Episode 47 – Middlemen, BookBub Analysis, and Real Authors

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Bryan and Jim started with two big announcements. Bryan is opening up a multi-author Facebook event for April, and authors can apply at bryancohen.com/pitch. Jim and Bryan will both be on hand at the PubSense Summit in Charleston, SC in March. The traveling troubadours discussed three tips on book cover split testing, blog post topics, and mobile marketing. They also touched on bookstore crowdfunding, the theoretical purchase of Nook by Google, trad pubs skipping over agents, if self-publishing makes you a real author, and trad pubs going direct. Question of the Week: Are you a real author if you self-publish? Why or why not? (Note: Jim says he refuses to do episode 48 unless we get 100 comments)
What You’ll Learn:Β 
  • How you can be a part of Bryan’s next multi-author Facebook event
  • Where you can meet Jim and Bryan in March
  • How split-testing your covers could lead to more book sales
  • 54 different kinds of blog, podcast or video posts
  • Ways to get in touch with readers through mobile platforms
  • Why Bryan thinks BookBub rejected him again
  • What one book store did to stay in business
  • Why Google buying Nook would be a good idea
  • How some trad pubs are finding new authors
  • What Michael Kozlowski thinks about indie authors
  • How Digital Book World called trad pubs out on direct sales
Question of the Week: Are you a real author if you self-publish? Why or why not? (Note: Jim says he refuses to do episode 48 unless we get 100 comments on episode 47)

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  • John L. Monk

    If self-published authors aren’t real authors, should people who read self-published books be called “real readers?”

    • Bryan

      Ooh, good point, John :).

    • C.C. Wall

      Epic man.

    • Excellent point!

  • Is someone who writes, but keeps it hidden a writer? Of course, because they’ve written something. An indie is every bit as much of a “real” author as one published by the big five. An author is someone who writes a book and publishes. It doesn’t matter how they are published.

    I’ve gone full-time, having more than replaced my income, so I don’t care what anyone thinks about my status as an author. I’m an author.

    I didn’t really care what others thought before, but now that I’m paying the bills with my book royalties, I care even less. The only opinions that matter are those of my fans.

    • Bryan

      Congrats on the full-time authorship! I agree completely. Yay for fans!

      • Thanks, Bryan. And many congrats on your successes as well!

        • Bryan

          Much appreciated :). Hey, could you shoot me over an email? I’m working on something for the next episode, and I wanted to get a few specific people’s input on it. bryandavidcohen (at) gmail.com. Thanks :).

    • I agree about not caring what others think. A writer doesn’t have to make a living to be a writer. An author of an unpublished book is still the author of that book. These are real things. When a book is published by legacy or self-published, then IMO the author is a PUBLISHED author. When he or she makes a profit (whether that means finally going full time or not) they are successful published authors.

      I’m full time now. I don’t care about Legacy pubs labeling me. I don’t do labels. I don’t compare the length of my balance sheet to other authors. I was going to say I don’t compare the size of my ANYTHING to other authors, but that would be a lie. I DO compare mailing list numbers. My bad,


      • Haha. Yeah, I don’t get into the comparing game, either. I like to be inspired by those who are doing well, and try to do what they’re doing. For example, all of last year I took the advice of Elle Casey and Blake Russell, and I focused almost solely on building my back list. I published once a month (shorts, novellas, novels, and a box set) and then I started focusing on rebranding covers, promotion, etc.

        Now, once people discover my works, they have a lot to read. I get emails fairly regularly where people say they discovered me a week or two earlier, have read everything I’ve published, and want to know: when’s the next one coming? πŸ™‚ I love it!

        I don’t care who published my works. I’m an author. πŸ™‚ My readers agree. That’s all that matters.

