Episode 186 – Amazon Brings Down the Hammer, Wide Release Strategies, and Audible Car Mode

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Question of the Week: Has your spouse/significant other ever read your books? How involved are they in your publishing process and why?

How involved is your spouse in your writing? After thanking their patrons Vanguard: The Complete First Series, Divorced Dad: Kids are Forever, Wives are Not, and Hitler Out of Time, Jim and Bryan chat about tips on how authors can create books with perennial appeal, putting off learning new skills until they are needed, and using preorder promotions to launch a bestseller. News stories included what readers can expect from Wattpad’s new Premium service, Amazon’s new feature for young readers, Amazon Rapids, how Audible is making your commute a little easier, why KU and wide authors should use different marketing methods, and why Amazon is stripping some innocent authors of their books’ ranking. This week’s Question of the Week: Has your spouse/significant other ever read your books? How involved are they in your publishing process and why?
What You’ll Learn:
  • Why authors should put off learning skills until they are needed
  • How one author used preorder promotions to launch a bestseller
  • How authors can target audiences to create books with perennial appeal
  • What readers can expect from Wattpad’s new Premium subscription
  • How parents of young readers can save on an Amazon Rapids subscription
  • What new Audible features are making daily commutes a little easier
  • Why KU exclusive and wide authors should use different marketing methods
  • Why Amazon is stripping some innocent authors of their books’ ranking

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  • Ethan Jones

    When my wife used to read my books, we would get into arguments about changing the language and/or plot points. Now, she’s my virtual assistant, helping with many non-creative aspects of being an author.
    Thanks so much for the wonderful shows and blessings,

  • Quenton Jones

    My wife is my alpha reader and, although it is certainly painful, wades through the very first drafts of my stories, helping me find plot holes and pointing out where a story is confusing or weak. Also, while I’m a great starter of projects, I struggle to finish them. My wife helps me stay focused and not deviate from a project until I have completed it.

  • Kayla Thomas

    While my husband supports my author career completely, he doesn’t always read my books. Reading isn’t his favorite pastime, and he’s not that in to romance novels.

  • My wife has read my one novel that’s out right now. It’s not her genre of choice (I write mystery/crime), but she does it. She’s a teacher, though, and for ten months out of the year, she doesn’t have a wealth of time to read for fun. So I try not to monopolize the time she has. She’s not involved in the publishing or marketing yet, but I’m still very early in the journey. That could change.

  • Heather Hobbs

    My husband read my first novel and loved it. It was the first book he’s read in about fifty years. 🙂 When I gave him the second edits of the next book in the series, he hated it until he got about seven chapters in and then loved it. He offers advice about plot, not all of which I take, but it helps to talk ideas through with him and just giving voice to my ideas has helped me solve some problems.

  • Seth Howard Wilks

    My wife is very supportive of my writing, often pushing me to write when I am not motivated myself. As for reading my work, she would love to, but I am positioning myself in the horror genre to begin with, and she has a tendency to close her eyes during the scary parts of Disney movies. She will have to wait till I dip my toes in YA.

  • She’s read one. She made a few comments, and all I heard was “You’re a big, fat loser, and I don’t love you anymore.” I’m thinking that’s my faulty interpretation.

  • Gary Neal Hansen

    My wife generously reads everything — the non-fiction that I’ve published and the fiction that still lives on my hard drive. She’s a huge encouragement and an excellent critic. It helps a ton to have someone kind read things before they go out into the world.

  • M.A. Robbins

    My wife doesn’t like my genres (post-apocalyptic and horror) and so has never read any of my books. She likes to read true crime, though. I keep finding books laying around where a wife has murdered her husband and almost got away with it. I sometimes wonder if it’s entertainment for her, or research. Makes me a little nervous.

  • A full scale miss related to the David Gaughran story: Brian and Jim missed a critical point related to Amazon cracking down on scammers, in which innocent authors have been caught up in the fray. David Gaughran is correct when he calls on Amazon to make sweeping changes to catch scammers, and he is correct to criticize Amazon for incorrectly penalizing authors who are innocent. Amazon should have a program in place to work with individual authors who claim they did not participate in nefarious actions. Even after these innocent authors contacted Amazon, Amazon did nothing. It is Amazon’s responsibility to catch scammers AND remediate problems their own automated systems have caused.

