Evan Gow discusses the role newsletter swaps can play in author promotions, the etiquette of swaps, and some gotchas authors should watch out for, as well as advice for authors with small or inactive email lists. Evan also talks about the many other services that StoryOrigin provides, and why the fact that he’s both the development team and the support team for StoryOrigin means that its current beta (i.e., free) status still means high quality.
Evan Gow is the indie developer of StoryOrigin, a marketing tool and community of authors that work together to build their mailing lists, increase sales, find reviewers, and stay on top of deadlines.
Lee Savino discusses AUTHOR NEWSLETTERS, the one area of an author’s business about which Lee says “just do it,” imagining your newsletter as a conversation with a specific person over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and a pep talk about how to get past the “I don’t want to pester them” mindset and recognizing that your work is a gift that you’re sharing with people who have opted in because they’re interested.
Lee Savino is a USA Today bestselling author, mom, and chocoholic. She loves connecting with other authors and writers. She moderates a Facebook group, Millionaire Author Mastermind, for authors serious about making money from their books and is the instructor, along with Nicholas Erik, of the Six Figure Author Marketing Challenge.
Joe Lallo discusses THE PROS AND CONS OF PRE-ORDERS, including the specific considerations of pre-orders on Amazon versus other platforms, whether or not pre-orders make sense for an author’s first book or for standalone novels, and things to keep in mind to avoid annoying your most faithful fans. We also talk about pricing strategies, including how to price box sets.
Joseph Lallo was educated at NJIT, where he earned a master’s degree in Computer Engineering. In September 2014 he was given the opportunity to take a promotion that would eliminate his writing time or become a full-time author. He chose the books. Since then he has written dozens of novels and novellas in genres across the science fiction and fantasy spectrum, including the international bestselling Book of Deacon series and the critically acclaimed Free-Wrench series.
In addition to writing, he helps run the Six Figure Authors podcast with Lindsay Buroker and Andrea Pearson. Past ventures have included the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing podcast and BrainLazy.com. In his spare time he builds pointless doodads in his ridiculously over-equipped basement workshop.
Joshua Essoe discusses CROWDFUNDING FOR AUTHORS. He shares what led him to choose crowdfunding—and specifically Kickstarter—as his approach for funding his book, ESSOE’S GUIDES TO WRITING ACTION SEQUENCES AND SEX SCENES, what went according to plan, and what was a surprise. He also describes what he gained from the experience, including confirmation that being a writer doesn’t have to be the solo sport it sometimes feels like.
Joshua Essoe is a full-time freelance editor who has edited for New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, and many top-notch independents and award-winners. He was lead editor at URBAN FANTASY MAGAZINE from 2014-2015. From 2012-2015 he recorded the weekly writing podcast HIDE AND CREATE. You can find Joshua teaching about editing, pitches, and back-cover copy every year at the Superstars Writing Seminar in Colorado. Joshua is a writer himself and was a 2014 finalist in the Writers of the Future contest. He just completed his Kickstarter release for the first in a five-book series, each covering two subjects of the most-common issues he sees in fiction writing.
Michael La Ronn discusses the costs involved in independently publishing a book. Michael talks about the two most costly aspects—editing and cover design—and tips for how to accomplish these on a budget. We discuss potential pitfalls—for example, the fact that if your cover designer inappropriately uses copyrighted material, you as the author are the one who will get the cease-and-desist letter. And we discuss how to ensure the professionals you are considering doing business with are reputable, and how to ensure your interaction is successful for both parties.
Michael La Ronn is the author of over 40 science fiction & fantasy books including the ANDROID X series, the MODERN NECROMANCY series, and the GALAXY MAVERICKS series. He writes from the great plains of Iowa and has perfected the art of balancing writing with a full-time job and family, law school, writing 5-7 books per year.
Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn, discusses FUTURIST TRENDS WE CAN PREPARE FOR NOW. She talks about the role persistence plays in making a career as an indy author, the opportunities offered by content curation—for both creators and consumers—and the importance of bringing a global / digital / mobile mindset to your business model, while also recognizing that we can’t beat the machine, so we have to double down on being human.
Joanna Penn is an award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers as J.F. Penn. As an award-winning creative entrepreneur, she also writes non-fiction for authors and hosts The Creative Penn Podcast. Her site TheCreativePenn.com has been voted in the Top 100 sites for writers by Writer's Digest.