        • +100% to this. Readers are what matter to indie authors. Balance sheets are what matter to legacy publishers. Coattails and gravy trains come into mind when I think about what agents care about. πŸ˜‰

  • Jacob Williams

    Update on KDP Ads attached: I typed notes in red to give more details. I also attached a sample ad display for those new to KDP Ads and are curious where they’re showing up. (Bottom right. “Also available on Kindle”)

    As I talked about in the last episode discussion, I was able to use KDP ads to figure out which book I should write next. I targeted the top 40 PHP and top 40 Python books separately. (Both subjects I plan to write about.) You can see by the impressions that Python had roughly 2500 more impressions than PHP. You can also see there’s far more clicks per impressions. This means Ruby is a more relevant / more compelling alternative to Python users than PHP.

    I wish I had done this experiment sooner because I’m 90% done writing my PHP book. I’ll be publishing it next week. I would have written the Python book first had I had this information. You can see from those campaigns I only spent nineteen cents for that insight. The good news is that I’ll be able to start getting data on two products and some data on promoting my own product on my other product’s page.

    Going forward: I’ve started a new campaign that is targeting by interest. You can see that campaign listed at the top. I will have that performance for you on next week’s update. -Jake

    • Bryan

      Jacob, writing new books based on impressions is brilliant. Can’t wait to see how this works going forward.

    • Am I really seeing 7.5k impressions for 14 clicks? 14? Seriously?

      I know only clicks cost you money, but ROI is the important thing. No sales is till no sales whether the advert was seen a 100 times or a 100k times. And clicks are not sales either. Think about the cost of this. There is the time involved in setting this stuff up, monitoring it, researching new campaigns, the actual budget is a tiny part of it.

      Seriously guys, just spend $100 on a bookbub, and ENT, and a Midlist. It will cost about the same, and the result will be off the charts in comparison to Amazon advertising.

      All my opinion of course, YMMV and all of that stuff,


      • Bryan

        That’s what I’m TRYING to do, Mark ;). Though I did just apply to a Midlist, and I’ll try to schedule my ENT for that date if they pick me.

      • Jacob Williams

        When I have a portfolio of 100 books it will make more sense why I’m pursuing that extra five bucks a week on a book. It’s $2K extra a month.

        There are a lot of nonfiction authors who already have a portfolio larger than 100 books. This data is valuable to them.

        But yes, if you’re an author with 5-10 books and want to write stories, then bookbub is a better option.

        I’m concerned with scalability. KDP ads is more automated once you figure it out. That requires testing.

  • Jacob Williams

    auΒ·thor (Γ΄β€²thΙ™r)
    1. The writer of a book, article, or other text.
    2. One who practices writing as a profession.
    3. One who writes or constructs an electronic document or system, such as a website.
    4. An originator or creator, as of a theory or plan.

    suΒ·cker (suq’or)
    1. The writer of a book, article, or other text who’s traditionally published.
    2. One who practices writing for approval of others.
    3. One who can’t write a website.
    4. One who lacks theories and can’t execute on plans.

    • Bryan


  • TheCreativePenn

    I look forward to meeting you guys in Charleston πŸ™‚ Please don’t faint, Bryan – I’m not that scary!

    On Google & Publishing – I’m pretty sure they are more interested in investing their time into AI, longevity, worldwide internet and sustainable energy and other ‘big’ issues – I don’t think the returns of publishing match life extension by 40 years πŸ™‚ See latest Time magazine and some of Peter Diamandis & Ray Kurzweil work – fascinating stuff! I’d actually rather they worked on that – so I can keep writing for longer!
    Perhaps Kobo could buy NOOK?

    • Jacob Williams

      Google is super interested in what people are reading. All of their pet projects are funded by adwords. If Google knows what I’m reading, they know what to advertise to me.

      • Jacob has it DEAD on. The Kobo device I know has links back to Kobo HQ. They know everything the reader is doing or not doing. If Nook is the same, Google would LOVE that. They have their fingers into everything data-wise. They would absolutely drool over the prospect.

