Episode 119 – Audible Channels, Iranian Bookstores, and Deliberate Practice

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Question of the Week: What actions would you have to take to get better as an author and as a marketer?

Bryan launched his new book this week ( available here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HYBWOF6 ) and he explains how he was able to sell over 800 copies in four days of release. He and Jim blasted through the show after thanking their patron L. Penelope (and her book Song of Blood & Stone http://lpenelope.com/books/song-of-blood-and-stone/ ), which included tips on box sets, breaking the rules, and ensuring your stories are immersive. News stories included Iran’s new bookstore project, AAP’s depressing ebook numbers, Indie Author Day, Audible Channels, and how to improve as a writer and a marketer. What deliberate actions would you have to take to get better as an author and as a marketer?

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What You’ll Learn:
  • The ins and outs of Bryan’s recent nonfiction book launch
  • How to deal with a box set that consists of standalone titles
  • When you should consider breaking the “rules” of writing
  • One way to see if your writing is immersive
  • What Iran’s giant bookstore means for the world at large
  • What AAP’s numbers mean and Jim’s audiobook prediction
  • How you can participate in Indie Author Day
  • Why Audible isn’t calling their Channels shows podcasts
  • How to get better as a writer and a marketer
Question of the Week: What actions would you have to take to get better as an author and as a marketer?

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  • Brian Brown

    Better Author
    ⚫drink more hard liquor (hey, it worked for Hemingway, Capote, and Fitzgerald)
    ⚫move to Brooklyn and/or Paris (plenty of sanitariums)
    ⚫buy one of those new fangled word processors ( I hear they ottocorrect)
    Better Marketer
    ⚫use Paint to make a snazzy cover for my 200-page photocopies from Kinkos (allow room for the staple in the upper left hand corner)
    ⚫expand my selling circle beyond the corner of Elm and Garfield next to the Circle K (I hate competing with the guys selling flowers in the median!)
    ⚫free foot massage with every purchase (pretty self explanatory)

    • Bryan

      *takes notes*

      • Laura Martone

        I simply can’t compete with Brian Brown’s wit and humor! And though I’m not sure offering a free foot massage with every ebook purchase is practical (well, unless I only plan on selling to folks I know), I do acknowledge that Daniel, my hubby, co-writer, and partner in crime, would do a lot for a daily foot massage. So, perhaps in exchange for that, he’d be willing to do all the marketing work for us – and I’d never have to lift a finger! All kidding aside, I hope to improve my productivity as an author (by getting up early and devoting at least four, distraction-free hours to my craft) – and as Kirsten has suggested, I hope to improve my skills as a marketer by being more mindful and more strategic, especially when it comes to the time suck that is social media.

        • Bryan

          Marketing for a massage. Seems like a good trade.

  • Brian Brown

    You mentioned someone who critiques books while on a treadmill during this show. This brings up something I would like to share with everyone:

    How to Read Faster Than You Ever Thought You Could
    After some research, I bought the $50 Kindle Fire in February (I got it on sale for $35 at Best Buy FTW). The Kindle Fire has a Text-to-Speech component that plain Kindles do not have. Essentially, it turns any Kindle book into an audiobook under the guise of accessibility.

    Here’s how I use it:
    ⚫crank the speed up to 4X (speed ranges from .5X to 4X)
    ⚫set the Kindle on the book tray of the elliptical or treadmill at my gym
    ⚫connect my bluetooth headphones (no wires while exercising rocks)
    ⚫crank the font up to a size I can comfortably see from 2-3 feet away.
    ⚫listen to the text-to-speech while following along with the words onscreen
    ⚫the Kindle turns the pages automatically
    ⚫the text-to-speech is very good with only minor annoying hiccups here and there (“read” is always pronounced “red” for example)
    ⚫change settings depending of if you want narrator to be American/British, male/female
    ⚫If I use this in my car (my Kindle connects to my car’s bluetooth) I change the speed to 2X

    I am a slow reader. Always have been. This technology has totally changed my world. I started out with the text-to-speech reading at 2X, then 3X, and now I am amazed that 4X doesn’t faze me at all. As long as I am following along by seeing the words on the page, the comprehension is totally there.

    One limitation is that you have to read Kindle books to be able to do this. This method works for me because I belong to one of the best libraries in the country with thousands of books available for Kindle. I’ve also bought a good handful of books in the past couple of months from .99 to 3.99.

    I can’t say enough about this method and how it has changed my life. I know it sounds like hyperbole, but I see all these other people at the gym listening to music on their phone or plugging into the gym’s TVs and all I think is, “Suckers!” They have no idea how much they can accomplish while sweating it up.

