Episode 50 – How Bad Do You Want It?

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In their landmark 50th episode, Bryan and Jim had rants and insight, motivation and tough love, and tips and news for your listening pleasure. Listen to the show to learn how to enter their big 50th episode giveaway to win over $150 in prizes! Their trio of tips includes a better way to get ACX bounties, scrappy conference marketing tips, and why you should create courses. The news included stories on deep, philosophical novels, the reality of the writing dream, the next step in Facebook marketing, how to market a series, and five reflective lessons on the authorpreneurial life. This week’s Question of the Week: How bad do you want it?
What You’ll Learn:
  • How to format ACX bounty signup links
  • What to do to make an impact at a conference
  • Why courses make sense as your next digital step
  • What place philosophical novels have in 2015
  • How real authors live the dream
  • What Facebook is planning to improve its marketing
  • How Lindsay Buroker achieves series success
  • What Joanna Penn learned from her landmark birthday
  • How to enter Jim and Bryan’s 50th episode giveaway
Question of the Week: How bad do you want it?

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  • Crissy Moss

    Seattle is a huge city with lots of indie’s here. Could be good here. Lots of hotels with convention rooms available too.

    • I nominate San Diego, “America’s Finest City.” The weather’s always great, and you can hit the beach if you stay an extra day!

      • Bryan

        Oooh. Beach conference!

    • Bryan

      I’ve never been. I’d love to go. Conference in Pike’s Place? 🙂

    • Oh. I could go to Seattle! I would advocate Montana, but everyone has a strange idea about Montana, like, we’re all cows. Just because we have more cows than people doesn’t mean there aren’t things here!

      • Crissy Moss

        I’ve been to Montana, often. You can’t fool me! If they aren’t cows then they sure drive like they have hooves right after the snow starts.

        • I can’t argue that point. I’ve never seen worse drivers than here in Helena. They won’t even pull you over for running a red light if you’re part of the first five cars through after it changes.

      • Been there! Many times. My mom lived in Tracy, near Great Falls

      • I went fly fishing in Montana last summer. I would love to go back but unfortunately it’s not really a destination for a conference of this nature. 🙁

        • Well, I could probably make a case for Missoula, but I won’t. I wasn’t joking about there being more cows than people in Montana, just looking for a selfish way to save money.

          I get jealous when I hear about how cool these things are.

        • I know. It’s no south dakota!

  • I generally appreciate your indie industry coverage, but the course-publication tip was exactly the redirection I needed this week. Thanks for doing this. And congratulations on #50!

    • Bryan

      Good to know, DC! Courses have been really helpful for my development. Best of luck with yours!

  • A. Rodgers

    Hi, guys. I want it bad enough that I made a video, despite brace face. Honestly, I needed your show today, as I’ve been dragging my feet on wrapping up book 3 of the Olivia Chronicles. Thanks for the show this week and every week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB0FfYWxTOk&feature=youtu.be

    • Bryan

      Awesome video, A! Thanks for the entry. We’re so glad you like the show and that this helped give you a kick in the rear :). Best of luck with book 3!

    • This is awesome!

  • Jacob Williams

    Who would like me to read part of your books and link to them on audible?

    I’ll read the first 20-30min, upload the video to my YouTube channel, and then link to the rest of the audiobook on Audible in the video description.

    Here’s a sample reading I did a year ago on a short story I wrote. I read it and uploaded it as a video:

    I only have time for one a day. Let me know if you’re interested.

    ps. I’ll share performance and analytics with you all.

    • Bryan

      Cool idea, Jacob!

  • I don’t want it. I need it.

    • Bryan

      How bad do you need it? 😉

      • Oh, Bryan, I need it bad. Real bad.

        • Daniel Martone

          Another erotica title. 😉

        • Somebody quick make a cover with Bryan’s pic and this title? Please? 🙂

  • Crissy Moss

    Some days I don’t want it at all. I get to the point where I hate the book I’m working on, and just can’t stand looking at it anymore. It feels like it’s taking so long, and it will never get done, and even if I do finish it, it won’t be good enough.

    And then I finish my pity party, put on my big girl pants, and start writing some more.

    My inspiration? I hate working for corporations. I hate that they change the rules every few months, and that I risk losing my income because they change my job description. They don’t value me as an individual, don’t care about my strengths and weaknesses, or my opinions, don’t care if I even show up tomorrow.

    I want to matter. To myself if no one else. So I go to my crappy job every day, then at night I write. And edit. And write some more. I listen to lots of writing podcasts to give me inspiration while walking and driving. I keep my phone with me at all times so even if I’m at a party or watching TV with my boyfriend I can jot down notes, paragraphs and sometimes whole chapters on my note pad.