    • Bryan

      Ok! I’ll make sure to have some Southern Sweet Tea beforehand to keep my blood sugar up ;).

      We’re not big issues?! Ooh, Kobo buying Nook would be great. I’m all for pestering Mark on that.

    • He’ll faint cuz you’re dreamy, not scary

    • The problem with anyone already in the game buying Nook, is that they’ll just strip out the customer base and then close it down. I want a competitor, not a bigger Kobo if it sacrifices Nook. If they keep it running, then they are only boosting a competitor to their Kobo platform. They won’t do that.

  • At the risk of sounding obvious, a writer is a writer and a publisher is a publisher. One of the things that the trad publishing mindset has instilled is that writers handing their manuscript off to an entity is the publisher. So, they look at self-published failures as somehow a reflection on Amazon when Amazon is the portal, not the publisher (listen to Konrath’s video debate on his site).

    People who write are writers. People who publish are business people. So, to be unnecessarily a pain in the buttocks, self-publishers don’t have to be writers, they just have to publish something written πŸ™‚

    • Bryan

      Good stuff, Pete. Sometimes obvious is better ;).

    • Bryan

      Hey, Pete, could you shoot me over an email? I’m working on something for the next episode, and I wanted to get a few specific people’s input on it. bryandavidcohen (at) gmail.com. Thanks :).

  • And, just for fun, I think you should shut down the comments section at 99 entries and see if Jim will buckle.

    • Try me! πŸ™‚ And my comments don’t count!

    • Bryan

      Hahaha. Jim never buckles. Especially after a big meal. HEY!

  • Jacob Williams

    Some valuable insights on Cost Per Click: Scenario 1:

    Highest CPC willing to pay:
    Person 1: 0.70
    Person 2: 0.25
    Person 3: 0.23

    In this scenario Amazon will award Person 2 the ad views. Why? Here is what each Person would pay given they pay .01 higher than the next highest bidder.:

    Person 1: 0.26
    Person 2: 0.24

    So why would amazon award Person 2 more impressions?

    Each party has a $100 spend limit. Amazon will wait until there is a higher bidder before promoting Person 1’s books. This allows them to charge more per click. Person 4 enters.

    Person 1: 0.70
    Person 2: 0.25
    Person 3: 0.23
    Person 4: 0.65

    Now Amazon can charge Person 1 0.66 per click.

    • Bryan

      You’ve gotta write a book about this stuff when you have more data, man. People will buy.

      • Jacob Williams

        More mathematics behind the CPC algorithm.

        There are three advertisers targeting the same page. Because they only need to pay when a link is clicked, the more an ad is optimized and targeted to the users, the more likely that ad is to be clicked.

        Person 1: 1.00 (max CPC)
        Person 2: 0.75
        Person 3: 0.50

        The system displays each ad an equal amount of times. The following is the performance of all three after being displayed 1000 times:

        Person 1: Clicks = 20 @ 0.76
        Person 2: Clicks = 10 @ 0.51
        Person 3: Clicks = 60 @ 0.50

        This spread shows a much higher conversion on Person 3’s ad. Even though Person 1 is paying more per click, Person 3 is more valuable to the platform. The platform has a finite amount of pageviews. In order for them to maximize profits, they will serve Person 3’s ad. Here is how much the platform made off of each Person with 1000 page views.:

        Person 1: $15.20
        Person 2: $05.10
        Person 3: $30.00

        This is why many advertisers typically see a lot of impressions at the beginning of a campaign. It is the system determining your ads performance.

        These scenarios contradict the common assumption that a higher CPC will guarantee more impressions. It is not always so.

    • Have you found an effective number to start with? I’m going to run my ad…

      • Jacob Williams

        Link me to the book you’re going to advertise. Also, how will you be targeting? By interest or by products?