Editor Tiffany Yates Martin and I geek out about THE PRINCESS BRIDE and all the lessons it can teach writers about story structure, character development, and those little bits that make a story extra engaging. She shares tips for how authors can gain some distance from our own work in order to bring an editor’s eye to it, and we talk about how Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Can Smell Like played with traditional knight in shining armor tropes.
Tiffany Yates Martin has spent nearly thirty years as an editor in the publishing industry, working with major publishers and New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling, award-winning authors as well as indie and newer writers. She is the author of the Amazon bestseller INTUITIVE EDITING: A CREATIVE AND PRACTICAL GUIDE TO REVISING YOUR WRITING. She's led workshops and seminars for conferences and writers' groups across the country and is a frequent contributor to writers' sites and publications. Under the pen name Phoebe Fox, she's the author of the Breakup Doctor series and her most recent release, A LITTLE BIT OF GRACE.
Nicholas Erik discusses the FIVE KEYS TO BUILDING A RESILIENT INDY BUSINESS. He talks about how organic newsletter subscribers serve as a valuable representation of the health of your business, how understanding your monthly expenses can actually be a stress-reliever, and how an hour spent with an accountant will pay you back many times over in the course of your author career.
Nicholas Erik is the author of science fiction and urban fantasy, with over 20 books, including THE FINAL COLONY series and THE REMNANTS trilogy. He also writes comprehensive guides for his fellow indy authors on how to sell more books, build your fanbase, and be more productive. He runs 1-on-1 ads workshops and provides ads management for select clients.
Former FBI special agent Jerri Williams discusses her podcast FBI RETIRED CASE FILES REVIEW and how she has used it as content marketing for her fiction and non-fiction books. She discusses how her goals for the podcast changed over time, the importance of aligning one's creative work behind a unifying theme, how to engage listeners in your community, and what she did when she found that her second love, podcasting, was stealing time from her first love, writing.
Jerri Williams served for 26 years as a special agent in the FBI, working major economic fraud investigations. She uses her prior professional experiences with scams and schemers to write crime fiction about greed. Her novels PAY TO PLAY and GREEDY GIVERS – both inspired by actual FBI cases – feature a female FBI agent assigned to a Public Corruption and Fraud Squad in Philadelphia. She is also the author of the non-fiction book FBI MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS, and the producer and host of the true crime podcast FBI RETIRED CASE FILES REVIEW, where she interviews retired FBI agents about their high-profile cases and careers.
Ken Fritz talks about the difference between EMTs and paramedics; the problematic portrayal of CPR and defibrillation in books, movies, and TV; and how much of emergency medical service’s work is really emergencies.
Ken Fritz has been in emergency services for over 20 years. Starting as a volunteer firefighter, he has worked his way up through the ranks of EMT, Fire Department Captain, and Paramedic. Ken currently serves as a volunteer firefighter / paramedic in his local community and has worked as a career firefighter / paramedic for numerous departments over his career. He's married with two kids and two dogs, and lives in rural southeastern Pennsylvania.
James McCrone and I talk about our respective October book launches—Jamie’s for his third Imogen Trager thriller, EMERGENCY POWERS, and me for my third Ann Kinnear Suspense Novel, THE FALCON AND THE OWL. We talk about the pros and cons of in-person versus virtual events, the need for indy authors to be willing to blow their own horn to get out word of their books (and ways to make this a more comfortable experience for introverted authors), the role industry reviews from sources such as Kirkus Reviews plays, and the differences between an emphasis on print versus on ebook editions.
James McCrone is the author of the Imogen Trager novels FAITHLESS ELECTOR, DARK NETWORK, and the recently released EMERGENCY POWERS. His work also recently appeared in the short-story anthology LOW DOWN DIRTY VOTE. He’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Association of Crime Writers, International Thriller Writers, and Philadelphia Dramatists Center and has an MFA from the University of Washington.
He lives in South Philadelphia with his wife and three children. He’s the former Business Manager for the South 9th Street / Italian Market in Philadelphia, and is now writing full time.
Jeff Elkins, The Dialogue Doctor, talks about building great protagonist and antagonist voices. He discusses how to build a villain voice that complements and contrasts to the hero's voice, how to use quirks to help define a character's voice, and how secondary characters can empower the change you want to make in the protagonist.
Jeff Elkins is a novelist, ghostwriter, and editor with more than 10 novels on the market. During the day, he leads the writing team for a company that simulates difficult conversations for professionals to practice. He also helps authors improve their dialogue in order to engage readers more fully through his podcast The Dialogue Doctor, and through one-on-one consulting.
