Novelist, screenwriter and playwright Paul FitzSimons talks to James about his writing career so far, including adapting screenplays and producing independent films.

This week’s highlights include:

  • The winding path of Paul’s screenwriting and writing for television
  • Financing an independent film
  • Dealing with rejection from trad publishers
  • The skills necessary to transition from writing books to writing for the screen
  • Being creative while following screenwriting rules
  • Writing well-developed characters for the screen
  • Enjoying the interpretation of your words by others in the creative filmmaking team
  • The pitfalls of adapting a novel for the screen

Resources mentioned in this episode:

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Podcast’s Patreon page

WORKSHEET AND COUPON: Paul has prepared a worksheet on screenwriting which you can access here.  This includes a coupon code for his ‘Screenwriting From Your Sofa’ course.

Our Ads for Authors course is still open for business here.

FREE LIVE SPF WEBINAR! on Monday 18th June – Mark explains how to use Facebook ads to build your list and boost book sales. Spots are limited but you can sign up for it here.

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SPF-104: Book Cover Design for Authors – with Stuart Bache

Book cover designer to the stars (John Le Carre, Stephen King and more) Stuart Bache talks to James about the new course he has put together to help authors design their own professional looking book covers.

This week’s highlights include:

  • Why book covers matter so much
  • Considering genre when designing a book cover
  • Mistakes authors make when they consider book covers
  • The DIY Facebook advertisements that Stuart offers
  • Details about the book cover design course Stuart has done for SPF

Resources mentioned in this episode:

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Podcast’s Patreon page

SPF BOOK COVER DESIGN COURSE: The brand new cover design course from Stuart Bache.

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SPF-096: A Quiet Catastrophe – with John Birmingham

British-Australian author John Birmingham was forced into a crash course on self-publishing when, through no fault of his own, his trad deals disappeared. Luckily for readers, John turned those lemons into a new, lucrative self-publishing career.

This week’s highlights include:

  • John’s success as a freelance writer, and his unplanned, rapid switch from trad publishing to indie
  • What’s working for John now in marketing and where his focus is
  • On the shrinking mid-list at trad publishers and how that could prove to be their downfall
  • How John adjusted to running an author business as well as writing
  • The challenges in the Australian book market

Resources mentioned in this episode:

SPF FOUNDATION: Click here to learn more

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Podcast’s Patreon page

ARTICLE: John Birmingham’s article at, called The Quiet Catastrophe


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SPF-094: A Helping Hand from SPF – with Reedsy’s Ricardo Fayet

James Blatch and Lucy Dawson introduce the Self Publishing Formula Foundation, a partnership with Reedsy, that will help four authors each year to fulfill their dream of publishing and marketing their books.

This week’s highlights include:

  • The origins of the SPF Foundation
  • How the foundation works and how to apply
  • What SPF are looking for in foundation applicants
  • What Reedsy does and how they help indie authors
  • Reedsy’s suggestions about the best use of the self-publishing support available from them
  • Thoughts on the rise of book marketers who help authors

Resources mentioned in this episode:

More information about the Self Publishing Formula Foundation


Self Publishing Formula Patreon page

Do What You Can’t video – Casey Neistat

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SPF-080: How to Sell Your Foreign Rights – with Orna Ross

The paradigm shifts in publishing have opened doors for authors. And sometimes caused challenges for those authors who have lost rights to a trad publisher and now want them back. Orna Ross, Founder and Director of the Alliance of Independent Authors, talks to James about these issues, how authors can approach getting lost rights back, what it takes to sell rights in foreign territories, and what to be aware of when doing so.

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SPF-006: Best selling Indie Author Interview – With Russell Blake


Russell Blake is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of some 30 – count ‘em! – much loved books and has been featured in the likes of the Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Tribune. He’s become a hugely respected figure in indie publishing circles and together with Mark and James, happily discusses, amongst other things, why marketing a book is quite a different process to writing one, the whole Kindle Unlimited thing and how to be an exceptional author (i.e. one that makes a living from writing).

James: You can win a scholarship to Mark Dawson’s acclaimed premium course “Facebook Ads for Authors” by spreading the word about this podcast.

Visit to enter.

Hello and welcome to podcast #6 from The Self-Publishing Formula.

Female: Two writers: one just starting out; the other a best-seller. Join James Blatch and Mark Dawson and their amazing guests as they discuss how you can make a living telling stories. There’s never been a better time to be a writer.

Show Notes

  • What a new author should focus on.
  • On marketing books and how that skill set is very different from writing them.
  • What being the exception to the rule in self-publishing means.
  • The perma-free strategy and whether Russell is a believer.
  • Russell’s thoughts on Kindle Unlimited.
  • On selling in online retail stores other than Amazon.
  • Kindle Worlds fan fiction and what it’s like to read stories by other writers set in Russell’s world.
  • Marketing a book that’s in a different genre than your readers / newsletter subscribers are used to, including pricing strategies.
  • Questions from listeners, including what Russell’s experience working with Clive Cussler was like.
  • Comparisons between the music business and the traditional publishing business.

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