Episode 155 – Glasstree, Audio Partnerships, and the Golden Age of TV

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Question of the Week: What do you think is the One Thing you should be focusing on to get more readers and why? Also, which one of us is Toots and which one is Puddle?

Looks like Rocket has some competition. After Jim introduced Willow the Puppy to the Sell More Books Show, he and Bryan tackled the biggest stories of the week. This episode is brought to you by show patrons Twisting Fate, Character Sketch & Color, and The Last Verdict. In their last episode before the show’s three-year anniversary, Bryan and Jim talked tips about using social media to find readers, how to track what your fans are buying, and how to make Amazon Ads work for you. The top five stories included new opportunities for authors to get on TV, a new publishing path for academics, a new trad pub author going indie, Hachette’s two latest partnerships, and Marie Force’s changed stance on the New York Times list. This week’s Question of the Week: What do you think is the One Thing you should be focusing on to get more readers and why? Also, which one of us is Toots and which one is Puddle?
Willow the Puppy

Willow the Puppy

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What You’ll Learn:
  • How authors discover their ideal readers through retailers and social media
  • How authors can build strong relationships with their fans
  • How authors can improve the effectiveness of their Amazon Marketing Ads
  • Why more and more film and TV producers are looking to books for their next project
  • How academic authors can gain more control and royalties with a new publishing platform
  • Why one bestselling traditionally published author is trying her hand at self-publishing
  • What new audiobook projects Hachette has in store and who they are working with
  • Why one successful romance author has sworn off chasing bestseller lists


Question of the Week: What do you think is the One Thing you should be focusing on to get more readers and why? Also, which one of us is Toots and which one is Puddle?

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  • Ethan Jones

    If it’s only ONE thing, then no doubt about it: increase your mailing list.

  • Honoree Corder

    I agree with Ethan: focus on building your list. Great show! Congrats on the new family member, Jim!

    • Bryan

      Lists ahoy, Honoree!

  • Stella Wilkinson

    Being There by Jim Kosinski?

  • Stella Wilkinson

    Sorry, that was auto correct.
    Being There by Jerzy Kosinski

    • Bryan

      Jim will reveal if you’re right on the show, Stella. Thanks for the guess! And BOO SOUND EFFECTS ;).

  • Spider McGee

    I don’t believe in the two-party system, necessarily, so I’ll spoil the election by introducing the dark horse candidate for SMBS Mascot. This is Baby, a shelter dog we just got about a month ago. He’s a six-year-old Jack Russell mix, and he’s a tail-wagging dynamo. Unlike many younger, more impulsive candidates for office, he’s a good boy. A very good boy. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/61ddf27c1fb44a35d1d69a9e11d7196fd1999f189de66b8815c4214737df74b2.png

    • Bryan

      Awww, Baby. Good boy indeed.

  • Just a couple of thoughts on the academic publishing topic; many scholars are considering self-publishing these days in part because scholarly works cost so dang much. A trade paperback of one of the essay collections I’m in, for instance, runs over $60–which is cost prohibitive for many independent scholars (like adjuncts) who wish to continue to do research in their field. Graduate students, those who are most likely to use my dissertation or other non published “academic” pieces, are also not likely to have the funds to buy academic books.

    There is a group of folks who do actually publish what would traditionally be seen as “scholarly” or “academic” work for those reasons–to make their work more readily accessible and available to other folks in the field without going through the gatekeepers. In a publish or perish paradigm, the major journals get thousands of submissions every year and only can publish a small selection of those.

    Thankfully, with more journals going electronic or having both a traditional print model and a digital model that publishes more regularly and still puts out work, that model is changing. However, I would also advise people to be very careful about companies looking to profit by selling publishing packages to academics. those books will never sell in huge numbers (which is why traditional academic works in trade paperback cost $60-$80 per copy for a book that is no longer than the average novel). So, don’t be hoodwinked by the 75% profit margin–75% of 0 is still 0.

    Glasstree is selling publishing packages through Grassleaf, apparently. There’s another site that I won’t name that charges folks upwards of $1500 to “format” their dissertations for publication and seems to run through CreateSpace.

    As someone who has self-published fiction, I am fully aware that if I want to self-publish a critical biography, for instance, that I can do that without hiring someone to do it for me.

    Textbooks are a whole different area–most textbook authors either go through a publisher or they self-publish a book to be used in their own courses (if they are fortunate enough to have control over the content they teach in, say, a graduate seminar). Textbooks that are not vetted and peer reviewed are not likely to be adopted by accredited undergraduate programs because of the ways in which Higher Education guidelines, student learning outcomes, and Institutional learning outcomes are these days.

    Finally, I would bet the main reason undergraduate students love print textbooks–resale value. You can’t resell an eTextbook at the bookstore at the end of a term.

    • Yep. It’s a tough situation because academics often publish primarily to get hired or get tenured/promoted, so the imprint makes a difference. Self-pub likely won’t work for those purposes unless the peer-review process is somehow included. The major customers for academic books are university libraries, in part because they are so expensive. Note: We’re not talking about textbooks here, but academic articles meant, mainly, for other academics.

      • Bryan

        We must drag these academics kicking and screaming into the present, Erik! 🙂

    • Bryan

      Resale value. Of course! Lots of great points in here, A. Thanks for the comment.