Bestselling author Robert Dugoni discusses when and how to use backstory and flashbacks to keep readers engaged--by ensuring that they portray a character in action--in both standalone novels and series. He discusses the dangers of equating ambiguity with tension, and the importance of listening to what your story has to tell you.
Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and #1 Amazon bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite police series. He is also the author of the Charles Jenkins espionage series, the David Sloane legal thrillers, as well as several standalone novels, including THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF SAM HELL, Suspense Magazine’s 2018 Book of the Year, for which Dugoni's narration won an AudioFile Earphones Award. He is also the author of the nonfiction exposé THE CYANIDE CANARY, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year.
Dugoni is the recipient of the Nancy Pearl Award for Fiction and a two-time winner of the Friends of Mystery Spotted Owl Award for best novel set in the Pacific Northwest. He is also a two- time finalist for the International Thriller Award, the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, the Silver Falchion Award for mystery, and the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award.
Jennifer Graeser Dornbush talks about how growing up around death as the daughter of a small-town medical examiner influenced her professional pursuits. She discusses the difference between coroners and medical examiners (and why a coroner might be a better character choice for mystery writers) and what is and isn’t realistic in fictional depictions of these roles. She also speaks about the attitude toward death that these professionals bring to their work.
Jennifer Graeser Dornbush is a screenwriter, author, and forensic specialist. She grew up around death as the daughter of a small-town medical examiner whose office was in their home. Jennifer attended the Forensic Science Academy in Los Angeles and in the process established a unique kinship with LA’s top CSIs, fingerprint specialists, DNA scientists and detectives. She is the author of the non-fiction book Forensic Speak and has consulted on shows such as BULL, CONVICTION, HAWAII FIVE-O, LEVERAGE, SUITS, and RECTIFY.
She is also the author the mystery novel series, The Coroner’s Daughter, and of the book and screenplay GOD BLESS THE BROKEN ROAD. Jennifer is a member of the Writers’ Guild of America, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America. She is also an alum of the FBI Citizen’s Academy.
J. Thorn discusses his new book 9 Things Career Authors Don't Do: Exercise, which addresses the importance of exercise, especially considering the potentially sedentary lifestyle of an indy author. We also talk about the strategic and tactical plans behind the 9 Things Career Authors Don’t Do series, and the idea of testing the interest of one’s audience in a particular topic through an MVP, or minimum viable product.
J. Thorn ranks in the Top 100 Most Popular Authors on Amazon in Horror, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure, and Fantasy. He has published two million words and has sold more than 185,000 books worldwide. In March of 2014, Thorn held the #5 position in Horror alongside his childhood idols Dean Koontz and Stephen King. He is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, and the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. J. also hosts the podcasts The Career Author Podcast; Writers, Ink; and The Author Life Podcast.
Dale L. Roberts of Self Publishing with Dale discusses the pros and cons of using an aggregator such as Draft2Digital or Findaway Voices versus going direct to platforms such as Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. He gives tips on how to assess which approach best meets your business goals, and, if those goals change, describes the considerations if you switch from one approach to the other. Perhaps most importantly, he emphasizes the importance of factoring in not only the financial cost but also the time cost when assessing your options.
Dale L. Roberts is a fitness author, video content creator, and self-publishing advocate. Voted by Feedspot among the Top 100 websites and Top 50 YouTube channels devoted to self-publishing, Dale has cemented his position as the go-to authority in the indie author community. Anyone who meets Dale for the first time will discover his enthusiasm and passion for business and life. When Dale isn’t publishing books, creating videos, and networking with business professionals, he loves to travel with his wife Kelli and spend time playing with his cat Izzie. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Bestselling novelist Steven James discusses the difference between action and tension, how twists do (and don't) work, the reader's desire to be both surprised and satisfied, and the importance of being alert to the messages your story is trying to send you.
Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base. His latest novel is SYNAPSE, a near-future thriller. Suspense Magazine named his book EVERY WICKED MAN one of their “Best Books of 2018.”
Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game” and, in fact, Steven has a Master’s Degree in Storytelling. He has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, and spoken more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.
Steven’s groundbreaking books on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE and TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR NOVEL, have both won Storytelling World Awards.
In his podcast “The Story Blender,” he interviews leading storytellers in film, print, and web
When Steven isn’t writing or speaking, you’ll find him trail running, rock climbing, or drinking dark roast coffee near his home in East Tennessee.