    But the biggest thing… I got a divorce. For 15 years I was married to someone who constantly told me I want good enough, that nothing I did was worth while, and I’d never be liked or loved by anyone. Emotional abuse degraded my ability to belive in myself, to write or accomplish anything, or just be happy. I had to unlearn all the abusive things he said to me before I could really pick up a pen again.

    But since then I’ve written and published lots of short stories, novellas, and my first full novel coming shortly. I think I’ve over come a lot.

    Video incoming.

    • Bryan

      You are awesome, Crissy. Glad you dropped that dead weight and that you’re now on the right path.

      Man, I definitely empathize with the pity parties. I’ve been there, but it’s a good thing you have the pain point of the corporations to point you toward the light!

      • Crissy Moss

        Heck ya. There is a place there that makes the most amazing hand made pork bind and crab ragoon. I go there whenever I can. Plus the original Starbucks.

        • Bryan

          Ooh, crab rangoon :).

          • Crissy Moss

            Right. That’s why I hire editors. I can’t spell 😉

      • Crissy Moss
        • CRISSY! I felt compelled to tell you, I think you are a wonderful writer! I truly enjoyed Prophecy by Barlight! Keep Strong!

          And thank you for sharing this video. It was very powerful.

          • Crissy Moss

            Thank you! I love hearing that people love my stories. Better then almost anything. My Novel should be out next month. I’m so excited!

          • Woot!

        • Thanks for posting this video. Very encouraging to hear you talk about not giving up on your dream.

          • Crissy Moss

            Thank you Jim, I appriciate that.

  • Hey Jim, I know you love short. I’ve been going through your vids on AMC… I’m stalking youoooo!

    Non fiction, yes I agree. BUT do you see huge sales with serials right now? No you don’t! Ask Sean and Johnny and Dave why they paused/stopped doing serials after finishing up Yesterday’s Gone. They DO NOT SELL WELL anymore. There is potential, I totally agree, but look around at what is happening in genre fiction right now. Outside of erotica/romance, books are still 60-100k. The original people who used to do serials no longer do. They do series, because that’s where the market has taken them.

    That doesn’t mean releasing four books 1 month apart isn’t a good idea. It totally is. If I were starting now, I would “save up” my first four books in my Merkiaari Wars series and release them 30 days apart. 30 days on Amazon is optimum it seems to me. 90 at a pinch. I write long, because I read long. I actually admire Bryan for being able to write shorter. I’m not concise enough to do it. If I wrote 50k words, only half a story with a huge cliffhanger would result, and then I’d hear howls of outrage from readers haha!

    I like cliffhangers and do use them, but I’m always ready for push back, and I DO get it… a LOT! Genre is important for length. Space opera, military sci-fi, epic fantasy… all things I write. They have to be 60-100 (closer to 100) My young adult books are 65k, and fans seem okay with that sort of deal. Like Bryan said, YA has its own specs. Around 60k seems about right for the readers who like that genre.

    Non fiction. If I had the answers to pressing questions, I bet I could sell books of 20 pages long! I think some do that, and call them crib sheets or something.

    Regarding working for a living… I’m with you Jim. I became an overnight success after 13 years of writing and publishing. I went full time mid 2013 when Ford closed down my engineering job. I knew when I heard the news I would DO ANYTHING not to go back to shift work in a toolroom/factory. So how did I manage?

    I get up at 6am, work all day with stops for meals, walk using my treadmill desk, and go to bed about 11pm everyday. Am I writing that entire time? No, but I am either hand coding my website, creating adverts, marketing, proofing audio, AND/or writing new books. I work 7 days a week, for LONGER hours than i ever did for Ford, and i AM LOVING IT!

    That’s how I became a full time novelist. I don’t freelance. Everything I do is for my brand under my name. Back in 2000 it was all paper, now its all epub, kindle, audible, and little bit of paper. No matter how many hours a day I work, I LOVE ALL OF IT! When you work for yourself, everything becomes lighter, including me. I lost half my body weight. I sleep better, eat better, exercise more, and I’m not angry all the time with stress. Yet I get up at the same time as I did when working shifts!

    I have a zero stress life.

    I’m so very grateful to my readers, I could kiss them… well the ladies anyway. The guys will have to make do with a hug or something

    Mark E. Cooper

    • Bryan

      Good stuff, Mark. Way to be one of the hardest workers I know!