        • http://www.amazon.com/25-Minutes-Fit-Workout-getting-ebook/dp/B00B0A2O8A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424913467&sr=8-1&keywords=25+minutes+to+fit

          I’ve been running one based on products that are ‘similar’ to mine. I have a list of about 30 books in there. .05 bid. I’ve had zero clicks, with only 400 impressions.since Saturday.

          On the plus side, no charge! πŸ˜‰

          • Jacob Williams

            Create a campaign that targets competing books that are between 2.99 – 9.99. Kindle books only. That way you’ve narrowed your impressions to people who most likely have a kindle and are willing to look at a book that will cost them three or more bucks.

            I would bid 0.30

            I’ve attached a redesign of your cover so it’s readable as a small thumbnail. I’ve also added the word “free” on the cover to take advantage of the fact that people’s eyes are drawn to the word. It will increase the amount of people that notice your ad.

          • Bryan

            Cool, very interesting.

          • Thanks, man!

          • I made the changes to the ad parameters the other day, but haven’t had time to change the cover until now. So far, just 1 (one) impression in two day, but I’m going to change the cover now.

            Since the impressions have nothing to do with the cover, should I adjust the bid?

          • Jacob Williams

            That cover looks awesome! The balance is much better.
            You’ll need to start a new campaign once the cover is updated. A campaign uses the cover image for the ad that the book had when you first started the campaign. You can edit the current campaign to end tomorrow. Then start a new one when your book’s cover is updated.

          • Thanks!

            What do you think about the bid? Only one impression in two days…

          • Jacob Williams

            Am I right in assuming there’s A LOT of competition in your space?

            Edit: We should talk over email. πŸ™‚

  • I think the confusion about “real” comes from the well understood facts in the indie community which some trad published authors think indies don’t understand. For example, books need to be professionally edited. Because being an indie author allows one to publish any level of work regardless of quality, some people like to believe that all independently published books are of low quality. Instead of helping people learn to be better writers, some people would rather maintain a superior attitude and look down on anyone who embraces the freedom of self-publishing. Either way, the indies and the snobs are all real authors.

    • Bryan

      Don’t understand or that they want to ignore, Aldus? πŸ™‚

      • Probably a mixture. Less experienced writers, like me, learn many things the hard way. We do things wrong and our work suffers. Hopefully, we learn from that and get better. I’ll confess that even though my novel was published in July of 2014, I just got it professionally edited and I’m writing a new revision to replace the original. It was the initial sales that paid for the structural edit. All my following books will be professionally edited before publication. Live and learn. I’m trying to say that some of the criticism is justified. However, I would have never written my novel if I had to go the traditional publishing route. When I found out that the only thing stopping me from publishing a novel was writing the novel, I wrote the novel. Now the only thing that stops me from publishing better novels is writing those novels. I am happy to work on my craft and produce better work because I know that no one can stop me from publishing. If I had to fight my way through what traditionally published authors overcame to get published, I couldn’t do it. I don’t have that kind of time. And, I don’t buy lottery tickets either.
        I have tremendous respect for traditionally published authors. I understand why they might look at me slightly askance. But to only look at me or people even less skilled then me and judge all indies by that is ridiculous. Some willful ignorance definitely comes into play.

        • Bryan

          Good points.

          • All good points. I have friends who are readers and not writers who will rarely give an indie a try anymore and it’s hard to blame them. I almost never buy an indie book without checking the sample, and unless I know the author, I tend to find errors, bad grammar, and poor writing even in the opening 10%

            You can’t trust the reviews, since an Indie or trad author with a lot of fans will give glowing reviews, bad book or not.

            I wish there was a system that would basically give the book an impartial stamp of ‘minimum standards met.’ Not an actual review, but a thumbs up or down that shows it was properly edited, formatted, and not just a piece of crap.

          • Bryan

            I feel like the minimum standards met thing would be hard to get people to adopt. Good idea in theory though!

          • Get an agent, Bryan. There’s your vetting. Try shopping your Ted series to them, and you’ll soon decide that “nah,indie is better.” Do not wish for gatekeepers. They’re already there, and dying out.

