Abe Ogden discusses the six Rs of maximizing the value of your content: repackage, repurpose, revise, repository, rights, and resources. We talk about how the democratization of formats like hardcover books and outlets like branded merchandise open opportunities for the indy author. "If you're going to be developing this content, squeeze it for everything that you possibly can and hit every channel as much as you possibly can." We also discuss the issue of the most constrained resource of an indy author--time--and how to weigh which items on Abe's a la carte list of options you decide to pursue.
With more than 20 years in non-profit publishing and professional experience in editorial, production, acquisitions, and sales and marketing strategy, Abe Ogden is passionate about helping organizations with limited resources but an important mandate to deliver essential content to constituents and beyond. When he’s not polishing a manuscript draft or putting the final touches on a marketing plan, he’s either playing his guitar or tramping through the outdoors and hiking, camping, or fly fishing with his family.
Writer's block--is it fact or fantasy? Does it require inspiration or willpower to overcome? What tips or tricks can get a writer writing again? In this episode, previous guests of The Indy Author Podcast share their perspectives on writer's block, from specific tasks you can perform to break through the block to frank discussions of its emotional and psychological basis. Many thanks to Robert Dugoni, Emma G. Rose, Pauline Wiles, Dale L. Roberts, M.K. Williams, Wade Walton, Jerri Williams, Jeff Elkins, and Julie Duffy for sharing their perspectives.
For more information on my guests, go to https://www.theindyauthor.com/podcast.html and search on the guests' names to find links to their episodes and bios.
Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia shares the central tenets of his concept of human-centered marketing: Give yourself permission to create; understand who you hope to reach; and connect to a person, not an audience. He discusses the pitfalls of counting your success by numbers of Likes and Follows, and how a focus on tools and algorithms can kill the creative spirit. And he shares tips for how introverts can reach out to form lasting bonds with those who will love their work.
Dan Blank is the founder of WeGrowMedia, where he helps writers develop a human-centered approach to marketing and reaching their audience. He is the author of the book Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience. He has worked not only with thousands of writers, but also with companies including Penguin Random House, Sesame Workshop, Hachette Book Group, Writer’s Digest, Library Journal, and many others.
Author Daniel Palmer talks about making the transition from the corporate world to the writer’s world, what lessons regarding branding he brought with him, and how he carried that forward into another business venture. He talks about the evolution of his own brand: from Daniel Palmer to authoring books under the brand of his father Michael Palmer, to D. J. Palmer, and what drove each of those steps. And he talks about how Luke Skywalker and The Force work as metaphors in branding—hence the name of this week’s episode, THE FORCE OF A BRAND.
DANIEL PALMER is the USA Today bestselling author of ten critically acclaimed suspense novels, including his latest, as D. J. Palmer, THE PERFECT DAUGHTER. He published his first novel, DELIRIOUS, after a decade-long career in e-commerce, where he helped launch websites for major online retailers including Barnes & Noble. Following the success of Daniel's publishing career, he founded DAY IN THE LIFE MEDIA, a video production and communication company committed to helping brands identify their brand heroes so they can tell stories in a way that directly impacts the bottom line. A recording artist, accomplished blues harmonica player, and lifelong Red Sox fan, Daniel lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children.
Douglas Smith talks about how you can turn your short fiction into a “magic bakery”—a term Doug borrows from Dean Wesley Smith—earning you money and building your resume over and over with the same content. We discuss the opportunities offered by reprints, foreign markets, and audio markets, and we discuss how writer’s groups can—and can’t—help you prepare your work for the professional markets.
Douglas Smith is a multi-award-winning Canadian author described by Library Journal as "one of Canada's most original writers of speculative fiction." His fiction has been published in twenty-six languages and thirty-five countries. His books include the novel THE WOLF AT THE END OF THE WORLD, the collections CHIMERASCOPE and IMPOSSIBILIA, and the writer's guide PLAYING THE SHORT GAME: HOW TO MARKET & SELL SHORT FICTION. Doug is a three-time winner of Canada's Aurora Award and has been a finalist for the Astounding Award, CBC's Bookies Award, Canada's juried Sunburst Award, and France's juried Prix Masterton and Prix Bob Morane.