      • Awww guys, you say the nicest things. Hahah! It doesn’t feel like work when you love it so much. I know that you know what I’m talking about, Jim. We wouldn’t do this job if we didn’t love it. I certainly wouldn’t put this many hours in working for anyone else but me!

    • Keep kicking butt Mark!

    • Daniel Martone

      I think the guys on SPP did the serials too early. Most people, over the last 3 years, who have fully embraced ebooks and self-publishing, in the fiction world, are serious readers. I believe while that is still the case, we will see the short attention span audience move in to the market. Also, while I loved Yesterday’s Gone (I’m reading the 3rd season), I never really got the TV show vibe (maybe it was told like “Lost”)… I never got the Cable Network vibe from Collective Inkwell. I could be totally wrong but I think having several “shows” running concurrently is really the only way to create that vibe. CW has several audiences… they have the Arrow, The Flash, and Supernatural audience, and they have the Vampire Diaries & Originals audience (Supernatural is a cross-over show, actually shared by both groups). The network has succeeded by creating a must-see series of shows every week that friends can talk about after watching. A single show wouldn’t create anywhere near the buzz. I say all of this because I hope taking the true network tv route is going to be a viable option… I hope that these kind of releases can build a fan community… I hope to see my friend… sorry, flashback to Shawshank Redemption. Obviously a lot of hoping going on but I look at like this… If each “show” is a good story and they will eventually be released in whole seasons for binge reading (in novel length), then I actually don’t see the harm in trying. All it will cost us is time which we are willing to give to tell the stories that are in our (my wife and I) heads. Should be a fun and tiring ride.

  • I want it so bad, I’m willing to WORK! http://youtu.be/NXODtSscPrA

    • Bryan

      Awesome video, Jonathan. Way to go!

    • Yes!!!

  • Gillian

    Let me see… How bad do I want it? I work my regular job 8 hours a day and work on my book marketing for another 8 hours 5 days a week. I don’t date, my only recreation is hiking and occasionally visiting with friends. I work my butt off marketing my 5 books and writing a 6th. To say I am hustling is a joke. I’m so busy I don’t have time to make a video 🙂

    • Bryan

      Good work, Gillian!

  • Congrats on #50! I started listening on episode 3 and haven’t missed an episode yet.

    As for the question, I have never been more driven. I won’t bore you with the details, but I feel there is a window of opportunity that I need to take advantage of in order to reach my goals. I can’t let a day go to waste. I work on this stuff every single day.

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Pete!

      • I loved what you said in the podcast about the trad pubbed author who only sold 1000 copies of her high literature. You were right on the money. If she had done the indy pub work, like developing direct connections to her customer base, then she would have done much better.

        But the trad pubs won’t promote that to their authors because it diminishes the trad pub’s value even more. Like we said last week, they are stuck in an unworkable, non-agile paradigm and the authors are the ones left unarmed to take on today’s marketplace. Of course, that’s good for us. 🙂

  • John L. Monk

    Regarding “Dear Thief”:

    11 reviews in the U.S. for a “serious novel.” Indie author Carol Ervin’s novels are very serious, and she’s crushing it right now with her 3 book Historical Fiction series about people living in a logging community in West Virginia. Samantha Harvey only has 6 reviews in the U.K…and she has endorsements that any indie would die to have:

    “Dear Thief is a beautiful, tentative success, a novel with no
    interest in conformity. Harvey’s book is propelled not by the usual
    structures of novel writing but by the quality of its author’s mind, by
    the luminousness of her prose . . . I was at moments reminded of
    Marilynne Robinson . . . Remarkable.” —James Wood, The New Yorker

    “Dear Thief
    is a hypnotic, beautiful and sometimes dark incantation—a letter to an
    old friend that lures the reader in and doesn’t let go. Samantha
    Harvey’s novel is a deftly drawn reminder of our deeply human desire for
    connection and the risk involved in the revelation of that desire.”
    —A.M. Homes, author of May We Be Forgiven and The End of Alice

    “Samantha Harvey’s Dear Thief is a novel of profound beauty. I’ll leave it at that.” —Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours and The Snow Queen

    “A glorious, sensuous, grown-up novel, intelligent and passionate.” —Tessa Hadley, author of Clever Girl and The London Train

    “With her eerie and arresting latest, Harvey (The Wilderness)
    gives the neologism ‘frenemy’ a full-book treatment . . . This
    controlled, thrilling novel derives its power from the perversity of a
    friendship in which the pair is ‘always closer when one has taken too
    much from the other.’” —Publishers Weekly