          • I don’t want a gatekeeper, more like more review sites with good track records.

          • Well, I’m all for more of those… except of course they’ll charge the author, and then the aroma of fix, bias, etc arises.

          • Bryan

            Ted’s mine :).

          • And I’m sure you’ll be happy together! πŸ™‚ My point is this, indie is FREEDOM. Don’t wish it away.

          • Oh my God, do not even go there. Agents and legacy publishers are the only gatekeepers we need (ignore-able ones) Another gatekeeper with a meaningless “stamp of quality/approval” isn’t what we need.

            Your thumbs up or down, is what agents do. Go to them.

    • Perry Constantine

      It’s that whole idea of being in an exclusive club. Before self-publishing, published authors could feel like they were one of a select few, chosen only for their brilliant works of staggering genius. Now that anyone can be published, it makes them feel less special and that pisses them off.

  • If you’ve sold some of your writing before (traditional) or after (seff-pub) it has been published, you’re an author.

  • C.C. Wall

    Jim, I need your rants. Don’t withhold them from me.

    • C.C. Wall

      I love it when Jim “Officially” tells people something. It’s awesome! LOL πŸ™‚

      • Bryan

        He’s the most official person I know.

    • I’m holding back because Bryan is worried about our G rating. πŸ™‚ Blame him!

      • Jacob Williams

        Serious question: Why would you want a G rating? Swearing builds audience longevity.

        I will link to this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/cussing-at-work-helps-you_n_1373098.html

        Psychology bitches. It makes sense too. Who are you most likely to swear around? Your closest friends. Swearing endures someone to you because it signals that you’re not withholding yourself from them.

        Johnny, Sean, and Dave from The Self-Publishing Podcast are a perfect example. I feel like they’re some of my best friends.

        • Bryan

          I don’t care about the G rating. We can cuss all we want. We just have to tell iTunes if we’re cussing in an episode. Even SPP does that.

          Of course, Jim FAILED to do that for this episode. Lame ;).

          • I don’t care about G rating etc, but cussing just to be cool is a no go for me. If it comes out naturally, then okay. Never force it. It’s crass, and just makes the person sound bad.

          • Bryan


          • I have found my language deterioting since listening to author podcasts. I say words i used to bluch at with impunity now. Its a bloody bad influence, mates.

        • Jacob Williams

          That last question was for @bryandavidcohen:disqus. I’m sure @jimkukral:disqus and the listeners hold a similar position to mine. Right guys?

          • Bryan

            As long as we mark our episodes correctly, I’m down with whatever.

            I used to do improv comedy. I’ve sweared in front of dozens of people at once :).

          • Jacob Williams

            “I’ve sweared in front of dozens of people at once.” -Bryan Cohen


          • Bryan


    • Bryan

      I may have to rant for him, C.C. Unless we get all the comments ;).

  • If the 100 comment goal is not reached, will Jim still loan you his sound effects?

    • Bryan

      If he does, I won’t use ’em :).

  • The dude is arguing semantics, but he’s choosing his own terms, as well.

    My favorite comment, from the author: “I fixed the link and also am aware that most self-published authors couldn’t care less about having an ISBN number. Its these authors that are basically lazy and hurting the publishing industry overall. You see, when a book does not have an ISBN number, it ceases to be meaningful.”

    I feel almost guilty bring this up because I’m not perfect, either, but in the article and in the comments, he’s made it very obvious that he doesn’t know his grammar or punctuation very well. I’m glad for him that he didn’t use that as an argument.

    • Bryan

      Haha. Man, the ISBN thing is funny.

    • The ISBN thing really makes me want to rant about focus group testing and the destruction of culture. The same company controls BookScan and television viewership surveys.

      Think about it. Basically, traditional publishers focus on sales information from the same people responsible for bad reality television. Do we really want their input on books?