  • To get more readers, write a good book that hits all the right genre marks in an under-served market.

    A mailing list is great and necessary, but you have to have readers to add to that list. The question is how to attract them in the first place.

    • Bryan

      Here here, Roland!

  • Jason Silverberg

    From the novel by Jerzy Kosinski
    Screenplay by
    Jerzy Kosinski and Robert C. Jones

    • Bryan

      Thanks for the guess, Jason. We’ll announce the right answer and the winner on the show!

  • WarrenBluhm

    I vote for Willow, although my lawyers will be in touch to let you know that I hold exclusive rights to the phrase Willow The Best Dog There Is™ because my eight-year-old golden retriever Willow is, well, the best dog there is. Your Willow does have adorable eyes, almost as adorable as my Willow’s.

    • Bryan

      Lawyers are already getting involved in this election? Craziness. Thanks for the vote, Warren :).

  • Facebook likes…I mean, building my email list.

    • Bryan

      Lol lol lol. Liked.

  • Hate to be a pain, but I need to ask: Readers or paying readers? While I agree that the e-mail list is probably the most important tool right now, I think the One Thing to get more readers (and more people on your e-mail list) is giving away well written free content on as many channels as possible.

    Additionally, as change is the constant nowadays, I would say that the One Thing I will focus on is listening to the Sell More Books Show. How else will I know if the One Thing that has worked in the past is still the same One Thing now and what will be the new One Thing?

    Last but not least, I go for Willow. Let’s have each pet its term… maybe in eight dog years, It’ll be Rocket again.

    Cheers and happy writing,
    Gilbert https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cbffeaffffd66a1dc24313fb9fd272835597c20c64eb83cc24afdce01aa57fdf.jpg

    • Bryan

      Great point, Gilbert! Haha, glad your one thing is listening to us :). Joanna Penn also listens to us every week, so you’re in good company! Eight dog years, eh? That seems fair.

      And awesome reading dog!

  • The one thing I should be focusing on to get more readers? For the foreseeable future, that one’s easy: writing. I only have one book out, so the best thing I could possibly do to grow my readership right now is write more books.

    And mascot-wise, why not both?

    • Bryan

      Write write write! I like the idea of two mascots.

  • Stella Wilkinson

    This mascot thing is perfect without the competition. You now have one for the cat people and one for the dog people! Willow looks adorable (but don’t tell Rocket I said so).

    • Bryan

      Hahahahha. Now THAT’S funny, Stella. Puddle is it :).

  • Rodgers and Marshall nailed this on the head.

    As a “popular” author – I publish to sell books and have a life.

    As an “academic” – my writing has mainly been to open the door to job opportunities, conference presentations, and recognition in the field. Being a self-published academic is a little like being a self-taught medical doctor – no one (who actually matters in the field) is going to trust you. You probably won’t get into conferences, and the job opportunities you get would be the ones you would have gotten even without self-publishing. In the academic world, it still very much matters who publishes your book. For instance, in my field of Religious Studies, we will have a good idea where someone stands on an issue just by reading who the publisher is.

    And the profit margin is a pretty small issue too (like Rodger’s pointed out). My adviser in college literally wrote the textbook for the course we were in – roughly 40-50 colleges in the country were using his book. However, not all of them would require its purchase. He told me if he makes $100 a year in commissions (off a book that was listed for $60+) that was a good year. Because books are so expensive, students find a way around buying them. The profit margin only matters if the price of the academic work falls too (now this is an area where self-pub could possible impact the academic market).

    • Bryan

      Great points, David. Thanks for sharing.

  • My one thing is the writing. I know it takes having 3-5 books out there before any of the matketing stuff can gain any real traction. I have 1 novel and 1 short teaser. A start, but far from enough.

    • Bryan

      You’ll get there.

  • ilisa

    The one thing would be figuring out how to package my content properly so that it is as marketable as possible (e-books vs print books, longer books vs very short books). Also, investing in a spell checker 🙁

    • Bryan

      What kind of content do you have, Ilisa?

  • Laura Martone

    For an overextended people-pleaser like me, it’s admittedly hard to focus on one thing… but to get more readers, I think my answer is simple: Write. More. Books! As for the official Sell More Books Show mascot, I’m sorry, Jim, as adorable as Willow is, Rocket the Crib-Loving Cat will always hold that title – at least in my eyes. (Besides, if I publicly admitted liking a dog over a cat, my own kitty would probably claw my eyeballs out. Nothing like feline pressure to sway your decision.) Oh, right, and the last all-important question… if, by Toot and Puddle, you’re referring to those two little pigs… then, last year, I might have said that Bryan was Toot, the traveling fool, and Jim was more like Puddle, the homebody… but now that Bryan’s a papa, I’m kinda thinking you’re two Puddles in a Pod. 😉

    • Bryan

      Puddles in a Pod! I love it :).

  • Crissy Moss

    Writing. Writing and more writing. Because if I don’t write what will they read?

    Also Jim is clearly Toots, he’s the noisy one.

    • Bryan

      Great point, Crissy. And you’re right, Jim definitely has Tootsy qualities ;).

  • Amar Vyas

    On a very non-publishing note, Willow looks so much like my pup Buddy (well, he’s nearing 3 now). Very, very adorable.

    • Bryan

      Awww, all of you and your cute puppies. Rocket is getting jealous.