    “A story about a
    long friendship and the betrayals that tore it apart, this thoughtful
    meditation, interspersed with reflections on philosophy, religion, and
    poetry, is about the passages of time, the accumulation of memory, and
    the hard-won wisdom of aging.” —Library Journal

    “Visceral, haunting . . . [Dear Thief]
    explores the psychological trauma of an intimate betrayal with such
    empathy that readers will feel drawn into the narrator’s own confused
    sense of self, fear of closeness, and longing for exactly what has hurt
    her.” —The Huffington Post

    “Intelligent . . . ravishing . . . An incandescent vision of hope and acceptance.” —Sunday Telegraph (London)

    “Harvey has struck gold . . . a heady, elegiac combination of eroticism and loss, loathing and rapture.” —Claire Kilroy, The Guardian (London)

    writing is stunning; an effortless spool that gradually winds back the
    layers, dropping in revelations . . . Brilliant.” —The Times (London)

    “A hypnotic read.” —Good Housekeeping (London)

    • Bryan

      Seems like terrible marketing on the publishers part.

      • I’m not surprised about a quieter response to Dear Thief. The quote even said that Dear Thief is a “…novel with no interest in conformity…”
        Of course people aren’t going to gravitate to something completely different: most people are just looking for more of what they already know they like.
        Something actually new is only going to take off after word of mouth spreads around that it’s good (if it is good at all. I haven’t read Dear Thief).
        It might be a marketing failure. It might just be a new kind of book. You never can tell what will be a new hit and what won’t in the entertainment industry. We’ll just have to see how long the sales tail of the book is.

        • that said, the text made them sound pretty whiney and blamey about their problems. Poe died penniless. Life isn’t fair.

  • How bad do I want it? I can’t answer that. Could I stop? No.

  • But never mind the question of the week. I want to take Jim to task over his throwaway (and ill-informed) G+ comment which had me uttering uncouth words.

    So, Jim, you’re happy to reject media comments about self-publishing because you know they’re false. But you’re happy to echo media comments about how G+ has failed? So what the media say about self-publishing isn’t true but what they say about G+ is?


    The Writers Discussion Group on G+ just hit 30,000 members. I’m a moderator on the Self-publishing community of over 7000 members. I’m also a moderator on a community called Saturday Scenes which is 250 *active* writers who publish scenes from their work publicly every Saturday both for comment but also to find readers.

    I also run a community specifically for UK Writers and one for Steampunk Writers (my genre of choice).

    That’s just the writers. There are other communities that are just as huge, like the photographers. G+ is a fantastic place for creatives.

    (And if you don’t want to believe me – ask Crissy Moss.)

    The only people who think G+ isn’t a success are the people who aren’t on it (or have an account but don’t take the trouble to interact).

    I find it ironic how people always know that the Internet is full of falsehoods – except when they encounter something that agrees with their own misinformation. Then it’s the truth.


    • Bryan

      Rant in the comments! Rant in the comments!

      I’m interested to hear Jim’s take on this. I think some people use G+ really well. I don’t understanding it well enough to comment on it.

      Thanks for the feedback :).

      • I think a lot of people feel that way Bryan. Somehow, G+ hasn’t sold itself to people. Perhaps it tries to cover too many bases instead of focusing on simplicity.

    • I’m glad you are having success with it. I never have. And you are honestly the very first person I have ever heard from that is having success with it. Honestly. All my friends in the social media industry tell me it’s a waste of time. I’ve tried with it as well and never got any traction. So perhaps I’m doing it wrong. I totally concede that fact. I can only go by my experience and what I’ve heard.

      Please post a link to that writer’s group? And the other self-pub group? I’d like to be edumacated.

      • Hey Jim – You have 18,000 followers which is not shabby but, looking at your posts, I think I see the problem:

        You’ve been using it just as a marketing channel. And that really doesn’t go down well on G+.

        People can build up a huge interactive following on G+ to which they can promote, but the promotion has to come after they’ve spent time building the interaction.

        Your following is obviously based on who you are, rather than spending time with these people. Those who follow you are probably the ones in contact with you already in other places so get your posts from other places.

        G+ people like intelligent discussion (and fluffy kittens, obviously).

        For example, I promoted a blog post of mine and ended up in a detailed discussion on gender in writing.

        If you post a self-promotional link to either of these communities, it’ll get deleted 🙂 It’s demonstrably true that good communities kill promotions and link litter while actively encouraging discussion within the community itself.