    • I think they make their priorities clear when they say “hurting the publishing industry overall.” You know they ONLY mean the traditional publishing companies. They’re still just worried about themselves and how they’ll survive this, well, revolution in publishing. Clearly not having an ISBN isn’t hurting indie publishers! So it’s obvious, imo, what they’re talking about here.
      And the “lazy” comment is just a cheap shot from someone on the defensive who doesn’t know what else to do to fight back. *cue violin*

  • Regarding the agents thing on the podcast. The publishers STILL aren’t going out to find authors and books. They’re telling authors to COME TO THEM, but without an agent now. They are trying to entice
    authors with the idea that they can get 15% more money now (the agent’s fee) while not paying anything themselves.

    The problem with that is, an author will still need someone to vet the contract with a microscope, and will STILL pay 15% or more in cash terms to do it. My advice, is DIY and just pay freelancers for covers, editing, and anything else you feel needs to be done.


    • Some people really want the approval or recognition of being published by the big guys,but that number is decreasing. And while I can’t say I would *never* use a big five for anything, but I sure am glad for the indie revolution! It’s the way the book industry SHOULD be:

      -Let the readers choose what they want to read, not some company
      -Give the authors the freedom to write and market the books THEY want (mixed genres, title and cover choices, etc) and not conform to what the companies think will sell

      I’m really glad the views of indie publishing are changing. I’ve seen a huge difference from the time I started writing my first (published) novel in early 2012 to today. At first, people thought it was cute that I publishing online. Now, a lot more people are aware of how legitimate self-publishing really is.

      • I have a theory. In 5 years (or less) this argument will go the other direction. Traditionally published authors will be seen as the hacks who couldn’t make it on their own. We’re already seeing a trend towards traditional publishing being considered entirely an emotional validation. That’s the very definition of “vanity” publishing.

        • That would interesting! I hadn’t thought about that, but it makes a lot of sense.

      • Bryan

        Here here!

    • I completely agree. The trad pubs aren’t trying to find new writers. They’re trying to find writers they can more easily exploit.

      Too many authors have been negotiating better contracts. They need to put a stop to that before it hurts their bottom line.

      • Yes. Nothing is THEIR fault. They’ll blame the agents now for not giving them what they need. They wouldn’t have any trouble getting more authors if they gave them say 30% for print and 70% for ebook rights, with 10 year renegotiable lock ins.

  • Nakeesha Seneb

    Okay Jim, your tactic worked. Comment #61: Hell yeah, I’m a real author as an indie author. I don’t like to call myself self published because, though I don’t have a formal publisher, I have a team of people that help me get my books out. I have a professional editor, cover designer, beta readers, critique partner and street team. And I’ve got sales. The money in my bank account seems pretty darn real.

    See ya next week Jim;-)

    PS -I love listening to your show, but I don’t like that I have to register to leave a comment:-(

    • Bryan

      The registering thing is a pain, but it’s a necessary evil. This Disqus system works pretty well.

      I like the term indie author too. Thanks for posting! πŸ™‚

  • Gregory Lynn

    On the Borderlands sponsorship thing, it’s entirely fan based. Businesses are not allowed to buy a sponsorship, only individual people.

    For their hundred bucks, they get access to some special things. They can rent the place, they can get reserved seats for author events, they can go to certain social events.

    If I were in a place that had a good local indie store, I would seriously consider getting a sponsorship like that even ignoring the potential for an indie author.

    • Bryan

      Cool, thanks for clarifying.

  • Jacob Williams


    I would love a fiction author with a three book series to figure out the customer lifetime value (CLV) per download of their first free book in a series. I know this is a strategy a lot of fiction authors use. They give the first book away for free and charge for the second and third. (Sometimes 4th and 5th books!)