In this week's episode of The Indy Author Podcast, Zibby Owens talks about how creatives can adjust to accommodate a changing environment, as illustrated by Zibby’s publication at the height of the COVID pandemic of the anthology Moms Don’t Have Time To. She talks about how the anthology was a natural outgrowth of other professional and personal pursuits, how her work did and didn’t change during the quarantine, and how her creative pursuits provided emotional support in a time of personal tragedy.
Zibby Owens is the creator and host of the award-winning podcast Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books. Zibby, named “NYC’s Most Powerful Book-fluencer” by New York Magazine’s Vulture, conducts warm, inquisitive conversations with authors, making her show a top literary podcast as selected by Oprah.com in 2019 and 2020. She also created the Moms Don’t Have Time to Lose Weight community and hosts the accompanying podcast. Zibby is the Editor-in-Chief of Moms Don’t Have Time to Write, a Medium.com publication.
In this week’s episode of The Indy Author Podcast, I share a behind-the-scenes look at the recent launch of my fourth Ann Kinnear Suspense Novel, A FURNACE FOR YOUR FOE. I talk about what I did and didn't do (and what I didn't do because I didn't think it would be useful versus what I didn't do because I didn't know how), what worked and didn't work, and what I'd do differently for future launches.
Matty Dalrymple podcasts, writes, speaks, and consults on the writing craft and the publishing voyage as The Indy Author. She is the host of THE INDY AUTHOR PODCAST and the author of THE INDY AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO PODCASTING FOR AUTHORS. She is also the co-author, along with Mark Leslie Lefebvre, of TAKING THE SHORT TACK: CREATING INCOME AND CONNECTING WITH READERS USING SHORT FICTION. Matty is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. Matty is also the author of the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels and Suspense Shorts and the Lizzy Ballard Thrillers, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Brandywine Valley Writers Group.
Damon Courtney of BookFunnel shares information on how authors can use customized landing pages, opportunities offered by email integration, the power of giveaways to attract readers and strengthen ties to fans, the financial benefits of selling direct, and the rise of wide audio.
Damon Courtney is the creator and CEO of BookFunnel, an ebook delivery service for authors and publishers. Though he would like to be a highly successful indie author, he can only lay claim to publishing a single Fantasy trilogy that he does really like, despite its lack of sales. But self-publishing three novels did lead to the creation of BookFunnel, so he’s got that going for him. As a lifelong software engineer, Damon is an expert in just about everything technical and can offer unique insight on publishing as it relates to software and technology.
Jane Friedman reviews Key Book Publishing Paths, and describes considerations for fitting the path to your desired destination. We talk about how publishing isn’t indy or traditional—it’s a spectrum—and how hybrid authors aren’t necessarily authors who are using hybrid publishers. We talk about lessons one model can learn from another, and red flags to watch out for when you are assessing companies to do business with.
Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors, and has previously worked for F+W Media and the Virginia Quarterly Review. In 2019, Jane was awarded Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World; her newsletter was awarded Media Outlet of the Year in 2020.
This episode of The Indy Author Podcast is a bit of a departure. Most of the episodes focus on one person's perspective on a variety of topics, but this episode is going to focus on many people's perspective on one topic, and that topic is PERSONAL BRANDING.
I solicited perspectives on personal branding from previous guests of the podcast, and I'd like to thank the following for answering the call: Tiffany Yates Martin, Dale L. Roberts, Michael La Ronn, Joanna Penn, Robert Blake Whitehill, Lee Savino, Pauline Wiles, and Wade Walton.
Website designer Pauline Wiles discusses AUTHOR WEBSITES, including easy fixes for common website problems; design guidelines that create a site that is both engaging and easy to maintain; various alternatives depending on your technology tolerance; and some free tools that can help you make your site look like a pro designed it.
Pauline Wiles is a website designer who builds simple, stylish sites for authors and writers. As an author herself, of the Saffron Sweeting romantic comedies, she noticed others were often overwhelmed by this task. Now, she’s helping to dispel some of the myths around how difficult – and costly – a web project should be. British by birth, Pauline is now a contented resident of California, although she admits to an occasional yearning for afternoon tea and historic homes.