        Writers’ Discussion Group: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/106134988944938026164

        Self-publishing: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/106426489682108553998

        • Thanks for posting the links. I admit I’m really bad at fostering social communities. So that’s why mine don’t really work. I get it. What do you think of posts like this that talk about the demise of the network?


          • ::shrugs:: Like most journalism they angle their reports to be as negative as possible, and omit inconvenient facts. Especially when faced with something successful. You don’t need me to tell you that.

            Streams (i.e. what you see in G+, people’s posts) and Photos (Picasa) have always been separate entities. This actually isn’t saying anything.

      • Gregory Lynn

        I guess I’ll be the second person you have ever heard from that is having success with it, though really, the first person you have heard from it is Crissy Moss.

        G+ isn’t going to be any good for people who are only interested in posting links to things. It’s great at building relationships, but that takes actual interaction with people.

        It’s like your Facebook group. If nobody talked to each other, it would be of no use to anyone. If you’re on G+ and not talking to anyone, you might as well not be there.

        Should you ever decide to do a social media show, I’m pretty sure Steve Turnbull and I know a couple guys you should talk to.

      • Crissy Moss

        Here is another person having some success. I’ve met some fabulous people, got invited to a few podcasts, and found a small readership through G+. All I did was engage in the community and find a lot of people I enjoyed chatting with.

        I think you have to treat g+ like a two way conversation instead of just post stuff and let people comment on it. If you don’t go out and comment on other people, talk to them, engage in conversations, and actually show that you are part of the community not just another advertiser trying to get likes, then you’re not likely to get anywhere.

    • I don’t feel like G+ is going away, but I have a problem with people using the term ‘having success with it,’ when they talk about google plus, facebook, twitter, or anything without defining what ‘having success’ means.

      I know people who proclaim they are having success with twitter, for instance, who barely sell any books. What does success mean in this case?

      I think many authors confuse liking it, having fun with it, being comfortable on it, or not being angry with it for having success with it.

      I’m not saying that authors aren’t having legitimate success, but just the other day I heard a podcast interview where the author’s ‘successful’ social media strategy was to post on LiveJournal and tweet kitten pictures to entertain her followers.

      There’s NOTHING wrong with doing either of those things, but the tweets are unlikely to be having much effect on book sales and LiveJournal is basically just a blog.

    • Crissy Moss

      What, am I the authority on G+ now? Lol. Love that two people have referenced me. I love G+.

    • I love G+, especially for the communities.

    • ❤️Marie Long❤️

      I have used G+, but I have not gained much traction with it. I really want to see some success with this platform, but as Jim had mentioned, maybe I’m just not doing it right. I would love to attend a webinar or something on how to effectively use G+ for marketing and networking as successfully as places like Facebook and Twitter.

      Or maybe Jim and Bryan can do a future podcast on this? 🙂

  • I want it bad enough to…

    fall asleep on my laptop while working on my book,

    give up all TV just to make more time to write,

    forego listening to music or the radio on my commute so I can listen to more inspiring podcasts,

    and give up my weekend hobbies to work on my writing and marketing my books!

    Here’s a link to my Top 10 Reasons to LOVE the Sell More Books Show video on YouTube!


    • OMG this is so awesome.

      • Glad you like it! I want the prize bad enough to spend all night thinking about this, and then all morning creating it while I plopped my kids in front of the Wii. 🙂

    • Awesome! That makes two of us who are in KCMO with entries–maybe we should push for KC to be the location for a SMBS event.

      • I agree! Kansas City is a FANTASTIC place for an event. Come here, Jim! Come here!!

      • As a former KCMO resident (well, Belton), I concur. I would definitely find a way to make that trip!

    • This is awesome!

    • Bryan

      Hahaha, very awesome.

  • Jason Post

    We want it so bad we are willing to try and build an entirely new industry around it to make it happen.
    Sorry for the personal plugging, but it’s what we do, right.

    More info on everything from the video can be found…
    here: http://www.thewarsongseries.com/
    here: http://bookquest.wix.com/thebookquest
    here: http://lamplightmediaworks.wix.com/lamplight#!cover-design/c1ujm

    • Daniel Martone

      Jason, your background was freaking me out… kept feeling like Willy Wonka is about to pop out. 😉 By the way, helping other authors is not only a noble thing to do but I believe it is a fantastic way to grow this self-publishing community. Of all the industries I’ve been a part of, I’ve never seen one where people are so willing to help each other out. Keep up the great work… I will definitely check out your sites.

    • Nice work here. Great sound and production.

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Jason! Way to be a great hubby :).