    Someone should divide their overall revenue from their series by the first free book’s total downloads. If you can determine that 1000 downloads of the first book equals $1000 in sales of the 2nd and 3rd book, then we have are number. Each download of the first book is worth $1. If this is the case, I would use KDP ads to advertise my free book. I imagine the clicks per impressions would be a lot higher on a book listed as free than those advertising books that cost $2.99 or more.

    If anyone has a fiction series with the first book free, you should run this test. I will pay for it if I must.

    • Jacob, how will this data be accurate?

      I can give you data on a 4 book sci fi series. BUT each book came out months or years apart. Surely that invalidates the data?

      • Jacob Williams

        Isolate. Use the last 180 day sales only. Assuming the fourth book was finished before then. Agreed. We don’t want new book release sales in there.

        • Hahah, yeah. You need them to be clean of outside influence. They can’t have had any sort of bookbub, facebook advert, midist, freebooksy…blah blah.

          I have promos of one kind or another running on all my books month to month. If it’s not a bookbub, its a Kobo promo. I even noticed an uptick recently using YouTube videos! There is no such thing as a clean sample any more.

          Let’s go for a beer instead. πŸ™‚

  • I think you have to write a manuscript entirely by quill and candlelight to be considered a “real” writer. I’m a virtual writer. I’ll leave that up to you to decide if that means I’m secretly an advanced artificial intelligence or not.

    • Bryan

      Thou dost speaketh the truth.

  • Perry Constantine

    Is a guitar player not a guitar player unless he has a recording deal? Is a painter not a painter unless her art is displayed in a gallery? Is an athlete not an athlete unless he plays for a major sports team?

    Of course not. it seems writing is the only artform where people say, “you need to be recognized by this arbitrary body of people you don’t need in order to be considered an actual practitioner.”

    If you write, you’re a writer, period. If you get paid for your writing, then you’re a professional writer, period. Any additional amendments or exceptions to that statement are just pettifogging so certain people can make themselves feel superior to others.

    • Bryan

      Good comparisons.

  • Perry Constantine

    I just wanted to say that this is now the hundredth comment. See you next week, Jim! And you’re welcome, Bryan!

    • What??? I demand a recount. I wanted another week off. Oh well.

    • Bryan

      You rock, Perry!

    • Bryan

      Hey Perry. Could you send me an email so I have your address? I’m working on something for the next episode, and I wanted to get a few specific people’s input on it. bryandavidcohen (at) gmail.com. Thanks :).

  • Rachel Lynn

    I think independent authors are “real authors” when they hold themselves to the same standards as traditionally published authors in terms of quality of content/ story, editing, and having professional book covers. If we cannot put in the time and effort to maintain the standard and provide a high quality book to our readers, we look more like hobbyist writers than authors. It’s important to show the world that we as indie authors can produce content just as wonderful as traditionally published authors πŸ™‚

    • Bryan

      Agreed! Everybody should hold themselves to higher standards for sure.

  • L. L. Fine

    Over 100. Can we rest now?

    • Bryan


  • Brian Brown

    Great job writing another time-suck question. I’ve spent the last half hour thinking about this and considered writing a blog post to answer it. I should be writing dammit.

    Why is the title so important? Who cares if you are a “real” author? Who cares if you are an author, period. What’s the joke…? How do you know if someone in a party is an author? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

    The question about whether you can call yourself a “real” author is just an upgrade to this pretentiousness. Saying you’re an author, any kind of author, is a way for you to say, “I write books…therefore I am better than you.” Suggesting there is a distinction between authors who traditionally publish compared to those who self-publish is just a way for these snobs to one-up the snobbery.

    No one cares if you are an author. No one cares if you are a “real” author. The only one who cares is your ego.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon editing my internet profiles. How does “I’m just a dude who writes stories” sound to you?

    • Bryan

      Muhahaha. Thanks, dude who writes stories.

