Episode 189 – The Sell More Books Show Summit, Indie Stability, and Tips from 20 Books Vegas

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Question of the Week: Are you coming to the Sell More Books Show Summit on May 4-6, 2018 in Chicago? What are you most looking forward to about the conference?

Up for Chicago in May? It’s the perfect time to join Jim and Bryan for the Sell More Books Summit – have you booked your tickets yet? After taking a moment to thank their patrons, Leading Effectively: Proven Leadership, Ten Little Bridesmaids, and Sanyare: The Last Descendant, Jim and Bryan share tips on better use of Amazon KDP keywords, the plus-side of releasing books quickly, and using your personal mindset to increase success. In the news, latest research indicated libraries are a powerful, expanding marketplace for authors, Harry Potter meets the creators of Pokemon Go for a new augmented reality game, Google has opened up their publishing portal again on a case-by-case basis, what options Pronoun users have now that the platform is closing, and the business model for indie authors has finally stabilized giving authors what they need to run their own scalable businesses. Question of the Week: Are you coming to the Sell More Books Show Summit on May 4-6, 2018 in Chicago? What are you most looking forward to about the conference?
What You’ll Learn:
  • Find out how to join Jim & Bryan for the Sell More Books Show Summit in May!
  • What should you keep in mind when you come up with your 7 Amazon keywords
  • What Jim would do if he had four books to publish right now
  • How to develop your mindset for doing the work every single day
  • Whether or not it’s worth your time to focus on libraries
  • Which popular book series is about to become an augmented reality game
  • Why it might soon be easier to get into Google Play directly (maybe)
  • Which Pronoun substitutes you should consider using for publishing aggregation
  • How you should treat your business in the stabilizing indie marketplace

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  • I always knew if I worked hard and applied myself, I would one day win a sell more books show contest. I am self-actualized. Huzzah!

    • Bryan

      I knew too. It was touch and go for a while there, but you came through at just the right moment.

    • I’m so happy for you, @jimheskett:disqus !

      • Follow your dreams @RolandDenzel:disqus. One day, you will also achieve your goals, just like me.

  • On the Draft2Digital distribution issue – there are some good reasons for going that way. Firstly, Apple requires you to have one of their computers to upload to their book store so D2D is ideal for those of us using PCs. Secondly, while I would always use KDP Dashboard as I’m in the UK, by using D2D an author who’s not based in the limited number of countries that offer KDP can have his/her books listed on Amazon.
    My habit has been to go direct with Amazon and Kobo, but use D2D for all other platforms.

    • I use them because my books sell so poorly on the other platforms that it’s barely worth being there at all. 😉

      I’ve considered going direct to Kobo when I publish my next one, but I really don’t know if it’s worth the effort to manually do it compared to what I’d get out of it.

  • Want to come. Serious desire flare. Moving from hobby to business. And moving from one career to another. Checking the budget of time as well as money. . . . Well, to be honest, making a budget. So doing one of those massively annoying gen x things and marking my invitation “maybe.”

    • Bryan

      We hope you can come, DC!

  • I’m going. The deadline will force me to actually get my latest book written by then, so I can attend and focus on learning how to have a dynamite release.

    • Bryan

      Great! See you there :).

  • Laura Morelli

    I want to come just so that I can give Bryan and Jim a hug for doing the Sell More Books Show!

    • Bryan

      That seems like a good enough reason to me! 🙂

  • During the show, there was some discussion about whether KDP keywords provided any value. In some cases, having certain keywords will actually result in your book appearing in more categories in Amazon: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201216150

    I don’t have data about the value of appearing in those categories, but I would guess that it can help for people who are “browsing” Amazon rather than searching, plus it may help get a bestseller tag (because now you can have the best seller in the Clones category, for example).

    • N Dixon

      I’m a librarian, I say keywords matter lol. Means all those years of cataloguing training have not gone to waste…

  • Blaine Moore

    Question of the week: I’m already going to SAS as well as to the RRCA national convention (different industry), and both of those are in the Spring, so the time away plus budget won’t fit another event in the first half of the year. I would like to get there hopefully next year if you do it again, though, as I haven’t been to Chicago and could easily convince the family to go with me. (My wife lived there for 4 years.)

    As for the tip on using keywords, I don’t think they make much difference in search, but they _do_ make a huge difference in the number of categories that you can appear in. Check out the “categories with keyword requirements” from this help page for how to target specific categories: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200652170

  • Love you guys, and I may just have to make the trip out to my old stomping grounds of Chicago. Been years since I lived there.
    I listened to Bryan and Jim every week, but I rarely get to come here and comment, as I usually listen in the car. By the time I’m at work or home, my mind isn’t on podcasts.
    But I have a question for those who frequent here. It’s an American-centric question, sorry to everyone else. I’m wondering how independent authors deal with healthcare? If you have no other source (another job, a spouse), do you pay for your healthcare yourself? I still have a full-time job, so it’s not an issue yet, but I’m wondering if this is going to be one of my expenses (once I go full time!). What do you do?