  • A few people have also suggested the publication method involving releasing several books at once and I know some others have done it… but how the heck did they pay for it? My novel was professional edited, copyedited AND proofed! I had to crowdfund to pay for one book so I know I couldn’t afford to pay for two or three at once. That’s rough!

    • Bryan

      Yeah, it’s pretty incredible to do it at all, but the money is definitely a challenge.

  • Guest

    You asked for it – and here it is:

  • You asked for it – and here it is:


    • Nice work Mikey. Really appreciate it. You’re destined to be a guest on the show with that accent.

      • Notice how Mikey used new Youtube cards there at the end? Smart.

        • Bryan

          Agreed, good stuff, Mikey!

        • Thanks Jim and Bryan. It’s always worth trying to keep up with the latest tools. I tried to add a card with a link to your show but Youtube limits the type of link you can use so I just added your url as an annotation.

  • I don’t think there has ever been a huge market for literary books that’s why most of these authors keep their day jobs. I think another thing affecting perecption of success or failure of a book has to do with the fact that so many more people are reading. The horrible 50 Shades of Grey spawned a whole lobby of readers who never read fiction before. I love literary fiction, so I will seek it out. I have been disappointed in some of these books, though. So its all very subjective.

    • Bryan

      Agreed on the subjectivity. High school reading list books and book club books don’t always pay the big bucks!

    • I’m just reminded of a moment on the Colbert Report where he said something like ‘As I understand it Young Adult novels are like regular novels, except people actually read them.’

      I believe that sentiment applies to any book that is easily accessible, which literary books tend not to be. Any book that is more sophisticated is not going to do as well, while the shallow ones are going to be gobbled up.
      It’s an unfortunate truth, but knowing it, we shouldn’t be surprised by lower sales numbers.
      That said, the better books will stand the test of time, having a log sales tail, while the fluff will disappear like beanie babies, only good for a quick buck.

  • My video entry! I actually feel EXTREMELY guilty about listing these things and putting them in a video. Ack.

    • Daniel Martone

      Now that’s sacrifice. Jillianne, you had me laughing the whole 55 seconds. Keep it up… although, as a husband of an uber-dedicated (read perfectionist) travel writer (not unusual for her to go 22 hours a day for a week), give the fiancé / husband a little of your time… we’re like puppys, if you don’t pat us on the head and throw a ball for us to fetch, we’ll end up wetting on the carpet.

      • Glad you enjoyed that. haha He’s very understanding and incredibly supportive. Thankfully, the fiancé and I are both introverts who need our alone time. I play with words, he plays video games. But now that I’m not stupid busy, we’re good.

    • Now that’s commitment! Thanks for making this video. I’m sure your fiance didn’t mind, lol.

    • Bryan

      Oh, Jillianne. Congrats on the book and the impending wedding :). I hope everybody forgives you!

  • “How Lindsay Buroker achieves series success”

    I do think there’s value in getting multiple books out there quickly if you’ve proclaimed that you’re writing a series. If you have book 1 of a series out there, and there’s no sign of book 2 or book 3, why would someone invest the time to read book 1? As a reader, I would just wait until I was sure I would be satisfied. So, yes, hold on until you have 1-2 written, with the 3rd looming.

    With a standalone story, I wouldn’t worry about it, but with the series trends these days, many people are proclaiming series right up front rather than writing a standalone story with sequels. If it’s going to be a long time between books, I would make it a novel with a complete story and NOT indicate series. Of course you can have unfinished business that you can return to in the sequel, but I wouldn’t have a cliffhanger unless book 2 is right around the corner. Once it IS a series, you can always go back and add the series name retroactively.

    As for waiting until I had 4, 5, 6 or more books, I think there’s probably diminishing returns after 3 books. I also think it could look weird to have a lot of books without reviews show up all of the sudden. What’s the prospective reader to think?

    Also, it could take years to write 6 or more books, and that’s a long time NOT making any money, getting fan feedback, and making course corrections.

    Plus, a little waiting builds anticipation and gets them to sign up for your lists, interact, and hopefully spread the word.

    • Bryan

      Good thoughts, Roland. You’re probably right about the diminishing returns after 3, but who knows…

      • Crissy Moss

        To mitigate the time crunch, I wrote the majority of all three of my books, then came back to the first one to finish it (which took a couple months) then sent it out to the editor. While it’s in editing I’m going to try to get book two finished, which should take a couple months, and have it out within three months of the publishing of book one. Ditto for book three.

        I write slower then most of the people I seem to see in this sphere, but I just keep at it, and that seems to be the key.