    • Bryan

      See, I don’t agree on this, Nathan. I could be remembering incorrectly, but I thought we mentioned that multiple innocent sets have been caught up in this. I think it’s in the text of the story that I read. While I agree with you that it’s Amazon’s responsibility to remediate problems and catch scammers, it’s our responsibility to ask for the right things.

      As a community, we begged and pleaded with them to catch scammers. We wrote scathing articles and left KU in droves. Amazon’s support has always been a little lackluster, but that’s certainly not what the loudest complainers talked about recently.

      So, it’s definitely a little bit our responsibility that they made the quickest change they could to try to catch scammers. Which makes it, in part, our fault that innocent authors have been hit by the crackdown.

      Is it 100% our fault? Of course not. But to assume that asking for stricter vetting wouldn’t have some hopefully temporary consequences would be a sort of “looking the other way” when we see how Amazon and other big companies tend to deal with problems.

      I’m very happy to see that some ranks that were stripped have been reinstated. Let’s hope that Amazon changes its vetting AND remediates problems effectively going forward.

      Thanks for posting!

  • C.E. Martin

    No, my wife doesn’t read my work. When I first started in 2012, she did, but the first couple of novels I wrote were the last she read… which is kind of irritating, since she reads paranormal/supernatural stuff (what I write) daily. Mine is action-based, though, and she wants some romancey stuff in hers. Still, it’d be nice to get a second set of eyes for proofreading, etc. Generally, I get no support or assistance from my wife or kids in my writing–I’m lucky to even get quiet time to write. So much for making this a family business…

  • Emily Selleck

    My other half isn’t much of a reader, but he supports me in all the ways he can, even if it’s just offering an open ear or a shoulder to cry on. I may not understand his book aversion, but his belief in me is a greater help than I think he realizes 🙂

  • Spider McGee

    I had a girlfriend, a long time ago, who fancied herself a writer. She knew that I was a writer, and perhaps that is what drew her to me — non-writers circle and wait for someone to pounce upon. She said my stories were okay, but why didn’t I write something more “serious”? Why shouldn’t I write a book with her? But what about?, I asked. Oh, sexy vampires, werewolves, and the like. Why waste my limited abilities on Mort Mann, zombie detective, when I could offer the world a deadly-serious multi-generational vampire family saga?

    We don’t really talk anymore.

  • trishheinrich

    My husband and I met as actors, and have always had healthy critique of each others work as a natural part of our relationship. We’ve had to learn how to critique each other, of course because everyone is different. Now that I’m an author, he’s one of the first people to read any of my books and is my unofficial developmental editor. His ability to find plot holes, inconsistencies and generally bad plotting is amazing; watching a movie with him can sometimes really stink! It feels very strange to think about not sharing my art with him, since that’s how our relationship started. I know it’s taboo to put too much stock in what our spouse says about our work, but he never pulls punches with me, even when I don’t want to hear it. However, I also know that our relationship is probably not the norm.

  • Trynda E Adair

    My partner hasn’t read any of my writing and probably never will. He’s not overly into reading fiction or the writing process. As much as I would love for him to be more active in my craft, he’s more of a musician and I know it’s not his thing, but I may get a soundtrack for a book out of him one day if I get lucky XD

  • She writes poetry and I write space opera, so I think we both hope the other doesn’t ask to trade reads.

  • Blaine Moore

    My wife hears about my projects over the dinner table (along with the kids) and will sometimes read my shorter stuff as a quick proof read. Most of what I write isn’t really her cup of tea (up to this point) so there hasn’t been a lot of developmental type of feedback.

  • My husband read the first draft of my book and gave me the brutal honest truth about it. His advice is the reason I am rewriting my book and I am so glad I took it and had him read it first. I am going to force him to read it when it’s finished and see if it’s all he suggested for improvement 😉

  • Nikki Davis

    My husband hasn’t read any of my books. He doesn’t even know most of my pen names. It’s for the best. I’ve written several romances about cheating wives. Wouldn’t want him to think I wrote from experience.