    • It’s an issue, for sure. You just have to pay for it.

      I wonder if there are author groups that engage insurance companies for group deals, sort of like unions do.

      • I do remember seeing that – I think it was… mediabistro? I think you had to prove you received income for your writing, and I’m not sure what they considered acceptable. Also, this was years ago. Sounds like a job for Google…

    • Bryan

      Would love to see you out here!

      There used to be a whole bunch of freelance or author groups that did healthcare. But when ACA came into law, it became difficult for many of those groups to function. The only other option aside from paying through the nose is a Shared Health Plan, which is an ACA-compliant religious co-op type organization with much lower costs. It’s not technically health insurance, but it functions in the same way. It’s a little strange, but it is something hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. are currently using.

  • Robin

    Hi there! Just booked Chicago. It’ll be a first conference for me in this industry though I’ve been a full-time indie author for a while. Really looking forward to it. Keep up the good work, guys.

    • Bryan

      Hooray, Robin! So glad you can come. We’ll do our best! 🙂

  • Crissy Moss

    As much as I’d like to come out and meet everyone in person, I don’t think I can afford it. But I wish you all a wonderful conference.

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Crissy!

  • You twisted my arm, I’m in. I’m looking forward to getting out of my geographic location and meeting with other industry professionals. I’m not so concerned with the craft at this point, I’m more focused on the selling. My goal in the next five years is to leave my day job, but to do that, I need to dive in, take the next step and start thinking of writing as a career, not a side hustle.

    It also gives me a reason to visit Chicago, the one city in the world I would move to in a heartbeat if the circumstances allowed it.

    • Bryan

      Hooray, Remy! So glad you can come. Yes, Chicago is a pretty awesome city. That’s why we’ve been here for 12 years :).

      • Oddly enough, when I was there, I never had the chance to eat deep dish pizza! It’s on my list this time. I did however have breakfast at the coolest art deco diner in the Loop. It’s going to be a whirlwind, but I’m excited!

  • avoura

    Great show. I won’t be there at your Chicago Summit as it really is just too far away for me.

    • Bryan

      Understood, Avoura!

  • I wish! I’m already booked to speak in KC that weekend, or I’d be there for sure.

    • Bryan

      Darn! It’s all J. Thorn’s fault!!

  • Jon Doolan

    I’d love to come but I can’t make it. I live in the UK and can’t afford the flights! Love the show guys. Keep rocking it!

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Jon. We will!

  • I’d love to come to the conference. The Cleveland one was very helpful, informative and just plain great. If I can swing the cost, I’ll be there.

    • Bryan

      Hope you can make it, Erik! 🙂

  • Laura Martone

    Are you kidding? There’s no way Dan and I would miss the first annual (yeah, I said it) SMBS Summit. I mean, it’s a total no-brainer. Let’s see… besides getting the chance to learn new ways to kick ass as indies, I love that it’s happening in one of our favorite American cities (the one where we met and fell in love)… at a terrific, non-blizzard time of year. Many of our buds are planning to go. We’re thrilled to hang out with you (Bryan & Jim), Lindsay B., Zach, and J. Thorn. And then there’s the deep dish pizza. Yum! Seriously, how could we miss this event? (Also, I still feel bad about eating too many snap beans from our garden, getting too sick to travel, and missing Jim’s Cleveland event – so I want to make up for that absence… which means I promise not to eat anything wonky in late April/early May.)

    • Bryan


  • N Dixon

    Hello gentleman that sounds absolutely fantastic, But requires for me flights from UK and a lot more money than I earn! assuming it’s successful, it would be great to see more in the future.I’m just having dreams of being able to attend Adepticon convention and the SMBS convention at the same time on an extended US tour!

    • Bryan

      Understood, N. That would be fantastic if you could take us in during a U.S. tour :).

  • Daniel Martone

    It’s a no brainer. In fact, we’re already planning an afterhours Blue’s night out… maybe we’ll hit both Kingston Mines and Buddy Guy’s!!

  • It’s a bit of a trek to Chicago from the UK. One day, when I actually sell some books, I’ll be able to come. You’re going to be doing the conference every year right? Of course you are!

    • Bryan

      We certainly want to! Let’s hope it’s HUGE!

  • I’m in—just registered last night.

    • Bryan

      Awesome, Michael! Thanks so much for joining us. We’ll see you in May!