Robert Blake Whitehill discusses MENTORING AND COLLABORATING WITH INTERNS, including the logistics and requirements of an author establishing an internship with a college or university, how he determines what work he asks his interns to do, and how he got past the idea that “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” He also discusses the considerable responsibilities he has as a sponsor, and shares what he receives in return for his investment of time and effort.
Robert Blake Whitehill trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. An early focus on feature screenwriting earned Whitehill film festival wins at the Hudson Valley Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival. He has written episodes of Discovery/Times Channel’s THE NEW DETECTIVES, DARING CAPERS, and THE BUREAU. Robert served as the Vice President of Independent Film Acquisitions for Centerseat.com. He is author of the Ben Blackshaw thriller series, which Robert’s company Calaveras Media is developing into a feature film franchise. His biopic inspired by the live of Robert Smalls is in development with Legion M. Whitehill lives in New Jersey with his wife and son. For a number of years, he has worked with the Montclair Ambulance Unit as an emergency medical technician.
M.K. Williams talks about what she has learned from her author services business, including the importance of establishing a network within the community you want to serve, the advice to approach people with an offer rather than an ask, the value of her project management background, and the importance of knowing what your time is worth.
M.K. Williams writes suspenseful literary fiction for the contemporary reader. Her fiction work includes NAILBITERS, an apocalyptic science-fiction thriller, ENEMIES OF PEACE, a cautionary tale of the American Dream gone awry, and THE INFINITE-INFINITE, the first in a series of sci-fi adventure books. Her non-fiction work includes writing and self-publishing guides, a budgeting and planning workbook, and THE FIOLOGY WORKBOOK: YOUR GUIDE TO FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE. She helps bloggers and podcasters bring their message to print.
Orna Ross of the Alliance of Independent Authors talks about COPYRIGHT FOR AUTHORS. We discuss why it’s so vitally important for authors, and especially indy authors, to understand the basics of copyright, at what point in the creative process copyright is established, the various parameters by which rights can be defined, and when legislation that focuses too heavily on authors’ rights can harm more authors and readers than it helps.
Orna Ross is the founder and head of the Alliance of Independent Authors, a non-profit professional business membership organization for self-publishing authors. ALLi provides trusted advice, supportive guidance, and a range of resources, within a welcoming community of authors and advisors.
Beth Kephart talks about WRITING MEMOIR, including various motivations for embarking on a memoir, and which might be considered unproductive or unhealthy (for example, for revenge). She discusses how writers can approach topics or episodes that involve actual people, both from a writing perspective and in terms of preparing those people for the experience of reading about themselves. And she talks about the market for memoir, and her experience across the full spectrum of publishing options—from the most well-established traditional houses to her own imprint.
Beth Kephart is an award-winning teacher at the University of Pennsylvania. She was the 2013 Master Writing Teacher for National YoungArts, is a co-founder of Juncture Workshops, has delivered keynote addresses on the art of teaching, has led teach-the-teacher sessions, and has taught writers of all ages in a variety of settings. She has published two books on the teaching of memoir—HANDLING THE TRUTH and TELL THE TRUTH. MAKE IT MATTER.—and writes a monthly educational newsletter, Juncture Notes.
YA author Emma G. Rose talks about the event that led her to write about suicide in her YA novels, how her goals for her book changed over time, how she approached her family about the topic of the book and how she interacts with her readers, and how she uses guidelines from her journalism background to avoid glamorizing the topic.
Emma G. Rose is a Maine author of contemporary fantasy, including NOTHING'S EVER LOST and NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE. She intended to become a kick-ass girl reporter like Nellie Bly. Then she spent a Christmas Eve standing on a riverbank waiting for rescue divers to pull a body from the water. That's when she stopped waiting and wandered off to explore the world instead.
Former FBI agent Jerri Williams talks about MISTAKES WRITERS MAKE ABOUT THE FBI AND HOW TO AVOID THEM. We discuss common myths and misconceptions about the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, including the portrayal of jurisdictional issues and roles and responsibilities. Jerri shares tips for the best way to approach subject matter experts for information to inform your own work. And we discuss how you can stay true to the facts while still making the story interesting.
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 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.