  • Daniel Martone

    15 years ago, my wife Laura and I quit our jobs, bought an RV, and hit the road. We were insane and completely unprepared to make a living as freelancers… and while we had plenty of “Ramen” years, we’ve managed. We started off our journey wanting to make films (we were both film majors, and she added an English degree) and get into travel writing… eventually we ended up out in L.A., where we spent 7 soul-sucking years trying to navigate the film world. We managed to sell a screenplay and produce a really bad movie for no budget, but the film distribution world is very closed off and unless you get really lucky, you’ll never get your money back and thus you will find it harder and harder to find financing. We did manage to start a film festival that helped us to survive.

    Still trying to get the stories out our heads and make a living doing so, we left L.A. and moved to New Orleans (Laura’s home town). Laura’s travel writing had taken off and we started a 2nd film festival. Between the 2 fests we have been able to pay our bills and eat… There is something about this city that inspires creativity so once we realized self-publishing offered a way to tell stories and find an audience, we decided to begin our self-publishing journey. My goal is to transition from making living off of the film festivals to making a living off of our stories. We’re working on 4 different series. I’m launching a free website for authors (the best way to network and find like-minded people is to help them). We’re launching a free podcast to help authors promote their work. And I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a self-publishing convention to piggyback off of the Wizard’s World Comic-con… a way for authors to engage with an audience… and a way for authors to network with each other. To say we’re busy, would be a serious understatement. That’s how bad we want it.

    • Bryan

      Very awesome! Great story.

  • Kim smith
    • Haha. Bryan has been making women feel uncomfortable his entire life. Great video! Kudos for doing it.

      • Bryan

        The uncomfortability goes both ways, Jim :).

      • Kim smith

        ROFL!!! too much info!!!!

    • Bryan

      Great emotional video, Kim!

  • Daniel Martone

    Author Marketing Live… in New Orleans? Hotel prices are lower in Sept. We could definitely help you out… even have access to a French Quarter bar where you could hold an opening night gathering… and we could put some kind of boil together (crawfish, crab, shrimp, etc.). How fun would that be?

    • Never been to New Orleans either. I need to correct that.

      • Daniel Martone

        Fell in love with this city, even with all of its problems. I have lived all over the country… there is no other place like it.

        • I love New Orleans. Things just got interesting…

    • Bryan

      Oooh, I’d love to go to Nawlins!

  • Jim, just have to throw out that you’ve got to consider Nashville for AML. It’s an easy town to get around, there’s a ton of writers here, centrally located, within 5 hours of Atlanta, Cincinnati, Memphis, St. Louis, hotels aren’t too expensive, easy to get in and out of the airport. Lots and lots and lots of events happening here, and this would be a great one. J. Thorn used to live here. He’ll vouche, though, the place has boomed more since he lived here.

    • I’ve always wanted to go to Nashville. Never been.

    • Bryan

      I’ll be in Nashville in June for UtopYA. 1/2 of the SMBS meetup perhaps? Know any other listeners, Zach? 🙂

      • You know, unfortunately, I don’t. I’m honestly not in with any writers around here. All my writer friends are online, and the few I have met here or more concerned with trying to trad. pub. But, 11 out of 10 people here are artistic in one way or another, so I HAVE to think there are a group of listeners from here. Either way, I’d be down to meet for coffee. If anything, we can rip on J. Thorn for a bit 🙂

        • Bryan

          Haha, sounds good.

  • WarrenBluhm

    “Missing the greats.” Psh. Critics have always had a different taste
    than “the masses.” If you ask the critics, the best movies of 2014 were
    “Birdman” and “Boyhood” and the like. If you ask the general public, It
    was “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Mockingjay Part 1.” The only film
    they agreed on was “American Sniper,” and that film’s popularity seemed
    to be kryptonite when it came time to hand out the hoity-toity awards. I
    appreciate hearing about “Dear Thief,” but more praise for the book and
    less whining about market realities would go a long way.

    • Bryan

      GoTG for the win!

  • Darren Sapp

    How I’m using Facebook. I’ll issue the disclaimers that my situation is unique and
    I’d much rather have 1000 email subscribers than 10,000 FB likes.


    I like FB so I’m encouraged to use it for marketing.

    It’s easier for me to share comments, pics, links, etc.

    It’s easy for me to message and communicate with readers both publicly and privately.

    It get quick and easy feedback.

    I offer special invites to join my mailing list.

    My book’s genre is associated with many groups on FB (aircraft carrier aviation) so I can easily integrate my marketing.