  • I’ve been wanting to post a comment to tell you how much I love your podcast. I just discovered you guys a couple of months ago and after listening to a couple of episodes I downloaded *all* your podcasts to my Podcast Addict app and started listening! I just caught up this week with your latest show, so I’m now up to date. I’ve learned so much from you guys already. I’ve been working on revamping my blog (which I let go stagnant so I could adjust my priorities and the focus of the blog). Because of your show, I’m seriously considering making it a podcast, or at least make my posts audio – even though the idea is terrifying.
    I’m happy to contributed to the *required* 100 comments, lol. (We’ve got to keep Jim’s rant-machine functioning! πŸ˜‰ ) Keep up the great work.
    As for your QotW – of course we’re real authors if we self-publish! That is all.
    (p.s. Bryan, I just bought your book Writer on the Side, b/c it’s been in my to-read list for maybe two years! But I had no idea it was *you* until I read the introduction, in which you mentioned your site, and I recognized the name. Just thought that was an interesting coincidence!)

    • Bryan

      That’s fantastic, Monica! Definitely let us know if you make a podcast. It gets a little easier with each one :). And thanks for getting my book! I hope you enjoy it!

  • Pingback: Uh-oh. I just discovered BookBub. | Frankie Bow()

  • Bryan

    Great work everybody!

  • Jim Wilbourne

    Real authors are defined by their level of professionalism and writing skill, not by who owns and distributes their work.
    I was surprised to see my blog in this show! It brought on a great Jim rant and sound effect πŸ˜‰
    Thanks for the love, guys!

    • Jacob Williams

      I like to consider myself a synthetic author. It’s my job to make shit up afterall.

    • Bryan

      Sure thing, Jim! Great post.

  • Of course you’re a real writer if you self publsih. If you complete a book and have readers you must be. Once you make some money you’re a professional. Right? The whole issue seems silly to me.
    This was an interesting podcast. And I’m glad Jim doesn’t get to escape so easy. Heheehehehe…

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Alyne. Me too! It’s tough without that big lug helping me out ;).

    • Bryan

      Hey, Alyne, could you shoot me over an email? I’m working on something for the next episode, and I wanted to get a few specific people’s input on it. bryandavidcohen (at) gmail.com. Thanks :).

  • Lynda Washington

    Just dropping by to say hello and to plead with Jim to show up for next week’s show. You keep us on top of the roller coaster.

    • Bryan

      Haha, that’s definitely what Jim does :). We’re over 100, so he’s in!

  • Abby Weeks

    Just making sure you guys get your 100 comments.
    You’re a real writer when you produce the goods. Deliver real books, to real readers, and you’re a real writer.

    • Bryan

      Produce the goods. I like it!

  • Sigh. Guess I’ll comment.
    Wait. Can Bryan’s cat play the sounders as well as Jim does? Can Rocket rant? OMG ROCKET RANT IS A GREAT TITLE FOR A SHOW SEGMENT.

    • Bryan

      Rocket definitely knows how to rant. Especially when she doesn’t get her food on time.

  • Edwin Downward

    I am an unpublished author working hard to get his first work ready for release into the wild, and I Am A Writer.

    The way I see it, the sticking point on this question always comes down to a Gold Rush mentality. It doesn’t matter what goals you have or how well you are meeting them if you haven’t found the BIG one yet.

    • Bryan

      Here here, Edwin!

  • It’s true that in the UK we revere authors in a totally unrealistic way – it’s just a firmly embedded cultural stereotype. I’m not sure it means anything, but centuries of literature had to have some effect I guess.
    And that takes me to point 2 – was Shakespeare a real writer? He seems to have been an entrepreneur, a mover and shaker. And if Dickens and Conan Doyle were alive today, I’m guessing they’d be writing serials and pushing them out on Amazon instead of in magazines.
    A writer writes.
    ps – I’m a new listener and I enjoyed the show so I’ll be back.

  • We look forward to seeing you at PubSense Summit!

    • Bryan

      Thanks! πŸ™‚