Thriller author Jason Kasper discusses what drove his move from indy publishing to a small traditional publisher, the control he’s maintained over his two primary reader outreach mechanisms (email and a private Facebook group), and how he has maintained another indy author practice: rapid creation of content.
Jason Kasper served in the US Army as a Ranger and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq before attending West Point. Jason then served as an Airborne Infantry and Special Forces officer, deploying multiple times to Afghanistan and Africa. During his off-duty time he began running marathons and ultramarathons, skydiving, BASE jumping, and writing fiction. His last Army assignment was as a Green Beret team commander. Upon returning from his final deployment in 2016, Jason began his second career as an author with the publication of his debut novel, GREATEST ENEMY. Jason lives with his wife and daughter in North Carolina. A portion of all his sales benefits the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
Tiffany Yates Martin talks about X-RAYING YOUR PLOT, including the benefit of the x-ray—getting an overarching view of your story—how it differs from an outline, the importance of the “but / therefore” test, and some steps you can take if your x-ray reveals breaks in your story.
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.
Keith Wheeler talks about writing and publishing children’s books, including the importance of writing for the parents as well as the child, how to find and work with an illustrator (including advice to never work with friends or family), and the production process and options for books with illustrations.
Keith Wheeler is a multi-award-winning author. His first work was published while he was a freshman in high school and since then, Keith has self-published over 250 books in numerous genres, and has helped others achieve their goals of becoming published authors. His philosophy is simple: “EVERYONE from 7 to 107 has a book inside them waiting to come out and I love to help them on that journey.”
Mark Leslie Lefebvre talks about going wide for the win—the importance of distributing to and understanding all the retail platforms, not just Amazon. He gets pretty impassioned as he talks about the dangers of a lemming mentality, and he reminds us that there are bookselling professionals behind those other platforms, and that our own professional reputation benefits from us keeping that in mind. And he questions whether an author distributing only to Amazon really deserves to be called an independent author.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre is an author, professional speaker, and bookseller with more than a quarter century of experience in writing, publishing, and bookselling. Mark started writing when he was thirteen years old, was drawn to bookselling and has remained in the industry since 1992, wearing many different hats. Among other things, he was the founder of the Kobo Writing Life author platform and is currently the Director of Business Development for Draft2Digital. He is a prolific author of both fiction and non-fiction, and is the host of the Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing podcast.
Jon McGoran discusses point of view, the pros and cons of first-, second-, and third-person point of view, and reader expectations based on considerations such as genre. He discusses the importance of narrative economy and triangulation--how one character's observations of another character can give the reader a lot of information about both the observed character and the observer. And he shares a formatting tip for helping to keep track of POV characters, and to see where POV shift occur throughout your manuscript.
Jon McGoran is the author of ten novels for adults and young adults, including the award-winning YA science fiction thrillers SPLICED, SPLINTERED and SPIKED, and the acclaimed thrillers DRIFT, DEADOUT, and DUST UP. He cohosts THE LIARS CLUB ODDCAST, a podcast about writing and creativity. He is a freelance writer, developmental editor, and writing coach.
Brian Rathbone discusses the opportunities offered by Google Play, including the ability to reach global markets that are underserved by other platforms, the ability to link content together—for example, linking an ebook box set with the component works and benefiting from earned metadata, or ratings and reviews, of the component works. He also discusses his premium pricing approach, and how that plays out on the Google Play platform.
Brian Rathbone is a horse trainer turned author and creator of The World of Godsland fantasy series, the most recent of which is THE SEVENTH MAGIC. He is also the author of the Sam Flock novels, a paranormal adventure series that begins with LURE.
Editor Joshua Essoe discusses tips for drafting and editing your action sequences to ensure that the reader isn’t pulled out of the story – tips that apply even if your scene doesn’t involve battle plans or broadswords. He talks about the importance of strong, engaging characters, because if your reader doesn’t care about the people involved, no amount of exciting action is going to draw them in. And he discusses how you can save your editor time – and yourself money – by paying attention to the logistics of the scene: don’t have a character holding a knife in one hand and a shield in another hand their magic amulet in the … well, the other other hand.
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. You can find Joshua teaching about editing, pitches, and back-cover copy every year at the Superstars Writing Seminar in Colorado. And 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.
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.