    This is also why I disagree with Jim’s idea that ebooks are on their way out and audiobooks are going to dominate. I totally agree that the audio component is awesome, but when you combine it with the actual act of reading it is unbelievable. Especially when you can speed it up or slow it down to tailor to your personal preference.

    If you would like to try this for free, check out a title that was talked about last week called The 10X Rule. My library didn’t have a copy of this for Kindle so I searched the web for a pdf and found it. Then I searched YouTube to see if the audiobook might be available. It was. (By the way, it is not uncommon for authors of self-help books to put PDFs and audiobooks of their work online for free). Just open the PDF in one window, the YouTube video in the other, and follow along. YouTube has settings to change the speed so you can try it out to see if you can listen to it at a faster speed than the author recorded.

    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMfSlAOivYY
    PDF: https://www.buzzhubmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/The-10X-Rule-Grant-Cardone.pdf

    • Bryan

      Nice! I like Cardone’s audiobook, and I only listen to audiobooks on 1.5 or 2x :).

    • My Kindle Touch has text to speech. I think only the Apps do not have it. I think Kindle hardware from the Touch on all has it.

      • I just used it to read @bryandavidcohen:disqus’s book, btw.

        …although I had to put that off until it finished reading @kirstenoliphant:disqus’s book to me. 😉

  • jamiearpinricci

    At this stage, what I need to get better as an author & marketer is simply taking more time. I am at that difficult stage where the demands of life and work are intense, yet the need to be consistent with the work of writing and marketing are also critical. I stopped marketing for a few weeks and guess what happened to my book sales? They all but dried up. Gotta be more intentional.

    • Bryan

      Agreed. Finding those short tasks that push things in a bit of a positive direction can be extremely helpful (and rare).

  • Kirsten Oliphant

    I think that it comes down to being intentional and strategic. This post on Brain Pickings from a while back reminded me of the post you mentioned today: https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/22/daniel-goleman-focus-10000-hours-myth/

    For me, it’s not about spending MORE time on Facebook or Twitter or my blog or even just writing, but about thinking about my WHY and my end goals. Why am I connecting with people? What is my aim using social media? Do I want pageviews? Book sales? Lasting readers who will be my raving 1000 true fans and buy everything I create?

    When we have those end goals in mind, we can do more in less time. Maybe this is like a 10x in -10x time rule?

    • Bryan

      The WHY is so important. Great point, Kirsten.

  • Lavie Margolin

    Marketer: This is the $1,000,000 question, right? I am constantly working to get better through reading and trying new techniques and resources. Conferences have been a positive for me thus far so attending more will probably help.

    Author: I realized I can only go so far myself. As I now co-write books with my wife, Rachel, it helps the overall final product get better.

  • Chuck Manley

    Author: Keep writing and looking for the weak spots in my skill set.
    Marketer: Lots. I can run ads and look at numbers and do all the things that everyone suggests and at the end of the day it still feels like I’m just rolling dice because none of the data makes any sense to me.

    For fun, I’m enclosing the link to my Immerse or Die review. This guy gets pretty specific in his critiques.


  • David A King

    To get better as an author it is necessary to read a lot, especially books in the desired genre to write in, as well as books on how to write, how to structure a book and so on, this is what I do.

    To get better at marketing books, I think I need to listen to your podcast, read books by Bryan Cohen and Jim Kukral, as well as numerous other resources available. I am doing so, and it is a lot to take in, but gradually I hope to be more successful and sell more books, as well as write really good books.

    I am wondering though how to get a group of beta readers, so that my next book can go to them before publishing, as I am sure that would be helpful. So how do I go about that?

    • Bryan

      I think gathering betas starts with recruiting folks to an email list. I go into some info about that in my video series. Feel free to check it out at https://www.sellingforauthors.com

  • QOTW – I think I’ll have to slow my posting to social media and start engaging with others there, instead. I’m making an effort to go out and engage in conversations. It’s surprising how many people don’t notice when you converse with them (or attempt to) on twitter or instagram. I’m probably guilty, as well, but I think that might have more value than just a bunch of broadcast posts.

  • My biggest obstacle is time management. More specifically, finding ways to break through my personal inertia and make better use of the time that is already available to me.

  • Anmarie Uber

    I push myself pretty hard already. I think posting my specific goals about where I want to be in 5 years, and…playing to the judge…purchase Bryan’s Sizzling Synopsis book…wait, I already did! Thanks for a great episode! I sent in a form for my local library to be listed, and plan on helping them if any sign up for Oct 8. That is good news!

    • Bryan

      Thanks Anmarie :).

  • Brecht Ryckaert

    To be honest, to get better at marketing and being an author, I’d guess I’d have to stop writing for niche markets. Even though I’m currently only writing nice WordPress-related books, I’m quietly dreaming of writing a big scifi story that’s currently in my head.