  • My wife has only read snippets of my writing but as a creative herself (her medium is thread and wool) she is supportive of my efforts and even kicks me out of the house with orders to go write.

  • Patrick O’Donnell

    My wife helps me out with editing (she was an English teacher). Although she is a voracious reader, she doesn’t like my genre. We talk about books and I pick her brain regarding what makes her purchase a book. So nope she really doesn’t read my books and I’m okay with that.

  • My husband is my first reader, most honest critic and biggest fan. I do the same for his writing. We’re very lucky to have each other.

  • Matt Bennett

    For my first book, I made a deal with my wife who is a teacher and amazing editor. The deal was that I would clean the house every weekend for 8 months to free up time for her to edit the first draft of the book. While I hate cleaning, it made me feel like a true indy author! Besides being a great editor, she is my biggest fan and supporter through the ups and downs of self-publishing and attempting to built a business around my book. Being new to self-publishing, I can imagine doing such an all encompassing project without a great deal of support from the most significant person in your life. I was lucky to marry both a brilliant and loving women who puts up with all my crazy ideas and believes in me even when I struggle to believe in myself.

  • Benjamin Douglas

    My wife has her MA in English Lit, and is far and away a better writer than I. Pretty good copy editing, when I can talk her into it! But my type of genre lit isn’t really her bag. Meh.

    RE: Amazon bringing the hammer down, I totally called it back when we had a discussion about scammers! They use an axe, not a scalpel. I don’t blame them; I think Jim’s dead-on when he says it’s just the nature of things. But hey, let’s not rouse the giant.

  • My wife supports me all the way, from reading my books if time allows to help me with research. But most importantly, she’s awesome with sales. Having said that it’s my job to balance writing-focus/topics with non-writin related time.

  • Stella Wilkinson

    Wow, all these supportive wives! My husband has never read a thing I’ve written and isn’t really interested. He reads books about War not fluffy romance.

    I don’t think I know a single person who has ever bothered to read any of my work. Certainly none of my friends, not even my parents. At over twenty books published, I don’t hold out any hope that they are going to start now.

    When I first began publishing I was terrified by the opinions of family and friends, so it was a pretty hard lesson to discover that no one actually cares.

  • Laura Martone

    It’s wonderful to read about so many supportive spouses (and heartbreaking to hear about the less-than-supportive ones). As for me and Daniel, we met at my first “real” job and connected BECAUSE of our mutual love of books, movies, and storytelling. So, not surprisingly perhaps, we’re very interested in and encouraging of each other’s creative endeavors. As you, Bryan & Jim, likely know by now, we take on most projects together – whether that means co-directing film festivals, co-writing screenplays, or co-producing an indie film. We also co-write our novels together, so yes, we’ve definitely read, edited, and marketed each other’s words. Luckily, we share a love of the same genres, including science fiction, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal noir, horror, etc., so that certainly helps – as does the fact that we’ve been a partnership (in all the ways that matter) for nearly two decades. So, the short answer is that we’re VERY involved in our mutual publishing process… which means we’d better not get divorced any time soon – that would totally suck!

  • Adam Knight

    My wife wields feedback like a sledgehammer – blunt and unsparing, but with constructive intentions, and my stories are all the better for it. She’s not a writer, so her recommendations are on bigger-picture things, but valuable all the same. Can’t get enough of seeing her curled up with one of my novels, too. It’s magical.

  • Crissy Moss

    My SO has read a few of my short stories before they were edited and his first comment was “it’s rough but it’s good”. So I stopped letting him read them.

    But! He helps me storyboard sometimes. I’ll bounce ideas off him, and he’ll give me new ideas expanding the world building, and enriching the world. He is really good at asking the right questions, even if they sometimes don’t seem to fit. Invariably they do.

    He is also my cheerleader and keeps asking me why I’m not writing, and where my next book is, even if I don’t let him read them.