Joshua Tallent, acclaimed expert on the role of data in publishing, discusses changes Amazon has made to how it uses keywords, and how authors can capitalize on those changes; the value of the long tail search; and when authors need to focus on producing more content rather than on tweaking metadata.
Joshua Tallent is a vocal advocate for high quality book metadata. He serves as the Director of Sales and Education at Firebrand Technologies, where his focus is on helping publishers of all sizes learn about, and find solutions to, their workflow and metadata problems. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys playing complex board games, playing Minecraft, and fiddling with his 3D printer.
Bestselling author Jenna Moreci discusses creating a compelling villain. She talks about how cartoon villainy doesn’t work outside of cartoons, the importance of knowing your villain as well as you know your protagonist, and how Greek mythology provides lessons in portraying a villain that are still applicable today.
Jenna Moreci is a half-human, half-weaponized robot hellbent on overthrowing mankind. She’s also a best-selling author specializing in so-cute-you-could-barf romance interspersed between extreme violence and bloodshed. A Silicon Valley native, Jenna hosts a YouTube channel where she uses her passion for storytelling and background in business to help other creators navigate their writing and publishing journey. Her other talents include prolific cursing, spilling / dropping things, accidentally making people cry, and cooking.
Hank Phillippi Ryan, multi-award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of 12 mystery novels, talks about how her "day job" as an investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV has influenced her work at a crime novelist. She discusses the essence of conflict (a secret someone doesn't want you to know), how the endings of her novels surprise her as well as her readers, and how anything can work if you know how to make it work.
Hank Phillippi Ryan is the USA Today bestselling author of 12 mystery novels, and has also won multiple awards for her crime fiction: five Agathas, three Anthonys, the Daphne, two Macavitys, and the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award.
Hank’s novels have been named Best Thrillers of the Year by Library Journal, New York Post, BOOK BUB, PopSugar, Real Simple Magazine and others. Her newest book is THE FIRST TO LIE, which just came out on August 4, 2020.
She is also the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV. She's won 37 EMMYs, 14 Edward R. Murrow awards, and dozens of other honors for her groundbreaking journalism.
Author and Sisters in Crime New England president Connie Johnson Hambley discusses how important it is for writers to engage in communities that can provide craft, business, and emotional support, and how to go about finding them. She talks about the idea of paying it forward, and how to shift the me-focus of networking into the you-focus of community building.
Connie Johnson Hambley has written for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Nature, MassHighTech, and other wonky outlets, where she honed her skills in reaching readers at a deep emotional level. Her high-concept thrillers feature remarkable women entangled in modern-day crimes set in worlds where the good guys win–eventually.
She is the author of The Jessica Trilogy The Charity, The Troubles, and The Wake. Her short stories have been published in Best New England Crime Stories of 2016 and 2017 and in Mystery Weekly magazine. And she is a two-time winner of Best English Fiction literary award at the EQUUS International Film Festival in New York City.
Connie is president of the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime, a member of Mystery Writers of America, and a board member of New England Crime Bake.
Science fiction author Joshua Howell discusses the graphic novel he created based on the first novel in his Fierce Saga, The Fierce are Fading, including his collaboration with illustrator Ilaria Apostoli, the technical challenges that graphic novels pose, and how preparing his story for this visual medium gave him the inspiration he needed to complete the prose version.
Diane Vallere, author of over twenty-five traditionally and indy-published cozy mysteries, discusses reader expectations for different genres and when and how authors can push those boundaries. We also talk about ways to engage fans, including the promise of a story that extends beyond a single book, an email newsletter that connects on a personal level, and a holiday surprise!
Elizabeth Sims, author and contributing editor to "Writer's Digest" magazine, discusses tips on where the frugal writer can save money, and where money-saving should not be the highest priority. We talk about the benefits of writers' groups and conferences; how you can access premium-level resources without paying premium-level fees; and the importance of considering not only financial cost, but karma cost as well.
Bruce Robert Coffin, the award-winning author of the bestselling Detective Byron mystery series and a former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement, talks about how to avoid the inaccuracies regarding the portrayal of police procedures that can take the reader out of your story. We talk about whether an author must have their story comply in every detail with actual police procedure (the answer is no), our own pet peeves about depictions of police procedure in books, TV, and movies, and the freedom provided by fictionalized settings.