    I have a lot of content (mainly pics) that I can post twice per day and rarely repeat myself.

    I pay FB $5 per day to promote my page and gain about 65 new likes a week. My books sales are steady enough that I’m guess this ad is paying for itself.

    I’m thinking there might be others whose book’s genre would work well with this.

    • Bryan

      Interesting. Are you paying to send people to an email list signup too or are you just paying for FB?

      • Darren Sapp

        No, I only pay the $5 per day to FB. I occasionally post a link to sign up for my email list. I don’t mind sharing numbers. I spent $3,100 on the book (cover, editing, etc) and have made all that back. Based on feedback, I assume the FB ad alone sells a book per day, thereby covering that cost. The way I use the FB page, interact with other FB groups, and bring them back to that page, sells beyond that. It’s a big experiment for me, and I’m only two years into this writing thing. My second book is about to traditionally publish in Ghana, Africa because it’s a ministry project for that audience. My third novel, a military thriller, will be ready by November and we’ll see if I can recreate this. I do a lot of other things, but FB has been a big part of my sales.

  • I’ve met enough people now to know those who want it and those who don’t. It’s the ones who sacrifice day in and day out that have the shot at getting what they want. When I turned 30 I knew I was on the wrong path. By 32 I was in the army. By 34 I was in Iraq and between the 10 hour shift 7 days a week I was writing again. By 36 I’d published an awful book. By 37 I grasped the need for complete understanding. By 38 I finally arrived and was able to sacrifice everything I enjoyed for what I wanted. I don’t sleep much anymore, I don’t play video games or go out. I work out my body, I work out my mind, I join forces with others, I struggle to understand how and implement marketing, I don’t give up. I hustle every day.


  • I want it bad guys, so so bad. Will make a video shortly. But I wanted to stop by first and let you know that your comments on entrepreneurship resonated with me on a super deep level. I’ve been working hard for the past decade slinging words as a freelance writer to get where I am today, but in the past few years I’ve also been pushing to take my authorpreneurship to the next level with multiple book series, online courses, and more. It’s been a tough road to travel, but I appreciate the inspiration along the way. As always, keep up the great work. You’re a big inspiration to us folks in the trenches working hard to hit our goals and reach our dreams.

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Nathan! Way to be a multipreneur! (my new favorite word :))

    • You’re welcome, thanks for listening!

    • Bryan

      Thanks, M.A.! We’ll keep up our emotional rock status for you. And thanks for getting the Ted books!

    • Love it!

  • How bad do I want it? Well, I’ve met enough people now to know those who want it and those who don’t. It’s the ones who sacrifice day in and day out that have the shot at getting what they want. When I turned 30 I knew I was on the wrong path. By 32 I was in the army. By 34 I was in Iraq and between the 10 hour shift 7 days a week I was writing again. By 36 I’d published an awful book. By 37 I grasped the need for complete understanding. By 38 I finally arrived and was able to sacrifice everything I enjoyed for what I wanted. I don’t sleep much anymore, I don’t play video games or go out. I work out my body, I work out my mind, I join forces with others, I struggle to understand how and implement marketing, I don’t give up. I hustle every day. https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxu8jz8Xc4Ew8znO9oZMBN-FdJrIxh-Ob

  • Jacob Williams

    KU Ads Update: Chart attached: Great week! I learned that KU downloads don’t show under Total Sales. Which is awesome. It means these campaigns are probably performing better than they show.

    • I gave up on mine. 9875 impressions, 10 clicks, 0 sales. 🙂

    • Bryan

      Thanks for the update!

  • Concerning AML, I would definitely come back to Cleveland this year, because was year was an incrediblt experience. I’d happily go to Chicago as well. If you want to move it to Detroit or Ann Arbor, let me know and I’ll help scout out locations .

    • I really want to make Cleveland work, but it’s looking rough for the same location. Trying to find another space that is worth using.

  • Amazing show this week, guys. I’m late to the party, but here’s my video:


    • Bryan

      Thanks, Daniel!

    • Better late than never! Excellent video. Thanks for posting.

      • Jim and Bryan, thank you both for putting on a great show each week! Can’t wait to listen in this week 😀

  • Guys! Here’s my video! Hope it’s not too late! I rolled a saving throw vs “How Bad I Want It” and got a NATURAL 20!!! First time, on camera, no editing wizardry. WOOOOOOO!!!


    • 20!!! Nice work. Great video.

    • ❤️Marie Long❤️

      Total geek moment. Love this! 😀

  • You asked for a video and here it is. The first one I’ve ever done just to show how bad I want it.